Knifey has been trying to get exalted with Ironforge so he can get a swift riding ram. This is to replace his horse, for which he had to get exalted with Stormwind, because the swift horses aren't as appealing. All this so I don't have to ride a mechanostrider. I had run through all the low-level quests long after they were giving experience, and although it was piling up the faction's reputation it was tedious to have no challenge in wading through mobs and no personal progress. Coupled with the number of quests offering Ironforge reputation available becoming sparse I put the reputation gain on hold for a while. This hasn't been a problem because there is no access to swift mounts before level 60 anyway, but with Knifey at level 58 the opportunity to ride a swift mount is quickly approaching. It is time to get those last few thousand reputation points.
I knew the last chunk of reputation might come at a price, though. It seems that faction reputation for the main races is mostly only available up to around level 40, after which new factions become important, like the Argent Dawn and Cenarion Circle, and the central factions are no longer represented. Having found almost no new quests offering Ironforge Reputation for almost twenty levels I had a worrying suspicion that Knifey would have to enter the dreaded Uldaman dungeon to complete his rise to exalted status. Uldaman is dreaded not because it meant being part of a group, as I could probably do most of it solo by now in much the same way I took on the Stockades for Stormwind reputation, but because the tunnels can be intricate and confusing, and it contains a whole load of horribly annoying mobs, either because of combat abilities or just sheer numbers. I have never completed Uldaman with any character, despite many attempts and in part because the final boss cannot be reached without three people in a group, which Tiger, my night-elf warrior, found out on her way to getting a ram. Tiger ended up handing in stacks of runecloth to become exalted, but that was mostly because the new reputation system had not been in effect. I was hoping Knifey could avoid that.
I completed the last few quests I had left in the Wetlands, clearing out the excavation site of raptors for the archeologists, and burning the Dragonmaw catapults and killing the orc leader. I still had a couple of thousand reputation I had to gain, so I gritted my teeth, headed back to Ironforge, and picked up the Uldaman quests available there. Flying over to Loch Modan I remembered to pick up the quest offered by the alchemy trainer, Uldaman Reagent Run, before heading south to the Badlands. I stopped off at Hammertoe's Digsite and picked up the crumpled map lying under one of the tents. This sent me on a little quest chain to find Hammertoe and return his amulet. Along with the Reclaimed Treasure quest from Ironforge and Solution to Doom from the dwarf in southern Badlands I headed in to Uldaman in search of the lacking reputation.
The Uldaman Reagent Run required picking mushrooms, and is a much easier quest at high level because each picked mushroom has a chance of dropping what I assume to be an annoying debuff on the character. I assume it to be annoying because I resisted the debuff each time, which is what makes the quest easier. Wandering through the tunnels led me to Hammertoe, who after being found asked me to get him his amulet back from someone wandering nearby. Having done this I wandered a bit further, in to Trogg territory, and found the Reclaimed Treasure almost by accident, which was lucky. I had the feeling I was missing another collection quest but it didn't look like it would matter. I had some quests to turn in and with them being important-sounding quests they might offer more than the usual reputation gain, so I headed back out to show people what I had gathered for them.
The Hammertoe quests led to a bit of running around, but with each step offering a small chunk of reputation it seemed worth it. And it was worth it, as the few quests I had completed were enough to gain me exalted status with Ironforge! I could ignore the Solution to Doom quest, and it didn't then bother me that the quest resulting from examining a Shattered Necklace that dropped from a mob didn't give any reputation, my goal had been reached. The best part was that I hadn't even needed to step foot inside the Uldaman instance, as all the quests were in the tunnels leading up to the instance entrance. This also meant that I didn't have to fight any elite mobs, with all mobs outside the instance having been downgraded, making it much less of a chore than it could have been. All this and I didn't have to hand in any runecloth to the quartermaster. It certainly looks like gaining exalted reputation with Ironforge can be achieved before the riding ram is available at level 40, with just a bit of caution needed outside of Uldaman and completing quests from Dun Morogh, Loch Modan, and Wetlands.
I can now bide my time for the next couple of levels, content with only having to think about what colour barding I'd like my swift riding ram to be fitted with.