How to get Artifact weapons for every spec

Your Artifact will be a defining part of your entire Legion experience.  It starts off as an iLevel 750 weapon which is better than anything you’ll be bringing from Warlords of Draenor outside of the mouthful of a fully Valor upgraded Mythic Warforged Archimonde drop. You will want the Artifact for each spec you intend to play at max level, as Artifacts are the only powerful weapons you’ll find in Legion — plus it will enhance your ability to perform your role in your chosen spec.

You can start questing for your second (and third, and fourth) Artifact starting at level 102 — so let’s walk you through how it’s done.

Update: This was originally published during the Legion beta, but it will be especially handy to dual spec-ers trying to pick up multiple artifacts this week — and, yes, it’s possible without getting too far behind!


Obtaining your extra Artifacts

When you hit level 102, a quest opens up in your Class Order Hall. There’s no breadcrumb quest to lead you there, although in the course of normal leveling you’re going to be back there from time to time for other quests and to work on your Order Hall research. The key is to look for an NPC with an orange exclamation point. It’s hard to say how much time these quests will take you — each spec’s quest is different — but the quest chains for additional artifacts is shorter than the first. You skip the quests leading up to your initial artifact chain and the final scenario where you open your class hall — you’ve already done that once and don’t need to repeat it!

You take the quest and start the chain for the second Artifact. You then proceed to head out into the world, do what you do best, and fulfill your density … err… I mean destiny.  This culminates with a short scenario and by the end of it, you are wielding your weapon of legend. Each scenario reflects the spec for the weapon you are pursuing: healer Artifact scenarios have you healing a party while tank Artifact scenarios have you tanking something. DPS does what they do best: hit it very hard! In theory, you could complete a healing scenario in your DPS spec by going all out and killing everything before the party dies, reminiscent of the You’re Doing It Wrong achievement from Proving Grounds.

When you return with your second Artifact, the quest for your third is available for you. If you are a Druid, when you come back with your third Artifact, yet another quest opens up for your fourth. Druids are the hardest working class in show business!

But getting that second or third Artifact isn’t the end of your journey. It’s your first step into a larger world.

paladin with shield

You don’t know the power… of the Artifact

Legion introduces a new currency called Artifact Power (AP) which you spend to open up various traits of your Artifact. Like the talent trees of old, you have to put ranks into the lower traits to open up the higher ones. Some traits are simple, direct increases to one of your spells while others are new active abilities. At the top of each tree are three Gold Traits. You’ll end up choosing one of the Gold Traits to pursue and open up the minor Traits that get you there.

You get the first Trait on each Artifact as a freebie, but you’ll have to go to the Artifact forge to open it — for the first Artifact, the quest walks you through this, but nothing tells you to do this for the next Artifact. Your first expenditure of AP will be for the first rank of the next trait which costs 325 AP. The next rank costs 375 AP and so on up the leveling curve we go.

Artifact Power comes from many sources including PVP, quest rewards, running random dungeons, and random world drops from mobs or treasures. Legion has the same kind of treasures hidden out in the world as you see throughout Warlords of Draenor: world drops, like the Brief History of the Aeons, are Bind on Pickup consumable items that award as little as 10 AP up to 300 or more AP, and you can use the item immediately or hold it for a future Artifact. The developers’ intention is that you use it as soon as you get it, but you have to make the call that aligns with the goals you have for your character. When you use the item, the AP applies to your currently equipped Artifact. If you are out questing as Retribution with Ashbringer but you want your AP going into Truthguard for tanking, you have to equip Truthguard first, and then use the item.

By the time I was level 102 and got the quest for the second Artifact, I had accumulated a stash of items worth 625 Artifact Power, good enough to open up two ranks on one trait.

With Bonus Armor and Spirit gone and primary stats removed from cloaks, necks, and rings, more gear than ever will work for both of your specs. Artifact Power then becomes the catalyst that empowers additional specs. Each Artifact has separate AP and the UI provides a helpful bar to fill up that updates depending on which Artifact you have equipped.

“It will take months rather than weeks to open up all the Artifact Traits” — Legion Production Lead John Hight, speaking at the Legion Summit

Artifacts are further enhanced by Relics like Rite the Val’kyr, a quest reward in Stormheim. The three Relic slots each of which correspond to a particular school of magic (Fire, Holy, Arcane, etc). You can think of them as specialized gem sockets. Relics take the place of weapon drops in Legion, granting you free ranks in specific traits and can open traits further up the tree than you have progressed. By the time I finished my first leveling zone, I had more Relics than I could use. If you swap out a Relic, the old one gets destroyed, so be mindful as you use them. I’ve also found at least one Bind on Equip Relic as a world drop so Relics should show up at your local Auction House.


Knowing is half the battle

Legion does have a catch up mechanism called Artifact Knowledge (AK) which will help level up your offspec weapons and assist your army of alts in leveling up their weapons faster. Artifact Knowledge acts as a multiplier to your gain of Artifact Power.

There are two facets to Artifact Knowledge. The first is something you research via your Class Order Hall. The quest to start your research currently becomes available when your first toon hits level 110. The second aspect is time-based: as the expansion ages, you’ll be able to research AK more quickly. During the recent Legion Q&A Ion Hazzikostas gave this example: given a certain level of Artifact Knowledge, if you were 20 traits into your main spec weapon, you could choose to open up one more trait on that weapon (because higher-level traits cost more), or open up five traits on your offspec weapon that was lagging behind.

Power versus versatility

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The developers acknowledge that dual spec has been a huge part of World of Warcraft going back to the days where you had to hearth to Ironforge to change specs and be summoned back to your raid. They’ve communicated that players need to have multiple viable specs and it is their goal to support them.

At the same time, they see this issue as a trade off between power and versatility that may remind some of the so called “hybrid tax.” While it still isn’t entirely clear how quickly we’ll be able to gain AP and AK, at least at the start of the expansion, a player who dedicates themselves to one spec (and by extension one Artifact) will be a few percentage points better at his chosen role than a player who has chosen to maintain two or more specs/Artifacts.

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