So yea, finally got 450. It only took a couple dozen gnomish army knives and a second pair of ret goggles to get the last two skills. Advice for other engineers: Do not make your goggles until they will max your skill. It's not a total waste since I can use the second pair with PvP-specific gems and enchants.
I noticed that I, and many other people, have jumped into heroics a lot faster this time around. It helps not having rep requirements. They're tough when not fully geared, but what's the sense in waiting around to overgear them? I'm still 19 defense away from uncrittable, which means more fun for the healer. :P
I got a bunch of new gear from heroics today. VH gave new pants. Nexus gave ret boots, a hit/ap trinket, and crit healing shoulders. Utgarde Keep gave a new tanking sword.
The whole process gave a ton of rep, Ebon Blade to be specific. After I do dailies tomorrow I'll be exalted, which means new boots which will make the ones I got today obsolete. When I got them I'd not expected to get so much rep in one day.
My next tabard will probably be Wyrmcrest since they seem to have the tanking goodies and I appear to be staying prot for the foreseeable future. There's something satisfying about 3.5k crits with a shield.
I'm very happy with the championing system. It's far better than the old way of gaining rep by having to do specific instances for each faction. There are only so many times that a person can run Shadow Labyrinth before they decide to just go kill the Lower City and take their stuff. Now people can do instances that give gear and get rep as more of a side-effect. Or once we have the gear we need, if we still need rep, we can just do whichever instance we like the most. That almost sounds fun. Crazy, isn't it?
The value of trash mobs
4 hours ago