- Author: Pride
- Date: September 28, 2022
- Expansion: WotLK Classic
WotLK sees the introduction of 2 incredibly powerful legendary weapons: Shadowmourne for strength-based two-handed weapon damage dealers (Fury & Arms Warriors, Unholy Death Knights, Retribution Paladins) and Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings for healers. These weapons are highly sought after due to their powerful stats and even more powerful effects, though unfortunately only a select few may get them, as they are scarce.
This guide will cover Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings, the healing legendary mace added to the game in Phase 2 of WotLK Classic, with the introduction of the Ulduar raid.
How does Val’anyr work?
Legendaries in World of Warcraft have always been about their special effects, rather than simply being a bigger, stronger weapon. Val’anyr is no exception! Its effect might seem fairly simple, but it actually works in a somewhat complicated and occasionally unintuitive way.
When you heal a player while wielding Val’anyr, there is a 10% chance that you will gain the Blessing of Ancient Kings, lasting 15 seconds. While you have the Blessing of Ancient Kings, your healing spells will create a shield (called Protection of Ancient Kings) on your target for 8 seconds, absorbing an amount of damage equal to 15% of the amount healed.
So for instance, if you cast Holy Light on the tank, healing them for 20,000, you will also apply a 3000 (20,000 * 0.15) shield to them. The shield stacks, meaning if you heal them for 20,000 again, the shield will get boosted to 6000 absorption points, with a refreshed 8 second duration. Moreover, it stacks with shields created by another healer’s Val’anyr; if another healer in your raid with the Blessing of Ancient Kings heals that tank for 20,000 after you, the shield will get increased to 9000 absorption points. Note however that the shield cannot grow larger than 20,000 absorption points.
The Blessing of Ancient Kings has a 45 second cooldown, and it cannot be activated by a spell that exclusively overheals, meaning you cannot gain the Blessing by spamming healing spells on a player at 100% HP. The Protection of Ancient Kings shield however has no cooldown, and the shield amount isn’t reduced by overhealing; if you heal someone who is at 100% HP for 20,000, they will receive a 3000 damage shield as normal.
Who should get Val’anyr?
Blizzard moved away from the model of legendaries being random boss drops in WotLK. Both legendaries are created by players after collecting enough fragments and completing a quest chain, similar to Atiesh, Greatstaff of the Guardian from Classic. Gone are the days of praying for that 2nd Warglaive of Azzinoth to drop so you can complete your set — you WILL get your Val’anyr eventually, as you slowly build up your Fragment of Val’anyr count.
But while you are now virtually guaranteed to get at least a couple of Val’anyrs over the duration of the expansion, there’s also a drawback to this system: you cannot really get lucky and get a whole bunch of them. Thus, distributing Val’anyr in your guild becomes a lot more important due to how scarce it is. Many guilds will choose to reward their most dedicated or best performing healer with a fancy legendary, while others will choose to prioritize distributing based on class, as different classes can take advantage of its effect to varying amounts. With Ulduar becoming available in Phase 2, this means that the person you give this mace to will keep it for at least 2 phases, making this decision very important.
In the broadest terms possible, Holy Paladins and Restoration Druids make the best use of Val’anyr, while Restoration Shamans make great use of it. Discipline Priests meanwhile are unfortunately a poor fit for Val’anyr, for reasons that will be explained below.
How do I get Val’anyr?
With all that out of the way, let’s say that your guild decided that you’re the most awesome healer they have, and thus that you’re next in line for Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings. Cool, but what happens then?
To begin with, your guild needs to start killing bosses in the 25-man version of Ulduar. Bosses in the 10 man version of Ulduar will not work. Each boss has a 7-10% chance of dropping a Fragment of Val’anyr. Hard mode bosses, including Algalon the Observer, have a ~15-20% chance of dropping a fragment. Yogg-Saron, the raid’s last boss, will always drop a Fragment.
After you get your 30th Fragment of Val’anyr, you can combine them to create the Shattered Fragments of Val’anyr, an item which starts a quest: Ancient History. You must now navigate to the Archivum Console, located in the Archivum, which is just past the boss room of the Assembly of Iron encounter. The easiest way to get there is by teleporting to the Antechamber of Ulduar waypoint, heading straight until you reach the stairs leading up to Kologarn, then turn left instead and head towards the Assembly of Iron room. Defeat the boss, and go straight, into the now-unlocked Archivum.
You have now reached the Archivum Console. Hand in Ancient History in order to get some lore on Val’anyr, and take the next & last quest in the chain: Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings. Picking up this quest gives you the item Unbound Fragments of Val’anyr.
You must now fight Yogg-Saron, the last boss of Ulduar.
Specifically, you need to fight Yogg-Saron with 3 or fewer Keepers helping you — you cannot complete this quest if all 4 Keepers are helping you.
Progress through the fight with Yogg-Saron, until you defeat the Brain of Yogg-Saron, which triggers the start of Phase 3. During Phase 3, Yogg-Saron will periodically emote, “Yogg-Saron opens his mouth wide!” and start casting a powerful ability, Deafening Roar. You have to target Yogg-Saron and use your Unbound Fragments of Val’anyr in order to successfully complete this quest. It is an instant cast effect, but it has a range of 20 yards, meaning you need to be relatively close to Yogg-Saron in order to use it.
Deafening Roar has a 2.3 second cast time, so you must be quick with this step. It is advised that you keep Yogg-Saron on your focus frame by targeting him and typing /focus in your game’s chat, which will allow you to easily target him when needed. Fret not, however; even if you fail to use the Unbound Fragments of Val’anyr at the right timing, it does not get consumed — it merely goes on a 20 second cooldown, allowing you to use it again next time Yogg-Saron casts Deafening Roar.
You can tell that you successfully used the Unbound Fragments of Val’anyr while Yogg-Saron was casting Deafening Roar, because he will have a special debuff (In the Maws of the Old God) which reads “The fragments of Val’anyr are now inside Yogg-Saron’s physical body.“
Your raid must now defeat Yogg-Saron. If you wipe, you have to use the Unbound Fragments of Val’anyr all over again. If you succeed however, Yogg-Saron will have 1 extra piece of loot on his corpse: the Reforged Hammer of Ancient Kings, which only you may loot. Take this item back to the Archivum Console, where you got the quest to begin with, and you will finally receive your well-earned reward: the beautiful Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings!