WAWK: Warrior Artifact Edition

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The artifact edition of the WAWK series comes to a close with this final article: the Warrior edition. Forever a staple in any class-based game, the warriors of Warcraft have undergone many changes for over a decade now, but they’ve always stayed true to a classic fantasy of being armsmasters, berserkers and stalwart knights.

So with the wealth of weapons wielded by legendary warriors in Warcraft, why do we not get legendary weapons of lore such as Gorehowl or Shalamayne? Although the Arms’ artifact was used by one of the greatest leaders of humanity, we’ve never really heard of the artifact itself, just of the king himself. Fury’s artifact is linked with Legion itself with links to the Vrykul, similar to Protection’s shield – though at least the shield is also linked to Deathwing, who I’m sure people are aware of.

Introductory Quests

A champion of your faction will encounter you (Eitrigg for Horde, Sergeant Dalton for Alliance) and will greet you in Dalaran, both of which concerned for other members of their faction (Saurfang for Horde, Danath Trollbane for Alliance), who will ask you to join them in a mission on the Broken Shore.

You fly with Saurfang/Trollbane to the Broken Shore, though before you land you are fired upon by fel cannons, and your partner in reconnaissance gets shot out of the sky and you unfortunately are forced to crash down behind a group of Vrykul at the beach. Once you aid them in killing the Legion forces on the beach. Once you defeat them, a holy val’kyr descends from the sky and raises two of the vrykul that fell in combat. For those that recall, val’kyr were vrykul females raised into undeath by the Lich King a few expansions ago, but as it turns out there are in fact golden versions of them that aren’t under the sway of the Lich King/Sylvanas. After another wave of demons, a pit lord engages your team and slowly takes down each vrykul one by one until it’s just you left. Once you get him to low health, he will detonate himself to kill you, and the val’kyr takes you to your order hall: the Skyhold!

If you enjoy the mythology behind Valhalla and the Nordic afterlife, then this is the class hall for you. Golden halls towering above the clouds, the great mead hall, an arena to test your mettle. It’s anything a warrior could ask for! But only the dead may enter Valhalla just as they may never leave, and that’s usually the case for the Skyhold too, however recently the val’kyr and Odyn have had to reassess that rule in order to recruit more to their forces. The val’kyr saved you just in time before your death in order to bring you into their ranks, and allow you to leave Skyhold to fight against the Legion.

Danica, the val’kyr that saved you, gives you a tour of the Skyhold before being announced to Odyn of your presence within the halls. Odyn sings your praises as the mightiest living warrior and names you Valarjar, the champion of his armies. It is then that you choose your artifact weapon to begin your journey into the Broken Isles.

WarrArms

Arms – Strom’kar, the Warbreaker

The first king of the Humans, Thoradin, was famous for uniting the human tribes, forming the kingdom of Arathor and building the city of Strom, right on the doorstep of the forest trolls to the north in Quel’thalas. He forged an alliance with the High Elves of the region, and played a critical role in the Troll Wars as a master tactician and strategist. This was his weapon, though it was already a weapon of old as it was forged by the vrykul, the ancestors of humans, themselves. When he fought in the Troll Wars, Thoradin had the blade blessed by the elves, though when Thoradin went to discover the origins of humanity, the blade was lost along with the ancient king.

Odyn explains that when Thoradin went on his personal quest, he stumbled upon the tomb of Odyn’s brother Tyr, and the prison of Zakajz the Corrupted. He gave his life to prevent the beast from escaping, and in order for us to get Strom’kar, we have to finish what Tyr and Thoradin couldn’t and kill Zakajz once and for all.

Taking the trip to Dalaran, and then to Arathi Highlands’ location of where Dalaran used to be – remember to save Heroic Leap for the fall – and you’ll be instructed to go to Tyr’s Fall in western Tirisfal (notice the similarity in the name there…? After all these years!). When you approach the tomb, Twilight’s Hammer cultists are torturing Thoradin’s spirit to get him to tell them what’s in the tomb.

When you defeat the three cultists in the middle of the camp, Thoradin will thank you and tell you that he had to leave Strom’kar behind when he drove the sword into Zakajz’s skull. However, the beast is stirring once again so we have to delve into the depths  of the tomb to finish the job once and for all. Thoradin will offer you what aid he can as you go through the tomb.

After diving into the underwater cavern and coming up the other side, you find the place is swarming with old god fleshbeasts and a faceless one. Defeating them will allow you to enter the tomb itself, and you’re met with tendrils corrupting the wards defending the seal on the tomb. Once you interrupt and kill them, Soth’ozz the Guardian will spawn and you’ll have to kill him too.

Killing some more old god minions and you’ll finally get to the Grave-Prison of Zakajz, where he’s struggling for consciousness with a sword stuck in his face. Grab it, and the C’thraxxi wakes up and tries to kill you. After an underwhelming fight, the faceless general falls for the final time and you are able to take up the Warbreaker for yourself!

WarrFury

Fury – Warswords of the Valarjar

Thousands of years ago, long before the first Legion invasion of Azeroth that caused the Sundering, Odyn betrayed the sorceress Helya, killing her and turning her spirit into the first of the val’kyr. One of the methods she used as vengeance against him was to steal this pair of swords and imbue them with her own rage, before giving them to a “helarjar” – a champion of her own. Now infused with both the power of Helya and Odyn, the champion Vigfus Bladewind hunted down the greatest of heroes to serve in Helheim. You are sent by Odyn to go to Tideskorn Harbor and deal with Bladewind’s warband, and make the twin blades yours.

Leaving Skyhold, you crash down back to the mortal realm in Stormheim, and you’re met with an old enemy: the kvaldir! It seems these mist-vrykul are actually the vrykul under the command of Helya, and they don’t seem too pleased to see you there. Set the bonfire alight to clear the mists, and they get even angrier with you, sending a few waves of enemies for you to deal with.

Once they’ve been fought back, you then have to deal with two mystics and then reach the docks. Once there, you realise that Bladewind still refuses to think you’re worthy to deal with, so it’s time to release his cargo – spirits of vrykul, Zandalari and Kul Tiras marines – by destroying the runestones around the docks.

Once all four runestones are destroyed, Vigfus Bladewind finally realises that you have a soul of great power and comes out of hiding. Taking him down to around 50% health makes him flee into the mists. After a few waves of trash standing in your way, it’s time for the final showdown, where a specter of Helya rises from the depths to imbue Bladewind with the fury of Helheim. Once you defeat him, you are able to take the swords for yourself, and Helya waves you off as if this wasn’t a huge setback to her plans.

WarrProt

Protection – Scale of the Earth-Warder

Although many of us know who Deathwing is – and if you didn’t, go look up Cataclysm and Warcraft II – this artifact is a relic from before he became corrupted by the whispers of the Old Gods. This shield is over 10,000 years old, and was primarily used by the vrykul king Magnar Icebreaker after he stole one of Neltharion’s scales and forged it into an impenetrable bulwark. When he was betrayed by Helya, the shield was buried with him in the Path of Kings in Stormheim.

The ancient vrykul king would normally be in Skyhold, though his spirit languishes within his own tomb, so his son, Hruthnir, leads you to it. Leaping from Skyhold allows you to go directly to Stormheim, to where you need to be! Going down the path, and it appears that the dead are restless! Before you reach the tomb, an imp turns all the dead into more imps, and Hruthnir joins you in killing them. Once you defeat the main imp, the doors will open to the guardians, also barring your way into the tomb.

Defeating Reylar the Stormcaller faces you with a new trial, with winds pushing any attempt to run through them. Fortunately, being a warrior you can leap and charge over the winds to meet your goals. Once you defeat all three Windshapers, you can go to your final goal: the Tomb of the Icebreaker… But it’s protected by more storms up in the air! Fortunately, being a warrior you can throw your weapon at the balls of lightning to interrupt their casts of lightning protecting the door.

Hruthnir joins you in the Tomb of the Icebreaker and will attempt to convince his father, the ancient king, to join him in Skyhold. Predictably, it’s not as easy as that, and you fight against Magnus alongside the rest of the spirits within the tomb. Magnus will flee to higher ground once he gets low, and you have to finish off all the waves of spirits before fighting him once again. Once you defeat him, he comes to his senses and realises that his son is indeed trying to get him to join him in the Halls of Valor. He also conveniently leaves behind the Armaments of the Black Wyrm so your new artifact, the Scale of the Earth-Warder, is now yours to keep!

WAWK: Paladin Artifacts Edition

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SPOILER ALERT

YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED

Paladins have had fairly concrete history within Warcraft ever since the Warcraft II days where the first paladins were created by Alonsus Faol in order to combat against the Orcish Horde that decimated the southern human settlements in the First War. The first paladins of the Silver Hand were Uther the Lightbringer, Saidan Dathrohan, Tirion Fordring, Turalyon and Gavinrad the Dire, though worship of the Holy Light has since been discovered to be practiced by other races.

The dwarves followed the humans’ lead with the Order of the Silver Hand, the Blood Elves founded the Blood Knights order, originally siphoning holy power from a naaru, though now the Sunwell is purified they can use the powers from there. Draenei also have a link to the naaru spanning over 25,000 years, and their vindicators have been using the Light since. Finally, the newest sect of paladins come in the form of tauren Sunwalkers, where Aponi Brightmane discusses with Tahu Sagewind how spiritually they’ve only worshipped Mu’sha, the eye of the Earthmother representing the moon. They agreed that both An’she and Mu’sha are both sacred, so this new belief allowed tauren to draw powers from the Light in the form of both priests and paladins, like how druids are able to draw powers from the moon.

Their artifacts, The Silver Hand, Truthguard and Ashbringer, are heavily lore-focused around human and vrykul however, so while it would have been nice to see weapons with links to the other races at least they’re getting some fairly notable weapons to begin with! The Blood Knights and especially Sunwalkers are fairly new orders so are unlikely to have any special artifacts associated with them, though I’m sure the draenei vindicators likely had an artifact lost on another world that they could have used in the fight against the Legion!

Introductory Quests

Lord Maxwell Tyrosus, local badass among those at Light’s Hope Chapel urges you to talk with him once you reach Dalaran. He tells you that although the loss at the Broken Shore was devastating, that there are others with the conviction to save our home, Azeroth. Meeting with Travard of Tyr’s Guard and Orik Trueheart and telling them to meet you at Krasus’ Landing.

Once there, you meet with Tyrosus, Aponi Brightmane (the first Tauren Paladin), Vindicator Boros (one of the Draenei Triumvirate) and Lady Liadrin (leader of the Blood Knights) and you hop straight into choosing your artifact weapon! No messing around with Paladins, here!

PalaHo

Holy – The Silver Hand

The Silver Hand is a famous symbol among paladins: their first organisation was the Order of the Silver Hand. It has always been a mystery among players as to why they called themselves this, and had associations with with the great titan watcher Tyr, though in Legion we now know that a secret order of paladins have been watching over Tyr’s tomb for hundreds of years. How these paladins have remained secret for so long is beyond me, though with Alonsus Faol’s interaction with Tyr’s Fall, it wouldn’t surprise me that the Paladin Order’s name had something to do with him.

However, this secret paladin order is under attack by the Twilight’s Hammer and they are appealing for help from paladins across Azeroth to aid them in their charge. Tyrosus asks that you speak with Travard, the leader of this order, to find out how to reclaim it from evil. We’re sent to find Sparks of Tyr, artifacts used by Tyr himself to store moments of history, and to do that we have to find Travard’s brother, Galford.

Galford is missing in Northrend however, but Travard mentions that a dragon called Lanigosa at Wyrmrest knew of Galford, so she is the best option we have to find him and the Spark. We find out that Galford heard of the tale between Tyr and Galakrond, and eagerly set out to find more at Galakrond’s Rest.

Flying to Galakrond’s Rest we find an abandoned campfire, and clicking on it causes a void wrath to attack you. Interesting to see the void having a part in this! A taunka spirit tells you that Galford’s mind was flooded with memories stored within the Spark, and learned more of the fight between Galakrond and Tyr, so we go down to the skeleton’s maw to find a broken sword.

Clicking on it spawns another void wrath to spawn, and the spirit returns to talk of Loken’s betrayal and how Jotun, Tyr’s friend, held off Loken’s pursuit as Tyr fled south. Flying north to find another clue, we find a broken statue and carelessly dropped note at the tip of Galakrond’s tail. The note appears to have been written by Galford, saying that he saw Jotun in the Spark, and wishes to meet with him, whereas using the statue causes the spirit to tell us that Galford rushed south to meet with Jotun to meet his doom, as it would appear the Spark did not tell him of Jotun’s curse.

We fly south to the Path of the Titans to find Galford’s broken body, before Lanigosa flies down to meet us. We tell her that Galford held the Spark, and now Jotun had killed him and taken it for himself. We get buffed by the blue and quickly defeat Jotun and receive the Spark before flying back to Dalaran.

Returning to Dalaran and speaking with Travard, he mentions he has another one of Tyr’s Sparks. Now that too many know of the tomb’s location, it must be closed forever – though first, we have a Hand to reclaim! Travard tells us to go to Dalaran’s Crater in Alterac, so when you go through the portal don’t forget to bubble! Then fly on over to Tyr’s Fall in western Tirisfal Glades.

The Twilight camp is abandoned (cleared by another class’s artifact experience) though Travard says that we must collapse the tomb and reclaim the Silver Hand before whatever evil inside stirs too much. You take a small team of NPC paladins with you to clear the tomb, and you find it’s full of masterless faceless ones! After a few quick battles, you fight against a mini-boss called G’norz the Crazed, before going into the crypt itself.

Once again, you fight through a few shadowy packs of faceless aberrations, before finally getting to the final resting place of the C’Thraxxi Zakajz and Watcher Tyr and finding the same celestial chains that hold Yogg-Saron all shattered in the tomb. Where the Old God general should be however, is a Horrific Aberration, a creature of the void. I expected this to be the final stage, but after a slightly disappointing fight, Travard says he has the Spark and has to finish the ritual to retrieve the hammer.

Going back up to the entrance of the tomb and you’re followed by more creatures of the void as well as Mordoth the Hunter. This fight was actually fairly challenging to heal as someone who’s not played Holy since WotLK, though after a certain amount of time, the ritual completes and the tomb becomes incredibly unstable. Mordoth threatens that he will see you once again, though I don’t know if that’s an empty threat or we will eventually see the void ascendant again. With Chronicle v1, I’m more interested than ever with anything to do with the Old Gods and Void!

Nevertheless, just before you escape you can take the Silver Hand, and then Travard instructs you to flee to Dalaran, where you can rendezvous with Tyrosus and begin to set up your class order hall!

PalaProt

Protection – Truthguard

Protection Paladins get the shorter end of the stick when it comes to famous Paladin weapons – though it makes sense as many paladins in lore barely if ever walked around with sword and board. As with many unknown artifacts however, Truthguard appears to have heavy links to the Broken Isles in that it was the protective weapon of a vrykul champion that helped defend the titanic watcher Tyr against Loken and his faceless servants. The shield itself was created to expose Loken’s lies and turn many vrykul to Tyr’s cause, though when the latter fell, the champion migrated to Stormheim where the shield was eventually entombed within the Path of Kings.

As the Holy artifact started you with speaking with Travard, the Protection line asks that you speak with the other Paladin you rallied to Krasus’ Landing: Orik Trueheart. With the help of the tauren Sunwalkers, Tyrosus believes that we can find the ancient shield. Trueheart explains what the shield is, and Tahu Sagewind explains that he has the ability to commune with the long departed champion. We just have to find the final resting place of a vrykul named Gorvold at Shield Hill in the Howling Fjord, in order to find clues as to where to find Truthguard.

After a short trip to Howling Fjord, you find Trueheart and Sagewind waiting for you there. Trueheart tells you to speak with Sagewind to begin the ritual, though suggests that you can read the saga for yourself to understand what’s going on and to fill in some details about the Shield Seeker, Gorvold. In short, the vrykul learned of the powerful ancient artifact and scoured Northrend for it, though eventually he learned that the next clue would bring him south.

He found stunted vrykul (known to us as humans) worshipping and avoiding the site of Tyr’s Fall. From the ruins he found that the trail did not end there, and Tyr’s champion moved on. No one knows where, but Gorvold followed this trail with reckless abandon, eventually falling in battle and taking his secrets to his grave.

Sagewind explains that he needs more time to prepare for the ritual, and you have to go find the correct grave where Gorvold eternally sleeps. Once you do (hint: it’s the one at the back) Sagewind communes with the vrykul and finds out that he went to Stormheim and found the shrine to Tyr’s champion but was denied entry multiple times. In his disgrace, he returned to Northrend and sought to wash his failure in the blood of others.

When you return to Dalaran, you find out that one of the warrior’s artifact scenarios involves that very tomb, but never entered the shrine itself. You then journey to Shield’s Rest with Cato and Trueheart to find the tomb guarded by a storm dragon and its rider. Avoiding void zones on the ground and using the spears that spawn on them on the pair makes it a short fight, and you are granted entry to the tomb.

You find out that Yrgrim, mentioned in the saga in Howling Fjord, was the champion after all, and a runestone explains that he journeyed to Stormheim in order to find someone worthy to pass on his armaments. Passing through the windy corridor and dispatching the windshapers, you find the next runestone explaining that Yrgrim constructed an arena to test any potential successors of his weapons. All failed, so he created the shrine with powerful wards that would burn those who tried to open it with cleansing flame. Only those strong of will and pure of heart would be able to hold back the flames.

Luckily we’re a paladin. We’re good at that will and heart stuff. But to be safe, we have to bubble through the flames anyway because Cato refuses to heal you through it.

Entering the shrine you find Yrgrim, resolute and patient. You find that he never succumbed to the curse of flesh, and you prepare for his trial. All it involves is a fight with him and Runeshaper Griselda, making sure to stun or otherwise CC any special ability, and interrupting what you can. Use AoE to clear the ice, and it won’t take long to defeat Tyr’s champion. Collect Truthguard, and make your way back to Dalaran to create your class hall!

PalaRet

Retribution – Ashbringer

As one of the more famous weapons in WoW, Retribution Paladins definitely get the big stick when it comes to awesome weapons. Although its incarnation began in WoW itself instead of the RTS, it’s definitely one that players have been wanting to wield since legendaries were first introduced into the game.

You can see the beginnings of Ashbringer in the Escape from Durnholde dungeon if you decide to go sightseeing in Southshore, where a dark crystal was infused with Light to such an extent that any undead that came near it turned to ash. King Magni Bronzebeard harnessed this crystal’s energies and forged a sword to use the crystal as a weapon against the unliving to enact vengeance for his brother Muradin, who he thought was killed by the Scourge.

The weapon passed many hands, beginning with Highlord Alexandros Mograine before his son Renault betrayed and killed him with the blade. From then, the Ashbringer was corrupted and stayed in the now death knight Alexandros Mograine’s hands until Darion, his youngest son, killed him in Naxxramas. To release his father’s soul from the blade, Darion plunged the sword into his own heart, freeing his father but turning himself into a death knight. Eventually, the Lich King turned his focus on Light’s Hope Chapel and sent Darion and a number of death knights on a suicide mission to bring Tirion Fordring out.

The plan succeeded, but what the Lich King didn’t anticipate was Darion betraying him and relinquishing Ashbringer to Fordring, once again purifying the blade for the use of the Light. The blade would only leave Tirion’s hands briefly in Howling Fjord when he traveled on his crusade against the Lich King, but it was only his death in the battle of the Broken Shore that the blade became lost, and it’s up to us to find it!

It’s not as simple as returning to the site where Tirion fell however, so we must travel to Uther’s tomb in the Plaguelands to get answers for finding the blade. After flying to the tomb you find that after the death of Fordring, the dead around Uther’s tomb have become restless. While Tyrosus prepares the ceremony to commune with the Lightbringer, you have to exorcise spirits and purify graveyards around the tomb.

When you are done, Tyrosus is ready for the ceremony. You find out that Tirion still lives! Barely, but he still lives on the Broken Shore. After getting reinforcements from Light’s Hope Chapel, you fly to the Broken Shore to reclaim Tirion and the Ashbringer. On the shores as you land, you lead the paladins into an epic starting battle that leads to almost all of them falling, other than yourself and Tyrosus.

While he signals for hippogryph riders to take the fallen back to Light’s Hope, you forge on  through the felfire to kill Jailer Zerus. You find Zerus after a few more demons and he’s attempting to break Fordring’s spirit and turn him to the Legion’s side. Quickly dispatching him, Tyrosus returns again to try and take Tirion out of his fel prison, and you venture on into a small cave known as the Lost Temple to try and retrieve Ashbringer.

After killing a few more demons, Balnazzar taunts you to claim the Ashbringer, and when you do Balnazzar appears and attempts to turn you into an ally of the Legion. He forces you to kneel, but then Tirion’s voice whispers in your mind an echo of the Lich King fight “Give me the strength… to shatter these bonds…” and you are able to release yourself from Balnazzar’s control. After a short fight, Tyrosus comes in to explain that Fordring called for you by name.

Once you get outside, you find Fordring on his last breaths, telling you to become the Ashbringer and to stop the Legion before his last light fades. It’s time for you to return to Light’s Hope and to create your order hall underneath the Chapel.