I don't know about you guys, but the changes to reputations in 5.1 have already got me strategizing my current gameplan for dailies. Earlier this week I got my second toon to 90, so I'm employing a bit of a "divide and conquer" scenario. Kaliope had been pushing Golden Lotus to Honored for the nice Leatherworking recipes while Kayree spent her last two levels in Townlong, soaking up Shado-pan rep for Enchanting recipes. I'm still not completely clear on the reason for the Golden Lotus gating to other reps. In the case of Kayree (enchanter/engineer) she has no need for Golden Lotus except to unlock Shado-pan. Kaliope also has no desire to continue doing Golden Lotus now that she has her recipes. But after the arduous grind to Honored, I find myself contemplating a push to Revered purely for the benefit of my other toons. Since Kaliope is already Honored, it should be faster to get her to Revered, which will let me unlock double rep for all the others who need it.
I have to say I'm not thrilled with the structure of the Golden Lotus progression. Each quest grants a measly 100 rep (110 with guild perk), which feels really sluggish after the last two expansions. There are also a ridiculous number of dailies to wade through if you want to cap your rep each day. I have a hard time sticking with it, by the time I finish the second hub I really want to move on to something different. I think folks would have less problems with this faction if the number of quests had been cut in half with the faction per quest doubled. I realize that may not be the time sink that Blizzard wants to allow, but from what I'm reading the culture shock of this change has really created some negative player sentiment for them.
I think what contributes to the sense of angst is that we're spending up to an hour a day doing a dozen (or more depending on what you've unlocked) quests and walking away with maybe 1000 rep. To me this seems to be the heart of the frustration - putting in a relatively large chunk of player time and gaining a seemingly small amount of reputation for it. It's not so much that I don't want the rep or that I'm averse to doing the quests. It's more that the perception of progress feels quite slow compared to what we're accustomed to getting.
On top of this, you have Golden Lotus rep blocking access to other factions. This simply compounds the frustration and anger. I know with my enchanter, I've been able to cheese my way through a good portion of Shado-pan rep by hitting the right quest hubs while leveling. But I know that I have no chance of getting to Revered without side-tracking to Golden Lotus, then coming back to Shado-pan. No matter how you slice it, that process is just going to feel bad to players. Pushing me to spend two weeks grinding a rep I don't need just to unlock the one I actually want is not ever going to feel rewarding or fun. Much as I try to see both sides of the issues (dev vs player) I really can't wrap my head around this one. What was the goal that demanded Rep A to be a prerequisite for Rep B other than just unfettered content gating? I would rather see Shado-pan take twice as long to earn than have to do a seemingly unrelated task for days just to access it.
As I say, I totally get that they want to reduce the rate at which we can consume content. I'm just not convinced that this was the best way to achieve that goal. So they take away our EZ-mode tabards - fair enough. And take away the quest zones that let us get to Honored while we level up - I can deal with it. Cut the amount of rep per quest in half - fine I'll suck it up. Force us to level one faction just to unlock another - that's crossing the line in my book. I think the situation we ended up with was just too much/too soon. They spent the last two expansions mostly making rep grinds easier and less painful. Then in one fell swoop they threw us back to something that resembles a Vanilla/BC hybrid approach.
That said, I'm glad they are making a concession to the situation by adding the Revered boost in the next patch. It's a step in the right direction, but I think they should seriously consider removing the chain between Golden Lotus and the other factions. There are plenty of players who will do Golden Lotus to get the recipes for their crafters (Smiths, Tailors & LW). There are also plenty of us who will push to Revered to make life easier with our alts. This faction and this content will not get ignored if you let players tackle other factions without it.
In fact it might help players enjoy the content more than they are now. I haven't even seen the dailies for Shado-pan, August Celestials or Cloud Serpents. I'm too busy working on my Tiller rep to unlock my farm and doing Golden Lotus. I've heard rumors that the Cloud Serpent dailies are fun, but I just don't have time for it. At this point I fear burn-out before I even get to them because I'll be bottle-necked on Golden Lotus with all five of my toons. What I think would be more fun is a scenario where each of my toons might be working on a different rep. So each time I log in, I can look forward to a completely different set of dailies on each character. I truly hope they reconsider the current structure and loosen up the restrictions as this expansion moves forward.