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Atiesh, the legendary staff from Vanilla WoW that so few have had the opportunity to wield, but countless have inspected someone in envy wishing they had the chance. This week’s article is going to review the history of how this staff transitioned from an item of lore to an eventually ultra rare achievable weapon in Vanilla WoW.
Atiesh and references to the staff can be found throughout the Warcraft universe. It can be found in the Warcraft series books, in-game, the movie, and even in the trading card game. It’s wielded by notable mages in Warcraft lore such as Medivh, the last guardian and Archmage Khadgar. It’s the weapon given to those who sworn their lives to protect Tirisfal.
Although simple in design, it’s bound by strong arcane magic and at the head of the staff sits the idol of the Guardians, a raven. The staff is a key indicator that whoever possesses the staff is capable of great power and even has the ability to transform themselves into the afamed raven to fly around Azeroth.
Atiesh wasn’t created for everyone. Only the most powerful beings of Azeroth could wield its potential. After Medivh was corrupted by Sargeras, the weapon was ultimately cursed and was given to different members of the Kirin Tor. If they were unworthy of Ateish’s power, they were killed by its power shortly after its attempted use. The Kirin Tor ruled the staff to be too much of a risk for mere mortals and locked it away in Dalaran never to be used again.
When the demon lord Archimonde attacked the city of Dalaran in Warcraft 3, the very same protective barrier that kept Atiesh safe from the world, a failsafe triggered upon the city’s destruction shattered the staff into several parts, awaiting the next capable mortal to gather its pieces to attempt its reformation.
Forty pieces of the staff were collected and claimed by the scourge. Then archaeologist Brann Bronzebeard found the base and lost it to the old god, C’thun when exploring the temple of Ahn’Qiraj. Lastly, the raven head of the staff was found and kept by the lich lord, Kel’thuzad. Now we transition from Warcraft 3, into World of Warcraft.
During patch 1.1.1, Atiesh was made obtainable by heroes willing to venture deep into Vanilla WoW’s Naxxramas raid and was made unobtainable in Wrath of the Lich King’s pre-patch of 3.0.2 in light of Naxxramas’ remake. The staff was exclusive only to Priests, Warlocks, Druids, and of course, Mages. It was the first caster legendary and was the first legendary to be crafted by a result of consistently raiding in the hardest content versus lucky drops from single bosses (e.g. Thunderfury and Sulfuras had their main materials made obtainable by mobs in Molten Core and Blackwing Lair).
Naxxramas was the last raid released in Vanilla WoW and was rightfully the most challenging. Only the most dedicated and most skilled cleared through Naxxramas. Even with this effort, only a select few were lucky enough to see Atiesh to its completion.
Every boss in Naxxramas had a chance to drop a Splinter of Atiesh. If one person combined all 40 Splinters of Atiesh, it would craft the Frame of Atiesh. Upon crafting, it would start a question that would take the hero to the Brood of Nozdormu quest giver, Anachronos, by the Caverns of Time.
Upon arrival, Anachronos informs you that the archmages that were made to wield the staff are gone but not to mourn their loss as all things are meant to be. Just as the hero, were to be the next holder of the staff. It must be cleansed of its evil. It’s bewildering that holding the frame of Atiesh hasn’t killed the person holding it, but although there’s no answer explaining why this is, it is by fate’s hand that the person holding the frame must be entrusted in reforming the staff. Anachronos instructions lead the player to slaying the Lich Lord itself, Kel’thuzad for the head of the staff and journey into the darkness within Ahn’Qiraj to defeat C’thun for the base.
Once defeating the commander of Naxxramas, and the Old God of Chaos, C’thun and retrieving the missing ends of Atiesh, Anachronos sent the up and coming guardian of Tirisfal to Stratholme to purge the demonic entity within and to destroy it, thus purifying the staff of its evil power.
Gathering a party of five, on the Undead side of Strathholme, near a fountain was a small aura labeled “Desecrated Earth” where the wielder of Atiesh would stand and perform a short ritual to summon the Hand of Sargeras himself,the black demon, Atiesh. This demon inhabited and defiled this staff for years and was responsible for the death of several of the Kirin Tor’s elite. The encounter against Atiesh was difficult for just five people to take on and the demon itself wielded legendary swords that were ruthless to fight again. Players were able to disarm the demon and pick up its weapon and it granted the wielder with +600 attack power.
Upon success, returning to Anachronos would reward the cleansed version of Atiesh. The obtainable staff granted its user a large amount of spell power and granted the wielder’s group with different special effects depending on the class that had it.
Although removed before the release of Wrath of the Lich King, owners of Atiesh were granted a rare Feat of Strength. Today, in Warcraft’s lore, the leader of the Kirin Tor, Archmage Khadgar wields Atiesh.
With that concludes the journey and background of Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardians. If you ever see someone on the retail servers of WoW holding one or using its transmog, be sure to pay your respects. WoW accounts with Atiesh are extremely rare, so those players that do have it probably went through a lot to get it!