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.
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.
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!
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.
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!