While getting your character(s) to eighty is obviously a focus with the new expansion, another grind to keep in mind is the faction grind. There have been some major changes to the faction grind in Wrath of the Lich King.
Let's get the important news in first. Quoted from WorldofWarcraft.com:
Northrend Special Reputation Tabards:
If you're friendly with certain Northrend dungeon factions (Wyrmrest Accord, Knights of the Ebon Blade, Kirin Tor and Argent Crusade only), you can wear that faction's tabard to any level 80 dungeon and funnel all the rep to that faction. Make sure you pick up your tabard as soon as you can!
Raising faction is much more enjoyable than in the past. Now you can run any level 80 or heroic dungeon and accrue the reputation of your choice....as long as your choice is one of the four factions that have tabards. Tabards can be purchased once your reputation with that faction reaches Friendly. Additionally, running the regular dungeon daily results in the award of a token good for faction rep with one of the four tabard factions. Just choose the faction you wish to focus on and faction gains should fly compared with past reputation grinds. I still suffer the occasional Naga nightmare after grinding my way to Exalted with the Sporeggar.
The rewards are great, so everyone will want to work up their reputation with the various factions of Northrend, but which to focus on? Everyone will want Sons of Hodir faction. This is where the WotLK shoulder enhancements are obtained. Lesser Inscriptions can be obtained at Honored. These are roughly equivalent to the Aldor/Scryer shoulder enhancements. Greater Inscriptions are available at the Exalted level. There is no tabard associated with this faction, but there are a number of daily quests, which will yield both Hodir faction and gold. One begins as Hated with the Sons of Hodir. To get to Friendly and have access to the daily quests, there is a long quest chain that must be completed. This chain begins with the quest "They Took our Men!," which is given by Gretchen Fizzlespark in the town of K3 in the Storm Peaks. There are 3 daily quests that can be done at Friendly and the number of available dailies increases as one gains reputation. At Friendly the quests are "Polishing the Helm," "Hot and Cold" and "Blowing Hodir's Horn." At Honored the daily quests "Spy Hunter" and "Thrusting Hodir's Spear" become available. At Revered "Feeding Amgrim" is added.
There is a repeatable quest that yields 350 Hodir rep, "Everfrost." Look for an Everfrost chip, a small icy stalagmite found in the areas in and around Dun Niffelem, the Valley of Ancient Winters, Frostfield Lake, Thunderfall, Fjorn's Forge and the Storm Peaks areas immediately bordering these zones. Your first Everfrost chip starts a quest. Once you turn in that first chip, it is a repeatable quest. You can turn in many Everfrost chips each day, assuming you can find them. Competition to find these chips is keen and the respawn rate is slow.
After the Sons of Hodir, the decision on faction focus on depends on you class. In addition to shoulder enhancements, players will want to secure head enhancements, which are available at Revered. Tanks will find their Arcanum of the Stalwart Protector is available from the Argent Crusade. Melee DPS will want to work their reputation with the Knights of the Ebon Blade to obtain the Arcanum of Torment. Casters have two choices. The Arcanum of Burning Mysteries (Kirin Tor) adds 30 to Spell Power and 20 to Critical Strike. The Arcanum of Blissful Mending (Wyrmrest Accord) adds the same 30 Spell Power but gives 8 mana every 5 seconds while casting, rather than crit.
There are daily reputation quests available for Argent Crusade reputation. "Slaves to Saronite, "Pa'Troll" and "Congratulations." "Pa'Troll" is really 4 mini quests. "Congratulations" is for finishing all four sections of "l" in within 20 minutes.
There are six daily quests available from the Ebon Blade. These are "From their Corpses Rise!," "Intelligence Gathering," "Leave our Mark," :No Fly Zone," "Vile like Fire!" and "Shoot 'em Up." Three of the quests are found at Death's Rise and the other three at the Shadow Vault.
There is only one generally available daily quest for the Kirin Tor. That is the daily cooking quest for 150 points of reputation. There is also a daily quest for jewelcrafters that yields 75 reputation points.
The Wyrmrest Accord has 3 daily quests for faction rep. "Defending Wyrmrest Temple" is found at the temple in Dragonblight. "Drake Hunt and "Ace's High" are found in Coldarra.
Jewelcrafters will find patterns scattered among all eight Northrend factions. There are thirteen Jewelcrafting patterns available from the eight different factions. To get all the jewelcrafting patterns will take some time. Honored will be needed with The Kalu'ak. Revered is needed with Argent Crusade, Frenzyheart and The Oracles. Exalted is required to obtain all jewelcrafting patterns from the Argent Crusade, the Kirin Tor, the Knights of the Ebon Blade, the Sons of Hodir and the Wyrmrest Accord. There's lots of grinding for the JC who wants the full compliment of recipes.
Three factions give Leatherworking patterns. The Kalu'ak have the pattern for the Dragonscale Ammo Pouch (28 slot ammo) available at Honored and the Trapper's Traveling Pack (28 slot leatherworking) available at Revered. The Sons of Hodir have the pattern for the Mammoth Mining bag (32 slot mining), which can be obtained at Honored. The Knights of the Ebon Blade have the pattern for the Nerubian Reinforced Quiver (28 slot quiver) for sale at Honored.
There are two spellthread patterns available through faction reputation. The Brilliant Spellthread (+50 Spell Power, +20 Spirit) can be purchased at Exalted with the Argent Crusade. The Sapphire Spellthread (+50 Spell Power, +30 Stamina) is available from the Kirin Tor at Exalted. Spellthreads are enhancements for pants.
There are three patterns for bags. The pattern for the Abysmal Bag (32 slot soul shard) is available from the Knights of the Ebon Blade at Revered. The Mysterious Bag (32 slot Enchanting) pattern is from the Wyrmrest Accord at Revered. The highly desirable 22 slot Glacial Bag pattern can be purchased from the Sons of Hodir at Exalted.
Alliance Vanguard/Horde Expedition
Reputation gains with these groups come from completing quests for the combined Alliance and Horde factions. Rewards of note are a PvP helm enhancement and the engineering schematic for the Mekgineer's Chopper/Mechano-hog vehicles. These items can be purchased at Exalted.
Armor, Weapons, etc.
There are a large number of other items available for purchase through faction reputation. In addition to the traditional armor and weapon pieces, there are non-combat pets, costumes, mounts and even a special fishing pole. Wowwiki does an excellent job of covering the various rewards available through faction reputation, as well as the daily quests available to enhance reputation gains.
You'll need to map out the reputations strategy that works for you. As for me, I am working on the Sons of Hodir for the shoulder enhancement. As a bonus, I'll get the pattern for the 22 slot Glacial bag, as my main is a tailor. I'm presently at Honored, so I make a point of doing the 5 daily quests for the Sons of Hodir and always have my eyes peeled for an Everfrost chip to spawn when I am in Storm Peaks.
I am simultaneously focusing on Kirin Tor rep, so I can get the Arcanum of Burning Mysteries head enhancement and the Sapphire thread pattern. I do the daily cooking quest and wear my Kirin Tor tabard when running dungeons.
If I have time, I will run additional dailies, but for the time being, those two are my main focus. Check out the various factions and pick the ones that will work best for your character build and professions. There are so many factions, so many nice rewards and so little time.