**This is a transcript of the World of Warcraft: Legion Artifacts segment**
Hazzikostas: I want to talk a bit about Artifacts and Class Orders that you saw in the intro video, and then we will move on to talk about Dungeons & Raids.
So, Artifacts. Weapons obviously, but what are they? What’s the deal with them? So as I had mentioned, the Legion represents the greatest single threat to our world that we have ever faced, and in order to fight this ultimate enemy we need the ultimate weapons.
We need weapons of greater power than anyone had ever had before in order to stand a chance; and that’s where artifacts come into play. Every single specialization in the game is going to have its own artifact to seek out and to wield and to use against the Legion.
So depending on your class, and your spec that will heavily affect the way your story plays out and what you are interacting with in terms of the system. So what are they, and how do they fit in?
The first thing you are going to do when you begin the LEGION experience after the events of the Broken Shore is seek out the artifact for your spec. Follow your destiny, and heed that calling to take up this ultimate weapon; and that experience is going to vary depending on what class and what spec you play.
So for example, if you are retribution paladin you will be returning to the location in the Broken Shore to find and seek out Ashbringer where it fell in battle and was lost. So that you can take it up and wield it.
If you are a Protection Warrior, you will follow up in the legends of an ancient Vrykul king who was buried with his sword and shield forged from the scales of the dragon Neltharion, who later went on to become Deathwing. You will delve into his tomb, and overcome ancient curses that lay there in order to wield those weapons for yourself.
If you are a frost death knight … what is the ultimate frost death knight weapon? Frostmourne, right? Well, Frostmourne was shattered but the first thing you are going to do is to go to Icecrown Citadel, find and seek out the shards of the weapon, where they lay after the fateful encounter with the Lich King, at the end of Wrath of the Lich King. You will take up those shards and you will reforge them into a pair of runeblades that are the ultimate frost death knight weapons.
So these artifacts — they are your true companion. They are the things upon you will rely as you journey through the Broken Isles and through the world of LEGION. As you level up you gain experience, your character gets levels, but as you accomplish deeds in the world you will also earn artifact power for your weapon.
Artifact power is something you will earn through a wide variety of activities. Whether completing a major questline, doing a dungeon boss, outdoor objectives, winning a PvP battleground, virtually any natural type of activity in World of Warcraft will contribute to leveling up your artifact.
Now this artifact power that you earned … what do you do with it? We are going to spend it to unlock traits that empower your weapon and empower your own character. In addition, you can also have a number of visual customizations that you will be able to unlock and explore.
Ultimately, you control the destiny of your artifact. You customize the path that you unlock those traits, and choose your path to greatness. Now let’s get into the system a little bit more.
So … Ashbringer. This is a quick screenshot of the UI for Ashbringer. Now each artifact has a trait tree like this. It’s kind of a grid that is overlaid on the outline of the weapon itself; and as you earn artifact power you can spend them to unlock these traits.
Once you unlock a trait, a JSON notes unlock and become things that you can spend a power in, and ultimately you choose what you want to work towards, you choose how you want to navigate this tree, and what you want your weapon to be; and at the far end of the trees are major impactful abilities such as the one we see on the screen here. This is something that will essentially cause your Ashbringer to duplicate some of your most powerful abilities.
Let’s look at the frost death knights. Again, different weapons, different silhouettes to the weapons, and therefore different outlines to the grid; but ultimately the same general concept.
You get to the central location and work your way toward the things you most want. As you earn power, spend that power on traits and unlock powers. Some of these are going to be simple damage increases, others are things that transform your rotation, others are major types of utility like the one we see here that allows the death knight to basically use: “Raise ally” on themselves to resurrect himself in the heat of battle.
Now, visual customization. So this was something that may have made a flash by really quickly in the trailer earlier. As we see, in the menu here is Ashbringer with also a number of different variants of Ashbringer.
Now we understand that in a world where many ret paladins will wield Ashbringer, it’s important to really be able to feel unique, and like your weapon is an expression of the character that you want to play, the things that you value, and your accomplishments in the world.
So these different looks to the weapon are things that you will be able to unlock through a wide variety of means. Some of them is by leveling up your weapon, others by completing specific activities whether they be raiding, or PvP oriented, or more completionist things in the world as a whole; and within each of these looks is also a large number of color variants.
There is a tremendous total number of combinations for how you can have your artifact look. Now with Ashbringer, what we generally did with all the artifacts is you get the base weapon to look like the sword that you know and love that you have seen in Tirion Fordring’s hand. It is the Ashbringer. Then you evolve an upgraded version of it, once you reach a certain level of power with your weapon you will be able to unlock; but then we gave our artists the challenge of really just going off in exciting new directions with these weapons.
Of trying to reimagine the fantasy of the sword, and that led us to things like an Ashbringer that is made of pure fire, or corrupted shadowy Ashbringer, or one that is shattered and being held together by crackling lightning.
All of these have the basic silhouette of the weapon we know, but they have a very very different feel ultimately and give you things to work towards and use as an expression of the character that you want to play.
So enough of talk about the Ashbringer. Let’s look at some other weapons. So if you are a mistweaver monk, your adventure begins by returning to Pandaria to seek out the staff of Emperor Shaohao, who is very integral to the very legend of the essence of the continent of Pandaria.
Here on the far left, we see the base weapon that you initially acquire. Then an upgraded version of it; but then we re-imagined that staff with the inspiration drawn from the various animal gods of Pandaria whether it is Yu’lon the Jade Serpent (to the center), or Chi-ji the Red Crane (on the far right). Or Sha-influenced / Sha-corrupted staff (second from the right in between those two).
These are all things to work towards and again you can kinda pick the look you want, pick the thing that excites you most to be able to show off.
Ashbringer. Exactly. I honestly, I can’t say enough about the amazing art and the work that the artists have done with these weapons. They just blew us away. So yea, the base Ashbringer, the Holy version, and then the fiery, shadowy and the lightning. Large variance but they all have that essence that says: “This is Ashbringer.”
Next up, a new one to many people. So … Felo’melorn. This was actually a spell-sword wielded by Archmage Kael’Thas. Kael’Thas used this on his battle against the Lich King in Icecrown Citadel, and the sword was lost there.
So if you play a fire mage, you will begin the expansion by seeking out that blade, and when you take it up, you will see the base version in the left. It is very Blood Elf-origined fire-spell blade. An evolved version, but then the fantasy goes in different directions from there. If you want to customize it in a fel direction, or sort of a molten lava direction, or the heavy Titan influenced in the far right that has a very different feel to it. It’s all up to you.
The Eagle Spear
The Eagle Spear. This is something that is– new to the lore. It is heavily associated with the Highmountain Tauren. This is basically a fabled weapon of the tauren tribe of Highmountain that you will seek out. You will track down the powerful creature that claimed the life of its last wielder. Defeat that creature and take this for yourself. The animal inspirations for this spear you see, the base version is sort of themed after the eagle, then at the center we have a wolf-themed, a serpent and a bear on the far right.
This spear is something that survival hunters can seek out and claim.
Icebringer and Soulreaper
So next up, frost death knights. These are the blades that you will forge from the shattered shards of the greatest death knight weapon of all time: Frostmourne. The base version on the left, the initial upgraded version (second from the left). Now for these weapons we actually didn’t go in such crazy different directions. We didn’t do a fiery sword, it is a question of what you like most as death knight. If you like skulls, or frost, or more skulls, or different skulls, but they are all different variations of the essence — the fantasy, of what being a death knight is; and when you think “Runeblade,” this is what comes to mind. That is what your artifact needs to mean here.
So this weapon will be claimed by enhancement shamans. Enhancement shamans will seek them out and pair this hammer on your off-hand that is made of pure energy, so that you can dual-wield properly. The base version, of course, the one we know and love — that we have seen Thrall carrying around for so long, and then variants of it.
The fel version in the center, the fiery one to the right of that, and then a magical crystal one in the far right. All the essence of Doomhammer, but different fantasies to it to explore.
Let’s see what’s up next.
Fangs of the Firsts Nightsaber
So feral druids. So feral druids can seek out the fangs of the first nightsaber, and on the far left here, we see a druid with the base initial artifact that just earned it. He is a level 100 druid. He has been playing the expansion for an hour or two. In the middle, you can see a druid with the upgraded Fangs of the First Nightsaber — he’s been playing for much longer. He’s attained a more powerful artifact. On the far right side, we see a druid with spectral Fangs of the First Nightsaber, and it is a totally different look of the weapon. I mean, you can see how awesome the weapon is, right?
Ohh! Right. Yeah. I guess you can’t really see the weapons on feral druids and guardians. That’s a shame. I mean, being able to customize your weapons so much, and then not be able to show it off? Well, that’s unfortunate. OK, just kidding.
So if you are a feral druid, or a guardian druid, instead of customizing the look of your artifact, you will customize the look of your form. So on the left, here we see a druid with the base Fangs of the First Nightsaber. On the right, the spectral variant; and of course, there are many color variations on each of these, and more entirely different models that we just couldn’t fit on this slide, but with the same number of variants as every other class has.
So that’s something for feral druids and guardian druids to look forward to. Oh, and by the way, on the last slide, that was an updated high-res version of the base cat form. In case you were wondering.
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