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Artifact Series: Rogue

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After a small break, our Artifact Series is back underway with the mysterious masters of shadows: the Rogues!

 

Forever dwelling on the fringes of society, the Rogues of Azeroth are as deadly as they are cunning. With notable positions being filled by Rogues throughout the various factions of the world, they have made their mark, whether for good or evil. Let's take a look at the different types of Rogues we might find lurking in the shadows:

  • Assassination revolves around the use of poisons in order to reinforce the deadliness of the daggers they wield. 
  • Outlaw (Combat) stands toe-to-toe with their attackers, wielding larger weapons to inflict stronger physical damage.
  • Subtlety allows Rogues to spend their time hidden in the shadows, analysing the perfect moment to leap out and ambush their target.

Assassination Rogue - Anguish and Sorrow 

 

In keeping with the history of Assassination Rogues, it looks like dual-wielding daggers is the way to go. Let's check out whose daggers these might be:

 

"The orc warlock Gul'dan had these daggers made for his personal assassin, Garona. The blades are said to drink blood and inflict traceless poison, leaving little sign of their grim work: the perfect tools for an assassin. She used them to carry out countless atrocities while under Gul'dan's control, including the murder of Stormwind's King Llane, whom she had befriended. Afterwards, in anguish, she asked a trusted ally, Meryl Winterstorm, to help her hide the blades away in the hope that they'd never have to be used again." (source)

 

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Unless you've just joined the wonderful world of Azeroth, you've almost certainly heard of Garona. Problem is, the Garona that we encountered on Draenor was actually the alternate universe version. The Garona from our universe was, unfortunately, a much more tragic story. Let's take a look at what happened to our favourite half-orc. 

 

Just as Gul'dan had these daggers made, he forced an Orc male to mate with a Draenei female in order to create Garona. He tortured her with his demonic magic, aging her and forcing her into obedience to him. She was raised in the barracks of the Orcs, constantly being mocked due to her "deformities". When her birth mother's brother, Vindicator Maraad, eventually heard of her birth, he began his search to find his niece.

 

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Vindicator Maraad and Garona.

 

Despite being mocked for her Draenei traits, Garona traveled throughout Draenor at the behest of Gul'dan. She became well versed in the ways of the Orcs, hence her appointment as the chief interpreter of the Shadow Council. While this was her official position, she was Gul'dan's personal assassin and spy. Despite her induction to the Stormreaver clan, she had no birthright to a position in any of the Orc clans. This meant she was forever doomed to be an outcast, wandering the harsh lands of Draenor, training in whatever fiendish way Gul'dan chose for her. She became an exceptional fighter, with experience that became extremely valuable when the Orcs began their war against the Humans.

 

Garona went through the Dark Portal with the first Orc raiding party, since she was simply so experienced in the art of survival. She was one of the few to actually confront Medivh and survive. Her entire part was killed, but she was kept alive so as to send a message to Gul'dan. Gul'dan returned her to Medivh with other messages, eventually becoming the official Emissary to Karazhan. While serving at Karazhan, she encountered the human mage, Khadgar. Khadgar was at Karazhan as an apprentice to Medivh, sent by Dalaran to observe the increasingly unstable mage. 

 

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Medivh, Guardian of Tirisfal.

 

At first, both Khadgar and Garona were furious at the prospect of having to work alongside the very race they were each supposedly at war with. Medivh ordered Khadgar, whom he referred to as "young Trust", to treat Garona with respect. The two began to work better with one another after they had to combine their powers to defeat a demon that appeared in the library of Karazhan. Despite continuing to critisise each other, they formed a bond of trust.

 

As Garona grew fonder of Medivh and Khadgar, she began to question where her loyalties lay. Despite being sent to the tower as a spy by Gul'dan, she believed Medivh understood the world better than Gul'dan ever could. She felt he had a dream of bettering the world of Azeroth, rather than seeking to destroy it as Gul'dan did. It is believed that, as she became more fond of the Medivh, this was the time of conception for Garona's son, Med'an. 

 

Medivh began his descent further into madness and his behaviour caused Garona and Khadgar to investigate his actions. Khadgar summoned a vision of the past through a spell, discovering that Medivh was the one that brought the Orcs to Azeroth. Medivh appeared and attacked the two, but Khadgar summoned an image of his mother, Aegwynn to distract the great mage. They fled to Stormwind, meeting up with Lord Anduin Lothar and King Llane Wrynn, both childhood friends of Medivh.

 

They told their story, but Wrynn refused to accept Medivh would have done this. Lothar, on the other hand, understood that the mage had finally given way to the corruption seeping through him. He organised a small raiding party and they made their way to Karazhan. Garona went with them, wearing the colours of Azeroth at the behest of Lothar.

 

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From left to right: Lothar, Khadgar, Medivh, Garona, Gul'dan.

 

They entered the tower, but quickly found that they were entering a mirrored version of the building. They descended into the mirror tower, rather than climb the real one. They found that the mirrored tower was an extremely potent magical area, namely revealed in the form of a vision of the future. Garona found out her tragic destiny, in which she would survive to eventually kill one of the few humans that had ever treated her with respect: King Llane Wrynn of Stormwind. Sick with worry, she had to be shaken out of her trance by Khadgar, who assured her they would either die there and the vision would never come true, or they would live through the battle and leave Karazhan together.

 

They found Medivh and a battle ensued; none of them realised quite how powerful the mage was, since he possessed the powers of both his mother, Aegwynn, and the demonic force corrupting him, Sargeras. Garona was quickly struck down with a strong spell, but it was Medivh's visions and doubts that truly incapacitated her.

 

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Medivh is slain by Khadgar and Lothar.

 

Gul'dan sensed that Medivh was nearing death, so he entered the mind of the great mage. When Medivh was eventually killed, a mental assault on Gul'dan from the mage caused him to fall into a deep coma. Garona disappeared shortly after the fight had ended. 

 

When the dust had settled over the incidents at Karazhan, Garona became the adviser to King Llane. She served as his informant, but was eventually ordered to murder him by the Shadow Council. Since she was still under the corruption of Gul'dan, she couldn't refuse the order. She cut out King Llane's heart in front of his son, Varian Wrynn. Varian, even into his adult years, never understood why Garona cried while she murdered his father.

 

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The assassination of King Llane, as depicted in the visions of Yogg-Saron.

 

Garona was eventually captured by the new Warchief, Ogrim Doomhammer, who tortured her to the brink of death in order to discover the location of the Shadow Council. Ogrim killed all the Warlocks that served under the Council, but Garona escaped in the meantime. She evaded capture for some time before returning to see her friend, Meryl Winterstorm, an undead mage. She had given birth to her son while on the run and entrusted the young boy to Meryl. She believed that she would eventually harm her son if she kept him with her. She told Meryl the boys name, Med'an and told him never to reveal who his mother was. 

 

Given the description of the daggers, one would assume Garona gave Meryl her daggers at this point. The weapons themselves are a perfect fit for the Assassination Rogue. The names perfectly detail both aspects of the weapon; Anguish depicts the feeling of being killed by the slow poisons of the Assassination Rogue, while Sorrow represents the story of the wielder, Garona.

 

A fantastic choice and a great chance to re-visit the tragic story of the real Garona, not the alternate universe representation.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Assassination Rogues

 

The Blades of Vanessa VanCleef

 

Arguably not the most notable figure in lore, but she is still a fantastic character. Vanessa is the daughter of the deceased Kingpin, Edwin VanCleef. Edwin never revealed her existence and she used this to her advantage when she was younger. She watched her father die at the hands of the adventurers, but she did not reveal herself. She spent years living under the pretense of Hope Saldean. She lived with the family, while simultaneously building what her father had started within the Defias Brotherhood. 

 

While Edwin was greatly skilled in hand-to-hand combat, Vanessa held a specific set of skills that are perfectly suited to the Assassination Rogue. Her specialty was poisons. She had a unique ability when it came to dealing with venoms that caused insanity. She has a fiercely intelligent mind and puts it to use when fighting. She knows her strong point is not fighting with weapons, so she instead incapacitates her enemies with poisons. 

 

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The Assassination artifact could have been a set of blades that she had held dear for many years, hoping one day to use them to slay those that killed her father. They are forged in such a way that a special venom has bonded with the metal itself. There is no poison needed to be applied to the blade; instead, the metal is deadly whenever touched. The poison itself could have been a concoction made by her when she was younger, in an attempt to cause a slow, painful death.

 

Outlaw Rogue - The Dreadblades

 

The Outlaw specialisation is going to be replacing Combat as the non-dagger user. Let's see what's planned for the story behind this new addition:

 

"Shortly after the Cataclysm, Admiral Eliza Goreblade discovered a pair of ornately crafted cutlasses inside a recently unearthed wreck not far from Booty Bay. Though the origins of the blades are unclear, their power was not, as Eliza quickly made her name known pillaging countless ships across the Great Sea, none able to best her in combat. Rumors spread among pirates and sailors about the Dreadblades, the most common ones all agreeing that they are cursed, and that if they should ever stop being fed new victims, they'll claim their owner instead." (source)

 

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It looks like, since the specialisation is new, Blizzard have made sure to prepare some new lore for the Outlaw artifacts. It looks like the lore is expressly Pirate based, in which an Admiral plunders the seas, wielding these ancient artifacts. Unfortunately, there is very little that can be discussed in regards to these, so let's move on to the alternatives!

 

Alternative Artifacts for Outlaw Rogues

 

The Cutlasses of Edwin VanCleef

 

For those of you that don't know, Edwin VanCleef is the father of Vanessa VanCleef, and used to be the Kingpin of the Defias Brotherhood. The Brotherhood initially started after the reconstruction of Stormwind was complete. Edwin was an architect during the project, working under the Stonemasons Guild. When the reconstruction was completed, the House of Nobles refused to pay for the job. VanCleef, as well as a few others, were offered jobs within the royal payroll if they would ignore the fact that the payment was not received for the job. VanCleef refused to betray his workers and began a riot in the streets of Stormwind. 

 

Tiffin Wrynn, the wife of Varian, was killed during the riots that ensued. VanCleef was thrown out of the city, along with a number of others that had taken part in organising the riots. VanCleef banded this group together and created what is now known as the Defias Brotherhood.

 

Edwin passed on his knowledge to the Stonemasons, teaching them the skills he had learnt from the thieves of the city. They began to adapt to their surroundings, perfecting the art of ambushing travelers. Eventually, the Stormwind Guard began to intervene, but VanCleef ensured his men were well prepared.

 

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Edwin as the Kingpin of the Defias Brotherhood.

 

They began to commit more serious crimes, with merchants and farmers being robbed, farms burned to the ground and infested with harvest golems. The money that was stolen was reinvested into the group by Edwin, hiring mercenaries to fight for him. Despite the Guard capturing some of his men, Edwin used this to incite rebellion within the Stockades. Soon Stormwind found themselves in the middle of an unexpected siege.

 

Edwin realised the need for a proper hide-out and his search led him to the Deadmines in Westfall. He established his base there and kept recruiting more members to join the Brotherhood. Eventually they began rebuilding a war machine from the First War, an Ogre juggernaut, the boat which Edwin used to be found at the top of in the Deadmines instance. 

 

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The Ogre juggernaut being constructed within the Deadmines.

 

If there was ever an Outlaw Rogue in the game, Edwin VanCleef is that Rogue. He wielded two cutlasses as his weapons, which potentially could have been used as an artifact for the Rogues. With his incredible skills as a mechanical defense expert, we could perhaps have seen some enhanced cutlasses as the weapons. He could have modified them in some way to increase their power and utility to the Rogue, with certain interesting "additions". 

 

Subtlety Rogue - Fangs of the Devourer 

 

The true masters of the shadows have arrived. Let's take a look at what they're going to be wielding:

 

"Goremaw the Devourer, Sargeras' personal hound, claimed countless lives before it was eventually ambushed and killed on another world long ago. Following the hound's death, Mephistroph had its fangs crafted into two powerful daggers that still carried with them some of the potent withering essence that made Goremaw's bites so deadly. These daggers were passed to Akaari, one of Sargeras' most deadly assassins, who wields them to this day." (source)

 

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Exceptionally mixed feelings here. Let's take a look at the positives first. The lore behind the daggers is, on a general level, very cool. The Rogues will be wielding the daggers of one of Sargeras' assassins, which were in turn created from the fangs of his personal hound. That's a pretty amazing backstory. There's just one problem. Other than them being wielding by an assassin, there is no relevance to a Subtlety Rogue. The weapon itself doesn't look as you would expect for the weapon of a master of stealth. You would expect a very streamlined, deadly approach. Instead, we have a glowing dagger made of energy. 

 

Let's fast forward and take a look at an alternative!

 

Alternative Artifacts for Subtlety Rogues

 

Blades of Valeera Sanguinar 

 

Valeera is a character known to anyone that has played Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. She is one of the, if not the only, Alliance Blood Elves in game. As a child, she was left as an orphan after her parents were killed by bandits. She survived by stealing whatever she needed, but eventually her thefts caught up to her. She tried to steal a totem from a Shaman, but soon found herself in a jail. She was ready to escape, but was then sold to Rehgar Earthfury, an Orc ex-gladiator. 

 

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Valeera wielding her daggers.

 

It was in Rehgar's possession that she eventually met Broll Bearmantle and Lo'gosh, one of the halves of Varian Wrynn. After being sold to another owner, she escaped and met up with both of them after they had escaped from Rehgar. It was Aegwynn that helped to create this reunited team; she aided Valeera in her later struggles against the corruption of a demon as well. She believed she had it completely under control, but was proved otherwise when she attempted to protect Med'an, the son of Garona. Cho'gall ambushed Valeera, Med'an and Meryl Firestorm at the Ruins of Ahn'Qiraj and Valeera had to fight him, since Meryl was completely incapacitated by the ogre. 

 

She willingly succumbed to the power of the demon in order to fight Cho'gall long enough for Meryl to teleport them away.

 

I feel like Valeera fits the bill for Subtlety the most out of the three specialisations for Rogues. As a child, she survived on stealth and sticking to the shadows. In her older years, she became a skilled fighter, but still sought to solve problems through stealth and deceit. She wields two daggers that perhaps could have been given some lore throughout her days as a gladiator, as well as her encounter with Aegwynn. It might have been that she wielded her lucky daggers when she was gladiator and, upon meeting Aegwynn, had them re-forged under magic to create a special set of weapons. These weapons could perhaps have allowed her to fade in and out of vision, or in regards to the player, had a chance to activate stealth for a small period of time.

 

That's it for our stealthy friends; next time, Monks!

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