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Alliance core races.
Horde core races.

The Warcraft universe is inhabited by many races of sentient and sapient beings. These races speak many different languages, have different homelands and racial traits, and can pursue different classes.

Though most races are native to the world of Azeroth, some have arrived from other worlds, such as Draenor. The armies of the Burning Legion are culled from many worlds throughout the Twisting Nether.

Playable races in World of Warcraft belong to one of the game's two main factions: the Alliance or the Horde. The playable pandaren are the only exception, starting the game as neutral before later joining one of the two factions. For playable characters, choice of race is therefore restricted by faction.

Allied races need to be unlocked before being able to play them, the races available to everyone are in contrast called "core races".[1]

Additionally, the races you are able to play are always meant to belong to their main in-game faction, meaning playable humans are always from the nation of Stormwind, playable blood elves are always from Silvermoon City, etc.[2]

Playable races and classes

Death knight
Death knight
Demon hunter
Demon hunter
Alliance Alliance DraeneiDraenei Draenei X X X X X X X X
DwarfDwarf Dwarf X X X X X X X X X X
GnomeGnome Gnome X X X X X X X X
HumanHuman Human X X X X X X X X X
Night elfNight elf Night elf X X X X X X X X X
WorgenWorgen Worgen X X X X X X X X
Void elfVoid elf Void elf X X X X X X X X
Lightforged draeneiLightforged draenei Lightforged X X X X X X
Dark Iron dwarfDark Iron dwarf Dark Iron X X X X X X X X X X
Kul TiranKul Tiran Kul Tiran X X X X X X X X X
MechagnomeMechagnome Mechagnome X X X X X X X X
Neutral Neutral PandarenPandaren Pandaren X X X X X X X X
Horde Horde Blood elfBlood elf Blood elf X X X X X X X X X X
GoblinGoblin Goblin X X X X X X X X
OrcOrc Orc X X X X X X X X
TaurenTauren Tauren X X X X X X X X
TrollTroll Troll X X X X X X X X X X
UndeadUndead Undead X X X X X X X X
NightborneNightborne Nightborne X X X X X X X X
Highmountain taurenHighmountain tauren Highmountain X X X X X X
Mag'har orcMag'har orc Mag'har X X X X X X X X
Zandalari trollZandalari troll Zandalari X X X X X X X X X X
VulperaVulpera Vulpera X X X X X X X X X
Roles Tank Alert Tank X X X X X X
Healer Alert Heal X X X X X
Damage Dealer Alert DPS X X X X X X X X X X X X
  • X : This class was available for this race since its introduction.
  • X with a color : The class was added to the race in a later expansion.

Base stats vary depending on the class. The race's stat modifiers are applied on top of the class's base stats:

Attribute Priest Rogue Warrior Mage Druid Hunter Warlock Shaman Paladin Death Knight Monk Demon Hunter
Strength 10 14 11 8 7 10 6 7 14 ?? 7 ??
Agility 12 8 10 10 8 8 12 15 5 ?? 11 ??
Intellect 16 8 8 16 16 10 20 20 7 ?? 16 ??
Stamina 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 ?? 11 ??
  • † Death knight bonus stats represent a level 55 character.
  • ‡ Demon hunter bonus stats represent a level 98 character.

Expansion races

World of Warcraft's first expansion, The Burning Crusade, brought Blood Elves for the Horde, and Draenei for the Alliance into the game as playable races. The third expansion, Cataclysm, introduced Worgen for the Alliance and Goblins for the Horde. It also added a number of new race/class combinations. The fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, introduced Pandaren as the game's first Neutral race. Pandaren characters would choose between the Alliance and Horde after completing their starting zone at level 10.

Removal of expansion requirement

In August 2012, Blizzard Entertainment informed that patch 5.0.4 would remove the expansion requirement on all races so far requiring one. This gives all players, regardless of what version of World of Warcraft they have, the ability to create characters of all races.

All Races Available in Patch 5.0.4 | 2012-08-16 10:00 | Blizzard Entertainment Blizzard Entertainment

With the release of patch 5.0.4, we’re making all the races of Azeroth playable by anyone, no matter which version or expansion of World of Warcraft they own. This includes the enigmatic pandaren, who will become available for play when Mists of Pandaria is released on Tuesday, September 25. We want the entire World of Warcraft community to be able to embrace their inner goblin, blood elf, worgen, draenei, or pandaren from the moment they step foot into the world of Azeroth.

Now, the only hard part will be choosing a name. Who will you be next?

View original post

Posts by Zarhym, on a player-created thread regarding this announcement, later clarified some details:

All Races Available in Patch 5.0.4 | 2012-08-16 11:00 | Blizzard Entertainment Zarhym

(Thread created by Pandorä, 8/16/2012 10:52 AM PDT)
I've seen some confusion about when pandaren character creation will be accessible.

Just to be clear on the announcement, we're making it possible for people to create a character of any race, regardless of what expansions you've purchased. So if you only have the original game (which now has The Burning Crusade included), when patch 5.0.4 hits you'll be able to create goblin and worgen characters as well. And, once Mists of Pandaria is released, you'll be able to create pandaren characters, regardless of whether or not you own Mists of Pandaria.

Q u o t e:

So it says all races, what about though all classes? Just because Pandaren become available for play regardless if you have MoP or not, does this include the new monk class?
(Posted by Novagosa, 08/16/2012 10:54 AM PDT)

No, you'll need to upgrade your World of Warcraft license to Mists of Pandaria in order to unlock the monk class. The same is true for leveling from 85-90 and gaining access to the continent of Pandaria.

View original post

All Races Available in Patch 5.0.4 | 2012-08-16 11:25 | Blizzard Entertainment Zarhym

Q u o t e:

This is great but how will starting areas be handled?
(Posted by Essayl, 08/16/2012 11:07 AM PDT)

The starting areas will be accessible as well. For example, you'll be able to adventure on the Wandering Isle as a pandaren when Mists of Pandaria is released, but you won't be able to visit Pandaria. They're separate locations.

Q u o t e:

You're specifically talking about character creation. How will this affect paid race changes? Will I be able to race change to Pandaren on my existing shaman on August 28th or do I have to wait until September 25th?
(Posted by Rehvin, 08/16/2012 11:11 AM PDT)

Pandaren characters will be locked until Mists of Pandaria is released. You won't be able to create one. You won't be able to change an existing character into one.

View original post

The thread with these comments contained some additional comments by Zarhym which are not included on this article.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

In Warcraft lore, race often has the same definition as species.[3] Occasionally, within a race/species are groups called subspecies/subraces[4][5][6] Note that use of race may not always denote seperate species however (and may refer to ethnicities/subraces/subspecies within species)[citation needed] .


Subraces (aka subspecies)[5] are generally considered lesser groups within a main race/species. However, even these subgroups can be considered separate races or species themselves in some cases.

  • Dwarf sub-races can include Wildhammer, Ironforge, or Dark Iron dwarves.[7]
  • The various types of trolls are usually considered separate subraces, though occasionally separate races.[7][8][9][10] The terms appear to be interchangeable to Blizzard.
  • Aesir and vanir are considered two of the Giant's various subraces.[11]


Fan art

See also