Players can acquire these new weapons early in the expansion's run, and the weapons will grow in power alongside players. Players will be able to earn Artifact Power through engaging in most types of play, and can spend this to unlock a unique tree of traits traced upon the form of their Artifacts, enhancing their abilities. Players can also obtain a new type of Relic from major content such as dungeons and raids, and use these to upgrade the Artifact itself. Artifacts also come with an extensive range of visual customization options.
There is an Artifact for each class specialization, 36 in total. For example, Blood death knights and Frost death knights will have different Artifacts. Obtaining each Artifact will involve a unique quest to seek out these powerful weapons.
Known equippable Artifacts
|Death knight||Blood||Maw of the Damned|
|Death knight||Frost||Icebringer and Soulreaper||Seek out the shards of Frostmourne in Icecrown where they lay after the defeat of the Lich King, and reforge them into a pair of runeblades|
|Druid||Feral||Fangs of the First Nightsaber|
|Hunter||Marksmanship||Thas'dorah, Legacy of the Windrunners|
|Hunter||Survival||The Eagle Spear|
|Mage||Frost||Ebonchill, Greatstaff of Alodi|
|Monk||Mistweaver||Sheilun, Staff of the Mists|
|Paladin||Retribution||Ashbringer||Search the Broken Shore, where the Ashbringer fell in battle and was lost|
|Warrior||Protection||Delve into the sealed and curse-laden tomb of an ancient vrykul king who was buried with a sword and shield made from the scales of Neltharion|
Artifacts are customized and powered up with a new resource called Artifact Power, which is earned from adventuring, completing a quest line, beating dungeon bosses, winning PvP objectives, and so forth. Artifact Power is used to unlock traits to increase the power of the weapon and the character, as well as customize the look of the weapon.
Each Artifact has a unique "trait tree", a grid overlaid upon the outline of the weapon itself, resembling the old talent trees. Players can spend Artifact Power to activate additional traits, moving along the tree; once a trait is activated, all connecting traits become unlocked. Many traits have multiple ranks, with players able to activate them multiple times to gain increasing effects. At the ends of the trees are "majorly impactful abilities"
Artifacts will also have Relic slots. Distinct from the previous items of that name, Relics are Artifact-only objects obtained through completing major quest lines, dungeons and raids. Relics will have a major impact on the overall power of the Artifact, such as its basic damage and item level. The Relic system will act as a substitute for the upgrading of weapons seen in previous expansions; rather than switching to a new and more powerful weapon, the player will slot a new and more powerful Relic into their Artifact.
Artifacts can be customized at the character's Order Hall.
Several different looks will be available for each Artifact. These can be unlocked through various activities. One look for each Artifact will only be available through PvP. Each look appears to come with unique flavor text, and background lore. Players also seem to be able to recolour the various looks. In the case of Druids, changing the look of your weapon also changes the look of your form to match.
Artifacts can be transmogrified into other weapons, but other weapons cannot be transmogrified into artifacts.
Following the Broken Shore experience, players will set about acquiring the Artifact for their character's current specialization. The Artifacts represent a greater power than the heroes of Azeroth have ever collectively wielded before, a power which will be needed in order to defeat the Burning Legion.
The process of acquiring an Artifact will be heavily determined by the character's class and spec. However, players will be able to acquire Artifacts for each specialization on the one character. A catch up mechanism may be added to reduce time taken to earn Artifacts for secondary specializations, but not for alts.
Gallery of customizations
- The Eagle Spear
- Icebreaker and Icebreaker Shield
- Prior to Legion, artifact was the item quality above legendary. Though none of these items were obtainable, a handful did exist in the game files (primarily as GM gear). They used the color gold to denote their quality; this color was later reused when heirlooms were introduced. This caused a few interesting issues where some references to artifacts had not been removed. For instance, trying to mail an heirloom to a character on another account would return the error message, "Artifacts can only be mailed to your own characters."
List of pre-Legion artifact items
- , GM Weapon
- , GM shirt
- , GM artifact ring
- , GM artifact single item version of set. Not to be confused with the player obtainable .
- , GM Weapon
- , GM Weapon
- , GM Weapon