World of Warcraft: Game Manual

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World of Warcraft: Game Manual
WoW Game Manual.jpg
Author(s)
Artist(s)

Various

Pages

208[1]

Publisher(s)
Publication date

November 24, 2004

Binding

Digital, Paperback

Blizzard licensed products logo.png

World of Warcraft: Game Manual is a game manual for World of Warcraft that was published by Blizzard Entertainment on November 24, 2004 with the original packaging and was included in the World of Warcraft Battle Chest that was released on October 2, 2007.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Installation
  • Chapter 2: Creating an Account
  • Chapter 3: Getting Started
  • Chapter 4: Advanced User Interface
  • Chapter 5: Your Character
  • Chapter 6: Races
  • Chapter 7: Talents
  • Chapter 8: Skills
  • Chapter 9: The World
  • Chapter 10: Adventuring
  • Chapter 11: PVP Horde Versus Alliance
  • Chapter 12: Community

Transcript

1. History

A brief overview of the Third War... and the founding of the New Age.

Though the history of Azeroth is rife with tales of war and unending struggle, the invasion of the demonic Burning Legion stands as the most destructive conflict ever known.

The Legion meticulously planned its return to the mortal world over the course of many long centuries. Four years ago, their grand design came to fruition at last.

The Scourge of Lordaeron

A generation past, the lords of the Burning Legion attempted to destroy the kingdoms of Azeroth by loosing the orcish Horde upon the world. Ultimately their plans were undone when the corrupt Horde buckled in upon itself due to incessant infighting. Undaunted, the demons surmised that a new and more unified force was necessary to sew chaos and disorder across the mortal world.

To this end, the demon Kil'jaeden created the Scourge – a vast army of undead warriors, united under the singular will of the dread Lich King. With the Lich King as his puppet, Kil'jaeden was able to rally the Scourge and prepare it to annihilate human civilization for all time. The Lich King and his mortal servant, Kel'Thuzad, planned to spread a terrible plague across the human lands, thereby swelling the ranks of the Scourge with newly risen undead warriors. Once their preparations were made, Kel'Thuzad and his Cult of the Damned struck the first blow against civilization by releasing the plague upon northern Lordaeron.

Uther the Lightbringer, one of humanity's most famous heroes, investigated the infected regions in the hope of finding a way to halt the plague's progress. Despite his efforts, the plague continued to spread and threatened to tear the Alliance apart. As the ranks of the undead swept across Lordaeron, the king's only son, Prince Arthas, took up the fight against the Scourge. Arthas succeeded in killing Kel'Thuzad, but even so, the Lich King's forces grew with every soldier that fell in battle. Frustrated and stymied by the seemingly unstoppable enemy, Arthas took increasingly extreme steps to hold back their advance. Finally Uther warned Arthas that he was losing his hold on humanity.

Arthas' fear and resolve proved to be his ultimate undoing. He tracked the plague's source to the arctic land of Northrend, intending to end its threat forever. Instead, he fell into the Lich King's trap when he took up the cursed runeblade Frostmourne in the belief that he could use it to save his people. The sword did indeed grant him unfathomable power; however, it also stole his soul. His spirit lost and his sanity shattered, Arthas was transformed into the greatest of the Lich King's death knights. He willingly led the Scourge against his own kingdom, slew Uther in battle, and murdered his own father, King Terenas. Caught off guard by Arthas' unthinkable crimes, Lordaeron was crushed under the Lich King's iron heel.

Sunwell – The Fall of Quel'Thalas

Though he had defeated all of the people he now saw as his enemies, Arthas was haunted by the ghost of Kel'Thuzad. The ghost told Arthas to bring Kel'Thuzad's remains to the mystical Sunwell, which was hidden within the high elves' kingdom of Quel'Thalas.

Accordingly, Arthas and his Scourge invaded Quel'Thalas and laid siege to the high elves' crumbling defenses. Sylvanas Windrunner, the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, put up a valiant fight, but Arthas eventually wiped out the high elf army and won through to the Sunwell. In a cruel gesture of his dominance, he even raised Sylvanas' defeated body as a banshee, cursed to mindless undeath in the service of Quel'Thalas' conqueror.

In due course, Arthas submerged Kel'Thuzad's remains within the holy waters of the Sunwell. Although the potent waters of Eternity were fouled by this act, Kel'Thuzad was reborn as a sorcerous lich. Resurrected as a far more powerful being, Kel'Thuzad explained the next phase of the Lich King's plan. By the time Arthas and his army of the dead turned southward, not one living elf remained in Quel'Thalas. The glorious homeland of the high elves, which had stood for more than nine thousand years, was no more.

Archimonde's Return and the Flight to Kalimdor

Led by their young warchief, Thrall, the orcs suffered a series of setbacks on their journey across Kalimdor's Barrens. Though they befriended Cairne Bloodhoof and his mighty tauren warriors, many orcs began to succumb to the demonic bloodlust that had plagued them for years. Even Thrall's greatest lieutenant, Grom Hellscream, betrayed the Horde by giving himself over to his baser instincts. As Hellscream and his loyal Warsong warriors stalked through the forests of Ashenvale, they clashed with the night elf Sentinels. Certain that the orcs had returned to their warlike ways, the demigod Cenarius came forth to drive Hellscream and his orcs back. Even so, Hellscream and his orcs, overcome with supernatural hate and rage, managed to kill Cenarius and corrupt the ancient forestlands. Hellscream later redeemed his honor, however, by helping Thrall defeat Mannoroth, the demonlord who first cursed the orcs with his bloodline of hate and rage. With Mannoroth's death, the orcs' blood-curse was finally brought to an end.

While Medivh worked to convince the orcs and humans of the need for an alliance, the night elves fought the Legion in their own secretive ways. Tyrande Whisperwind, the immortal High Priestess of the night elf Sentinels, battled desperately to keep the demons and undead from overrunning the forests of Ashenvale. Tyrande realized that she needed help, so she set out to awaken the night elf druids from their thousand-year slumber. Calling upon her love, Malfurion Stormrage, Tyrande succeeded in galvanizing her defenses and driving the Legion back. With Malfurion's help, nature herself rose up to vanquish the Legion and its Scourge allies.

While searching for more of the hibernating druids, Malfurion found the barrow prison in which he had chained his brother, Illidan. Convinced that Illidan would aid them against the Legion, Tyrande set him free. Though Illidan did aid them for a time, he eventually fled to pursue his own interests.

The night elves braced themselves and fought the Burning Legion with grim determination. The Legion had never ceased in its desire for the Well of Eternity, long the source of strength for the World Tree and itself the heart of the night elf kingdom. If their planned assault on the Tree was successful, the demons would literally tear the world apart.

The Battle of Mount Hyjal

The Battle of Mount Hyjal (History of Warcraft)

The Betrayer Ascendant

During the Legion's invasion of Ashenvale, Tyrande released Illidan from his barrow prison, where he had spent ten thousand years of captivity. Initially he sought to appease his comrades, but soon he reverted to true form and consumed the energies of a powerful warlock artifact known as the Skull of Gul'dan. By doing so, Illidan developed demonic features and vastly magnified power. He also gained some of Gul'dan's old memories – especially those of the Tomb of Sargeras, the island dungeon rumored to hold the remains of the Dark Titan, Sargeras.

Bristling with power and free to roam the world once more, Illidan set out to find his own place in the scheme of things. However, Kil'jaeden confronted Illidan and made him an offer he could not refuse. Kil'jaeden was angered by Archimonde's defeat at Mount Hyjal, but he had bigger concerns than vengeance. Sensing that his creation, the Lich King, was growing too powerful to control, Kil'jaeden ordered Illidan to destroy Ner'zhul and put an end to the undead Scourge once and for all. In exchange, Illidan would receive untold power and a true place amongst the remaining lords of the Burning Legion.

Illidan agreed and immediately set out to destroy the Frozen Throne, the icy crystal cask in which the Lich King's spirit resided. Illidan knew that he would need a mighty artifact to destroy the Frozen Throne. Using the knowledge he had gained from Gul'dan's memories, Illidan decided to seek out the Tomb of Sargeras and claim the Dark Titan's remains. He called in some old Highborne debts and called the serpentine naga from their dark undersea lairs. Led by the cunning sea-witch, Lady Vashj, the naga helped Illidan reach the Broken Isles, where Sargeras' tomb was rumored to be located.

As Illidan set out with the naga, Warden Maiev Shadowsong began to hunt him. Maiev had been Illidan's jailor for ten thousand years and relished the prospect of recapturing him. Nevertheless, Illidan outsmarted Maiev and her Watchers and succeeded in claiming the Eye of Sargeras despite their efforts. With the powerful Eye in his possession, Illidan traveled to the former wizard-city of Dalaran. Strengthened by the city's ley power lines, Illidan used the Eye to cast a destructive spell against the Lich King's citadel of Icecrown in distant Northrend. Illidan's attack shattered the Lich King's defenses and ruptured the very roof of the world. At the final moment, Illidan's destructive spell was stopped when his brother Malfurion and the Priestess Tyrande arrived to aid Maiev.

Knowing that Kil'jaeden would not be pleased with his failure to destroy the Frozen Throne, Illidan fled to the barren dimension known as Outland: the last remnants of Draenor, the orcs' former homeworld. There he intended to plan his next moves while evading Kil'jaeden's wrath. After they succeeded in stopping Illidan, Tyrande and Malfurion returned home to Ashenvale Forest to watch over their people. Maiev, however, would not quit so easily, and followed Illidan to Outland, determined to bring him to justice.

Rise of the Blood Elves

At this time, the undead Scourge had essentially transformed Lordaeron and Quel'Thalas into the toxic Plaguelands. There were only a few pockets of Alliance resistance forces left. One such group, consisting primarily of high elves, was led by the last of the Sunstrider dynasty: Prince Kael'thas. Kael, an accomplished wizard himself, grew wary of the failing Alliance, which treated its elven allies with suspicion and hostility. The high elves grieved for the loss of their homeland and decided to call themselves blood elves in honor of their fallen people. Yet as they worked to keep the Scourge at bay, they suffered considerably at being cut off from the Sunwell that had empowered them. When the Alliance ordered the blood elves to fight against nearly impossible odds, the naga offered assistance that turned the tide of battle. Unfortunately the Alliance learned of Kael's association with the naga and condemned him and his people as traitors. Imprisoned and condemned to death, the blood elves were rescued by Lady Vashj.

With no other place left to go, Kael and his blood elves followed Lady Vashj to Outland. Together they sought out Warden Maiev Shadowsong, who had recaptured Illidan. It was only a matter of time until the combined naga and blood elf forces managed to defeat her and free Illidan from her grasp. According to Illidan, there was no cure for the blood elves' racial addiction to magic. Illidan had a different proposal in mind: in return for the blood elves' loyalty, he would grant them all the magic they could desire. It was an offer Kael had to accept: he was certain his people would die without either a cure or a new source of magic. Kael embraced his people's Highborne ancestry and joined the naga. Based in Outland, Illidan gathered his redoubled forces for a second strike against the Lich King and his fortress of Icecrown.

Civil War in the Plaguelands

Ner'zhul, the Lich King, knew that his time was short. Imprisoned within the Frozen Throne, he suspected that Kil'jaeden would send his agents to destroy him. The damage caused by Illidan's spell had ruptured the Frozen Throne, and the Lich King was losing his power daily. Desperate to save himself, he called out to his greatest mortal servant: the death knight who now called himself King Arthas.

Meanwhile, Arthas had become embroiled in a civil war in Lordaeron. Half of the standing undead forces, led by the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner, staged a coup for control over the undead empire. As the Lich King's strength waned, so too did Arthas' powers. Alerted to the Lich King's peril, Arthas struck out for the north and left the Scourge in the hands of his lieutenant, Kel'Thuzad, as the war escalated throughout the Plaguelands.

Ultimately Sylvanas and her rebel undead (known as the Forsaken) claimed the ruined capital city of Lordaeron as their own. Constructing their own bastion, far beneath the wrecked city, the Forsaken vowed to defeat the Scourge and drive Kel'Thuzad and his minions from the land.

Weakened, but determined to save his master, Arthas reached Northrend only to find Illidan's naga and blood elves waiting for him. Arthas and his nerubian allies raced against Illidan's forces to reach the Icecrown Glacier and defend the Frozen Throne.

The Lich King Triumphant

Even weakened as he was, Arthas outmaneuvered Illidan and reached the Frozen Throne first. Using his runeblade, Frostmourne, Arthas shattered the Lich King's icy prison and thereby released Ner'zhul's enchanted helm and breastplate. Arthas placed the unimaginably powerful helm on his head, and Ner'zhul and Arthas' spirits fused into a single mighty being, as Ner'zhul had planned all along. Illidan and his troops were forced to flee back to Outland in disgrace, and Arthas became one of the most powerful entities the world has ever known. Currently Arthas, the new and immortal Lich King, resides in Northrend; he is rumored to be rebuilding the citadel of Icecrown. His trusted lieutenant, Kel'Thuzad, commands the Scourge in the Plaguelands. Sylvanas and her rebel Forsaken hold only the Tirisfal Glades, a small portion of the war-torn kingdom.

Old Hatreds – The Colonization of Kalimdor

Old Hatreds - The Colonization of Kalimdor

2. Races in Conflict

Humans

The noble humans of Stormwind are a proud, tenacious race. They bravely fought the orcish Horde for generations as the patrons of the Grand Alliance. Just as they thought peace had at last settled over their war-torn kingdoms, an even darker shadow descended upon the world. The undead Scourge unleashed a foul plague of death upon humanity and succeeded in decimating the northern human kingdom of Lordaeron. The few humans who survived fled south to the protection of Stormwind. Yet no sooner had the undead struck than the demonic Burning Legion began its cataclysmic invasion of the world. The warriors of humanity stood fast against the Legion and helped save the world from imminent destruction.

Nearly four years later, the defenders of Stormwind stand vigilant against any who would threaten the sanctity of their lands. Situated in the foothills of Elwynn Forest, Stormwind City is one of the last bastions of human power in the world. The child-king Anduin Wrynn rules the people of Stormwind, who remain steadfast in their commitment to the Grand Alliance. Backed by their stalwart allies, the armies of Stormwind have been called away to once again fight the savage Horde on distant battlefields. With the armies gone, the defense of Stormwind now falls to its proud citizens.

You must defend the kingdom against those who encroach upon it, and hunt down the subversive traitors who seek to destroy it from within. Now is the time for heroes. Now humanity's greatest chapter can be told.

Stormwind

The city of Stormwind stands as the last bastion of human power in Azeroth. Rebuilt after the Second War, Stormwind is a marvel of human design and engineering. Stormwind's guards keep the peace within the city's walls, and its young king, Anduin Wrynn, rules from his mighty keep. The Trade District bustles with trade from across the continent and beyond, while adventurers of every sort can be found wandering the streets of Old Town. Unaffected by the ravages of the Scourge in the north, Stormwind still faces its own threats, both from without and from within.

Notable humans

King Anduin Wrynn - King Anduin is as wise a ruler as any tenyear- old has a right to be. Recently his father, King Varian Wrynn, went missing under suspicious circumstances while en route to a diplomatic summit at Theramore Isle. At the behest of the royal councilor, Lady Prestor, young Anduin was given the crown so that order could be preserved within the kingdom of Stormwind. Though few citizens are aware that their true king has been missing for so long, Anduin does the best he can to allay their fears. It is widely held that the boy will grow to become a shrewd leader one day.

Archbishop Benedictus - In his youth, the kindly Benedictus was the student of Lordaeron's religious leader, Archbishop Alonsus Faol. Benedictus spent many years learning from his pious master and helped the Church of Light construct its most striking monument, the Cathedral in Stormwind. Following the Faol's death, Benedictus took charge of the Church and swore to continue the good work his mentor had begun so many years ago.

Jaina Proudmoore - Jaina Proudmoore is the most powerful human sorceress alive. A one-time ally of Prince Arthas, Jaina saw the fall of Lordaeron firsthand. Traveling to Kalimdor, Jaina swore to defeat the Burning Legion and its sinister agents any way she could. Joining forces with the night elves and even the orcish Horde, Jaina helped defeat the demon Archimonde and banish the Legion forever. She then gathered the human survivors in Kalimdor and founded the port city of Theramore. There she rules over the tattered remnants of the Alliance and hopes to reunite the distant human kingdoms once more.

Dwarves

The stoic dwarves of Ironforge spent countless generations mining treasures from deep within the earth. Secure in their impregnable stronghold of Ironforge Mountain, the dwarves rarely ventured beyond the wintry peaks of Dun Morogh. Even so, when the orcs invaded Azeroth and set out to conquer the human, elven, and dwarven lands, the dwarves offered to join the Grand Alliance. The resilient and ingenious dwarves proved to be the backbone of the Alliance forces and helped usher in victory after victory. Recently the dwarves unearthed a series of ruins that held the key to the secrets of their lost heritage. Driven to discover the truth about his people's fabled origins, King Magni Bronzebeard ordered that the dwarves shift their industry from mining and engineering to that of archaeology. Magni helped to create the famed Explorers' Guild of Ironforge, a group utterly devoted to plumbing the secrets of the ancient world and delving out the truth of the dwarves' fabled existence.

An integral part of the Grand Alliance, the rugged dwarven armies have been called away to battle the merciless Horde in faraway lands. In these perilous times, the defense of the mountain kingdom falls to brave dwarves like you. The spirits of the dwarven kings watch over you, and the very mountains are your strength. The future of your people is in your hands.

Ironforge

Many dwarven strongholds fell during the Second War, but the mighty city of Ironforge, nestled in the wintry peaks of Dun Morogh, was never breached by the invading Horde. A marvel to the dwarves' skill at shaping rock and stone, Ironforge was constructed in the heart of the mountain itself: an expansive underground city of explorers, miners, and warriors. While the Alliance has been weakened by recent events, the dwarves of Ironforge, led by King Magni Bronzebeard, are forging a new future in the world.

Notable dwarves

King Magni Bronzebeard - The eldest of the three Bronzebeard brothers, Magni was destined to be the king under the mountain. Strong of arm and keen of mind, Magni loved his two brothers above all else in the world. During the recent fall of Lordaeron, his middle brother, Muradin, was killed by the death knight Prince Arthas. Magni was overcome with grief at the news of Muradin's demise, but he and the youngest brother, Brann, remained steadfast in their desire to continue serving the dwarven people. Brann, an explorer of some renown, went missing only months ago, and King Magni has lost hope that Brann still lives. Though he remains a wise and strong leader, his pain and sorrow weigh heavily upon him. Many dwarves wonder whether the kingdom will ever see another Bronzebeard sitting on the High Throne of Ironforge.

Brann Bronzebeard - One of the greatest explorers to ever wander the lands of Azeroth, Brann Bronzebeard was recognized and welcomed across the known world. The warm, courageous dwarf had made friends and acquaintances in nearly every charted land – and presumably those uncharted as well. Brann spent many years mapping out the remote corners and hidden nooks of the Eastern Kingdoms for his beloved Explorers' Guild. With the recent discovery of Kalimdor, Brann was one of the first dwarves to tread the unknown paths of the ancients. Little is known about Brann's recent disappearance other than the fact that he was headed towards the continent of Northrend to investigate his brother Muradin's death. It is unknown whether or not he ever made it to the icy shores of that land.

High Explorer Magellas - Muninn Magellas has had an insatiable curiosity for history and arcana since he was a small boy. Now, as the patron of the Explorers' Guild, his childhood wish has come true. Magellas is responsible for mapping out the world and cataloguing its various species, relics, and treasures for the generations to come. Employing a small army of Prospectors, Magellas has sent his agents all over the world to gain knowledge and insight for his people. Like King Magni, Magellas was grieved to hear of Brann's loss. Nevertheless, he is committed to steering the Explorers' Guild and gaining valuable insight on the mistakes of the past.

Gnomes

The eccentric, often brilliant gnomes are held as one of the most peculiar races of the world. With their obsession for developing radical new technologies and constructing marvels of mind-bending engineering, it's a wonder that any gnomes have survived to proliferate. Over the years, the gnomes have contributed ingenious weapons to aid the Grand Alliance in its fierce battles against the Horde.

Thriving in the wondrous techno-city of Gnomeregan, the gnomes shared the resources of the forested peaks of Dun Morogh with their dwarven cousins for generations. Yet recently, a barbaric menace rose up from the bowels of the earth and invaded Gnomeregan. The troggs – believed to have been unearthed from the Uldaman excavation – erupted beneath Gnomeregan and began to slaughter every gnome within the city. Though the gnomish defense forces staged a valiant defense, they could not save their wondrous city.

At the command of the High Tinker Mekkatorque, the gnomes opened the pressure valves of their giant, grinding machines and released toxic radiation throughout the city. Though the radiation killed the troggs, the gnomes soon discovered that it killed their own people just as quickly. Nearly eighty percent of the gnomish race died within days. Those that survived evacuated the great city and fled to the protection of their dwarven cousins in Ironforge.

There they remain, devising radical strategies to retake their beloved city at any cost. As a gnome of proud standing, it falls to you to answer the challenge and lead your curious people to a brighter future.

Notable gnomes

High Tinker Mekkatorque - The gnomes have not had a proper king or queen for over four hundred years. Instead, they prefer to elect their highest officials for set terms of service. The highest office in Gnomeregan, High Tinker, has been held by the crafty Gelbin Mekkatorque for the past seven years. Gelbin is one of the most renowned inventors ever, and has been honored as a just and skillful leader. However, when the troggs began their invasion of Gnomeregan, Gelbin was unprepared to stop them. At the behest of his top advisor, Mekgineer Thermaplugg, he ordered that the city be bathed in toxic radiation. Though the radiation stopped the raiders' advance, it ultimately killed more gnomes than troggs. Now the High Tinker carries the weight of the dead on his shoulders and seeks to avenge his people by reclaiming their lost city.

Mekgineer Thermaplugg - Sicco Thermaplugg served as High Tinker Mekkatorque's chief advisor for many years. A brooding but imaginative engineer, Thermaplugg secretly coveted the role of High Tinker. It is rumored that Thermaplugg actually knew of the trogg invasion before it began, and that he ushered in the events that befell the gnomish race. Though these reports were never verified, Mekkatorque believes they could be true. Mekgineer Thermaplugg disappeared shortly after the evacuation of the irradiated city. None can say whether or not he still lives within the toxic halls of Gnomeregan.

Night elves

For ten thousand years, the immortal night elves cultivated a druidic society within the shadowed recesses of Ashenvale Forest. Then the catastrophic invasion of the Burning Legion shattered the tranquility of their ancient civilization. Led by the Arch-Druid Malfurion Stormrage and the Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, the mighty night elves rose to challenge the demonic onslaught. Aided by the newly arrived orcs and humans, the night elves succeeded in halting the Legion's advance and defeating its master, the demonlord Archimonde. Though victorious, the night elves were forced to sacrifice their cherished immortality and watch their beloved forests burn.

In the aftermath of the horrific conflict, Malfurion and Tyrande helped their people rebuild their shattered villages. Slowly the night elves began to adjust to their mortal existence. Such an adjustment was far from easy, and there were many night elves who could not adjust to the prospects of aging, disease, and frailty. Seeking to regain their immortality, a number of wayward druids conspired to plant a special tree that would reestablish a link between their spirits and the eternal world. When Malfurion heard about this plan, he warned that nature would never bless such a selfish act. Shortly thereafter, Malfurion's spirit was somehow lost within the depths of the Emerald Dream. Though his fellow druids attempted to find his wandering spirit, only his body remained sleeping within his Barrow Den.

With Malfurion missing, Fandral Staghelm – the leader of those who wished to plant the new World Tree – became the new Arch-Druid. In no time at all, he and his fellow druids had forged ahead and planted the great tree, Teldrassil, off the stormy coasts of northern Kalimdor. Under their care, the tree sprouted up above the clouds. Among the twilight boughs of the colossal tree, the wondrous city of Darnassus took root. However, the tree was not consecrated with nature's blessing and soon fell prey to the corruption of the Burning Legion. Now the wildlife and even the limbs of Teldrassil itself are tainted by a growing darkness. As one of the few night elves still left in the world, it is your sworn duty to defend Darnassus and the wild children of nature against the Legion's encroaching corruption.

Darnassus city

High atop the boughs of the enormous tree Teldrassil is the wondrous city of Darnassus, the new refuge of the reclusive night elves. Druids, hunters, and warriors alike make their homes among the rows of wood-crafted lodges and delicately tended groves. The Temple of the Moon rises like a shining beacon above the trees, flanked by the colonnaded Hall of Justice, where the vigilant Sentinels gather to safeguard the land. Ruled by the High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, Darnassus stands as a tranquil testament to all that the night elves hold sacred. A city in tune with the rush and flow of nature, Darnassus was built along the shores of a large lake, with elegant bridges spanning its crystalline waters. Elsewhere, the falling leaves of the forest carpet the soft pathways of the city.

Notable night elves

Tyrande Whisperwind - Tyrande is the High Priestess of the moon goddess, Elune. She has served as the leader of the night elf Sentinels for nearly ten thousand years, but her long vigil has left her with little mercy for those she regards as her foe. An exceptional and fearless warrior, she stands as one of the greatest heroes in recorded history. Following the catastrophic invasion of the Burning Legion, Tyrande ruled over her people alongside her mate, the Arch-Druid Malfurion Stormrage, until he disappeared into the mystic Emerald Dream. With Malfurion inexplicably lost, Tyrande has again become the sole ruler of her prideful people. Troubled by Malfurion's disappearance, she nevertheless strives to keep the night elves from reliving the mistakes of the past.

Malfurion Stormrage - The greatest druid ever to live, and arguably one of the most powerful beings in history, Malfurion Stormrage stands as both prophet and savior to his people. Under the leadership of Tyrande and Malfurion, the night elves vanquished the Burning Legion not once, but twice. To replenish his powers, Malfurion periodically hibernates within the spirit realm known as the Emerald Dream. Recently something went wrong with Malfurion's dreamstate. Now he is trapped somewhere within the dream, beyond even the reach of the green dragons whose realm it is. With Malfurion lost, the night elves will certainly stumble into darkness, just as they have since time immemorial.

Fandral Staghelm - One of Malfurion's top lieutenants, Fandral is a clever druid who has trained many of the newest generation of druids of the wild. His hot temperament has sometimes clashed with the more restrained Malfurion. Fandral believes that the future of the night elves demands more expansionism and military planning. His radical beliefs and aggressive demeanor often lead him to quarrel openly with the High Priestess, Tyrande. Regardless, to this date, Fandral has proven to be an effective replacement for the missing Malfurion.

Orcs

Long ago, the noble orcish race was corrupted by the Burning Legion and transformed into the merciless, destructive Horde. Lured to the world of Azeroth, the orcs were forced to make war upon the human kingdoms of Stormwind and Lordaeron. Though the Horde nearly succeeded in annihilating humanity, it ultimately devoured itself from within and collapsed. The defeated orcs spent many years within guarded prisons, unable to function without the prospect of conquest and warfare. After many years, a visionary young warchief rose to lead his people in their darkest hour. Fittingly enough, the young orc's name was Thrall. Under his rule, the orcs freed themselves from the chains of demonic corruption and embraced their shamanistic heritage.

At the behest of a strange prophet, Thrall led his people to the ancient lands of Kalimdor. There, Thrall and the Horde came face to face with their old oppressor, the Burning Legion. With the aid of the humans and night elves, the orcs defeated the Legion and set out to find their own path in their adopted world. The orcs claimed the harsh wastelands of Durotar as their kingdom in Kalimdor.

Now based in the warrior city of Orgrimmar, the orcs look forward to a shining new future for their people. Though they are no longer driven by dreams of conquest, they stand ready to destroy all who would challenge their sovereignty or their supremacy. It is your duty to crush the enemies of Durotar, both seen and unseen, for the nefarious agents of the Burning Legion still wander the land.

Orgrimmar

Named in honor of the legendary Orgrim Doomhammer, Orgrimmar was founded as the capital city of the orcs' new homeland. Built within a huge, winding canyon in the harsh land of Durotar, Orgrimmar stands as one of the mightiest warrior cities in the world. Behind Orgrimmar's immense walls, elderly shaman pass their knowledge on to the Horde's newest generation of leaders, while warriors spar in the gladiatorial arena, honing their skills in preparation for the trials that await them in this dangerous land.

Notable orcs

Thrall - Thrall, the son of Durotan, is perhaps the mightiest orc alive. Armed with the mighty Doomhammer, Thrall is a peerless warrior and powerful shaman. He stands as warchief over the entire Horde, holding dominion over the Darkspear trolls and tauren tribes alike. His honor, cunning, and compassion have won him many allies over the years, even amongst the humans and night elves. Thrall lives to defend his people's freedom and ensure the safety of the extended Horde.

Nazgrel - Nazgrel was the preeminent warrior of the Frostwolf clan, which had once been ruled by Thrall's father. When Thrall joined the clan, Nazgrel was initially unwilling to accept him, but after Thrall had proven himself in battle, Nazgrel learned to respect the younger orc. Since then, Nazgrel has served as Thrall's general and chief of security. It is Nazgrel's duty to protect Durotar from internal threats and anarchy. He is a grim and fearsome orc, utterly committed to his warchief and the glory of the Horde.

Drek'Thar - The elder shaman of the Frostwolf clan, Drek'Thar served as Thrall's tutor many years ago. Blind since birth, Drek'Thar had to prove his worth during the Horde's dark period. He found the spirits of the elements to be close companions, so shamanism became his path to might. Despite his power over the elements, Drek'Thar has always maintained his meekness and wisdom. He continues to shepherd the younger shaman of the Horde in the old traditions of his people.

Tauren

For countless generations, the bestial tauren roamed the plains of the Barrens, hunted the mighty kodos, and sought the wisdom of their eternal goddess, the Earth Mother. Scattered across the land, the wandering tribes were united only by a common hatred for their sworn enemy, the marauding centaur. Seeking aid against the centaur, the chieftain, Cairne Bloodhoof, befriended Warchief Thrall and the other orcs, who had recently journeyed to Kalimdor.

With the orcs' help, Cairne and his Bloodhoof tribe were able to drive back the centaur and claim the grasslands of Mulgore for their own. For the first time in hundreds of years, the tauren had a land to call their own. Upon the windswept mesa of Thunder Bluff, Cairne built a refuge for his people, where tauren of every tribe is welcome. Over time, the scattered tauren tribes united under Cairne's rule. There are a few tribes who disagree about the direction their new nation should take, but all agree that Cairne is the wisest and best suited to lead them towards the future.

Though the noble tauren are peaceful in nature, the rites of the Great Hunt are venerated as the heart of their spiritual culture. Every tauren, warrior or otherwise, seeks identity both as a hunter and as a child of the Earth Mother. Having reached the age of maturity, you must test your skills in the wild and prove yourself in the Great Hunt.

Thunder Bluff

The city of Thunder Bluff lies atop a series of mesas that overlook the verdant grasslands of Mulgore. Once a nomadic people, the tauren recently established the city as a center for trade caravans, traveling artisans, and inventors of every kind. The proud city also stands as a refuge for the many hunters who stalk their dangerous prey through the Barrens and its surrounding areas. Long bridges of wood and rope span the chasms between the mesas, and each mesa is topped with tents, longhouses, colorfully painted totems, and spirit lodges. The mighty chief, Cairne Bloodhoof, presides over the bustling city, ensuring that the united tauren tribes live in peace and security.

Notable tauren

Cairne Bloodhoof - Cairne is dedicated to serving his people and to watching over their safety in an ever-darkening world. An outstanding warrior, Cairne is considered one of the most dangerous creatures alive. Despite his strength and valor, he is a gentle soul who longs only for the peace and tranquility of the open plains. It is rumored that if he could lay the responsibilities of chieftain on another, Cairne would leave Thunder Bluff in an instant and retire to the wilds. Many believe that he is training his son, Baine, to take his place as chieftain one fateful day.

Magatha Grimtotem - Magatha is the elder crone of the mighty Grimtotem clan. Blessed with shamanic powers when she was just a young girl, Magatha has sought power and prestige nearly her whole life. She became the matriarch of the Grimtotem clan through an arranged marriage that many suspect she arranged herself, but subsequently lost her mate to an unforeseen climbing accident. Since her mate's death, Magatha has commanded the stern Grimtotem warriors. The Grimtotems believe that Magatha will lead them in eradicating the lesser races from Kalimdor and retaking the tauren's ancestral holdings abroad. Magatha constantly spars with Cairne Bloodhoof over the direction of the tauren's future and feels that only she is fit to rule her people.

Hamuul Runetotem - A childhood friend of Cairne Bloodhoof, Hamuul Runetotem serves as the elder druid of Thunder Bluff. Hamuul befriended the mighty night elf Malfurion Stormrage during the recent invasion of the Burning Legion. The great druid taught Hamuul many secrets of the wild and blessed him with the touch of nature. Since that time, Hamuul has become an honored member of the (predominantly night elf) Cenarion Circle, and is recognized as the first tauren druid in nearly twenty generations. Hamuul is a fierce supporter of Cairne Bloodhoof and teaches the ways of druidism to his honored brethren.

Trolls

The vicious trolls that populate the numerous jungle isles of the South Seas are renowned for their cruelty and dark mysticism. Barbarous and superstitious, they carry a seething hatred for all other races. At the height of the Gurubashi Empire, the jungle trolls ruled over the lands from Stranglethorn Vale in Azeroth to the Echo Isles of Kalimdor. However, at the apex of their reign, the Gurubashi people splintered into a handful of warring tribes. One such tribe, the Darkspear tribe, was driven from its lands and forced to fend for itself amidst the deadly jungle races of Stranglethorn.

After generations of loss and servitude to larger and less honorable tribes, the Darkspears faced possible extinction. Though their warriors were amongst the bravest ever born, the incessant politics of the Gurubashi tribes threatened to end the Darkspears' way of life. Even worse, humans began erecting settlements in Stranglethorn as well. It was during this dire time that the Darkspears met Warchief Thrall and the warriors of the orcish Horde. The Darkspears, led by the aged witch doctor, Sen'jin, appealed to Thrall and his Horde for help against the human invaders. Together the trolls and orcs won the day, but it proved to be a short-lived victory. The local murlocs captured many of the victors and prepared to sacrifice them to a sea witch. The Darkspears fought alongside the Horde, but the noble Sen'jin fell during the final battle against the murlocs.

In honor of Sen'jin's sacrifice, Thrall vowed that the Darkspears would always have a place within the Horde. He offered the trolls sanctuary in the new kingdom he and his orcs planned to build across the sea. Vol'jin, the son of Sen'jin, took control of the Darkspear tribe and wished Thrall farewell. Nearly one year later, he finally led his people to Kalimdor and made a home for them on the Echo Isles, just off the rugged crimson coastline of Durotar. As one of the only surviving Darkspears, it falls to you to reclaim the glory of your tribe.

Though the Darkspears originally settled in the Echo Isles, they were betrayed by one of their own, a crazed sorcerer named Zalazane. Forced to flee from their island holdings, the Darkspears created the fishing village of Sen'jin on the Durotar coast. From this crude village, the Darkspears and their allies strike at Zalazane's holdings on the Echo Isles, determined to win back their jungle home at any cost.

Notable trolls

Vol'jin - Vol'jin is a powerful shadow hunter and one of the most cunning trolls alive. His father, Sen'jin, fell in battle while aiding Thrall and the Horde, and Vol'jin has sworn to use all of his powers and wisdom to lead his tribe just as his father would have. Vol'jin's crafty stratagems and quick wit have served Thrall well over the years. He spends most of his time in the orcs' city of Orgrimmar, consulting with Thrall and helping to expand the Horde's security and influence over Kalimdor.

Master Gadrin - Gadrin is one of Vol'jin's most trusted advisers. Along with a young witch doctor named Zalazane, Gadrin led the mystical training of many Darkspear priests and mages. However, Zalazane went mad from the mystical forces he had unleashed. The crazed witch doctor placed a curse upon the Echo Isles and drove Gadrin and his brethren away. Now Gadrin seeks to end Zalazane's rampage and put the souls of his cursed brethren to rest.

Undead (Forsaken)

Bound to the iron will of the tyrant Lich King, the vast undead armies of the Scourge seek to eradicate all life on Azeroth. Led by the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner, one group of undead broke away from the Scourge and freed themselves of the Lich King's domination. These renegades call themselves the Forsaken. They fight a constant battle not only to retain their freedom from the Scourge, but also to exterminate those who would hunt them as monsters.

With Sylvanas as their banshee queen, the Forsaken have built a dark stronghold beneath the ruins of Lordaeron's former capital city. This hidden ‘Undercity’ forms a sprawling labyrinth that stretches beneath the haunted woods of the Tirisfal Glades. From this bastion, the Forsaken wage an unending battle against the Scourge as well as the remaining humans who still seek to reclaim their lands. For though the very land is cursed, the zealous humans of the Scarlet Crusade cling to their scattered holdings, obsessed with eradicating the undead and retaking their once-beautiful homeland.

Convinced that the primitive races of the Horde can help them achieve victory over their enemies, the Forsaken have entered an alliance of convenience with the savage orcs and the proud tauren. Harboring no true loyalty for their new allies, they will go to any lengths to ensure their dark plans come to fruition. As one of the Forsaken, you must eliminate any who pose a threat to the new order – be they human, undead, or otherwise.

Undercity

Far beneath the ruined capital city of Lordaeron, the royal crypts have been turned into a bastion of evil and undeath. Arthas originally intended the Undercity to be the Scourge's seat of power, but the budding city was abandoned when he was recalled to aid the Lich King in distant Northrend. In Arthas' absence, the Dark Lady, Sylvanas Windrunner, led the rebel Forsaken to the Undercity and claimed it for her own. Since taking up residence, the Forsaken have worked to complete the Undercity's construction by dredging out the twisted maze of catacombs, tombs, and dungeons that Arthas began.

Notable Forsaken

Sylvanas Windrunner - Before the coming of the plague, Sylvanas Windrunner was the brave Ranger-General of Silvermoon. During the Third War, Prince Arthas invaded the elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas. Sylvanas led her forces in a desperate struggle against the undead Scourge, but Arthas eventually defeated the high elves and transformed Sylvanas into one of his banshee slaves. Cursed to mindless undeath, Sylvanas only regained her will when the Lich King's powers waned. Eventually she outwitted the Scourge and broke away with her rebel faction, which she came to be known as the Forsaken. Now she rules over the Forsaken from the Undercity of Lordaeron. Her goal is to take vengeance upon Arthas one day and find lasting freedom for her cursed people.

Varimathras - The dreadlord Varimathras was one of three demons appointed to rule over the Plaguelands on behalf of the Burning Legion. These dreadlords sought to overthrow the death knight Arthas and undo the power of the undead Scourge. Varimathras and his brethren coordinated their efforts with those of the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner in an attempt to overthrow Arthas and claim Lordaeron. Though their plot worked as planned, Sylvanas turned on the dreadlords next. In order to save his own life, Varimathras was forced to swear allegiance to Sylvanas and her Forsaken warriors. Now he serves as her majordomo and works ceaselessly to safeguard the Undercity from all threats.

Master Apothecary Faranell - In life, Faranell was an alchemist of great renown and spent the better part of his days studying amongst the learned wizards of Dalaran. He enjoyed nothing more than experimenting with concoctions of every sort, always looking to create a serum for this, an antidote for that. After he died from the plague and rose as one of the Forsaken, his limitless curiosity was twisted by depthless sadism. Now Faranell uses his skills in service to Queen Sylvanas by crafting alchemical monstrosities and designing newer, more devastating plagues and toxins.

See also

References

External links