Shadowitch sent me a link to his WoW Shadow Priest blog. Brand new, and thus not many posts yet, but already one that interested me very much on the Shadow's Embrace armor set. No, I'm not planning to go shadow with my priest. But I'm still leveling my frost mage, and that armor set has the same bonus to frost as to shadow damage. Good idea, because that way it serves different classes.
The Shadow's Embrace armor set is epic, but so is the list of materials Shadowitch listed: 90 expensive primals, 468 netherweave, 52 arcane dust and 8 netherweave spider silk. A good 2,000 gold for 3 epic items. That is pretty much par for the course, whenever I see level 70 epic boe gear on offer it goes for between 500 and 1,000 gold for armor pieces.
What I like about this system is that it gives my mage a chance to have some very nice epic gear. You can't ask your guild to drag all of your alts through Karazhan to get gear. So besides PvP gear and boe epics for sale on the AH, crafted gear is a good way for casual players or alts to achieve epics. For my mage as an alt that is not so much of a problem. I can earn 1,000 gold per week just doing daily quests, I already have two level 70 characters with the pre-quests for Ogri'la and Netherwing done. If grinding primals turns out to be too long, I can just farm the gold and buy them. But while I tend to take the casual side on my blog, my play times aren't really casual. I play between 20 and 40 hours a week. A really casual player with less time to play would take far more weeks to get either the money or the primals for the epic crafted armor together. I can see how some people would be tempted to buy gold from a gold seller to buy the primals. Which is kind of circular, because the gold farmer probably farmed and sold primals to get the gold he's selling. The buyer is basically paying somebody to farm primals for him. To me "epics" that were bought with dollars don't really seem all that epic. Where is the epic effort to get them? But that is the flaw of the WoW crafting system, which doesn't require skill, but only hard to grind materials. Killing the same elemental 1000 times yourself to farm enough primals isn't really "epic" either, it is just a hard slog. So maybe PvP epics are the better alternative for people who can't go raiding.