Story and layout
are introduced as you level through the Dread Wastes
region of Pandaria. Unlike any of the other reputation grinds you encounter, the Klaxxi upon first glance look very much like enemies you've already fought. The mantid make their first impression in Valley of the Four Winds, and it's not a good one -- the swarm threatens to overtake Pandaria, and players must fight back and keep the mantid swarm at bay.
Which is what makes the sequence of events in the Dread Wastes so oddly compelling. It appears that this enemy, the mantid, is not nearly as cut-and-dry a bad guy as we would presume. The mantid have a rich culture just like the rest of the races of Pandaria -- and there is a segment of the mantid population that is not happy about the early swarm, nor about the Empress' sudden decision to apparently embrace the Sha. These are the Klaxxi. They are record-keepers, the preservers of history, and they see that the Empress is tainted and acting in a way that must be stopped.
Of course, as record-keepers and historians, the Klaxxi aren't exactly the best at combat. But they have the paragons on their side. The paragons are mantid champions that were preserved in amber at the height of their power, scattered all across the Dread Wastes. And as you gain reputation with the Klaxxi, you'll wake up these paragons, release them from their amber prisons and bring them to your side -- hence the Wakener name they bestow on you.
The layout for the Klaxxi rep grind begins before you even start a single daily. Questing in the Dread Wastes and completing the zone storylines will take you into honored with the Klaxxi, at which point you can begin your dailies and continue to work your way to revered. Although all valor rewards are at revered, exalted reputation nets you a mount, unique weaponry, and a major event you really don't want to miss.
The Klaxxi are almost a first for Warcraft
, honestly -- they're a villainous race that has been given a backstory and a history as eloquent and richly detailed as the heroic races of Azeroth. Generally speaking, when you're presented with a villain and told to kill it, you kill it. You aren't really given any other details than "this guy is bad," and you certainly don't ask for specifics. The mantid have a culture and a history that spans back far, far before the history of any other sentient race on Azeroth. These guys have records of the Old Gods. They have history of the Titan's arrival. They are old
. When they say that you are speaking to your elder, they mean it
Starting out a reputation grind with zone questing is honestly the best way to begin a reputation grind as far as I'm concerned. You're learning about the reputation you will be gaining, and you're getting gobs of reputation as you're beginning that path. And because all of that zone questing bumps you up into honored reputation, the rest of that rep grind doesn't feel anywhere near arduous or lengthy. Yes, it will take you time to hit exalted, but it won't take forever -- and if you're just looking for revered for valor rewards, it won't take you much time at all.
And if that grind just doesn't feel short enough, there's a way to make it shorter. Killing mobs in the Dread Wastes will sometimes net you Dread Amber Shards
. Collect 20 of these, and you can turn them in for an additional 250 reputation. This is not a daily quest -- you can turn in the shards at any time, as many as you want. This means that you can spend some time farming mobs in the Dread Wastes if you want to speed up that reputation grind, instead of just waiting for daily quests to reset.
But that's not the end of it. The paragons you rescue offer augmentations that will help you while you're farming -- buffs that will increase your damage, and buffs that will protect you or help you in another way. These buffs are powerful, and there's a multitude to choose from. More importantly, they make completing the daily quests or simply farming shards a heck of a lot easier to do.
There is a lot of story to be had with the Klaxxi, but it feels a little bumpy along the way. While you are questing in the Dread Wastes, the story is being continually presented to you. Once you start the dailies, the story seems to take a standstill. When you hit revered, you get another chunk of story to follow -- and then begins the long grind to exalted. And until you hit exalted, you don't get another big chunk of story. The piece that plays out at exalted is amazing, but is it worth the weeks of dailies? The answer is left up to the player, and for most players impatiently trying to finish, that answer may be a no.
Oddly enough, there are additional bits of story to be had. If you wait near the Klaxxi questgivers, they will occasionally have conversations with each other. Some of them are funny, some of them are insightful, and offer another glimpse into mantid history. The problem with this is that in order to see these conversations, you have to literally stand there and wait for it. It's not interactive at all -- it requires the player to halt all activity to witness. That's counterproductive to a reputation grind.
It's the transition that seems to falter a little bit here, and maybe that has something to do with how seamlessly the quests in the Dread Wastes played out. When you get to the end of the zone quests, you get a big event, and then ... nothing. You get a series of tasks that repeat, rotating from hub to hub, but there's little flavor to those hubs. More importantly, and this may just be an issue on my server, those hubs don't rotate as often as they probably could. This means that you'll be headed to the same hub several days in a row, which quickly gets repetitive and boring.
Why do it?
Despite the fact that the story falters at points, it's still a really good story. The end sequence of events is incredibly fun to play through. There are several shocking moments waiting for you in those lore events, even though they're staggered out. And the Klaxxi may be mantid, and they may not be our friends, but they are some of the most vivid, unique, bizarre and ultimately fascinating characters in Pandaria.
The fact that you can speed up the rep grind by gathering Dread Amber Shards means that you'll be spending exactly as much time doing this grind as you want. The Dread Amber Shards are not a guaranteed drop, but with the help of paragon augmentation, it won't take a long time to get more. It's certainly a far better method than randomly spawning eggs. And did I mention the mount you get out of the grind? The Amber Scorpion
is really, really
In the end, there's just something about
the Klaxxi. We aren't friends. We'll never be friends, even though I'm sitting at exalted standing with them. But we're working together as a convenience, because there's something bigger out there that needs to be taken care of. We can't stop it without helping each other, which the Klaxxi accepts as necessity. It's an alliance of convenience, for the better good of both sides.
That theme of mutual cooperation in the face of larger adversity is a key theme that's been played out throughout Warcraft
history -- but the presentation here cloaks it well. There's a lesson to be learned from the Klaxxi, whether or not we choose to listen to it. To me, that's as satisfying a reason as any to complete the reputation run.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.