My alchemist warlock was level 35 when the expansion came out, and has only recently reached the old level cap, so it's doubtful that he will ever see Zul'Gurub. On the other hand, I use him to supply my level 70 toons with potions and such, so I'd really like him to have as many recipes as possible. Specifically, I'd love to be able to make the better Troll's Blood and Mage Blood pots. I don't have a lot of time to spare for him though, so trying to get into ZG pugs isn't really high on my list. This is what sparked my desire to figure out how to get Zandalar faction without running ZG.
I had hoped that I could just turn in coins and bijous for rep, and it turns out that you can. I've been checking the auctions regularly and buying reasonably priced coins and bijous, I'm currently halfway through Neutral from that alone. If you pay about 2 gold per coin, it would cost you about 240g to reach Friendly using this method. That really not unreasonable given the price of other high-end alchemy recipes. For those with lots of cash and the patience to wait for folks to post their goodies, this would probably be a solid way to gain Zandalar rep. But I'm not completely satisfied with this option, so I thought I'd explore the possibility of farming ZG mobs for rep in addition to buying rep turn-ins.
So I headed off with Kaliope to ZG in an attempt to solo farm Zandalar rep. I started with the trolls near the entrance, which ended up being a big mistake. The trolls stun quite a bit and also have an AOE axe-throwing ability. When I tried to take a pair of them by myself, I was stunned so often that I was barely able to attack and couldn't even bash/heal to save myself. After a few tries I gave up and decided to find a buddy to help me out.
For my next visit, I recruited Squorgov to come with me. I figure you can't go wrong with a couple of druids for situations like this, heheh. We tried the same group when we got there and also died due to the excessive stunning (on him) and the axe throws (on me). On the second attempt, we put some HoTs on him and I tried to stay at max range, which was a bit tricky since there's not too far you can go without line-of-sight issues. I was able to stand on the stairs and avoid some of the axes, but not all. Since they knock 500-800 health off you per second, you can die pretty quickly to them. But we did manage to kill a couple of these groups with a bit of effort, although we eventually decided they were too much work and moved on.
After that Squorgov tried pulling a pair of snakes with Hibernate. This worked pretty well as the one snake stayed behind while the other got killed. By the time the second snake woke up, the first was about dead. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of these snake pats wandering around, so we decided to try something else for folks that really want to farm rep.
Since the humanoid mobs were turning out to be too challenging, we opted for more critter pulls. We also didn't want to formulate a plan that relied on stealthing, so we headed left for the waterfall and jumped down to the river (moat, whatever) that surrounds Hakkar. There are fish in the river as well as crocodiles around the banks which we both felt would make better solo targets. It was very easy to reach the river without aggroing any mobs.
In the river are "hooktooth frenzy" fishes that are easy solo kills. Squorgov was able to kill them in bear or cat form with no healing and minimal health loss, we also had a rogue with us for awhile who killed frenzies with no outside assistance. Each gives one point of rep per kill, but no loot. They seem to respawn about every ten minutes, which should be enough time for any player to do a full clear of the moat.
The crocodile groups are a bit more challenging, but I believe some classes could solo them too. Squorgov was able to kill groups of them in bear form without too much risk of dying, a warrior or pally would probably be able to do the same, since they have high armor and hitpoints. Other classes would likely have to experiment with various forms of AOE damage + kiting or crowd control. Each croc has about 10k health, but we felt that ice mages could probably handle them, as well as hunters and possibly warlocks. The benefit to killing the crocs and snakes is that they drop loot. We collected half a dozen coins off the various critters we killed, so if you can handle them you'll boost your rep gain. Each croc and snake also gave 1 rep per kill, so it will be slow going. You will probably want to do this in combination with coin/bijou collection, the progress will be agonizingly slow otherwise.
Truly the best way to farm Zandalar rep is to recruit a buddy or two. Based on our experience, adding a healer to the mix makes things significantly easier. We tried a handful of different pull types, including a few snake groups and a 6-pack of raptors near the raptor boss (don't ask, we were trying to click a jinxed hoodoo pile :P) We also killed one of those berzerker things and got 5 rep, but he was kind of a long fight so we didn't thing he was worth the extra rep. Based on how well we did with two, I think if you had 3-5 people you could probably handle most or all of the trash mob groups, especially if there was some CC in the mix. If you brought a 5-man dungeon group, you could probably clear alot of ZG minus the boss fights. Just something to think about.
In closing, there's no reason I can see that you couldn't gain Zandalar rep purely through coins and bijous. If you want to try farming rep by killing mobs, the fish are easy and on a workable respawn timer. For those feeling adventurous, give the crocs and snakes a try. The rep is the same but you can loot coins and bijous from them as well. If you really want to maximize your rep gains, bringing along a friend or small group will help you tackle more mobs than you can by yourself.
I want to give a very big "Thank You" to my friend Squorgov for coming with me and helping me test various strategies for farming rep in Zul'Gurub =) Stay tuned for my next article about the Cenarion Circle.