The faceless ones
The n'raqi, commonly known as the faceless ones or the faceless, are a monstrous race that arose from the organic matter that seeped from the Old Gods' blighted forms during the primordial era of Azeroth. Cunning and intelligent, they serve their eldritch masters with fanatical loyalty.
The faceless ones were first seen serving a forgotten one in the depths of Azjol-Nerub during the events of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. They made their first appearance in World of Warcraft with the second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, and have since become one of the most common sightings in areas influenced by the Old Gods.
- 1 History
- 2 Appearance
- 3 Communication
- 4 Notable
- 5 Types
- 6 In the RPG
- 7 Notes
- 8 Inspiration
- 9 Speculation
- 10 Gallery
- 11 Patch changes
- 12 References
When the Old Gods first embedded themselves into Azeroth, they spread their corruptive influence across the landscape. Two distinct races arose from the organic matter seeping from the Old Gods' blighted forms: the n'raqi and the aqir. As the physical manifestations of the Old Gods' will, both served their masters with fanatical loyalty. The n'raqi acted as ruthless taskmasters, employing the aqir as laborers to erect towering citadels and temple cities around ther masters' colossal bulks. The greatest of these bastions were built around the Old God Y'Shaarj. This burgeoning civilization was located near the center of Azeroth's largest continent. As the holdings of Y'Shaarj and the other Old Gods spread across the world, it became known as the Black Empire. Countless eons ago, the n'raqi waged endless wars against each other as part of the forces of N'Zoth, C'Thun and Yogg-Saron.
Reawakening in Northrend
Amid the Scourge's invasion of Azjol-Nerub, many of the kingdom's denizens tunneled underground to escape the Lich King's minions. Yet some of them dug too deep, exposing the tendrils of Yogg-Saron. Rousing its awareness, the Old God sent his n'raqi under the leadership of Herald Volazj against them, and the nerubians were caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The nerubians' misfortune costed them the war against the undead, and ultimately, their home.
The Frozen Throne
During the desperate flight of Arthas Menethil and the crypt lord Anub'arak to defend the Lich King from Illidan Stormrage and his armies, the Scourge were forced to make their way through the ancient, underground nerubian kingdom of Azjol-Nerub. At first, the invading undead army preyed only on the pockets of still living Nerubian resistance fighters and dwarves that were left over from Arthas' last journey to Northrend. Yet, as Anub'arak and Arthas journeyed ever deeper into these ruins, they found that the lower regions of the kingdom had become infested by "ancient, horrid things", as the dwarf leader Baelgun had described them, released from the dark below by the earthquakes that were being caused by Illidan's sorcery. These beings appeared as strange, vaguely humanoid creatures, and were accompanied by massive tentacles that seemed to be a part of a single, monstrous entity which Anub'arak referred to as a "forgotten one". The crypt lord seemed to know of these creatures, but was startled to discover they truly existed and warned Arthas to "Look to your defenses, death knight! Fight as you've never fought before!". The two champions of the Lich King and their Scourge forces managed to barely defeat the forgotten one, but as ever more n'raqi emerged from the deeps to stalk the undead army and the caverns began collapsing under the flailing of the massive tentacles, Arthas and Anub'arak were forced to flee from Azjol-Nerub. Eventually, Arthas made it out of fallen kingdom and was able to confront Illidan, but not until making it through the greatest peril he had yet faced.
War against the Lich King
Theramore came under attack from a n'raqi that had been awakened by Cho'gall to take Med'an with him. During the battle, Med'an intuitively wove together arcane and shamanic magic to defeat the ancient creature.
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
In Northrend, multiple faceless ones appear, including Herald Volazj, the leader of the Old Gods' forces, and Darkspeaker R'khem, a captive of the vrykul in the Saronite Mines. N'raqi are also encountered underneath Icecrown Citadel in a place called Naz'anak: The Forgotten Depths. Killing the Faceless Lurkers there is required for the quest . In Ulduar, the n'raqi are led by General Vezax, a massive faceless general guarding the twisted passages leading to the Prison of Yogg-Saron.
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
New faceless can be found throughout the Abyssal Depths region of Vashj'ir, as well as inside the Throne of the Tides, where they were sent by the Old Gods in order to aid the naga in capturing Neptulon. N'raqi can also be found in others region of Kalimdor and Eastern Kingdoms, such as Darkshore, Ashenvale, the Stonetalon Mountains, Swamp of Sorrows and Twilight Highlands. Erudax serves as boss in Grim Batol and is involved in producing Twilight Hatchlings.
This section concerns content exclusive to Legion.
The Kirin Tor and the Wardens have kept faceless ones imprisoned in the Violet Hold and the Vault of the Wardens, respectively. During the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth, these n'raqi were set free as a result of the Legion's attacks on these areas.
More notably, however, the faceless appear within the Emerald Nightmare under the command of the Nightmare Lord Xavius, providing one of the many indications as to whom the Emerald Nightmare truly belongs. These n'raqi assist Xavius in his battle against the invading adventurers, both assaulting them ahead of his emergence, and keeping his enemies on their toes with their massive, Nightmare-enhanced size. However, even with the aid of these horrors, Xavius is unable to best the adventurers who assault him and is killed. Upon his death the Nightmare dissipates, seemingly forever ending the Old Gods' grip on the realm.
Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content exclusive to Battle for Azeroth.
N'raqi are vaguely humanoid creatures who, as the name implies, have no discernible faces insofar as other races recognize them. One arm is much larger than the other, grotesque and misshapen, while the other is little more than a prehensile tentacle.
A type of underwater n'raqi that, unlike their brethren, have much bigger eyes and nautilus-like heads.
A type of n'raqi caster that wear masks and has thinner tentacle arms than other types of n'raqi.
- Main article: C'Thrax
The n'raqi likely speak the language of the Old Gods, Shath'Yar, which no race on Azeroth is capable of understanding or pronouncing. Their communications are somehow translated directly into the minds of nearby players through telepathic whispers, as evidenced by several powerful n'raqi that were faced by adventurers. Darkspeaker R'khem also communicates with other beings by projecting telepathic thoughts into their mind, together with a wave of soothing, euphoric feelings that are mixed with a sense of pain. After completing , he disappears with a noise that is translated as laughter in the player's mind. Faceless Lurkers sometimes utter "Shur'nab... shur'nab... Yogg-Saron!" when assaulting their victims, which never appears to be accompanied by telepathic whispers, so it seems only powerful n'raqi can express themselves in this manner.
- Corrupting Adherent
- Corrupting Faceless
- Deep Fiend
- Faceless Brute
- Faceless Corruptor
- Faceless Corruptor
- Faceless Destroyer
- Faceless Guardian
- Faceless Horror
- Faceless Lurker
- Faceless Minion
- Faceless One
- Faceless Ones
- Faceless Sapper
- Faceless Shadow Weaver
- Faceless Watcher
- Forgotten One
- Guardian of Yogg-Saron
- Immortal Guardian
- Spawn of Soggoth
- Unyielding Behemoth
- Vicious Mindlasher
In the RPG
Tales say they lived in Azjol-Nerub long before the Scourge came, dwelling too deep for the nerubians to hunt them. The strange faceless ones are ancient monsters long imprisoned beneath the ice and recently loosed again. Faceless ones have a long magical heritage. They draw upon their race's legacy of arcane spellcasting traditions to increase their power. Although faceless ones have a racially low intellect, they have a strong heritage of necromantic magic. A second passage into the Old Kingdom has been discovered by the Scourge, and Baelgun knows the faceless ones will overpower even the undead and then be free to escape into Northrend proper, and so he vows to stop them.
- Faceless ones are inconsistently classified, with some being considered humanoids and others being aberrations or uncategorized.
- Even after the death of a n'raqi, its brain keeps pulsing.
- N'raqi seem to use a jellyfish-like creature as a mount. A concept art image of a faceless one riding a jellyfish can be seen in The Art of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, as well as on one of the maps of the Throne of the Tides dungeon. Models of these creatures were added during the early Cataclysm beta, but were not actually used until Legion, when they were used for both the helsquids and the mount.
- Much like gnolls or ogres, faceless ones have a "battlecry": "Shur'nab... shur'nab... Yogg-Saron!".
- In The Frozen Throne two subgroups of faceless ones were used: the Faceless Ones and the Unbroken.
- During the quest Surrender or Else!, the Faceless of the Deep claims to remember when the goblin race was created, indicating that they have very long a life span.
- The updated n'raqi model added in Battle for Azeroth more closely resembles their appearance in Warcraft III than the Wrath of the Lich King model did.
The faceless ones may be loosely based on the illithids, or "mind flayers", from Dungeons & Dragons. Both illithids and n'raqi are evil races with an affinity for magic and telepathy, and they have both been described as slimy humanoids with "almost octopus-like heads". Both races also traditionally live underground, and are mostly feared by land-dwellers. It is likely that both creatures are based on H. P. Lovecraft's shared Cthulhu Mythos (which the Old Gods and their minions draw heavy inspiration from), or perhaps more accurately, the Cthulhi, the "Star-Spawn" of Cthulhu.
World of Warcraft
The original World of Warcraft n'raqi model prior to World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth.
An Emerald Nightmare n'raqi.
A n'raqi minion of G'huun.
A "Darkspeaker" in Hearthstone.
A Spawn of N'Zoth in Hearthstone.
A "Flamewreathed Faceless" in Hearthstone.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17): Model updated.
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): N'raqi once considered uncategorized are now classified as aberrations.
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14): Introduced.
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, page 29-30
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 36
- ^ a b c
- ^ Adventure Guide entry for Warlord Zon'ozz
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 62
- ^ Adventure Guide entry for Herald Volazj
- ^ Into the Shadow Web Caverns
- ^ The Forgotten Ones
- ^ Ascent to the Upper Kingdom
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Comic
- ^ Ulduar Bosstiary
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 37
- ^ Lands of Mystery, 90
- ^ Dark Factions, pg. 53
- ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 91
- ^ The Art of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, pg. 125
- ^ Throne of the Tides map
- ^ Faceless mount