Wrath of the Lich King introduced not only new content, but an entirely new type of item. These items are called Heirloom items, or Bind to Account (BoA) items. They aren't tied to any one character and can be freely passed from alt to alt, but they're all tied to one account, the account that bought the item. No handing them over to your friends, no mailing them to other players, no mailing them to your second account. So far none of these items are drops, but rewards for more veteran players of the Wrath content. There are two different ways of earning these items, but they dovetail nicely.
Quite simply, you need to participate in Wrath's content. Items suited to PvE are acquired via Emblems of Heroism, and items suited for PvP are acquired via Stone Keeper's Shards.
Emblems of Heroism
Emblems of Heroism are one of the Badge of Justice equivalents in Wrath of the Lich King. They're acquired through beating Heroic bosses and 10-man raids. 25-man raids award Emblems of Valor, which are not used for any Heirloom items currently.
Unless you're a chronic altaholic, you may want to hold off on buying these Heirloom items, because there's also a wide variety of epic gear you can buy with it that's Bind on Pickup, not only the Heirloom items. Again, these are the Badge of Justice equivalents. Think of the Heirloom items like the epic gems or Nether Vortices from The Burning Crusade. If you want to gear up your main, these items are going to be things you buy after you have nothing else left to buy. If you spend most of your time leveling up alts, these items may be very good for you to buy right away.
These items are purchased from various vendors around Dalaran, and the items you can buy are the following:
Champion Herod's Shoulder Tattered Dreadmist Mantle Stained Shadowcraft Spaulders Preened Ironfeather Shoulders Polished Spaulders of Valor Mystical Pauldrons of Elements Venerable Dal'Rend's Sacred Charge Dignified Headmaster's Charge Devout Aurastone Hammer Charmed Ancient Bone Bow Bloodied Arcanite Reaper Balanced Heartseeker Inherited Insignia of the Horde / Alliance Discerning Eye of the Beast Swift Hand of Justice Stone Keeper's Shards
The PvP focused heirloom items technically don't require you to PvP at all, but it speeds up the process. When your faction has just won Lake Wintergrasp, your entire faction gains the Essence of Wintergrasp buff. If you're familiar with Spirit Shards from The Burning Crusade, it's more or less the same thing. You loot the Stone Keeper's Shards from bosses in dungeons while you have the faction-wide buff. You'll typically get 2-3 shards per boss, in both normal and heroic versions of the dungeon.
If PvP is more your style, or you just want to speed up the rate at which you're earning these shards, there are daily quests in Lake Wintergrasp that you can do while you're fighting to get your faction the Essence of Wintergrasp buff. Wowhead has a full listing of those quests for both factions if you want to hunt them down.
These items look like they cost a lot of shards, but considering how many of them bosses drop at a time and you can get the Shards from quests, it's not all that bad. When you have enough Shards to buy what you want, head over to Lake Wintergrasp, pray the appropriate vendor is up, and make your purchases. The following Heirloom items are available through Stone Keeper's Shards:
Battleworn Thrash Blade Grand Staff of Jordan Upgraded Dwarven Hand Cannon The Blessed Hammer of Grace Sharpened Scarlet Kris Reforged Truesilver Champion Strengthened Stockade Pauldrons Prized Beastmaster's Mantle Pristine Lightforge Spaulders Lasting Feralheart Spaulders Exquisite Sunderseer Mantle Exceptional Stormshroud Shoulders Aged Pauldrons of The Five Thunders Inherited Insignia of the Alliance / Horde Wintergrasp Commendation
Again, note that there are other things you can buy with Stone Keeper's Shards on various other vendors, so make sure you don't want anything for your 'main' before buying these Heirloom items.
So that's how you get Heirloom items! You may want to pay special attention to the Shoulder armor, because that's probably one of the first Bind to Account pieces you'll want to buy. A passive +10% XP bonus for your alts? Yeah, that's friggin' sweet.
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