Previously, your feeling of progress in a new expansion came from new talents and better gear. In Legion, it will be slightly different. You will not gain access to any new talents once your reach the level cap. You won’t be able to use any other weapon than the Artifact Weapon for your spec. This might sound like it sucks but it REALLY doesn’t. Let me tell you more about it.
So, you log in after the expansion goes live. Hopefully you thought to log out in Dalaran, saving some time you would waste trying to get there. A quest pops up. You follow directions to retrieve a powerful weapon. At this point, you will have a choice to make. If you, for example, plan to level as a Blood Death Knight, as I will, you will pick the quest path to get the Blood Artifact Weapon, Maw of the Damned. When you complete the lore-packed scenario, you will receive the weapon and will be free to go the Broken Isles, starting with whichever zone you like the best.
Now, you might be wondering what will happen when you reach 110, worrying that your Artifact Weapon will become obsolete. That is not the case. Legion is set up in such a way that your Artifact Weapon will become better to represent your progress in the Broken Isles. How will that happen? By you “leveling” it, of course. In essence, even when you reach 110, the leveling will sort of continue, because you will still have stuff to unlock.
The immediate concern for you might be WHAT you will be able to unlock. Well, Artifact Weapon have abilities and traits, which will give you a new ability and tweak how your existing abilities work. A fully leveled artifact weapon is supposed to massively increase your DPS, healing, or tanking potential, depending on the purpose of its specialisation. Leveling it won’t be a matter of days or even weeks, but months instead.
You will level your chosen artifact weapon by buying trait upgrades for Artifact Power. Artifact Power itself will be mostly gained in the form of usable items, which will award a certain amount of Artifact Power the the weapon you have EQUIPPED at the time, when you use them. That is important for later. Artifact Power items can be gained by doing most things in the game, to be honest, I will discuss the matter tomorrow. The amount of Artifact Power you get will scale with your Artifact Knowledge, which is gained by completing Orders in your Class Hall. Those will take several days to complete. No matter what, don’t skip them! It’s essential for maximizing your progress. Finally, there are also Artifact Relics to consider, those will come in several types. Each of them will increase the iLevel of your Artifact Weapon by a set amount and unlock the ability to get more points into a specific trait.
Do you remember what I said about Artifact Power? Good. When leveling in Legion, you should use the spec which will allow you to pull the most monsters and survive with the least amount of downtime. For the Death Knight, that spec is going to be Blood, for example. If, for example, you are planning on playing Unholy once level-capped, having to choose the Blood Artifact Weapon might look to be a problem. It’s not. Starting with level 102, you will be able to get another Artifact Weapon. Just don’t worry about it, level as Blood and pay attention to quest rewards. If they offer immediate reward of Artifact Power, just switch weapons and then turn in. If the reward is a usable item rewarding Artifact Power, it goes the same, switch weapons, activate the reward, switch back. Easy.
Artifact Weapons are one of the most exciting things in Legion. For the first time, the progression of the way your class works doesn’t end once you hit the level cap. Yes, the Artifact Weapon traits won’t change the essentials but it should still provide you with a sense of progress in the game post-110. With Artifact Power being such a hot commodity, there will always be something to do in Legion.