YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
In part 3 of 12 of the current WAWK series (with apologies for quietness yet again), we’re taking a look at the story and lore behind the Druid artifact weapons, alongside looking at the scenarios themselves and working out who’s who and why we’re on a crusade of maniacal murder in order to get our shiny weapons.
In contrast to the Demon Hunter chapter’s lack of content due to a lack of specs, Druids get the opportunity to level up to four different weapons! The Scythe of Elune awaits Balance Druids, whereas the Fangs of Ashamane are awarded to the melee DPS counterparts in Feral. Guardian Druids get to wield the Claws of Ursoc while Restoration uses a branch of the Mother Tree, G’Hanir.
Before we choose our artifact, Arch Druid Hamuul Runetotem flies down from the sky and tells you that your presence is requested at Moonglade, as a ritual of great importance is being prepared. Using your trusty teleport to Moonglade, you are told by the Arch Druid that the ritual is to open a Dreamway in order to cover vast distances of Azeroth in only a few steps. He asks that you find Zen’tabra and Naralex and then join Malfurion at the ritual site.
Zen’tabra, the Troll Druid trainer in the Echo Isles, can be found on the western shore of Lake Elune’ara fishing in bat form. Finding Naralex on the eastern shore (ahem, that looks more like the southern shore to me, Hamuul) is a little more difficult however, as he’s wondered off from his camp. Following his scent, and you find the Wailing Caverns dreamer “meditating” on the cliff side. Wake him up and he will turn into a moose and head toward the ritual site.
Meet back with Hamuul and he will then tell you to go to Malfurion at the Stormrage Barrow Dens. Hamuul, Malfurion, Keeper Remulos and the two Druids from earlier all help you in empowering the gateway into the Dream, before you then have to enter it yourself to reach Val’sharah, the ancient home of all Druids. Enter the Dreamway and you are met with a beautiful sight of lush, green landscape, but a few scars of black and red vines litter the emerald gateways. The Emerald Nightmare has somehow spread once more from the Rift of Aln and we have to destroy the growths while Remulos attacks the barrier.
After defeating the Nightmare Blight, Remulos turns up and says that the way is clear, and you head on over to the gateway to Val’sharah, to the Dreamgrove. You meet with Arch Druid Rensar Greathoof and Remulos tells him that we must wield the weapons of old in order to combat the Burning Legion. Apparently we’re the only ones powerful enough to wield them! Where was I when you guys gave me an Arch Druid ranking, if I’m more powerful than you guys to wield these ancient weapons? It’s at this point that all Druids split into their spec-specific scenarios.
Balance – Scythe of Elune
The Scythe of Elune is an interesting artifact to give to Druids as it has ties to the creation of the Druids of the Pack, now known as the Worgen. Created during the War of the Satyr from the Staff of Elune and a fang from the wolf demigod Goldrinn, unsuspecting wielders of the staff can give into the ferocity of Goldrinn’s spirit.
When Malfurion banished Alpha Prime (Ralaar Fangfire) to the Emerald Dream, he entrusted the Scythe to Mel’thandris Starsong and when she eventually fell in the War of the Satyr, the Scythe was buried with her. Later, her niece Velinde was granted the Scythe from what she believed was Elune answering her prayers, and unleashed the Worgen onto the demons of Felwood.
Soon she realised that worgen numbers were increasing without her summoning more into the world, so she sought out Archmage Arugal in the Eastern Kingdoms as she had heard he’d also been successful in summoning the wolf-men. However in Duskwood she was intercepted by Varkas, a worgen seeking to overthrow Alpha Prime with the Scythe, and a case of dynamite exploded at Roland’s Doom, killing both Velinde and her attackers and trapping the scythe within the cave.
Jitters, a human in Duskwood, later found the Scythe and released the worgen into Duskwood, and also drew the attention of the Wolf Cult of Gilneas. Eventually Revil Kost, a human priest, and his party came upon Jitters, who told them that the Black Riders of Deadwind Pass were seeking the Scythe at Roland’s Doom, however the Wolf Cult managed to get to it first. After dealing with the worgen, Kost used the Scythe to lure the Dark Riders into an ambush, before sending the Scythe north to Gilneas to banish Alpha Prime back into the Emerald Dream once more.
Alpha Prime was instead killed by the ghost of Arvell in the worgen starting experience, a Druid who refused the use of Pack form and was killed by a satyr. Now back in Night Elven hands, Tyrande now keeps the Scythe safe and us Balance Druids have to convince her that we are worthy of keeping it safe in the battles to come.
Naralex immediately runs up to tell you that Tyrande has authorised the release of the weapon, and that Valorn Stillbough has it once again in Duskwood in his investigation of the feral worgen there. Using the trusty speedy travel services of the Dreamway, you end up at the Twilight Grove in Duskwood, and Valorn is there to present you your new artifact weapon!
Ariden, a Dark Rider, turns up out of nowhere and slays Valorn on the spot, taking the scythe and riding off. It’s up to us to take the scythe back from the Dark Riders, and although Ariden yells that the scythe belongs to Karazhan, we apparently have no idea where to start looking. Valorn and his companion, Belysra Starbreeze, last saw them at Manor Mistmantle outside of Darkshire, so we have to head there to work out any clues as to where to find the Dark Riders.
Inside the Manor we find Revil Kost, who is himself searching for the Dark Riders to reclaim all the artifacts they have no right to. He has a clue as to where to find them, and we get to partake in an escort quest to Ariden’s Camp in Deadwind Pass. After a quick few skirmishes against other Dark Riders, it certainly seems that Kost is a little warmer to you as a Balance Druid in comparison to Unholy DKs and Affliction Warlocks.
After you reach the camp, you find out that the camp is where Ariden was a merchent while trying to ply his dubious wares to the sorcerer Medivh. Looking through his battered journal, you are first attacked by Wrathful Memories. We find out in the journal that the Nightbane worgen become restless as the Scythe of Elune gets nearer, and that they would lead Ariden to the artifact.
The link that allowed Ariden to find Valorn is now our link to finding his new hideout, and more importantly Ariden himself so we can exact vengeance for Belysra. Following luminescent worgen tracks and we find, surprise surprise, that they lead to Karazhan. We find Kost next to a pair of slain Nightbane outside a sewer grate beneath Karazhan, leading us to the next stage of our journey.
Travelling down the spiral staircase and defeating the guards, we’re then blocked by writhing spirits down a long corridor. Displacer Beast or silencing Ariden with Solar Beam will allow you to bypass the spirits and the Curator’s little brother, the Conservator, will try to stop you. Entering the room behind and you see all sorts of artifacts the Dark Riders have taken: titan spheres, runes and magical doodads, even some draenei crystals. Some weapons are rested on the walls, but the prize you seek is right in front of you. Attempting to grab it will knock your back and Ariden taunts you while force-choking Kost, then he rides away again further into the sewers.
Eventually you’ll meet Ariden head on, and after a short fight with him, he will succumb to the rage of the wolf within the scythe, and it becomes a kiting game! Once you defeat him Kost will return to you and tell you that he will reclaim the stolen artifacts and return them to their rightful owners. Although Ariden has been defeated, he says that they will soon regroup. Sounds like a future story element to me. A short Dreamwalk later and you’re back at the Dreamgrove. Talk to Arch Druid Greathoof and he will give you the last seed of the first forest of Azeroth, known as the Seed of Ages. Plenting it in an area with plenty of air and water will allow it to grow, and you can combine its powers with the scythe to make them both far more powerful.
Once you plant your seed, you return to Malfurion, and finally he realises you’re an ok druid and grants you the title of an Arch Druid!
Feral – Fangs of Ashamane
Drawing the short paw on the lore front, Feral get to dual wield daggers and are introduced to a nightsaber Wild God named Ashamane. Unfortunately during the War of the Ancients 10,000 years ago she fell against the might of the Legion. The druid sect called the Ashen protect her fangs, which hold much of her power still to this day, at her shrine in Val’Sharah. It’s up to us to persuade the Ashen to use the fangs in combat against the Legion once more. Seems simple enough, right?
With Rensar Greathoof’s signet, we take a short flight to Ashamane’s Fall to speak with Delandros Shimmermoon, only to find an Ashen druid nearly dead and Shimmermoon kneeling over her. Verstok Darkbough appears to be distressed by this, yelling at Shimmermoon saying that the shrine is no longer safe and that he’ll guard the fangs in case the wards fail.
Shimmermoon says that he’ll help us if we help him first, so our first task is to kill some eredar and free their captives, and to find the Tel’andu seeds in order to refresh the wards. As it turns out, the three elves responsible for keeping these seeds are dead, so you just have to gather them from their corpses. Once you return to Shimmermoon, he asks what it is you require.
When you tell him, he lets you know that normally he would have told you to take a walk, but because of you saving those four druids and returning the seeds to him, he will allow you to take them – as long as you get rid of the rest of the demons in the area. Before you are able to begin however, fel energy explodes from the shrine itself, and you’re told to go investigate to see what’s happened to Darkbough.
When you get there, you find the pit lord Algromon about to take them. The wards had failed, but fortunately Darkbough was able to take them and run off before Algromon could. After you dispatch the annihilan, Shimmermoon goes to investigate and finds that the fangs have gone. He tells you to track him down and recover the Fangs, as although he saved them for a brief period, it’ll be suicidal to stay out in the wilds with them.
The search will take you down to the south eastern edge of Val’Sharah (after being transported helpfully by Shimmermoon’s mount, Ebonfang), and you have to go into cat form yourself to detect his scent. Following it down the path, you find that the withered – elves that have turned into zombie-like beings in a thirst for magic – have littered the path while hungering for the magic in the Fangs.
Flipping two switches will open the doors to Falanaar, where Darkbough is hiding. When you enter he accuses you of being a demon and says that you’ll never get the Fangs from him. I guess he’s gone mad while wielding them, and we’ll have to take them from him forcefully.
You find him down the broken cloister, and after a small scuffle he maims you and runs into the caves below the ruins, so you have to chase after him… Into a spider’s nest. Fighting your way through the spiders, you find Webmistress Shinaris webbing a victim before she notices you. Kill her, and Darkbough frees himself from the webbing, seemingly a lot more sane. He says you’re much more capable of protecting them than himself, so offers them to you as Ebonfang returns to take you back to the Dreamgrove.
Guardian – Claws of Ursoc
As morbid if it was the case, these aren’t the actual claws of the bear demigod Ursoc. These are fist weapons made of titansteel and gifted to the Wild God from Keeper Freya to aid him in battle until his death in the War of the Ancients. Although his body faded away, the claws remained and have been said to contain a fragment of his spirit inside of them. Druids took the claws from Ursoc’s furbolg followers and returned them to the Emerald Dream to Ursoc for his spirit to safeguard.
We’re told to go and find Lea Stonepaw and the Druids of the Claw inside the Tel’Andu Barrow Den inside the Dreamgrove to find out information on where to find Ursoc. She’s very protective of the claws and is cold toward you until she realises that you’re no novice Druid. She tells you to draw water from the moonwell in the Dreamgrove and then meet her in the Grizzly Hills at the fallen world tree Vordrassil, site of two warring furbolg clans.
When we reach Lea, she tells us that magical wards were placed to prevent anyone from reaching the claws after they were sealed away. The only way to get through the wards is through the power of a demigod, such as Ursoc’s brother, Ursol. In order to summon the brother, we have to search for offerings to Ursol on the fallen furbolg shaman bodies.
After searching the bodies (where apparently you can rigorously search them by spam clicking to get more than one shaman’s pounch), Lea can now start summoning Ursol. Once he is summoned, she pleads with him that the Legion has returned and asks for his aid in recovering the claws.
Ursol then requires you to go under a set of three trials to prove to him that the spirit of the bear resides inside you, so that you can wield the power of the claws. The first task is simple, just kill one furbolg spirit. The second a little more challenging with a few waves of furbolgs before the final one where you have to protect Lea from waves of furbolgs coming from different directions. Once all three trials are completed, you gain Ursol’s blessing to enter the Dream and retrieve the claws.
When you enter the dream, you find Ursoc’s Lair covered in fog and the Nightmare vines. Satyr pollute the Dream here and we find the spirit of Ursoc himself fighting them off. When we meet with him, he give us permission to take them, though Lea has to cast a ritual to drop the barrier protecting them. While she does this, we again have to fight off waves of enemies, though this time we also gain the aid of a Verdant Warder to heal us, while Mylune the frost nymph proceeds to cast Starfall in terrible locations. When the waves have been defeated, you can then claim your prize, the Claws of Ursoc!
However, just as you’re about to pick them up the Shade of Xavius, Lord of the Nightmare, turns up and stuns everyone in the party, before kidnapping Ursoc and making his lackey, Arch-Desecrator Malithar, take the Claws to kill us off. Finish him off and we finally get to take the claws for ourselves – Ursoc make have been taken, but at least we have the claws in order to help get him back! Lea will leave you here to track down Xavius and return with Ursoc while we go back to the Dreamgrove to speak with Arch Druid Greathoof.
On your return Greathoof mourns the loss of Ursoc, but congratulates your acquisition of the claws.
Restoration – G’Hanir, the Mother Tree
While Restoration’s back story to their artifact is about as well known as Feral’s, at least G’Hanir has been used in previous lore. Cited as the first tree, the demigod Aviana gifted a branch of it to the first druids to aid them in achieving complete harmony with nature, allowing them to tap into deeply powerful restorative spells. More recently, the branch has been used as a weapon against the corruption of the Nightmare, though contact has been lost with the druids beneath Shaladrassil.
The quest starts with you speaking with Keeper Remulos, telling you to go see the forest nymph Mylune who will take you to the hidden location underneath Shaladrassil where the staff is being kept. When you approach her, she and many other woodland creatures around her seem distressed, and she warns you that G’Hanir’s corrupted, and that we have to go into the Emerald Dream in order to retrieve it.
In order to enter the Dream, you must grab a cup of moonwater from the moonwell in the Dreamgrove, and be blessed by an ancient. Leafbeard will give you the blessing, and right next to him the moonwell already has cups ready for you. When you return to Mylune, she tells you to meet with Naralex deep within the barrow dens in the Dreamgrove to complete the ritual to allow you to transition into the Dream.
When you enter, you find that you have a corruption bar slowly ticking up. Healing yourself will decrease the corruption, though getting hit by anything or standing in red will cause it to tick up faster, so keep rolling heals over time on yourself and be sure to not get into too many conflicts at once. Dispel the roots on the druid in front of you, and make your way out of the barrow dens to find G’Hanir, corrupted, in the middle of the Dreamgrove’s Dream version. (dream, dream, dream… Blizzard always being brilliant with their synonyms.)
When you grab it, you’re prompted to wake back up again, and you’re instructed to go meet with Lyessa Bloomwatcher (the druid you cleared of roots and helped you get G’Hanir just now) up above. You’re then told to go for a short trip through the Dreamway to Mount Hyjal in order to cleanse G’Hanir in the waters of Nordrassil, as the World Tree was born from an acorn of G’Hanir.
Arriving at Mount Hyjal however shows a very different scene to what we know of Nordrassil: the lake is almost completely drained and there’s a Legion gateway standing in its place. The ground is littered with demonic corpses, and notable druids are all either incapacitated or injured around the devastation. Skylord Omnuron lets you know what’s happened there, and tells you to heal the other druids to prepare for the ritual while he goes back to the Dreamgrove. Dispelling Zen’tabra and healing Celestine and Hamuul to full brings them to the ritual site, and you can begin.
As soon as the ritual starts however, the pit lord Destromath (finally the servers get their name in the game!) comes through the Legion gateway, and it’s up to you and the druids you just helped to hold him back while Lyessa finishes the ritual. After some time, Aviana arrives and throws Destromath into a cyclone of winds, effectively removing him from the fight so you can give G’Hanir to Lyessa to finish the ritual. Once that happens, you are able to take the purified G’Hanir from the waters, and call upon the wisps of Hyjal to detonate themselves upon the demon lord.
Returning to the Dreamgrove allows Lyessa to formally grant you the title of the Guardian of G’Hanir as the protector of life and guardian of the Dream.