Ultimately, we recognize that making these set pieces available only as raid drops leaves players much more subject to RNG drop rates/loot rolls, but we have a couple of plans to try and alleviate the sense of burden that stems from the randomness of token drops.
The way tier 13 pieces will be obtained in the 4.3 raid won't be unlike raids past, meaning players will still need to roll on multi-class set tokens. That said, we'll be tweaking the tier 13 10-player drop rates a little bit (for the better) relative to the 25-player version, given that these tier pieces can't be purchased from vendors for Valor Points.
In addition, due to tier pieces not being offered for Valor Points, another thing you'll see in patch 4.3 is a much wider array of desirable non-set loot (covering more slots than prior patches) available from the vendors, for those players who are unlucky with specific token drops, or who aren't interested in raiding -- although, once you get more details about the Raid Finder, we hope you'll find interest in having a go.
I felt this warranted its own response in a separate thread, but for those who missed it, here's my response to the original thread about tier 13 pieces being raid drops only:
Keep in mind we do intend to allow tier 13 set pieces to drop for those using the upcoming Raid Finder. Similar to the difference between normal and Heroic versions of tier sets, the Raid Finder set will have a lower item level than the normal and Heroic counterparts.
Set pieces from all three difficulty levels can still be mixed and matched for the 2- and 4-piece bonuses.
I understand the rational for this change, the issue is that many have seen this expansion as the "raider entitlement" expansion. It may not look like it to some, but in the attempt to make everyone happy, no one is, as it usual when these things are tried....
Here is what has happened thus far from a non-raider point of view:
1) Removal of epics from end boss heroic 5 mans.
2) Tier 2 heroics yield gear worse than the first raiding tier of the expansion. No replacement 5 mans are added until 4.3 (which will be almost 8 months later), and JP/VP/solo content rewards are far better than the tier 2 heroics a short 3 months after their introduction.
3) From what we know about 4.3, many non-raiders are feeling "forced" into a random raid finder that they won't enjoy, especially with the 25 man only setting.
Now from a raider's point of view on this:
1) By the end of Cata, there will be a little over 30 bosses if you include BH. Making this the lightest expac for raiding by far.
2) RNG issues in BC and the begining of Wrath were what drove the devs to the badge for tier system in the first place, there is a great fear that this heavily RNG based system will continue. In some cases hurting the progression of some guilds.
3) The lesser skilled raids aren't being allowed to use the easy mode in 10 man format for that "gear edge", as it's only available through the random system, AND 25 man only. Which is not perferable to many of us, as we raid 10 man by choice, not necessity. (This is taken from the info on the interviews we've seen)
I'm personally not really happy with a couple of other things concerning the patch. The gearing distribution looks right, from the assumptions that we're making, and the content looks pretty darn cool. But like many other things concerning Cata, there are implementation issues that are being done to try and please everyone. The tier issue is one of the core problem areas.
SUGGESTION: Leave the gloves and legs on the vendor for VP. This will allow guilds to at least get the two set piece bonus on raiders without being dependant on RNG. This is my main concern about this.