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Rule #321: Never mess with Elemental Lords. It will be bad.

4.2 is upon us (or it will be once the servers come up) and I find myself preparing to spend the Summer on a grind. Again. Blizzard have refined the ‘reputation grind’ over six years in so many ways: I don’t miss having to do things Winterspring or Old Style Timbermaw, after all. Netherwing is still actually enjoyable (am doing it on the Lock in odd moments, I suspect it would be more profitable with a gatherer but the quests still turn up enough greens and trash to sell and to make it worthwhile) and part of me is thinking I might run someone who’s not done them through Ogri’la and/or the Skyguard (mounts!!!) for the same reason.

When we were presented with the Argent Tournament ‘grind’ in Wrath it was clear Blizzard were trying to learn from the lessons that preceded them. Granted it was the same basic quest structure, but the rewards made it worth the effort, plus there were ways to max out Alliance/Horde rep and Achievements to boot. It’s still a really profitable grind if you’re looking to make money with pets on the AH or work towards Mountain of Mounts but the jousting… meh. Just MEH. Gimmicks are all very well but unless you get them they can become really rather annoying

I’ve deliberately not spoiled myself for any of the Firelands Dailies. I thought about it long and hard and part of me would like to see what goes down this time around without knowing what to expect: if I want to know I know there’s already a slew of guides ‘out here’ anyway. With the introduction of the phasing technology Blizzard have (I suppose) re-invented the gimmick with a twist: you quest and the World ‘evolves’ around you. The fact remains however: once you get what you want/need from this particular ‘zone’ there’s no need/desire to be doing it any more and you’ll want something else, so it’s really no different than any of the other reputation/zones you’ve ever completed. Will I remember this as the best grind I’ve ever done?

Thinking about it, what has been the best reputation grind to date? Ironically I’d say it’s the one where I never got to finish ‘as intended’. The quest for the Scepter of the Shifting Sands (and the Brood of Nozdormu rep that came with it) took me over a year to complete but the range and diversity of what I had to undertake to get there was huge. It harked back to the ‘glory days’ of Onyxia, Blackwing Lair and Molten Core raiding and frankly it is as Epic as I’ve ever seen or experienced in game. I sense with Firelands that Blizzard are attempting to capture at least some of that ‘classic’ feel, and if they succeed in even a small way I reckon 4.2 will be declared an unmitigated triumph.

The only way to find out, of course, is to get in there and play it…

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