If you remember my last article about artifacts, you’ll recall that I said I had an idea to better flesh out artifacts and make them more in-tune with the character. To begin, my idea wouldn’t replace any of the current artifacts. Rather, this would be an alternative you could either unlock or create on your own.
For those unfamiliar with the term: A breadcrumb is a quest that leads you somewhere. More often than not, it serves as an introduction to a new zone or location. In this case, this would be a new option not linked to any of the current artifacts.
“I wish to forge my own weapon,” says your character.
“What? You wish to create a weapon to fight the Legion!? How would you do so!?” asks the NPC of your class.
It’s here that you get the REAL options of your own artifact. The options would be related to what old raids you completed. More likely than not, they’d only be the two most major raids of the expansion. For this example, you were a heavy raider in Wrath of the Lich King, which lets you choose between Icecrown Citadel and Ulduar. Once your selection is made (for this example, the citadel), you start the quest proper.
When teleporting to the final area of the raid, you would be greeted by a person or persons that finished the raid. If it was Icecrown Citadel, for example, you’d find Bolvar atop the Frozen Throne. Dialogue would ensue with this person (in this example, Bolvar):
“Yes, I remember you <name>. Your defeat of Arthas is a tale many know well. I know why you have come, to forge a weapon worthy of your heroism and to face the Legion.”
It’s here that you’re given the second part of the questline. The core component remains the same: Gathering an item to forge your weapon. In Icecrown’s case, you’d be gathering parts from the various wings of Icecrown. In Deathwing’s case, you’d be gathering eternium shards. So on and so forth. Along the way you’d fight echoes of previous bosses, serving as a reminder of what you’ve faced (and overcome) on your path.
The third and final stage of the scenario is returning the parts to your liaison in the raid. This is where you forge your weapon:
“Everything is in order. All that must be done is to give it shape. Tell me/us, <name>, what is the weapon that signifies your legacy?”
From here, you would pick a weapon that fits your spec as well as weapons you can wield. You can’t pick a sword for marksman hunters, after all. There would be pre-determined weapon styles based on where your raid came from. So, with our example, the Icecrown raid would have styles similar to Icecrown weapons. It shows that this is a weapon of Northrend, forged in the Citadel of your greatest accomplishment.
Do note that the artifact skill tree would mirror your spec. While the weapon and origin are unique, it would cost far too much time and money to make a unique tree for every style of weapon.
As you lift your weapon, your liaison is awestruck at the forged creation. Just as you’re about to return with your weapon, a sudden change occurs. This is where the final boss of the raid appears, be it in spirit form, some lingering creation or perhaps even a cleansed ally who wishes to truly test your might.
The scene shifts to a mirror of the final battle, scaled to solo-level, as you fight amidst the bodies of your fallen raid members. It’s a two-fold purpose: On one hand, you’re given a spectacular finale to rightly seal your weapon’s place as a creation of your own. On the other, it shows what your character could have done in this raid had he or she held this weapon before.
With the boss defeated, the reality dissipates and you’re left with your weapon and your contact:
“I’ve never seen such a display of valor! You <insert text relative to the zone you’re in. Defeated Arthas, trounced Deathwing, crushed the Sha, etc>. A weapon as powerful as that deserves a name…”
The final portion of the raid is actually naming your weapon. Unlike the others, this weapon would have a name and a small title attached to it. The title relates to the raid you acquired it from while the name could be given at your leisure. Of course, it’s as subject to Blizzard’s naming policy as any character. In the example’s case, this would be “<name>, The Bane of Icecrown” or something suitable.
With that, your weapon is handed to you. Rather than unlocking new appearances, which you’d do via unlocking paints/colors, you’ll be able to customize your weapon’s look at the forge, modifying it to your heart’s content. Completing additional scenarios for other raids will unlock further weapons to use.
Foremost, this circumvents the problem of “a legendary you never heard of” by letting players create their own legendary. Lore doesn’t matter as much when players are the one making it. Following up, it also serves as a reward for veterans who were raiders when it mattered and encourages new players to go try old content.
Second, this has endless expansion potential. Add in more raids every few patches with new looks. Make professions a possible option and let us forge artifacts with our legendary talent in engineering, smithing, cooking, pet battles, exploration, even archaeology. Anything is possible with this system!
The downside, however, cannot be ignored. This would require Blizzard to create customizable skins for each raid. Accounting for every available weapon type, this would total around seventeen unique skins for each raid. Even if you take two raids from every expansion from Vanilla-to-Draenor, that is two hundred and thirty-eight unique weapon skins! That’s more than any singular raid could have even accounting for weapon copies based on difficulty.
This also means far more effort would be devoted to improving a system that already works. In a game like World of Warcraft, it lives or dies based on how much new content is in each patch. Using a whole patch to create a system like this could spell disaster if it ends up falling on its face.
With the positives and negatives lined up, I want to impart one last case for a system like this: Blizzard has been pushing us from “adventuring nobodies” to “Heroes of Azeroth” for the past eight expansions. We’re leading the charge against the Legion and we’re serving as the avatar of our respective classes. In my first article, I spoke about how legendary weapons are a symbol, an iconic piece of a character that tells you exactly who they are.
If we are to be the heroes Azeroth needs, why can we not be allowed to forge a weapon based on our accomplishments? Our legacy? Our heroism? Holding Ashbringer may be great, but we need a weapon that symbolizes who we are and what we’ve done. You wouldn’t give King Arthur a sword other than Excalibur. So please Blizzard; Let us create our own Excalibur.