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Playable races in World of Warcraft e
Alliance 15 Dwarf · Gnome · Human · Night elf Orc · Tauren · Troll · Undead Horde 15
Night elves, the Children of the Stars
NightElfCrest
Faction/AffiliationAlliance, Sentinels
Character classesDruid (exclusive), Hunter, Priest, Rogue, Warrior
Racial capitalDarnassus (by way of Moonglade and Zin-Azshari)
Racial leader(s)High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind (Official Head of Government)
Racial mountSaber
HomeworldAzeroth
Primary language(s)Darnassian
Average height2.15 meters/7 feet

The night elves, or Kal'dorei, meaning "Children of the Stars" in their native tongue of Darnassian, have a long and fascinating history.  Native to the western continent of Kalimdor, the night elves ended a long period of seclusion at the end of the Third War and became members of the Alliance.

Introduction and History

At the beginning of the world now known as Azeroth, the god-like Titans created a magical well, dubbed the Well of Eternity by the Kaldorei, or night elves. Over time, it had become the source of their power, wisdom, and immortality. This immense source of mystical energy shone like a beacon throughout the Twisting Nether, eventually claiming the attention of Sargeras, the Dark Titan, destroyer of worlds, and he sought to claim its power as his own. 

Thus began the corruption of the Kaldorei. Posing as a venerable god, Sargeras managed to contact the most powerful of all the elves, Azshara.  Sargeras convinced Azshara, and her most loyal assistant, Counselor Xavius, to open a gateway to Azeroth that this almighty "god" might come forth and bless their whole race (meanwhile eradicating all races deemed "unworthy"). In their insolence, those born to nobility, the Highborne, sought to use and control this source of unimaginable power and unspeakable evil; and for their pride, they were consumed by the magic they so eagerly wished to wield. 

As the portal into the mortal world grew larger, Sargeras sent ever more numerous "emissaries" to aid with the portal and bring the word of their god from the beyond. These demons were members of Sargeras's immortal army, known as the Burning Legion, and they had put to the flame countless worlds throughout the void. As the portal grew close to its completion to allow the Dark Titan entry to Azeroth, a small band of Kaldorei led by a Highborne-turned-Druid named Malfurion Stormrage realized the threat posed to their entire world by this nameless evil and the now-crazed Azshara. Realizing his seemingly imminent victory could be threatened by these few elves, Sargeras commanded that his Legion make war upon Azeroth and destroy the unworthy, which included the entirety of the Kaldorei race.

As war raged across the young world, many protectors of the world emerged to aid the young Malfurion Stormrage in closing this portal to the Twisting Nether and the malovelence which now stood poised to destroy them all. The demi-god Cenarius, the ancients, and the powerful dragonflights clashed head on with the advancing legion. Having learned much about the power and beauty of Nature from his Shan'do Cenarius, Malfurion was able to disrupt the nearly completed portal spell and close his world off from the invincible Sargeras.

With so much power in flux, the Well of Eternity imploded in a magical cataclysm, sending untold numbers to their doom. Many Kaldorei were dragged to the bottom of the sea, only to be twisted and transformed into the sea serpents now known as the vile naga. The catastrophe tore the continent apart into three sections, and left a permanent storm known as the Maelstrom where the well once stood.

With the majority of the Highborne dead, the Kaldorei turned away from their arcane legacy and began a new culture focusing on attunement with nature and their surroundings. The surviving Highborne tried to assimilate into the new druidic society, but over time they could not ignore the burning addiction to magic their whole race suffered from. The Highborne (now calling themselves High elves), led by Dath'Remar, left Kalimdor, sailing across the sea to the other, newly-formed continent. Here, they established the nation of Quel'Thalas. The night elves, as they now called themselves, settled into their new culture, living as closely to the land and its inhabitants as possible. In time, they were granted a chance to continue as immortals when the World Tree, Nordrassil, was planted on Mount Hyjal with the remaining essence of the Well of Eternity. For untold ages, their civilization flourished, forgotten by the centuries.

The Third War led to the rediscovery of the continent of Kalimdor and the night elf race. The orcs, newly fled from Azeroth and seeking resources for their armies, began a lumber project against which the night elves took great offense. This led to many skirmishes between the Warsong Clan of the orcs and the night elf Sentinel force. Eventually, the orcs and the night elves suspended their enmity and fought alongside each other, along with the humans and dwarves of the Alliance, against the demonic forces of Archimonde, a colossal lieutenant of the Burning Legion.

The night elves are now trying to rebuild what was lost after the battle with Archimonde at Mount Hyjal. In destroying Nordrassil to prevent the return of the Burning Legion, the night elves made the ultimate sacrifice: that of their immortality. They have founded the city of Darnassus on the ill-planned and unblessed new World Tree of Teldrassil, and are trying to reclaim the forest’s inhabitants from the madness spread by demonic corruption of the Third War. In the absence of Shan'do Stormrage, the night elves are led by Tyrande Whisperwind and Arch-Druid Fandral Staghelm. Though they are now aware that there are allies outside the boundaries of their woods, one should not walk lightly in their lands. After all the sacrifices they have endured to keep their lands free of destruction or bondage, the night elves are not fond of strangers. Many have found arrows in their chest before they even knew danger lurked about them.

See also Origin of the races.


Class notes

For the Alliance, the Druid class is exclusive to the night elves. In contrast to most depictions of fantasy Elves, the Night elves do not practice arcane magic.

Starting Attributes

Attribute Base Druid Hunter Priest Rogue Warrior
Strength 17 18 17 17 18 20
Agility 25 25 28 25 28 25
Stamina 19 19 20 19 20 21
Intellect 20 22 20 22 20 20
Spirit 20 22 21 23 20 20

Racial Traits

Template:Night elf traits

Night elf Groups and Allies

Characteristics

Night elves have skin that have subtle shades of purple ranging from dark to light. Their hair ranges from blue, green, dark violet, white or black (though black is not an option to players, numerous E3 posters picture night elves as dark haired). Female night elven eyes glow blue while male's eyes have an amber glow to them. For the most part, they are suited to quick and deadly combat.

While gathering lumber from Ashenvale for Thrall's war effort, Grom Hellscream, unaware of the night elves' identity, remarked that they looked "like Elves, but they're far too tall, and far more savage."

Night elf males are very tall with broad shoulders and a lithely muscular torso whereas females are far more slender.  The men are typically of a slim-waisted yet firm, muscular build including long, muscular arms and large hands. The women are much different, having a slim, athletic build. Unlike most other Elves, Night Elf men often have thick beards and bushy eyebrows.

Nightelves-160x

As seen in art

Lifestyle

The night elves are a people who have dedicated their individual lives, as well as the very organization of their entire society, in the pursuit of the protection of the natural world. They are at one with the subtle ebb and flow of the Kalimdor forests they call home. The Druids of their people spent ages walking in a spectral realm created by the great Green Dragon Ysera the Dreamer known as the Emerald Dream. The night elves were once immortal but after the Third War, they gave up their immortal nature to defeat Archimonde and were forced fully rejoin the world and fight for its survival. Though the night elves venerate and honor many creatures, the Moon Goddess Elune is honored above all others.

Technology

Night elves rely on their magic and the benefits of the natural world around them to maintain their society. Their magic is druidic in nature and flows straight from the natural world. They use this magic and their affinity for nature to shape the trees and make friends with the animals around them. It is with these skills rather than engineering, steam power, or metalcraft that they survive. While they cultivate a relatively low-tech society, when compared to those of the dwarves or gnomes, they seem to have been able to create some relatively simple mechanical weaponry, such as the large Glaive Thrower, a mechanical seige weapon, which they developed during their period of isolation from other races.

As the city of Darnassus exemplifies, the night elves are skilled at building and stonecraft. These skills probably date from before the War of the Ancients, when the Kaldorei were more "traditional" in terms of technology. It should be noted that their lifestyle is not "anti-technology," but rather one where technology is not the goal.

The Art of War

Rather than drawing from the chaotic and darker side of magic, theirs is pulled from Azeroth itself. Stone, root, flora and fauna all are avenues through which their magic travels. Druids are able to change into animal forms, snare their foes with roots or harden their skin like stone.

Their warriors are not to be taken lightly either. The night elves are among the most deadly adversaries to be found anywhere, due to a combination of their proficient skill with a bow, their Druidic magic, and the ability to melt away into the shadows of the night. Few use common weapons such as swords, most preferring the mighty glaives (triple-bladed swords) they have grown accustomed to. War panthers, hippogryphs and even the mighty chimaeras and mountain giants have all be known to aid the night elves in battle.

For ten thousand years, all night elven war and "foreign policy" has been based solely on the safety of Ashenvale Forest and Mount Hyjal from outside incursion. The Sentinels, hidden safely among Ashenvale's leafy trees, effectively sealed off the region from unwanted interference for ten millenia. The Sentinel's method of deterrence was successful until the invasion of the Legion-endorsed Scourge; at which point the night elves were forced to awaken the Druids and accept aid from the Alliance and the Horde.

Night elven society has changed since the battle of Mount Hyjal, and the Sentinels now function in an enitrely different manner. As the Burning Legion threat has been averted, at least for now, the night elves are no longer considered in a state of war.

Trivial Information

Night Elves are the only race that can backflip.

Architecture

The architecture of the night elves, according to an interview with Chris Metzen (Blizzard VP of Creative Development), draws its influences from both Nordic and Japanese building style.  This is most obviously apparent in the night elf city of Darnassus, which includes several tower buildings in the style of the Pagoda at Yakushi-ji (薬師寺).

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