As you're leveling up, there is going to be plenty to explore and plenty to do. One of the things you're going to notice sooner or later is that there are a bunch of new factions to earn reputation points with. This expansion does two things really when when it comes to reps. First is that reputation isn't quite as hard or tedious as it has been in previous expansions, which is most welcome. Second is that the rewards that each faction has to offer you can be quite awesome for your chosen Warcraft profession.
The Shado-Pan clan are a very interesting faction as far as the pandaren are concerned. They are much more dark and sinister when compared to the other factions. They resemble more of closely to the ninjas of the old stories than the kung-fu masters. They are considered the most elite warriors of the pandaren dedicated to fighting against the Sha. Players will first encounter them in full at the Shado-pan Monastery, one of the new 5-man dungeons in Mists. Leveling your rep with them nets you some very nice rewards that you can buy with Justice Points and Valor Points.
- Nightwatcher's Helm - Spirit, crit helm
- Sagewhisper's Wrap - Spirit, haste cape
- Blossom of Pure Snow - Int and on use crit trinket
- Scroll of Revered Ancestors - Int and on use spirit trinket
The Klaxxi are mantid elders that are not part of the corruption and insanity that has come over the mantid swarm. They are trying to work with the races of Pandaria, and the new races just showing up, to release their queen from the grips of whatever has taken hold. You will run across them in the Dread Wastes. They offer some nice rewards for players who take a little time to learn a little more about these fine insectoids.
- Runoff Wristguards - Int, spirit and crit bracers
- Links of the Lucid - Int, spirit and haste neck
- Swarmkeeper's Leggings - Int, spirit and crit legs with a red socket
- Klaxxi Lash of the Precursor - Int, haste, mastery belt
The August Celestials are defenders of the temples of pandaria, players will gain reputation with them through questing in which you are sent to one of four temples. Temple of the White Tiger, Temple of the Jade Serpent, Temple of the Black Ox and Temple of the Red Crane. They hail from the four points of the compass, and each has it's own story and flavor.
- Pressed Flower Cloak - Int, spirit and haste back
- Mountain Steam Ringmail - Int, spirit and haste chest
- Sandals of the Elder Sage - Int, Spirit and crit feet
- Ravenmane's Gloves - Int, haste and mastery gloves
- Brewmaster Chani's Bracers - Int, crit and hate bracers
The Golden Lotus are around to investigate the Mogu threat in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. To unlock the ability to help them, you will have to prove yourself to the Pandaren at the Temple of the White Tiger in Kun-Lai Summit. This is accomplished by completing a series of trials for the factions, which then opens up the daily questing hubs.
- Pendant of the Endless Inquisition - Int, spirit and crit neck
- Snowpack Waders - Int, crit and mastery legs
- Mogu Rune of Paralysis - Mastery trinket with an on use stun trap
- Leven's Circle of Hope - Int, spirit and crit ring
- Mindbender Shoulder - Int, haste and mastery shoulders
- Robes of the Setting Sun - Int, crit and mastery chest
The really nice thing about all of these factions is the ease with which you can earn the gear. I know that reputation grinding can sometimes be a bit of a pain, but there are some key differences this time around even if you were to compare it to Cataclysm. There is no awkward tabard system to use that forces you to run dungeon after dungeon to farm the necessary reputation. Here it's done through easy, and quite honestly fun, questing. The second component of these is that the best rewards as far as gear is concerned is given to you at the revered level. That's quite a bit of a difference when you consider the amount reputation you had to farm in Cataclysm for The Earthen Ring just to get your hands on Earthmender's Boots. Revered is a much more reasonable expectation.
These rewards are also itemized pretty well for pre raid gear, and offer you a good assortment of balanced stats that you can rely on, where as in the past we've seen a hodge-podge of gear with seeming random itemization, these are much more uniformed. The trade off to having to not having to level to exalted to get the best gear rewards is that you will be spending your JP and VP on these upgrades, but that's honestly no different than your first set of gear you could grab right at the beginning of Cata. Now this is just something to keep in mind while you're leveling through the gorgeous new zones and enjoying this amazing expansion we have before us. After all, a well dressed shaman healer is a key to success!
Totem Talk: Restoration lends you advice on healing groups, DK tanks and heroics and mana concerns in today's endgame -- or take a break and look back at the rise of the resto shaman. Happy healing, and may your mana be plentiful!