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WoWDec 5, 2015 2:00 pm CT

Blood Pact: Affliction’s Legion Artifact and Warlock class hall

I’ve learned from Kanrethad and tried to pick the least spoilery header image I could find; this is it. It’s not quite 100% spoilerific because that is obviously my voidwalker there — you do remember what a voidwalker looks like, right? Just making sure after we’ve been walking around with a voidlord for over three years. It’s true, our Supremacy demons are gone in the sense that the talent just amps up your regular demons — but wait! All is not lost, because the Supremacy demons will be available as reskins through minor glyphs. I can’t show you, because glyphs aren’t enabled in the alpha yet, so we’ll just have to trust the WarcraftDevs Twitter account on this one.

Behind the cut, there are complete and utter spoilers. I decided against including some first reactions to the playable mechanics of Affliction in today’s column, because I don’t want to exclude those avoiding story spoilers from getting central class information. So behind the break is just summary on the Warlock class hall and the Affliction artifact quest lines.


Dreadscar Rift, Warlock class hall

Yes, that’s a dead pit lord chained to some pillars, and yes, you have a central role in putting him up there. In fact, that yellow-orange blob in the center below his tail is his beating fel heart that you ripped out from his chest upon his defeat. It’s still beating, too; you can hear it as you stand near the altar there that houses your Artifact weapon.

Here’s the spoilerific summary. Kanrethad left a hole in the Council of the Black Harvest, so Ritssyn invites you as the replacement. They need a powerful warlock to help them summon …a pit lord. Zelfrax has the honor of calling on the pit lord as a nod to Wilfred’s summoning dialogue of Jaraxxus.


Once again, trusting a trifling gnome is a trap move — literally. The pit lord, Jagganoth, captures the Council and you wake up in a cell near Ritssyn on the demon world island, Dreadscar Rift. You help bust the remaining Council members out with help from Calydus — a member of a demon race I’m tempted to call “demonic kobolds” — but after discovering a tome full of Legion secrets, you catch Jagganoth’s attention, and he drives you out with falling meteors, forcing you to leave the rest of the Council behind as you make your escape.

Calydus has your back when you escape to Dalaran, where he tells you about and lets you pick your Artifact. Since Affliction is the only Warlock spec currently open on the alpha, Ulthalesh the Deadwind Harvester is the only option available.


Ulthalesh, the Deadwind Harvester

To get Ulthalesh, first you have to see out the Dark Riders. Revil Kost helps you, starting first in Duskwood and then running (and flying) all over Deadwind Pass. You must find and attune a ghostly compass that will point the way to Ulthalesh. While attuning the weapon, you encounter three visions of Sataiel, the first necrolyte, who happens to be a draenei model dressed in mostly Voidheart Raiment with a more mage-y headpiece. Finally, the compass is attuned and leads you to the Karazhan Catacombs.

You have to fight your way down to the bottom of the Catacombs. Skeleton guardians will jump out from the wall alcoves, and those ghostly banshees aren’t just for eye candy either, for they can breathe a cone of shadowy ouch on you and explode for more damage. Once at the bottom, you see Ariden, the Dark Rider who keeps you from Ulthalesh. You have to cross a spirit barrier with grasping skeletons, defeat an arcane sentry like the Menagerie Curator, and face Ariden himself.


I had to work a small amount to defeat Ariden, though that was expected given the premade level 100 character is dressed in item level 680 greens, likely the level 100 boost set you get. Ariden throws his soulful axe that will knock you back slightly if you get caught in its whirl. A handful of spirits also circle the room, occasionally blasting you, and while you can kill them, I eventually ignored them for favor of burning Ariden down.

Once you defeat Ariden, he cries out as he is levitated into the air, his soul harvested by Ulthalesh. All that’s left is for you to claim the staff as yours, which you do in a fun Soul Harvest purple swirly animation with a Warlords-like animated title mini-cinematic. Revil agrees that if someone should wield it, it ought to be you, seeing how powerful you are, and he suggests you return to Dalaran to finish what you started.

Calydus in Dalaran sends you back to Dreadscar Rift to take your revenge on Jagganoth, vanquishing him and taking over his domain as your class hall. With his beating heart, you command the Dreadscar’s demonic guards, and they all become neutral to you. Calydus bids you to find Ritssyn again, who’s where you left him, in the bottom of the cell area. Ritssyn sends you off to the Broken Isles while the Warlocks continue to search for what happens to the rest of the Council, on a quest that doesn’t quite work yet.


First impressions

Dreadscar Rift is very fitting for a Warlock, though the lighting is rather depressing after spending a long time applying Corruption for spreadsheeting giggles. Near two large gate or channeling areas, you can find old class trainers — Demisette Cloyce, Zardeth of the Black Claw, Mordak Darkfist, Luther Pickerman, and Martha Strain — conversing or overseeing channeling acolytes. Bulzan the Champion of Dreadscar is having what looks like felguard class.

On the archivist’s platform, versions of Ulthalesh float above pedestals, so you can see some of the skins you can have for your Affliction artifact. The circle around Ritssyn’s former cell is interesting, because the chained up “rebellious” demons are actually your training dummies, including a set of Rebellious Imps for AOE training.

Calydus alludes to the rest of the Council being alive under Jagganoth’s control, for the pit lord would rather torture than kill them. You kill Jagganoth and the rest of the Council is nowhere to be found on Dreadscar, but Ritssyn is determined to rebuild the Council. The quest mentions the “captured” Council members, and I hope our old class trainers that are wandering in the Dreadscar are going to play a part in rescuing the Council.

Furthermore, each of the captured Council members acts as a single Warlock spec –Shinfel drains souls (Affliction), Jubeka shoots shadow bolts (Demonology), and Zinnin incinerates his enemies (Destruction) — so the quests might involve all three, or maybe we rescue one per our artifact line. However, I think the quest lines eventually converge, because the dreadlord who shows up after you defeat Jagganoth is Mephistroth — the same guy whose skull artifact Demonology steals. He now appears to be a common enemy for all Warlocks, not just Demonology.


Blizzard has implemented a simple soultion to the everyone-has-an-Ulthalesh problem, though maybe we’ll all still have the same Ulthalesh early on. Five versions of Ulthalesh, starting with the one we wield to begin with, hover above the pedestals in the archives, and when you open your artifact power pane, the other tab at the bottom is for reforging the appearance. If you go to the altar in Dreadscar and use the artifact pane through the altar, Ulthalesh appears as a rotate-able 3D model next to you, and the appearance tab has a total of 16 skins, four each for four different tiers of the artifact.

As there’s only one artifact line available, I don’t know if more than one artifact will hover on the pedestals for you, or if only a first-chosen or most-progressed artifact sits there. Though I liked the red-and-blue version seen in the previews, I think I love this purple iron gate-like scythe more, and can’t wait to acquire it. The skins for the Scepter of Sargeras can also be seen through the wardrobe currently, though the Skull of the Man’ari doesn’t seem to appear quite yet.

If anything, the first impressions of the Warlock class hall and Affliction artifact quest line leave me hungry and excited for the other two specs to come out. In mean time, I’m content to play around with the Affliction talents for more first impressions.

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