Faction Wars

Wowzer recently tackled the old issue of competing factions. Currently, there are three sets of competing factions in the game. The Gelkis and Magram Centaurs, Steamwheedle Cartel and Bloodsail Pirates, and finally Ravenholdt and the Syndicate. Of these three, only the centaur factions can be compared to teach other, because they are equal in power. Choosing between an unique hat and access to four important cities should be a no-brainer, so the Bloodsail mostly get ignored. The disrepancy is even greater with Ravenholdt and the Syndicate. While it is possible to gain reputation with the Syndicate by killing Ravenholdt personnel, there are no Syndicate NPCs that would talk to you. None. The faction exists in the game, but the various Syndicate at Hillsbrad, Arathi Highlands and Alterac Mountains do not count as members. You can kill them without losing Syndicate reputation. In fact, a very patient person could go kill some Ravenholdt personnel and then go pickpocket some Syndicate Emblems to regain their reputation with Ravenholdt. This can be repeated as long as necessary.

In addition to these, there were the Wildhammer Clan and the Revantusk Tribe at Hinterlands, but since you could gain reputation on only one of them, they were never really a choice and were removed as factions a few patches ago.

Fortunately, Burning Crusade will add one other pairing into the game, and this time they are equal in power and have rewards. In the neutral city of Shattrath, there are the Blood Elf Scryers and the Draenei Aldor, who compete for the favor of the Naaru A'dal. Working for Scryers decreases Aldor reputation (and vice versa), but working for either increases reputation with the Naaru. In addition, there is one more unrelated faction in Shattrath, the Lower City, which is mostly composed of refugees.

Wowzer did miss one important aspect of the factions, though. Too many of them are simply worthless. For example, there is a faction for the surviving Highborne in Dire Maul, the Shen'dalar, but the reputation bar is just for show. They offer no new quests and no new rewards depending on your reputation. The viability of high Timbermaw Furbolgs reputation depends heavily on your crafting skills. Unless you want the novelty trinket, many players never have a reason to grind their reputation higher than Unfriendly, which is required to pass Timbermaw Hold in peace.

The remaining factions have better rewards, but they are also tied to their respective dungeons. For example, the only way to gain Zandalar Tribe reputation is to clear Zul'Gurub repeatedly. Achieving high Thorium Brotherhood reputation requires your guild to farm Molten Core. What makes it worse is that you need the reputation to obtain enough fire resistance gear to eventually kill Ragnaros. Argent Dawn is somewhat better. While you can get to Exalted by grinding alone, it's much faster to run Stratholme and Scholomance with a good group. However, the best faction currently in the game is the Cenarion Circle. They offer both tangible items and crafting patterns. You can solo farm reputation, but there's also quests for parties and raids of all sizes, ranging from two-man parties for Field Duty to 40-man raids to Temple of Ahn'Qiraj. In addition, there are three-item sets for all classes obtainable from Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj.

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