From the moment my guild first started running Blackwing Lair, I wanted one. I ended up getting a Sulfuras instead, which is certainly a fine weapon in its own right, but as much as I liked Sulfuras, I always knew I was making the logical decision (take the one that drops first) over the one my heart wanted (wait for Ashkandi). Years passed. We moved out of BWL and into AQ, then Naxx, and then The Burning Crusade launched. No model could replace Ashkandi in my heart. The Gladiator sword, Despair, Cataclysm's Edge, Apolyon, The Lionheart Executioner -- all fine models, all solid weapons. None could take its place.
Ashkandi became more than a weapon to me, a symbol for the game itself. The impracticality of the model only endeared it to me more, the narrow blade exploding outward past the ridiculously elaborate hilt. When Cataclysm launched and I heard that Nefarian would return and he would have a Reclaimed Ashkandi on his loot table, I was at first ecstatic and then demoralized. The Reclaimed is, well, far more practical. The blade isn't so ludicrously broad and long, the hilt looks strong enough to take the stress of use. In general, although you can clearly trace the line of descent between the weapons, the new Ashkandi didn't reach me. And so I returned again and again and again to Blackwing Lair over the course of the years I've played it, seeking Ashkandi.
Some people collect pets or mounts or both. Some love achievements or holidays and world events. Some people hoard all their old armor sets or weapons. For me, it's always been swords. I keep other weapon models, but I love swords, and for me, Ashkandi is the sword in World of Warcraft. Sure, there are other awesome swords, other swords with amazing lore, epic quest lines and big chunks of WoW history, and I love all those swords too. I kept my Quel'Serrar and still have it in my bank, not Void Storage, so I can take it out and use it whenever I want. I've got a Jin'rokh, an original OEB, a King's Defender and a Spiteblade, and countless other swords I love and use.
But for me, all these swords are like the knights in a king's court, there to provide context and reflected glory for the king. And the king is Ashkandi, and it always will be. Because I still remember the first time I saw it and said wow without a trace of self awareness or irony. I still remember that fresh wonder, reading the flavor text and realizing that this was Anduin Lothar's sword. The Brotherhood in question is the Brotherhood of the Horse.
I wouldn't be writing lore articles for this site if not for the interest in finding out who these people were that Ashkandi gave to me. It's more than a weapon to me. It is World of Warcraft. I don't know if anything has given me greater satisfaction in-game than being able to use this model, and frankly it's made transmogrification my favorite feature of the game, because I will be able to use Ashkandi forever. This sword deserves to be gripped in a fist, not dusty in a bank somewhere. As crazy as it sounds, this mass of pixels that anyone who kills Nefarian enough time can pick up is strangely personal to me. It's not a legendary, but that just makes it better in my eyes.
A legendary will always end up in the bank. Ashkandi is forever.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.