We have a launch date. Of course, we'll see if Blizzard sticks to it -- I'm hoping they do, because otherwise I will have taken those days off work for nothing. For just the next few minutes, however, let's pretend that Sept. 25 will be the day that the continent of Pandaria opens up to us and all of that shiny new loot becomes ours for the taking.
As we level, quests and dungeons will offer the majority of our gear. When we reach the level cap of 90, another option opens up to us: reputations. Sadly, raising these reputations won't be as easy as running a handful of random dungeons with a tabard on like it was in Wrath and Cataclysm, but getting to know your allies in Mists is still very important.
I have risked life and limb (and repair costs from running through high-level zones, getting dazed off my mount and pummeled into a paste) to seek out the various quartermasters to see what they have to offer. Before I begin, a couple of notes:
- Without solid stat weights to go off, determining the quality of a piece of gear in the Mists beta is a bit more dubious than it is on live. Until we see those numbers, I will withhold judgment and merely present the options.
- A few items (mostly profession patterns) cost gold, but most are purchasable with valor points (VP). All gold costs are before faction discounts.
- This being a beta, anything is subject to change. I cannot be held liable if you spend 5,000 valor points on what turns out to be a giant foam sword.
- Finally, spoiler alert! There are screenshots after the break, as well as brief descriptions of the different factions you will encounter.
The eternal enemies of the sha and guardians of Pandaria, the Shado-Pan have a few things to offer a fresh level 90 ret paladin. You can find their quartermaster, Rushi the Fox, in Shado-Pan Garrison, Townlong Steppes.
- Rushi's first offering is Cloak of the Dark Disciple, purchasable with 1,250 VP.
- Iron Belly Wok is next, a trinket with static strength and on-use haste, for 1,750 VP.
- Lastly, the Shado-Pan offer a helm, Voice Amplifying Greathelm, for 2,250 VP.
A small group of mantid untouched by the corruption of the sha, the Klaxxi are a bunch of friendly bug-people. Well, I'm not sure friendly is the right word there -- perhaps non-hostile is a more apt description. Their quartermaster, Ambersmith Zikk, stands in Klaxxi'vess, Dread Wastes.
- First off is a necklace, Bloodseeker's Solitaire, purchasable for 1,250 VP.
- Next we have Klaxxi Lash of the Rescinder, a crit/mastery belt available for 1,750 VP.
- Zikk sells a pair of metal pants, Legguards of the Unscathed, for 2,250 VP.
- Also available is a two-handed sword, Amber Flammard of Klaxxi'vess, which can be yours for a little under 200g (please, Blizzard, please change the model on this before Mists goes live).
View all the Klaxxi have to offer.
The August Celestials are the stoic defenders of the continent's sacred temples from the corrupting influence of the sha. This distinguishes them from the Shado-Pan because -- well, because they're just different, OK? Their quartermasters, Sage Lotusbloom (Horde, pictured) and Sage Whiteheart (Alliance, camera-shy) are located in the Shrine of Two Moons and the Shrine of Seven Stars, respectively, within the Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
- The Celestials' cheapest VP purchase is a pair of bracers, Braided Black and White Bracer, offered at 1,250 VP.
- Next are Tankiss Warstompers, purchasable for 1,750 VP.
- Sage offers some gloves as well, Streetfighter's Iron Knuckles, for 1,750 VP.
Lastly, the Celestials decided that to rip off the Klaxxi and produce some very similar patterns of their own for their plate DPS customers: Plans: Breastplate of Ancient Steel and Plans: Gauntlets of Ancient Steel, both available for 50g a pop. The differences between the two are so minimal (27 crit vs. 27 mastery for the chests, 12 crit vs. 8 mastery for the gloves) that I wonder why such similar items were even created. Hopefully, one or more of these items gets a tweaking to their secondary stats before the game goes live, because man alive, what a boring set of craftables!
Check out the August Celestials' offerings.
The Golden Lotus is a secretive society of pandaren that is devoted to dealing with the mogu who have returned seeking to reclaim their lands and former empire. Unfortunately, Black Lotus, Crimson Lotus, Fel Lotus, Frost Lotus, and Purple Lotus were already taken, so they settled on the golden variety. Their quartermaster, Jaluu the Generous, can be found near Mogu'shan Palace in Vale of Eternal Blossoms.
- On the cheap end of things, Jaluu has a nice ring, Ring of the Golden Stair, for 1,250 VP.
- Next up are Stonetoe Spaulders, a respectable pair of shoulders for 1,750 VP.
- Jaluu knows you're going to need a snazzy chestpiece to complement those shoulders, so he's offering up Dawnblade's Chestguard for 2,250 VP.
If you're a blacksmith, this generous pandaren has Plans: Masterwork Spiritblade Decimator for 25g, a pattern that creates an axe that is much more appealing than the ugly bug sword from the Klaxxi.
View all the Golden Lotus goods.
The Light and How to Swing It teaches you the ins and outs of retribution paladins, from Ret 101 and how to gem, enchant and reforge your retadin, to essential ret pally addons.