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Artifact Series: Hunter

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Check out our newest installment of the artifact series featuring Hunters!

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Our plate-wearers are out of the way and the mail-users are here to stay (for 2 days)!

 

Regardless of the occasion, these sharpshooting, animal taming, beast-stalking heroes are known across Azeroth for their wonderful zoo-keeping abilities. Famed for the ability to magically summon an entire zoo to harass their enemy, they strike fear into the hearts of players everywhere.

 

Let's check out what makes these Hunters stand out from one another:

  • Beast Mastery holds the strongest bond with the animals that Hunters tame. Their ability to tame exotic beasts is unmatched and their innate tie with their pets allows them to unlock an inner strength within the animals.
  • Marksmanship makes up for its lack of animal skills with a proficiency for any ranged weapon. Their ability to bring down enemies from a long range is unparalleled by any, their unwavering aim always finding the correct target.
  • Survival favours the use of traps and deadly poisons to ensnare and slowly kill their target. Their methods may not be the fastest, but are no less efficient than the others.

Beast Mastery Hunter - Titanstrike

 

With a name like Titanstrike, we can only assume this weapon harnesses some form of the titan's powers. Let's find out:

 

"A peerless example of techno-magical engineering, the Titanstrike was designed by Keeper Mimiron, a titanic watcher and brilliant inventor. Securely housed in the heart of the rifle, a relic known as the Thunderspark powers the Titanstrike, harnessing the essence of storms and focusing it into concentrated blasts of energy. The rifle's power source can also be credited to Mimiron, who devised it for his comrade, Keeper Thorim, in ages past." (source)

 

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It looks like the name holds true, we are indeed seeing a titan-based weapon for the hunter here. For those of you that were not present during Ulduar, Mimiron was one of the Watchers created by the titans. They were placed on Azeroth in order to watch over the creations of the titans and to ensure nothing went horrendously wrong.

 

Unfortunately, Mimiron fell to the same corruption that overtook many of the other watchers. One of their main tasks was to act as the jailors of the Old God, Yogg-Saron. Slowly, the powerful being corrupted the minds of his jailors, Mimiron included. When we fight our way through Ulduar, we slowly cleanse each watcher of their corruption and they aid us in the final battle with Yogg-Saron, should we ask them to.

 

Mimiron was found in the Spark of Imagination, surrounded by his creations. Throughout the fight we see him summon 3 different mechanical forms, until they eventually form together to create one large mechanical boss. He is a master tinkerer who freely discusses the creations of the titans, such as when he discusses them with Brann Bronzebeard. Brann describes him as an individual who simply "never. stops. talkin'."

 

QAp04Ta.jpg

 

Mimiron's creation, V-07-TR-0N.

 

Just next to the handle is the Thunderspark, a creation of Mimiron's that is intended to harness the essence of storms and channel them into focused streams of power. This powerful creation was initially created for the watcher Thorim, known as the Stormlord.

 

Nobody can doubt the power of this artifact, but I'm struggling to see what relevance it has to the hunter class itself. Hunters aren't known for their kinship with lightning, such as Shamans are, nor are they particularly tied in to titan lore. Let's take a look at what other weapons might have been appropriate:

 

Alternative Artifacts for Beast Mastery Hunters 

 

  1. Nesingwary's Rifle

If you've ever set foot in any green, forest filled area, it's more than likely you will know exactly who Hemet Nesingwary is. The dwarf runs the Nesingwary Safari, which looks to hunt exotic animals in exotic places.

 

400px-Hemet_Nesingwary_art.jpg?version=4

 

I feel like he is the perfect subject for artifacts relating to Beast Mastery Hunters. While Hemet is mainly focused on hunting animals, he still shares some form of kinship with animals as a hunter. This is not based on a feeling of love in order to tame the beasts, but instead an understanding of how they move and act in order to hunt them. There are very few as talented as he when it comes to tracking and hunting animals.

 

There is also the fact that, traditionally, one would associate a Dwarf Hunter with a gun and a Night Elf with a bow. As a Dwarf, this means Hemet would be more likely to be wielding a gun than a bow, thereby fulfilling Blizzard's aim of including a gun in the artifacts. 

 

They perhaps could have added in some lore in which Hemet Sr perishes while the Hunter attempts to help him track a legendary beast. The Hunter must then slay the beast and is then seen as worthy of hunting with his weapon. Hemet Jr then goes on to take control of the Nesingwary Safari and Expedition.

 

2. Rexxar's Axes

 

There is no Hunter in the Warcraft universe that holds a kinship with an animal that even comes close to the relationship between Rexxar and his bear, Misha. The bond between these two completely justifies the title given to Rexxar, Beastmaster. He wields axes that he throws at his opponents, which could have been used as a form of weapon for the Beast Mastery Hunters.

 

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Rexxar is known as a Champion of the Horde, the title awarded due to his contribution to helping the Horde. It was Thrall that awarded the title to Rexxar, but there has often been a focus placed on Rexxar's background. He is not a pure orc, instead being half-ogre, half-orc. This explains his huge stature and build, as well as his immense strength. 

 

While the gameplay and abilities would need to be modified, they could have altered the abilities to create a "thrown weapon" style of play, similar to the style which was initially expected for Survival. This was a potential path to finally turn Beast Mastery into a fully pet-oriented spec, in which the abilities could have been focused hugely on the pet rather than the player.

 

Marksmanship Hunter - Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners

 

The long awaited revival of the Windrunner sisters, let's take a look at which sister's history ties in to the artifacts:

 

"A proud heirloom of the Windrunner family, Thas'dorah was carved from a bough of the mother tree of Eversong Woods shortly after the elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas was founded. Handed down to the eldest of each generation, the bow was last wielded by the high elf Ranger Captain Alleria Windrunner. It disappeared along with its owner following the destruction of the orcs' homeworld, Draenor, and the subsequent formation of Outland." (source)

 

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It's Alleria! The eldest of the three sisters of the Windrunner family, she was a skilled Ranger Captain, especially during the Horde invasion of Lordaeron. Despite not being given orders to do so, she went to Southshore in an attempt to help against the invaders. She was instrumental in dealing with the orcs, working together with Turalyon, her future lover, and Khadgar. 

 

When the Horde began marching on Silvermoon City, Alleria quickly retreated to help with the defense of her land, but the successful campaign came at a horrible price. Her brother, along with 18 others, were slain during the defense. Alleria was driven into a revenge-fueled rage, vowing to slay any orc she came across. She started to view the orcs as nothing but vermin, their only purpose of existence was to be exterminated. 

 

She led the expedition through the Dark Portal in the hunt for the Horde, hoping to avenge the wrong-doing they had enacted on Quel'Thalas. It was on Draenor that Alleria disappeared, when Khadgar destroyed the Dark Portal. The resulting explosion created what is now known as Outland; Alleria and her allies had to enter the Twisting Nether in order to survive the explosion, but she and Turalyon are yet to be found in World of Warcraft.

 

This bow is a perfect heirloom for the Marksmanship hunters; Alleria was a fierce fighter, with incredible precision with her bow. She chose no companion, brought no animals, she simply stalked her prey and took their lives as she saw fit. Her ability to fire her bow in close-quarters is surpassed only by her sister Sylvanas.

 

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The fact that Alleria is also featured in the Valley of Heroes gives credence to her abilities, as well as the respect she garnered within the Alliance. Her monument reads like this:

 

"Ranger Captain Alleria Windrunner

 

Renowned Troll Hunter of Quel'Thalas. Lead Scout and Intelligence Agent for the Alliance Expedition that marched into the orc homeworld of Draenor. Presumed deceased.

 

Your heart flew straight as any arrow upon the wind, sister. You were the brightest of our Order. You were the most beloved of our kin."

 

This was written by Sylvanas Windrunner, Ranger General of Quel'Thalas.

 

I like this choice for the artifact, I love the story behind Alleria and the bow being linked to her rather than Sylvanas, as it was previously.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Marksmanship Hunter

 

The Bow of Nathanos Marris 

 

For many of you, this name might mean nothing. Rightly so, Nathanos hasn't been mentioned in any lore for a long time; however, that doesn't mean he is not worth mentioning.

 

Nathanos Marris is a pretty incredible guy. At the time of the Second War, the High Elves completely secluded themselves from the rest of the world, choosing simply not to communicate with other races. Even at this time of silence, Nathanos managed to catch the eyes of the Ranger General herself, Sylvanas Windrunner.

 

The High Elven Rangers are known as some of the finest rangers across all of Azeroth, their abilities often rivaled by none but other rangers. For an individual to grab the attention of Sylvanas was an amazing thing, but for a Human to do so... It was unheard of.

 

Kael'thas opposed the introduction of Nathanos to the ranks of the rangers, but Sylvanas replied with this letter:

 

Name: Nathanos Marris, Human Ranger Lord of Lordaeron. 

 
Entry: Kael'thas Sunstrider's dissension in regards to my decision to allow Nathanos Marris into the order is noted. It should also be noted that Nathanos - although a human - is one of the most gifted rangers I have ever had the pleasure of training. 
 
For millennia we have isolated ourselves from outsiders. I will be the first among us to admit that mistakes were made in the past. Humans should never have been exposed to magic. I will not deny this but I will not condemn us to this guarded existence for the blunders of our predecessors. There is much that a coexistence between the Quel'dorei and other races of the world can bring. We must practice tolerance. 
 
It is with these words, then, that I deny Kael's request in regards to Nathanos Marris. He will prove to be an invaluable ally. Mark my words.
 
Signed,
Sylvanas Windrunner 
Ranger General of Silvermoon
 
 
After being initiated, Nathanos spent much of his time away from Silvermoon, instead training at his home in the Eastern Plaguelands. Unfortunately for him, when Arthas killed Terenas, the Scourge swept through his homeland and straight through Marris Stead. He tried to defend his home, but he could only hold off so many of the Scourge. Eventually, he was killed by Ramstein the Gorger, an abomination. 
 
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Nathanos after his change, now named Nathanos Blightcaller.
 
There was nothing he could do to stop it and soon found himself under the Lich King's control. When Sylvanas eventually broke free from the Lich King, she made sure she found her old companion Nathanos. She rebuilt her kingdom alongside him as the Forsaken and named him her Champion of the Banshee Queen.
 
I think the only alternative to the bow of a Windrunner would have been the bow of a Windrunner's student and I think Nathanos definitely fits the bill. He was exceptionally talented and a fantastic figure within the lore, his only problem being that many don't know about him.
 
Survival Hunter - Talonclaw, Spear of the Wild Gods
 
Melee Hunter has returned! With so few hunter weapons to choose from, let's see what Blizzard have given us:
 
"The Highmountain tauren crafted this spear, which predates the first demonic invasion of Azeroth more than ten thousand years ago. Talonclaw's wielders have fought alongside many guardian animal spirits, also known as Ancients, to defend the world of Azeroth and its wildlife in particular. Over the millennia, these Ancients have bestowed their blessings on the weapon, imbuing it with a portion of their power." (source)
 
OylWt3D.jpg
 
Immediately upon seeing this weapon and reading Blizzard's story behind it, I feel like this would have been better served as a Beast Mastery weapon. The story is based on the idea of the Tauren infusing the weapon with the spirits of the animals that fought beside its wielder over the years. Essentially, the weapon is drawing power from the spirits of beasts.
 
This piece of lore has been completely invented for the artifact, despite us seeing a few Highmountain characters during the lore, such as Melgromm Highmountain at the Dark Portal opening.
 
I really don't feel like this is a survival weapon and it should have been given to Beast Mastery instead, perhaps as a form of thrown spear.
 
Alternative Artifacts for Survival Hunter
 

The Glaive of Shandris Feathermoon 

 

There are very few suggestions to match a melee-hunters weapons since its a counter-intuitive description of the class. Hunters by definition are ranged, but we're going to give it a try anyway.

 

For those of you that don't know, Shandris Feathermoon is the General of the Night Elf Sentinels. Her loyalty to Tyrande is unwavering, mainly due to what they endured together at the Well of Eternity. She has been an archer in the past, but her generally preferred weapon now is one of the Elven glaives that the Sentinels use. Now I'm sure you're wondering, why the glaive? They're nowhere near as big as a polearm!

 

I think a piece of lore could have been created surrounding Shandris and her glaive, perhaps granting her some form of special glaive blessed by Elune, especially since she was so close to Tyrande, the favoured of Elune.

 

When Shandris was much younger, she was just 16, her village was destroyed by the Burning Legion invasion. She spent her time afterwards following Tyrande and the Priestesses of Elune around the battlefield, trying to learn as much as she could. As the war raged on, she followed Malfurion into the forests where she found him being mocked by Xavius, who had captured Tyrande.

 

Shandris showed her proficiency as a ranger by firing a quick shot that pierced the upper chest of Xavius, before quickly taking down several satyrs that accompanied Xavius. Malfurion ended up forcing the wooden shaft of Shandris' arrow to sprout into a tree, completely consuming the corrupted satyr. 

 

Tyrande was missing, therefore nobody was stopping Shandris from joining the Priestesses of Elune. She signed up under the temporary leadership of Maiev Shadowsong and joined the battle. Her ability with a bow was stunning, her arrows piercing the holes in the armour of the demons at every chance. 

 

PXdxQCFh.jpg

 

Shandris has since become the General of Tyrande's Ranger Army, while also acting as a personal scout and guard for Tyrande. We see an example of this during the Stormrage novels, where Tyrande requests the help of Shandris simply because she trusts her to help with finding Malfurion. 

 

Shandris is a tactical mastermind, as well as an excellent tracker. Her combat abilities are to be admired, both with a bow and glaive. This is why I think she is such a good basis for an artifact. Blizzard could have either chosen her bow as the Survival artifact, or chosen her Glaive as the melee weapon. Had the Survival artifact been ranged, they perhaps could have used this spear, or the axes of Rexxar, as the Beast Mastery artifact.

 

A missed opportunity, I believe.

 

Next time, we're going to be delving into the elemental planes, seeking the artifacts of the Shamans!

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I love the MM weapon, Thas'dorah. Anything to do with the Windrunner family works for me. They are the "Silver Hand" of the ranger world. Anything elven would have worked, but I'll definitely take it.

 

Not buying the Beast Master gun. I can't wrap my head around this. It seems more like a survival weapon. Traps, guns, snares, etc. Nesingwary would have been an interesting alternative, I agree.

 

Talonclaw for survival I'll accept. I think the BMs should have been melee but I can understand why you'd want pet focus to be distant. Either way, its "hunterish" enough.  

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I love the MM weapon, Thas'dorah. Anything to do with the Windrunner family works for me. They are the "Silver Hand" of the ranger world. Anything elven would have worked, but I'll definitely take it.

 

Yeah, the Windrunners are always a good choice in my book. Solid lore individually as well as the family name.

 

 

Not buying the Beast Master gun. I can't wrap my head around this. It seems more like a survival weapon. Traps, guns, snares, etc. Nesingwary would have been an interesting alternative, I agree.

 

It just doesn't really have any connection to the beastial side of BM, so I didn't understand the choice at all. Glad to see that you appreciated Nesingwary!

 

 

Talonclaw for survival I'll accept. I think the BMs should have been melee but I can understand why you'd want pet focus to be distant. Either way, its "hunterish" enough.  

 

I feel like the artifact choice here was slightly rushed, mainly due to the fact that there are VERY few melee hunters. The class/lore focus is on that ranged concept, so there isn't really an iconic hunter weapon for melee. I guess we just have to accept some weapons are going to have new, invented lore, since the class lore doesn't exist previously. BM melee would have got me very excited for the Hunters in Legion, but it wasn't to be.

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As a relatively new player (compared to most--just 3 years of play) I recently leveled a hunter.  I've been playing BM primarily but have MM as a secondary spec. Thas' dorah may have just made the decision for me.  While I'm waiting for the expansion my choice is--level a new toon or learn to play my MM well.  I think this limb from Eversong motivates me to consider the switch.  My guild has been discussing BM vs MM for a while.  I do love my pets and will be a bit lonely without them.  But gosh--Thas' dorah is such a beauty that I think I'll try going it alone for a while.

  Thas'dorThas'dorah

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