Ok, The expansion has been out for just under a month and I finally updated both the Gear Guide and the Raiding guide. In the gear guide I added locations for almost everything. The tier pieces were a little tricky since I don't necessarily have specific locations for any of them. That said, every item on the list is linked to it's WoWhead site. If your question isn't answered there then I probably don't have the answer either.
The raid guide is mostly the same. I've decided the mana regen talents are a little more optional then I first thought so I've modified the spec section a little as a result. I made some tweaks to other sections as well, but there is nothing really new that you need to know about if you were familiar with the old version.
As always, if you find a problem in either guide please feel free to let me know either in an email or in the comments of this post.
The Tol Barad Rant:
Update: Obviously my Moonkin/Blogger powers of persuasion are great, because Blizzard applied a hotfix less then 30 minutes after my post. The honor gain from attacking TB has been reduced to 360. The Honor gained from defending TB is still 180. (src)
I'm not sure how this will affect the zone. If I have to guess I think it will return the zone to the way it was at release. The thing to remember is that the fight is balanced with the same number of players on both sides. Therefore you're not going to get more players when you are attacking. You’re not going to get better players when attacking because I think the queue is random.
The only thing you can change by changing the reward is the player’s motivation. People may be more willing to attack with a reward of 360 honor, but they are still limited by the number of people willing to defend. If the defenders are motivated to win then the attackers are likely to lose. So it's a bit of a binary situation. You can either have one side dominate the competition or you can have the two sides trade wins.
I'm sure there will be a little grey area, because the attackers will always be motivated to win, but how the defenders feel may change from battle to battle. Either way this isn't a fix.
The problems with Tol Barad are well documented (1 & 2). I completely agree with everything posted to that regard. TB is way to easy to defend and thus limits who had access to the dailies each day if both sides are actively competing to win the zone.
Luckily Blizzard sees the problem and had a couple of things to say about it.
The odds are already stacked against the attacking force. In fact, they're stacked in favor of the defense more so than we would like at this point. We're looking to address this in an upcoming patch so that defending Tol Barad doesn't feel like there's virtually no fear of loss.To a lot of you I'm sure this sounds great. Hamlet did a great analysis of what this can mean in if Honor is your primary motivation for contesting Tol Barad. If you are able use it to it's maximum potential you could get a full set of PvP gear very quickly. Since all of the Honor rewards are between 700 and 2,200 Honor, a single win can mean a new piece of gear especially if you can get a few honorable kills along the way.
In line with that design goal, we made this hotfix to ensure winning Tol Barad back for your faction feels much more rewarding.
Hot fix: Tol Barad - Winning as an attacker now rewards players with 1800 Honor Points, up from 180. Winning as a defender still rewards players with 180 Honor Points.
Here is the problem. I don't care about Honor or PvP gear. I already have over 3,000 honor and don't have a good idea of what to spend it on. I go to Tol Barad for two reasons: Rep and Tol Barad Commendations, and the hot fix makes accumulating both actually harder in my case. That is why I hate the win trading.
To be fair, the situation before the hot fix worked out perfectly for me. Graylo is a Horde toon on a Horde dominated low pop server. I basically had maximum access to Tol Barad and it's dailies. I remember the Alliance having TB only once before the hot fix.
The way my days typically went was I would log on and do the six dailies on Tol Barad itself if I had time before the next battle. Then I would do the six available on Tol Barad Peninsula. Then I would wait to for horde to win TB again and I would do the next set of rotating dailies on Tol Barad. Then I would wait another two hours and do the last set of rotating dailies. I could get all 18 dailies possible with very little effort and in a fairly predictable time frame. That is not true any more and why I hate the current system of win trading.
Adding Insult to Injury:
The funny part about it is I actually tried to defend some after the hot fix was made. I thought that TB might be so imbalanced that the few of us who did value something other then Honor might still be able to win it. Turns how I was wrong, but to make matters worse, I was insulted the entire time I tried to defend.
Those of us that defended were being called noobs, kids, and a variety of other names that aren't all that nice. If Honor was the only motivation for playing TB then I would agree that we were being stupid, but it's not. At least in my case I had a very good reason to try and defend TB and I'm no more of idiot for defending it then they are for throwing it.
That said, I've given up trying to defend TB, because it is obviously pointless currently. However, I find the reaction of the people throwing it funny. What few of them realize is that throwing the match isn't nearly as profitable as they think it is. Hamlet's analysis is completely correct in a theoretical sense. Both sides can get more honor if they cooperate, but when you look at the situation practically there is an issue.
As I said before my server has a huge faction imbalance favoring the Horde. As a result there are a lot more Horde queuing up for TB then there are Alliance, but Blizzard has made sure there is a 1:1 participant balance in the zone. As a result there are a lot of Horde sitting outside every battle. It doesn't matter if we are attacking or defending. This is creating a situation where the Alliance on our server are getting the 1,800 honor every attacking round they want it. The Horde however, are going to miss at least a few round. I've queued up to be an attacker at least 10 times, and been selected only once. I doubt everyone is having my bad luck, but if you are getting in only one of ever ten attacking sessions then your honor gain is pretty much the same as if you defended the zone.
What I understand and what I don't:
Blizzard's hotfix didn't fix the problem and I'm sure Blizzard knows that. It's a temporary fix. I'm sure Blizzard doesn't want to see win trading in game, but accepted it as a necessary evil where the ends justified the means. I don't think Blizzard has a big issue with one side consistently winning the zone, but had a huge problem with one side being consistently locked out of the dailies you gain from winning. Win trading is not be an ideal situation, but at least it guarantees that each side will have relatively equal access to the dailies and the rewards they provide.
What I don't understand is how Blizzard got it so wrong in the first place. I know the Beta is not a great place to test PvP balance since there isn't a whole lot of competitive PvP in the test realms. However, though I have the benefit of hind sight, it seems obvious that having one side needing to attack three targets while another side needs to defend just one is seems obviously imbalanced.
I also don't understand the design behind the rotating dailies. They are obviously designed to be very similar since the three quests for each of the areas are almost identical, but then they are different in a couple of ways that makes the Human quests significantly harder then that of the Demon or Undead areas. Why is the warden so far away from the entrance when compared to the other areas? Why do I need to collect 12 rations, when I only need to pick up 8 shackles or 4 journals? It's probably just my frustration talking, but there seems to be more mobs with faster spawn times in the Human prison as well.