Almost every column, I talk about Welfare Epics since they are specifically designed for casuals to get their purplez on and I just assume that you all know what I'm talking about. But Dave recently sent in a question asking what they are and I realized that if I didn't write for WoW Insider, I probably wouldn't know either.
Though some people say they heard the phrase before this, the first time I heard it was at BlizzCon. Jeff Kaplan, aka Tigole, started off the Dungeons and Raids panel by saying that the panel wasn't for people with their Welfare Epics, but for people who actually earn them. Now, I think he was partially just being funny, but I also think he was speaking up for the Raiders who are upset that all of the work they put into conquering the PvE endgame content is for naught when any casual player can pick up purples that are equal to or better than gear that drops off endgame bosses.
The epics referred to are the PvP rewards that can be purchased by honor and marks. The phrase has been expanded to all Arena gear and even gear you can get from Badges. But really the most casual friendly gear and easiest to get at this time is the Arena Season 1 gear. You buy this gear at the Hall of Legends in Orgrimmar if you are Horde and the Champions' Hall in the Old Town section of Stormwind. There are weapons, armor, trinkets -- everything a player needs and all available in sets tailored for the different specs of each class. You purchase the gear with honor and marks from specific Battlegrounds.
Blizzard's extended plan seems to be to always give those of us with limited playtime access to Welfare Epics. When Arena Season 4 begins, the Season 1 gear will become unavailable and Season 2 will become purchasable with honor and marks. Don't hold off on getting the current epics, however. Season 4 won't be starting for a while yet.
If you mostly PvE in your limited playtime and take a look at these "welfare" prices, you may wonder why they are casual friendly. It may take some time to build up the honor and marks required for the pieces you want, but the fact is that honor and marks are attainable by everybody. In order to play the Battlegrounds, you don't have to belong to a guild or have any friends. No coordination is necessary (though it does help). Battlegrounds can be played at any time day or night without any prearranged time. You don't even have to be good at PvP or know the rules. You can just show up, get killed over and over and still earn enough honor and marks for one piece in just a few sessions.
If you are going for your easy purples, definitely do the Battleground Daily Quests. Anyone can pick them up as long as they are within the appropriate level range for the BG. The extra 400+ honor you get for completing this quest adds up pretty quickly.
I highly recommend putting in the BG time to get your Welfare Epics if you have limited playtime. And now that the map has changed for AV, the queues should be shorter for those Battlegroups that had Alliance boycotters. (The Alliance win a lot in the Cyclone Battlegroup, so I never experienced the long queues.) In general, you should spend your short play sessions having as much fun as possible. But if you are feeling undergeared, this is the quickest way to acquire epics.
Speaking of BGs, the Call to Arms this weekend is for Arathi Basin. That means you get your honor (about 21 at level 70) every 200 resource points instead of 330. Most people will be hanging out around Sunwell or checking out the changes in WSG and AV, so I don't know if the queues will be any shorter for those of you with queues. I'll be in AV, but that's what I do. Have fun!
Robin Torres loves answering reader mails. Please send her questions at Robin.Torres AT weblogsinc DOT com.