Legendaries. No other items within World of Warcraft hold players' imaginations quite like this small sub-set of powerful armor and weapons. With World of Warcraft: Legion looking to completely overhaul the way legendaries work in the game, it's fair to say some of the real magic of the old system has passed to the way-side. So, now that Legion is here, we have taken a look back at some of the legendaries of the past that have captivated the player base, caused an almost catastrophic level of internet drama and created some of the most dank WoW memes seen to date (sorry).
There are no rules to this list, it is a mix of this writer's personal opinion as well as a small poll on Twitter. It is highly likely you disagree with this list! So, let's take that righteous indignation to the comments section!
5 - Sulfuras, the Hand of Ragnaros
The first legendary added to the game (well okay, the second, but the REAL first one is a story for another time) and by far one of the most iconic. Created by combining the Sulfuron Hammer with the Eye of Sulfuras, an incredibly rare drop from Ragnaros the end boss of the Molten Core raid.
While that SEEMS easy, the Sulfuron Hammer itself required not only 8 rare drops from a single boss within the molten core but also more than 100 of the rarest items available in-game. Crafting this mace took up a large portion of a guild's resources and gold as well have the use of a max level blacksmith.
The mace itself, while eventually replaced via the weapons from the final pair of raids, was an instant status symbol for anyone lucky or rich enough to carry it. But one of the side effects of its greatness was just how much unbelievable drama it could so easily create. The sight of many a druid or paladin who somehow, either by liberal splashing of DKP, guild officer corruption or just good old fashioned ninja looting caused the kind of bubbling white hot hate that is usually only seen when someone gives one of the uncharted games a 7/10. At one point a Moonkin had it, and they were my hero.
The Hand of Ragnaros was the first real step down the path of legendaries in WoW, and the bright orange wonder still holds a place in the hearts of many.
4 - Shadowmourne
With the launch of Wrath of the Lich King, players were finally able to, once and for all, topple the Lich King atop his throne in Northrend. Hot on the back of Illidan and his Warglaives, player speculation was rife that finally, players would be able to wield the rune blade Frostmourne. But it was never to be. Taking for a moment the lore behind the weapon, a blade crafted by demons to eat the soul of any who wielded it, the chances of a player ever getting their hands on the blade was, at best, low. Unless we wanted the next expansion to be us fighting against the corrupted horde warrior “Smashzilla” and his army of the undead. So while the fate of Frostmourne was to be shattered by the Ashbringer (and to be later reforged free of its corrupting powers into the frost death knight artifact) Blizzard set about letting players experience some of what might come of wielding the death blade.
Starting in Icecrown Citadel with Darion Mograine, it tasked players with forging together empowered blood of an old god with Light's Hope, the light imbued mace tossed aside by the then mostly sane prince of Lordaeron before he took up Frostmourne proper.
When finally the weakened blade was formed, players were tasked to empower it, first by collecting shards of the very throne of the Lich King himself and then by taking the essences of the 3 main wing bosses that filled the Icecrown Citadel. These tasks require players to in all but one case change the very nature of the boss itself, tasks that can still be annoying and complicated to this very day.
But when finally the mighty axe Shadowmourne was crafted, players had one finally task, to slay the Lich king (ignoring you had likely been doing this for weeks to farm the shards of the throne). Upon slaying Arthas one final time, players would receive some of the most desired rewards in the game, a death knight's horse usable by any class, a tabard of the silver hand (still one of the most sought-after items in the game) and other various toys and trinkets. But most of all, you revived closure.
Uther the Lightbringer thanked you for freeing him, letting his soul rest at last, Muradin and Sylvanas were given at last some small closure to the pain he had caused them, and Jaina was given hope that even after all this some small fragment of Arthas’ humanity survived. And lastly, Darion Mograine was given one final goodbye with the father he had sacrificed so much for. While the axe itself was powerful, easily being one of the best two-handed weapons in the game's history, the lore and journey crafting the weapon has yet to be topped. Shadowmourne is beloved for very good reasons, unless you are doing the Halls of Blood part of its quest chain, then it can sod off.
3 - Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian
The great staff of the guardian Medivh is, to put it bluntly, the rarest weapon in the game. The only legendary weapon that has been removed from the game, the staff available for all of the caster classes was obtainable only after one of the longest and most grueling quest chains to be added to World of Warcraft.
Obtaining the legendary first required you to gather 40 splinters from the bosses of Naxx, no small task for anyone, but upon completion the second part somehow managed to be more terrifying. To complete the corrupted staff, players had to beat both C’thun and Kel'thuzad, two of the hardest bosses in the game (KT being the hardest by a wide margin). But only then did the design team at blizzard really show their sadistic colors.
Traveling to the level 60 5 man dungeon Stratholme, players had to purify the staff by defeating the demon within. Said demon, which I remind you is inside a 5 man dungeon, was at a raid level of difficulty, requiring a full set of potions and flasks as well as full tier 3 and naxx weapons.
Atiesh remains one of the rarest items to be seen in the wild today, with only a handful of players to have ever owned one. Bestowing a powerful raid-wide buff as well as allowing the player to portal other players to Karazhan directly, it remains as one of the most beloved legendaries in the game.
2 - Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker
Did someone say meme sword?
It's hard these days to look at Thunderfury these days without some small amount of eye rolling. The first one-handed legendary, and honestly one of the greatest tanking weapons ever added to the game, has shed its status as the sword that stayed relevant for nearly 3 years and two expansions. Now, thanks in no small part to bored people in every realms, it has become somewhat of a punch line.
But to players who have been around a while, it's anything but. Thunderfury was quite simply one of the greatest weapons in the game. Created by first collecting a pair of bindings from the bosses Baron Geddon and Garr from within the molten core raid, players then had to painstakingly gather materials from all over Azeroth and from the annoying trash in Blackwing lair. When that was completed, a 40 man world raid boss had to be bested (and if your server was anything like mine, the 3-4 raids from rival PvE guilds coming to gank you into the floor) in order to finally forge the legendary blade.
But unlike Atiesh, of whose quest chain lay at the heart of its iconic status, the real power of this weapon lay in it's ability to blast a row of enemies with lightning, slowing their attack speed in the process. In a time before Thunderclap, this was without a doubt one of the most powerful tanking abilities. Tanks with Thunderfury were the kings. The AoE threat combined with the debuff meant no real weapon, even a good way into the burning crusade (when they eventually had to nerf the weapon to stop raids still going into Molten Core to get more) ever came close.
Add to that the wonderful bounty of drama that followed many a rogue or even hunter who would win the blade from tanks. The dreaded cry of “HUNTER WEAPON” usually followed by a large amount of DKP being slammed filled many a thread with frothing rage and angered guild quits.
1 - Warglaives of Azzinoth
If you wanted to beat Sunwell, you needed the Warglaives. End of story.
The first new legendaries added to The Burning Crusade, The Warglaives of Azzinoth bucked the trend of past legendaries by being 100% a random drop from a single boss, Illidan Stormrage. Coming in a pair (something that has yet to be done again) the powerful and iconic looking swords belonging to Illidan himself beat out just about every other weapon when it came to pure necessity. Thunderfury was powerfully useful when it came to tanking, the rings and cloaks made the last bosses on mythic much easier, but just how important a set of rogues or fury warriors wielding these devastating weapons was just cannot be understated.
The bonuses on the weapons, aside from the slow main hand and incredibly quick offhand being perfect for what classes needed, were simply astronomically good. Increasing attack power vs demons, and when activated haste, by a large amount meant a major difference inside the Sunwell (a raid made up almost entirely of demon foes). Since every fight was essentially a DPS race, having rogues able to do much, MUCH more damage than before was a godsend.
And to add to that, they might be some of the most striking weapons in the game. Their long Fel-tinged green blades were unlike anything else added (until demon hunters more recently) and farming for Warglaives became a necessity, with unlucky guilds languishing behind others who had prayed correctly to RNGesus.
No other Weapon, or item, in WoW has been more sought after at current level play. No other drop could cause such eruptions of nerd screams on vent. The Warglaives are the best legendary ever added in the game. Now, let's hope Illidan doesn’t want them back.