As we discussed on Legendary Episode 100 last night, Patch 5.1 will introduce a new system which allows players to upgrade their gear using points, specifically Valor, Conquest, Honor and Justice. Legendary discussed how, as we had almost no information other than knowing that a system would be in place, there was a clear fear of gear inflation, and other issues.
There is now additional clarity thanks to dataminers investigating this new feature in the 5.1 PTR. Conquest and Valor points will upgrade gear by four item levels at a cost of 750 points per upgrade, with a maximum of 2 upgrades on a given piece, and Justice and Honor points will upgrade a piece by 8 item levels at a cost of 1500 Justice per upgrade. There appears to be no item that is not upgradeable, but no item is upgradeable by more than eight levels.
The upgrade service is likely to be available from the ethereals given that the look of the frame is the same as the one used in the beta via the ethereals for the same purpose. While the frame currently says Valor Upgrade, the upgrade system has been confirmed as useable for all points.
It does, however, seem very likely that the upgrades for PvP gear will only be done through Conquest and Honor, and PvE gear only through Valor and Justice. This would make sense from the perspective of Blizzard doing their best not to force one group of players to do what they prefer not to. It will be interesting to see if the writing in the middle of the frame holds true in Live – 375 seems a very low level indeed to start the upgrade system.
It also seems pretty expensive when you take into account the cost of Valor items available from vendors, but the purpose of this is likely to be upgrading your best items to compensate for bad luck, rather than replacing the necessity of gearing through raids etc.
It’s a shame this system isn’t appearing earlier than patch 5.1, given that players who refuse to do dailies, like me, have nothing at all to spend their valor points on. Having an excess of currency which you can’t spend without engaging in one specific aspect of the game that isn’t to your taste is a frustrating situation to be in, and while it’s highly unlikely to happen, it’d be great for this addition to appear earlier.