WAWK: Mage Artifact Edition

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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.

Introductory Quests

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

WAWK: Hunter Artifact Edition

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With the recent release of gnome hunters, part 4 of our WAWK series focuses on a class that is newly available to every single race. Similar to being able to pick up a stick and yell at things as a warrior, it seems that there are no longer any racial restrictions to picking up a bow and shooting it at someone. They represent a deep connection between man and beast, and are master trackers and survivors of the wilderness, however few can contest that the elves and tauren are the masters of hunting in the Warcraft universe.

Such is represented among the artifacts that they are able to take up against the Burning Legion this expansion. Markmanship hunters prefer to attack from afar, and the legendary bow Thas’dora, Legacy of the Windrunners comes from a long line of very famous elves. Survival hunters, now melee in Legion, are able to use the Ancient-touched Talonclaw, Spear of the Wild Gods that the Highmountain tauren used for generations, most notable by Huln Highmountain during the War of the Ancients. Beast Masters are able to use magical engineering might of the titan-keeper Mimiron in their artifact weapon Titanstrike… Because when Blizzard have run out of ideas for artifacts, they slap on something titan or vrykul related. However the dwarves are chasing after this one, and dwarven riflemen are most certainly a stereotype within the Warcraft universe.

Introductory Quests

Snowfeather, the white eagle comes to you with an urgent message (Game of Thrones reference?) addressed to you, telling you to go to Emmarel Shadewarden in Dalaran to help in the fight against the Legion. Taking about 3 steps toward the guns and bows shop in Dalaran makes you wonder why the white eagle was needed in the first place, but Shadewarden tells you to go meet with three individuals around the city to help decide on what artifact to pursue in the fight against the Legion.

Grif Wildheart, the beast master, is predictably in the Magical Menagerie looking at all the pets in the stables. He tells you he’s unsure of this Unseen Path faction that Shadewarden is part of, but tells you he’s been working with Brann Bronzebeard to the point where they’re finding the tomb of a vrykul warlord that stole a rifle called Titanstrike. In the Arsenal Absolute, Apata Highmountain claims she is an ally of this Unseen Path and tells you that Talonclaw was lost to a fierce nightsaber called Dakarr. Finally, hanging around the outside of the Silver Covenant’s section of Dalaran Courier Larkspur tells you that Vereesa Windrunner has a lead on the whereabouts of her sister, Alleria. Finding her and her bow would provide a great boon against the might of the Legion.

Returning to Shadewarden she asks you which weapon to seek first, finishing the short and sweet introduction to hunters’ class artifacts.

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Beast Mastery – Titanstrike

Starting with the relatively unknown, Titanstrike is a weapon designed by Keeper Mimiron for his friend, Keeper Thorim to use. How a Gnome expects to hold a weapon to be used by titanic watchers is beyond me, but Warcraft physics are a thing. Using Thunderspark, a relic inside the weapon, it harnesses the raw essence of storms and focuses it into concentrated blasts of energy.

As we found out from Wildheart earlier, the weapon was found by a vrykul warlord named Volund and he used it to conquer his rivals within the Broken Isles until he took Titanstrike to his grave. Shadewarden tells you to meet with the dwarf at Krasus’ Landing, and he tells you that he’s struck a deal with a vrykul guide named Prustaga to aid us in opening the tomb. He tells you to hop onto his gryphon and fly to Shield’s Rest Island off the coast of Stormheim.

After the short trip, you meet up with Prustaga who tolerates your presence, and as you near the tomb the ghost of the warlord warns you to leave, calling you a thief and coveter. Entering the tomb you find a set of obstacles filled with storm and wind to set you back, but killing the Windshapers will cause the winds to stop and your allies to catch up with you.

Once you reach the T junction of the tomb, Prustaga breaks open the wards on the tomb of Volund (the other paths being associated with other artifact quests), and after a few waves of enemies you can enter the tomb. You see titan relics littering the tomb, and up ahead Wildheart spots a mechagnome that he fixes up until it turns itself on. It also switches on a few other robots in the room, and as you quickly dispatch of them, the mechagnome turns on the console to bring an image of Mimiron into the room.

Prustaga makes the keeper show us where Titanstrike is being hidden, and he unlocks a chest to bring us the weapon. Mission accomplished! However, the warlord is unhappy about you stealing his prized possession, and attempts to kill you while warning you to not wield the storms of Titanstrike. After a quick and easy fight, Prustaga plays her hand and stuns everyone in the room, stealing the artifact for herself and teleporting away, claiming that she will become the new god-queen thanks to us.

Mimiron switches on a teleportation pad that will take you to Ulduar, so you can work together to try and retrieve Titanstrike from Prustaga. When you meet up with Mimiron in the Spark of Imagination, he tells you that he will be able to locate the artifact by downloading the data from the tomb into his core processing systems, but says that a few failsafe mechanisms may overload as a result that we’ll have to deal with… Whatever that may mean.

Nevertheless, when we help him it becomes apparent what this means. The fusion core overheats, so you have to jump over rings of fire and deactivate the control panels near them, before the Storm Leviathan unit starts malfunctioning and shoots balls of energy all over the floor. Dodging the void zones and activating the stabilization matrix will allow you to keep the Leviathan in check, and Mimiron tells you some good news and some bad news. The good news being that the download is nearly done, but the bad news is that there may be total system failure. Pushing the big red button labeled “DO NOT PUSH THIS BUTTON” – the very same one that started Firefighter in the Mimiron encounter in Lich King, conveniently doesn’t kill you and allows you to finish the download.

You find out that Prustaga is at Thorim’s throne in the Temple of Storms, on her way to reverse engineer the Thunderspark powering Titanstrike and infuse the storm’s energies into herself. Using Mimiron’s Head, the Aerial Command Unit, we can quickly get to the Temple of Storms and meet with Thorim. When we do, and after a short introduction to his worg, Hati, the vrykul Prustaga has allied herself with start the assault on the temple, before she gets to the throne herself.

Prustaga successfully reverses the effects of Titanstrike and absorbs the power of the Thunderspark into herself, throwing out crashes and thunders of lightning out until the energies overwhelm her and she explodes into a blinding light. Fortunately for us, but not for the worg, Hati absorbs all of the explosive energies into himself. With Hati on the brink of death, Mimiron claims that the power of Thunderstrike may soon be lost forever, but seeing your kinship with the spirits of wild creatures he says that if you bind your spirit with that of Hati’s, you may be able to both save the worg and restore the gun.

When you tame him, Titanstrike becomes available to pick up, and once you do Thorim claims that Hati’s noble spirit is now bound to the weapon and that he will be a loyal companion to you in the dark times ahead against the Legion. Wildheart summons his gryphon to take you back to Dalaran and tells you to return to Shadewarden to find out more about the Unseen Path and to unlock your class order hall at Trueshot Lodge in the peaks of Highmountain.

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Marksmanship – Thas’dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners

The Windrunner family has a long history both in the lore as well as within the games themselves. Alleria Windrunner made her debut in Warcraft II as a special Elven Ranger unit, and the youngest sister Vereesa made a quiet entrance in the novel Day of the Dragon. Sylvanas was the last of the three sisters to be introduced in Warcraft III, though she made appearances in the Tides of Darkness novel. Lirath was their youngest brother, but he was killed by a group of raiding orcs during the Second War.

Thas’dorah is a family heirloom, carved from a bough of the mother tree of Eversong Woods, Thas’alah, and was passed down to the eldest of each generation. She and her bow were last seen when Draenor was destroyed (in our timeline) and Outland was created. However when we invaded Outland ourselves, we found most of the Sons of Lothar apart from Turalyon and Alleria, and it’s only now in Legion where clues to the Windrunner sister’s current whereabouts is.

Shadewarden tells you to meet up with Courier Larkspur at Krasus’ Landing, and he tells you that a demon prisoner has given us a solid lead on where Alleria is. You’re instructed to join Vereesa and the Farstriders on the Broken Shore and after a short flight you meet up with both the ranger-general and the Farstrider Ranger Orestes. The interrogated demon claims that Alleria may be kept on Niskara, so it’s up to us to retrieve the valuable ally as a small strike force. After all, can we really trust demons?

Orestes believes it’s a trap, and insists on going through the portal with Vereesa. She declines, but he ignores orders at the last second and runs through the portal to Niskara once it opens. When you enter the other side, Orestes is nowhere to be seen, so you go with Vereesa to explore the demon world and look for both Alleria and now Orestes.

After a few packs of demons, you find Orestes up ahead surrounded by felhounds and the Hound Mistress Torvis. Kill her and Orestes tells you on his dying breaths that he searched everywhere but the cathedral, so our next stage will take us to there. A few waves of demons and fel raining down from the sky sits between you and the cathedral, and before you can enter the demonic structure itself, Herald Xarbizuld stands in your way.

Once you defeat him, High Inquisitor Qormaladon taunts you that he sees all – every truth and every lie. So we have to kill him and his eyes to make Niskara blind to what’s happening. Be careful to let the frosty eyes get in melee range with you, as they’ll stun you for a few seconds that can lead to a bad time. Once you defeat him, you continue your search for Alleria before you come across her bow sitting on a plinth inside the demonic structure.

With no Alleria there, Vereesa concludes that she escaped and attempted to use Vereesa as measure to try and lure Alleria back to Niskara. Vereesa gifts the bow to you for use against the Legion on the Broken Isles, and Gorelix arrives on Niskara (you may remember him from the Blood Death Knight scenario) to retake the cathedral for the Legion. It’s high time you escaped now that the mission is accomplished.

Returning to Dalaran, you are able to reconvene with Shadewarden, who then sends you to Trueshot Lodge in Highmountain to discover more about the Unseen Path and to set up your order hall.

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Survival – Talonclaw, Spear of the Wild

To fill out the trio of ranged weapons with a crossbow artifact weapon for hunters must have been too difficult for Blizzard, so they opted to change the entire spec to return to its vanilla roots and become focused on being a melee class! Jokes aside, hunters now have the capabilities of being a melee class and the tauren are here to help us get our artifact for it.

The Highmountain tauren crafted this spear more than 10,000 years ago, and ever since then wielders of Talonclaw have fought alongside the Wild Gods of Azeroth to combat against threats to the wildlife and the world. These Wild Gods, the Ancients, have over time bestowed blessings upon the weapon, imbuing it with a portion of their power. Unfortunately, the weapon was lost many years ago to the magically corrupted monstrosity called Dakarr, so we have to travel to Stormheim and reclaim it for the fight against the Legion once more.

When you meet with Apata Highmountain at Krasus’ Landing to set off for the spear, she says that you must first speak with Ohn’ara, the eagle spirit, to receive her blessing and listen to any knowledge with that she may impart. You’ll be taken to Spiritwatch Point in Highmountain while Apata tells you a bit of history of Talonclaw’s wielders, explaining that Dorro Highmountain was the last to wield the eagle spear before his end came to Dakarr, the nightsaber that was corrupted by a vrykul mystic. She says that once every so often a brave hunter seeks Talonclaw, communes with the Eagle Spirit, receives her blessing and then begin their hunt. None ever returned.

When you reach Spiritwatch Point, you find that it’s under attack by weird growths and the flora around it, so you’re forced to land nearby on the cliffs in Highmountain. When you reach Spiritwatch Point, you Degar Bloodtotem has ensnared Ohn’ahra and is claiming Talonclaw for his own clan. Kill him, and Ohn’ahra flies out of the cave. Meet with her, and she gives you her blessing, allowing you to depart for Stormheim as an avatar of the Eagle Spirit.

When you land, you meet with Wuho Highmountain and devise a plan to find the artifact. The kvaldir nearby speak of a giant cat that made its lair in the swamps, and they created a wall of magical wards to keep it at bay. Apata and Wuho set off to examine the wards while we investigate the harbor. Making your way through the swamp, you find a kvaldir Mist Warder go to activate a wardstone, so you’re prompted to trap him and steal it for yourself, and to do so three more times around the harbor.

Afterwards, you go find the tauren in the swamp, to find Wuho getting very impatient while Apata tries to calm him down. You tell them to use the wards you found and to harpoon your way across the fog wall. When you reach the other side, it feels too quiet… But Apata is sure you’re being watched. Before long, you find Dakarr is in the mists, and sends illusions after you that disperse themselves into the mists. Keep flare up and AoE them down, before continuing into the mists themselves to meet with the beast.

Going into the mist, you can place a large trap to ensnare the nightsaber, and once you do a short fight breaks out. Once the beast realises its losing however, it pounces on and kills Wuho, while wounding you to 75% of your health before running into the mists once more. Another mist trap laid, and Dakarr strikes again! This time when he loses, he finishes off Apata and runs into his cave lair, wounding you to 50% of your health. You run into the cave to find the nightsaber and Talonclaw behind him! When you finally kill him in his lair, the wound wears off and Talonclaw is yours for the taking.

When you take it, Dorro’s spirit claims that now the monster is dead and the spear reclaimed, he can finally move on, before creating a portal to Dalaran for you and telling you to return to Shadewarden to find out more about the Unseen Path and to create your class order hall.

WAWK: Druid Artifact Edition

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SPOILER ALERT

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.

Introductory Quests

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.

DruBal

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!

DruFer

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.

DruGuar

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.

DruResto

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.