- This article is about the supernatural curse. For the comic book mini-series, see Curse of the Worgen. For the physical race, see Worgen.
The worgen curse, also known as the curse of the worgen or simply the Curse, transforms people into ferocious creatures known as worgen. Those bitten by these unruly beasts contract the virulent curse and will turn into worgen. Drinking the blood of a worgen will also turn the drinker into one. Children of those corrupted with the curse are not born with the curse and have to be infected by being bitten or drinking worgen blood in order to attain a worgen form. It has so far only been passed to humans and night elves.
Receiving the curse from the Scythe of Elune or by drinking worgen blood will cause an immediate transformation. Upon its creation, the bite changed its victim much faster than today's diluted version. Today, the bite can take a few hours or up to a few days to turn its victim. Worgen shapeshifting is gradual, and muscle and bone can be heard growing and shifting as the worgen grows a third in height and girth, often tearing out of human sized shirts. Unlike a druid form, the worgen curse persists through death, and worgen druids return to worgen form when slain. Cenarius says the worgen curse is beyond druidism.
- Main article: Worgen#History
The Wolf Cult had been secretly afflicting Gilneans with the worgen curse; bolstering the worgen population and using their numbers to build a feral worgen army that would be used to launch an attack on Gilneas City. The devastating attack weakened the nation's defenses and paved the way for the Forsaken invasion.
The worgen curse reached pandemic levels when it spread into the secluded human kingdom of Gilneas, transforming almost all of its inhabitants into worgen. These particular worgen are known as the Greymane worgen. After the curse rippled through Gilneas, Krennan Aranas managed to concoct a partial treatment for it. Upon experimenting it on captured Gilnean mindless worgen, it allowed them to regain their sanity (giving them control of their minds), thus allowing them to retain the semblance of their past human selves. The night elves later offered a more effective treatment: Drinking from the wells of Tal'doren would allow them to transform back into their human-selves at will. There is, however, no full cure, and the animal within will never truly be at rest.
- Main article: Worgen#Biology
In worgen form, they are faster and stronger; with better eyesight and an animal instinct inside them that courses through their veins. Due to their ties with the wilds, worgen are able to call upon their bestial fervor to travel great distances. With the aid of all four limbs, a worgen can sprint at speeds rivaling the swiftest horses, nightsabers, and mechanostriders. With the curse comes also a resistance to other curses and diseases as well as immunity to the depravity of the Forsaken. The worgen curse makes raising them into undeath far more difficult than it is for normal humans. The worgen curse has roots in both the Emerald Dream (through the wolf Ancient, Goldrinn) and the holy power of the goddess Elune. In addition, those worgen who imbibe the waters of Tal'doren — through the ritual they undergo to maintain the balance between the worgen curse and their humanity—have a further resistance to the corruption of undeath.
- Main article: Worgen#Psychology
Some worgen are able to shapeshift without treatments. Those of the Wolfcult in Northrend were able to use human and worgen form at will. Genn Greymane was bitten while hunting worgen, and was able to use human form to keep this a secret, and had not yet done the Ritual of Balance. When driven to anger, Genn would begin to shift, and would require the help of Belysra Starbreeze to keep from shifting. Though difficult, he managed to keep his affliction a secret from his family, friends, and nation through the worgen attack and forsaken invasion, revealing it later on in Tal'doren and during a speech outside Gilneas. Members of the Wolf Cult in Gilneas used human form to recruit more cultists for Alpha Prime, and used worgen form for combat.
Many worgen are in control without needing treatments, but may not be able to shapeshift, because they have not found balance. Alpha Prime became the first worgen, and maintained his sentience, cunning, and leadership, and orchestrated the worgen attack on Gilneas from the Greymane Court, but did not shapeshift. Halford Ramsey turned, and was able to use logic and debate philosophy. Darius Crowley had not yet done the Ritual of Balance and could debate strategy, but could not use human form because he held on to regret.
Some are bitten while panicking and are at risk of the mindless state. Those of great rage, like Mardigan, will find their emotions amplified to the point of a ravenous beast. When James Harrington became afflicted by the worgen curse, he destroyed his loving family and maritime career in one chilling night of bloodlust, and later joined the Defias Brotherhood. Sven Yorgen saw his family had been brutally murdered by the Dark Riders and was bitten shortly after, losing himself to rage and hate, particularly against Jitters. In Gilneas, many citizens were bitten while panicking, and became crazed afflicted Gilneans like Josiah Avery, prone to attacking others.
Alchemy does not offer a cure, but can be helpful to treat the mind, if enough is left intact. Archmage Karlain used a rage-suppressing potion he had already intended to administer to his son Mardigan to help calm his rage. While he had not finished it, the raw version better complimented the primal creature Mardigan became, and gave the boy some semblance of control unless driven to anger. Krennan Aranas and Belysra Starbreeze collaborated to create a serum to help Genn keep his affliction controlled and secret. It was later used on bitten Gilneans as well, and included  and mandrake essence. Oliver Harris used serums including reagents such as bear brains, , and spider venom, and beheads worgen if the alchemy does not take.
Ritual of Balance
A night elf ceremony referred to as the Ritual of Balance can be performed to bring harmony to many of the worgen. It does not purge the curse from their veins, but it tempers the fury in their hearts and eases their bloodlust. Genn led Varian through the same Ritual of Balance that he and other worgen had used to control their rage. The ritual is still fraught with danger. Now and then, there are those who do not survive it and are put down.
Scythe of Elune
As a gift
Upon its creation during the War of the Satyr, the Druids of the Pack prayed to Elune for help and became worgen. Seeing it as the ideal form, the followers of Ralaar Fangfire were eager to become worgen as well. They called themselves Druids of the Scythe, and many other night elves joined them over the course of seven days. They were banished by Malfurion, and upon their escape in Silverpine and Duskwood, began to recruit wiling and unwilling humans as worgen, forming a following called the Wolf Cult, following Alpha Prime, with the Purity of Essence as their code, calling the curse a blessing. Another group named the Wolfcult began in Northrend, accept the worgen curse as a gift, convinced others to join them, and wished to spread the curse to the alliance adventurer. Beyond kaldorei and humans, one gnome wishes to become a worgen as well.
As a curse
Shortly after their creation, Malfurion Stormrage first saw worgen as monstrosities and considered it a misuse of druidism. Ralaar attacked him, and he considered his former disciples as poisoned, misguided, flawed, and consumed by rage. After the worgen began biting and turning others into worgen against their will, he founded the Cenarion Circle to establish a tradition of druidism and banished the worgen to the Emerald Dream. Naralex believed the worgen to be abominations and the most savage of evils that must be destroyed.
As an alternative
Realizing that the Forsaken will never stop hunting them until they become servants to the undead whether in life or death, the Hillsbrad Refugees decided to take the offer of blood by Darius Crowley. Thus they became worgen, to have the power to have their vengeance, and also so that the Val'kyr would not be able to raise them as Forsaken after their death.
Before the Cataclysm
Before the Cataclysm, little was known about worgen curse. In Duskwood, the Carevin family considered worgen to be monsters, and sent adventurers to keep their numbers down. The author of the Torment of the Worgen knew he would be hunted and should run and hide. Lieutenant Dumont reached out to the local humans of Silverbrook for aid, but once he discovered they were worgen, called them blasted, Light-forsaken, and filth-ridden savages, and had them killed. Within Gilneas, Genn, Godfrey, Ashbury, Marley, and others despised worgen, and would go out into the Blackwald every full moon, armed to the teeth, to hunt them for sport. Genn was bitten on one such hunt and, knowing the others would shoot him dead if they knew, kept it a secret. Revil Kost claimed all creatures deserve to live, but held a vendetta against worgen, which he loathed with a passion and did not consider to be people, going so far as to call his captive an it.
Invasion of Gilneas
During the fall of Gilneas, many Gilneans had strong feelings for or against worgen. As a human, Darius Crowley called worgen motherless beasts, blasted mongrels, flea-ridden devils, and fleabags. Lord Godfrey witnessed Belysra and the worgen Halford Ramsey fight the worgen attacking Gilneas, and shot the latter regardless. When worgen were seen running wild, Liam wished to catch and treat them, while Godfrey wished to hunt them. When Krennan began keeping worgen in cages to treat them, Godfrey openly opposed the idea, and later came to taunt the worgen captured. Upon finding Genn Greymane had been a worgen through the entire worgen and forsaken invasion, Godfrey kidnapped the king and sought to hand him over to the Forsaken. When his plans were foiled, Godfrey declared he would sooner die than have a worgen for a king, and jumped to his death.
After the Cataclysm
After the Cataclysm, Gilneas rejoined the Alliance, but prejudice against worgen - Gilnean or otherwise - remains. When the Gilnean royals fled to Darnassus, their presence made many kaldorei uneasy. Maiev Shadowsong and her student Neva visited the Gilnean worgen hunting camps to taunt and accuse them, and later killed worgen such as Eadrik. In Silverpine Forest, the Forsaken recovered and raised the body of Lord Godfrey, who believed Gilneas died the moment worgen were accepted, considered undeath a better fate than being a worgen, and eagerly used wolfsbane to kill Gilnean worgen. While Tobias Mistmantle searched Duskwood for his brother, he attempted to keep his true form hidden away from the people of Darkshire, who seem to react poorly to worgen. Calor and the Carevin family still consider the nearby worgen savage, evil, and an infestation. Relthorn Netherwane expressed distaste for worgen among the Alliance.
During the third invasion of the Burning Legion, Revil Kost continues to hunt the worgen of Duskwood. During the Fourth War, the Scarlet Crusade produced pamphlets calling worgen mongrels, planning to put Genn Greymane on the throne of the Alliance to wipe out the Forsaken, then kill him and wipe out the worgen so there are only pure-blooded humans.
In the RPG
In a small cabin in Silverpine Forest's southeast, lives Halmish, an old man who states the forest is cursed. Not because of the plague or the undead, but by a curse that changes men into beasts. At night, when the moon rises above the treetops and bathes the world in pale light, terrible howls erupt from Shadowfang Keep and Pyrewood Village — as if the men and women within had transformed into wolves. Probably the curse old Halmish mentioned.
A Dalaran wizard named Alphus Wordwill is researching on what he calls the "Worgen Curse". Only one place in all of Lordaeron bears traces of this strange curse: the fortress of Shadowfang and the nearby Pyrewood Village. Alphus believes this curse is somehow tied to the moon. When the full moon rises, those afflicted by this curse undergo a transformation, turning into strange, man-wolf hybrid creatures. This transformation is mental as well as physical; the worgen, like Alphus calls them, desire to hunt, slay, and eat. No matter their dispositions as humans during the day, at night under the full moon these individuals are bloodthirsty monsters. He believes that a possible cure might solve the problem instead of just simply eliminating them. He hopes that the cure, instead of preventing their transformation, would preserve the afflicted individual's mindset after it. Such an effect would allow good-hearted worgen to take on fearsome physical abilities and use these against the Forsaken, the Scourge, and other evil powers. Given proper funding and support, he believes he can create such a cure.
Alphus managed to get his funding and begun working on a cure for the Worgen Curse. He needed heroes to protect him and his servants as they moved through the forest gathering reagents and conducting tests. Later he sent these heroes to sneak into Pyrewood and drop the cure into the water supply, then they sneaked out and observed the changes over several days. This activity undoubtedly angered Shadowfang Keep's mysterious overseers. In addition to staying alive through all of this, Alphus sent the heroes to slay Shadowfang's evil lords to permanently stamp out the curse's evil.
Notes and trivia
- Players in the worgen starting zone are bitten by Josiah Avery upon completing the quest . Players are now debuffed with "Worgen Bite: You were bitten by a worgen. The wound looks minor... maybe it'll go away with time?" As the player progresses through the phases of the starting zone the debuff will change to "Infected Bite: The bite wound is getting worse. You don't feel so good." and finally to "Hideous Bite Wound:Your skin is black and blue around the wound. There also appears to be thick hair growing around the edge of it.". Whereupon turning in the quest a cutscene occurs detailing the player's transformation into a worgen.
- The worgen curse is not the only way to become a worgen, as demonstrated by Arugal during his various fights and against Apothecary Berard, as the mage is able to transform and control people of several races.
- Alternatively, his abilities and Berard's story may imply that Arugal actually controlled and used the worgen curse himself.
- In the Cataclysm alpha, Krennan Aranas used to alleviate the symptoms of the worgen curse. In live servers, he asks for mandrake essences.
- There is a small wolf-and-crossbones talisman hanging from the Gilnean crest. According to the artist, Samwise Didier, this was a charm made to ward off the worgen curse, which evidently did not work.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Traveler, chapter 5
- ^ a b
- ^ a b c d
- ^ a b c
- ^ a b
- ^ a b c d
- ^ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 4
- ^ a b c d e f g h i Curse of the Worgen Issue 3
- ^ a b c d e f Dark Riders
- ^ a b c d Wolfheart
- ^ Inconspicuous Bear
- ^ a b c d e Curse of the Worgen Issue 4
- ^ a b c d e Curse of the Worgen Issue 5
- ^ a b c Lord of His Pack
- ^ : Reduces Shadow and Nature damage taken by 1%.
- ^ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ^ a b c d e Curse of the Worgen Issue 1
- ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 2
- ^ a b
- ^ a b World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
- ^ Feral Worgen (Val'sharah)
- ^ Admiral Ripsnarl
- ^ Landen Stilwell
- ^ a b
- ^ Worgen in the Woods quest chain
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 102
- ^ a b Lands of Conflict, pg. 103
- ^ a b Lands of Conflict, pg. 104
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 105
- ^ Samwise Didier on Twitter