As a progression focused raider I've had a good amount of experience with this system to date. I have to say, I think that with it's removal in 5.2 it should stay removed. Before MoP upgrades were an awesome thing. Each new weapon I got was the most theoretically high cost upgrade (guild supplies enchant mats) but it was welcome. I knew that once I got that, I was set. Now you've introduced 2 systems for upgrading items (and soon Thunderforged) that are creating a very strange mental state for those of us that are seeing the new content.

Now, if I get a raid finder item that is a significant upgrade for me, that's awesome, and, due to the nature of raiding, I obviously want to pour some valor into it to help with our progression and bump my numbers up enough to make that transition on Spirit Kings that much easer (heroic was great encounter design, the feeling of killing it was awesome). Then next week I get another upgrade! But wait... I haven't made enough valor points to upgrade it fully. Maybe that's going to place it in the realm of not being an upgrade then? Maybe this item that I should be really excited about and would have been before is going to sit in a bag for a week, not being used. Then it gets worse, what if that item is a sha touched weapon? Then I'm not only working to get the valor points to put it in the place of being an upgrade, I'm also spending 10k gold to get another gem for it, because if I don't then it's REALLY not an upgrade.

I guess what I'm saying is that the cost of progression raiding is becoming exponentially higher with these new systems, and I think one needs to be removed/reduced. Maybe there's some method of reclaiming your sha gem, maybe you can give the upgraded item to an Etherial trader that destroys it and gives you a portion of the upgrade cost back. Whatever it is, I want my upgrades to be genuinely exciting again, not a chore.

Thanks for reading