- This article is about the plague developed by the Forsaken. For other plagues, see Plague. For the Warcraft III blight mechanic, see Blight (plague).
The New Plague, also known as the Forsaken Blight and the Blight or blight is the Forsaken's altered version of the powerful Plague of Undeath, which led to the creation of the Undead Scourge. The Plague of Undeath had the effect of transforming normal humans into mindless undead in the service of the tyrannical Lich King. Some members of the Forsaken, including their queen Sylvanas Windrunner, were once pawns of the Lich King, but were later freed. The Forsaken's aim was to create a new plague that would annihilate the Scourge itself, and ultimately, during the Northrend campaign, this success comes within reach. However, the Forsaken's plague was usurped by the treacherous Grand Apothecary Putress, who proceeded to unleash it upon the Scourge, the Alliance and even the Horde. As such, the Forsaken's allies have deemed it unethical to be used again at its full potency.
The final form of the Blight has proven to be an extremely powerful weapon, but also something of a double-edged sword. As it's designed to cause harm to the living and the undead, the Forsaken are themselves vulnerable to it, having to wear gas masks in its contact.
The Royal Apothecary Society, the alchemical experts of the Forsaken, worked on various ways to use various parts from creatures living in their sphere of control as well as agriculture grown in the Tirisfal Glades and the Hillsbrad Foothills to create powerful toxins.
The use of the New Plague on humans was initially only partially successful. While it killed the victim, it didn't bring the human back after death as a new Forsaken. Other problems included distribution; the R.A.S. searched for a way to effectively spread their new plague, so that no living thing would remain on the entire planet...leaving all of Azeroth as one big plagueland, ruled by the Forsaken. Sylvanas' initial plan was to wipe out her immediate enemies — the Scourge and Scarlets who hounded them — and then the Alliance, and raise them again to her cause.
An early near-brush with success involved pumpkins from the Solliden Farmstead in Tirisfal. When tested on a Scarlet Crusader held captive in the Brill Inn, it brought about transformation into a ghoul, only to cause true death seconds later. The mage Phin Odelic suspected that the Forsaken were involved with the death of his cousin's dog, sending Quae and Kinelory to investigate.
Castillian was responsible for delivering spores which helped lead to the finalization of the New Plague. Although located in a remote town, Hierophant Theodora Mulvadania and Warlord Goretooth seem to have heard rumors about the new plague. Infiltrator Marksen seemed to know what the Forsaken were up to. Sayge sensed that the Forsaken were up to something.
Following several successful field tests, Master Apothecary Faranell demonstrated a strain of New Plague to Lady Sylvanas Windrunner. In the Apothecarium, a strain of blight was administered to a human woman and a Forsaken criminal. The girl bled from the eyes, nose, mouth, and ears before dying. The latter collapsed in spasms as his skin broke open and wept black ichor before dying. Sylvanas was elated to at last have a plague that killed both humans and Scourge.
In Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content related to Wrath of the Lich King.
The latest strain of the "New Plague" engineered in Undercity was shipped to Vengeance Landing in Northrend for use against the Scourge, but the long trip across the sea reduced its effectiveness. After several failures in Howling Fjord, the apothecaries of New Agamand sent a sample of the perfected plague, known as the "Forsaken Blight", to Venomspite. Unfortunately, this version vaporized everyone that tried handling it, necessitating further adjustments. The Forsaken Blight, was modified to be inert until combined with a reactive agent to make it potent enough to turn its victims into shapeless piles of goo. It was contained in the tears of green dragons from the Emerald Dragonshrine. Before delivering the plague to Doctor Sintar Malefious in Agmar's Hammer, the new blight was tested on the Scourge at Carrion Fields in the shadow of Naxxramas via a Forsaken "blight spreader" catapult. It appeared that the forces of the Scarlet Onslaught were immune to this plague, as indicated in the failed test against a Scarlet Onslaught Prisoner.
Before the Forsaken could perfect their New Plague, a sample was stolen by the Alliance. Peppy Wrongnozzle, a drunken amateur alchemist, accidentally perfected the Blight while attempting to make a plague vaccine. When tested on a vrykul prisoner, he melted into a pile of goo.
The Forsaken Blight's most despicable use occurred during the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate. After Dranosh Saurfang was slain by the Lich King when he and Bolvar Fordragon confronted him, Grand Apothecary Putress arrived on the bluff overlooking the battlefield with several blight spreader catapults. Serving the dreadlord Varimathras, who had launched a coup against the Dark Lady and taken control of the Undercity for the Legion, Putress launched the Blight against both the Scourge and the combined Alliance-Horde forces. The attack resulted in Highlord Fordragon becoming missing in action, the near-total destruction of the combined army, and even weakened Arthas himself, who retreated back into Icecrown Citadel.
The Forsaken attack was considered by the Alliance to be outright treachery on the part of the Horde, and the coup by Varimathras gave King Varian Wrynn an opening to lead Alliance forces in a battle for the Undercity to avenge Bolvar and retake Lordaeron for the Alliance. The Horde launched an attack on the Undercity to reclaim it from Varimathras.
This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.
The Horde banned any further use of the fully powered Forsaken Blight after the Wrathgate incident. However, they supplied some apothecaries with a weaker version of the blight, which wouldn't be so destructive. It proved to be literally rather explosive when adventurers tested it out on murlocs on Fenris Isle.
Following the Forsaken victory in Silverpine, Deathstalker Commander Belmont and a number of Blightspreaders assault Shadowfang Keep. As the Forsaken fight inwards, they spray down most areas with another strain of blight.
Due to the neutered blight being ineffective against the Gilnean worgen, the Forsaken later drenched Southshore in a very potent strain of blight, though the Forsaken responsible for it expressed mild surprise at its effectiveness, alluding to an uncertainty as to whether the fully powered blight was employed. They revealed that, ideally, the Forsaken want to eventually inhabit the areas purged via the plague, though when more powerful versions are used the land becomes uninhabitable for a "cooling down" period.
This section concerns content related to Legion.
With Sylvanas taking the reins as Warchief of the Horde, she chose to make use of the plague once more, though this new one seemed different, or at least fine-tuned. Developed aboard the Black Rose by the R.A.S., this new plague was extremely volatile, exploding on contact with a sickly green liquid that melts away skin and flesh almost immediately, right down to the bone. The plague must be contained inside special vials developed by the R.A.S., and if opened, cannot be contained. Production of it apparently produced volatile "byproducts". Exposure to these byproducts caused rapid cell degeneration and reduced the subject to a shambling husk incapable of reason or thought, aside from a burning hatred for the warmth of life.
In Battle for Azeroth
This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.
During the Battle for Lordaeron, Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner deployed the Forsaken Blight on Horde and Alliance forces alike in order to turn the tide of battle. Supplemented by mindless undead Sylvanas raised from the fallen, these tactics managed to slow the Alliance's advance and gave Sylvanas and her forces enough time to fall back and escape to Orgrimmar. Sylvanas ultimately rigged all of Capital City to be blighted in an effort to wipe out the Alliance leaders that had been lured into the city. Although the Alliance leaders escaped her setup, the blight itself also made the Ruins of Lordaeron inhospitable and thus prevented the Alliance from using it as a base.
While not necessarily radioactive in nature, its effect on an area is somewhat similar to the effects of radiation. When a large amount of radiation is in an area, it is considered uninhabitable for a long period of time, anywhere from days to possibly centuries, due to the radiation levels in the area making it unsafe to be in. Likewise, in Southshore, it is stated that areas that are plagued must undergo a "cooling-down period" before they can be inhabited again. The way players can scan the levels of danger in Southshore caused by the plague is akin to, and may in fact be, scanning with a geiger counter. The interface of the meter used in the quest even resembles a classic geiger counter.