Ah, the reputation grind. So we meet again. Whatever did we do with ourselves before we had reputations to grind? The truth is, there have always been reputations to grind but they were mostly optional back in Classic WoW. I mean, sure, all raiders needed Fire Resistance gear for Molten Core but not everyone in the guild had to grind Thorium Brotherhood reputation… all you needed was a few crafters of each type and you were golden. But somewhere along the way, Blizzard realized that reputations can fill a vital role in WoW: Giving level-capped players Something To Do™. A dear friend of mine once dubbed this the ‘World of Repgrind’ philosophy.
TBC changed the way we look at reputation forever. No longer was reputation something you could pick up if you wanted to, it was something you had to pick up in order to get past a certain level of content. (Anyone else remember the Revered requirement for Heroic keys?) What’s more, all the factions seemed to have something for everyone including actual gear that could compete with instance drops for quality. I won’t even go into the insanity that was purchasable flasks if exalted with 3 particular factions. Oh wait, I just did.
Although Blizzard learned a bit from the heroic key debacle, WotLK continues the trend of making the reputation grind all but mandatory for less-than-casual players. Most of the factions offer epic items at Exalted, and let’s not forget those helm/shoulder enchants we’ve all come to rely on for optimal minmaxing of gear. With the introduction of so many new factions and the changes to how grinding reputation works in WotLK, World of Repgrind can be a confusing and intimidating game to play.
But fear not, gentle readers! I’m here to help you plot a course through these unfamiliar waters. By the time we’re done here, you’ll know exactly what you need and which palms you need to grease to get it!
How the reputation grind has changed.
The level 70 repgrind is much different from the level 80 repgrind. Back in the dawn of TBC, reputation was gained primarily through running instances. Each instance was associated with a faction, and killing things in it yielded reputation gains for that faction. Quests also increased your reputation, but there was only so far you could go with questing alone; there weren’t any dailies that would reward reputation until the introduction of Skettis and Ogri’la.
In WotLK, there are three ways to earn reputation:
- Quests. Just about every quest hub in the game is linked to a faction, and doing their quests will reward you with reputation. Most of the factions require a certain amount of questing to get to Friendly, which is when Quartermasters and Dailies (if any) open up.
- Dailies. Every faction in Northrend that has reputation rewards has daily quests. They’re scattered all over Northrend in the various ‘home bases’ for the factions, so you’ll have to do a bit of traveling to get to them.
- Championing. Some factions will sell you a tabard that you can wear in level 80 instances (heroic and normal) to gain reputation with them. This is called Championing and is completely new to WotLK. Factions aren’t linked to instances the same way they were in TBC. If you’re not wearing a tabard in a level 80 instance/heroic, you’ll get reputation for the Alliance Vanguard or Horde Expedition (depending on your race). The factions that sell tabards are: Argent Crusade, Kirin Tor, Knights of the Ebon Blade and The Wyrmrest Accord.
Meet the factions: The good, the bad and the @(#)$# Sons of Hodir.
Alliance Vanguard (Vigilance Keep, Borean Tundra) & Horde Expedition (Warsong Hold, Borean Tundra)
These factions are the first you’ll encounter when you set foot in Northrend, but if you decide to grind rep for them you may not be doing a lot of work with them directly. Each faction has four sub-factions that do their grunt work, so doing quests for the sub-factions will net you overall Alliance/Horde faction. The Alliance Vanguard sub-factions are: The Explorer’s League, The Frostborn, The Silver Covenant and the Valiance Expedition. The Horde Expedition sub-factions are: The Hand of Vengeance, The Taunka, the Warsong Offensive and The Sunreavers.
Their quartermasters are located in their respective bases (Vigilance Keep and Warsong Hold).
Argent Crusade (Argent Vanguard, Icecrown)
The Argent Crusade is a merging of the Argent Dawn with the remnants of the Knights of the Silver Hand and the scattered sane few that broke off from the Scarlet Crusade. You’ll meet them first in Dragonblight and Zul’drak, but their quartermaster is in Icecrown. You can do quests in either place (or both) to gain reputation with them. Most of their dailies are in Zul’drak, but they have one in Icecrown as well. Once your rep is up to Friendly you can purchase a tabard for instance repgrinding.
Frenzyheart Tribe (Frenzyheart Hill, Sholazar Basin) & The Oracles (Rainspeaker Canopy, Sholazar Basin)
You’ll encounter these two factions in Sholazar Basin. Much like the Aldor & Scryers, these two factions are sworn enemies so earning faction with one will gain you enmity with the other. Choosing between them is not a simple matter; it involves a lengthy quest chain (starting here), at the end of which you choose which one you want to align with. On the up side, you’re immediately bumped to Honored with the one you choose. Both factions have dailies at their villages in Sholazar so you can grind rep further. Quartermasters can also be found at their villages. Sadly, neither has a tabard.
Kirin Tor (Dalaran, Crystalsong Forest)
The Kirin Tor are the folks responsible for the great Dalaran Relocation Project of 2008. (You did know it used to be in Hillsbrad, right?) These dudes don’t mess around; they’ve brought their whole city to Northrend to prove they mean business. Considering that said city is currently floating a few thousand feet above the ground and has 99% of Azeroth’s heroes hearthed there… you really don’t want to piss them off. Fortunately, it’s not terribly hard to make friends with them because they will sell you a tabard at Friendly for instance grinding. You can also earn Kirin Tor rep by doing the cooking daily as well as the dungeon dailies (normal & heroic). The Kirin Tor quartermaster is located at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran.
Knights of the Ebon Blade (The Shadow Vault, Icecrown)
The Knights of the Ebon Blade are Death Knights that broke free of the Lich King’s control and have joined forces with everyone else who has a bone to pick with him. Their base of operations is the Shadow Vault in Icecrown, an area that you have to open up via quest chain. The chain starts with a quest called “It’s All Fun and Games” on one of the flying ships in Icecrown. If you’re Alliance, go to the Alliance ship. If you’re Horde, go to the Horde ship. (Cold weather flying is required.) It’s a fairly short quest chain, doesn’t take very long to complete. Once you’re Friendly with the Knights, you can buy a tabard for instance grinding from their quartermaster at the Shadow Vault. The Knights offer dailies at the Shadow Vault and Death’s Rise in Icecrown for additional repgrinding.
Sons of Hodir (Dun Niffelem, Storm Peaks)
Ok, let’s rip off the proverbial band-aid and get this over with. By the time you reach Exalted with Sons of Hodir you will be ready to drive out to Blizzard HQ and punch someone in the face. For some reason, Blizzard decided to put all the shoulder enchants for all the classes/roles under the same faction AND not give us any way to grind it besides dailies. Not only are these dailies needed by every raider on your server, thus ensuring you will be competing for quest mobs for weeks on end, but they are designed in such a way that anyone who wants to be a jerk can interfere in new and creative ways. As if that weren’t enough, they put the faction behind an extremely long quest chain as a final ‘screw you’. Ready for a road trip yet? If you’re passing through Texas, pick me up.
Anyway, you need shoulder enchants so grinding Sons of Hodir rep is a necessary evil. You can get by with the Aldor/Scryer ones in the meantime, but if you haven’t already started working on your Sons of Hodir rep you need to start now. Well, maybe not now; finish reading this first, then go get started. Got it? Ok, moving on.
The quest chain you need starts in K3, Storm Peaks with a quest called “They Took Our Men!” (Yes, there is actually a goblin town called “K3″ in southern Storm Peaks, it’s not just some unfamiliar coordinate for a map mod no one uses.) You need to have Cold Weather Flying to quest in Storm Peaks, but hopefully you’ve taken care of that already. If not… um… yeah. Go take care of that.
The Sons of Hodir quartermaster is at Dun Niffelem in Storm Peaks. Just be warned… until you get far enough along in the quest chain, they’re hostile to you and if memory serves they’re also elite. And giants.
[Edit: Tarsus pointed out Everfrost Chip turn-ins as another way to gain rep with the Sons. I hadn't heard of them before so I looked them up... apparently they are random ground spawns in southern Storm Peaks, sort of like the Netherwing Eggs of yore. Keep an eye out for them while you're out and about doing your dailies! They're worth 350 Sons of Hodir reputation.]
The Wyrmrest Accord (Wyrmrest Temple, Dragonblight)
The Wyrmrest Accord is the alliance formed by the Red, Bronze, Green and Black dragonflights to battle the Blue dragonflight (currently crusading to wipe every magic-user from the face of Azeroth). They’re a bit snooty, but they’ll let you do some of their grunt work while you’re stomping around Dragonblight, and once you’re Friendly you can buy a tabard from their quartermaster at Wyrmrest Temple for instance grinding. They have a few dailies too, but only one of them is at Wyrmrest Temple. The others are out at Colderra in Borean Tundra (the island where The Nexus is). It’d be a good idea to do Aces High! a few times to prepare to face Malygos too, for what it’s worth.
The Kalu’ak (Moa’ki Harbor, Dragonblight)
Last and, well, sort of least are the Kalu’ak. The Kalu’ak are tuskarr, the chubby walrus people you’ve probably bumped into a few times, who seem to spend most of their time fishing, hazing tourists by sending them out to check crab traps in shark-infested waters, and being victimized by nefarious outside forces that just can’t let a walrus dude fish in peace. Their quartermaster is located at Moa’ki Harbor in Dragonblight, while their 3 dailies are split between there, Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. They also have various quest hubs in the three zones whose quests are worth rep all the way up to Exalted.
So where do I start? (TL;DR)
The first thing you should do is get your Sons of Hodir quest chain done so you can start grinding their dailies. This is the most painful rep grind in the game currently and you cannot weasel out of it; it’s the only way to get your shoulder enchant(s)! The quest chain is lengthy and will probably take a couple of hours BUT… it is also rather fun, so it could be a lot worse. In fact, this quest chain contains my all-time favorite quest to date. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it involves mounted combat and harpoons. You’ll know it when you get there.
Once you’ve got your Sons of Hodir dailies open, turn your attention to The Wyrmrest Accord. They have a spellpower/mp5 helm enchant (Arcanum of Blissful Mending), bracers (Ancestral Sinew Wristguards) and a nice 1H Mace (Gavel of the Brewing Storm) at Revered. Alternately, (or in tandem) you might consider grinding Kirin Tor reputation for their spellpower/crit helm enchant (Arcanum of Burning Mysteries). It really depends on what your needs are; I’d suggest you grind for them both eventually because you never know quite how your stats are going to balance out.
As for the rest… it’s really a matter of personal preference, spec and gear needs. Here is a list of the items from the various factions that may be of interest to you as a healing Priest:
Of course, the factions also have recipes/patterns for various professions too! Check them out on Wowhead or Wowwiki for a full list.
[Hey Ayslin, were you thinking of this too?]