The Unholy Death Knight artifact weapon, Apocalypse, and the quest chain to retrieve it from deep within the catacombs below Karazhan has been one of the highlights of Legion for me so far. That said, I find the default Apocalypse skin a little ho-hum. Luckily there are five other skins that are available, with four colour schemes per skin. Each skin and colour scheme is unlocked by either questing, drops or achievements.
Unlocking artifact appearances: The basics
Before we look at the what we need to do to unlock specific appearances for Apocalypse, it’s first worth looking at general rules that apply to all artifact appearances, regardless of class and specialization.
- You must unlock the main appearance before you can unlock the different colour schemes (aka. tints).
- You must be level 110 to unlock any other appearances.
- Once you’ve unlocked appearances you can start using them via your Artifact Forge in your Class Order Hall.
The default model skins
Unlocking all the model colour schemes is fairly straight forward, chances are you’ll get them on your way to level 110, or shortly after.
The default. This is what you start with. Easy.
Unlocked via recovering a Pillar of Creation. If you level via questing you’ll unlock this colour scheme in your early push to level 110.
This is unlocked by completing a quest chain that ends with Light’s Charge. This quest chain begins when Khadgar sends you off to find “A Falling Star“. The first quest is available early on your path to 110 but I’d suggest holding off until level cap as the second step in the chain can be quite time consuming as it essentially throws you in to a lengthy scenario in the Exodar.
The final colour scheme for the default skin is unlocked when you complete your first Major Order Campaign. As with Blue, this is one you’ll unlock just by going about your regular business if you’re keeping your Order Hall on track.
Sometimes referred to as the ‘Upgraded’ package, unlocking the Unholy War and it’s colour tints awards the achievement, Fighting with Style: Upgraded. While unlocking this appearance and all it’s tints won’t be all that difficult, it’ll definitely be a time sink. Unlocking Unholy War and all the tints will award you with “Fighting with Style: Upgraded“.
Complete the Class Hall Campaign, earning the achievement ‘Forged for Battle’. While this achievement in itself is not ‘difficult’ as such, it’s essentially time gated. There’s really no ‘fast’ way to get there, just keep working through the Class Hall Campaign and you’ll get there.
To unlock Unholy War Blue you’ll need to unlock every Artifact Trait earning the Power Realized achievement. This one is just going to take time. Unlocking the full 34 traits uses somewhere in the order of 5 million artifact power, or in other words, a couple of months worth of effort.
To unlock Unholy War Red, you need to earn the Part of History achievement, which requires that you learn everything there is to know about an artifact weapon through the researchers in your Class Hall. You’ll want to complete this achievement regardless of whether or not you like the skin as you’ll get there via work orders that increase your artifact knowledge, speeding up the rate you earn artifact power.
To unlock Unholy War Silver you’ll need to learn to love (or tolerate) Archaeology and obtain 8 rare Archaeology finds, earning the achievement “This Side Up” in the process. In my opinion Blizzard have knocked it out of the park with Legion, however Archaeology is still one of those areas they could improve on. Unlocking this skin takes and already grind heavy activity, adds some additional grind on top of it, and then time gates it. In Legion rare finds are handled differently than previous expansions, they require a quest from the Archaeology trainer in Dalaran, Dariness the Learned. The catch being the quest rotates every two weeks.
Herald of Pestilence
My favourite Apocalypse model, Herald of Pestilence, is unlocked via a combination of quests and Mythic Dungeon achievements.Herald of Pestilence oozes plague and the stink bugs just add an extra level of disease to the whole thing.
Unlocking all the Herald of Pestilence skins awards you with the achievement Fighting with Style: Valorous.
Herald of Pestilence: Slime Green is unlocked once you complete the Balance of Power quest line and earning the ‘Improving on History” achievement. This question starts with “The Power Within” which you can pick up when the Image of Kalec appears in your Order Hall. There’s still a lot of speculation about what triggers Kalec’s appearance, although the leading theories suggest it’s tied to you artifact level and/or when you unlock your third relic slot, although the reports I’ve seen have all seemed a little random so perhaps there’s some good old RNG thrown in for good measure. Either way, sooner or later Kalec will appear and send you on a quest chain that will lead you to:
- Mythic Eye of Azshara for the quest “The Heart of Zin-Azshari
- Mythic Darkheart Thicket for the quest “Fallen Power“
- Obtaining a Vainglorious Draught from Veridis Fallon for the quest “A Vainglorious Past, which requires Honored with Court of Farondis to purchase.
- Completing “Tempering Darkness which requires 30 Blood of Sargeras.
- Completing “Lucid Strength.
From this point you are sent in to the Emerald Nightmare raid which requires you to:
At this stage I’m unclear whether this marks the end of the quest chain or whether there’s still more to be revealed. Time will tell, in any case this is another skin that seems to be time gated to some extent.
Herald of Pestilence: Red requires you to kill 8 of the Legion world bosses earning yourself the achievement “Unleashed Monstrosities”. A simple achievement, however how quickly you can get through this one depends upon how these world bosses end up being released and the frequency they rotate. I wouldn’t expect to complete this one inside of a couple of months.
Yeah, I’m not really that clear on what the colour is. Depends on your monitor! In any case, this skin is unlocked by earning the achievement “Keystone Master” – completing a level 15 mythic dungeon within the time limit. Based on what I’ve seen and heard, I’d expect this one to be quite difficult for the average player.
To unlock the Blue Herald of Pestilence skin you’ll need to earn the achievement “Glory of the Legion Hero“. This involves completing a huge number of dungeon achievements in Legion Mythic dungeons. It’s going to take a lot of time, effort and patience to knock this one off.
Faminebearer and all of its tints are unlocked via PvP achievements. To understand how to unlock Faminebearer you need to understand the new Legion PvP system.
Legion PvP has introduced Honor levels and Prestige levels. Grinding out Honor levels unlocks talents the PvP talents along the way. Once you hit Honor rank 50, you’ve hit Prestige level 1. At this point you have a choice, you can stay there and continue to use your unlocked talent tree or you can opt to increase your Prestige level, which clears your Honor level progress, sending you back to Honor level 1 and clearing your PvP tree again. Increasing your Prestige level unlocks a bunch of cosmetic rewards, some of which are attached to Apocalypse.
Edit: Blizzard have announced a change for the Prestige system coming in for 7.1. Increasing your prestige rank will no longer clear you PvP talents.
One important point to make here is that Honor and Prestige aren’t really tied to how ‘good’ you are at PvP, you don’t have to be a Gladiator standard arena player or anything like that. You just have to be prepared for a PvP grind, and with that in mind, I’d suggest Faminebearer to be the skin that requires the most commitment to grinding.
Unlocking Faminebearer and all its tints awards “Fighting with Style: War-torn“.
Faminebearer Orange is unlocked once you’ve achieved “The Prestige“. To do this you need to successfully reach Prestige level 1, rank 50. In other words, you must hit Prestige level 1, then grind out 50 honor ranks again. Obviously this will be quicker the better you are at PvP, but regardless of your skill level, this is pretty easily achievable, it’ll just take time.
Faminebearer Green requires you to reach Prestige level 5 and earn a Crest of Heroism. Basically grind out 5 Prestige levels and the skin is yours. The only catch here is that Green, along with the remaining Faminebearer skins are gated behind the PvP seasons. Legion Season 1 will only allow you to reach a maximum of Prestige Level 4, meaning that to unlock Green you’ll need to wait until Season 2.
Faminebearer Red is unlocked when you reached Prestige level 9 and earn a Crest of Carnage. Based on what we know so far this skin is unlikely to be available until Legion Season 3.
Faminebearer Blue is unlocked – and maybe you’ve spotted the pattern here – when you reach Prestige level 13 and earn a Crest of Devastation, Based on the previous skins, this is unlikely to be available until Legion Season 4.
The source for Death’s Deliverance has not yet been revealed, at a guess I’d say it’ll be tied in to a future raid release.
Bone Reaper is the ‘hidden’ skin for Apocalype. First reports of people acquiring the hidden Unholy skin The Bonereaper’s Hook are starting to trickle in and as speculated it does involve our Abomination loving pal Professor Putricide.
It appears as though acquiring this skin is linked to a hidden tracking achievement that tracks the number of Ghouls that you’ve summoned with Apocalypse. It appears as though, once you’ve summoned a set number of ghouls via Apocalypse (the exact number is currently unknown/hidden) ‘Putricide’s Lost Journal’ will spawn. You’ll then need to travel to Icecrown Citadel and pay a visit to Professor Putricide’s labratory. ‘Putricide’s Lost Journal’ will allow you to see a trap door in Putricide’s room, that takes you to a hidden chamber that houses an Abomination called Stichwork. Take care of Stichwork and he drops The Bonereaper’s Hook.
You can use the macro below to determine how many Ghouls you’ve summoned toward the achievement:
There has also been a report of a user that apparently spawned without realising. After they learned that the skin was had been found they ran the following script to determine if they were eligible to enter the hidden chamber in Putricide’s room:
So it would appear that you technically do not have to read the journal to proceed. For example, if the script above returns ‘True’ you should in theory be able to access the chamber.
Based on reports I’ve read in the mmo champion forum thread and the Death Knight Discord and it appear that the only other common condition people are meeting before ‘Putricide’s Lost Journal’ drops is having artifact knowledge level 6. I’m still a little unclear as to whether this is strictly a requirement or more a case of, at this stage in the expansion, the majority of players that are motivated enough to chase the skin are also likely to have Artifact Knowledge level 6 already anyway.
It was initially thought that there was also a condition that required having the Reanimation Order Hall talent but this has seemingly been debunked via a screen shot in the Death Knight Discord, although the user was in the process of Researching the Reanimation Order Hall trait (around 6 and a half hours from completion). Personally I’d recommend picking up the Reanimation Order Hall trait regardless.