My paladin is halfway to 76 now, and it seemed like a good time to start browsing the various Wrath factions and the rewards they offer. Indeed, a good idea, since I spotted two walrus people rewards available at level 76, with honoured reputation. Since I’ve been a friend to the Walrus for quite some time, I already am honoured, so this will be a quick flight point off my next ding for a serious chest upgrade both for my grinding and my tanking sets. Nice. Beyond that, the Kalu’ak offer items which are more or less in-character, including leatherworking recipes, a combat fishing pole, a harpoon… So far so good.
Next, for my paladin, I’m looking up Argent Crusade. Now here’s a band of historical paladins all united in the goal of exterminating the undead hordes of the Scourge, so I’m assuming that I’ll find some equipment helping a paladin to do just that. Either some kit to kick some righteous butt as a Retribution paladin or spell power plate. And still good, that’s exactly what you can find, at various reputation levels.
So we go to the doomed counterpart, the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the DK’s faction. Here you should find tanking and DPS plate and weaponry for the Death Knight (and the Retribution paladin), right? Err… no, not really. There’s only one cloak offered there, a spell power cloak. Which does jack for Death Knights. No other accessories (jewelry) available there, dead people don’t need no stinking rings. One tanking plate piece, one DPS plate piece. No suitable 2-H Rune weapon, the only 2H on offer is itemized ass-backwards for DKs (any plate-wearer but fury warriors if I understand fury itemization, which I might not). It actually looks at first sight like a decent weapon for… a hunter.
Patterns? Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting and… the Revered pattern is for, wait for it, tailoring. A soulbag for warlocks, which almost makes sense for the faction. Steptoe, I apologize, looks like combat knitting isn’t out of character for Death Knights after all.
So let’s look up the magicians of the Kirin Tor. You’d expect gear more focused towards the arcane arts, wouldn’t you? Well, if you need a spellcasting cloak, you’ll find one there. There’s also a spell dagger, and at exalted, some nice robes for the clothies. But if you’re a mage, priest or warlock hoping the Dalaran mageocraty will help you beyond these three elements, tough luck. The rest of the kit appears to cater mostly to the Elemental or Enhancement shammies, the feral droods and oh, there’s also a rogue dagger in the mix. And as a bone, one tailoring recipe at exalted. Yay. From a quick glance, looks like cloth wearers would be better served to prioritize a faction like the Oracles. Makes sense.
This is the kind of disconnect which earns WoW a reputation of having a rather weak lore (despite countless quests, NPCs and storytelling elements). Now I can fully understand the overreaching requirement to give incentives for all classes and many builds to grind rep on as many factions as possible – after all, rep grinding is one of those tools which help Blizzard keep both casual and hardcore players in the game for a long time, whether it’s going to be one major long term objective (casuals) or a quick stepping stone before grabbing leet Naxxramas purplez for the less casuals. Still, I was expecting some more consistency there.
The Ebon Blade in particular strike me as an extreme let-down, and show very clearly where they could have gone a good bit further with the implementation of the hero class. As I’ve said before, the starter quests are marvelously done. But what would have been a really great addition would have been to add other class-specific intermediary steps at 65 and 75 where the DK does another series of quests strenghtening their lore and allowing them to upgrade their starter gear. And at the very least, there should be a kick-arse 2H epic runeblade available at exalted for them, and it really bugs me that there isn’t.