If you leveled through World of Warcraft Classic or remember playing “Vanilla” in the old days, then you probably encountered the Timbermaw Hold in Felwood and Winterspring, or the Argent Dawn in the Western Plaguelands and Eastern Plaguelands. These are just two neutral factions that offer rewards to Horde and Alliance players who advanced their reputation to Exalted. Aside from questing, reputation was primarily earned in increments by grinding the faction’s enemies; killing many of them over and over, and through turning in looted designated items, such as feathers for the Timbermaw and scourgestones for the Argent Dawn. The rewards included profession recipes, weapons, and armor. These factions still exist in Shadowlands, but the reputation gained from questing has been increased to render grinding all but unnecessary.
If you choose to pass through the Dark Portal into World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic, you will not only discover the broken world of Outland, but twenty-one new factions seeking your assistance. Similar to the original factions, these groups award points for questing, grinding and completing turn-ins, but unlike the sparse reputation rewards on Azeroth, they offer a variety of weapons, armor, recipes, pets, and new to The Burning Crusade, inscriptions. Although the biggest incentive for reaching Exalted with some factions is the ability to purchase their tabards and mounts, including flying mounts when you reach level 70.
One of more interesting factions is The Netherwing, a group of dragons which become accessible once you gain the ability to fly. Rather than killing foes, their grind involves flying circles around an area, searching for Netherwing Eggs to turn in. It can be just as laborious but the egg search is worth it to earn a Netherwing Drake, available for purchase in several colors.
Early in the expansion, you will be sent to Shattah City, Outland’s neutral hub city. During the mandatory walking tour, you will learn about The Aldors and The Scryers. These two factions stand against the Burning Legion, but from very different backgrounds. You start off as neutral with both, but once you chose one to advance, you lose standing with the other. They do not have mounts, but offer class-specific gear upgrades, inscriptions, and tabards. I recommend you review their offerings before deciding which path to follow.
The Burning Crusade also expanded character titles beyond PVP ranks, offering a variety to showcase your achievements based on your preferred playstyle. If you are a grinder, like me, reaching Exalted with the Mag’har (Horde) or Kurenai (Alliance) of Nagrand, the Sporeggar of Zangarmarsh, and Timbermaw Hold grants the “the Diplomat” title. Battling your way to Exalted with the end-game Shattered Sun Offensive awards the “of The Shattered Sun” title, as well as one of my favorite tabards in the game. There are, indeed, many more to earn and show off.
This is but a peak of what awaits through the Dark Portal. I hope you take the opportunity to explore this remarkable facet of World of Warcraft’s past. The number of Outland factions and their rewards provide plenty to do well after hitting level 70. Blizzard made noticeable improvements in quest design, hub distribution, and end-game content in this first expansion, but it is still called Classic for a reason. Expect to fight hard for your treasure and beware the earth-shaking footfalls of Hellfire Peninsula. As the perpetual troublemaker, Q, remarked to Captain Picard in the thrilling Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, Q Who:
“If you can’t take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go back home and crawl under your bed. It’s not safe out here. It’s wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it’s not for the timid.”
Are you prepared?
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Featured Image: Blizzard Entertainment