WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?
Wrathion has kept us quite busy since the Horde and Alliance landed on Pandaria's shores. Many players assumed that all this work wouldn't lead to mere metagems alone, but a legendary weapon as well at the end of our service. Given that all (most*) prior legendary items were weapons, the assumption was reasonable. As it turns out, Wrathion will reward us with orange-grade cloaks rather than stabby bits of metal. Some players have been disappointed by this revelation, and let's face it: legendary weapons are absolutely the most cherished and coveted items in the game.
However, legendary weapons don't have the market cornered on awesome. The game includes thousands of non-legendary weapons and some of them have earned the love of players despite the color of their font.
Let's look at what I think are the top 20 non-legendary weapons from WoW's long history.
20. Stolen Vrykul Harpoon
What is it: A comically oversized throwing weapon
Where to get it: Purchased from the Frenzyheart Tribe at Revered
Why it's awesome: Just look at that thing. The Vrykul live large and no tiny dart will get the job done when someone or something needs a dose of half-giant justice. Normal-sized avatars look just plain wicked chucking enormous harpoons around. Even better, the projectiles stick in your foe for a few moments when they hit. Nothing is quite as satisfying as punching a 10-foot harpoon through an enemy player's torso.
Throwing weapons aren't really a thing these days, and this weapon is no longer available in the game. Even if you had one, you can't use it anymore. If Blizzard ever announces a new class, however, I've got my fingers crossed for "harpooner."
What is it: Staff-shaped scuba gear
Where to get it: 30% drop from Viscous Fallout in Gnomeregan
Why it's awesome: The ability to breathe underwater is more common and less of a big deal these days than it used to be. The original breath timer wasn't nearly as generous in vanilla. Underwater quests could be quite the hassle, and this staff allowed you to sidestep this whole "breathing" nuisance entirely. At level 60, many players farmed Gnomeregan for the staff.
It wasn't just great for questing -- the staff also let you pull all kinds of Navy SEAL world PvP shenanigans. You could hit an enemy faction's coastal town by rising up from the water en masse. Before the breath timer increase, a great trick when you were outnumbered was to dive into the ocean much deeper than anyone could hope to survive. Since you dove in first, your pursuers would wait for you to start heading toward the surface first. When you didn't, they'd realize their mistake and start swimming for the surface -- but often far too late.
18. Runeblade of Baron Rivendare
What is it: The sword of the infamous Baron
Where to get it: 1.2% drop from Lord Aurius Rivendare in Stratholme
Why it's awesome: With this bad boy strapped up, you felt like a death knight in WoW way before we ever got to roll one. This weapon is also one of a kind: no other provides this combination of bonuses. The health regen is actually pretty substantial for its level, and the run boost is the standard 8%. It's not a weapon you'd use all the time, but a macro weapon swap in combat can get you from A to B faster and healthier. It's a good weapon for solo questing as you're heading to Outland if you're lucky enough to get one -- the drop rate is similar to the mount. Classic dungeons had very few epic weapon drops, and this was one of them.
17. Dragon's Call
What is it: A sword full of whelps
Where to get it: 4% drop from Shade of Eranikus in Sunken Temple
Why it's awesome: Up to three whelps at a time will aid you in combat by casting Acid Spit. Some classes can dual wield these swords for a whopping six whelps at a time. It's not quite up to Onyxia-level whelp craziness, but it's about as close as a player can get.
Like the Runeblade, this was one of the few purple weapons that could be obtained from a 5-man dungeon in vanilla.
16. Frostscythe of Lord Ahune
What is it: The icy grip of death, in scythe form
Where to get it: 0.01% drop from the Satchel of Chilled Goods, your daily reward for killing Ahune, the Midsummer Fire Festival's boss
Why it's awesome: All scythes are cool. This is a known fact. Most are classified as polearms or axes -- unusable by most casters -- but the Frostscythe is one of the few that counts as a staff.
Its on-use effect conjures up a snowstorm wherever you happen to be, chilling drinks and killing small plants. The small drop rate and limited availability keeps these weapons rare, although they have been updated for each expansion.
Unfortunately, the lack of intellect on this staff makes it more of a novelty item than a serious weapon.
15. Finkle's Skinner
What is it: The only dagger sharp enough to skin Onyxia
Where to get it: 15% drop from The Beast in Blackrock Spire
Why it's awesome: The +10 to skinning doesn't seem like much, but in vanilla that extra ten points was everything. Possessing this dagger meant you could skin bosses like The Beast and Onyxia. And you wanted to. The Beast could be skinned for Pristine Hide of the Beast, a very rare item and an ingredient in several epic recipes. It caused quite a bit of controversy in its day, as players argued over who had the ultimate rights to it, the skinner or the group.
Skinning Onyxia gave you Scales of Onyxia, the crucial ingredient in the Onyxia Scale Cloak. Killing Nefarian in Blackwing Lair was impossible without those cloaks.
More weapons with this bonus were added to the game as part of Zul'Gurub's loot table. Until then, it was Finkle's or bust.
14. Blackblade of Shahram
What is it: The sword of Drakkisath, forged by Nefarian, containing the bound spirit of the flamewaker Shahram
Where to get it: 1.5% drop from General Drakkisath in Blackrock Spire
Why it's awesome: This sword summons the flamewaker Shahram on-hit. He casts one of the following spells: an AOE stun, an AOE slow, a Bloodlust effect, a group heal with mana regen, a buff with +50 stats (huge in vanilla), and an AOE fire damage spell. With Titan's Grip, you can get two Shahrams out at once and two random spells.
Shahram looks like the adds in many Molten Core encounters. Vanilla players tricked their raid with this weapon, making tanks panic as an "extra add" shows up out of nowhere.
13. Flame Wrath
What is it: The ultimate guardian tanking weapon for its level
Where to get it: 21% drop from Ambassador Flamelash in Blackrock Depths
Why it's awesome: So much flame, so much wrath. This ilevel 56 polearm is perfect for guardian tanks. The proc is the key: Flame Wrath hits everything around you for AOE fire damage and then gives you a Thorns-type shield that strikes back for 10 fire damage. The proc has no internal cooldown, and can trigger multiple times on your own AOE abilities. The shield lasts 15 seconds, so it's up pretty much forever. The shield also grants you 30 fire resistance. On top of all that, the devil's pitchfork look of the model is very popular for transmogging.
12. Black Bow of the Betrayer
What is it: A bow with Viper Sting built in
Where to get it: 18% drop from Illidan Stormrage in the Black Temple
Why it's awesome: Mana was a big hassle for hunters pretty much the entire time they used mana. Items such as this and the earlier Black Grasp of the Destroyer were a godsend for OOM hunters. Also, because the on-hit mana proc was all but useless for other classes, hunters could finally say "hunter weapon" and their fellow raiders would believe it.
Needless to say, this bow has one of the most wicked-looking models in WoW. Between the model and the weapon's source, the Black Bow easily could have been a legendary.
11. The Unstoppable Force
What is it: A two-handed mace that cannot, under any circumstances, be stopped
Where to get it: 250 honor from your faction's Alterac Valley rep
Why it's awesome: The Unstoppable Force originally had a knockback proc. It was the only knockback players had access to at the time. Two patches later, Blizzard changed the knockback to a stun. TUF was still a great endgame weapon, but it wasn't as fun when you couldn't knock players off that bridge near the Alliance base. The mace also has a very cool model: a large spiky boar's head. Don't confuse it with The Stoppable Force.
TUF had a sister item -- a shield called The Immovable Object. As legend has it, a player once asked a GM, "What happens when The Unstoppable Force meets The Immovable Object?" The GM's response was, "Chuck Norris dies."
Now let's proceed to the top 10.
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