The Prisoner - One of my favorite shows of all time ^_^
In Mists of Pandaria, gone are the different elements that we'd farm or transmute or collect to be able to craft this and that.
Blizzard has understood that a great imbalance of the different elements as well as farming spots and difficulty to acquire them has been causing more trouble than actually solving some.
So they've simplified the equations all around.
At time of writing, in the Pandaria Beta, 10 Mote of Harmony can be turned into a Spirit of Harmony.
This is used in a few of the high level crafting recipes.
Motes of Harmony - so far - seem to be a world drop off of every possible mob in Pandaria, leveling the farming capacities.
No more farming locations or best mobs to grind to acquire them - just kill mobs and wait for them to drop.
The big catch is: they are Bind on Pickup.
Which means not possible to transfer from toon to toon to use in crafting.
Your crafter will have to get out of the city, go out in the world, and kill stuff.
Blizzard had seen the situation before.
People got their alts leveled just enough so they could learn the current tier of recipes from the trainer, and then sat there in the city as other toons sent them mats.
They crafted, they flooded the AH with their items, some people ended up having the upper hand because of extra wealth or extra playing time, and some people never got the chance to do anything with their craft even though they played constantly on their main toon.
So Blizzard tried to gate the content by limiting access to materials.
By doing that, main toons could grab the materials and craft items and be limited to that for a while.
It's called giving a fair chance to everyone to make money.
You'll always hear me say that letting other players make their money should be very important to you because once they have their wealth, they will spend it on your items, and you will benefit in the end.
(Feel free to disagree)
They've tried to gate Frozen Orbs by making them BoP.
A few patches later, when the majority of people had consumed the content and a lack of the crafted items was starting to show, they lifted the item gating, turning them BoE, and a new boost was given to those markets.
They've done this again in this expansion with Chaos Orbs.
For my part, I'd say they were very successful with that tactic and we can expect them to repeat it.
The other time they've gated crafting was at the beginning of Cataclysm, when high-end materials and recipes were sold by vendors in Twilight Highlands, which could only be accessed if you were at least level 84.
The crafting alts were suddenly bound to be leveled to have access, so they could craft and make money.
It still gave enough time for people on their main characters to have a leg up on most people's crafting alts.
I wouldn't say that the experiment had been totally successful, and the proof of that was that the gating was removed in patch 4.1, to the community's surprise.
So Blizzard did what they always did: they learned from that experience and tried to find another kind of solution to implement a material gating mechanic.
And so we come to the reasoning of instead of gating the material behind a zone or an NPC, let's hardwire the gating into the material itself.
Therefore, the Motes of Harmony are Bind on Pickup and I can expect a rather low drop rate.
Hey people - this is what you wanted.
And Blizzard agreed.
You don't want to spend your time locked inside your capital city ?
Well now you'll have to explore, run around, kill mobs.
Of course, not to be too punishing, they've removed the component of Spirit of Harmony from a lot of the beginning (white/green items) of Pandaria crafting (there was a big patch with the changes, but of course I can't find it now...).
But most of the rares and all of the epics will require Spirits of Harmony.
So expect farming.
Expect a lot of whiny complaints in the first few months of the expansion.
Expect tons of farming.
But make sure you remember how terribly easy and boring crafting is currently.