Exploring new Druid artifact weapons and lore in Legion
In case you’ve been in the Emerald Dream for the past few days, World of Warcraft: Legion was just announced, and there are a ton of new things to talk about. The new expansion looks amazing, with plenty of new things for Druids of all specializations to enjoy. Let’s discuss some of what we can expect for Druids in their first venture to the Broken Isles.
Every specialization in the game will receive an artifact weapon exclusive to their spec as one of the first things they do in the Broken Isles. As you level up and complete content, you will earn Artifact Power, which will allow you to unlock upgrades and new abilities n a weapon-specific talent tree. Each artifact weapon has several different appearance and color options, which will be unlocked by various methods.
That’s the general overview. Now, throw all that out for Feral and Guardian Druids. As was directly addressed by Ion Hazzikostas in the preview, Feral and Guardians don’t have visible weapons in form, so they get a unique artifact. That item? Fangs of the First Nightsaber, a relic that will allow you to customize the look of your cat/bear form as well as the look of your weapon. (If you haven’t watched the reveal stream, Ion trolls the audience for a minute before revealing the change, it’s hilarious.) Ion also revealed that there will be an updated model for Feral. When not in form, the artifact weapon appears to be a dagger (likely a pair), which will be a huge change for druids accustomed to stick-type things.
Now, as a main-spec Feral, this is great. One of the biggest complaints of the Feral community for several years has been the lack of visible progression on the character model; it’s no fun watching others’ gear progressively grow and change when you’ve looked the same for years. This has been addressed at points with cosmetic effects attached to weapons (Fandral’s Flamescythe, Kiril, Fury of Beasts) or toys, but this is the first time a comprehensive plan has been put in place, which is exciting.
However, I can’t help but feel Balance druids are going to be a little upset. Ferals (and likely Guardians) are getting new models because they don’t have visible weapons, and Restoration’s look was updated with the racial updates for Warlords of Draenor. That leaves Balance, and it’s very possible they may get their shiny new artifact weapon stapled to the back of their increasingly ancient model.
At least we can speculate as to what the Balance and Restoration weapons will be. There’s not a lot of lore regarding Druid weapons; the majority of the Druid lore figures were shapeshifters with no visible weapon, and there’s never been an exclusive Druid legendary. My guess would be they will be tied to one of the World Trees; Nordrassil in Mount Hyjal or the new Shaladrassil in Val’sharah (more on that in a second) are the most likely. Other than that, the only other thing I could think of is the Scythe of Elune as an artifact weapon for Balance Druids. It has a lot of lore behind it, but it’s thematically linked with Worgen whereas this expansion appears to be mostly Elven.
Since Mount Hyjal was added as a playable zone in Cataclysm (and the later Firelands raid), there’s been very little new Druid lore to speak of. That looks set to change in Legion, which looks set to revisit many locations from the Well of Eternity. Specifically, the Val’sharah zone is described as “once the pinnacle of Druidism on Azeroth, where Malfurion became the first Druid via Cenarius’ teaching.” In a callback to the Stormrage novel, the zone will contain a new World Tree, Shaladrassil, that has been corrupted. We will have to fight Xavius and save Malfurion from the Emerald Nightmare, first in the zone, then in the Black Rook Hold and Darkheart Thicket dungeons, and then finally crossing into the Nightmare in the first raid instance of the expansion.
While Night Elves get the lion’s share of the attention, Tauren get some love as well. Another new zone, Highmountain, features the Highmountain Tauren and their war against the Drogbar, a new race that has been living in the former lair of Neltharion. While I don’t expect a lot of Druid lore here, I could be wrong; it’s be good to see Hamuul again. Surprisingly, there’s very little in the way of Trolls to be seen so far; I thought it was a rule of the World of Warcraft universe that a Troll dungeon/raid be included in every other expansion, but that hasn’t been seen to date.
Also announced was Class Orders, a new gathering place for members of each class to unite cross-faction and lead members of their class in defeating the Legion threat. The Order Hall will be established in an iconic place for each class; for example, Paladins will head to Light’s Hope Chapel, while Shamans will go to the Maelstrom. Druids weren’t specifically discussed, but it’s hard to imagine that we’d go anywhere but Moonglade (we already have the teleport, after all). It likely won’t be in the village of Nighthaven, though, as the other locations mentioned new areas being established within the existing areas. There’s lot of free space surrounding Lake Elune’ara where a new building could be constructed.
Once the Hall is established, you will venture there to upgrade your Artifact, as well as start other quests and missions. The follower mechanic from Warlords of Draenor will return, but streamlined into a new “Champions” system. Instead of an army, you’ll recruit a small elite group that will assist you directly. I’m very interested in who turns out to be a Druid champion. Choluna and/or Thisalee Crow kicking butt in the front lines? Hamoot showing up from the Cenarion Expedition? Lathorius, bringing along his D.E.H.T.A. colleagues? Morthis Whisperwing teaching us how to fly again in the new lands?
No matter what, let’s be real. We’re just keeping the seat warm for the best Druid of our age: Zen’kiki.
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