Unsatisfied with dominating the damage charts in previous expansions – sometimes even to the point where stacking them late into the tier could be used to skip mechanics entirely and speedkill bosses, mages get an assortment of artifacts this expansion that belong to very well known mages in lore. Arcane get access to Aluneth, the staff of Aegwynn, the only female Guardian of Tirisfal and mother of Medivh; fire wields Felo’melorn, the spellblade belonging to the Sunstrider family through the War of the Ancients, the Troll Wars and the fight against the death knight Arthas; and frost mages will be able to use Ebonchill, the staff of the first Guardian of Tirisfal, Alodi.
Meryl Felstorm calls upon you to meet with him in Dalaran, at the Violet Gate, to warn you of an escaped dreadlord on your hands (cue Jaina memes). Kathra’natir, who he banished and trapped within his own body in the comics, has broken free. The dreadlord seeks a relic called the Forge of the Guardian – an item used to infuse the Council of Tirisfal’s power into the Guardian. You join Felstorm to confront the dreadlord in Violet Hold, where the Forge was hidden.
When you head inside, you fight with Kathra’natir (don’t forget to spellsteal his leech ability) shortly before Felstorm freezes him into a block of ice. He claims that the dreadlord is too strong, so you’ll have to use the Forge of the Guardian, being siphoned by rifts for its magic to be infused with the power of the Guardian Alodi temporarily to defeat him.
After defeating him, Alodi forms as a spirit and tells Felstorm that the Legion will continue to seek the Forge of the Guardian once Kathra’natir returns to strength again. You have to transport it to an even safer location than the Violet Hold – to your class hall, the Hall of the Guardian. Felstorm says he will reform the Tirisgarde, and elite order of mages, with you as its champion.
The Tirisgarde themselves weren’t as powerful as the Guardian themselves, though they were able to use powerful artifacts and work together in order to overcome obstacles, and it is now that you’re prompted to pursue which artifact to go for first: Aluneth, Felo’melorn or Ebonchill.
Arcane – Aluneth, Greatstaff of the Magna
Aluneth was most notably wielded for a time by Aegwynn, the only female Guardian of Tirisfal, although stories indicate that it is far older than she. She is said to have found the staff roughly a century after she took up the mantle of Guardian, and to have wielded Aluneth in many battles against the Burning Legion. Several years before relinquishing her title, she retired the staff, but none know where she might have stored it.
Felstorm starts the search with the blue dragonflight, as the Kirin Tor entrusted the staff with them, fearing its unbridled power. Fortunately, the Kirin Tor have a blue dragon on their Council, so you’re told to meet with him at the Violet Citadel, along with taking some scrolls that Aegwynn used to bind the elemental Aluneth into the staff.
When you meet up with the blue dragon, he tells you that the staff was kept within the Nexus Vault and warns you that after the blue dragonflight was dissolved, the Nexus was all but abandoned – there’s no knowing what may be waiting for us down there. He instructs you to go to the Azure Dragonshrine to find out what’s happening within Coldarra since the end of the Nexus War.
When you get there, you find the area filled with void beings so you have to find clues as to what happened here. Ethereal portals, void-tainted blades on the corpses of focus wizards and void siphons placed where void energy was released when Malygos forced Azeroth’s ley lines into the Twisting Nether are all clues as to what’s happened at the shrine, before finding an ethereal communication device at the south-eastern corner of the shrine. It appears that to find out more we’re going to have to turn the device on!
Turning it on causes Nexus-Prince Bilaal to appear and tell you that you’re too late, that the powers within the Nexus Vault already widen the breach into the Twisting Nether, and that the Ethereum (remember these guys from TBC?) will be able to use this power to become void creatures themselves. Kalec tells you to scout out a few key locations in Coldarra and report back to him what you find.
The Ethereum have altered the Surge Needles and are tapping into the void energy caused by a rift that’s created underneath them, shielding the Nexus foundations, and inspecting the nexus building itself tells Kalec that the energy from Aluneth appears to be breaking free from the weakened vault. He formulates a plan to use the altered Surge Needles against the Ethereum. To begin with, you need to empower yourself with the unstable arcane energy around the foundation of the Nexus by either defeating the arcane aberrants around the area or siphoning the breaches of arcane energy.
Once you infuse yourself with enough energy, you turn into a disco ball of light, Kalec tells you to unleash that energy on the focused void underneath all three of the Surge Needles. When you do, Azuregos of all blue dragons senses your presence within Coldarra, and Kalec asks that you put an end to the ethereals within the vault and claim Aluneth for yourself, to free Azuregos from their grip.
When you enter, Azuregos tells you that the Ethereum have stolen anything of worth, and tells you to take the fight to them instead of taking the treasures straight from him. Nothing is ever simple these days, is it? Defeating the scions of fire, ice and magic releases Azuregos from the trap and will aid you in getting to the vault. Making your way through the Nexus, it becomes apparent that Aluneth is no longer fully contained and there are series of traps around the halls that would be harmful toward you if you happened to step in them. Blinking over arcane flood and avoiding the explosions will make light work of the instability as you fight your way through the Nexus.
When you reach the Librarium, Azuregos claims that Malygos broke the entrance to the vault when he breached the Twisting Nether during the Nexus Wars. Before you can continue to find another way into the vault, an echo of Aluneth appears and tries to kill you. After dealing with that, you continue through the Nexus to find another way into the vault – through the rift.
Since you last came here, it seems that the Ethereum have done some internal decorating by removing the bridge to the rift, so you ride atop Azuregos to make your way over to Nexus-Prince Bilaal, who has turned himself into a void revenant – similar to Xhul’horac in Hellfire Citadel’s void version. Once you defeat him, Azuregos can open a portal to the Nexus Vault and explains to you that you can only leave the vault with the weapon, you must first gain control over it.
Using the three scrolls Felstorm gave you at the start of your journey, you must place them in positions around the vault in order to calm the volatile arcane projections spinning around the room. The staff proceeds to insult you as you calm the energies around him, and claims you’re not as powerful as Aegwynn… Well no shit! She’s a Guardian! Still, you claim the staff as your own, and I’m sure it’ll carry on giving you sass throughout the expansion.
When you return to the Nexus, Azuregos congratulates you on acquiring the staff, thanks you for freeing him, and tells you that he will secure the Nexus to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands again. When you are done, he provides you with a portal back to Dalaran to notify Kalec of what’s happened, before you return to a now-rebuilt Hall of the Guardian, to begin your journey against the Legion in the Broken Isles.
Fire – Felo’melorn
One of the more famous weapons on the list for mages, its history of wielders are still just as important as its frost and arcane counterparts. The Sunstrider dynasty have used this weapon against the Burning Legion back in the War of the Ancients, as well as against their adversaries in the Troll Wars before Kael’thas Sunstrider reforged it to be used against the Lich King and Frostmourne. Unfortunately the blood elf lost in the conflict, and was forced to leave the weapon behind in his retreat of the frigid wastes of Northrend.
Felstorm tells you that Archmage Modera has recently uncovered some information on the whereabouts of this artifact, where she tells you to meet with her at Dalaran Crater as her lead on the artifact is unable to enter the city of Dalaran. When you meet with her at the crater, Aethas Sunreaver, the betrayer of Dalaran at the Divine Bell incident during Mists of Pandaria, arrives to aid you and tells you of Lyandra Sunstrider’s quest to find Felo’melorn after Kael’thas’s betrayal. He tells you that after years of no contact, he decided to search for the blade when the Legion came knocking on our doorstep. He saw a vision of Lyandra with the weapon in hand, standing in front of Icecrown Citadel.
Sunreaver creates a portal for you to take you to Icecrown, to take the blade from Lyandra and warns you that she won’t relinquish it easily… And that the Lich King may bring some minions to prevent your access of the Citadel. As soon as you portal in, the Lich King senses you in his halls and sets you trials that you’ll have to pass in order to take the blade for your own. He threatens that if you fall, you will become a mindless minion of the Scourge… Seems Bolvar’s influence is working on the new Lich King!
Going through the first hallway you’re met with blocks of ice that break open when you walk near them, unleashing a geist on you, alongside some patrols to keep you occupied. The harder part of the trial is the miniboss at the end of the hallway constantly blowing winds down the hall in central or outer edge passages, constantly pushing you back while you fight your way through. Defeat the conjurer, and you’re met with a permafrost wall to destroy with your AoE abilities.
When you break through, Lyandra Sunstrider, now more clearly an agent of undeath, taunts you and tells you that if you try to take the blade, she will strike you down. You’re also met with a room that has falling chunks of ice that you have to navigate through, while AoEing packs of mobs and keeping away from those same ice blocks as before.
Eventually you will make your way to the Crimson Hall where you will find Lyandra waiting for you. She will send packs of burning undead at you before fleeing back further into the hall. You will fight against her for a small while before a fiery version of Marrowgar, named Gorewing, becomes reanimated. Aethas picks that moment to rejoin your effort in fighting against Lyandra and holds her at bay while you deal with Gorewing.
Once you’ve dealt with the flaming Marrowgar, Lyandra becomes targetable again and you can finish her off. When you do, the Lich King will congratulate you on your new weapon and tells you to leave, claiming that the living have no place within his citadel of ice. Claim your new weapon, and return to Dalaran with your floating orbs of fire in tow over your head… Now you can really RP like a Blood Mage! When you return, Aethas is under trial for his return to Dalaran, and after some discussion among the Council, is free to go – let’s hope he doesn’t have any ulterior motives to betray the Kirin Tor once more. You’re then prompted to return to the newly refurbished Hall of the Guardian to begin your journey into the Broken Isles.
Frost – Ebonchill
Frost Mages get to use the staff of the first Guardian of Tirisfal, Alodi. You meet him during the introductory quests and appears in the manga as well as the Warcraft movie. When he stepped down from Guardian, he kept the staff until his dying day, and passed it onto his favourite apprentice and so on up until archmage Arrexis wielded it during the First War.
Being frost mages, apparently all we want to do is to study, so we must look through the stacks of books in the Hall of the Guardian for clues as to what happened to the fate of Arrexis. We learn of a Phantasm Zone, a prison dimension within a dimension that would fly through the Twisting Nether forever, with its occupant able to see out, but never escape – this occupant being Millhouse Manastorm’s father, Magnus Manastorm. A missive dating back to when the first mages were being taught magic by the high elves lies in one corner, though more interesting and related to Arrexis in another book we find out about an eredar lord named Balaadur, who convinces or forces archmages to enter tears in reality where he can finish them off and use their weapons as his own trophies.
A hint of Medivh’s corruption to Sargeras is in an old journal underneath a bookcase, where Arrexis speaks with the last Guardian about experiments made to bring up wards brought about droves of mana leeches, as well as mentioning the weakness of reality within Karazhan to Medivh. In a brief moment, Medivh had a strange smile when staring at the wards and telling Arrexis to continue with his ritual on the demonic realms.
Finally, we learn from an old scrap of paper that apparently his ritual was successful, but he and all his apprentices died. From what we learn, many of the Council also died, and they wanted no repeat of it, so scrubbed all records of Arrexis and his ritual – despite considering it an accident and failed experiment, with the death of other members in the Tirisgarde foul play was suspected. Someone named Daio was also sent packing for his part in the debacle, and mentions Balaadur as a key player within this experiment.
Telling Felstorm of what you’ve learned, linking Balaadur with Arrexis, and the new owner of Ebonchill, Felstorm suggests recreating the ritual to attract the eredar lord’s attention and attempt to ambush us. So we now have to head out to Karazhan to find and retrieve information, to the Blasted Lands to seek out Daio the Decrepit, and to go to the Bank of Dalaran to gain access to Alodi’s Mana Gems as we have no access to apprentices to fund extra mana for the ritual.
Heading to Alodi’s vault to begin with and you’ll find that guardian orbs are floating around exploding, so quickly dispatching them allows you to freely walk around the room for a few brief moments before they turn themselves back on. You can then take the portal in central Dalaran to Karazhan to begin the next two stages of finding out what the ritual was that Arrexis attempted. When you arrive at the camp, you find the place is overrun by arcane hunters and mana scavengers – clearly the ritual site is still infused with energy after all these years!
Grabbing a functional ward, you then can find the ritual notes a little further up the camp, which will then trigger Merina’s spirit who tells you to find the focus crystal near her corpse at the back of the camp. With focus crystal in your possession, we can go and seek out Daio the Decrepit, at the small part of the Taunted Scar in Blasted Lands that’s still desolate of life. He explains that the ritual caused Arrexis to be dragged screaming into the Nether and his entire cadre of mages to be slaughtered. It caused Daio to give up the arcane in pursuit of the fel to understand what happened and how to bring justice to Balaadur.
Daio is not particularly trusting of your ability to take on Balaadur and his minions, so summons demons of his own before joining your cause. When you’re successful, he gives you a demonic stone from Baladuur’s realm to attune the ritual to demonic energies. Returning to the Hall of the Guardian, you’re told to go somewhere highly visible to draw the attention of the eredar lord, so Faronaar, a Legion-entrenched area in Azsuna is suggested as the ritual site.
Once you land, you’re told to set up wards at key locations and then to go to the Altar of End Times to activate the ritual focus. Once you do, several waves of demons will attempt to stop you until you reach near-completion of powering the focus. When that happens, Balaadur will come for you and drag you into his realm, where you will fight one against one until either of you triumph. When you take him down, take Ebonchill as your own and head back through the portal to Faronaar, before taking another portal back to the Hall of the Guardian to find it all repaired, and for you to begin your journey into the Broken Isles.