Nothing will ever compare to your first time doing something and even if it was not exactly what you might call a good experience you will always remember it fondly because that is how the human brain works sometimes.
I have every faction in the game at exalted except for the three PvP related factions and have even managed to get both the Scryers and Aldor to exalted which took nothing short of a herculean effort to switch from one to the other and I also manged to get both the Frenzyheart and the Oracles to exalted which required much less work switching than its burning crusade counter part. All this shows, besides the fact I am mildly touched in the head, is that I like to grind reputations.
The thing is there is not really a great deal of grinding for reputation any longer. The idea that anything is a grind is long lost in the game because everything needs to be attained as soon as possible. I was reminded of this the other day while on timeless island when someone asked in general for help in farming the eggs you can turn in for cloud serpent reputation.
I whispered them and said that they have dailies for reputation and they would be better just doing them than trying to grind for an item with a low drop rate. He said he already did the dailies today and just wanted to finish off the reputation instead of waiting. I said, it only takes 10 days of dailies to get to exalted, maybe less. And if you already have one at exalted and have the double reputation thing for them it would only take 5 days. He said, that is still too long, he wants it now.
I was left dumbfounded. No seriously, 10 days of dailies is too long to get to exalted? I wonder what this guy would think about Ogri'la with their, what felt like many months of, very few dailies or the Hydraxian Waterlords which most definitely took many months even doing it at a higher level when it was faster to clear the instance but being limited by raid lock outs. 10 days is long my ass. Just go do your dailies, or collect eggs on the island near them, or kill things on timeless island for eggs, or farm for the hozen peace pipe. There are so many ways to get that reputation faster and in my opinion it is already lightning fast as it is sitting at 10 days.
It got me to thinking about how easy reputations have become to grind, so much so I would not even call them a grind any longer, but I remember my first exalted reputation and I remember grinding for it and I remember doing it for no other reason than I wanted to. There was no sweet piece of gear to get from doing it, there was no special mount I would end up with, I don't even think they sold any recipes for my profession that would help me. I decided to grind the reputation because I wanted to. Nothing more and nothing less.
I believe I was level 56 or so when I wandered into Silithus and managed my way to Cenarion Hold. After doing a few quests there I ran across one to collect twilight texts and it seemed to be a repeatable quest that offered reputation with the Cenarion Circle.
It was not a great money maker, it was not a great experience grind, and like I mentioned it really did not offer anything special but I immediately liked the idea and said to myself that I was going to stay here until I collected enough texts to get to exalted. Why? I have no freaking clue, I just thought it was a cool idea.
There was a camp very close to the hold where I could make circles around it and kill the mobs that could drop the texts. They respawned at a reasonable rate so I never really needed to wait. The only issue I had was with an elite (no longer elite or even hard I think) mob that would pat around the area with two guards by their side. It was called the prophet or something like that and it had snuck up on me a few times before I learned to keep an eye on that one.
The beauty was if I had an area clear and wanted to take the chance to take the prophet on the rewards were well worth it. The prophet dropped a fair deal of twilight texts and when you needed 10 per turn in and one person dropped 7 or more all by themselves, it was worth trying to kill it. Not to mention I wanted a bit of revenge from it killing me more than a few times.
And so my first reputation grind began. I would grind for my time playing and then at the end of the day I would hearth back to Darnassas, clear my bags, try and sell any goodies I managed to get, and I got a few, and then call it a night.
For the next couple of weeks I would come home from work and jump on a flight path from Darnassus to Silithus and then go about my business around my house. The 15-20 minute flight, something it seems blizzard is intent on bringing back to the game, was probably the worst part of the game I have ever experienced. Long travel times for the sake of wasting time have no place in a game like this but what was an elf to do. I put that travel time to good use knowing I would have to do it and I logged in before doing stuff I needed to do just so I could start the flight instead of logging in after I was done.
Years later I have learned I should have just stayed there and mailed anything I needed to get rid off to an alt that was already in a city. But this was my first reputation I was grinding. I did not know all those little things you learn from experience.
So as I said, for weeks I did this every single day. I spent entire weekends when I was playing doing this. Little by little I watched my reputation go up with the circle and my goal stayed clear. I did nothing else, for the most part, except work on getting texts.
I must say running the pattern in a circle over and over I had gotten to be quite good at it. I would maximize my time and I actually learned a lot about making the perfect farming route. I learned a lot about keeping an eye out for pats. I learned a lot about how to effectively kill things for speed. And believe it or not I think it made me a slightly better hunter doing the same thing over and over. As they say practice makes perfect.
I did take a break a little where and there to play with the cultist garb that dropped. I would out on all three pieces and summon elementals and collect the junk they dropped. The green items did not sell so I figured I might as well use them. But other than doing that from time to time I just killed cultists and collected quests until the day came when I saw I was exalted, and I was level 61.
I should have head out to the burning crusade content a long time ago but that did not have the reputation I was looking for. That was here and here was were I wanted to be at least until I finished my task at hand, the one I had given to myself, and that was to get the Cenarion Circle to exalted.
So that was it, my very first exalted reputation and one that gave me nothing. From that moment on I always tried to get every reputation to exalted and I did not need anything because I managed that. The journey to getting to exalted was reward enough. I did it because I wanted to. Shouldn't that be why we play games, to do things because we want to?