With the arrival of patch 5.2 on the PTR, Blizzard’s devs are really shaking up the Mists of Pandaria status quo as far as gearing goes.

Lead Systems Designer Greg “Ghostcrawler” Street tweeted recently as follows:

And a cheer was heard among those players who aren’t that keen on dailies as a method for gating valor items!

Those who do enjoy dailies have two new factions, at least, to work on, the Kirin Tor Offensive and the Sunreaver Onslaught. These two factions, for the Alliance and Horde respectively, are joined by the Silver Covenant and Silvermoon City factions in Thunder Isle, all of these offer daily quests and reputation rewards, but we don’t know quite what just yet.

What Ghostcrawler is referring to is the Shado-Pan offensive, which is the Mists equivalent of Cataclysm’s Avengers of Hyjal, for which reputation can be gained only by killing trash and bosses in the relevant raid. The Avengers of Hyjal Quartermaster only sold rings, belts, cloaks and trinkets, but for gold rather than valor. Ghostcrawler’s tweet, and the patch 5.2 patch notes, both suggest that valor points will be spent with these vendors.

So where does this leave alts in patch 5.2?

This is one of the big concerns for players going into patch 5.2. Patch 5.1 was famously alt-unfriendly, with its valor gear gated behind reputations which were, in turn, gated behind reputations. But is gearing with reputation effectively gated behind raid progression any more useful for the altoholic, or simply for players returning to Mists a little behind the gear curve?

What players can hope is that the raid reputation is also gained via the raid finder. Sure, it will mean that the raid finder becomes genuinely obligatory, as the only reliable way to gain reputation early on in the patch for this new faction, but is that a lesser or a greater evil than dailies? At this point it is unclear what the quartermasters for the new factions outside the raid will offer, but it’s possible that a sort of tandem gearing system will be available across the three factions each for Horde and Alliance.

What are you hoping for? More gear through dailies, being forced to do the Raid Finder, or gear accessible only via raiding? A rock or a hard place? The frying pan or the fire?

Image by Lisa Cunha (choo)