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Death, in the form of necromantic magic, is an unavoidable force that breeds despair in mortals and pushes everything toward a state of entropic decay and eventual oblivion.[1] The realm of death tangentially connected to the physical world is the Shadowlands. [2] The counter-balancing force to Death is Life in the Emerald Dream.[2]

In World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.

A typical out of body experience in Azeroth.

In World of Warcraft, death is the state a character is in when their health reaches zero (or less). They have 6 minutes to stay there, or resurrect from the spirit immediately. When this happens, they leave a corpse at the location where they died. If the player decides to release their spirit from the corpse, they will turn into a spirit form (a ghost or, in the case of night elves, a wisp), and the spirit form spawns at the nearest graveyard.

A character will stay dead until they return to their corpse as a spirit, are resurrected by the spirit healer at a graveyard, or are resurrected by a player character near the corpse.

While you are dead, there are some interesting graphical effects. The sky looks like a white whirlpool, and everything you see is white and black.

Death will automatically remove all Buffs and Debuffs from the character, except for the "ghost" debuff, which is applied, and certain Flask effects that persist through death.

Inaccessible areas

If you die in an inaccessible area, such as falling off the edge of Outland, or far past the Fatigue limit in the ocean, your ghost may not be able to get close enough to your corpse to rejoin it; in this case you will have to resurrect at a graveyard. When falling off of Outland, the corpse of the player usually is placed at a reachable area on the edge somewhere; it may, however, place the corpse in an unpleasant location.


If you die in an instance, and release spirit, you will Teleport to the Graveyard and then you must reenter the instance to be able to recover your corpse, and you will do so the second you enter, no matter where your corpse was in the instance. Something interesting to note is that when you are dead, you pass through any gates or barriers and the instance door(if any).

Ghost run

Questionmark-medium.png This section concerns content that is potentially inaccurate.

The term ghost run originally described an exploit to travel to certain areas while dead (and thus immune to damage) but now refers to the distance a player would have to cross from the graveyard to their corpse. This may even have an effect on how willing players are to reattempt entering dangerous areas. For example, dying in Blackrock Mountain instances sends the player to the graveyard at Thorium Point, which is located on nearly the other side of the zone; as a result, many players are hesitant to play in that location with inexperienced players and suffer repeated death and the time-consuming run back.

Unfortunately, ghost running mostly doesn't work anymore (as of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm?), as you can't try to resurrect far from where you died anymore. You now will always resurrect at the nearest graveyard to where you died.

Durability as a ghost

When your ghost is killed, you suffer another 10% durability loss on equipped items. For example, if you are killed in combat and you get your ghost killed trying to rejoin your corpse (now having died twice), then give up and use the spirit healer, you would suffer a 3x10+25 = 55% durability loss on all equipped items and 25% on inventory items.

From Death section of the New Player Guide:
Upon dying in World of Warcraft, all of your equipped items immediately take a 10% durability reduction (this applies only to items equipped when you died, not to items in your inventory). You have a few minutes in which to be resurrected by a player, or you may release yourself to the nearest graveyard as a spirit. While in spirit form, you can run back to your corpse and rejoin it for no additional penalty by selecting the "Resurrect Now" button when you come within range; you come back to life with half health and half mana. Run speed is increased to 125% of normal while you are a spirit (night elves have a special racial ability called Wisp Spirit that gives them even more speed) and you are able to walk on water.

Your ghost can breathe underwater in lakes, rivers, coastal waters, and even lava, but if you swim into the deep ocean your ghost can still die of Fatigue.

Exceptions to the rules on durability loss

If you are killed by another player in PvP combat, you do not take the initial 10% durability hit. However, you will still take a 25% hit and suffer from resurrection sickness if you are resurrected by a spirit healer. Also, during the Second Scourge Invasion event, there was a glitch, when you stayed long enough as a zombie, you would NOT take durability damage.

If you are killed by self-inflicted death — such as a paladin's [Divine Intervention], a warlock's [Hellfire], using a life draining trinket/item like the [Skull of Impending Doom], or using a [Demonic Rune] — then you will not suffer any durability damage to your armor or items unless you are resurrected by a spirit healer.


In general, you can run much faster and walk on water in spirit form.

Some special cases:

  • In World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Wrath of the Lich King, when dying in Icecrown, Storm Peaks, or Crystalsong Forest, players will have access to a spectral gryphon upon death to retrieve their corpse because you cannot always climb the mountainous regions. However, since Night Elves are wisps they don't have the gryphon, they can simply fly.
    • No such system exists in Outland, if one dies in a location inaccessible without flying then the player is resurrected at the nearest graveyard without the usual penalty for doing so.
    • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm, you also get a spectral gryphon in the new zones (Mount Hyjal, Vashj'ir, Deepholm, Uldum, and Twilight Highlands).

Spirit healers

The spirit healers present in each graveyard can bring you back to life immediately, saving you a trip to your corpse. However, doing this will cause all of your equippable items to take an additional 25% durability hit; this applies both to equipped items, and to items in your inventory. In addition, you will suffer from resurrection sickness. This sickness decreases all of your attributes and damage dealt by 75%, and has a duration that varies depending on your level:

  • Characters from level 1-10 are not affected. (However, they still take the additional durability decrease)
  • Characters from level 11-19 will suffer from one minute of sickness for every level they are above 10. For example, a level 12 character would be sick for two minutes, because they are 2 levels above level 10. while a level 18 character would be sick for eight minutes.
  • Characters level 20 and up suffer from ten minutes of sickness with no exceptions.

Starting in patch 2.4, players that have the resurrection sickness debuff will be worth no honor when killed by a player of the opposite faction.

Quests accessed while dead

There are a few quests that can only be accessed while the player is dead. Those quests start by talking to a NPC (Non-Player Character) who is only visible and accessible while in ghost/wisp form. On a side note, if one levels due to turning in one such quest, they shall regain all their life and mana but will not resurrect (which is a bit weird).

It was rumored in the past that there were over twenty quests that could be accessed while dead. Not a single shred of evidence was provided. The only Blizzard post — to be found — confirming ghost quests is cached here and those few quests are listed below. Some of the the quests accessible while dead were removed in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Cataclysm.

Known quests while dead

NPC ghosts that appear while dead


  • Although a player can easily get back into the instance if they died within it, if a player dies outside an instance they cannot get into one this way.

Patch changes

  • World of Warcraft Patch 1.6.0 (12-Jul-2005): Health leech effects no longer give you health while you are a ghost.


External links

Life and death