When it comes to picking factions to grind, I keep in mind a few variables: gear I can use for a specific character, supporting recipes for their professions, and vanity pets. I mean, would I have ground out Sporeggar rep to Exalted had there not been a [Tiny Sporebat]? No way!
With that criteria in mind, I made a list of the Wrath of the Lich King factions known to have reputation-based rewards.
- Argent Crusade*
- Frenzyheart Tribe (faction at war with The Oracles)
- Kirin Tor*
- Knights of the Ebon Blade*
- The Kalu'ak
- The Oracles (at war with the Frenzyheart Tribe)
- The Sons of Hodir
- The Wyrmrest Accord*
The above factions with a * allow you to purchase a tabard at Friendly. When worn in a dungeon, that tabard allows you to earn rep with that faction, regardless of the reputation associated with the dungeon in which you are fighting. A nice way to encourage folks to branch out into a variety of dungeons, rather than living for a month in one just for grinding rep.
In addition to the above factions, if you are an engineer interested in acquiring the plans to make a [Mekgineer's Chopper]/[Mechano-hog], you will have to grind 4 factions you might otherwise skip maxing out: Horde Expedition Exalted (The Hand of Vengeance, The Sunreavers, The Taunka, and Warsong Offensive) or Alliance Vanguard Exalted (Explorers' League, The Frostborn, The Silver Covenant and Valiance Expedition). As of right now, I haven't seen any details on faction-specific rewards for these individual factions. There is a quartermaster for the combined grouping, however, the rewards are not that interesting other than the motorcycle. But as with anything not yet live, that remains to be seen.
The biggest surprise to me after reviewing all the reputation rewards was the lack of Blacksmithing, Alchemy, and Enchanting recipes from faction grinds. I'd gotten quite used to making my druid enchanter chase after a variety of factions to round out her enchanting repertoire.
Details on specific faction rewards after the cut.
NOTE: All of these factions have numerous blue quality items. Until I can see for myself how they stack up against craftables/instance drops I'm going to skip over them. Expect to see an addendum to this post once I hit 80.
At revered, Jewelcrafters can obtain Design: Guardian's Twilight Opal, while tailors will want to grind out through exalted for the Pattern: Brilliant Spellthread. Other notable rewards include plate, mail and leather melee epics, and a spellcaster ring, all of epic quality.
There has been much speculation that the [Disgusting Jar] is the equivalent of opposing faction The Oracles' Mysterious Egg, but so far no confirmation. Their exalted reward --[Frenzyheart Insignia of Fury]-- isn't that exciting for me since I only play casters, but my Jewelcrafter will need to work her way up to Revered so she can get both JC patterns: Design: Reckless Huge Citrine at Friendly and Design: Reckless Huge Citrine at Revered. I can see myself skipping this faction on my other characters.
This faction has a little something for everyone at the Exalted level. Tailors will want Pattern: Sapphire Spellthread while JCs will want Design: Runed Scarlet Ruby. The epic pieces available include mail and plate melee pieces, plus leather and cloth spellcaster gear I know I'll want for several of my characters.
Knights of the Ebon Blade
No, you don't have to be a Death Knight to grind this faction. Thank goodness too -- they have some great rewards for clothies, plus crafting recipes for JCs (Design: Deadly Huge Citrine, Design: Wicked Monarch Topaz, and Design: Glowing Twilight Opal), leatherworkers (Pattern: Nerubian Reinforced Quiver) and tailors (Pattern: Abyssal Bag).Epic gear includes mail and cloth spellcaster pieces and leather and plate melee pieces.
OK, this mid-level faction grind has gotten me really excited. Why? A reward for fisherwomen AND a vanity pet! That's right -- at exalted they have Mastercraft Kalu'ak Fishing Pole and Nurtured Penguin Egg. With the fate of Chilly up in the air, nice to know I will still have one sure way to obtain a penguin pet. Leatherworkers and JCs also get some love here: Design: Seer's Dark Jade, Pattern: Dragonscale Ammo Pouch, Design: Defender's Shadow Crystal, and Pattern: Trapper's Traveling Pack are all attainable.
I feel almost as lukewarm about this faction as I do about Frenzyheart Tribe, though this one at least has a confirmed vanity pet, eventually, from the Mysterious Egg (a drake mount is also rumored as an ultra rare result, but we'll see.) My JC will have to grind up to revered, however for the two patterns: Design: Sundered Forest Emerald and Design: Vivid Dark Jade.
The Sons of Hodir
I can see already that this faction will be a big time sink for all of my characters since reputation with this faction is required for shoulder enchants. Honored: Lesser Inscription of the Axe, Lesser Inscription of the Crag, Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle, and Lesser Inscription of the Storm. Exalted: Greater Inscription of the Axe, Greater Inscription of the Crag, Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle, and Greater Inscription of the Storm. They also have three crafting recipes: Pattern: Mammoth Mining Bag, Design: Smooth Autumn's Glow, and Pattern: Glacial Bag. last but not least, they also have regular speed and epic Mammoth mounts!
The Wyrmrest Accord
I imagine that Reins of the Red Drake will be reason enough for many folks to do this grind. Personally, I am excited about the Pattern: Mysterious Bag since I never have enough room for enchanting materials. My JC will likely grid this rep up even though the Design: Glimmering Monarch Topaz isn't useful for her (she's a resto shaman) since they do have good epic spellcaster mail gloves. Other epic gear includes plate and leather melee gear, and cloth caster boots.