Here are some clarifications to some common concerns we're seeing:
So this means that at some point I'm encouraged to stop playing because I know my current valor will convert to hero and I'll have a huge stockpile of points which I can then just use to buy the set I'd be after anyway.
Our basic model throughout Wrath of the Lich King has been that you can get the shiny hotness now, or wait until it goes on sale next tier. In this example the set one would be after would be the old set and everyone else would be pursuing the new set.
People should have to progress through more than just two tiers!
They will, just not at the 4.0 stage. All were really doing with the badges is removing the need to keep adding new types every tier, which proved confusing.
What is the valor total cap? (a little more than double the highest item point cost?)
We havent made that determination yet. It will be something in line with how Honor works today; that is you can save up for expensive things but cant have so many points that you can just rush out and get everything all at once and be done.
What is the valor weekly cap?
We havent made that determination yet. We want to pick a number such that you dont feel compelled to complete all of the content every week just for points if you choose not to.
What's the system/time between when a new raid is released and points are converted?
Probably almost simultaneously. The points will be converted before new loot appears on the vendors.
Why are rating requirements being removed?
The current system has a touch of the rich-get-richer syndrome where players who lack the ratings cant get the most competitive gear and feel like they have no hope of competing. Better players will still gear up much more quickly because they will have more points to spend. Rating requirements on, for example, weapons was pretty unpopular in the community.
And won't this bring back the issues of people gearing weapons through PvP for raiding?
PvP equipment spends a chunk of its budget on resilience so its always going to be sub-optimal for PvE compared to equivalent raiding gear. We dont mind players using PvP gear in PvE (or vice versa) as long as its a stepping stone towards getting more appropriate gear.
Why not have a 'heroic' equivalent for PvP gear?
We are still tweaking item levels, but the basic concept is that there is the current season and there is the previous season. In this first season there is no previous season, so we also have to provide the Honor gear. That is supposed to be roughly equivalent to the pre-raiding tier that youll want for PvE before you begin raiding.
Essentially all of the PvE changes together seem aimed to disincentivize 25s, is there some reasoning as to why 25s are no longer being encouraged?
Our goal through Wrath of the Lich King was that players could choose 10 or 25 as a personal preference. We think we missed that mark though. Because 25s still provided more powerful rewards, it felt like that was the real raiding, and 10s were what you did on off-nights, or if you just couldnt stomach the logistics of recruiting or pugging 10 more players. We know there are a lot of players out there who just prefer to raid 10s but felt like we didnt deliver on our promise to let them just raid 10s. The Cataclysm model is to let players raid 10s or 25s as they see fit. There are advantages and disadvantages to both raid sizes. The larger raids can feel more epic, yet the smaller ones tend to have less loot drama because there is less competition per item that drops. The smaller raids in some sense are more hardcore, because there are fewer opportunities to include novice raiders or folks who just arent carrying their weight.
We understand that changes like this can cause social upheaval and we didnt make the decision lightly. The community was similarly concerned when we removed 40-player raids (and we literally did remove those; today were just offering an alternative to the larger raids). We think there is a non-trivial audience of players who prefer the 25-player raids and were going to continue to support them. We tried many different raiding models in Wrath of the Lich King with regard to Heroic modes and lockouts, and rest assured that if we dont like how the 4.0 raiding game evolves that we will revisit it for 4.1.
The term 'points' is not RP enough for PvE
This is a legitimate concern and something we struggled with. On the other hand, one of the problems we kept running into with the current badges was granularity — you cant offer half a badge the way you can offer 1, 3 or 5 points. Depending on your perspective, you can argue that your character earning; valor for defeating an enemy makes more sense in the game world than the dragon having all of these badges on its corpse.