With all the WOW announcements at Blizzcon, I wanted to highlight a couple really important things. For more info, see my twitter that I’m live updating from the convention hall!
First, moonkin and sealion (Swim) forms are being updated. This is in addition to the polishing pass for bear/cat. Note that the moonkin graphic is still in development. This is obviously a night elf form with the tauren coloring that they showed in the demo that is unlikely to be the version that goes live. Keep in mind that the animations here are what will really matter: Your feathers are going to move like actual feathers and the animations will need to be updated along with the higher resolution models.
Artifact Weapons Released
Blizzard released more info about the druid artifact weapons. See the blog post over at the official forums.
Bear and cat form are the only forms that dynamically update with your artifact weapon. However, they have given moonkin and resto druids really awesome weapons you can display proudly.
Balance druids will earn the Scythe of Elune. Resto druids get a staff called G’Hanir, the Mother Tree (a branch taken from the first tree). As released at Gamescom, feral has a set of dual-wielding daggers (fang of ashamane). Guardian is dual-wielding fist weapons (claws of Ursoc).
For weapons that have less initial lore, there will be quest chains where you will go and discover their history and story. There are also lots of color variations for the artifact weapons, where you can show off your achievements across the various types of content for end-game legion.
How do artifacts work if you have multiple specs? We don’t have a ton of details about how the weapon leveling system really works. As of now, it looks like you will have to level up each of the weapons via the storyline quests (plus any other activity that awards points towards leveling your weapon at end-game). There are catch-up mechanics when one weapon is significantly behind another weapon. It will likely be time-consuming to keep two weapons at the same level of progression, but not impossible. It would be easier and more possible to keep one slightly behind the other, though. The catch-up mechanic should make it easier for you to swap to a different spec later in the expansion and still have a chance of progressing the weapon.
Since they mentioned in a Q&A that the artifact potentially impacting your rotation in the game, we can assume there are effects on the weapon that would make it highly sub-optimal to use an artifact weapon from the wrong spec, even if they share the same primary stats (e.g., int/agi). Artifacts will help give you something to focus on at max-level, as they will provide an “interesting long-term progression system” across the expansion. So, the goal isn’t to have something you level up in the first week of the expansion and then forget about. We should learn more about artifacts in Day 2, along with other changes.