Elemental

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From left to right, top to bottom : Princess Theradras, Ahune, Ragnaros, Thunderaan, common earth elemental, common water elemental, bog beast, common fire elemental and common air elemental.
Fire, earth, water and air elementals in the comic.
Were you looking for the elemental school of magic, or the shaman's Elemental specialization?

Elementals are ageless and unchanging[1] elemental spirits who have attained raw physical form. Their spirit - made of volatile elemental energies - remain at the core.[2][3] On Azeroth, elementals were bound to the Elemental Plane by the titanic Keepers, where they return to when slain in the physical world.

As such, killing them in the Elemental Plane is the most permanent way to defeat them,[4] however their power can be absorbed by another elemental.[5] Although they are imprisoned in the Elemental Plane, they can be summoned to Azeroth by those who seek to use their power.[3] The most powerful ones reign over all others, and are called the Elemental Lords. An elemental's core retains some semi-sentient properties after death.[6]

Origins

In the early days of the Great Dark Beyond's formation, shards of fractured Light were sent through the universe. Upon hitting the planets they'd encounter, they would infuse them with the spark of life. The most common and primordial form of life to appear was the elementals, who now populate nearly every world of the Great Dark.[7] The elementals are nourished by the Spirit energy of the planet they live on.

Others

  • When forging enchanted steel, bits of magic seep into the coals. Over a period of years, decades even, the unbound energy slowly takes form, creating a tiny elemental being of immense fortitude.[8]
  • Elementals have been created by mogu sorcerers who preferred more solid companions over beastly familiars.[9]
  • Living fel flames can be born from demonic magic.[10]

Life cycle

Azeroth's elementals are extremely violent and chaotic, because as its world-soul developped, it consumed much of the Spirit energy of the planet, which nourishes the elements.[11] In contrast, a large abundance of Spirit energy leads to slumbering elementals. Draenor's elementals were harmonious and worked together, indicating a fair level of Spirit.[12] Spirit is also the force used by shaman to commune with the elements, while Decay, its opposite, is used by dark shaman to bind the elements to their will.[13]

It is a natural part of the elementals' life cycle that impurities are accumulated in the elemental body over time. When enough contamination has taken place, an elemental becomes unstable and in some cases volatile. A necessary part to their rebirth is pure, living essence, which can be found in the body of other elementals.[14]

It is possible that the elementals of Azeroth have developed some sort of hierarchy, many having titles such as Baron, Lord, and Duke. Some of the most powerful offspring of the Elemental Lords are also known as Princes and Princesses.

History

Primordial Azeroth

The elemental spirits of Azeroth became more and more erratic as the fifth element, Spirit, became less available. The slumbering world-soul consumed much of it, rendering the elements of Azeroth extremely violent, destructive and chaotic by nature.[15]

The elementals raged freely on primordial Azeroth, waging war upon one another for endless millenia, and the four Elemental Lords reigned supreme over innumerable lesser spirits. Al'Akir used to send his minions to spy on his enemies and sow distrust to weaken them. Ragnaros embraced brute force, seeking to boil the seas, reduce mountains to slag, and choke the skies with ash. Therazane was reclusive, entrenching herself behind towering mountain ranges before attacking her exhausted foes. Neptulon fought strategically, allowing the forces of the other elements to clash, before crushing his divided rivals.[16]

Map of Azeroth under the Black Empire's control.

When the Old Gods plummeted down from the Great Dark Beyond, they slammed into Azeroth's surface and embedded themselves in the continent of Kalimdor. For the first time in history, the four Elemental Lords banded together in an attempt to fight the Old Gods' fledgling empire. Though the elementals were mighty, they could not stand against the constant swarm of n'raqi and aqir, and they were enslaved by the Old Gods.[17] Without the native spirits of Azeroth to counter the Old Gods' influence, the borders of the Black Empire crept over much of the world.[16]

The original Elemental Lords facing the titan-forged.

The titan-forged armies of the Pantheon would eventually come to assault the Old Gods, defeat them and sealing them deep beneath the surface of the planet, after having imprisoned the elemental armies in the Elemental Plane, divided into four regions: the Abyssal Maw, the Firelands, Deepholm, and Skywall.[18][19]

Elemental Sundering

Even while locked within the Elemental Plane, the Elemental Lords continued to war with each other. The Elemental Sundering was a 5,000 year-long battle at the core of Azeroth. The Lieutenants of Ragnaros, Geddon and Garr, perpetrated the betrayal against Thunderaan, Prince of Air, who was caught unaware. The Firelord's advances were wholly unknown to Thunderaan, and before he could react, Sulfuras, legendary hammer of Ragnaros, struck an unmerciful blow, and Thunderaan fell, utterly defeated.

The Firelord feasted upon the essence of Thunderaan, but was unable to consume him entirely. He stored what little remained of Thunderaan's essence within a talisman of elemental binding. Ragnaros then shattered the talisman in two flawless pieces, called the  [Bindings of the Windseeker], and assigned them to his lieutenants.[20]

War of the Three Hammers

Thaurissan summons Ragnaros into the world.

During the War of the Three Hammers, 230 years before the Dark Portal, Ragnaros the Firelord was summoned to the Redridge Mountains by Emperor Thaurissan. It was his intent to use the Firelord for domination of the other dwarf clans. Ironically however, Ragnaros enslaved them for his own purposes. His violent entry into the world scarred the surrounding area, creating Blackrock Mountain, the Burning Steppes, and the Searing Gorge.[21]

Recent events

WoW Icon 16x16.png This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.

In Blackrock Mountain, Ragnaros and his fire elemental armies were locked in a war for control of Blackrock Moutain with the black dragon Nefarian.

Neptulon, then at war with Ragnaros, seemed to use mostly mortal races to weaken the forces of the other three Elemental Lords. His agent, Duke Hydraxis, leader of the Hydraxian Waterlords, sought to bring others to his side. He sent adventurers into the Molten Core to fight against the Firelord. Another agent, Tsunaman at Sun Rock Retreat, also sought to destroy Ragnaros's elementals in the Charred Vale.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

When Deathwing entered Azeroth from Deepholm, the World Pillar was shattered, causing the Elemental Plane to collapse onto Azeroth, and parts of it to manifest in the real world. While Al'Akir and Ragnaros accepted Deathwing's offer of sowing destruction, Neptulon and Therazane refused to do so.

Ragnaros's armies launched a full scale assault on Mount Hyjal in an attempt to destroy the World Tree Nordrassil. The Guardians of Hyjal led by Cenarius, Malfurion Stormrage and Hamuul Runetotem along with the adventurers of the Alliance and Horde pushed his minions back into the Firelands, where he was slain.

Neptulon the Tidehunter was attacked by the naga and the n'raqi that worked with the Twilight's Hammer cult, while Therazane was also at odds with the Twilight's Hammer that had intruded in Deepholm.

Al'akir called the Conclave of Wind, ancient wind elementals nearly as powerful as Al'Akir himself, to aid in the elemental invasion of his former home.[22]

He assisted Deathwing's efforts at reclaiming the ancient re-origination device and lended his elemental forces at crushing Uldum's native defenders and his old enemy, the Tol'vir. One of his first acts after the Cataclysm was destroying the inhabitants of Orsis in revenge for having refused Deathwing's offer of curing their Curse of Flesh.[23] The armies and strongest minions of Al'Akir resided within the Vortex Pinnacle, training in formation and torturing tol'vir as they prepared to lash out yet again at Uldum.[24] At some point prior to his death, Al'Akir ensnared and twisted Hagara the Stormbinder with new powers for trying to bind elementals to her will.[25]

Dwelling in the Throne of the Four Winds, Al'Akir was slain in his home plane, the Skywall.

Legion

Legion This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.

During the Third invasion of the Burning Legion, the Earthen Ring helped new elementals to replace Ragnaros and Al'Akir: Smolderon and Thunderaan respectively. They then managed to convince the four Elemental Lords to band together against the Legion. Shaman and elementals now work actively to fight the Legion off the Broken Isles.

In World of Warcraft

In World of Warcraft, elementals are often found close to environments representative of their elements: water elementals are often found on coastlines and in lakes, fire elementals are often found close to lava or areas which has suffered from fire, stone elementals are often found in hills and inside caves, and air elementals are often found in windy areas like steppes and deserts. Elementals will also often drop elemental items related to their element. A fire elemental may for example drop a  [Heart of Fire], while a water elemental may drop an  [Essence of Water].

Basic elemental types

Elemental Description Variant
Generic elementals The most commonly seen form, wearing bracers of binding
Bound elemental Elementals bound within cages or with magical means such as magic bracers
Unbound elemental Elementals not bound by neither cages nor bracers
Revenant Elemental creatures that once served as foot soldiers for the malefic Old Gods.
Elemental ascendant Mortals who have ascended into elementals
Pandaren spirit Eelementals found only in Pandaria and the Wandering Isle

Specific elemental types

Some types of elementals have only been found in a single element.

Element Types
Air
Earth
Fire
Mana
Mercury
Primordial

"Elemental" as a gameplay term

Many NPCs in World of Warcraft are classed as elementals for gameplay purposes, but may not actually be true elementals.They cannot be skinned, although the remains of earth elementals may sometimes mined. Enchanters can enchant weapons with  [Enchant Weapon - Lesser Elemental Slayer] or  [Enchant Weapon - Elemental Slayer], which gives them bonus damage. All elementals can be banished by warlocks.

Plants

Constructs

In the RPG

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

When the Old Gods were defeated and imprisoned by the Titans, the Titans banished all elementals to the Elemental Plane. The Elemental Plane is a violent and dangerous place where elementals of one type battle with all others in a never-ending conflict to expand their territory. It is no wonder, then, that some elementals attempt to escape from the unceasing struggle by traveling to Azeroth, where they establish solitary lairs in suitable environments. Such transplanted elementals find it difficult to shake off the warlike existence they lived on the Elemental Plane; they guard their new territory viciously and constantly seek to expand their boundaries.

All elementals speak Kalimag and, whether summoned to Azeroth or there of their own free will, wear a set of magic bracers. These bracers form automatically when the elemental leaves the Elemental Plane. They tie the elemental to Azeroth and allow it to exist outside of the Elemental Plane. If the magic of the bracer's is disrupted, usually by prolonged physical or magical attack, the elemental loses much of its power and may inadvertently return to the Elemental Plane.[26]

Elemental Conglomerate

Elemental Conglomerates are elementals that share two or more aspects of the basic elemental types.

Conglomerate Variant
  • Dual elementals
  • Triumvirate elementals
  • Complete elemental

Notes and trivia

  • In WoW, elementals used to be generally immune to all spells from their own element. However, this became less and less the case as subsequent expansions were released, before being removed entirely from the game in Patch 5.0.4.
  • Elementals bound to the Elemental Plane can only truly die when slain there. If they are killed in the physical world, they are simply banished back to their corresponding plane.[27][28]
  • Sludge beasts share an elemental heritage.[29]
  • Elementals are capable of feeling pain.[30]
  • Elementals on Draenor are called furies, and seek to balance the world.[31]
  • Elementals are beings that first appeared in the alchemical works of Paracelsus.

See also

References