The Pimp My Mage posts have been edited after initial publication to take into account the changes to spirit from Molten Armour introduced in patch 3.1. Spirit isn’t totally useless anymore! It still sucks compared to crit rating, but just because something comes with spirit is no longer a reason to ditch it for something better.
So, we’ve looked at crafted gear in Part One, this time it’s the turn of Faction Reputation gear. There are a number of factions available in Wrath of the Lich King, some more useful to us than others. Let’s look at each in turn:
The Kirin Tor.
The Kirin Tor are a faction of Mages created to oversee and control the use of magic in Azeroth. Their capital is the city of Dalaran, currently floating high in the air over Crystalsong Forest. Not surprisingly, they cater very well to the offensive spellcasters amongst us since they’re all.. well.. you know.. Mages. And since we’re Mages too, we begin the game at Friendly reputation level with them. The lesser classes start at neutral.
Sorry. Anyway, as you’d expect they have some very nice stuff that they’re prepared to sell to people they like, and here it is.
The Shroud of Dedicated Research. Not bad, but you’ll probably have better at level 80. You can get this at level 78, however, and it will do just fine if you lack the cash for a Deathchill Cloak by the time you hit level 80 and nothing better has dropped from a dungeon.
Flameheart Spell Scalpel. Hands down, no questions asked the very best weapon you can get from anywhere prior to doing heroics or Naxxrammas. All you need is to be Revered with the Kirin Tor, be level 80 and have 74 gold. There is absolutely no excuse for not having this weapon. It has stamina, intellect, hit, crit and a bucketload of spellpower. Get it. Treasure it. Call it Charmaine and sleep with it if you must. All together now…
“This is my Flameheart Spell Scalpel. There are many like it, but this one is mine…”
Arcanum of Burning Mysteries. This is the upgrade for our old Burning Crusade Sha’tar rep head enchant. It swaps hit for crit, and has more delicious, crunchy, chewy spellpower. Feast on it, my pretties!
Robes of Crackling Flame. Er… well.. they’re not terrible, I guess. Lots of intellect, lots of stamina, lots of haste, lots of spellpower and lots of mana per 5. Er… mana per 5? What we have here, friends and neighbours, is Blizzard copping out of putting in some proper epic caster robes, putting in some healer gear instead and hoping no-one notices. If by some chance you’re Exalted with the Kirin Tor and not yet managed to scrape together the cash for an Ebonweave Robe or been lucky in Heroic Violet Hold (more on that later), then you may as well spend the 40g required to get these. They’re really not terrible, just a bit of a wasted opportunity. On the bright side, they are pretty.
Also note that if you’re a jewelcrafter and wondering where to get the recipe for Runed Scarlet Rubies, look no further, Kirin Tor exalted is where it’s at. The Kirin Tor quartermaster is located at the top of the steps in the Violet Citadel, in Dalaran.
The Wyrmrest Accord
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for thou art crunchy and go well with ketchup! On the other hand if you want some spanky new caster gear, you’ll be wanting to get cuddly with Alexstrasza, Chromie, Ysera, Nalice and Co. The Wyrmrest Accord are the council of the dragons, currently at war with the rogue Blue Dragonflight who are laying siege to Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragonblight. Led by Queen Alexstrasza The Life Binder of the Red Dragongflight, you have a number of goodies to look forward to if you manage to impress the dragons.
Sash of the Wizened Wyrm. This is actually pretty nice. The usual intellect and stamina and a respectable chunk of hit rating and spellpower. Only requires honoured and level 78.
Ancestral Sinew Wristguards. There are really aimed more at the priests and possibly warlocks amongst us (Warlocks! Boo! Hiss!) due to a quarter of the item budget going on spirit and that pesky blue socket. However, they do have a large chunk of spellpower on them and if you don’t care about the socket bonus you can stick a 19 spellpower gem in there for a total of 69 spellpower, which is pretty good. Not bad, and we’re not exactly tripping over bracer upgrades out there, worth a look if you’ve been unlucky with drops.
Sandals of Crimson Fury. Don’t be disappointed with the lack of hit and crit. Ignore the socket bonus, stick a red +19 spellpower gem in there and these give you 96 spellpower and 1.56% haste at level 80. You won’t get better outside of a raid. Joy! Rapture!
But of course, the real reason you want to grind Exalted with the Accord is for the Reins of the Red Drake. It’s a dragon. You can fly around on it. It’s RED! Red ones go faster. Fact.*
You may have trouble finding Cielstrasza, the Wyrmrest Quartermaster. You may realise that he’s situated on the top floor of the Temple, but still be unable to see him. Here’s how you find him. Stand on the circular dias with your back to Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen. On your left is a massive Red Dragon, ignore him. On your right, you’re either going to see Cielstrasza or a large Drakonid Temple Defender. If you see the Temple Defender, look up his arse. That’s where you’ll find Cielstrasza.
No, really. This is not a joke.
The Argent Crusade
Tirion Fordring is cool. He’s a raging holy engine of righteous fury, and he’s going to kick the Lich King’s bony arse. In fact he already has, twice. Therefore by association, the Argent Crusade is cool, too. Highlord Fordring formed the Crusade from the remnants of the Order of the Silver Hand and the Argent Dawn after the Battle of Light’s Hope Chapel, which is another reason (if you needed one) to do the Deathknight starting quests, since this is where it happens. But enough fanboy banter, what’s in it for us?
Not a lot, actually.
Well there’s the the Purifying Torch at Revered, but it’s SO not for mages with zero intellect and comes with mana per 5 to add insult to injury. At Exalted there’s a Ring which is okay, the Signet of Hopeful Light. But seriously, if you’re grinding Argent Crusade reputation purely to get this ring you need to be thrown to the warlocks and used as a Felhunter chew toy. On the other hand, if you’re grinding to Exalted to get the Brilliant Spellthread pattern and managed to get there without getting a better ring from jewelcrafters or dungeon drops, by all means go ahead and get it. And then shard it the second a proper Frostfire Mage ring lands at your feet. Shame on you!
Knights of the Ebon Blade
Short history of the Ebon Blade:
Deathknights: Oh Arthas, you are so gothic and cool, we want to be in your gang and listen to The Smiths records.
Lich King: Sheesh, emo much? Black eyeliner is so nineties. And for the record, I’m NOT Arthas, Nerzhul is in here with me too, thanks very much. Pfft.. fanboys.
Deathknights: Oh noes, you betrayed us. Waaaah! Boo hoo!
Lich King: Cry some more, noobs.
Actually, we don’t need a long version when the short version is so good. They’re equally short on the goods when it comes to Mage gear, but that’s pretty much what you’d expect from a bunch of emo posers who think the only thing that goes well with black is more black, preferably lit by candles propped on the top of fake human skulls. At Revered we have the mostly useless Sterile Flesh Handling Gloves. At exalted there is the Belt of Dark Mending, which is actually rather nice, if inferior to certain dungeon drops for our purposes. In fact, there’s not much reason for a Frostfire Mage to bother with Ebon Blade rep gear at all, if it wasn’t for the fact that you get to meet the second coolest npc in the game after Tirion “I’ll whup your ass” Fordring. Yes, I’m talking about none other than the ridiculously evil Darkrider Arly.
In case you’re not convinced, here’s her reaction to her associate, Argent Crusader Olakin, being carried away and torn limb from limb by a Necrodrake.
I rest my case. Moving on swiftly, we have…
A neutral tribe of Tuskarr with quest hubs all over southern Northrend. It’s relatively easy to get Exalted status with these guys if you’re after the awesome Mastercraft Kalu’ak Fishing Pole, but for pure mage gear you can quite happily stop at Honoured and level 74 with the Turtle Minders’ Robe. It’s cheap, it’s cheerful, it’s very good for the level it becomes available and it’ll do just fine until you can upgrade to something better from dungeon drops or tailored gear. Sadly, that’s the only real Mage gear they provide.
The Oracles and the Frenzyheart Tribe
You’ll come across these guys in Sholozar Basin at around level 76/77. They’re a bit like the Scryers and the Aldor in that gaining rep with one makes you hated by the other. They’re unlike the Scryers and the Aldor in that these guys actually have a bit of personality. I’m an Oracles kind of mage myself, they’re just so… sweet. Who doesn’t have a smile on their face while doing their Oracle dailies in the company of Lafoo while he stomps around chasing bugs and saying: “Nice tree! Make comfy home!” or “You have pie? Someone gave us pie year ago. Really yummy.” The Frenzyheart, while being a bunch of assholes, do have their own charm too in a “we’re a bunch of assholes” kind of way. Whichever faction you go for is entirely up to you, neither are essential for any gear upgrade.
Muddied Crimson Gloves from the Frenzyheart Tribe. From the Oracles we have the Fishy Cinch and the Shinygem Rod. The belt and gloves are mediocre. The wand isn’t bad at all.
Frenzyheart Insignia of Fury which isn’t bad at all. As well as the base haste on the trinket the proc will give 91 crit rating, stacking up to five times, although to maintain the proc you have to keep killing stuff. And it’s not unique so you can equip two. Of dubious value in raids if you’re relying on the proc, it’ll pretty much only be of any use on chain pulled trash mobs, but a nice trinket nonetheless.
Meanwhile the Oracles reward us at Exalted with the Oracle Talisman of Absolution which is slightly more useful to us because it comes with crit instead of haste, but again has a proc that is not really of much use in raids unless you’re dealing with mass aoe trash pulls and struggling to not go out of mana.
Alliance Vanguard and Horde Expedition
The reputation requirements for these factions can be confusing to the unwary, so here’s the deal, quoted directly from Wowhead:
Half of the reputation gains from the Alliance Vanguard’s four sub-factions count towards this the Alliance Vanguard’s reputation. Therefore, you must have two of the four sub-factions at Exalted in order to be exalted with the Alliance Vanguard, or the equivalent amount of reputation spread across all four
So that means that while you may very well be Exalted with the Valiance Expedition by the time you leave Dragonblight, that’s not the same thing as being Exalted with the Alliance Vanguard as a whole. You’ll also need to be Exalted with at least one of the other three subfactions, which are Explorer’s League, Silver Covenant and Frostborn for the Alliance. The Horde equivalents are The Hand of Vengeance, The Sunreavers, The Taunka and The Warsong Offensive.
There are various daily quests, mostly in Icecrown, that you can do to raise Vanguard/Expedition rep, but by far the easiest way to do it is to run instances without wearing a tabard. All rep gained in level 80 instances is automatically Vanguard/Expedition rep if you have no champions’ tabard equipped. However, you’ll probably not want to bother since the rewards are pretty lacklustre. On the other hand, if you’re an engineer you’ll most certainly want to get to Exalted, since this is where you get the schematics for the Mekgineers’ Chopper or Mechano-Hog. For the rest of us, here’s what you can expect:
Gnomish Magician’s Quill. It’s okay. You’ll probably have something better from quest rewards by the time you can use it, however.
Orb of the Eastern Kingdoms. A decent offhand.
Charged Wand of the Cleft
Both essentially the same unexciting items as the alliance versions.
And that covers the reputation gear. Some solid stuff in there to prepare you for your first steps into 10 man raiding, some not-so-good stuff too, but almost all of it easily obtainable either before level 80 or as soon as you ding the magic number. The majority of your gear, however, is either likely to be quested, crafted, or obtained from dungeon drops. And dungeon drops are what we’re going to look at in part three. See you there!
*Not actually a fact.