I’ve been having a blast in recent days returning to World of Warcraft after being away for some time, and taking several of my level 100 characters through the new content and on the road to 110. One of the most striking things about this expansion is its focus on storytelling, and on putting players in the driver’s seat as the most important characters in Azeroth during this pivotal invasion by the demons. Of particular note are the storied artifact weapons that every character can now acquire.
The following highlights some of the most epic and famous weapons that players can now acquire for themselves. Players are still trying out the many artifacts (36, in total) that can be won in Legion, so I wouldn’t hazard to guess which ones will end up being the most powerful or useful. Instead, here we’re examining some of the favorites that are exciting simply because of how they fit into the broader story of the Warcraft universe.
Few weapons are as fondly remembered in Warcraft fiction as Doomhammer, largely thanks to its most recent wielder. The massive warhammer was forged in the flowing lava of the orcish homeworld of Draenor, and passed from father to son for generations in the lineage of the Doomhammer orcs. The last of these mighty warriors was Orgrim Doomhammer, warchief of the Horde in countless battles against the Alliance. When this last of the Doomhammer sons breathed his last, he passed the weapon of his family to his chosen heir, Thrall. Thrall has wielded it ever since.
During the events of Legion, we see Thrall ready to pass the Doomhammer to a new wielder who can lead the shamans of the Earthen Ring in victory against the demons. After a fateful battle with one of those demons, the weapon is flung into the Maelstrom, where it comes to rest in the great elemental caverns of Deepholm. It is there that Enhancement Shamans must reclaim its power.
While it could be argued that other weapons might have had a more profound effect on the Warcraft universe, no single artifact has so captivated the attention of the game’s players, or had such an intricate and tortuous storyline. Originally forged by the dwarven king Magni Bronzebeard, and first wielded by the valiant paladin, Alexandros Mograine, the sword weaves in and out of Azeroth’s recent history. The weapon (and its first holder) won its appellation through its propensity for turning enemies to ash, especially the undead foes that make up the Scourge. It would at one point become corrupted, only to once again be purified and borne into battle by the Alliance hero, Tyrion Fordring. In his hands, Ashbringer was used to shatter the Lich King’s blade, Frostmourne, in a fateful conflict high atop Icecrown Citadel.
The Legion expansion gives Retribution Paladins the chance to take up Ashbringer for themselves, and grow its power to new levels in order to confront the demonic forces assailing Azeroth. In a desperate assault on a demonic prison where Tyrion Fordring might be held even after his apparent death, Ashbringer once again emerges into the forefront of the Warcraft story.
The Kingslayers (Anguish & Sorrow)
While the names of these assassin’s blades may be recently attained, the deaths they have wrought have shaped the course of kingdoms. The daggers were given by Gul’dan to his unwilling servant, Garona Halforcen, and with the weapons in hand, she enacted his dark will through one brutal murder after another. Garona strained against her servitude to the orcish warlock and his Shadow Council, but ultimately she was forced to murder the Kingdom of Stormwind’s monarch, Llane Wrynn, and in anguish and sorrow, she subsequently abandoned the blades.
For a rogue, few weapons have greater significance, and Legion provides the chance to set out on a new adventure with Garona at the side of Assassin Rogue players. Through stealth and investigation, players prove themselves the rightful heirs to these dark and deadly knives.
Scepter of Sargeras
Most of the other weapons listed here have shown up more frequently in the ongoing story of Azeroth, but none have more profoundly shaped the world. The Scepter of Sargeras has a literal earth-shaking history that makes it the envy of any but the Warlocks who can now wield it. One of the most powerful beings in the universe, and arguably the most important villain of the Warcraft saga, Sargeras is a fallen Titan who once carried the artifact, but it eventually came into the hands of the orc Warchief, Ner’zhul. He used it in combination with other dark relics to open the portal that allowed the Horde’s invasion of Azeroth, but in so doing, he mostly destroyed Draenor, transforming it into the broken landscape called Outland.
Destruction warlocks have the chance to track down the lost Scepter of Sargeras in a particularly momentous artifact quest. The mission brings players into the heart of Legion’s most dangerous site, and face to face with Gul’dan, and a chance to either save or ensure the destruction of Azeroth.
Frostmourne (The Blades of the Fallen Prince)
The mighty and cursed runeblade called Frostmourne has a deep and tragic history, rooted in its horrific ability to drain the lives and souls of its victims. Early on, the sword and its accompanying armor were used to enslave the orcish shaman and warchief named Ner’zhul as he was transformed into the Lich King by the demon Kil’jaeden. Later, Ner’zhul used the blade to lure Prince Arthas into a similar trap, ensuring the future ruler’s eventual downfall. With sword in hand, Arthas murdered his own father, before returning to Northrend, where he would eventually ascend as Lich King himself. After inflicting untold devastation on the world, Frostmourne met its seeming end in a climactic conflict atop Icecrown Citadel, in which the paladin named Tyrion Fordring used Ashbringer to shatter Frostmourne, and defeat Arthas.
In Legion, Frost Death Knights make the harrowing journey to return to Icecrown in search of the broken shards of Frostmourne. Charged by the current Lich King to act in his name, Death Knight players have a chance to encounter the spirits of both Arthas and Ner’zhul, before recrafting the broken Frostmourne into two new weapons – the Blades of the Fallen Prince – Icebringer and Frostreaper.
Have you been playing World of Warcraft’s new expansion? Which artifact did you claim for your character? Are there other weapons in the Warcraft lore you’d suggest are even more epic? Share your thoughts in the comments below.