- For the comic book mini-series, see Curse of the Worgen.
The worgen curse is a curse that transforms people into the ferocious beasts known as worgen. The curse can be passed to humans and night elves. Those bitten by these unruly beasts contract the virulent curse and will turn into worgen. Drinking the blood of a worgen will also turn the drinker into one. Humans and night elves are so far the only known sentient beings able to contract the curse. Children of those corrupted with the curse are not born with the curse, and have to be infected by being bitten or drinking Worgen blood in order to attain a Worgen form.
The worgen curse reached pandemic levels when it spread into the secluded human kingdom of Gilneas, transforming almost all of its inhabitants into worgen. These particular worgen are known as the Greymane worgen. After the curse rippled through Gilneas, Krennan Aranas managed to concoct a partial cure for it. Upon experimenting it on captured Gilnean feral worgen, it allowed them to regain their sanity (giving them control of their minds), thus allowing them to retain the semblance of their past human selves. The night elves later offered a more effective cure: Drinking from the wells of Tal'doren would allow them to transform back into their humans selves at will.
In worgen form, they are faster and stronger; with better eyesight and an animal instinct inside them that courses through their veins. Due to their ties with the wilds, worgen are able to call upon their bestial fervor to travel great distances. With the aid of all four limbs, a worgen can sprint at speeds rivaling the swiftest horses, nightsabers, and mechanostriders. With the curse comes also an resistance to other curses and diseases and thus immune to the depravity of the Forsaken. The worgen curse also makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren — through the ritual they undergo to maintain balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath. Realizing that the Forsaken will never stop hunting them until they become servants to the undead whether in life or death, the Hillsbrad Refugee decided to take the offer of blood by Darius Crowley. Thus they became worgen, to have the power to have their vengeance, and also so that the val'kyr would not be able to raise them as Forsaken after their death.
The Wolf Cult had been secretly afflicting Gilneans with the worgen curse; bolstering the worgen population and using their numbers to build a feral worgen army that would be used to launch an attack on Gilneas City. The devastating attack had weakened the nation's defenses and paved the way for the Forsaken invasion.
- Players in the worgen starting zone are bitten by Josiah Avery upon completing the quest . Players are now debuffed with "Worgen Bite: You were bitten by a worgen. The wound looks minor... maybe it'll go away with time?" As the player progresses through the phases of the starting zone the debuff will change to "Infected Bite: The bite wound is getting worse. You don't feel so good." and finally to "Hideous Bite Wound :Your skin is black and blue around the wound. There also appears to be thick hair growing around the edge of it.". Where upon turning in the quest a cutscene occurs detailing the player's transformation into a worgen.