The Ninjabot

World of Warcraft Patch 5.4: Siege of Orgrimmar Review

Posted on September 14, 2013 at 11:05 am by Darth Shiva

noodle cart

Patch 5.4, Siege of Orgrimmar, of World of Warcraft dropped on September 10, and it includes a new raids, PVP, areas to explore, minor changes to each class, new glyphs, more dailies, and added pets, mounts, and faction rep. Blizzard also introduced a new form of raiding, which is more than Looking for Raid, but less than regular raiding on 10 or 25 man. Let’s just say that I’ve been doing extensive “research.” Here’s all the intricate details for those so inclined to do the reading.

It’s All About Raiding (And Loot)

5.4 siege of orgrimmarThere’s a new raid with 14 new bosses, including the poor misguided Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream. Since we’ve fought ex-Alliance members before, I guess it’s only fair that dark forces are able to turn one of the Horde, even if it is a guy who’s all about Strength and Honor. Reaching the end boss is sure to send the upper echelon raid teams into a tizzy, working harder than ever to be the first to reach and defeat Garrosh on regular so they can turn right around and do it on Heroic mode.

For the bulk of us though, the raid is broken into quadrants of three or four bosses for LFR, and the first one, entitled Vale of Eternal Sorrows, has four bosses and opens up next week. For the more ambitious raider unable to get into a regular raid, Blizzard introduced a new system called Flex Raiding.

What it essentially boils down to is that Flex raiding is tougher than doing LFR, but not as tough as going in on regular 10 or 25 man. LFR will drop an item level of 528, which means that if you upgrade it twice (four item levels per upgrade, two upgrades allowed per item), you can end up with gear of 536 item level. Flex raiding will have an initial item level of 540, and upgrading gives you a max of 548. Normal raiding loot will drop 553 loot, giving you a max of 561, with heroic drops starting off at 566 and giving a max of 574.

However, in both normal and heroic modes, much like the Thunderforged item level gear dropping in Throne of Thunder, Warforged gear has a chance to drop, giving an initial item level boost of six, so you’d have gear starting off at 559 and 572 respectively. These items can also be upgraded, which means that Warforged gear gives you a pretty hefty advantage. Of course, with all the raiding, it’s not just gear that will get you there. Unless you just want to muscle in on old raids, you’ll still need to have a good dependable group of people to raid with.

The 411 on Flex

immerseusFlex works like LFR in a number of respects. First, it’s broken into the same quadrants as LFR and will be opening up every other week, alternating weeks with LFR.This week brings us Vale of Eternal Sorrows Flex, next week will be Vale of Eternal Sorrows LFR, then Gates of Retribution Flex, Underhold, and finally Downfall in the final 2 weeks. This is staggered to give the regular raiders an opportunity to finish off Garrosh Hellscream and get the achievements that go with it before someone can finish it on LFR.

Loot also works the same as LFR in that it’s based on individual rolls as to whether each person gets gold or loot based on the spec they chose beforehand. You can use the coins you turn in 50 lesser charms for, which in this patch are called Warforged coins, to give you an extra roll, but it’ll be of the same item level as Flex Raiding (the same as LFR). Also, if you’re in a group planning to do Flex, and they completed one or two bosses but you haven’t, Flex raiding will go to the earliest boss that anyone in the party hasn’t completed. So, if you join up with people who already killed some bosses, they’ll have to kill them again since you haven’t completed it, and they won’t get an extra chance to roll on loot unless they didn’t use their coins in the first place.

Blizzard added a new category in the dungeon journal entitled Flex Raiding, meaning that you have to queue for it like you would LFR, with one a big difference. In order to Flex, you have to already have a raid group of at least 10 people together, though you can actually raid with anywhere from 10 to 25 people in it. This is especially nice if you have a group with too many for a 10 man raid but not enough for a 25 man, but you still want to bring everyone with you. The other added bonus is that you can add realid and Battlenet friends to your flex raid, which is similar to LFR, but can’t be done for normal raiding. I think this is a little buggy right now since we couldn’t get it to work a few days ago. However, I’m sure it’ll be fixed in due time.

The Verdict on Flex

sha-of-pride-headerOverall, I like Flex. My 10 man raid hasn’t always had the easiest time of it in terms of everyone being able to get the hang of mechanics quickly, and LFR is generally too easy to teach good habits. While the Flex difficulty isn’t as bad as normal, it’s much more important to pay attention to mechanics.

I was a little worried that Flex is just 10 man LFR and wouldn’t helpful in learning the fights for normal. However, the mechanics for Norushen and the Sha of Pride, which are the third and fourth bosses, took time to get used to and taught us the mechanics of the fight for what will probably get pretty hairy on regular. Knowing the mechanics helped us get down the first boss in regular without too much of an issue, and I like the idea that we can use Flex Raiding as a testing ground, assuming we don’t get too far ahead of it.

Make no mistake, so far all of the bosses we encountered in Flex and on regular have shown that this tier of raiding is not about outgearing and smashing through bosses. Rather, it’s about successfully executing the mechanics of the fight. While that’s more interesting (to say the least), it leaves little room for error, and raiders should be prepared for that.

Gearing Up

timeless Isle celestial challengeLuckily for some, there’s no new Valor Point gear required, and Valor wasn’t converted to Justice Points at the beginning of this patch. All Valor gained up until September 10 can still be used, which is nice if you’ve been saving any Valor since you can use it to upgrade new gear right away.

The only new things you can buy with Valor Points are Timeless Coins, which are the currency on the new area of exploration off the coast of the Jade Forest—The Timeless Isle. You can pick up these coins by killing monsters and doing quests while on the island, and you can convert Valor once you reach Honored with Emperor Shaohao, which is the new rep of the island. Unlike most other reps, this can’t be farmed with dailies or raids—it can only be gathered by doing non repeatable quests on the island and killing members that give the rep.

It’s best to try and find some sort of a guide before going to the island to farm it. There are new world bosses in the four celestials, and they don’t all drop loot, so the first kill of the week is what grants you the loot chance. Still, you can always use your coin later if you forgot to the first time. Killing all four celestials is required in order to advance in the legendary cloak quest, and once you finish that, you end up with a cloak for your class of legendary quality, upgraded twice for you at an impressive 608 item level.

A couple of notes for those on this quest: before you finish it, be sure to buy the ones for your other specs. I’m told that once you finish, you can’t go back and buy them later, so get them before they’re turned into legendary quality. Also, even though they’re upgraded for you, any gems or enchants you have on them are taken off when converted to legendary quality. Finally, once you finish your quest, you’re granted access to part of the Timeless Isle that others without the cloak aren’t, and while it’s a great place to find the kind of guys that grant rep for Emperor Shaohao rep, they’re not easy to solo, so a farm group may be in order.

Pets and Mounts

You can buy pets and mounts with Timeless Coins as you get higher up in the rep, but coins themselves can be found all over the island, including lots of treasure chests and any mob you kill. The currency page tells you how much you have, which in my opinion is great because they don’t take up a bag slot. New items can be crafted for almost every profession, including the ability to make yourself a noodle cart vendor that sells food . Patterns can be picked up in raids or by killing mobs on the Timeless Isle, so get out there and start making new items.

One interesting thing about the island, and a reason to get out there, is the massive amount of new Bind on Account gear. The BoA gear that drops is any class, any spec, and item 496, which can possibly be upgraded to 535. The items that drop will be an armor type, like Leather, and a slot type, such as gloves. This is a 496 leather glove token that is BoA. When it’s “learned,” it will be class and spec specific to the character you’re learning it on. Since the tokens are all Bind on Account, you can send all the gear to your alts and learn it on the people they’re meant for, also. Using an item called the Burden of Eternity with it will upgrade the item level to 535, although verify how to do this correctly before learning the item so that you don’t waste it.

The Proving Grounds

proving groundsThe Proving Grounds gives players an opportunity to try new specs and roles they aren’t used to in a safe environment that won’t get them kicked from the group for things like pulling too many, not being fast enough, or not healing the tank through his rampage. There are three levels: bronze, silver, and gold. In each of these, there are 10 waves of adds that attack, and you have to either defeat them or help fend them off, depending on the type you are going for.

As a tank, you’ll have a healer and DPS to help you kill the adds as you learn to fend them off and stay alive. If you choose to go through as a healer, you’ll be responsible for keeping your tank and DPS NPC’s alive; and if you’re a DPS, you just get to kill lots of adds without much help from anyone. Succeeding gives you an achievement, but it’s a great way to try out a new spec you aren’t overly comfortable jumping into randoms with. It tests your knowledge of your class and your ability to overcome obstacles.

celestial pet tournamentThough I have yet to test the new pet battle Celestial Tournament, I’ll be doing that soon. It’s open to any player who has more than 15 level 25 battle pets, and you fight three teams from nine preset ones before fighting the four elite celestial pets. Easy peasy, right? Well, here’s the catch. You can’t heal any of your pets or you’ll be disqualified and have to start all over again.  So if you have a favorite pet and it dies in a round, that’s just tough luck for you if you want to continue fighting in the tournament. Last I checked, my friend had gone through 50 pets and hadn’t finished yet, so it’s not a walk in the park. Winning gives you a celestial coin you can use on special battle pets and supplies.

All in all, there’s a lot to explore, so get out there!

    • DarthShiva

      small note for anyone that’s made it down this far. The issue I had in flex raid that didn’t allow my battlenet friend to join mid raid has been fixed and will now only look at the raid lead, which means it will avoid repeating bosses and behave more like normal when someone joins a raid’s lockout.

    Sharing the Legacy on Flickr

    See all photos

    Tweets