Conquest of the Horde

Full Version: Sacrilege of Fatal Arms, a guide to armor and weapons.
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Armor is commonly misunderstood, and its purpose is often forgotten. Body armor is not tank-plating that can deflect, hold out against, or all-together stop an incoming attack, but it is designed to simply slow it down. Each design with its own unique advantages and flaws. Come with me as I drive you into the depths of the function of armor, how to fight against it, and how to use it to its fullest advantage. From the lightest of silk to the heaviest of plates.

Cloth Armor:

It goes without being said that cloth is a poor choice of defense to an oncoming blade. In fact, at least at this time, a man who goes on the frontlines in silk would be dead if he tried to stand and deliver. What cloth does offer is little weight to add momentum to a charge, so when trained with hit-and-run attacks can be made with little trouble. This is, of course, to say if one's legs are capable of running.

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Robes can be a great thing to wear if you're dressing to dazzle or look your finest, but like a tuxedo or kilt, it is not something you wear to battle. Aside from the cost of a fine robe, and the trouble you will have to go through getting it stitched up to look fine again, it also limits leg-use. A loose robe may allow you to run, but it snags on things, can be pinned down by a smart opponent, or can be tripped over. A tight robe allows little movement, and the wearer will end up tripping all over themselves in battle. A medium between the two will suffer problems from both ends. Fret not, for there is a solution for all of you who like to dress fabulously while killing, and that is the split-leggings. Yes, a simple cut up the bottom and back of the robe will allow for movement of the legs without any hassle, and it even will eliminate tripping over one's self (of course if the robe isn't too long still).

For those of you who like to wear light armor, but do not like robes, there is still hope! Light armor can be implemented for your needs if you wish your agility to not be bogged down with heavier armor. In fact, such idealism is what lead some of the greatest armies to victory. It is an ideal that never revolves around stand and deliver though. To wear light armor one must train fiercely and improve one's reaction time. Or in plain English, learn how to get out of the way. This is a discipline in its own aspect, as the lack of weight makes it much easier to change directions compared to heavier objects. It is also worthy to note that the Mongolians historically had bands of archers wearing silk armor, not just for mobility, but for the aspect that when it is weaved properly, an arrow does not break the threads so teasing the cloth will pull the arrowhead out (as apposed to breaking off the arrow shaft, ripping out the arrow head, or pushing it through the other side); the fact from legend of this is debated, but it has been proven to be possible (now whether or not WoW has armor weaved like this is unknown).

In short: Leave your robes with your dress shoes, and if you really wish to fight without proper armor you had better be trained to do so.

Leather and Hide Armor:

Leather and hide armor has been around longer than any type of armor in history. From when the first animal was skinned and its hide was worn to battle, has this armor seen use. Its effectiveness has stood from then and beyond, and continues to have its purpose. Like Cloth armor, it is not a stand and deliver sort of armor, and even though it can cushion a blow, it will not stop your ribs from shattering under the weight of a well-placed hammer, or defend against the thrust of a sword, or the hack of a saber. Leather armor follows the same tactical principals of cloth armor, and in that it helps the wearer get out of the way. Of course, this is light leather. As the hide gets more treated, and thickness increases eventually a light weight, efficient, and effective armor could easily be fashioned. This, of course, is the lamellar, linothorax, and leather segmenta armor. A well treated piece of leather can withstand even a slash from a sword, the stab of a spear, or the shot of an arrow from a simple bow. Though, this armor has its downfall, for it is slightly less flexible (not too much though!).

Leather armor had its golden age with the Greeks, and while the nobles and rich men wore bronze, the common man wore linothorax and lamellar leather designs. During this time its purpose was know to the ancients that it did well what armor should, and that is to slow down an attack. While it can easily be punctured compared to metal, it can also easily resist the movement of a blade. Now, with that said it should be remembered that this armor is bet used for a hit and run, or dodgy use.

In short: Good for a blow or two, but you'd better learn how to get out of the way if you use this.

Mail Armor:

Of what I speak is not armor made of delivered letters, but some of the most effective armor known in history, and that is mail armor. From the Roman Legions to Renaissance Europe, it showed its effectiveness time and time again. On average mail armor (on scale to humans) is roughly 10 kg (22 lbs) for the hauberk and gloves, far less than half that for the coif, and around that for the leggings. Needless to say, with that weight being spread across a wearer's body mail armor was hardly restrictive, and could even be worn to relax in. Mail armor statistically stands well against almost any slashing attack from almost any weapon. It takes a real fluke to slash through it, such as coming at it from the right angle with enough force, and assuming it is bound tightly to the wearer who is stationary. Aside from that it would require immense strength, something most races would not have enough of. Contrary to popular belief, stabbing this armor is not like stabbing butter. Arrows would more often than not break on well designed mail rather than punch a hole in it, but mail's arch-nemesis aside from blunt weapons, has proven to be a gladius-like short sword. A stabbing short sword, with proper training and strength, can put a hole in mail armor with little difficulties. However, most wise tacticians would know that when facing an army wearing mail armor is to make use of blunt weapons. When blunt force is delivered to mail armor with a good amount of force, the chains will actually harm the wearer more than help. Nothing can stop the blunt impact it delivers though, and even a sword's slash would cause pain to the wielder as the blunt force alone can fracture bones, because of such under padding would often be worn to cushion the blows.

Chain armor is fairly lightweight, and any trained troop should be capable of swimming, though with some difficulties, in chain armor. Now, this is not to say you will play Marco Polo in it, but for short distances, or with immense training, a person could swim in chain armor. It is well documented that the Romans had aquatic units who swam in the stuff, and there is even a Japanese martial art that includes just this! Another advantage to the lightweight and flexibility of the armor is the mobility it offers, and a man would have little trouble picking up speed from no where in chain armor to dodge a blade, or to run in it. Mail armor does not encumber its wearer for long distances like plate armor tends to.

In short: Train with it, and don't get stabbed bro too hard, bro.

Plate Armor:

Plate Armor lives in a mixture of myth, legend, and fact to the public eye. True the armor is uncomfortable, hot, and expensive; plate armor also is not extremely heavy, it is possible to swim in, and is hardly restricting. A person could do cart-wheels, rolls, tumbles, and the likes in plate armor with proper training. Another worthy note is that (on scale to a human) plate armor typically weighs roughly 20.5 kg - 27.3 kg (45 lbs - 60 lbs) spread across the whole body; in fact a suit of chain mail would weigh a person down just as much (if not more) as a lighter suit of plate armor. Anything heavier than that was for parading, or jousting, and not actually fighting. With that said, it naturally gets heavier per-race, but on scale, and a naturally more powerful race could wear thicker plates (though not smart to), or could wear the plates with less struggle than smaller races. Now, I am not encouraging Taurens to abandon their ceremonial and traditional wears to plate armor, that is just not something Taurens do. What I am saying is that larger races would feel less restricted than smaller races, which already is rather little.

Weak points and blunted weapons are the historical Nemeses of Plates. There, in Medieval Europe, were schools devoted solely to combating plate armor, and would fight to exploit the gabs and binds. This required intense training to do so properly, for in the chaos if battle a person can not pin-point the binds and slits in armor. It just was too hard without training, and even when trained in these forms, a person would struggle to fight anything but heavy infantry armed in plate armor. There was always the other popular solutions, mainly weapons like mauls, large axes, or thrusting swords/knives (in that order). Mauls were designed to break in cuirasses, smash helmets in, or break limbs. Flails, a simple machine, with multiple heads could tear a man's helmet apart with one swing, and then a second do just that to his skull. An axe could cleave into the armor, leaving wide gaps and damage to the pieces, and at the hands of a strong enough man, could plunge it into a man's gut with enough swings. A thrusting blade, which has always been useful, could, with enough strength and a proper weapon design, plunge into a man's gut through the armor. Now, none of this would be easy, for plate armor is strong and did best what an armor should. Slow down a blow. It did act as a shield against arrows quite well, but not volleys, as the arrows so often found the gaps between plates. Due to plate's design a shield was not always worn with it, but still mostly a shield was carried for any man who did not have a shield in combat had a death wish.

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There are many ways to fight with and against plate armor.

In short: Train with it, and don't ever think you're a juggernaut. You are not.

Field Performance with Armor:

With enough training one can endure the conditions of any piece of armor. To endure one must actively test themselves and push themselves wearing armor. Walking around town doesn't cut it. One must actively train more than 1 time a week to truly break in armor and use it to its fullest potential. Training could be running, climbing, hiking, working out, and well anything. Just working with your armor, and going over routines with it. Remember, in the heat of a desert, your armor will feel like an oven if you're unaccustomed to the elements of nature without armor, let alone with it. This of course goes with any environment. In thick forests, an untrained person would find themselves with a poor sense of balance, or coordination, due to the amount of growth an trees one is not used to. It is simply about your surrounding, use your common sense when fighting, and know that just because your character can easily run full speed with no problem via game mechanics, doesn't mean the same character could realistically do just that.

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Swimming in armor has always been a up for debate in games such as these. It stems from the misconception that medieval armor is 100+ pounds and inflexible. The truth is a person, thought not easily, could swim with armor of any type and the only one with trouble being plate armor, and that is not because it is impossible, but because people are unaccustomed to keeping afloat in such a way they'd not panic and drown (such was the case of many Iranian nobles after the battle of Marathon). As mentioned above, there are actually various methods and arts that have been made to swimming in the heaviest of armor. But how does one do this you ask? The best document I have is from a Japanese source, where it states that one disciplines themselves first, and then second learns the technique, and such technique involves circular rotation of legs and trimming the water. This was so efficient that soldiers were able to fire muskets, fight with swords, and launch arrows while crossing water, while being fully clad in body armor. I have also heard from a verbal source that it is possible to trap air in a looser cuirass and float backwards to prevent the initial shock that you'd feel when water sinks into your armor and it feels like you're pulled down. Of course, water will slowly fill up the air pockets, but it would not panic anyone nearly as bad. There are Roman sources of men, who fully in chain mail armor, would swim as if they wore none at all, but the records of their method is not well detailed. Aquatic usage of armor requires training though, and one famous citation is by Ammianus Marcellinus, who stated the entire Comuti regiment used their wooden shields as rafts, and swam across a river (the Batavi whom the Romans were fighting could swim across the same river in full armor). This was to provide buoyancy since the regiment was not accustomed to swimming in mail armor.

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Weak Points and how to cover them and exploit them:

Believe it or not, but exploiting weaknesses on armor is incredibly difficult. It is so difficult that in the high Medieval and early Renaissance select German schools of war in had training solely based upon this. The very methods were only effective against heavier armor, and proved to be awkward and less efficient on lighter armored foes. Essentially it is a skill you have, and have worked hard for, and sacrificed working with other methods for, or one you do not have at all; learning these methods being the mid-point. Rarely is one naturally talented at severing links, cutting under the helmet, tearing straps, or thrusting at “thin points.” Once armor was penetrated, it was not a matter of killing someone, so much as it was about disabling them, or breaking the armor to expose/demoralize the enemy (Remember, most deaths in battle before guns occurred after the “fight” during the clean-up). However, once identifying the weak points on the spot is mastered, making quick enough strikes in going to be the true mountain to climb, and hitting them as well. Most people wearing armor should know their own weak points, and would more-than-likely cover them over say… the center of a cuirass. That is an art with no real standard way to learn, and can be taught with various methods. The most famous are the methods left by al-Da'wa al-Jadida, also known as Hashishim / Hashasheen (if you still don't know, the Assassins of the middle east from the Crusades ‘til the Mongolians). These soldiers were trained with many various weapons including how to spot-check armor for weakness, and how to exploit them before anyone knows how to react (even in public).

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Now, covering and knowing weak points is a great deal easier than striking and exploiting them, but it is something all people who wish to wear heavy armor should know. For mail armor that leaves bare flesh exposed, there is not much you can do to cover the spot then physically covering it, but for plates that leaves slits open, covering it can be as simple as contracting or expanding the part that is exposed. A shield also helps cover kill-spots fairly easy, and really is suggested to at least have on you! More importantly, one needs to learn to get out of the way of an attack, especially if the attacker seems to be targeting weak points! Failure to do so could have you killed.

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Failure to do so could have you slain by 1 armored man

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Two armored soldiers

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A common thug

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And even a rabbi- I mean animal!

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That's more like it.


Many misconceptions exist about weapons just as they do for armor. Some more obvious than others to many people, but even still we all make mistakes. Now on to part two of the sacrileges about gear and equipment, the weapon aspect. Each type of weapon has its uses, its draw-backs, and special purposes that can be exploited in such a way many do not realize.

The Big Five:

We will start off with weapons held in two-hands. Contrary to what World of Warcraft portrays there definatly over five “types of weapons” that can be held in two hands. It breaks it down into the broad term of Two-handed axe, Two-handed Sword, Two-handed Mace, Staff, and Pole arms. Broadly speaking, yes these are nice categories, but with-in each are subcategories that hold vastly different disciplines.

Pole arms

I will start with pole arms. Before you comment and say “But staffs can be used the same way” I am going to say no. There is a different mentality behind staffs and spears. There are many different types of pole arms. I will break it down into very broad terms, Pikes, Short Spears, Javelins, Pole-axes, Glaives, and War-Scythes (sometimes portrayed as two-handed swords). A pole arm is a great weapon for beginners, but in the hands of a master it can be deadlier than even the finest of swords.

A pike is a very staple weapon if you wish to keep a distance and do all your killing. It is a very effective killing machine, and to the point that when its use started to catch on in Greece (Macedonian sarissa) the old short spears were completely abandoned within a couple of generations save for a few city-states. This weapon flourishes for defense, but due to the versatility it can be quickly changed up for offense with discipline of steady movement and never being hasty. The advantages of the pike is the ability to hit a man at like 10 feet away and not get any blood on you, but the drawback makes the weakness almost a double-edge. If people do manage to close in a distance with a pike, its function goes out the window as it is not at all good at sweeping, and the most one can do is try and boss a person away with the blunt ends of it or drop it all-together. If trained with a pike well, a person could be a juggernaut on the field, but if the person is too impatient and battle-crazed then this weapon might as well be dead-weight.

Short Spears are the most versatile of all pole arms. Short spears can be treated like staves in many aspects, but not in all. Depending on the design, a short spear can be an excellent thrusting weapon or a useful sweeping weapon. More than anything though, a short spear is a great thrusting weapon. What was it that the Spartans carried as their main arm when they fought against a little more than ten thousand Persians? The short spear, and accompanied with a shield that latches onto the arm it can be a brutal combo as the short spear almost always leaves your defense open. The method in which one stabs with the spear will determine a lot as well. If it is a wide-swing aimed for the side then it shouldn't be expected to do much other than piss off the person you fight unless you're incredibly lucky and manage to hit a vital organ. A straight thrust is the most accurate and powerful of all thrusts, but your defense will be completely let down in the process of doing this, meaning it's an “all-in” strategy. An over-head thrust is the most efficient method of attack, and it was the only way a few historic empires would have their spearmen thrusts unless against cavalry as it produces almost the same power as a straight thrust, and is almost as accurate, but allows you to cover behind your shield. Lastly there's the under-handed swing, which is really only effective against cavalry or larger opponents who do not watch their lower body in guard. The down-fall of this weapon came with the rise of the straight sword due to it being, like the pike, weaker in close range and more encumbering to hold in formation.

Javelin is a broad-term to describe a light spear intended for one-hand use. It is really only effective for quick strikes, and unfortunately breaks fast in combat. To be quite honest this weapon flourishes in use with being thrown due to the lack of versatility that comes. As a weapon, really its only strength comes as a skirmisher's weapon to be thrown before battle and break shields or kill the unlucky ones. As a melee weapon, it is a poor choice, but can be used effectively to stop a cavalry charge if held from under with the blade pointed upwards at an angle. The Roman legions had their legionnaires do this against the Parthians time and time again to achieve an upper-hand in battle.

Pole-axes function entirely different from all other Pole Arms. If your character knows how to use a pike well, chances are they know practically nothing about using a pole-axe. The mentality is vastly different from all the other mentioned pole arms. A pole-axe is a purely offensive forced defense weapon and works well as a three-part tool; a superb anti-armor weapon, or a great anti-cavalry tool if it has a hook-attachment, and a line clearer. Though some feature a spear-head at the end of the axe, its main power comes from the axe its self, in which in the right hands can break a man in half. It was the weapon of choice by the Swiss Guard (traditionally anyways). With a hook attachment, a man can simply couch it up at head-level and rip a man off of his saddle, and make a follow up swing onto the downed rider to cleave his skull from his body, or burst his rib-cage open. What this weapon has in offensive capabilities, it is only sub-par as a raw defensive tool, and once battle is initiated the pole-axe users must keep themselves on the offense at all times, but maintain proper distance or else their opponents draw in too close and exploit the weaknesses that all pole arms have. With a spike at the tip of the axe-head this weapon can be used as a thrusting tool, but even then it isn't the best at that. All-in-all one can not expect to be too defensive with this weapon.

The most-like staves and most mixed in martial-arts in the Glaive. A Glaive is a single-edged blade on top of a pole, and is usually curved. Some pole arms consist of multiple glaives on the end of the pole. I do not speak of sentinel glaives, they are a different weapon entirely. A glaive reaps the most reward out of being used like a staff, but it can act like a weaker halberd. A glaive is related to the voulge or the billhook in design. Due to the size, usually just larger than the wielder, it can be used effectively to spin and sweep with without reaping too much draw-back. The grip of the weapon can also be adjusted to make it usable at close range (finally one that is somewhat useful at that!) but it will never be a sword or axe in this aspect. The English Gentleman George Silver ranked the glaive above all other weapons in hand-to-hand combat for a reason, but this is not the most ultimate of weapons of course. In the hands of a skilled user a glaive is deadly behind comprehension though.

Lastly we have war-scythes and sickles. These weapons are perhaps the most misunderstood and underestimated of all pole arms out there. To straighten things out… that level 57 green item called Warscythe is not even close to a war-scythe. That is a farm scythe, if you tried to use that in battle either your enemies would laugh themselves to death, or you'd soon realize that its design is strictly for crops and not punching holes in armor, and dismantling bones. Like a fauchard the war scythe is like a reverse glaive, which bares the blade on the concave side rather than the convex. Historically you'll see a few different variations of this weapon, mostly depending on the length of the pole. It can function either like a glaive, or depending on its length, a two-handed sword. The Dacians of the Antiquity were famous for their falx-blades, and such an item is misrepresented in WoW, as the blade in reality bends the other way, and such a brutal design can actually break a shield with one nice swing, and even kill the man who holds it. Of course, this is if the shield is wooden, and not metal. In the longer pole variant, it functions similarly to a glaive, but is some-what slower due to its design, but can deliver much harder hits. A war scythe, however, is not good as pulling in close like to act as a make-shift sidearm, and another thing that should be noted is that it isn't a good defensive weapon at all.

Two Handed Swords

This is the style I've personally trained more than any other. There are many, many different ways to use a two-handed sword but the fundamentals are universal. Due to the discipline that goes behind these weapons it is not advisable to be used by a beginner at all, as it took me short of a year before my trainer even let me cut straw targets with a live blade. I will break it down into three categories. Western/European, Near Eastern, and Oriental. The MOST important universal quality is never to slash diagonally towards the way your front leg is out. By that, if your front leg is your right leg, never slash diagonally right. Even if you are the most careful swordsman in the world, you will slip eventually.

Near Eastern style is a rare, and I mean very rare, sight to behold. Typically these were beheading blades or mystical blades of legends, such as Dhu l-Fiqar (Sayf Ali) in which was a two-pronged falchion-scimitar that was said to cleave through helmets. Realistically they're more accurate to be called one-and a half swords, since it can be used in two hands just as well as one. In World of Warcraft there are only a few featured weapons of this quality. The discipline of using them is very similar to that of a one-handed blade, and often requires mixing one hand with two-handed strikes due to the lighter weight of the blade. Due to the curve of these blades they made awful thrusting weapons, unless it is a two-handed Kilij (I don't know if these exist though). Due to the rarity of such blades there's not a lot of universal doctrines based on how to use them, and most adopt other sword-styles. Of course there too, are non-scimitar two-handed blades in which can be dated to Fatimid Egypt and Medieval Ethiopia, but these follow more European traditions than anything. Typically the defensive quality of these weapons is not all there, and relies on the wielder to make quick dodges or tie them down with the light weapon. Now, India had its own entire barrage of swords, and sword styles. The moves were taught to royals, or wealthy members of warrior castes, or father to son, etc. Indian sword-style gave heavy influence to eastern Near-Eastern nations, but in its self, was influened by such as well. I've not studied Two-Handed Indian swordplay enough to know the style in depth, so if anyone out there had a deep knowledge... feel free.

Western and European styles are often less sharp than any other variation. The evolution came from the Celtic long swords, in which were completely blunt and swing over head to gain momentum as well as the Roman Gladius and the Falchion. Though my study is mostly limited to the Gaels, from what I've seen is that it is very similar to the kendo styles of eastern Asia. Due to armor being a big part of Europe, and in Azeroth in general, the use of these weapons are optimal. Foot work really differs from the styles used, but one peculiar thing I've noticed was the willingness to actually hold the blade behind one's back before striking with these weapons. Momentum and weight is the key, and shattering into armor is what makes these blades all too feared. As with practically all forms of two-handed weapon use you need to move in in diamonds or X's, meaning that if you step out and in in a half-diamond you're doing a very basic maneuver. Defense with these weapons historically did not involve a whole lot of dodging as much as it depended on blocks and parries, and slapping, or guiding blades away from vital areas. It is also a worthy note that a diagonal strike from below going up is less suitable with these weapons due to the physics that goes into it, and how it relies more on gravity, strength, and power rather than the sharpness of the blade.

Oriental styles require a lot, lot, lot more training than European styles on average (I have seen some strange broad-sword styles that blow any Far-Eastern swordplay out of the water from Germany though). You'll first notice how differant the weapons are in later periods (early periods of East-Asia, the common sword was almost no differant from a gladius, and the jian looks like it could have come from Europe until well-spread steel working). Such came from improvements of weapons passed down the Silk Road through Persia, Europe, or modification ideas from all over, or even through Indo-China and India. Japan's swordsmithing took from traditional crafting of straight-blades, and fused it with the mongolian saber's curve (thus creating the Katana). The Mongolian saber came from Sassanid Persian shamshirs. However, no matter what the design is, the weapon its self dictates the style. Often these styles are highly defensive, quick-maneuvered, and full of mind-games you'll not see in any other culture. It is less common to see a man going for exposed and weak points in these styles, and not slipping past the guard to strike one's vitals. As such, dueling in East-Asia was a quicker event than in Europe, where the offensive pushes clashed metal on metal, and it'd take only one hesitation or break in your stance or defense to allow for death. Footplacement is very, very, very important for these type of weapons. How one moves directs how one blocks, and where one will strike from. How one's leg is held out forward will direct the flow of a weapon (you never slice into your knee). If one's sword is held high, or a spot is intentionally exposed, it's often doen to spring a trap, and go for the kill. The level of illusion and percision that goes into Oriental swordplay surpasses most styles out there, and as such, requires a great deal of training and breaking-in.

Two Handed Axes

Two Handed Axes are easily a favorite of the more barbaric type of fighters and cultures. Historically this was used in the Near East as with Egypt early on, but was replaced with the Kopesh swords. This was not due to its ineffectiveness, but due to it being a poor formation weapon. It requires an area of use, and your allies near you, while using such a weapon, are prone to being damaged. It still continued its use with horse-riding nomads, due to it being a near perfect weapon mounted, such as the Tabar of Afghanistan and how it is still honored today as a side arm. Two handed axes did have a resurgence when armor was getting thick again, and is useful for ripping open heavier armor, but does not function as well as a maul for it. As with all axes, as well, a two handed axe is better suited for dueling than for battles.

Two Handed Maces

A two handed mace is the mightiest of the big five. It can produce more Newtons of force than any other two hander. There are two general terms for these weapons, mauls and great flails, but flailing weapons are not or are poorly represented in WoW. A great flail is a two handed flail, which can have one or more attached heads to a chain at the end. Swung with enough force, it can be a wrecking ball on the battle field, and splatter a head like a shotgun hitting it. Likewise a maul can do this as well, but will usually lack the advantage of multiple heads, but in place will hold the advantage of being a less clumsy weapon. The Maul can tear a massive impression in plate armor, or render chain armor as useless as cloth armor, and its only real counter is cushion inside armor to soften the incoming impact. By the Late Middle Ages in Europe this was a poor man's primary weapon of choice to deal with those pesky heavily armored knights (unlike those rich nobles and their halberds). It would also be a choice favorite of mounted soldiers later down the line as it evolved from the war hammer. The Maul holds a special place in a few classes lore, like Paladins, who prefer them over the sword due to their Clerics of Northshire origins, and it does not surprise me that Paladins are so deadly due to mauls accompanied with their already present light-wielding. Remember, these weapons break bones and limbs. Sometimes off.


I have trained with staffs probably the second most of all weapon types, but studied the wide-range the least. A staff is a very versatile tool of war, and can be used as a sweeping weapon as well as a thrusting weapon. Its purpose is less to kill, and more to weaken or disable. The force of a staff comes from your front arm, while aimed with the rear usually, unless holding it inversely where-as the opposite. A staff can hold many, many different forms and school, and a lot of personal styles as well. Training with this weapon is valuable for survival, because in the wilderness there is always a branch laying somewhere close, but remember even a laminated staff with the hardest of wood will fare poorly against metal armor. Metal staffs are silly, that's a giant unwieldy rod, don't use them.

One Handed Weapons:

One handed weapons flourished more than any other weapon in history, only surpassed by guns in this modern age. There are Swords, Axes, Maces, and Daggers represented in game. It is plainly obvious each kind is different from the last. See Two Handed swords for the blunt to sharp quality of each type of blade as well.


One handed swords hold a variety beyond all other weapons I can think of. Each with a strength and weakness. I will touch up on key model designs that are universal.

Short and straight blades make good stabbing weapons, and amazing thrusting, and the force from it can punch a hole in even plate armor. They can slash well, but fare exceptionally poor against plate armor. The drawback is that it requires such a close proximity for its use to sky rocket, and often requires a shield to even function right.

Short and angled swords or leaf-shaped swords, like a Kopesh or Kopis, function as axes more-so than words. They are primarily hacking weapons, with poorer ability to penetrate with stabbing and thrusting. However these weapons can easily tear unarmored foes limb from limb, and take chucks out of armor.

Short to medium and curved swords, like a scimitar or falchion, can be used as the ultimate slicing weapons. Their weight and design allow for chopping of limbs in nice clean cuts, and can be brutal in the hands of a master. They are capable of tearing limbs up, and punching gaps in armor as shown in the crusades. These blades are also relatively swift, but its only flaw is the inability to be a good thrusting sword.

Long swords and arming swords can function very nicely as a slashing weapon and a stabbing weapon. Curved or not, its function will remain this way. A curve will apply more pressure to slashing however, but detract from thrusting. These weapons can be used extremely well with or without a shield, and in one to two hands.


One handed axes, or “mini-axes” are a primarily offensive weapon unless accompanied with a shield. Their purpose is good in mass on front lines due to the ability to tear into armor, or punch into armor if it is a spike-axe type of weapon. It can also be useful as a dueling weapon if it is more of a crescent (my personal favorite weapon). The axe's bladed design leads to multiple types of weapons, and the good thing about a one handed axe is that when it no longer is of use to you, it can be thrown as a weapon all in its own, and usually it is balanced well enough to fly well. All one handed axes can be used as a two hander as well, and function in that category just the same.


One handed maces were the medieval time's
move. So to speak. It was easy to mass produce, and could easily leave large breaks and dents into heavier armor. The simple design allowed it to break a helmet in one to two strikes, and work on pounding an exposed, or unexposed head. The simple vibration of this weapon against armor as well can lead to breaking bones or causing damage. And like an axe, it can be one to two handed at the user's preference most of the time. The flails also function as a more clumsy version, but with multiple heads can kill a man in one to two strikes if targeting a helmet without a chin strap inside (most will not have this).

Dagger and Knives

There's a law on the streets, that if you enter a knife fight you will get cut. This is true, and if a person with a knife wants to stab you or cut you in some way or another he will. These weapons are for the skilled as main weapons, but should be with all war-faring soldiers as a side arm due to usefulness. A knife can, with enough force, puncture plate armor, but will not deliver a killing blow most of the time, however if you use a knife train to go straight for gaps when fighting heavily armored foes rather than raw vitals, since they're usually covered well. Against lightly armored enemies, vitals are good to target though. Even better is that these weapons can be thrown when done with as well, and not make you look like a moron while doing so.

Ranged Weapons:

Ranged combat has been around since the first ape decided to pick up a rock and hurl it at a rival. It has been a staple and important way to kill your enemies to the point where we do not even see melee warfare in this day and age unless in special circumstances. In Azeroth it seems to be a very important staple in all victories. There is no race that does not use ranged weapons for a reason. Let us look at the ranged weapons typically used in history. It should be noted, nearly all ranged weapons fair poorly against heavy armor like plate armor, and shields.


A misunderstood and highly effective weapon. If you are a fan of the TV series Deadliest Warrior, you will probably have been given a poor and faulty impression of the sling. As far as killing blows go, no this is not a primary choice from a distance, and if you are untrained with the sling your accuracy will be awful, but historically trained slingers could kill small animals hiding in thick-ruff and up trees without problem. It was humanity's primary hunting weapon well into the historic Common Era. A sling can break bones, cause disfigurement, give mental damage, give concussions, dent armor, leave nasty bruises, and even cause internal bleeding. Typically this weapon flourished in taking your enemies out of the fight rather than killing them then and there, and hey- pre-modern era, the majority of people died on the battle field from “clean up crews” rather than the initial battle its self. In volleys this weapon could successfully batter down line after line of men and force a lot of “KOs” so to speak. It weighs almost nothing, and can be carried anywhere. A tool all people should have really.

Throwing Axes and Daggers

Though both of these weapons function differently, I will put them together for simplicity (not like I have done that on this guide though…). The key to both daggers and axes are precision. Daggers more-so than axes. This weapon works very well with the ability to find weak points in armor. If one throws a dagger at the middle of someone's chest armor it will very simply bounce off. If you throw these at the center of a car window even, it will bounce off. Once gaps are exploited the next bit of training comes with learning to fine-hit moving targets. In its self, this is an art. One that can pay off. A well placed throwing weapon can disable a man with a single toss, or greatly weaken him. Do not underestimate these weapons, going against it or using it.


Bow is a broad term to describe a plethora of types and variants that branch off of other types and variants. So in sake of that I will keep it simple and break it down to four types. Short bow, Composite Bow, Flat/Self bow, and Longbow. Each has its own advantage and disadvantage, but ultimately the longbow is the most useful.

Short bows were used for years aside with the sling as a hunter's favorite weapon until gun powder became available to civilians. This weapon produces little force compared to other bows, but it certainly is enough to kill a man with one nicely aimed shot. More than enough even. When armor of any sort is introduced, this weapon loses effectiveness in great percentages. Learning weaknesses of armor makes this weapon useful, and it is easier to conceal or explain compared to a longbow on your back, making it a better choice for poorer rogues of rural areas or hunters. It is relatively cheap, and easy to make, but not cheaper and easier than self bows.

Composite Bows were the first bows to be used in warfare in vast enough numbers to carve an empire. The Akkadians, and later Assyrians became famous for spreading its use so wide into the near east and Europe that it became almost synonymous to think of Assyrian and not help but to think of their mighty composite bows. These weapons bend with a curve, and are medium length, often with a recurve at the tips. The crafting of this weapon takes roughly a week per bow, so mass producing requires many workers. Its strength, however, can penetrate weaker metal armor and still cause some damage, but like all bows it is best to look for weaknesses in armor, and learn to hit them moving.

Flat bows and self bows are the cheapest and easiest to make of all bows. What will take a week for a composite bow may take a few hours to a day's work for these weapons. It is a true survivalist's weapon more-so than a good weapon to mass produce. It is also a good practice weapon, and would usually be just this in history. As far as mounted combat goes, do not use this bow, stick with a composite bow, it requires the height of the archer and does not produce enough force to be effective from it.

Longbows, sometimes called the machine gun of the medieval world, are a core to archer-heavy armies. They usually are near the height of the archer, and can shoot the furthest of all bows. Now its speed and accuracy are inverse, so as far as accuracy goes it can fire, historically speaking, around 6-8 times a minute at a great distance (record distance is somewhere around 350 Meters last I checked). It still does not punch holes in armor for the most part, but it certainly can deliver a killing blow, and in volley with plenty of archers, enough arrows can easily “find” gaps in armor. It can produce over 70 pouds of pressure on the arrow head, which is enough to puncture a human's body and deliver a high chance death, even if it didn't hit an organ. Infection sits in fast when arrows are removed, so you will need a doctor or a healer of some sort after being hit by one of these.


The Crossbow is product of evolution from larger siege weaponry gradually getting smaller in Europe and in China around the same time. However, in Europe it was more of a hand-held siege weapon as compared to a mass-deployed weapons. These belly bows would punch holes in armor, and fire through a person entirely, but were slow to reload and would fare poorly in aim. Typically their purpose was volley. Then as time came in Europe the smaller more handheld models, already present in China, replaced the mounted crossbows and belly bows. These crossbows represent most in WoW. They are slower to load and reload compared to bows, unless a repeater, but usually are stronger in newtons, but fly not as far, unless an arbalest. Close up, a crossbow can punch a hole in armor, and fly through a man, and far away it loses effectiveness, as well as being an arched shot, unless an arbalest (which can outshoot a longbow in range on average). As close ranges, this fares well only as a one-shot weapon, or a hit and hide tool.


The fun thing about WoW is the fact that Guns are not so specific. There assault rifles, rocket launchers, muskets, rifles, “Goblin Repeaters”, pistols, ray weapons, explosives, and even pea shooters. I am no gun expert, so I can not go into great depths about each type, but what I can say is that the weapons of this time are fairly new, possibly dangerous, but very powerful. All I can say is be creative, but try not to demolish lore when using guns. I don't see many Night Elves or Trolls with them for a reason.

More pictures to come. Probably. Maybe. Hopefully. I don't know.
It might just be me, but none of the pictures are showing up.

But yes, great guide. Although it was making me learn History in my free time :(

Awesome work, Jeff.
Yes, sorry. The ones I accidently posted were the preview pictures, so I had to refind them, and get their direct links!
Very Naise... The sorta thing people should know about but don't, awesome read ^^
This is the best.
I'm going to have to rethink my armor a little bit on my characters to fit better. ;P
A very nice guide! Moving for usefulness.
Epic guide, plenty of good information and the occasional "lol" factor in it. Was a good read, and I'm sure going to remember it :)
Great guide! this should clear up a lot of myths, very educating all in all, I say.
Excellent guide, if I do say so myself.
I would have made this -same- guide about six months ago!


I should start actually doing all of these ideas of mine...
Amazing guide, I personally hate it when people wearing plate armor are a thousand times faster then those literally shirtless.

And kudos on the realistic effects and the weapon's guide. I'll always be sure to have this open in the background when I'm ingame. ;)
Massive update with a more in-depths guide of weaponry. It is not perfect though, so criticism and corrections would be acceptable.
Updated with a chart... OF SCIENCE!
I've read it many a time before, but I thought I'd share my opinion. This is really great, and clears up a -lot- of myths regarding armor.
I feel like this needs a bump, most especially for the Mail and Plate sections.

There's -way- too many silly myths going around about how Plate makes you the slowest, clumsiest thing on legs.

I was considering writing my own guide on this, but this does a -very- good job of explaining everything, and most very likely better than I would accomplish.
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