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wow Artifact Series: Shaman

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The Artifact Series is back with our overlords of the Elements: Shamans!



Take a trip across the Elemental planes to discover the new Shaman artifacts and the stories behind them!

Have you ever sat down and watched Avatar: The Last Airbender? Have you ever spent your time wondering how cool it would be to command the elements, their powers always at your disposal? Look no further, the Shaman is here!


Before we get started, make sure you haven't missed any of your favourite classes that have already been covered:


Back to the Shamans!


Let's take a look at what wonderful specialisations are available to them:

  • Elemental is the spellcaster of the three Shaman specialisations. With the ability to harness the destructive forces of the elements, they truly have the spirit of nature running through their veins.
  • Enhancement is the melee damage dealer. Equipped with dual weapons, these warriors are known for their versatility in the totemic arts, as well as their ability to imbue their attacks with the power of the elements.
  • Restoration is the most proficient in the wielding of the power of water. They allow the essence of the ancestral spirits to guide their hand in healing and aiding their allies in need.


Elemental Shaman - The Fist of Ra-Den


The FIST of Ra-den? That's an interesting choice of weapon for an Elemental Shaman. Let's see what the story behind it is:


"Aman'Thul the Highfather, leader of the titan Pantheon, entrusted his greatest servant, Highkeeper Ra, with this artifact, which could channel the fury of the storms. Ra used it to bestow life on the titan-forged mogu race, and he wielded it in battle against the Black Empire for years beyond counting. Later lost to Ra, the weapon was ultimately recovered by the August Celestial Xuen, who saw its immense and dangerous power, and chose to safeguard it until someone worthy could take up the weapon in a righteous cause once again." (source)




The first, glaringly obvious problem with a fist weapon as a caster artifact is that we will never see it. As the current animations stand, fist weapons are hidden from view when sheathed. Due to the fact that a caster will very rarely unsheathe their weapon, this means that this artifact will very rarely be seen by the player. From my point of view, this just seems pointless. Either the animation needs to be changed or there shouldn't be a fist weapon as a caster weapon.




Aman'thul with his legendary weapon, Orodur.


From a lore point of view, the weapon is an excellent choice. Aman'thul was known as the "High Father", the leader of the Pantheon and the oldest titan to have lived. He wielded a large staff of lightning, Orodur, that was said to constantly surrounded by the power of the winds. At the time, Highkeeper Ra, now known to the Mogu as Ra-den, was created by the Titans to watch over the Mogu as they created the continent now known as Pandaria. 


He was entrusted with the legendary weapon, the Fist of Ra-den, which held the ability to channel the power of the storms by Aman'thul. Ra used the weapon to grant life to the Mogu, a race forged by the Titans. He used the weapon in his war on the Black Empire, the civilization governed by the Old Gods and Elemental Lords. While he fought a brave battle, his minions eventually become affected by the Curse of Flesh. The Curse of Flesh was initially created by the Old Gods in order to make the titanic creations more vulnerable, such as the Dwarves and the Mogu. 




Ra-den in Lei Shen's dungeon.


When the curse hit the Mogu, one of the race, Lei Shen, decided to rise up against Ra and challenge his authority as their watcher. Lei Shen defeated Ra in combat and decided he could rule over Pandaria in lieu of Ra. He tore the out the heart of Ra and drained his power over the winds and storms. Through Ra, he learnt the secrets of the Titans in regards to flesh-shaping and Anima.


Lei Shen used this new knowledge to his benefit, creating the Anima Golems and the Saurok to populate Pandaria. He imprisoned Ra under the Throne of Thunder, Lei Shen's base of operations, and began what is now known as the Mogu Empire. 




Lei Shen, the Thunder King, in the Throne of Thunder.


At this point, the location of the Fist of Ra-den is unknown. The August Celestial Xuen eventually finds the weapon and decides the weapon needs to be kept secret until a worthy adventurer comes forward to claim it. 


I think this is an interesting part of the lore. Blizzard has chosen to have Xuen take the artifact and hold it, despite him being associated with physical strength in the Pandaria legendary cloak scenarios. Even during the duel between Xuen and Lei Shen, Xuen is quoted as having physical strength rather than magical. I feel it would have made more sense to have Yu'lon recover the weapon, since she is the spirit of wisdom. She was included as the spirit of the spellcaster cloak in Pandaria, which Elemental Shamans wore.


Other than that, the lore is fantastic behind this weapon. It ties in perfectly with the idea of wielding the power of the winds and storms. On an aesthetic point, the weapon needs to be changed into a 1-handed mace or axe, or the sheathed animation for fist weapons needs to be changed soon. An artifact weapon shouldn't be invisible 99.9% of the time.


Alternative Artifacts for Elemental Shamans


Krolmir, Hammer of Storms


Our alternative weapon for the Elemental Shamans is the personal weapon of the Stormlord, Thorim. As one of the titan watchers, he served as a guardian of Ulduar and the Terrace of the Makers. Thorim was deceived by his brother, Loken, who murdered his wife Sif and blamed the King of the Ice Giants.




Thorim with his mighty hammer, Krolmir.


In a rage, Thorim threw his mighty hammer to the earth with all of his might, creating what is now know as Thundefall, a location found in the Storm Peaks. The hammer was kept in the crater in order to prevent it falling into the wrong hands by King Angrim, King of the Frost Giants.


When Thorim had been forced out of his rage-induced stupor, King Jokkum of the Ice Giants removed the spell placed on the hammer and returned it to Thorim.


I feel like this could have been a great artifact for the Elemental Shamans, since it holds such a strong tie with the Stormlord. With a power as great as his, I think he is a fantastic basis for the artifact; he is said to be so powerful, he turned an entire continent to dust. It would also be interesting to see how Thorim might relinquish the hammer and what could cause him to do so. There perhaps could be a a follow-on from freeing him from Ulduar and the adventurer being granted the weapon after fully cleansing him of Yogg-Saron's corruption.


Enhancement Shaman - Doomhammer


The legendary Doomhammer is finally in the hands of the player! Let's take a look at the journey this weapon has had since it was first forged:


"Forged in elemental lava on the orc homeworld of Draenor, this massive hammer is connected deeply with the elements, and its true power is only awakened in the hands of those who can speak to the elements in kind. The Doomhammer was long wielded by Orgrim Doomhammer, one of the greatest orc warriors of the Horde, and now rests with Thrall, one of the most powerful shaman Azeroth has ever known." (source)




What a treat this weapon is! The legendary Doomhammer has passed through some of the greatest Orcs in history and now the player finally gets to use it. Starting with Telkar Doomhammer, the father of Orgrim Doomhammer, the weapon was forged on Draenor within the elemental lava of the planet. The weapon holds a huge bond with the elements, its true power only to be unlocked by those that can truly connect with the elements themselves.


Orgrim admired the hammer as a child, knowing that one day he would wield that mighty weapon. When meeting with his best-friend Durotan, the father of Thrall, and the Prophet Velen, Doomhammer gives a prophecy concerning the future of the hammer. It can be found in the World of Warcraft Official Magazine and is as follows:


"The last of the Doomhammer line will use it to bring first salvation and then doom to the orc people. Then it will pass into the hands of one who is not of the Blackrock clan, all will change again, and it will once again be used in the cause of justice."


The last of the Doomhammer line that the prophecy references is Orgrim. After escaping from the prison of Lordaeron, Doomhammer wandered the continent as a hermit, reflecting on the loss suffered by his forces at the end of the Second War. He is eventually contacted by Drek'Thar, the Shaman of the Frostwolf Clan. He is informed that the son of his murdered friend Durotan has rejoined the Frostwolves. 




Grommash Hellscream, leader of the Warsong Clan.


Doomhammer ventures to meet Thrall and they quickly become close allies. They establish a plan to free the captive orcs from the camps around the area. They request the aid of the legendary combatant Grom Hellscream and his Warsong Clan. They quickly liberate a large number of camps, but they encounter resistance at one of the later raids.




Thrall, wielding the Doomhammer and wearing the armour of Orgrim.


Doomhammer is fatally wounded and ends up passing on his armour, weapon and title of Warchief to Thrall. Thrall accepts and becomes the black-armoured, Doomhammer wielding Shaman we all know and love. It seems like, after venturing deeper into his shamanic future, Thrall no longer wishes to wield the Doomhammer and instead wishes to pass it on to a new, worthy adventurer. You lucky dogs!


Alternative Artifacts for Enhancement Shamans


Now a huge number of you are most likely worrying about the Doomhammer being used by an Alliance Shaman. Why would a Draenei wield the hammer of an Orc, considering the fact that the Orcs nearly eradicated their race from the universe?


I'm going to try propose a concept that might not be the most logical, but I think it follows a somewhat coherent explanation and it allows for the use of an Alliance artifact. Today, we're going to be talking about the Hammers of the Wildhammer Clan.


The Hammers of the Wildhammer Clan


The Wildhammer Clan are based in the Hinterlands and have officially joined the Alliance, with their representative sitting on the Council of Three Hammers: Falstad Wildhammer. Falstad's brother, Kurdran, used to be the Chief Thane of the Wildhammer Clan, and it's these two Dwarves I'd like to discuss.


Now, neither of these two are strictly considered Shamans. They haven't become the Spirit of Earth as Thrall has or trained as a Shaman for years like Drek'Thar, but they are definitely very large lore characters that show a form of kinship with the skies.


Let's take a look at the history of the two brothers, Kurdran and Falstad.





Falstad Wildhammer.


Falstad is most notably known for his role in freeing Alexstrasza, the Red Dragon Queen. He aided Vereesa Windrunner and Rhonin in their quest to infiltrate the Orc stronghold of Grim Batol and free the Queen, who was being held captive via the Dragon Soul. 


If you attempt to kill the Council of Three Hammers as a Horde player, you might notice that Falstad shows some shamanistic abilities, namely Chain Lightning and Stormhammer. These abilities, as well as his incredible kinship with the skies and flying, demonstrates some capabilities in regards to controlling the element of wind and fire. He also uses abilities, such as Cleave, which are based on a strong melee capability.




Kurdran battles the forces of the Burning Legion.


Kurdran, on the other hand, is mainly known for his contribution during the Second War, in which he single-handedly slew a total of nine dragons. He was a menace in the skies to the Orcs and fought valiantly for the Alliance forces. He, as a Wildhammer, is prone to an affinity towards the elements and therefore shamanism. He is a gryphon-rider, as his brother is, and shares the same kinship with wind.


Between these two, I feel Blizzard could have allowed for an artifact to have been created, "The Wildhammers", that would have created a separate Horde and Alliance artifact depending on lore. Unfortunately, this would most likely spring up questions about other faction specific artifacts, but nevertheless, this is just an alternative. The concept is based on the idea that both of these brothers are proficient fighters in melee combat, while also harnessing the elements to aid them in their fight.


Dual-wielding some form of storm hammers belonging to two of the greatest Alliance gryphon-riders in the game. Not bad for the Alliance.


Restoration Shaman - Scepter of Azshara


A scepter belonging to one of the most powerful beings in the universe, so powerful that even Mannoroth trembled before her? Sounds good. Let's find out what's going on behind the scenes of this artifact:


"A powerful scepter created by Queen Azshara long ago, before her transformation into a naga. The scepter swirls with waters from the Well of Eternity prior to its corruption, granting the scepter great magical and restorative powers. The Scepter of Azshara was lost during the War of the Ancients, shortly before Azshara and many of her followers were swallowed by the sea. Taken up by surviving night elves who knew nothing of the power it truly held, it was buried with an unknown priestess in a family tomb in Azsuna, waiting to be discovered by someone that could unlock its true potential." (source)




For those of you that are unsure of who Queen Azshara is, let me take you on a journey through time spanning as far back as 10,000 years. Just before the Great Sundering, Queen Azshara ruled over the Elves of Kalimdor. She was known as the most beautiful ruler, her charm unstoppable and her appetite for power unquenchable.




Queen Azshara sitting before the portal for the Legion to enter through.


Her people lived around the Well of Eternity, a lake holding the true natural power and energy of the land. It drew energy from the infinite Great Dark Beyond, a void spanning between different worlds. It acted as a fountain of power and Azshara became obsessed with it, seeking to draw as much power from it as possible. 


Her most trusted adviser, Xavius, came to her with the suggestion of re-creating and cleansing the world in a new, perfect image. Despite their honest intentions, they quickly garnered the attention of Sargeras, who noticed their meddling with the huge power of the Well. In an attempt to enter Azeroth, Sargeras corrupted Xavius, then the highborne, then Azshara herself. 


Through the influence of Sargeras, Azshara was convinced by Xavius to open a portal into Azeroth by the Burning Legion, thereby starting the War of the Ancients. The Elves began to form a resistance, but Azshara continued with preparations for the arrival of Sargeras. 


They decided they must first summon lower lieutenants of the Legion, such as Hakkar the Houndmaster, Mannoroth and even Archimonde. Mannoroth was charged with maintaining the portal for forces to come through, but an attack on the Highborne led to the portal failing. Azshara demanded an explanation from him, but Mannoroth quickly lost control of his rage.


He went to attack the Queen, but quickly understood that to do so would be suicide. Within this great Queen was a power so great, that only his masters, Archimonde, Kil'jaeden and Sargeras, would match up to her strength. He retreated quickly and apologised. Azshara forgave him and pushed him to continue trying to summon Sargeras.




The Well of Eternity, prior to the Great Sundering.


The summoning was eventually stopped, but the Well lost all control. The fountain of magic became completely de-stabilised and eventually exploded, causing the Great Sundering. While Azshara was meant to die in the explosion, she shielded herself and some of her most trusted handmaidens against the magical overload. As they began to drown, a voice whispered to her, promising a life beyond her own. The whispers are as such:


"There is a will become more than you ever were...we can help...You will be more than you have ever been...and when the time comes, for what we grant will serve us well..."


Rather than die, she accepts the offer of help and finds herself turned into a beautiful monstrosity: the Naga.


A mace that belonged to such a powerful figure in lore, as well as holding a small amount of the Well's waters, is going to turn out to be an incredibly powerful weapon. The direct link to the element of water seems like a perfect choice for the Restoration Shamans, as well as a strong link to the magical essence of the Well.


Alternative Artifacts for Restoration Shamans


The Staff of Farseer Nobundo


This was a very difficult one to decide on, since there aren't many weapon-wielding Shamans in the game. I decided on Nobundo because I feel he is a hugely influential figure within lore, while also having one of the most tragic stories.


Farseer Nobundo was a Draenei vindicator, a paladin of sorts that sought to bring retribution to those that had committed wrong-doings. He channeled the powers of the Light and fought in the war against the orcs. During the war, he found himself deserted by his powers and was trapped under the rubble of a building. He awoke to the sounds of screaming women and children being slaughtered and thrown into the Lower City of Shattrath. He wished to help, but with a broken leg, no powers and being severely outnumbered, he knew he could do nothing.




Shattrath City prior to the siege.


He crawled to Terrokar Forest, but passed out along the way. He awoke in Zangarmarsh, where a group of Draenei that were fleeing had dragged him along. He was eventually banished due to the strange aura that surrounded him and a few of the others. They were deemed too dangerous to ever be in contact with a Draenei again. Despite his powers being gone, Nobundo still had his iconic, Light-blessed hammer. Not for long. A former friend of his confiscated the weapon, thereby destroying the final remnant of the vindicator he once was. 


Now, he was simply one of the Krokul. The Broken.


Some of the Broken fell deeper into madness, some committing suicide as soon as they saw the change happening. Nobundo was haunted every night by the horrors he experienced at Shattrath City. Every day he walked to the peak of a mountain and prayed for the Light to answer his call, to gift him his power back. He never received a response, until one day, Wind responded. 


Wind told him of the ways of the Shaman, how he could learn to become one and harness the powers of the Five Elements. A key fact to be noted here is that Nobundo was taught by the elements, not by another Shaman as almost all previous Shamans had been. His energy replenished by this finding, he traveled in search of any Draenei that might listen to him, but none would speak with a Broken. None except Prophet Velen. Velen understood that there was a need for balance and the way of the Shaman, like that of the light, was a path worth walking.




Nobundo peers into the waters and his former self looks back at him.


Nobundo quickly became a part of his inner circle and ended up journeying with him to Azeroth. He introduced the Draenei to the way of the Shaman and began teaching those that wished to listen. 


He was essentially, the first Draenei Shaman. A weapon from Nobundo would be a huge piece of lore, especially since there is no distinction from Horde and Alliance with the Shamans. During Cataclysm, this is shown by the Earthen Ring. It would fit both of the factions and could be a truly fantastic lore-piece.


It is also important to note that Nobundo focuses on the use of the element Water, tying in with the Restoration theme perfectly.


So, the mail users are now finished and we're moving on to the leather-wearers. Next week, our new blindfolded friends: Demon Hunters!

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Just as a quick note, Blizzard has stated that they intend to allow the Fist of Ra-Den to show while casting spells, much like the Shaman unit in Warcraft III. Hopefully this'll be the case with other artifacts, too!

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Fingers crossed it will look good. I saw some mention of it by the @WarcraftDevs Twitter, but since we're yet to see it in alpha, I'm not holding my breath for it!


Hopefully it won't just be a copy of the imbue visuals.


Perhaps they will allow the fist to alter its visuals based on the spell being used.

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