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Looking Towards the 5.2 Changes

There are a lot of changes coming in 5.2. Here are the ones I’m keeping an eye on:

Reputation

  • “Work orders will pour into the farm from factions across Pandaria, and completing a work order will earn a reputation boost with the issuing faction.”
  • “You can now earn bonus reputation for your first dungeon and scenario of the day. You can select which reputation you choose to champion by selecting it from the reputation panel on the character screen.”

The above two items have mentally freed me from the self-imposed shackles of dailies, for the time being. Up to this point, my time in WoW has been 100% consumed by dailies – Golden Lotus, Cloud Serpent, Tillers, Anglers, Klaxxi, Shieldwall. Even the days when I ignored Golden Lotus (no real rewards for them or any linked reps for Alch/JC), I still found 2-3 hour play sessions evaporate with nothing accomplished other than rep bar movement. I was back on the Golden Lotus horse due to the lure of the Commendation (I’d love for my tailor alt to get the 28-slot bag eventually), but the day I read these patch notes is the day I stopped feeling like it was required every single day.

There is not any indication to how much reputation is earned with either method, but assuming it is larger than 500, I feel comfortable in focusing more on alts than hitting reputation milestones on the main.

Valor/Justice

  • Heroic Pandaria dungeons now award 100 Justice Points per boss.
  • Scenarios now award 50 Justice Points, up from 25.
  • The cost of Valor Point gear introduced in patch 5.0 has been reduced by 50%.
  • The cost of Valor Point gear introduced in patch 5.1 has been reduced by 25%.
  • The ethereals that offered to upgrade items using Valor or Justice Points have departed Azeroth for the moment.

The big question mark here is whether the current Valor items will still cost Valor in 5.2. It seems a pretty straight-forward answer at first – “Yes, of course” – but look at the implication here. If you have 1200 VP heading into 5.2, chances are that that 1200 VP turns into 1200 JP and then… what? You buy upgraded heirlooms? It is great that Blizzard is actually putting in sources of Justice for people that want heirlooms, but what else are JP good for? I don’t think I have ever seen a patch transition in which the current currency is downgraded but then you need to re-grind the new currency to buy shit you had access to the day before.

On the other hand, one of my guildies was skeptical that Blizzard would reduce reputation gear costs by 50% plus add in the 100 JP/boss gain plus make rep gear purchasable with Justice. And how many new Valor pieces are going to be introduced anyway?

Hopefully there will be some clarification on this issue before the patch.

PvP

  • Conquest gear no longer has rating requirements.
  • Highest tier PvP items are unlocked after 27,000 CP are earned in a season.
  • Weapons that require the 27k CP unlock have said requirement removed inbetween seasons (i.e. in 5.3).
  • Honor weapons are back.
  • Your CP cap for the week is increased by 1,000 for each week you haven’t been hitting the cap.
  • The losers in an Rated BG gain Conquest based on score; close games can award up to 200 CP.

It is difficult to even imagine a coherent complaint about this fairly radical paradigm shift. Blizzard locking weapons behind rating walls was a mistake when they first made it in Season 3, and it has been a mistake every season since. The straw that finally broke my four-year subscription back was when my warlock alt maxed out on non-rating Arena gear; I was permanently “done” with that character’s progression, unless I bribed someone to boost me past the glass ceiling. While I would not look forward to 15+ weeks of Conquest caps from BGs and 2v2 anymore, at least there is no longer a brick wall at the end.

Overall, pretty exciting changes. I’m not following the new raid information particularly closely, because A) there doesn’t seem to be much news out there, and B) it is kind of a moot point for me outside of LFR. And speaking of LFR, I finished all of the available ones; impressions will have to wait for another post.

Splendid Chest “Farming” in GW2

I do find the degree of “secrecy” surrounding Guild Wars 2 sort of amusing. It was not until this Reddit thread popped the lid off of Mystic Forge recipes that prices for Mystic Coins jumped 300% (and, briefly, 3000%) practically overnight. And that was four days ago. I am not expecting everything to be datamined two weeks after launch, but you and I both know there are thousands of players running around hoarding secrets until they get banned for exploiting, ArenaNet hotfixes it, or someone finally blows the whistle on the Gravy Train.

So… ahem. Toot-toot.

If you were not already aware, there are Splendid Chests scattered around the world, most commonly as jumping puzzle rewards. They reset on at least a daily basis, and some are much easier to get to than others. I am going to show you the four easy ones I “farm.”

To be honest, if I had wrote this post 1-2 days ago, I would be telling you how you could be looting your own-level blues and greens in these level 1-15 zones. In the time I was taking screenshots though, either something changed behind the scenes or I was simply crazy this whole time, as the Splendid Chests are spitting out unscaled, zone-level rewards. This can still occasionally be worth doing, as I note below.

If you consider Splendid Chests and “secret” locations to be spoilers but kept reading this post anyway, last chance to bail.

Click the pictures for larger versions.

Queensdale

One of my favorite spots.

This one is one of the fastest to get to from anywhere (assuming you use the HotM Express): exit Divinity Reach and head East along the water. Alternatively, there is a Waypoint across the lake, but it is often Contested due to Events down there. You will know you are in the right spot when you see three bandits hanging out near a wooden door. The bomb bandit on the left of the door is actually semi-bugged to constantly regen health, so watch out.

Inside Beggar’s Burrow itself, there will be bandits galore, often in linked groups of three. I typically have little issue solo AoEing them all on my Elementalist, but things can quickly escalate out of control if you are not careful. As noted, the bandits in there are on a ridiculously short respawn timer, so if you want to farm humanoids and the sticks of butter tiny sacks of goods they drop, this will provide endless supply.

The chest itself is up the ramp in the back, on a wooden ledge, guarded by a Veteran bomb-laying bandit. He can chain-knockdown you, so be careful.

Wayfarer Foothills

Probably the more rewarding farm route.

Bandits too stressful? Try this Norn area. Portal to Hoelbrak, walk outside, and head north then hug the west mountains. Or, just take the nearby Waypoint.

The first thing you will notice is the Potato farm in the Jotun village – around 6-8 plants. These mobs don’t hit too especially hard, but again, you might want to be careful with how many you aggro at a time. There is a Veteran Jotun in the back, guarding a normal, one-item chest. And, hey, a Point of Interest!

Literally within throwing distance North of that village is the Shamans’ Rookery. The cave is not so much a jumping puzzle as it is a trap puzzle: ravens will knock you back/off the ledges if you stray within their little red circles. Periodically, you will fight with NPC shaman, some of whom can also knock you around. Given my familiarity with the place, I have basically figured out that I can just run past them all before they get me in combat (which will slow you down, making the jumps impossible). At the end, there are two level 10 normal NPCs guarding a door, which opens after you defeat them.

Also of note is there is always a Rich Copper Node towards the beginning of the jumping puzzle area on its own island. If you stand on top of the torch pillar, you can actually make the jump back onto the ledge. If you don’t make the jump there, or fall off at any other point, you can probably just run past all the level 7 shadow mobs down below.

North and East of the Rookery is the Wurmhowl Spikes. This area could not be any more straightforward: a few groups of 3 linked mobs, and then finally a mob pile at the bottom (with an Veteran). Aside from the linked mobs, you may want to watch yourself out there because there is a very frequent Dynamic Event escort quest that runs nearby. Depending on the number of players in the area, I have seen level 17+ mobs spawn beside the road and aggro on me. Since the game forces you down to level 13, those level 17+ guys can be very touch-and-go.

Kessex Hills

Just for giggles…

I was not going to bother posting this one, as it is significantly harder than the others, and more out of the way besides… but, you can decide for yourself. If you never been in this area, just head straight South out of Divinity’s Reach and hoof it across the zone. Once you grab the Gap Waypoint, just head North.

Inside will be relatively high-level bandits, including one of those annoying bandit cannons. Towards the back of the cave, there will be two linked bandit Veterans, who forced all my cooldowns. After that, you can see the Splendid Chest through the cage, but as Admiral Ackbar would say: It’s a trap! I do not remember if you have to click on the cage door or attack it, but either way the two Veteran Ettins will bust out of their cages and immediately attack you if you are nearby. I recommend running out of the cage area to give yourself some time to prepare.

Then… you know, solo those two Veterans like a pro, loot chest, ????, profit.

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As I mentioned upstream, I was pretty sure these Splendid Chests were giving out level 25-30 gear for me a few days ago but are not anymore. Oh well. The level 8ish gear can be Salvaged into juicy 20c+ mats, the mobs drop 20c+ items, and you run across 10c-20c+ resource nodes. If you find yourself just aimlessly wandering around looking for something quick to do, well, here you go.

I know of another Splendid Chest in south Plains of Ashford (aka Charr starting zone), but not only is it way the hell far from everything, it is a Jumping/Trap Puzzle with capitals J, T, and P. There is another in the Norn area that I could not remember how I got to, but it suffers a similar issue.

Hopefully you have found this useful and the title not too misleading.