There are a vast number of reputations in Wrath of the Lich King. As a tank, the choices of which reputations to focus on early are as important as which heroics you need to focus on, or which badge gear to work on first. There are 5 dungeon reputation grinds, plus several ancillary grinds which offer something for a tank. Hopefully this will assist you in your choices.
Choosing a Reputation:
The 5 dungeon grinding reputations are where we need to begin. Each has something decent for you to purchase at varying levels of reputation. There is a definitive order in which I myself proceeded and I would suggest anyone wishing to gain access to the best of the faction gear as quickly as possible follow suit.
A few things to remember.
- You do not have to reach exalted with one before you switch to the next.
- Upgrades via other means may change your reputation path.
- Gaining reputation is easy with the new championing system.
The order in which I would suggest you move forward is simple…
#1 The Wyrmrest Accord -
Cloak of Peaceful Resolutions @ Honored
Not the very best blue cloak in the game for tanking, that honor goes to Cloak of the Enemy from Heroic Nexus. However, this one is awfully close to it and its cheap and easy to get. As a matter of fact, you should probably be honored or extremely close to it as you ding to 80 thanks to all of the wonderful Dragonblight/Shrine quests you did in your early 70′s.
Breastplate of the Solemn Council @ Revered
Sabatons of Draconic Vigor @ Revered
The two biggest blue upgrades you will get. There simply is not much better out there via heroics or quests for these two slots. The chestpiece will last you until you can manage to get into Naxx or collect the 80 Emblems for the much better tier 7 chest piece. While the boots may last you much longer. There simply are not any heroic or emblem upgrades for the boot slot, so your first opportunity to upgrade them will be from Naxxramas.
Once you hit Revered here, there is no reason to keep grinding at this time. Swith to the next faction.
#2 The Argent Crusade -
Special Issue Legplates @ Honored
The best blue plate tanking legs in the game. There is a pair or two elsewhere, but the Special Issue Legplatess are far and above any of the other blues available.
Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector @ Revered
The head enchant faction is the crusade. It can not be overlooked. It is quite a bit different from the old Outland head enchant. It is pure stamina and defense. There is no dodge here. Making it a true upgrade for any tank on even their old Illidan Faceplate if you are still wearing it.
#3 The Kirin Tor -
Fireproven Gauntlets @ Exalted
Everyone sees purple and goes “ooooooh, I gotta have that”. Well the Kirin Tor is “our” purple faction. These gloves are awesome. However, there are also epic gloves out of heroics that will do you as well or better in terms of tanking. Not to mention tier 7 gloves being a measily 60 emblems.
If you happen to get the gloves from Gundrak or pick up your Tier 7 gloves via badges or Obsidian Sanctum, there is little reason to grind this rep as a tank. The next two factions are unneeded as well. So now is the time, to head back to Wyrmrest for access to the Red Drake mount or back to Argent Crusade to try and get the Argent Champion title.
#4 Knights of the Ebon Blade -
Toxin-Temptered Sabatons @ Honored
To put it simply, there just is not enough here to warrant you to even consider raising your Ebon Blade rep The level 78 boots are merely “ok”. They have Shield Block Value on them which is a great stat to have while grinding and leveling, but they pale in comparison to the Sabatons available at 80 from Wyrmrest.
#5 Alliance Vanguard -
Shield of the Lion-hearted @ Revered
If you have revered at level 78 with the Vanguard you are more than likely a human. Even if you are, if you pick this up you will be the laughing stock of your server. This piece of equipment is probably the worst itemized most pathetic shield in the game for its level. I seriously do not know what Blizzard was thinking when they made this thing. If you are desperate for a shield, save up for the crafted Titansteel Shield Wall, save your badges, or head into heroic Culling of Stratholme. Do not bother with this piece of junk.
Daily Quest Factions:
The non dungeon factions have varying uses for us as tanks. All of which are designed with the daily quest grind methodology first implemented with the Netherwing in The Burning Crusade and later perfected with the Shattered Sun Offensive. Not many of them are really important to us, but one is absolutely neccessary.
The Sons of Hodir -
Arcanum of the Frosty Soul @ Honored
Lesser Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Honored
Greater Inscription of the Pinnacle @ Exalted
The most important of the “daily” factions. This is where we get the shoulder enchants we got so used to in TBC. Although the Lesser Inscription is merely a copy of the old Exalted Aldor Greater Inscription of Warding, it is a heck of a lot easier to get than the old Aldor version thanks to the increasing cost and rarity of TBC faction items.
However, if you are a Scryer and have a stockpile of tokens, I would truly suggest your pick up the old Greater Inscription of the Knight. As it is far and away a better enchant for early WotLK raiding as it will get you that much closer to 540 defense without having to sacrifice elsewhere.
The Kalu’ak -
Ivory-Reinforced Chestguard @ Honored
Design: Defender’s Shadow Crystal @ Honored
Definately a good starter chest if you have not managed to get the Wyrmrest rep. This chest piece is significantly lower in level than most other “easy” to obtain chests however. It is not a reason to pursue this reputation, but it is a valid reward for having spent the time doing their 4 quest hubs while leveling up.
The gem recipe is also a perk of this faction. While Parry is not the preferred secondary stat to pursue, it is a valid one none the less.
The Oracles -
Glimmershell Shoulder Protectors @ Revered
Not really a horrible piece, but its not what we are looking for. Simply put the shoulders you get from your very first normal instance in Northrend will be a better piece than these. If only for the defense rating they have.
Mysterious Egg @ Exalted
Oracle Talisman of Abultion @ Exalted
Not exactly tanking items, but I list them as decent rewards anyway. The egg itself has an extremely rare chance of turning into a Green Proto-Drake mount. Which is in and of itself a very good reason to work on this rep. The Talisman itself is a decent grind/farm trinket as it will provide you with a couple of points of crit as well as a rage proc as you kill. While this is not completely neccessary in the days of Warbringer and Improved Charge, it is definitely welcome.
Frenzyheart Tribe -
Giant-Sized Gauntlets @ Revered
These are decent pieces of equipment, but like the shoulders from The Oracles, the sheer lack of defense rating on them make them unusable at 80.
There are really no other reasons to choose Frenzyheart over the Oracles. Currently, there is no known mount that comes from their “jar”. While you can obtain a cosmetic pet, and even a BoP item that turns you into a Wolvar for 5 minutes. While fun, its just not the same as a chance at a mount.