|Playable races in World of Warcraft|
| Human · Night elf · Dwarf · Gnome · Draenei · Worgen
Lightforged draenei · Void elf · Dark Iron dwarf
|| Orc · Undead · Tauren · Troll · Blood elf · Goblin|
Highmountain tauren · Nightborne · Zandalari troll
- This article is about the playable race. For the draenei lore, see Draenei. For the in-game faction, see Exodar (faction).
The draenei of the Exodar start in Ammen Vale, situated on Azuremyst Isle, a landmass belonging to a cluster of islands called the Azuremyst Isles located off the northwestern coast of Kalimdor. The main base with civilization in Ammen Vale is called Azure Watch. Bloodmyst Isle can be found as the adjacent zone, a level 10-20 area.
Velen and the remaining draenei survivors gained control of one of Tempest Keep's satellite structures and used it to escape to Azeroth.They searched for allies in their never-ending battle against the Burning Crusade, and finding such allies within the Alliance.
They have no capital city, instead they make their main dwelling on a crashed dimensional ship, the Exodar, which is overseen by their leader, . The draenei's choice of mount is the elekk, a creature similar in appearance to a war elephant. Their chosen language is Draenei, while they are also able to speak Common.
- Main article: Draenei#History
Empowered by the Holy Light and the undying strength of their convictions, the draenei lead the charge against the demonic Burning Legion in Outland. Now, with the Legion's defeat, they have completed the desperate mission that first brought them to Azeroth. Though some draenei were sent back to Outland to revitalize their former civilization, the majority have vowed to stay and uphold their sacred commitment to the Alliance. Driven by a powerful vision, the immortal prophet Velen believes that a great war between the Darkness and the Light is fast approaching and that Azeroth will be its principal battleground. As one of Velen's chosen, you must stand bravely against the Shadow to ensure that your people are ready for the war to come.
Long ago, on the world of Argus, the brilliant and magically gifted eredar race drew the attention of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. Sargeras offered untold power to the three leaders of the eredar–Kil'jaeden, Archimonde and Velen–in exchange for their unquestioning loyalty. A troubling vision soon came to Velen, who saw the eredar transformed into unspeakable demons–the first sentient members of the Legion, which would grow to immense size and decimate all life. Despite Velen's warnings, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde decided to accept Sargeras' offer. Velen despaired at his former friends' decision and prayed for help. To his surprise and relief, he was answered by one of the benevolent naaru. These energy beings had, like Velen, foreseen the formation of the Burning Legion.
The naaru offered to shepherd Velen and other believers to refuge. Velen quietly gathered those of his fellow eredar who seemed trustworthy and dubbed them the draenei, or "exiled ones." As Sargeras returned to Argus and transformed many willing eredar into demons, the draenei narrowly escaped their homeworld. Furious, Kil'jaeden vowed to track Velen to the ends of creation. Even as the Burning Legion chased the draenei across the cosmos, the naaru instructed the exiles in the way of the Light. Deeply affected, the draenei vowed to honor the Light and uphold the naaru's ideals. In time the draenei settled on a remote world and met the shamanistic orcs who inhabited it. The draenei came to call their new home Draenor or "Exiles' Refuge."
Kil'jaeden continued to hunt the exiles, however, and he eventually learned of the idyllic world and its unsuspecting inhabitants. Working through the shaman Ner'zhul, the demon lord gradually began corrupting the orcs. When Ner'zhul refused to serve the Legion's agenda past a certain point, Kil'jaeden turned to Ner'zhul's apprentice. Gul'dan worked the orcs into a frenzy of bloodlust, and the newly formed Horde began slaughtering the peaceful draenei. The orcish campaign against the draenei was brutally effective. Over eighty percent of the draenei race was destroyed, though a small group of survivors remained, including the noble Velen. The orcs went on to invade Azeroth through Medivh's Dark Portal. Years later, after the Second War, Ner'zhul's additional portals would tear Draenor to pieces.
Recently Velen and the remaining draenei survivors gained control of one of Tempest Keep's satellite structures and used it to escape to Azeroth. Now they search for allies in their never-ending battle against the Burning Crusade.
Since the incursion of Alliance and Horde forces into the land of Northrend, the draenei have played a minor role. Their greatest presence is seen with and his entourage in Borean Tundra's Valiance Keep. Even in Northrend the draenei's stalwart adherence to honesty and the Light are crucial in undercutting the efforts of the Cult of the Damned.
Those who play as draenei can choose from the following classes:
Reasons for the classes
- Warrior and mage - Some draenei were dedicated to war and some were dedicated to magic but their focus makes them quite skillful in either. Their numerous battles on Draenor have helped them perfect these arts.
- Priest and paladin - The draenei began to follow the way of the naaru and in doing so they became warriors of light and promised to help them fight against the Burning Legion.
- Shaman - Shamanism and worshipping nature was once an alien tradition to the draenei, but the Broken draenei spiritual seeker Nobundo heard the voice of the wind element while wandering in the wilderness. Since that time Nobundo became a shaman, and under the encouragement of himself, some draenei have followed in his footsteps.
- Hunter - Draenei have engaged in hunting since their time on Argus, where they hunted great, horned beasts that resembled Tauren for sport. Hunting was the primary source of the draenei's sustenance during their time on Draenor, and since their arrival on Azeroth they have continued this practice.
- Death knight - The cares little for who he converts into his fearsome death knights, however, Arthas finds pleasure in corrupting those of pure heart and the draenei, arguably the most "pious" race, are the pinnacle of this pleasure. Furthermore, as exemplified by the corruption of and , those draenei who do succumb to corruption prove to be powerful adversaries.
- Monk - was exploring Azuremist Isle when the Exodar crashed. While helping the survivors, suggested he teach a few the ways of the monk.
Reasons for racial traits
The naaru have taught draenei a great deal of things. With the help of the naaru every draenei has learned a basic spell for healing in the form of . Draenei have worked with gems for centuries in a variety of ways such as jewelry or power sources, so they have more skill in than any other race. The draenei are so devoted to the Light and the ways of the naaru that all draenei have a slight .
- Main article: Exodar (faction)
- Many players often refer to draenei with terms such as "space goat" and "squid face", referring to their lower legs and facial tentacles respectively.
- The male draenei dance comes from the dance in the song "Tunak Tunak Tun" by Daler Mehndi. The female dance is taken from several of Shakira's music videos, particularly "Hips Don't Lie".
- Draenei NPCs are the only Alliance race that do not 'verbally' call for help when they are attacked by an enemy player. However, like most other town and major city NPCs, getting too close to them or attacking them will still cause the summoning of allied guards to defend them.
- The draenei are taxonomically similar to the Protoss in Blizzard's Starcraft storyline. Both races are blue skinned with blue tinted blood, and both employ bipedal unguligrade locomotion.
- Very few draenei NPCs have last names, even ones without titles such as Defender. This may be due to few draenei having family members left from their travels and from times of conflict, or it may simply be a cultural trait.
- Draenei are the only playable race that did not have a new class added during the Cataclysm expansion.
- The draenei's numerous starting quests focus on undoing the damage the Exodar did to the environment when they arrived on Azeroth. This has been considered by many[who?] to be an attempt by WoW to raise awareness of the ecological damage done by people in real life.
- Draenei are often criticized for having a very small presence in Azeroth. This may have been referenced in Wolfheart, where Tyrande told Velen that he was not invited to the Alliance summit because everyone assumed that the draenei had gone neutral and returned to Outland.
- Draenei for lore information.
- Draenei (Warcraft III) for unit statistics from Warcraft III (these draenei are actually Broken, though their models in fact resemble Lost Ones)
- , who is half-draenei
- Draenei controversy for controversy, confusion, and retcons.
- Draenei Village
- Official page (US) for further information about the draenei, the newest Alliance race in The Burning Crusade.
- Official page (EU)
-  E3 coverage from the New York Times confirming the draenei as the fifth Alliance race.
-  E3 coverage from the New York Times, interview with Jeff Kaplan.