Gilneas (faction)

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Darnassus · Exodar · Gilneas · Gnomeregan
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Gilneas TCG.jpg
Main leader
Secondary leaders
Base of operations
Theater of operations
Main language
Notable reward(s)

Active, Rebuilding


Gilneas Tabard.jpg

"The Forsaken think we're weak, a broken people. They think we'll roll over like a scared dog... how wrong they are. We will fight them in the fields until the last trench collapses and the last cannon is silenced. We will fight them on the streets until the last shot is fired, and when there is no more ammunition, we'll crush their skulls with the stones that pave our city. We will fight them in the alleys until our knuckles are skinned and bloodied, and our rapiers lay on the ground, shattered. And if we find ourselves surrounded and disarmed, wounded and without hope; we will lift our heads in defiance and spit in their faces. But we will never surrender! FOR GILNEAS!"
- Prince Liam Greymane

The people of Gilneas are a nation of survivors. Having walled themselves off from the rest of humanity, they now face threats from neighboring lands as well as from within, which quickly threaten to tear their kingdom apart.

After finally fleeing from their ravaged homeland, the proud Gilneans have settled in with the Night Elves of Darnassus. Having mastered the curse that overtook Gilneas, they have gained the ability to transform into worgen form at will. Their leader, King Genn Greymane, currently resides in Stormwind Keep, within Stormwind City. There, he helps King Varian Wrynn by commanding the 7th Legion in their assault on the now contested Gilneas.


The Icon of Gilneas

The human kingdom had supported the Alliance during the Second War, but King Greymane had no qualms about severing all ties to the outside world when it became clear that the Alliance needed Gilneas more than Gilneas needed the Alliance. Unbeknownst to the rest of the world, darkness fell on Gilneas after the Greymane Wall's gates had been closed, and the worgen curse ravaged the nation. Before long, Gilneans were fighting against Gilneans in a bloody civil war that left the kingdom in tatters. Remarkably, the people of Gilneas have somehow managed to hold on to the last vestiges of their humanity... for now.[1]

Gilneas is a large peninsula that juts into the sea south of western Lordaeron. Silverpine Forest lies to the north-east and Kul Tiras awaits across the sea to the south. The kingdom was founded following the splitting of Arathor and besides the peninsula, the kingdom also included the island of Zul'Dare, and formerly held lands in Silverpine Forest including Pyrewood Village and Ambermill.[2]

Its king Genn Greymane never ardently supported the Alliance of Lordaeron in the Second War. Thus, after the war, he constructed the Greymane Wall: a massive barrier spanning the entire northern border. The enormous wall barricaded Gilneas from the rest of Lordaeron for around two decades.[3]

It was later discovered that the 'Worgen Curse' has swept mercilessly across the nation, eventually turning nearly all of its inhabitants into savage beasts. Escalating tensions among the survivors escalated into bloody civil war that all but wrecked the nation. Following the Cataclysm and an invasion by the Forsaken, some of these Gilnean worgen have regained their free will. After Gilneas fell to enemy hands, Gilneas rejoined the Alliance.[4]


The gilneas kingdom prior to the building of the greymane wall.

The Gilnean flag.

Following their victory in their war against the trolls, the empire of Arathor entered into a period of prosperity and growth. After the death of King Thoradin the empire began to expand, founding new city states in the wilderness - including Gilneas. Each city grew and prospered, Gilneas and Alterac developed strong armies which explored the world. Over time the power of Gilneas and the other city states grew as that of Strom waned, eventually they developed their own customs and beliefs and the empire splintered into independent kingdoms.[5] Under the rule of King Archibald, Gilneas prospered even further eventually rivalling the kingdoms of Stormwind and Lordaeron.

By the start of the Second War Gilneas was one of the most powerful human nations, and because of this, the kingdom's ruler, Genn Greymane, was not a strong supporter of the Alliance, believing that his own armies would be more than enough to deal with any threat. Despite this, Gilneas was not neutral towards the Horde, and did join the Alliance late in the Second War, although Lord Greymane constantly argued against its existence from beginning to end. A token force under the command of Lord Godfrey, at his own insistance, fought the orcs with disasterous results that further damaged Greymane's feelings towards Lordaeron. Shortly after the Horde was defeated, Greymane pulled his nation's "support" from the Alliance, refusing to spend his nation's resources on keeping the orcs alive in internment camps or in rebuilding other nations devastated by the war. Gilneas, along with Stromgarde, infact lead the outcry over the decision not to execute their defeated enemies.[6] Greymane's isolationism may have been influenced by Daval Prestor, secretly the black dragon Deathwing in human form, who Greymane had supported to the throne of Alterac.

The Greymane Wall and the Third War

The Greymane Wall.

Some time after the Second War, Greymane constructed the Greymane Wall — an enormous stone barrier that now separates Gilneas from Lordaeron. Attempting to forever remove his nation from what he considered "other people's troubles", he barricaded the majority of Gilneas behind the Wall. No one, not even other humans were allowed to enter Gilneas. The lands of Lord Darius Crowley including Pyrewood and Ambermill were notably separated from their liege and nation by the Wall,[2] effectively ceded to Lordaeron. The Greymane Wall even remained closed to human refugees begging to be allowed in during and after the Scourge's invasion of Lordaeron. The status of Gilneas became unclear to the outside world, and rumours of what was transpiring there became the subject of rumours throughout the Alliance - the renowned explorer Brann Bronzebeard theorised that it had fallen to the naga as one such example.[7]

The Scourge maintained a heavy presence in Silverpine until the Alliance, under Grand Marshal Garithos, claimed several key victories in and around Dalaran, and the Forsaken emerged from the Scourge’s shattering in civil war. Yet at the peak of their strength, the Scourge relentlessly assaulted the Greymane Wall and threatened to devour all Gilneas. King Greymane’s armies marched out to meet the undead hordes, but were decimated.[2]

In a desperate attempt to hold the seemingly-unstoppable Scourge at bay, Greymane ordered his court archmage, Arugal, to unleash a 'secret weapon' against the Scourge — the worgen, who had been contained for millennia in the Emerald Dream. Unfortunately, after attacking the Scourge, the worgen turned on the Gilnean soldiers, infecting them with their Curse,[8] and began attacking other humans living in Silverpine Forest. Before long the affliction had advanced through the legendary barrier and was gradually eating away at Gilneas’ humanity. As reports of strange attacks and disappearances rose, fear took root in the hearts of Genn’s people.

Gilneas was shielded from the rest of the world, by the Greymane Wall by land and by its high cliffs and treacherous reefs by sea.[9] Refugees and other nations long entreated Gilneas for aid, but these unfortunates never so much as saw a Gilnean. Many became easy prey for the worgen that occasionally strayed south from Shadowfang Keep. For many years King Greymane forbade any attempt to leave the self-isolated, and all ports were closed, leaving sailors and people of other nations stranded in Gilneas (such as Tobias Mistmantle, and the pirates of the Brashtide Crew).[10][11] Gilneans that were themselves locked out of their homeland were a rare sight, but not unknown (such as Baron Longshore, captain of the pirate ship “Heedless”).[12]

While Greymane's efforts to stem the tide of the Scourge kept Gilneas from the grasp of the undead, the Greymane Wall inadvertently subjected the Gilneans to a dark fate all the same. Many fell under the worgen curse, as it did with their neighbours to the north in Silverpine before them.

A small group of soldiers known as the Gilneas Brigade joined the Human Expedition led by Jaina Proudmoore during the Third War, but these were actually sent by Lord Crowley as an act of defiance against Genn.

Civil War

Main article: Northgate rebellion

Although once a close friend of Genn Greymane, his staunch isolationism led Lord Darius Crowley to eventually take up arms against his king. Leading his armed supporters into Gilneas City in an attempt to depose King Genn,[2] a bloody civil war erupted between the two factions, pitting Gilnean against Gilnean, brother against sister. The so-called ‘Northgate rebellion’ officially ended when Crowley and his leading allies were captured by Greymane's forces, although rebels and their sympathisers continued to hoard weapons and supplies around Gilneas. Political divisions had led to a deep and bitter hatred between ‘rebels’ and ‘royals’,[13][14] something that has only just begun to heal with the Gilneans’ focus shifting to their common enemies.[15]

The Cataclysm

Worgen infobox.jpg
Gilneas after the Cataclysm.

Unbeknownst to many of the kingdom's citizens, a war between beast and man raged within the worgen themselves.[16] To compound the worgen threat, the Forsaken started battering at the nation's gates in a bid to conquer Gilneas. Under orders from Garrosh Hellscream, now Warchief of the Horde, Sylvanas Windrunner was commanded to conquer the lands of Gilneas to secure resources[17] and its safe ports. Sylvanas had her own objective – the retrieval of the  [Scythe of Elune], an artifact capable of summoning complacent worgen that could spread their curse to all humanity.[18]

Due to the efforts of the ancient ‘Alpha Prime’ of the worgen, Ralaar Fangfire, the worgen epidemic grew with fervor. Ultimately his Bloodfang pack of wild worgen launched a massive attack on Gilneas City, overrunning the kingdom’s capital. Crowley and his Northgate Rebels were released from Stoneward Prison by Greymane’s edict[13] and quickly agreed to give aid to King Genn, who had ordered the evacuation of Gilneas City to Duskhaven. In order to divert the worgen's attention from the fleeing citizens, Crowley led a group of Gilneans to stand against them at Light's Dawn Cathedral. Crowley and his followers were overwhelmed, and became worgen themselves.

Only with the aid of a night elf priestess Belysra, a secret counsellor of Greymane, were the cursed Gilneans shown a way to retain control of their human minds once transformed into worgen. Many, however, remained feral and under the sway of Alpha Prime, an ally of Sylvanas, until his death at Tal’doren.

Finding a short-lived refuge in Duskhaven, Krennan Aranas, Greymane’s court alchemist, managed to restore temporary sanity to a number of captured feral worgen. The Gilneans’ respite was to be short-lived, as the Cataclysm destroyed some of the jagged reefs that protected Gilneas from sea and breached the famed Greymane Wall itself, allowing the Forsaken to pour into Gilneas by land from Silverpine as well as land at Duskmist Shore. As the Forsaken invasion progressed, the whole south-west of Gilneas began collapsing into the sea, destroying Duskhaven. Gilnean survivors fled to abandoned Stormglen Village as Greymane and Lord Godfrey travelled to Tal'doren to ask Darius Crowley and other worgen healed by the Night Elves to help unite Gilneas against the Forsaken. Due to Lord Godfrey's tyrannical command, Crowley was hesitant to accept. Greymane told Crowley that he is asking him as a friend and not as a king, and after revealing that he too had succumbed to the worgen curse, they agreed to join forces. Though the Gilneans, worgen and human alike, led a valiant attempt at driving off the Forsaken by reclaiming occupied Gilneas City, Horde reinforcements and the use of the Forsaken’s Blight would soon overwhelm them. With his son Liam killed by Sylvanas herself, Genn decided to seek sanctuary in Darnassus and one day return to reclaim Gilneas.

Driven by their curse and the threat of the Forsaken, Gilneas was finally driven back into the Alliance's fold, owing a great debt to the Night Elves who helped heal the minds of many who fell victim to the worgen curse.[19] Lord Crowley and his loyal worgen; the Gilneas Liberation Front, have renewed the war against the Forsaken, advancing as far as northern Silverpine Forest. With the aid of a gnomish submarine used to break the Horde’s blockade of Gilneas,[20] the elite 7th Legion spearheaded a vast Alliance offensive to reclaim all of Lordaeron from the Forsaken, starting with Gilneas[21] The combined forces of the Alliance (including Gilnean and now-allied Bloodfang worgen) quickly bested the Forsaken occupiers of Gilneas City, eventually pushing them past the Greymane Wall.

However, the Horde managed to rally in Silverpine, holding back the 7th Legion and enabling the Forsaken to resurrect Lord Godfrey as one of their own, a fact that none of the Gilneans were aware of. Sylvanas Windrunner’s use of the val'kyr to resurrect fallen humans as allies forced the Alliance to rely on soldiers of other races.[22] Crowley later surrendered to Sylvanas after she took his daughter hostage, threatening her with undeath. This signaled an end to the Alliance offensive in Silverpine, although the Bloodfang Pack expanded their activities into the Hillsbrad Foothills.

Meanwhile Lord Godfrey rebelled against Sylvanas and killed her (although she was quickly resurrected) and took over Shadowfang Keep as an independent power. Sylvanas returned to Undercity to recover. The Alliance retains their foothold over Gilneas but is constantly under assault by the Horde as the Battle for Gilneas rages on.

Gilneas in Warcraft

Warcraft II

Gilneas' flag from Warcraft II.

WC2BnE logo 16x42.png This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft II.

Leader: Genn Greymane Nation Color: Black

Background: Despite the impending Orcish invasion, Gilneas has remained separate from the Alliance of Lordaeron. As ruler of one of the strongest human nations, Genn Greymane is convinced that his own armies can deal with any threat, and has therefore remained unmoved by Lord Lothar's pleas for unity. Despite this apparent disdain for the Alliance, the denizens of Gilneas harbor no fondness for the orcs or their allies and are prepared to meet them blade for blade.[23]

Warcraft III

WC3RoC logo 16x32.png This section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III.

In the Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Orc Campaign: The Invasion of Kalimdor in Chapter Three: Cry of the Warsong, one of the human factions you face has the force name Gilneas Brigade, implying that people from Gilneas travelled to Kalimdor with Jaina and are very likely still with her now. It was later revealed that they were sent by Lord Crowley.[24]

In World of Warcraft

The Greymane Wall in World of Warcraft as seen prior to patch 4.0.

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

The Greymane Wall, in the south of Silverpine Forest, has been in the game since release, but Gilneas itself remained a closed zone. With the Cataclysm expansion, Gilneas was finally opened to players as the heavily-phased level 1-12 starting area of the new playable worgen race. Players enter the story as a human. The level 1-5 quests take place a year before the Cataclysm, and will teach them how the worgen curse came to be, how the humans of Gilneas came to be affected by it and lastly with the player him/herself being infected with the worgen curse.[25] After a cutscene, players will be in worgen form and the game time skips to just before the Cataclysm. For the remainder of the starting experience, players will experience the dual threats of the effects of the Shattering upon Gilneas and the Forsaken siege. An offer of aid from a night elven druidic sect brings Gilneas into the Alliance, which serves as a counterpart to the introduction of the Horde-allied Goblins of Kezan. In-game, Gilneas appears to be a dreary and rainy territory, reflecting the cursed nation itself. The Greymane Wall received a graphical update to match the new style of Gilneas (a Victorian style).

It must also be mentioned that, much like when Quel'Thalas was introduced in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the Peninsula of Gilneas has a considerably different landmass than it does on pre-Cataclysm maps. Prior to the Cataclysm Gilneas appeared as a small, thin peninsula roughly the same size and shape as Silverpine Forest to the north. After the Cataclysm the Gilnean peninsula appears slightly shorter but significantly wider (even accounting for the land that sinks into the ocean during the Worgen starting experience).

Genn Greymane is still alive, being among the first NPCs encountered by worgen players. After the player's transformation into a worgen, Greymane is seen advising Krennan to give the player a treatment for the worgen curse.[26] Brann Bronzebeard's theory that Gilneas had been overrun by the naga[7] has been proven false.

Outside the battleground, Horde players are sent into a phased version of Gilneas from quests in Silverpine to stop the worgen and fortify their hold on the kingdom; an effort that ends up failing and players witness Gilneas' reclamation by the Alliance (thus setting the basis of the Battle for Gilneas). One of the new battlegrounds in Cataclysm, the Battle for Gilneas, and features the ongoing siege of Gilneas by the Forsaken following the Silverpine quest chain and the eradication of all Forsaken land bases by the Alliance in Gilneas.

The unphased version of Gilneas, Ruins of Gilneas, is devoid of any life except for a few critters.


The worgen curse that started from Shadowfang Keep and swept across Gilneas left its people irrevocably transformed. Almost the entire human population has been turned to the beastly worgen, a humbling failure for Genn Greymane in his efforts to keep his people safe. The reaction of the people to this change will likely be greatly varied, and has yet to be revealed. Preliminary dialogue from Cataclysm has revealed that Gilnean mages and healers went to great strides to fight the affliction.

Gilneas has undergone deep changes in the wake of its cursing, and while the people maintain their free will, the impact of the curse remains to be seen.

The forsaken, led by Dark Ranger Thyala, have begun the Invasion of Gilneas.

Future of Gilneas

At BlizzCon 2011, during the World of Warcraft: Lore and Story Q&A, in response to a question from Red Shirt Guy, Dave Kosak stated the following in regards to the future of Gilneas:

Red Shirt Guy: In Gilneas, the questlines end with the strong feeling of to be continued and that we're going back, and the only other zone in the game that had that same type of ending was Hyjal, and we did go back to Hyjal two patches later, so does that mean we're also going back to Gilneas?

Dave Kosak: Two patches later, maybe? ...Maybe, back to Gilneas? I don't know. You know, the- the, uh, Gilneans have such cool architecture and such a cool vibe to it, and it's really hard just because of the nature of their story, we can't really incorporate that outside in the rest of the world, it's hard to do. So it'd be fun to go back to Gilneas and really kind of reclaim that. I don't think it's on the cards right away, but its a really, we just love the feel of that area and everything that they're about.

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

Lord Genn Greymane, a brawny warrior who is in his seventies, has ruled Gilneas for decades. Gilneas had not allowed anyone in or out, and no one knew what has been transpiring there since the end of the Second War.[27]

Like their leader, Gilneas' people are burly and gruff. Extremely isolationist, they supported the Greymane Wall's construction. They speak common, and have their faith in the Holy Light. Their resources are unknown.[27]

Gilneas is a cold, rainy place, mainly because The Great Sea surrounds the peninsula on three sides, making sea storms common. High cliffs on the shores protect Gilneas from sailors’ curious eyes. The Greymane Wall is the only evident site in Gilneas.[7][27]

In Lands of Conflict it is stated that Genn Greymane never actually supported the Lordaeron Alliance in the Second War.[27] This was later retconned in the story Lord of His Pack, where Greymane agrees to allow soldiers under Lord Godfrey to aid the Alliance, along with mentioning the economic strains imposed on Gilneas by the other nations.

People and culture

Two human Gilneans in conversation.

A person from Gilneas is referred to as Gilnean. Like most humans, they typically revere the Holy Light, though some formerly reclusive ruralists[2] practice a form of druidism. Such people were known as harvest-witches by the majority of the population.

This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

Their clothing, weapons, architecture and accents have great Victorian connotations, which along with the cold and rainy weather of the peninsula, give the feeling of being in nineteenth century London.

The wolf appears to be a common symbol of Gilneas, one that adorns almost everything in the country. Innumerable wolf tails hang inside homes and taverns, and a wolf skull adorns its coat-of-arms. However, unlike Silverpine Forest to their north, there are no wolves in Gilneas proper. Having been walled off from the rest of Lordaeron it is possible that wolves have been hunted to extinction (as happened in 17th century Britain), as Gilneas seems to be currently home to both sheep husbandry and a hunting culture. Proving themselves the superior predator, Gilneans may have adopted the wolf to represent themselves.

Notable leaders

Main article: Nobles of Gilneas
History Kingdom of Gilneas Fall of Gilneas
Ruler Archibald Greymane Genn Greymane


Gilneas is a large peninsula that juts into the sea south of the western regions of Lordaeron. Silverpine Forest lies to the north-east and Kul Tiras and Crestfall await across the sea to the south and Tol'Barad stands to the east. Because of its nearness, Zul'Dare is considered part of Gilneas.


The zones of Duskwood, Felwood, Stonetalon Mountains, Blasted Lands, and Shadowfang Keep offer some quests for gaining reputation with Gilneas.

The Gilneas Quartermaster is Lord Candren [37.0, 47.8], located in the Temple Gardens of Darnassus beside the Darnassus flight point. At all reputation levels he sells the  [Gilneas Tabard], which can be used to champion Gilneas.

Reputation can also be gained by competing in the Argent Tournament (requires level 80) or by turning in Gilneas Writ of Commendations from the Molten Front (requires level 85).

Exalted with Gilneas is one of the requirements for achieving the title of Alliance Ambassador.


At revered reputation, Lord Candren sells a unique 16-slot bag.

At exalted reputation, Lord Candren sells level 35 cloaks, and non-Gilnean Alliance races are able to purchase and ride IconSmall Horse.gifGilneas Mountain Horses (Gilneans can ride Gilneas Mountain Horses regardless of faction reputation). Gilneas Mountain Horses are bought from Astrid Langstrump[48.6, 22.2] outside the Howling Oak in Darnassus. A brown horse is available starting at level 20, with a black horse available at level 40.

Item Cost Type
Revered  [Gilnean Satchel] 10s Bag
Exalted  [Mantle of Gilneas] 1g 90s 31c Cloak
 [Cape of Gilneas] 1g 89s 60c Cloak
 [Shroud of Gilneas] 1g 88s 86c Cloak
(for non-Gilnean members of the Alliance)
 [Mountain Horse] 1g Mount
 [Swift Mountain Horse] 10g Mount

Patch changes

  • Cataclysm Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Two horses added to the rewards list to equalize faction mounts between Alliance and Horde.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added.


External links