None (formerly Silvermoon City)
The high elves, or quel'dorei ("children of noble birth" in Darnassian and "high elves" in Thalassian), are a race descended from the Highborne night elves who left Kalimdor and settled in the Eastern Kingdoms, founding Quel'Thalas.
The high elves were once a significant force on the continent, but in recent times their numbers have been dramatically reduced: almost 90% of their population was slaughtered during the Third War. Following this, 90% of the surviving high elves changed their name to "blood elves" or sin'dorei (children of the blood in Thalassian) in remembrance of their fallen brethren, and no longer consider themselves high elven.
The high elves as a whole were relatively secluded from the younger races for several millennia, though both the Troll Wars and the Second War saw relations established with them: with King Thoradin of the Kingdom of Arathor, and the Alliance of Lordaeron respectively. The high elves' reluctant allegiance to the latter proved short-lived, as the high elven king Anasterian Sunstrider quickly grew apathetic to the plight of his allies, and officially seceded his nation. Subsequently, the high elven kingdom was brought to the brink of annihilation when Prince Arthas Menethil invaded the country, and slew almost 90% of the high elves. Rallied by Lor'themar Theron, second-in-command of the fallen Sylvanas Windrunner, the high elves rejoined with Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, and were proclaimed the blood elves, in honor of their perished brethren. The blood elves seek to unite and restore their people to the glory they enjoyed at the height of high elf civilization, and have retaken much of their land from the Scourge.
However, a few high elves did not become blood elves. When Quel'Thalas left the Alliance, some high elves chose to remain with their allies over their kingdom, and to this day still support the Alliance. Some high elves were exiled from Quel'Thalas after the Third War. Other high elf remnants have chosen to rejoin the Alliance in recent years, arriving to a cold reception. Modern high elves are a rare sight, and are commonly mistaken for blood elves. In consequence, there are so few high elves left on Azeroth today that they cannot be considered a race in anything other than the biological sense. High elves did not gather in any significant numbers, nor did they act as a coordinated whole. They are a very small group of individuals scattered all over the world. As such, they do not have common opinions or goals. Indeed, modern high elves cannot even truly be said to have a culture—only a past filled with glory and regret.
As a people, the high elves are all but extinct: the remnants of the remnants of a fallen race. Though without any official leader, Vereesa Windrunner (the younger sister of both Sylvanas and Alleria) leads one of the few organized high elf collaborations, the Silver Covenant, as its self-styled Ranger General. Auric Sunchaser, a captain of the remnants of Alleria's ranger cadre found in Terokkar Forest, serves as the high elven representative at the restored Sunwell in modern Quel'Thalas.
- 1 History
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Population
- 4 Effects of magical withdrawal
- 5 Notable high elves
- 6 High elven relations
- 7 In the RPG
- 8 Notes
- 9 See also
- 10 References
Exile of the Highborne
When the night elves adopted druidism, they outlawed the practice of arcane magic. The use of its dangerous powers was punishable by death. However, many Highborne loyalists of Queen Azshara survived the Sundering and grew restless. They suffered from magical withdrawal, and 7,300 years before the invasion of the Horde through the Dark Portal, they spoke against Malfurion Stormrage and the Druids.
Dath'Remar Sunstrider, the leader of this movement, declared the druids cowards for refusing to wield the arcane. Malfurion and the druids warned the Highborne that any use of magic would be punishable by death. Yet, in an attempt to protest the druid’s law, Dath'Remar and his followers unleashed a terrible magical storm upon Ashenvale.
The druids could not bring themselves to put so many of their kin to death, so they decided to exile the reckless Highborne from their lands. Sunstrider and his followers boarded a number of specially crafted ships and set sail upon the seas. By now the Highborne were glad to be rid of their conservative cousins and free to practice the arcane with impunity.
None knew what lay beyond the Maelstrom, but they eventually found the Eastern Kingdoms and formed their own magical realm. They abandoned the concepts of Elune and nocturnal activity, embracing the sun instead. They would soon become known as the high elves.
Rise of Quel’Thalas
Sunstrider led the high elven fleets across the world for many long years. Their goal was to find places of considerable ley power for them to build their new homeland. After landing on the Lordaeron continent, they moved inland and formed a settlement in the Tirisfal Glades. After a few years, however, many were driven insane. The belief at the time was that something evil slept beneath the Glades, so the high elves abandoned the region and moved northwards.
Around this time, they had become completely severed from the life-giving energy of the Well of Eternity. This meant that they were vulnerable to the elements and had not received immortality from Nozdormu and the World Tree. They had shrunk in height and their skin had become a peach hue similar to most dwarves and humans. The high elves soon discovered primitive humans, but associated little with them. The forest trolls of Zul'Aman, under the Amani Empire, posed the greater threat to their society. The elves soon grew to hate the forest trolls and they fought each other whenever they met.
After many more years, the high elves discovered a land in the northern forests which suited them, and founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas. Unfortunately, they would learn that Quel’Thalas was founded on a sacred and ancient troll city. The trolls began to attack the elven settlements en masse in retaliation. Although the Amani outnumbered them ten to one, the elves utilized magic to its fullest effect and defeated the trolls.
Some elves, wary of the kaldorei's warnings, created a protective barrier around Quel’Thalas which allowed them to continue their magic without attracting the Burning Legion’s attention. To do this, they employed a series of monolithic Runestones.
Soon, Quel’Thalas became a shining monument to high elven prowess. It was crafted in the same style as the halls of Kalimdor, with the addition of integrated magic and a brighter colour scheme. Although they did not worship it, a great respect was maintained for nature. The high elves were careful to interweave their cities and architecture with their natural surroundings, creating a truly beautiful and tranquil land.
To sate their hunger for great magical power, the high elves created the Sunwell. It became the source of their power as the Well of Eternity had been in Kalimdor, although the Sunwell was much weaker, and the elves were forewarned of the dangers. As the high elves became more powerful, they cast an enchantment on the forests that bathed Quel'Thalas in eternal springtime, in defiance of the kingdom's location on the extreme north of the continent. From that point on, all high elves had access to the Sunwell's powers from anywhere on Azeroth. Over time, the high elves came to regard the Sunwell's waters as holy. Magic became part of their genes centuries before, but the Sunwell's unique energies became part of them acutely.
New world diplomacy
For nearly four thousand years, the high elves remained relatively at peace. But while the elves established their nation, the Amani plotted their next assault. 2,800 years before the First War, they unleashed it upon the high elves. The Troll Wars ignited. Suffering loss after loss, the high elves turned to the humans of Arathor for support. The two formed a military alliance in exchange for the instruction of 100 humans in arcane magic. Together, they crushed the Amani; an empire that had endured for more than twenty thousand years. Humans and high elves have cultivated this alliance ever since.
The high elves also established relations with the Ironforge Dwarves to the far south, when the human nations of Gilneas and Alterac encountered them more than a thousand years later. The two races had no special bond and tended to distrust one another. When allied, it was through their common ties to the humans.
Yet 230 years before the First War, the dwarven race split into three factions. The Wildhammers desired to open up trade with the high elves, considered taboo at the time, and would serve as one of the catalysts for their war. When it ended, the clan became close allies to the high elves. The two races were united through a mutual appreciation for nature and other cultural similarities. They would soon become each other's closest friends within the Alliance. However, the same friendship mentioned in the RPG book is not mentioned in the Tides of Darkness novel, therefore this close relationship should be taken as non-canon. However, the Warcraft II Manual directly states that the high elves are formal allies with the Wildhammer dwarves, and in Blood of the Highborne the high elves made an (unsuccessful) attempt to evacuate many of their children to the safety of Wildhammer territory.
Fall of Quel'Thalas
Peace in Quel'Thalas continued for almost three thousand years until the Second War. The orcish Horde came through a portal from the world of Draenor at the advent of the First War, and defeated the Kingdom of Stormwind. They then brought ogres into Azeroth, and allied with the goblins and forest trolls, turning their sights on the north. The high elves only helped out on a small level in the First War. After the humans were defeated and fled north through Khaz Modan, the dwarves sent emissaries to meet with the high elves and humans to discuss the threat of the Horde.
When the humans proposed an Alliance of their seven nations, the Wildhammer and Ironforge dwarves, the gnomes, and the high elves, the elves were honour-bound to join it due to their ancestral connection with Arathi, of whom Anduin Lothar was the last pure-blooded scion. Under Anasterian Sunstrider, they were the least enthusiastic of the alliance and put forth only a token army.
However, the orcs' northern campaign, in which the trolls were meant to take back their ancestral homes from the high elves, managed to burn down the borderlands of Quel’Thalas, slaughtering many high elves in the process, and corrupting the Runestone at Caer Darrow. This enraged Silvermoon, which promptly pledged its full support to the war. The elves provided many archers, rangers and destroyers to the conflict, and even craftsmen for the lumber mills of the Alliance. The Horde eventually splintered under internal political pressure, and the Alliance charged southwards to crush it. The Second War was won. In its aftermath, relations between the humans and the elves began to sour. The elves, who had been reluctant members of the Alliance in the first place, retained little interest or investment in its affairs, such as upkeeping the internment camps and defending Nethergarde. Despite this, Alleria Windrunner and her rangers accompanied the Alliance Expedition through the Dark Portal, to avenge Quel'Thalas and keep it safe from future attacks.
Following the war, some high elves blamed the humans' poor leadership for the burning of their forests. King Terenas of Lordaeron reminded them that nothing of Quel'Thalas would have remained if not for the hundreds of humans that gave their lives to defend it, but nevertheless, the high elves largely abandoned the Alliance, and retreated to their kingdom. Vereesa Windrunner advocated continued support to the Alliance after the Grim Batol incident, but Anasterian was not swayed.
It should be noted that although the high elves retreated from the Alliance, a number of them remained in Dalaran and were loyal to the Alliance through the Kirin Tor. Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider was among them. Furthermore, despite the high elves' official departure from the Alliance of Lordaeron, some elves still remain true to their former human and dwarven allies. The altruistic priests of Quel'Thalas refused to abandon their roles as healers and agreed to remain in Lordaeron despite the edicts from their reclusive masters in Silvermoon. The high elven priests use their Light-given powers to heal the wounded and bolster the spirits of Lordaeron's fighting elite. These high elven priests joined with Prince Arthas in investigating the plague with the goal of healing the land of its strange curse.
Years later, the Scourge came forth. Its commander, Arthas Menethil, obliterated the leading nation of Lordaeron and then turned their sights on Quel’Thalas. Their goal was to revive a human man named Kel'Thuzad, who could summon the demon-lord Archimonde into Azeroth. To do this, they required a source of considerable ley magic, and chose the Sunwell.
The high elves had remained at peace since the Second War, with even their ever-present Amani enemies having grown less bold. Yet while the elves were safe within their enchanted kingdom from the woes befalling Lordaeron, they were also secluded and left unprepared for what was to come. Rumors of Arthas's patricide were beginning to spread, but the elves did not connect this to the plagued grain epidemic, and only shortly after did the undead Scourge arrive at Quel'Thalas. The high elves faced the Scourge in battle regardless. This time, there would be no human army to rescue them. The high elven army, lead by the Ranger General Sylvanas Windrunner, made counter attacks every time the scourge advanced. Despite their tactics and magic the elves were pushed back from the outer, to inner elf gates. Finally Arthas and his army, as well as new banshees, including Sylvanas, advanced on Silvermoon and crushed the defenders. Anasterian himself was killed by the Scourge, along with his ruling council and Grand Magister Belo'vir.
The Sunwell was used to resurrect Kel'Thuzad, and fouled with evil in the process. The Scourge then set about to commit genocide on a massive scale. Only about ten percent of the entire race survived. Some of them were lucky enough to be away from their home at the time (many were housed at Dalaran and others had already fled with Jaina), but the majority of them survived only by defending themselves or hiding.
Soon, Dalaran, with the second greatest concentration of high elves, was destroyed as well. Dalaran's defeat was swift and complete, and most of the high elves there died under Archimonde's attacks. Other elves died afterward from bandits that came to sift through the wreckage.
Splintering of the elves
- Main article: Blood elf
The surviving elves were somewhat scattered, until Kael'thas Sunstrider, son of the deceased Anasterian, began to organize them by reclaiming every elf he could find and joining with Lor'themar Theron, who had done the same in Quel'Thalas. Under Kael's leadership, they took the name blood elves, to remember the death of their king and brethren. About 90% of all surviving high elves became blood elves.
The blood elves fought to reclaim a small portion of Silvermoon, but most of the city and their land in general was haunted and overrun by lingering undead, while their buildings remained in ruins and vengeful Amani trolls began striking out again. Around 15% of the newly-named sin'dorei, led by Kael'thas himself, started traveling throughout the land in order to find more surviving elves, and to find a source of magic to replace the Sunwell. The elves were suffering from great withdrawals after being cut off the Sunwell because of its destruction. Due to the unreasonable orders of the Alliance leader Garithos, Kael's people were forced to ally themselves with the Naga and fled to Outland. They soon joined Illidan there, and he in turn taught them how to sate their hunger for magic by feeding on alternative sources (having himself suffered the same withdrawal for thousands of years). Kael's blood elves began to hunt and use demons in order to steal their powers, although Kael's alliance with Illidan (and worse, his new reliance on fel magic) was kept a secret from most of his brethren back home.
Most of the remaining "high" elves had chosen to remain with the Alliance following the Second War, and did not return to their kingdom following the Third. When Grand Magister Rommath returned to Quel'Thalas to teach them Kael's magic siphoning ways, some elves were disgusted by the practice — likening it to vampiric behavior — and opposed its use. Unable to lead a divided nation, Regent Lord Lor'themar exiled the dissenters from the kingdom, the exiles finding residence in Quel'Lithien.
The blood elves who did not travel with Kael'thas to Outland remained behind in Quel'Thalas, and reclaimed much of their land from the Scourge. They eventually allied themselves with the Horde through their connections to the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, now leader of the Forsaken. Although the blood elves harbor very little trust for the Horde, no one else was willing to fight for Quel'Thalas at all. Their relationship with their ancestor race the night elves is not flourishing, but they are not dire enemies either, as distance between their locations has meant less contact between each other and fewer situations to arise that would cause fighting.
A few high elves have chosen to join the Alliance in recent years, but the Alliance as a whole remains somewhat suspicious of high elves to this day. The high elves' secession from the Alliance during the Second War left bitter memories. Furthermore, the night elves, who became part of the Alliance during the Third War, saw it as their duty to warn their new allies against the high elves. The Highborne's part in bringing about the War of the Ancients figured heavily in the night elves' retelling of high elf history.
A small unit of high elven rangers under the command of Ranger Captain Fellari Swiftarrow fought together with the zealous Scarlet Crusade against the undead for a while, though they were lost in battle. A large statue in honor of the capable elven leader was erected in the Scarlet Monastery.
Deep within the Hinterlands, the high elves of the Quel'Danil Lodge have their sights set on forming diplomatic alliances with other members of the Alliance.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
The high elves are in a state of diaspora. Most reside in human cities like Stormwind, Theramore, or Dalaran. Others live in seclusion in the wild forests, often in hunting lodges such as Farstrider Lodge.
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
With the reopening of the dark portal, the remnants of the Alliance Expedition's high elven ranger cadre were reconnected with Azeroth. After learning of the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas and their brethren's allegiance to Kael'thas Sunstrider, many of the survivors chose to remain in Outland. High elves are currently stationed at Allerian Stronghold and they have also taken up refuge in Shattrath City.
Some time before the War against the Lich King, Ranger Lord Renthar Hawkspear, leader of the Quel'Lithien Lodge high elves, and High Priestess Aurora Skycaller were approached by the Regent Lord of Quel'Thalas, Lor'themar Theron. Though initially under the impression that Lor'themar had come to apologize on behalf of Prince Kael'thas, Hawkspear is taken aback to learn of the Prince's demise. He asks who will now take the crown, and Lor'themar replies that none remain with a right to it.
Lor'themar references the slightly better state of the Ghostlands, and offers the quel'dorei aid and supplies. Renthar, however, angrily declines his assistance -- and reveals that Lor'themar had banished the quel'dorei of the lodge from Quel'Thalas, as he could not afford to lead a people divided. In addition, Hawkspear speaks of Horde agents who ransacked the lodge and killed several rangers, in the name of the Banshee Queen's champion, Nathanos Blightcaller. He states that by rights he should send Lor'themar's head to Sylvanas, though orders him to leave instead.
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
After the defeat of Kil'jaeden the blood elves took the Sunwell back with the help of the Shattered Sun Offensive, and the high elves were allowed to share the Sunwell. Captain Auric Sunchaser from the Alliance Expedition rangers represents the high elves at the well itself. A number of high elves have been permitted to make pilgrimages to the restored fount of power.
Once Kael'thas Sunstrider was defeated, the blood elves began seeking representation in Dalaran. This led Vereesa Windrunner to form the Silver Covenant, a militant faction of the Kirin Tor, comprising of high elves in the city who oppose the blood elves. The Silver Covenant were also members of the Alliance Vanguard during the Alliance's war against the Scourge. Vas the Unstable was also a high elf member of the renown 7th Legion.
While other high elf communities may have managed to maintain their stocks of dragonhawks like Quel'Danil Lodge has  after the split from Silvermoon as a people, these animals are no longer a viable source for flying mounts. Fortunately though, the elves of the Silver Covenant seem to have won the trust of the companions of their ancient ancestors: the hippogryphs. The intelligent creatures have apparently decided that the high elves are worthy of a partnership, serving as mounts and flight path conveyance from Silver Covenant outposts.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Since the fall of the Lich King, the Wintergrasp battlemasters no longer have a presence in the Alliance cities, having likely returned to Dalaran. With the removal of the portals in the Silver Enclave, class trainers, mostly high elven, have taken their place.
The elves at Quel'Lithien Lodge have taken a turn for the worse, after Ranger Lord Hawkspear discovered a source of seductive energy that mysteriously has turned the elves at the lodge into Wretched. However, the Quel'Danil Lodge elves have fared considerably better, having solidified relations with the draenei and the Wildhammer dwarves.
As part of the Forsaken offensive in all the continent, Quel'Danil lodge came under attack. With the help of adventurers, the Highvale high elves and the draenei settlers were able to repel the invaders. The Highvale documents were also retrieved from the chaos by Alliance adventurers and safely delivered to Anchorite Traska.
Word of a new threat from Zul'Aman has prompted Halduron Brightwing, Vereesa Windrunner and Vol'jin to co-operate, against the wishes of Silvermoon's Regent-Lord. Vereesa has brought with her an entourage of Silver Covenant rangers. While this event may have showcased the cooperation between high and blood elves, their future reunification appears to remain elusive.
High elves were among the casualties in the attack on Theramore Isle. With the involvement of Vol'jin, the Darkspear tribe, and the blood elves in the attack, it is unknown how the event would affect their relationship with these races.
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
After Jaina Proudmoore discovered that Sunreavers helped Garrosh Hellscream steal the by using Dalaran portals to infiltrate Darnassus, Jaina mobilized the Kirin Tor, Alliance forces, and the Silver Covenant to purge the Horde from Dalaran; after Aethas Sunreaver refused to order his people to leave peacefully, Jaina chose to incarcerate him and the other blood elves. Various high-ranking high elves were slain by Horde agents who sought to free the imprisoned Sunreavers and their leader, including Sorin Magehand, Arcanist Rathaella and Mage-Commander Zuros. During the chaos, Grand Magister Rommath notes that, "It unsettles me to have to fight directly with the high elves of the Silver Covenant...but I never tire of slaying Alliance." The Sunreavers that surrendered were imprisoned in the Violet Hold, while those who resisted were put to the sword, thereby leaving the high elves the sole elven population living freely in the city.
Shortly afterwards, the Kirin Tor Offensive, comprising of Silver Covenant high elves and Kirin Tor war mages, is formed by Jaina Proudmoore, intending to seize Thunder Isle and prevent the Sunreaver Onslaught from claiming the powerful artifacts from Emperor Lei Shen.
This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
In World of Warcraft, the high elves closely resemble blood elves appearance-wise (they in fact share the same model, although high elves typically have light colored eyes that vary from light grey to blue to green, and occasionally brown, as opposed to the neon-iridescent green eyes of blood elves; high elf models also have less diversity in skin and hair color), but their voices are more mild-mannered like those of night elves (in the game, they use the same voices as night elves, although unsuitable Darnassian lines such as "Elune'adore", "Ishnu'alah" or "Goddess watch over you", are not used). Lore-wise, as high elves and blood elves are the same race (and the latter holds the majority population), it is not uncommon for high elves to be mistaken for blood elves. Taela Everstride at Allerian Stronghold even says, somewhat bemusedly, "No, don't feel bad. I get that a lot... I'm a high elf, not a blood elf. Don't worry, I won't suck the magic out of you." However, other than greeting voices, both high and blood elves appear to share similar voice emotes in-game, particularly during combat. Before World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, in-game high and blood elves used modified night elf models.
Elves do have several characteristics in common. All three groups have unusually acute senses and are able to see clearly even in low-light conditions. As a general rule, elves are also slim, athletic, and graceful. Furthermore, they all have large pointed ears that tend to be greeted with admiration or mockery by other races.
One similarity between night elves, high elves, and blood elves has only recently come about. The night elves sacrificed their immortality and much of their power at the end of the Third War. Thus, all elves are now mortal and have comparable lifespans that can extend as long as several thousand years.
The high elves of today are 1% of the original high elf population, with the blood elves comprising 9% of it. Since Kael'thas took 15% of the blood elves to Outland (i.e. 1.35% of the original high elf population), and since Kael'thas' army numbered at least 2,000 according to the Excerpts from the Journal of Archmage Vargoth, it follows that the total high elf population is currently at least 1,500 (and at least 150,000 prior to the Third War).
In relation to the playable races, Blizzard has stated that the high elves have a considerably smaller population than even the Gnomeregan Exiles. High elves are a rare sight even in Alliance lands, and are considered a fallen, all but extinct race.
With the destruction of both Theramore and Quel'Lithien (along with the de-canonization of the RPG sourcebooks), the bulk of what remains of the high elf population appears to be bound to the Kirin Tor's Silver Covenant, Outland's Allerian Stronghold, and Hinterlands' Quel'Danil Lodge.
The non-canon roleplaying sourcebooks (see below) gave solid population numbers for most races, and put the total high elf population at around 24,810. This was contested, however, given the disproportionate amount of blood elves this would create (more than the entire Alliance and Horde combined), and further complicated by an errata which, among other tweaks, greatly reduced the total high elf number. Ultimately, the RPG books as a whole were denounced as non-canonical, leaving only the Warcraft Encyclopedia's official percentages, the Excerpts from the Journal of Archmage Vargoth, and Blizzard's own statements as an indication of canonical high elf numbers.
Effects of magical withdrawal
Like blood elves, high elves can use arcane magic. Whether or not they are spellcasters, all high elves suffer acute pangs of withdrawal in the absence of the Sunwell's energies. A few high elves here and there have realized the cause of their distress; others have not. A crucial difference between high elves and blood elves is that no high elves have decided to feed their hunger for arcane magic by draining that magic from alternative sources (during the time when the Sunwell was useless). Without the Sunwell, a high elf might still succumb to that addiction and become one of the blood elves.
On several occasions after the Sunwell's defilement, Kael'thas publicly asserted that his people would die unless they found a new source of magic. Technically the prince was mistaken. According to Azeroth's top priests and medics, the only high elves to perish due to magical withdrawal have been the very old, the very young, and elves who were already in poor health. Such a low rate of attrition might be considered an argument in favor of simply forgoing magic and suffering through the consequences. Indeed, a few high elves are said to have succeeded in taking this route through sheer willpower: they survived the process, however unpleasant. Apparently certain magical artifacts also ameliorate the symptoms of withdrawal and might, if sufficiently powerful, be able to suppress them altogether. This is not to say, however, that withdrawal from magic would leave the high elves unharmed. On the contrary, permanent mental or physical damage is possible.
The high elves in Allerian Stronghold used draenei artifacts containing raw, magical energy to resist the lure of demonic magic. The high elves at Quel'Lithien Lodge found an item of magical energy and succumbed to their addiction, becoming corrupted into wretched.
With the reigniting of the Sunwell, the pangs of the addiction felt are being eased and more high elves are no longer tempted to succumb to their own addiction.
Notable high elves
High elven relations
High elves have traditionally gotten along quite poorly with night elves due to their complicated and turbulent past. As the night elves hold disdain for the arcane-using blood elves, so they hold disdain for their high elf cousins. This argument is questioned, though, by the fact that Tyrande Whisperwind had no problem whatsoever working with the blood elves and Kael'thas Sunstrider when she hunted Illidan Stormrage in the Plaguelands. Kael'thas seemed to feel honoured by the night elves' presence. This one instance of smooth cooperation between the races might be an exception caused by each party's need for survival in Silverpine and Dalaran.
Following the high elves' banishment from Quel'Thalas, several of them chose to rejoin the Alliance, and the night elves were among their greatest critics. While the traditional allies of the Alliance treated the high elves to a cold reception and suspicion due to their secession after the Second War, the night elves took it upon themselves to warn the Alliance (which they, too, were now a part of) against the high elves.
However, since Wrath of the Lich King relations may be thawing. The presence of night elves in the Silver Covenant settlements is a clue to this, and high elves are even allowed inside Darnassus, Arcanist Dulial has even a permanent residence there, and a night elf, Moonbell has been accepted in the ranks of the Silver Covenant.
While they belong to the same race, high elves generally do not get along with their blood elf brethren. This is owed in part to differing allegiances, as most modern high elves remained loyal to the Alliance following the Second War, disobeying royal edicts from their reclusive masters to return home. The blood elves are primarily loyal to their own, and remained in Quel'Thalas, later forming an alliance with the Horde. Other high elves are exiles, having been banished from Quel'Thalas after the return of Grand Magister Rommath from Outland. The teachings of draining arcane magic were deemed as immoral to these elves, who opposed its use. Unwilling to lead a nation divided, the newly-named regent of Quel'Thalas, Lor'themar Theron, chose to exile the dissenters.
Kael'thas's teachings caused some moral contention between the two peoples. By embracing them, the blood elves prioritized their survival, health, and well-being; they believed this strength was needed to see Quel'Thalas restored, as the kingdom had remained a wasteland while the elves were weakened by their addiction. By refusing, the high elves prioritized their pride and personal ethics, even to their own detriment; they believe this was the moral choice.
With the betrayal of Prince Kael'thas and the restoration of the Sunwell, Lor'themar has taken steps to re-establish cordial relations between the blood and high elves. However, these efforts have varied in success. Aethas Sunreaver, Halduron Brightwing and Tae'thelan Bloodwatcher have also expressed an interest in mending relations between the children of Silvermoon, though to what extent appears to vary depending on the individual. The high elves, or at least Alleria's high elves, have been granted a representative at the Sunwell in the form of Auric Sunchaser. While he does not consider himself a blood elf, he seems to have little quarrel with the sin'dorei, and also references the "children of Silvermoon".
Although the only physical difference between blood and high elves is their eye color - blood elves have glowing green eyes - this is not an indication of their quarrel. Fel magic played no apparent role in the elves' splintering; in fact, its use was hidden from most of the blood elves. Glowing green eyes is the high elven body's natural reaction to spending time around fel magic, which was used in the Magisters' rebuilding efforts in lieu of the destroyed Sunwell's power. Like the orcs, any high elf who spends enough time around fel magic will acquire glowing green eyes.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
With a new threat emerging in Zul'Aman, Silvermoon Ranger-General Halduron Brightwing has called on the assistance of Vereesa Windrunner and her entourage of Silver Covenant rangers, as many of Halduron's Farstriders are away on duty. Lor'themar sent a messenger to demand to know why Vereesa is in blood elf territory, though Halduron contested this. He, Vereesa and Vol'jin joined forces to battle the Zandalari. This event appears to indicate a grudge between Lor'themar and Vereesa, given the regent lord's otherwise tolerant attitude towards the quel'dorei.
When Jaina Proudmoore called for aid to defend Theramore Isle against an overwhelming attack by the Horde, Vereesa came to help. Vereesa took a scouting party west into Dustwallow Marsh to look for Thalen Songweaver, in concert with Shandris Feathermoon and her sentinels searching the north road. Both women worked well together, without any hints of reluctance or discrimination.
This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.
While relations with the night elves seem to have improved, this does not seem to be the case with blood elves. Tensions have reignited since the destruction of Theramore at the hands of a mana bomb created by the Sunreaver Thalen Songweaver, which cost the lives of the high elves that had settled in the port city and Rhonin, Vereesa's husband. As such, the Silver Covenant aided the Kirin Tor and the Alliance in purging the Sunreavers from Dalaran, enforcing Jaina's orders.
It is implied that the high elves had a positive relationship with the Wildhammer dwarves. During the Scourge invasion, the high elves planned to send their children to seek refuge with the dwarves in the Hinterlands; this was despite the elves having already left the Alliance. Wildhammers and high elves shared much in common in the past, including a love of nature and hatred of evil.
Humans and high elves have a long history. They fought the overwhelming Amani Empire together in the Troll Wars, the monstrous Orcish Horde in the Second war and horrifying nightmares of the Burning Legion and Scourge in the Third War. The high elven nation's conduct at the end of the Second War led to bitterness and resentment toward the elves, but humans are also amongst the few races to accept the high elves into their cities; they can currently be seen occupying the human city of Stormwind, and Theramore before its fall. There are many high elves in the Theramore military. Of the human kingdoms, the high elves have the closest relationship with the magocrats of the Kirin Tor, as elves have been allies and productive members of the Kirin Tor for over 2,000 years. The high elf prince Kael'thas Sunstrider even served on its ruling council, and it was not uncommon for high elf mages to study, serve, and even live in Dalaran in addition to Quel'Thalas. Grand Magister Rommath spent much of his life in Dalaran as a high elf, and Vereesa Windrunner was married to its leader. The Kirin Tor have even granted the high elves a safe haven in Dalaran after their exile from Quel'Thalas, and Dalaran serves as a home for the Silver Covenant, the most prominent group of modern high elves.
The high elves were, at best, reluctant members of the original human-centric Alliance of Lordaeron, and their partnership was a cold and distant one. The high elven king and council were particularly uneager allies, caring little for the world outside Quel'Thalas and only agreeing to join the Alliance because of a pact made long ago to the line of King Thoradin; and even so, the high elves seceded soon after that pact was fulfilled. After officially departing from the Alliance, the high elves shut themselves off in their enchanted kingdom, and the few who remained with the Alliance did so against the orders of their reclusive masters in Silvermoon.
Although physically and culturally disparate, gnomes share the elves' natural affinity to magic, and it is known that gnomes and high elves worked together in Dalaran before its fall, particularly within the Council of Tirisfal.
Apart from the tauren, with whom the Highborne had had some ancient historical contact, high elves loathe the majority of the Horde's races, having fought against trolls, orcs, and undead in recent wars. The recent entry of the blood elves into the Horde has likely made relations worse.
The high/blood elves have some history with the Red Dragonflight, most of whom prefer to transform into elves (specifically sin'dorei) when assuming a mortal form. It was the Reds who gifted Quel'Delar to the high elves (Alexstrasza personally handed it to Anasterian), and her consort Korialstrasz maintained an interest in the elves' affairs, arriving only narrowly too late to save the Sunwell from Arthas.
In the RPG
The ancient origin of the high elves is a legacy of tragedy and conflict, a series of events that has profoundly affected the development of the quel'dorei. The high elves are a stark contrast to their nocturnal cousins, the night elves (or kaldorei). Embracing the light of the sun and forsaking the night, the high elves are the descendants of the very elves who served Queen Azshara in the time of the Well of Eternity. The kaldorei regard the high elven penchant for using arcane magic as careless, akin to a foolish child playing with fire. The schism that separates the Highborne elves and the night elves is rather ancient, one so ancient that no amount of diplomacy or offerings of peace can soothe the scars of history. The high elves, however, have had generations separating them from the night elves, and no longer care for the past. Problems between the two races are usually clashes of personality, as neither tries overly hard to interact. The arrogance of the high elves led to the War of the Ancients and ultimately to the downfall of the golden age of elven civilization. Through the reckless use of arcane magic, the high elves allowed darkness to seep into the world and corrupt Azeroth. They use the genetic phenomenon that modern elves face as testament to their views.
Arcane magic is a powerful drug to the high elves, and it can be a lure to a dark and perilous path. Yet too many wield it as if they were doing no harm, and few but the oldest and most sage can recall the true reasons why the use of such magic is a dangerous and potentially damning practice. Regardless of the risks, some high elves press onwards to revel in the euphoria and power that the use of magic brings them. The high elves are a tragic example of a race in decline. Their centuries of arcane practice have led them into an ever-tightening downward spiral. Now there are few true Quel’dorei left. Most have gone with Kael'thas Sunstrider to become the blood elves, and in doing so have allied with the sworn enemies of elvenkind, the naga. Now the scant remaining Quel’dorei are typically those who have embraced the Light and seen past the powers of arcane magic and darkness. Distrusted by almost all of the races, the remaining high elves are pariahs in an age when there is little left for them but a life of mistrust and woe.
Some bands of high elven survivors fled south to the Hinterlands and to the forests of Zul'Aman. Those who stay one step ahead of the trolls survive; those who do not are dead (and probably eaten by the cannibalistic trolls). Scourge patrols, hunting the elven refugees, also stalk through the land.
Non-canonical sources state that the high elven population just a few years prior was approximately 24,810 and the half-elven population was approximately 9,550, not including Theramore, Dalaran, and several less significant cities. Stormwind (pop. 200,000) alone has the most, with a total of 20,000 high elves, and 8,000 half elves.
High elves stand slightly taller than humans do. A high elf is usually a little over 6 feet in height and weighs between 100 to 175 pounds, depending on gender. The elves are slim, with sharp symmetrical features, often an exaggeration of perfect beauty. The high elves are uniformly fair in complexion, with white to flaxen colored hair. Their eyes are incredibly intense in color, seeming to glow with an inner light. While many high elves have blue or green eyes (ex. Alleria), violet and red are not unheard of. The structure of high elven eyes (based on artwork) shows that they are generally like humans with a pupil and iris surrounded by "white", but tend to be able to see much farther than humans are capable. The life span of high elves is several hundred years. They reach adulthood at 110 years, a "venerable" age at roughly 350 years, and most dying of old age at approximately 363 years. A few may reach "venerable" age at roughly 350 years with maximum lifespan between 354 and 390 years, and even fewer may live as long as two thousand years. Most high elves (especially those of the Alliance) do not wear red or black for fear of being mistaken as blood elves. They have shorter ears and much smaller, lighter bodies than night elves. As well, their ears usually point upwards whereas those of the night elves do not.
High elves have white, red, orange brown, black, and blonde colored hair and fair skin, most have brilliantly intense sapphire coloured eyes that glow (at least in World of Warcraft). In World of Warcraft high elves have blue, sapphire glowing eyes (but have more variation according to lore, including green eyes). The blood elves typically have only green, emerald glowing eyes to show their magic addiction and their newly acquired addiction to fel magic.
Blood elves and high elves are for the most part the same race in terms of underlying physical biology. However in WoW and Monster Guide blood elves have glowing green eyes and their hair and skin are much paler or otherwise unnaturally coloured, due to the absorption of fel energies during the period the Sunwell was lost. For the most part however, they are considered separate due to cultural differences more so than because of physical ones.
The years of conflict between the night elves and the high elves number so many that they make the Alliance and Horde conflict look like children arguing over a toy. When the high elves lost their immortality, they eventually forgot their brethren as generations lived and died, creating legends of histories. The night elves remembered the damage the highborne brought to the world, and view their descendents as time bombs. When the high elves encountered the night elves, they realized the legends were true and began to resent the fact that the night elves had access to so much power that they refused to use — not to mention the whole matter of exile. Many plot to retake the magically imbued forests for themselves, regardless of the fact that both races belong to the Alliance.
The path by which Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider has chosen to lead the avenging blood elves is one the high elves view with utter disgust and resentment. They strive for disassociation with the blood elves, such as by hiding their magical addictions and avoiding wearing black and red.
Auberdine was one of the few night elf settlements that would tolerate a high elf's presence. They allowed high elves since after the Third War, and so it was no surprise that Fiora Longears could be seen on the pier in Auberdine, asking for adventurers to lend assistance to the night elves.
With the Quel'Danil Lodge nearby the dwarven keep of Wildhammer in the Hinterlands, it can be assumed that the high elves have maintained their alliance with the gryphon riding dwarves since the Second war. Wildhammer share the high elves respect for the wilds and nature, and carry a long history of good relations and trust.
The high elves of Theramore are perhaps the most isolated. Having left mostly before the destruction of Dalaran and Quel'Thalas, they have formed a significant community in the city. They spend a great deal of time hunting the few undead forces in Kalimdor. Their exposure to the night elves has caused them to develop a great interest in Moonwells, which they seek to find an alternative solution to their addiction. Even the presence of a hidden Moonwell 50 feet away is enough to replenish their mystical energies and makes meditation unnecessary.
Theramore's high elves also have another interest in the continent. They have discussed privately the creation of their own realm on Kalimdor. The northern forests, full of moonwells and lush greenery are most attractive, but their control by the night elves is overly frustrating. High elven expeditions, claiming to be tracking undead, often search for suitable sites.
The destruction of the Sunwell has forced the high elves into decline, causing them to doubt the future of their once-proud race and drawing animosity toward them from other races who feel that the high elves have betrayed the Alliance. Most of the high elves have placed themselves under a self-imposed exile, ashamed of the damage that they have wrought upon the world of Lordaeron with their abuse of arcane magic.
While humans still accept the high elves because of the aid that both races provided each other during the most recent attacks of the Burning Legion, reinforcing the same bond that they had in both the Troll Wars and the Second War, many of the other races will only deal with the high elves if absolutely necessary. This is especially true after the acts of Kael’thas Sunstrider. The night elves in particular do not care for the company of high elves (as they have personal memories of the war that spawned them) and in some cases can be openly hostile toward their sun-blessed brethren. The passing of time may heal these wounds, but the use of arcane magic will always draw a rift between these two breeds of elf.
It would not quite be correct to say that the high elves rejoined the Alliance. To many high elves, they never left. Nevertheless, they are often aloof and distant from their allies. They keep to themselves and enjoy wandering forests alone or in small groups. They also maintain the Quel'Danil Lodge, an outpost in the Hinterlands which pursues their diplomatic interests and Quel'Lithien in the Eastern Plaguelands near the gateway to ruined Quel'Thalas.
High elves in Stormwind copy the humans' style of long-sleeved tunics, billowy trousers and leather boots. Many High elves avoid wearing red clothing, as to dissociate themselves from blood elves. They have also set aside a day of mourning for high elves to remember the destruction of Dalaran with their human friends.
High elves were once strong worshipers of the Holy Light, but this has died down as many have rejected it in favour of arcane magic. Although after the invasion of the Scourge and the break off from the blood elves, many have looked to the Light, they do so loosely and are much less devout than humanity. High elven Priests are common. The high elves have made significant contributions to this evolving religion, which originated from human cults. Even a few high elves have become paladins, without the help of magic like the blood elves. High elves have also developed advanced destroyer ships, and used them in the Second War.
High elves who embrace the path of religion take on the mantle of the Holy Light, sharing in the same faith as dwarves and humans. While this philosophy does not penetrate deeply into high elven society, those who do follow the path of the Holy Light are much more approachable than most. Many also take on a druid-like philosophy regarding the world and nature. The difference being that the high/blood elves view magic as being an integral part of the universe, as it was created by the Titans and is as natural as nature itself; the Well of Eternity formed naturally on Azeroth and created the elves in the first place.
High elves are proficient in archery, divine and arcane magic, as well as swordsmanship. They use guard towers for defense, and their armies take advantage of their natural strengths and typically serve supporting roles when working with other races. The high elves had a special affinity with dragonhawks before the Scourge attacked Quel'Thalas. The dragonhawks would often serve as flying mounts for the elves, though after the Third War they seem to have developed a preference for hippogryphs instead.
According to The Old Wizard's Almanac, a book comparing the magic-wielding races of Azeroth that occasionally spawns in Dalaran: "The magic of the high elves is extremely powerful. High elves possess a magical acumen that rivals that of any - even the humans. Some of the greatest heroes in the Battle of Mount Hyjal were the High Elf Priests."
All high elves, regardless of class, status or upbringing, are addicted to magic, and all have some small proficiency in it. Unlike blood elves who succumb to it, high elves actively fight their addiction and are required to meditate at least an hour every day to maintain personal control. The high elves are not proud of this addiction, and take pains to keep it a secret. Being close to Moon Wells will satiate the addiction, as will the use of certain magical items, though it should be noted Night Elves do their best to keep high elves away from the Well and magical objects that provide the same result are rare.
If a high elf resorts to feeding off something else to sate the addiction, then they cross the line from high elf to blood elf. Contrary to popular belief, magical addiction is not fatal in and of itself (the only elves who have actually died from withdrawal were either elderly, very young, or already ill). Some have found a way to block the symptoms of withdrawal by the use of Sunwell Rings.
The past is a burden to the high elves, yet they maintain naming rituals that are millennia old. Many of the names of elven priests and heroes have become the names used for elves in modern times. The high elves share a connection with the sun that is quite prevalent in their choice of family names.
- Male Names: Mariel, Athaniar, Anandor, Tharama, Viridiel, Malanior.
- Female Names: Anarial, Freja, Driana, Coria, Alanassori, Melanion, Azshara.
- Family Names: Boughstrider, Dawnblade, Lightbringer, Morningray, Suntreader.
- Undead high elves who died before the blood elves split from the high elves seem to generally go to the Horde, as seen with Sylvanas Windrunner, the Dark Rangers, and Koltira Deathweaver.
- High Elves only had a minor appearance in the original World of Warcraft. A small faction - Silvermoon Remnant, was planed to be implemented but never made it into the Live Servers. It is most likely this faction that inspired the Silver Covenant.
- High elves were widely speculated to have been a playable race choice for World of Warcraft, though Caydiem mentioned in a Blizzard post why this never occurred - the total high elf population being incredibly low. The Horde would receive their biological equivalent, the blood elves, around this time. More recently, Blizzard has acknowledged player interest in high elves as a "sub race" of sorts, along with mag'har orcs, dark iron dwarves, and other minor races.
- In many ways, high elves are comparable to mag'har orcs. The vast majority of their people–orcs and blood elves–have been exposed to some degree of fel magic, whose effect has altered the skin of the orcs and the eyes of the elves. Ironically, both the mag'har and the quel'dorei represent the minority of their races.
- According to Vereesa, high elves seldom give birth and very rarely give birth to twins.
- The high elves were originally depicted as much closer to nature, with Warcraft II mentioning elven druids as well as the elves joining the Alliance of Lordaeron partly because the Old Horde intended to defile the very lands of Lordaeron.
- In early builds of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos the high elves were much more involved in the military of the Alliance of Lordaeron, deploying rangers as hero units, as well as dragonhawk riders and mage-priests.
- Most young high elves had a 'I wanna be a Farstrider' phase, which they had left by the time they were taken as apprentices. Then it was the 'I'm going to be a magister' stage.
- Origin of the races
- The Burning Crusade Townhall/History of the Blood Elves
- High elf magic
- Blood elf
- Priest (Warcraft III)
- Sorceress (Warcraft III)
- Elven Defenders
- Elven Ranger Corps
- ^ Holds the title of "High Elf Representative" while at the Sunwell during the Quel'Delar quest chain. (link)
- ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m The Warcraft Encyclopedia: High Elves
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Darnassian
- ^ a b Races of World of Warcraft - Blood Elf
- ^ a b c d e Ultimate Visual Guide, pg 69
- ^ a b c d e f The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Blood Elves
- ^ a b c d e Blood of the Highborne
- ^ a b c In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ Iridi and Vereesa, Night of the Dragon
- ^ Taela Everstride gossip text
- ^ Night of the Dragon, pg 7
- ^ a b The Founding of Quel'Thalas
- ^ War of the Three Hammers
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 67
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 99
- ^ Warcraft II manual, Gryphon Riders: "They have allied themselves only with the Elves of Quel'thalas"
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 129
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, pg 60
- ^ Beyond the Dark Portal, Chapter 14
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos - manual, 10
- ^ Ravages of the Plague
- ^ In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ Theloria Shadecloak
- ^ In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ Legends Volume 2, Warrior: Divided
- ^ a b Stormrage, pg. 396
- ^ Tides of Darkness, pg 229
- ^ a b c The Warcraft Encyclopedia: High Elves and Blood Elves
- ^ a b Blizzard lore posts
- ^ Night of the Dragon, pg 105
- ^ Night of the Dragon, pg 7
- ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ^ In the Shadow of the Sun. Aurora: "I had wondered why the pangs of the addiction felt so eased lately. I have not needed... help... to cope."
- ^ Warcraft III manual - Priests & Sorceresses biography
- ^ Sunwell Trilogy - part 3, return of Quel'Thalas
- ^ - Blood Elf version
- ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
- ^ 4:30 Burning Crusade Behind the Scenes DVD
- ^ ,
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
- ^ Priest (Warcraft III) - WC3 manual description
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, 73
- ^ Exile of the High Elves: "Forever after, they would embrace the sun and be known only as the high elves."
- ^ a b c d e World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 36
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 98-99, 115
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 9
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 13
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 52
- ^ a b Tides of Darkness, pg. 117
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 174
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 42
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, pg. 68
- ^ Monster Guide pg. 64
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 12, 123-131
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 132
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 12
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, pg. 68
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 193
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, pg. 14
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 99
- ^ Alliance Player's Guide, pg. 170
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 42-43
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 178
- ^ a b c d e f World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 37
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 77
- ^ Ian Hazzikostas on Sub Races (~7 minute mark)
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. "Two", The Well of Eternity, 30 (ebook). ISBN 978-0-7434-8902-7.
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, Places of Mystery, The Runestone at Caer Darrow
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual, A Brief History of the Fall of Azeroth, The Alliance of Lordaeron
- ^ Ros'eleth