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 in Quel'Thalas was slaughtered during the Third War. Following this, 90% of these survivors 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 enjoyed relative seclusion from the younger races for several millennia, though both the Troll Wars and the Second War saw relations established with them: with King Thoradin Trollbane of the Kingdom of Arathor, and the Alliance of Lordaeron respectively. The high elves' allegiance to the latter proved short-lived, however, as the high elven king Anasterian Sunstrider quickly grew apathetic to the plight of his allies, and officially seceded the 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 its population. 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. Following the conversion of the race from quel'dorei to sin'dorei, a number of elves spoke against the regency of Lor'themar Theron and the methods of Grand Magister Rommath (the siphoning of arcane magic from external sources), and were exiled south to what is now known as the Plaguelands. A few of the high elven remnants have chosen to rejoin the Alliance in recent years, a notion met with mixed reactions courtesy of their secession following the Second War, and the presence of the Alliance's new night elven allies.
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. Prior to Wrath of the Lich King High elves did not gather in any significant numbers, nor did they act as a coordinated whole, although this has changed since the High Elves native to Dalaran formed the Silver Covenant. 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 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 Horde eventually splintered under internal political pressure, and the Alliance charged southwards to crush it. The Second War was won.
In the aftermath, 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. Alleria Windrunner, sister to Sylvanas, and a cadre of her elven rangers remained loyal to Alliance High Command, but they were eventually lost on the other side of the Dark Portal. Her sister Vereesa also advocated continued support to the Alliance after the Grim Batol incident, but Anasterian was not swayed.
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 were still recovering from their grievous injuries at the hands of the Horde, but 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.
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
The surviving elves were somewhat scattered, until Kael'thas Sunstrider, son of the deceased Anasterian, began to organize them by reclaiming every last elf in the Eastern Kingdoms. Under his leadership, they took the name blood elves, to remember the death of their brethren. The blood elves account for the vast majority of the high elves' previous population.
Per Kael'thas' instructions, some blood elves started slowly rebuilding Silvermoon. 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). The blood elves began to hunt and use demons in order to steal their powers, merely using them as tools.
When Grand Magister Rommath returned to Quel'thalas to teach them Kael's magic siphoning ways, some high elves were disgusted by the practice and refused to assimilate into this new culture. Unable to lead a divided nation, Regent Lord Lor'themar exiled those who refused to siphon magic from living creatures from the kingdom.
The blood elves who did not travel with Kael'thas to Outland 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, they also have come to hate much of the Alliance — humans (and to a lesser extent dwarves) in particular. 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.
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. 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.
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 the subsequent birth of the blood elven race, 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.
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.
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 high elves' bane is no more, and they seem to be taking a lesser role in world affairs. 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. However, the Quel'Danil Lodge elves have fared considerably better, having solidified relations with the draenei and the Wildhammer dwarves.
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 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), 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). 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 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 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 are suffering 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). Even today, though, a high elf might still succumb to that addiction and become one of the blood elves. Yet 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.
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. 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.
Notable high elves
- Main article: High elf NPCs
|A former Highborne night elf, this man led his exiled people to what would later become the Eastern Kingdoms, and founded the kingdom of Quel'Thalas.||Deceased||Unknown||High elves|
|The eldest of the Windrunner sisters, she was one of the famed heroes during the Second War.||Missing in action||Unknown||Alliance of Lordaeron|
|High elf that allied with Malygos to sustain her magical powers.||Killable||Coldarra||Malygos|
|Former ranger of Quel'Thalas and the youngest of the Windrunner sisters. She is married to Rhonin and leads the The Silver Covenant.||Alive||Northrend||Alliance of Lordaeron, The Silver Covenant|
|King of Quel'Thalas during the Second War and Third War, he was killed during Arthas's attack on the Sunwell.||Deceased||Unknown||Alliance / Silvermoon|
|One of the many elves to cross the sea to Kalimdor, Darill is a captain of the Theramore soldiers stationed at North Point Tower.||Alive||North Point Tower||Theramore / Alliance|
|A long standing member of the Order of Tirisfal.||Unknown||Unknown||Order of Tirisfal|
|Leader of Quel'Danil Lodge. (Presumed)||Alive||Quel'Danil Lodge||Alliance|
|Leader of Farstrider Lodge.||Alive||Farstrider Lodge||Alliance|
|Formely commander of the Quel'Lithien. Now renamed Death-Hunter Hawkspear.||Killable||Quel'Lithien Lodge||Neutral (Formerly Alliance)|
|Darnassian high elf||Deceased||Stonetalon Mountains||Alliance|
|Co-founder of Allerian Stronghold, lieutenant of Alleria and the Sons of Lothar.||Unknown||Unknown||Alliance Expedition, Sons of Lothar|
|An ambitious elf that traveled from Theramore to Auberdine, she discreetly sends adventurers to aid the night elves in Ashenvale.||Unknown, presumed deceased||Darkshore||Alliance|
|Originally part of the Alliance Expedition, he leads the high elves in the Allerian Stronghold while Alleria is away.||Alive||Allerian Stronghold||Alliance|
|An apprentice of Archmage Vargoth, he is one of the last Dalaran high elves in Outland.||Alive||Netherstorm||Dalaran|
|A scribe who recorded the events of the Second War — from the Alliance point of view — in the "Annals of the Great Alliance".||Unknown||Unknown||Alliance of Lordaeron|
|Former Ranger-General of the elves. Was assassinated and brought back by Arthas to serve the Lich King. Later regained her freedom and is now the leader of the Forsaken.||Undead||Undercity||Forsaken (Formerly high elves, Scourge)|
|High elven resident of Dalaran and member of the Kirin Tor, charged with guarding Aethas Sunreaver during the Purge of Dalaran.||Killable||Violet Citadel, Dalaran||Kirin Tor|
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.
The high elves of today 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 the high 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.
With the betrayal of Prince Kael'thas and the restoration of the Sunwell, Lor'themar himself, weighed down with guilt for his decision to exile the quel'dorei, has taken steps to reestablish cordial relations between the quel and sin'dorei. 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.
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.
High elves have an awkward and somewhat distrustful relationship with the Ironforge dwarves, but they do rely on each other in times of war, and have common ties to the Alliance.Wildhammer dwarves have formed a kinship with high elves. Wildhammers and high elves shared much in common in the past, including a love of nature and hatred of evil.
Humans are amongst the high elves' closest and most reliable allies though many of them would not admit it. Humans and high elves have fought and died alongside each other since ancient times, fighting the overwhelming Amani Empire 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. Humans are also amongst the few races to accept the high elves and they can even currently be seen occupying the human city of Stormwind and Theramore before it's fall. There are many high elves in the Theramore military. The high elves have had to rely on humans more and more and seem to prefer staying with their allies. They especially have a close relationship with the magocrats of the Kirin Tor, as they have been allies and productive members of the Kirin Tor for over 2,000 years. The Kirin Tor have even granted the high elves a safe haven in Dalaran after their exile from Quel'thalas. Many among their ranks however, are wary of the Kirin Tor's choice to trust the Horde loyal Sunreavers and have become more militant to serve as a military deterrent on the occurrence that any of the Sunreavers abuse the Kirin Tor's trust in the name of their Horde allies. The marriage of Vereesa Windrunner and Rhonin have shown the closeness of the relations between Dalaran and the high elves.
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 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.
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. 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.
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 occured - 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.
- High elf NPCs
- Origin of the races
- The Burning Crusade Townhall/History of the Blood Elves
- High elf magic
- Blood elf
- Priest (Warcraft III)
- Sorceress (Warcraft III)
- ^ 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 The Warcraft Encyclopedia: High Elves
- ^ a b c d Races of World of Warcraft - Blood Elf
- ^ a b c In the Shadow of the Sun
- ^ 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
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 98-99, 115
- ^ Theloria Shadecloak
- ^ 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
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Blood Elves
- ^ 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."
- ^ ,
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
- ^ Exile of the High Elves: "Forever after, they would embrace the sun and be known only as the high elves."
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 36
- ^ 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 World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 37
- ^ Blizzard lore posts
- ^ Ian Hazzikostas on Sub Races (~7 minute mark)