Updated Fri, Nov 18, 2011 by Saia
What would World of Warcraft be without weapons, especially legendary ones? Since the game launched though, we’ve only seen a small number of orange weapons but that doesn’t mean the lore isn’t ripe with promise.
Legendaries have traditionally occupied a place halfway between lore and reality. Some have a place in legend, like Medivh's staff Atiesh, The Warglaives of Azzinoth, or the Ashbringer while others are completely new creations. This latter category includes weapons like Quel’Delar, the new Rogue daggers Fangs of the Father and Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest.
But there are some weapons that players want and are probably never going to get, weapons like the Doomhammer, Thrall’s famous hammer. It's so popular that Blizzard has actually released as a lifesize replica and Chris Metzen brought one on-stage at this year’s BlizzCon as a symbol of the Horde. Most of the Alliance and Horde leaders have some kind of weapon: Varian has Shalamayne, Velen has his gigantic staff while Garrosh now holds Cairne’s Bloodhoof Runespear and Sylvanas is in possession of Sunstrider’s Longbow.
Many of the racial leaders' legendary weapons appeared in the Battlecry Mosaic.
These weapons - especially Doomhammer - are on many players' wish lists but there’s a problem. These legendary weapons already have owners and are unlikely to ever find their way onto loot tables. Doomhammer, for example, is always passed from father to son so Thrall will eventually pass it onto his son by Aggra. Yet Chris Metzen commented at this year’s BlizzCon that they needed to add it to the game somehow but whether it will actually happen remains to be seen.
While awesome, these weapons belong in the hands of the leaders who have them. Giving them to players would almost cheapen them. It’s okay to take weapons off the corpses of our fallen foes, but legendary weapons like Shalamayne are legendary because they are held by the great and good of each faction. Before Wrath came out, Blizzard promised us Frostmourne but eventually recanted when they realised it would not be possible, within the boundaries of Azeroth’s lore, for us to wield it without breaking the mechanics of everything which makes WoW tick. The same thing applies here, to give us Doomhammer or Shalamayne or even Sunstrider’s Longbow would cheapen the weapons and raise us to heights where we don’t belong. There’s a big difference between champions and leaders; without us, Azeroth would have perished long ago.
But that’s not to suggest that we’re missing out. As each major patch and expansion comes, Blizzard has taken time to craft new and interesting lore around the legendary weapons they’re implementing. Yet they are also, justifiably, somewhat hard and expensive to get, costing thousands in gold, luck, and bravery. Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings and Shadowmourne, for example, both took months of raiding and the efforts of an entire group or guild. To even stand a chance of getting them, you also had to defeat the current end-game raid bosses. One person does not a legendary gain, it’s very much a group effort even if only one person sees the rewards.
The dragon Tarecgosa appears over Stormwind as a guild gains Dragonwraith.
With Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest, Blizzard finally came up with a way to reward not just the person who got the staff but their entire guild. Every member got a Lil’ Tarecgosa pet, a super deformed version of the mount, to show for their efforts.
Mists of Pandaria is on the horizon and there is a lot of scope for new legendary weapons. I can see us wielding a legendary Pandaren staff or mystical tankard and gaining a tiny Pandaren companion. Oh wait, we already have a Monk. Actually, considering there is no major antagonist in the next expansion, perhaps we’ll return to creating legendaries in a non-raid setting via complex quest chains. But, as we’re so early into the Mists expansion, it’s impossible to tell but hopefully Blizzard will surprise us.
Is there a particular faction leader’s weapon you’d love to have in your inventory? Perhaps there's an obscure weapon in lore? Let us know what kind of legendary weapon you’d like to wield in the comments box below.