One group to mention in particular is the Sons of Hodir: unlike other factions, they don't have a Tabard which you can wear in level 80 dungeons and heroics to gain reputation with them. However, they do have quite a few dailies to unlock as well as a long series of quests which will get you started, and in addition to the usual gearing reasons to unlock and progress in this reputation they also provide shoulder enchants that equal or exceed the best outland ones, so they're a group you'll eventually want to work on.
The Sons of Hodir
What gear do the Sons provide, and what enchants are we going to be interested in? Well, enhancement shamans might want to get to Honored fast in order to pick up the Giant Ring Belt. Then the grind to revered will grant you the Stalactite Chopper, a pretty solid 2.6 speed axe. Meanwhile, elemental and restoration shamans may want to take a look at the Giant-Friend Kilt, which is regrettably leather but has some nice stats for casters. And as I stated before, they also offer shoulder enchants in physical DPS, caster DPS, and healer friendly versions. Unless you took up inscription, these are the best enchants you'll find for your shoulders.
They also offer stuff like Mammoth mounts and a frost resist head enchant, but those aren't exactly shaman specific. Check out our write up of the epic quest line for the Sons of Hodir.
The Wyrmrest Accord
Made up of the red, bronze, green and black (yes, black) dragonflights, this is the 'everybody but Malygos' dragon faction headquartered in the Dragonblight.
For shamans the pickings here are mighty slim. They offer a cloth belt and bracers I mention purely because you can wear them if you're desperate for an upgrade in those slots. but the real action for shamans comes at revered or better. Healing shamans are going to want the Arcanum of Blissful Mending for their hats, and the exalted Grips of Fierce Pronouncements are pretty hot for resto as well. That's some solid MP5 right there. For elemental shamans there's the Gavel of the Brewing Storm, while enhancement may stoop to leather to pick up the Dragonfriend Bracers.
Sholozar Basin Factions
Sholozar is unique in that it has two rival factions to consider, the Frenzyheart and the Oracles. Each offers a variety of faction rewards to be considered. The Frenzyheart offer leather legs that might be an upgrade for you enhancement shamans, mail caster legs that seem fairly neutral in their itemization and a huge whack of haste on a trinket. If you're working on a haste set this may be the faction to go for. Now that we've looked at the puppy heads, what do their fishy foes have to offer to buy your loyalty?
Mail hats. Specifically, a mail caster hat and a mail physical DPS hat. "Well, I do like hats," you may be saying, "but don't they have any other way to bribe...er, I mean, reward my loyalty?" And the answer is yes, they're prepared to buy your love with trinkets as well. Specifically, a lot of critical strike rating on a trinket. They also have a leather belt lying around that will serve until you get honored with the Sons of Hodir, if your pants are in imminent danger of falling down or something.
Check out our write up for getting started with these factions.
The Argent Crusade
I can't help it, I love these guys. They're the paladins who break stuff. You can just tell you could actually sit down and buy these guys a beer after a hard day of killing wave after wave of undead aberrations. They're just folks, Well, okay, they're just folks who can summon the power of pure light to annihilate their foes. But anyway, since we're shamans, do they have anything we'd be interested in? The answer is yes.
Enhancement, we have a cape for you. I'd personally prefer that the armor pen be hit rating, but as always tastes and playstyles vary. Elemental shamans may want the Battle Mender's Helm, which despite the name does not seem particularly oriented towards resto at all. Enhancement's going to grind to exalted to get the Polished Regimental Hauberk, I can tell you that much. And the Boots of the Neverending Path might also be worth picking up when you get there, with solid stats despite their being leather. Casters of the healing and DPS varieties will take a look at the Signet of Hopeful Light and decide if they're into haste this month or not. (Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure how haste is for resto or elemental anymore.)
The Kirin Tor
As you might expect for a mage dominated faction, the Kirin Tor of Dalaran offer mail physical DPS shoulders. Wait, really? Huh. They do. If you really missed the look of Tidefury, here you go. The resil suggests a PvP application. This cloak is more what I was expecting from the mages of Dalaran, as is this dagger for the elementally minded among us. Our resto bretheren might consider this leather hat, which has MP5 and spell power instead of spirit. I have to admit, the thing I love most about faction gear is that I'm not fighting with any other class for it.
At exalted enhancement shamans will be looking at the Boots of Twinkling Stars, and then they will be buying them. Both elemental and restoration shamans may want to take a look at the Ghostflicker Wasitband: elemental could stick more crit or spell power or hit in there, while resto could throw MP5 in. (With an eternal belt buckle you could even double up.) There's also a pretty solid cloth robe I mention for all those elemental shamans who wore the Scarlet Sindorei last time. Heck, with that much MP5, I'd consider healing in that dress. Sure, I'd feel stupid in it, but MP5 is MP5.
Piping hot faction gear from the Wilford Brimley's of Azeroth. Sorry, but I can't stop hearing Dana Gould's bit in my head every time I look at these guys.
What do our friendly Walrus folks have to offer besides taffeta gowns? (They do have two of those.) Well, they've got two nice mail chestplates for the level 76 shaman, one primarily for resto shamans and one of interest to enhancement shamans. They also have a nice caster mace which I'd expect more elemental shamans to pick up due to its lack of MP5. They also offer a penguin. What, everyone knows penguins are the natural totemic pets of all shamans. Look, just get the penguin and stop looking at me like that, how else are you going to have Fight Club references without the penguin?
Check out our write up of the daily quests of the Kalu'ak.
The Knights of the Ebon Blade
These guys have a load of dailies as well as a tabard, making them one of the easiest factions to grind. What do they have for us?
Well, the Dark Soldier Cape is pretty solid for elemental shamans or for enhancement shamans looking to jack up their hit and Maelstrom procs. Remember, Int can be AP now! Still, while that's a marginal case, the Unholy Persuader is most certainly not - at honored, it's an easy to grab offhand fist. I'm not ecstatic about the armor pen (so much of our damage is spell now) but the rest of its stats are rock solid.
At revered, the Arcanum of Torment will draw your eye if you're enhancement, as will the Spaulders of the Black Arrow. Resto shamans will want to get to exalted for the Kilt of Dark Mercy, and with a socket for a crit or hit stone even elemental might want to consider it (MP5's not nearly so important for DPS, but hey, these are still really solid legs). While I'm avoiding the cloth and leather caster drops with heavy spirit on them, the Belt of Dark Mending has no spirit, just haste and spell power.
The Horde Expedition/Alliance Vanguard
I saved them for last because they really aren't very good. The Warsong Punisher and its Alliance counterpart are clearly aimed at tanking, there's a decent caster shield in both Horde and Alliance flavors and that's about it for shamans. There's a PvP head enchant. If you make the decision to grind this rep to exalted, you'll be doing it for reasons other than that you play a shaman: there's absolutely nothing here aside from that shield I'd even equip.
That pretty much covers faction gear. Next week we'll either look at emblem gear, or try and wrap up five man and heroic instance loot.