Cataclysm has six factions (one per zone) that your character will need to build reputation with, in order to fully unlock their rewards. Drawing on my gear list, I’ll take a look to see which factions offer the best rewards for your time, from a feral DPS perspective (though I’ll note a few tank items). The primary way to gain faction rep is by questing in their associated zone, which should (after completing all quests) raise reputation to at least Honored. Revered and Exalted will require wearing that faction’s tabard in instances (all except Tol Barad factions) or completing daily quests.
Guardians of Hyjal (Mount Hyjal)
- Sly Fox Jerkin (Honored)
- Acorn of the Daughter Tree (Revered)
- Wrap of the Great Turtle (Exalted, feral tank)
I, along with most others, will be starting my Cataclysm leveling in Mount Hyjal. (If you even care about lore “slightly,” you should realize that for a druid, Mount Hyjal’s problem >>> Vashj’ir’s problem.) Reputation-wise, however, there’s not too much on offer here for the 85-minded druid. The Sly Fox Jerkin is a great piece but will be quickly eclipsed by heroic drops; however, for leveling and pre-heroic instances, there isn’t anything better. The rest is mediocre; the Acorn is okay, but better BoE (Jewelcrafting) options exist, and the Wrap is a (albeit very good) bear tanking piece.
The Earthern Ring (Vashj’ir)
- Softwind Cape (Revered)
- Arcanum of the Earthen Ring (Revered, feral tank)
- Signet of the Elder Council (Exalted)
Unlike Hyjal, there is no item here for us at Honored, so this zone will take some rep grinding. The Signet ring is excellent and will be a pre-raid BiS piece; other than that, though, there’s not much. The Arcanum, of course, is handy for bears, and the Cape is okay but not special (there are LOTS of blue cloaks to be found).
- Lesser Inscription of Shattered Crystal (Honored)
- Terrath’s Signet of Balance (Revered)
- Greater Inscription of Shattered Crystal (Exalted)
Sons of Hodir, version 2.0! Yawn. The ring is unremarkable, so quest through the zone to unlock the Lesser Inscription, then just tabard the rest of the rep (or run the dailies, up to you).
I was prepared to ignore this rep entirely, then I realized our Arcanum comes from here. Bah. I will probably wait on this rep as well and use the Wildhammer arcanum as a fillin (see below)
Wildhammer Clan (Twilight Highlands)
You will want to quest extensively in Twilight Highlands for the quest reward gear (best available pre-instance, in most cases). As such, you’ll have a good bit of rep anyway. The Leggings are okay, but not really worth it (they’re an upgrade over the quest reward piece, but not a large one, and the JP item is superb). As mentioned above, the Wildhammer arcanum is a decent fillin until you grind Ramkahen. Finally, the gloves are EXCELLENT and are pre-raid BiS.
Baradin’s Wardens (Tol Barad)
Well, now. That’s the way to make me do PvP; put a great weapon and a great trinket on the vendor. :) That weapon should be your first priority; as with any melee DPS class, upgrading our weapon increases our damage output considerably, and the trinket is likely pre-raid BiS. Sadly, I believe the only way to rep up with your Tol Barad faction is via daily quests; once you hit 85, if you see that TB is up, stop queuing and get questing! (Remember, there’s only an hour between battles.)
After review, once I hit 85, I think I’ll be grinding the factions to Exalted in this order. If you disagree, let me know in the comments! Thanks.
- Baradin’s Wardens (use your dailies here)
- Wildhammer Clan (tabard this first)
- Ramkahen (ONLY to Revered, for the Arcanum)
- The Earthen Ring
- Guardians of Hyjal
- Ramkahen (Exalted)