Arcane magic is a volatile and inebriating drug, pure power distilled and channeled through the body to create arcane effects. Many races wield arcane power carelessly, disregarding the lessons of the past. The arcanist class encompasses all users of arcane magic — those who seek power without regard for consequences, and those who think arcane can be handled responsibly; each arcane spellcaster chooses a distinct path. Those who wish to manipulate arcane magic often choose between the way of the mage, necromancer, or warlock. Each path specializes in a particular kind of magic, which reflects the nature and practice of the arcane arts on Azeroth. In a world forged in war and beset by pervasive evils such as the Scourge and the Burning Legion, arcanists have gradually come to excel in specific areas of arcane magic. What Azeroth's arcanists lack in versatility, however, they more than make up for in the abilities they acquire and the powers they wield within their chosen paths.
Dwarves, gnomes, high elves, night elves, blood elves, humans, trolls, and Forsaken are all capable of becoming mages. The dark path of the necromancer is rarely taken. Humans and the Forsaken practice this black art, while most other races seem not to have the stomach for such magic. Warlocks are uncommon. Some exist among the Forsaken, outcast gnomes, or humans and orcs foolish enough to toy with the forces of demonic energy. The few remaining high elves who are warlocks have long since become blood elves. Arcanists can have the best of intentions, and while mages mostly tend to be from the good and lawful alignments, necromancers and warlocks tend to come from the more unsavory levels of morality.
Arcanists are found among all of the affiliations, regardless of their practices, in both the Horde and the Alliance. Warlocks are far more common in the Alliance, surprisingly enough — the fact that the use of arcane magic is so prevalent in the Alliance possibly allows for such reckless practices. Still, mages are far more common in the Alliance, outnumbering warlocks immensely. Necromancers are almost unheard of until someone encounters one.
Not all arcanists devote themselves to one type of arcane art. One of the most famous arcanists is , the keeper of the Scarlet Monastery's Library. Other arcanists include and .
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
- Focused mage
- Ley Walker
- Graven one
- Techno mage