Reputation has been in the game forever. Or at least as long as I can remember. And heretofore, Blizzard has come up with several very reliable ways for players to increase their reputation. I'd like to go over each of the ways and give examples both old and new. As a follow up, I'll post about some thoughts about how Blizzard can enhance reputation in the WotLK expansion.
Bonus: The clickable image above leads you to a reputation calculator website where you can check YOUR reputation.
This is perhaps the simplest in terms of recognizing it. Every time you kill a certain type of thing, your reputation is increased. In the "old world" every Molten Core boss you killed upped your Hydraxian Waterlords reputation. Likewise, killing any pirate in Stranglethorn Vale increases your Booty Bay reputation. And perhaps the greatest time sink in pre-BC was the Timbermaw.
In the Outland, you can see this mechanic at work in Nagrand and killing Ogres (for Kurenai/Mag'har reputation) or in Zangarmarsh as you kill Bog Giants and their ilk(for Sporregar reputation).
Killing things is a well-defined mechanism for increasing reputation and makes a lot of sense. This should definitely stay in.
Non-Daily non-repeatable Quests
These quests when turned in grant reputation usually with the faction of the quest giver and some sympathetic reputation with factions aligned with that faction. In other words, if you turn in a quest from a human, you will most likely get some Stormwind Reputation and some smaller amount of reputation from Ironforge, Gnomeregan, Darnassus and Exodar.
In the Outland these quests will be everywhere. Most stuff out there grants SOME kind of reputation.
Having some faction associated with a lot of the quests is a great idea. This scheme needs to not be overused though. If the only way to grind favor with any faction is killing, it loses its appeal.
Non-Daily repeatable Quests
The vast majority of these quests are actually turn-in quests more fully detailed below. As I wrack my brain, I cannot think of any of this type of quest still in the game. Back before the great Timbermaw Reputation Reformation, there used to be a quest like this. But it was removed in favor of a more rigorous method to achieve Timbermaw rep. The only one I can currently think of in game now is the collection of diminuation powder and watery cores (both Alliance quests on the Feralas shores.
The one I'm seeing in Outland is "Now that We're Friends/Now that We're Still Friends" quest in Zangarmarsh for the Sporregar.
These types of quests can be completed as many times in one day as you like but require you to have the quest before beginning the killing spree. This kind of quest is fun, and I'd honestly like to see more.
Daily, Repeatable Quests
The typical dailies. They can only be completed once per day. And they're generally the same thing every day. These didn't exist in pre-BC and not even when BC shipped. They were added via patch 2.2 (?) Some of the dailies vary day to day (the normal & heroic dungeon, the fishing, cooking and battleground daily all do).
These are good quests, but honestly, too many have no variation day to day.
Turn In Quests
These quests ask you to turn in a number of items that are BOE when dropped (or harvested). I think everyone of these is also a quest that is non-daily and repeatable. In general, the objects to complete the quest are gathered and the quest is turned in as a part of taking it.
Pre-BC has quite a few of these. Think of Dadanga (the kodo) at Marshall's Refuge in Un'Goro. She asks for 15 Bloodpetal sprouts. The goblins in Gadgetzhan also ask for Water Pouches in this manner. The Thorium Brotherhood uses this mechanism as do the Timbermaw. Also each of the five Azerothian factions (on each side) want cloth of all kinds from wool to runecloth to increase rep. The Darkmoon Faire also uses this mechanism.
In the Outlands, each of the factions seems to have something to turn in like this. Granted most of these turn ins will get you only to revered. But for instance, Cenarion Expedition wans Unidentified Plant Parts, Kurenai/Mag'har AND Consortium want Ogre Warbeads in Nagrand, Lower City wants Arakkoa feathers and so on.
These quests are also awesome for rep. And the items can be purchased ahead of time on the auction house.
Not many pre-BC factions use this method at all. In fact, the only one that springs to mind is the Argent Dawn's acceptance of soulbound scourgestones collected from Eastern & Western Plaguelands and the dungeons within them.
This trend continues to Outland where the Consortium who accepts both Zaxxis' Insignia and Ethereum Prisoner ID Tags.
Again, very good quests for rep and having the items be soulbound makes sure that only the character that actually puts in the work to farm these gets the reputation credit. Being soulbound, the turn in items can't be sold or traded.
Both the Argent Dawn (through crafting writs) and Darkmoon Faire accept crafted items as reputation turn ins. The writs are actually fairly complex as you must turn in an Argent Dawn Token (from turning in scourgestones) to accept the crafting writ. However, once acquired the writs themselves are not bound and can be sold on the Auction House.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no crafted turn ins in the Outland.
This would be an awesome place for Blizzard to expand into. Having leveled many crafters, I know that at some point the stuff I'm making to level up is just being vendor sold or disenchanted. It would be awesome to have another place for those items to go.
Paying for Reputation
The only example of this that I can find was introduced with the Shattered Sun daily quests. While this quest is very worthwhile for the reputation, Blizzard has to be careful to not over-do it. Gold is freely available in the game now and allowing large sums of it to exit just for reputation might reverse some of Blizzard's actions against gold sellers.
So, that's reputation in a nutshell. Many different factions, each utilizing some blend of the above for advancing a players standing. Next time we'll look at what I'd like to see happen with reputation in the WotLK.