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Artifact Series: Priest

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The Artifact Series is almost at its end, but not before we've visited the chapels of Azeroth in search of the Priests.

 

Let's take a look at the different specialisations we're going to be dealing with:

  • Discipline revolves around shielding players from harm while keeping them healed.
  • Holy is much more direct in its approach, reversing damage by healing, even after dying.
  • Shadow turns somewhat away from the Light, instead using sinister Shadow magic to inflict pain on enemies.

Discipline Priest - Light's Wrath 

 

An interesting name for sure, let's take a look at the story behind it:

 

"Obsessed with cleansing undead from the world of Azeroth, the fanatical Scarlet Crusade tried to create a second Ashbringer in the form of a staff. However, a dreadlord who had infiltrated the order intervened, interrupting their efforts and triggering a violent magical explosion. The damaged staff’s power proved nearly uncontrollable. After several wielders tried and failed to use the staff safely, the elite magi of the Kirin Tor hid it away lest it unleash further deadly calamities." (source)

 

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Now this is an interesting one. I'm sure any of you that have ever leveled in World of Warcraft, you've probably seen members of the Scarlet Crusade somewhere. The Scarlet Crusade is a religious group that were started up in opposition to the undead. They are mainly based within Tirisfal Glades and are one of the main opponents of the Forsaken. 

 

The Crusade was formed after Lord Uther was betrayed by Arthas and killed. The Knights of the Silver Hand were devastated by the loss of their leader and the devastation that the Scourge wrought across Lordaeron. They tried to defend the cities they could, but the might of the Scourge was simply too much. They had to watch as their people were decimated by the undead.

 

When Uther died, there were two main figures that took over the defenses of Lordaeron by Paladins and Priests: Grand Inquisitor Isilien, a priest acting as the liaison for the Knights, and High General Abbendis, a commander who served under Alexandros Mograine in the Second War. It was said that, as the city fell around them, both men were driven insane. Since there was no longer a Lordaeron to protect, their goal changed. They wandered the land with only one goal in sight: to annihilate any undead they could find.

 

The group grew as they wandered, with figures such as Renault Morgraine, the son of Alexandros, Taelen Fordring, the son of Tirion Fordring, as well as Saidan Dathrohan. 

 

For many of you, the last name won't mean much. Saidan Dathrohan was actually one of the first Knights of the Silver Hand, but he perished during the Third War at the hands of Balnazzar, a dreadlord. You're probably wondering, if he died during the Third War, how on earth was he a part of the wandering party?

 

Balnazzar possessed the body of Saidan and entered the Scarlet Crusade under the guise of the great Paladin. Balnazzar was supposedly "killed" by his brother, Varimathras at Sylvanas' order, but he survived. He wasn't happy with just sitting underground, so he used Saidan to exact his revenge on the undead and the Forsaken. We can assume that, while he is not named, Balnazzar is the dreadlord who attempted to stop the second Ashbringer being created.

 

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The Scarlet Monastery, one of the strongholds of the Crusade.

 

It was from this group that the Scarlet Crusade was eventually built. They are essentially fanatics, with the only goal of eradicating the undead, in any shape or form. The order itself is made up of Priests and Paladins, so it's an interesting choice for the Discipline artifact. The backstory denotes a great power contained within the staff, so great that none have ever controlled it, so it makes sense for the Priest "class leader" to control it.

 

Let's see if there's an alternative!

 

Alternative Artifacts for Discipline Priests

 

Iridi's Staff

 

This might be a slight stretch for those that haven't read the books of the Warcraft universe, but let's give it a go.

 

Iridi was a Draenei Priestess who, along with a friend of hers, served as an apprentice to a Naaru in Outland. After studying under this great being, they were each gifted an extremely powerful staff by their master. Both journeyed to Azeroth in the hope that they might be able to use this great power to aid their people.

 

Upon arrival, a horrible fate was awaiting Iridi's friend. Zendarin Windrunner, a cousin of the Windrunner sisters, murdered her friend and stole the staff. He took it to Grim Batol, hoping that it would aid him there. He had recently pledged his allegiance to Sintharia, the consort of Deathwing, and was attempting to create a new dragonflight, the Twilight.

 

Iridi tasked herself with a journey to Grim Batol in order to retrieve the staff, but soon found herself embroiled in a much greater quest. At Grim Batol she met a group of adventurers, including Vereesa Windrunner, Rhonin, Krasus and Kalec.

 

The group were on a mission to prevent Sintharia from fulfilling her goal and creating the Twilight Dragonflight. They searched Grim Batol and found a nether dragon, Zzeraku, who was to be fed to the twilight dragon, Dargonax. Iridi freed the dragon in the hope that the great beast would fight Dargonax, but it quickly became apparent that the nether dragon would lose the fight.

 

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Sintharia, also known as Sinestra.

 

Iridi attempted to channel her and her staff's power into the nether dragon, but it wasn't enough. Dargonax consumed Zzeraku and turned on the group; Iridi realised the peril that they were in, as well as what it might mean for Azeroth if the Twilight Dragonflight was created, so she forced the last of her and her staff's energy into a last attack.

 

She ended up stunning the dragon long enough for Rhonin, Kalec and Krasus to help her kill it. The effort was unfortunately too much for Iridi. She ended up perishing, but her last request was that she was to see Outland one last time. Kalec took her body and buried it in Outland, but the Draenei died knowing she had saved Azeroth.

 

The events of Iridi happen in the Night of the Dragon book, but I think it's an amazing story that could be extrapolated into WoW for an artifact. Iridi is a Priest herself, but her staff could have had some serious power placed into it. Theoretically, after Dargonax dies, there is nowhere for the immense amount of energy that has been poured into him to go. 

 

So, what if the staff had somehow been infused with his energy after the explosion? One of Dargonax's abilities is being able to acquire the powers of those he kills, so what if the staff took on one of the abilities he had stolen? 

 

When he kills Zzeraku, he steals the ability to move into an ethereal form, as the nether drakes can. What if the staff infused itself with this ability, while also retaining the "Naaru touch" that it had before? It would allow the user an effect that would have a %-chance to force the current friendly target into an ethereal state. In this state, they take reduced damage and perhaps have another small buff applied? 

 

I think this could fit really nicely into the idea of "shielding" for Discipline, since it's reducing damage, not healing. 

 

Holy Priest - Tuure, Beacon of the Naaru

 

It's always a good day for a Priest when the Naaru are involved. Let's see what the story is:

 

"As beings of Holy Light, the benevolent naaru rescued the draenei from their homeworld after most of its people were transformed into demonic recruits for the Burning Legion. Demons nearly overwhelmed the fleeing draenei, but the naaru protected the refugees with this beacon crystal. Tuure channels the Light's essence into healing radiance, regenerating horrific wounds and bringing people back from the brink of death. Ultimately the crystal was lost to Legion forces on an invaded world. It hasn't been seen since." (source)

 

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I'm going to say it outright: Draenei weapon. As much as this might heal people and have the Naaru power, the focus point of this weapon is the fact that it saved the Draenei. This holds no bearing whatsoever for the Alliance races and even less so for the Horde. 

 

The lore here is very self-explanatory, it's essentially the crystal which stopped the Legion from finishing their genocide against the Draenei. I'm seriously disappointed by this, since it isn't a Priest weapon. Let's see what we can come up with.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Holy Priests

 

So, suggesting a different Holy artifact is actually incredibly difficult. In WoW, the Priests are, by the majority, associated with the "Light". The Light itself doesn't actually hold any deity at the head of the belief, since the idea of a God was removed from WoW, as well as angels.

 

Spirit healers are as close to an angel as we can find in WoW, but the majority of references were removed due to the fact that the Light is very closely based on Christianity. Without any ruling deity within the Light, it's difficult to bring a physical being into the artifact sphere. The Naaru are probably the closest thing we have to a physical form of the Light, but it's going to be a bit boring doing another Naaru weapon. 

 

Instead, let's look at some of the other important things we can base a weapon on:

  • Notable Priest weapons in the game, such as Benediction.
  • A weapon based on a notable Priest in lore.
  • Some form of physical embodiment of the Light.

Of the three choices, I think the third one is probably the best. I don't want there to be a simple revisit of another weapon, so why not make a unique one? For my target, I'm going to choose a race that might not at first be associated with the Light, but the Scourge. 

 

Wings of the Val'kyr

 

In the current age of WoW, the Val'kyr are associated with two individuals: Sylvanas and the Lich King.

 

The Lich King forced the female Vrykul of Valkyrion into his servitude as Val'kyr, changing any that were deemed worthy. They are said to judge the fate of any Vrykul that enter combat, with the favoured ones being turned into Ymirjar and the others being turned into Vargul.

 

They also aided in training the Death Knights of Acherus, ensuring that any new warriors wouldn't perish before they were supposed to. They are essentially the spirit healers of the Scourge, bringing the dead to life.

 

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One of the Val'kyr in Acherus.

 

Once Arthas died, there were only nine of the new Val'kyr remaining, but they were trapped atop Icecrown Citadel. This was when the mantle of leadership moved from Arthas to Sylvanas. The Val'kyr needed a vessel to free them, a sister that had experienced both life and death. 

 

The leader of the Val'kyr, Annhylde, sacrificed herself to give Sylvanas life again and the pact began with eight Val'kyr and the Banshee Queen.

 

Despite still holding some kinship with the light, the new Val'kyr don't quite fit the bill for our artifact. They weren't always like this though. The Val'kyr weren't created by Arthas, they actually predate him by a long stretch of time.

 

They were initially champions of the Light, with an immense amount of power. They were incredibly strong warriors in battle, but their main purpose was to serve their people in death. They ensured that the Vrykul warriors ascended to the Halls of Valor where they will meet Odyn.

 

The older Val'kyr died out a long time ago, but they are still an incredibly cool concept. They were essentially the true spirits of redemption for the Vrykul, but they weren't as passive. They were active in their duties, both in life and death. 

 

As a weapon, I think we could see an unbelievably amazing thing come to life: wings. If we look at the Demonology Warlock artifact, they will have a skull floating by their shoulder, so evidently Blizzard aren't set on the conventional weapon forms. The Holy priests already had the Val'kyr model for their Spirit of Redemption, but what about Val'kyr wings while alive? Instead of a weapon, the Priest could have a set of wings on their back which could change the animations of certain spells.

 

The different models could reach across different forms of angels, whether it be an angel of the Light, a Val'kyr, a form of troll "angel", or even wings of the Moon Goddess. It would allow different races to be represented while still giving a fantastic tie to the varying forms of the Light.

 

Let us know if you've got any better suggestions for the Holy artifact, since the current one simply isn't good enough!

 

Shadow Priest - Xal'atath, Blade of the Black Empire 

 

Now that's a scary name, let's check if the story is as fitting for Shadow:

 

"This terrifying dagger was made from the claw of an Old God eons ago, and dark priests used it for ritual sacrifices during the height of the Black Empire. After the fall of the Old Gods, Xal'atath was hidden away by cults. It has surfaced from time to time over the course of history, inevitably associated with some horrific ritual or disaster. The blade has a will of its own: it uses powerful Void energies and mind magics to warp everything around it for some nefarious purpose." (source)

 

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Now this is an interesting one. There is very little lore that is specified for this dagger, since it refers in general to an Old God. The Old Gods of Azeroth were beings that appeared after the Titans had left Azeroth. They came from the Void, seeking to destroy everything the Titans had built. It was from the Old Gods that the Black Empire emerged, housing their great army.

 

Azeroth couldn't handle the sheer levels of power radiating from these ancient evils and ended up buckling under the power, falling into a chaotic state. The Titans returned to Azeroth, but it was too late. The Old Gods had afflicted their creations with the Curse of Flesh, forcing them into slavery alongside the Elemental Lords.

 

A great war begun, but it took centuries before the Titans made any headway. They imprisoned the Old Gods one by one, but they ended up losing their legendary champion, Sargeras. He realised that it was pointless to try and stop all the different evils across the universe, since there was simply no end to the evil. He ended up releasing all the demons he had captured and created the Burning Legion.

 

To have fought an evil as great as the Old Gods, as well as losing one of their brethren, the battle took a severe toll on the Pantheon. These evil beings are more powerful than any Titan, as evidenced by the battle. Each Old God took multiple Titans to subdue it and even then, they couldn't kill any except Y'Shaarj.

 

There are a number of Old Gods, but we have only seen 4 named in the game:

  • C'thun
  • Yogg-Saron
  • N'Zoth
  • Y'Shaarj

Of the 4 that we know of, the dagger most likely comes from C'thun: the dagger itself holds an eye within the hilt and C'thun is known as having eyes all over its body. The scheme of the weapon somewhat matches the style of the body, but we can't be certain. This is mainly due to the fact that we have no idea what Y'Shaarj looked like when whole, nor have we ever seen N'Zoth. 

 

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C'thun, as seen in World of Warcraft.

 

The Old Gods are always a tricky subject, since we know so little of them, and since there might be more on Azeroth that we don't know about.

 

Regardless, I think the Old Gods were a strange choice. Shadow Priests by their nature are not necessarily evil. They still command the powers of the Light, hence their ability to shield and heal, so they aren't completely evil. The Old Gods are the most purely evil beings on Azeroth, they show no respect to the idea of balance whatsoever. Shadow Priests revolve around the idea of balance, as said by Bishop Natalie Seline. Seline is actually one of the owners of this dagger and off-hand, as evidenced by the text on the off-hand, inv_offhand_1h_artifactskulloferedar_d_0Secrets of the Void.

 

While Shadow Priests undoubtedly call upon the magics of the Void and shadows, they understand how to harness it and still allow themselves to control the Light. The Old Gods are essentially completely consumed by the Void, with no regard for anything other than destruction.

 

This does raise a particular question as to whether or not there is actually a link between Shadow Priests and the Old Gods, since they both are proficient in the magics of the Void. Might we see a link between the two in this new artifact quest?

We may even get to see who the fifth Old God is or find the true location of N'Zoth!

 

Let's see if there are any other routes for the Shadow Priests.

 

Alternative Artifacts for Shadow Priests

 

I think the basis for the weapon is actually very good. The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow, led by Bishop Seline, investigated the differences between the Light and Void and discovered a unique relationship. They believed that there had to be some form of balance between the two entities, so they worshiped the Void as other Priests did the Light. I think building from this could work very well, but I personally don't think a fragment of the Old Gods quite fits the Shadow Priest. It represents the Void only, but has no representation of the Light. While it might not be the most exciting of solutions, there is one race that strays dangerously close to the Void, despite being pure effigies of Light.

 

The Dark Star

 

Personally, I feel like this was a missed opportunity. For those of you that don't know, the Dark Star is a Naaru named K'ara. K'ara arrived on Draenor on Genedar, the Draenei ship, many centuries ago. When the ship crash landed, K'ara was thrown from the wreckage and, as a result of the crash, began the inevitable shift in its cycle. K'ara fell from the heavens, shifting into its Void phase as it fell. The orcs of Shadowmoon Valley saw the Naaru's fall and named it the Dark Star.

 

Members of the clan attempted to harness the powers of the Naaru, but they were driven insane by the powers of the Void within. They began to defile the spirits of their ancestors, a direct contradiction of one of their oldest traditions. The chieftain at the time ruled that no other members would be allowed to practice shadow magic.

 

The Dark Star was left alone until the Iron Horde appeared. Ner'zhul attempted to harness the void energies of K'ara, hoping that he could serve the Iron Horde with its power. He sacrificed huge numbers of Draenei in order to complete his work with the Naaru, but he was eventually stopped by an adventurer and Prophet Velen.

 

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Velen purifies the Dark Star.

 

Velen is too late to simply stop the ritual, so he sacrifices himself to purify the Naaru and restore it as a being of light. I think, had they thought ahead this far, that they could have established the Shadow Priest artifact here.

 

Shadow Priests, by their nature, use Void magic, but still have the ability to use the Light. The Naaru are a being of light that has turned to the Void in their inevitable life cycle. What if Velen had not fully cleansed K'ara, but instead had established within it the ability to shift between Void and Light freely, just as the Shadow Priests do with Shadowform.

 

The process could have perhaps taxed K'ara so much that it needed to enter a protective state, in which it forces itself into the form of a crystal. This crystal is an extremely potent, centralised form of energy. The Priest could then use this to construct a weapon, in which they wield the power of a Naaru which freely moves between Void and Light.

 

I think this could fit the idea of the Shadow Priest better, since they require the balance. While none of the Shadowmoon Clan could efficiently control the power without stooping to insanity, perhaps the Priest, who retains a link to the Light, can retain balance in their mind.

 

That's pretty much it for the Priests. Make sure you check out our next, and last, Artifact Series next time: the Mages!

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I'm loving the idea for the Discipline Staff. It makes sense given their desperate attempt to make a second Ashbringer in the wake of the undead hordes sweeping through, killing and infecting everyone around them. Tie in the Dreadlord and Paladin/Priest lore for its construction, I can get behind this.

 

As for the Beacon (Holy) and Xal'atath (Shadow), the article contradicts itself. Displeasure in the crystal as the back bone for the holy staff because its Draenei of origin, but then to suggest they missed an opportunity to use The Dark Star for the shadow weapon left me VERY confused. Thats literally switching out one for the other.

 

The idea behind the Beacon for the holy spec is PERFECT sense. This war isn't about Alliance or Horde, its about the Legion. This crystal kept the Draenei alive from the Legion. Its pure light. When I read its "bio" it made perfect sense to me. The Naaru ARE light and the holy spec uses almost nothing but. You can't get a more pure thing to represent that. Its not about finding links to the Alliance and Horde.. its about finding whatever necessary to defeat the Legion. 

 

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Thanks for the comment! Just to clear up any confusion concerning my comments regarding the Naaru:

 

I criticised the artifact choice because it rests solely on the protection of the Draenei. The only reason that this particular Naaru has any mention in a story anywhere is due to it saving the Draenei. It holds no meaning whatsoever with any other race. Why would the Horde care about this artifact in the slightest? Yes, the Naaru are undoubtedly powerful, but why would a troll priest care about a Naaru saving the Draenei?

 

Maybe my criticism is unwarranted, but I just feel like the lore is too heavily set within a single race. The reason why I chose the Dark Star as a Shadow Priest artifact is because it actually represents the Void, as opposed to the Draenei or the orcs. The lore that surrounds the Dark Star is very orc and Draenei based, but the actual lore of the Naaru itself is Void centred. Since it is directly related to the Void, it is directly related to the shadow spec.

 

The focus of the Holy artifact is on it saving the Draenei, not on its relation to the light. Yes, the Dark Star definitely holds some connotations to races, but the Iron Horde aren't the same as the orcs of the Horde. There is mention of the Draenei, since they helped to purify it, but in the reality of the artifact existing, it wouldn't have as strong of a relationship. It's relationship would centre on the Void and Light working together in one weapon.

 

Basically what I'm trying to say is, the Holy artifact never would have been notable had it not saved the Draenei. The Dark Star would still have been an incredible (and noticeable) power through the Void, even if Velen had never purified it. The focus within the lore for the two weapons is different.

 

That's my opinion at least and my justification for the choices.

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Thanks for clarifying. LOL. I can definitely see your point better now, and in some parts of it agree. My personal outlook is maybe not so much the lore, but it's effectiveness. Its true that a troll or undead priest under normal circumstances wouldn't care for the crystal or may not even know about it. In this situation though with the coming of the Legion, every last race is affected and may go so far to say if Azeroth falls, so does the rest of the universe given our resilience. With something of this magnitude, any object or item that has proven itself against the Legion should be acquired.  

I do agree though that the lore in its entirety is kinda flimsy.

I do love their idea for Xal'atah. The claw of an old God like Yogg'Saron or C'Thun (who we've experienced first hand their ability to mental'y corrupt, confuse, and blast the mind with warping void energies) fits the bill perfectly. Though the Dark Star being forged into a dark dagger version of say, the Ashbringer, would be very exciting, yes.   

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Really happy to hear that and I'm always open to discussion about anything I write! I love it when you guys get involved and give your perspective on it. 

 

I actually think you have a good point in regards to idea of the "need" for anything that has proved effective against the Legion. I was just more assessing from the lore point of view, but it's still a very good point and justification for the weapon. 

 

The claw opens up the extremely mysterious link between shadow and the Old Gods. If Shadow uses the power of the void, there must be some link somewhere to the Old Gods. Will be interesting to see if the use of the artifact opens up any more lore concerning their relationship, if there is one.

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      NA servers are briefly down for maintenance. Ion apologizes for 8.0.1, it was not the smoothest of pre-patch launches. "Players deserve better." They're working to bring Communities back. They completely overhauled the squish mechanism this time around so that they can bring down numbers with the press of a button instead of just scaling everything down manually. There are many issues with scaling, leading to mobs one-shotting you and various other bugs. The team's working around the clock to fix bugs and appreciate constructive feedback! When they fix a single bug, it can affect content that's several expansions old. If you earned Mage Tower appearances on one character, you'll be able to equip it on a second character of the same Class. No intent whatsoever to nerf Dungeon experience. The "weekly reward" is a visual bug. Warlock caster / idle animations are still in the works. Legacy Loot System won't apply to Legion raids in Battle for Azeroth at level 120. Personal Loot will be used for that, but if you're soloing Legion raid content, you'll receive loot as if you were in a 10-player group. The system was always intended for content 11+ levels higher. Mythic mounts should be tradable with Personal Loot. Azerite Armor is untradable in Battle for Azeroth. A piece of Azerite shoulders that's being looked at by multiple Classes has a different set of Azerite traits for each of them and they don't want you to give it to the Class that has the best traits on it. There shouldn't be a single best comp for all affixes. Mythic+ Seasons affect end-game rewards, so they want to align them with new raid tiers and PvP Seasons. In Battle for Azeroth, there will be Seasonal affixes activating at Keystone level 10. The first Seasonal affix will retire with the release of a new raid tier when they'll introduce a new one. Do we need a squish in every other expansion? Power progression is important for the game and there are too many tiers of progression and the high item level is what it takes for rewards to feel consistently rewarding. In BfA, players will begin to reach 10K DPS (as in Wrath). They didn't intend to increase the difficulty of Legacy content and old raids. Blizzard standardized camera anchor points for all Classes. When you start scrolling, you'll notice that the camera points to a point just above your head. No more claustrophobic camera snapping for Gnomes and Goblins! No plans to update traits on Underlight Angler for BfA. It's tied to Legion. Artifacts will override what you wear in your off-hand. They want to develop more customization options though. Azerite traits will have more depth throughout BfA. The vast majority of traits we've seen so far include less complex traits on leveling gear and feel lackluster. It's possible that a Mage Tower type of solo content will return in Battle for Azeroth. VoD