Buying into the business
We will begin today's lesson by first delving into the new daily quest hub opening with patch 4.2. Before you are able to do anything in this area, you must first complete several of the initial quests in Hyjal. You don't have to complete the entire zone, but you do have to complete up to the saving of The Regrowth via the Aessina's Miracle quest. If you have not yet complete that quest, then the daily hub will be phased from you and you won't be able to get started. Once you have reached that point, you can begin gaining access to the new daily hub by picking up the starter quest located on the adventure boards in every major city.
Once you arrive in Hyjal, you'll find the druidic forces being attacked by a new wave of fire elementals. The first set of quests that you will complete will center around forcing these elementals back where they came from. From there, the daily quests will begin.
The quests you complete within this new hub reward you with a new token called a Mark of the World Tree. These will be essential in the new gating system that you'll experience. At first, there will only be three daily quests open to you, which reward you with four Marks in total. It takes 20 of these Marks to unlock the next stage of dailies. Since you gain some from the first quests you do here, it will take three days' worth of dailies to reach the next stage.
The second stage of the hub centers around entering the Molten Front itself and establishing a foothold there for the attack upon the Fire Lord and his minions. There will be another short quest chain before the dailies are unlocked, but the good news is that these quests do provide you with a few Marks of their own. This set of dailies, combined with the ones form the previous stage, provide of total of 14 Marks per day.
Despite how many Marks it may seem that you are getting, unlocking stage 3 requires a massive 150 Marks. With the few you gain from the startup quests, it should take 10 days worth of dailies in order to reach this point. This, however, is where your first choice comes into play.
The third stage involves unlocking either the Druids of the Talon or the Shadow Wardens. At this point, there is no difference in which you choose to unlock, as neither provides you with any rewards. The only thing you gain from this unlock is ... more dailies! In fact, you get around double the number of dailies that you've been completing up to this point. This will increase your Marks per day up to 24.
One snag, though: You cannot progress past this point until you have unlocked both the Druids and the Wardens, each costing you the same 150 Marks. Thankfully, with the increase in rewards, it should only take around seven days in order to get the second faction open. Unfortunately, doing this doesn't grant you any additional daily quests. You can only quest for either the Druids or the Wardens on any given day, so the second unlock only provides you with variety in terms of the quests that you do every day.
Now, you've finally reached the point where you can start getting stuff. After unlocking both the Druids and the Wardens, you'll be presented with three new unlock options: The Ancients, The Armorer, or The Moonwell. Each of these unlocks takes 125 Marks to get. You should be able to reach this in around five days of questing.
Which seat can I take?
For those of you at home who have been keeping score, it is going to take around 25 days of constantly doing these dailies in order to unlock the first rewards vendor. Each vendor that you unlock will provide a small increase in Marks per day, but it will always take five days' worth of questing in order to unlock the next vendor. You do not need Marks to buy anything from the vendors. Everything is bought with gold; the Marks are only used to unlock the vendors.
Which of the unlocks that you take first really depends on what it is that you need; however, each vendor is rather biased towards a certain archetype. Here's a list of the vendors and what they will offer you; which do you think is best?
Sadly, warlocks aren't able to use relics, and there are no wand rewards from these vendors. That is actually rather upsetting, to be quite honest, because there is a relic option for every imaginable spec choice that would use it; adding in wands as well would only seem fair. Blizzard, however, just seems to have a thing against wands in this expansion.
Overall, the Moonwell offers the best personal rewards, so if you are looking for gear for yourself, then that is where you are likely to find it. The big "however" is that it is the Armorer who offers all of the new fantastic blacksmithing plans. If your warlock happens to be a blacksmith, then it could be well worth it to unlock the Armorer first in order to be one of the firsts to have those stellar plans. Everyone want new weapons, and right there is an easy alternative for new players to get. Even some long-term raiders may want to get their hands on them, depending on their drop luck.
Cry, raider, cry
That brings up the next big point. While these items are fantastic, they may only be of limited value to anyone who is currently in the raiding scene. From a raw ilevel point, they are situated comfortably between normal and heroic itemization from the current raiding tier. It might be that some of them are fairly useful to you, but overall, if you've been raiding already at this time, then you may not really find too much here that's great for you.
More than that, it'll be almost a month before you can even get your first item. During this time, your guild should be making some Firelands progression, and if not, then they'll hopefully be going back to attempt some of the easier tier 11 heroics. Either option would provide better rewards than what you could get from here.
Of most note is the Moonwell Chalice, which is a rather decent trinket, and trinkets are pretty important item slots in terms of the damage that they can provide. Overall, as a current raider, I wouldn't put too much stock in the tangible upgrades that you could get out of the new dailies. Getting better is just far too easy. Instead, I'd work more toward the pets and mounts and such instead.
This stuff is far more geared toward newer players or far more casual raiders who may only pug here and there when they get a chance -- which, in my opinion, is a great thing. Those players need their rewards, too.
How to avenge Hyjal
Just as with most other raiding tiers, this new raid comes with its very own faction for you to earn reputation with. The newly minted Avengers of Hjyal will be the ones leading the assault against Ragnaros, and any destruction that you end up causing in this raiding zone will curry some favor with them. Unlike working some other factions out there, gaining reputation with this lot is totally worth it. See, warlocks do like some people!
Each new level of reputation with the Avengers of Hyjal will offer you a new reward that you can purchase from their cute vendor lady (or dude; I can never really tell with these types). Thankfully, this is one thing that Blizzard did right when it comes to itemization.
Friendly -- Cloaks
Haste and hit all rolled up into one neat little package? Yes, please! There's not really much to say about it; this is an awesome cloak. While there's a dropped cloak in Firelands, why bother getting it? It doesn't have hit.
Honored -- Belts
Sitting at crit/haste, it isn't a bad belt at all. Considering that it's essentially "free," there's nothing really bad that you can say about it. I wish it didn't have a blue socket? One interesting thing, though, is there is no spirit option on the belts for anyone. Pures don't get hit, hybrids don't get spirit -- sounds fair to me.
Revered -- Trinkets
It's a little miffy that hybrid casters do get two options here with the spirit trinket, but overall, it isn't all that terrible I suppose. Hit trinkets, great as they are, generally aren't favored by anyone because of how much itemization they eat up. The Rune itself is a pretty decent trinket. An on-use to buff intellect is splendid, the crit is hit or miss depending on spec, but you can always reforge it to something else if you need to.
Exalted -- Rings
Another hit/haste item, which is absolutely fantastic, but more than that it has a gem slot! Oh, yeah, did I mention that it has the same ilevel as heroic Firelands gear? Well, it does. Reaching Exalted pretty much hands you the best ring that you're going to get from this zone. How much more could you ask for?
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DoTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through encounters such as Blackwing Descent and The Bastion of Twilight.