Most people know how badges work, and if you didn’t here’s a quick “readers digest” version on what they are and what they’re used for.
Ever since the release of the Burning Crusade, level 70s have been able to run heroic instances in Outlands (if of course they’re revered or higher with the instance’s faction.) In these heroic instances 5 level 70 players are given the opportunity to try their skills for upgraded armor and badges. Every boss in heroic instances drops only level 70 gear (the final boss dropping one epic item and a primal nether) and Badges of Justice, which are used to purchase epic items (and a primal nether for 10 badges) from an NPC in Shattrath’s Terrace of Light named G’eras.
Outlands gear at 70 is *nice*, but pretty much pales to the drops from Karazhan. Also, it’s not easy to get enough badges required to get all of the items you could use from G’eras when all you would get was 3 badges in all heroic instances except for heroic Mechanar (in which case you got 5).
Now though, Blizzard has made it easier to get that epic gear that G’eras has to offer by allowing badges to drop from all bosses in Karazhan and the newly opened Zul’Aman (some bosses drop more than one badge that can be picked up by every player in the raid). But wait! That’s not all! Blizzard also introduced new badge loot that rivals and at times beats out gear from Karazhan and Zul’Aman. Now that raiders can get badges from these two 10-mans it won’t be unheard of for each player to receive 20+ badges per week, without stepping a foot into a heroic instance at all. With this new way to receive loads of badges Blizzard decided to give the new gear a very high price tag compared to the previous epics. The cheapest items (which are Librams, Idols and Totems) are 20 badges and the gear gets more and more expensive capping out at 75 badges for the best items.
Although most raiders benefited from badge system thus far, Blizzard didn’t forget to help the non-raiders out as well. Remember those heroic instances? Well, with Patch 2.3’s release it became possible for players to run heroics with only an honored reputation for that particular faction. All in all it’s a win-win for raiders and non-raiders alike. I know for non-raiders the easiest way to get epics is battlegrounds (Season 1 arena gear can now be purchased with honor points!) and arena teams, but especially for players such as Moonkin druids (who aren’t usually considered for raids) this new badge system benefits them the most (a lot of the new leather gear for example is balance druid gear). Either way, if you raid or if you enjoy the freedom to actually go out weekend nights, Patch 2.3 has something for you.