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Playable races in World of Warcraft e
Alliance World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Draenei (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Lightforged) · Dwarf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Dark Iron) · Gnome · Human (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Kul Tiran) · Night elf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Void elf) · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Worgen Both (Alliance and Horde) World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Pandaren Horde World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Blood elf (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Nightborne) · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm Goblin · Orc (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Mag'har) · Tauren (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Highmountain) · Troll (0800World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Zandalari) · Undead
For the playable race, see Draenei (playable). For the draenei language, see Draenei (language). For the draenei racial offshoots and tribes, see Broken draenei, Draenei Lost Ones and Draenei factions and organizations.
The Legion's end... draws near
- Draenei

The draenei (pronounced as DRAN-eye, DRAHN-eye, or DRAYN-eye) are a faction of uncorrupted Eredar who fled their home world of Argus, and again from Draenor following the corruption of the orcs as part of Kil'Jaeden's plot to wipe out the Draenei. Their base is on the Azuremyst Isles, near the west coast of Kalimdor, and they are part of the Alliance in the Burning Crusade expansion. Their capital city is the Exodar.


Icon of Argus

A draenei priest and draenei paladin near The Exodar's crash site.


Long ago, on the planet of Argus, the Eredar race arose. They were extremely intelligent and had a natural affinity for magic in all of its forms. Using their gifts, they developed a vast and wondrous society.

At some point, they were visited by beings of light, Naaru. They gifted the Eredar with the sacred ata'mal crystals, which enhanced their intellect and helped them unravel the mysteries of the universe.

At the height of their society, the Eredar's three most prominent leaders, Kil'jaeden, Archimonde, and Velen, were approached by Sargeras, the Fallen Titan. Sargeras claimed he was impressed by the work of the Eredar: he wanted to supply them with even more power and knowledge, in exchange for their loyalty. But while Kil'jaeden and Archimonde readily accepted the deal, Velen had a vision of the future that filled him with dread. He saw the dark future his people were heading towards: siding with the dark titan Sargeras and transforming into demons. Velen saw the Legion in all its terrible might and witnessed the destruction it would wreak upon all of creation. He hastened to warn Kil'jaeden and Archimonde, but they dismissed his concerns and proceeded to profess loyalty to the Destroyer of Worlds. Together, the latter transformed a majority of their people into an insidious race of warlocks and later allied themselves with the Burning Legion.

Velen nearly despaired, but his prayers for help were answered. A being came to Velen and explained that it was one of the naaru, a race of sapient energy beings bent on stopping the Burning Legion. The naaru offered to take Velen and any other like-minded Eredar to safety. Deeply relieved, Velen gathered the other Eredar loyal to him. Naming themselves the "draenei", or "exiled ones" in the Eredun language, the renegades barely escaped from Argus in the naaru ship Oshu'gun, with the Burning Legion hot on their heels. Kil'jaeden was furious with what he felt was Velen's betrayal, and the demon vowed to hunt Velen and the rest of the draenei to the ends of the cosmos if need be.

The draenei visited many worlds and explored much of the known cosmos in their quest to find safe harbor. Still, a hell-bent Kil'jaeden would not give up his pursuit, sending his agent Talgath to hunt them down. Meanwhile, the enigmatic naaru race blessed the draenei with Light-given knowledge and power. The naaru explained that there were other forces in the cosmos that would stand against the Burning Legion. One day the naaru would forge them into a single unstoppable army of the Light. Deeply affected by the naaru's words, the draenei vowed to honor the Light and uphold the naaru's altruistic ideals.

At last Velen and his draenei settled upon a remote and peaceful world that seemed an ideal refuge. They named it Draenor, or "Exiles' Refuge", and there they quietly cultivated their society once again. Ever wary of being discovered again by Kil'jaeden's forces, Velen and his mystics kept their magic hidden.

In time the draenei met and befriended the shamanic orc clans that already lived in the tranquil southern grasslands (later called Nagrand). Aside from engaging in some limited trade, the draenei and orcs regarded one another with respect but kept mostly to themselves.

However, no amount of preparation could keep the draenei hidden forever. Eventually, Talgath—after some 25,000 years of pursuit—stumbled upon Draenor, and reported back to Kil'jaeden.

Kil'jaeden, however, was intrigued by the neighboring orcs. Through his protégé Gul'dan, he quickly succeeded in corrupting them. Smoothly manipulated from a state of wary acceptance into blind rage and blood lust, the orcs attacked the draenei. This bloody conflict lasted nearly eight years, but the orcs' triumph was unequivocal. The orcs killed over eighty percent of the draenei race and sent the rest fleeing for safety to the remote corners of the world. Draenei who had fought the Horde and survived found that they had been affected by the fel energies wielded so freely by the orc warlocks. These draenei have since mutated into lesser forms, resulting in a series of subspecies.

Kil'jaeden's revenge was complete, or so he thought — Velen and a handful of untransformed draenei have survived the destruction of their cities by the orcs and fled to Zangarmarsh. There they have been hiding until recently.

The Exodar crash site.

After coming to Draenor, the blood elves discovered the power of Tempest Keep and successfully seized it. To escape, the draenei came out of hiding and managed to wrestle control of a wing of the keep, The Exodar, and tried to use it to flee and find aid in retaking their home. Before they could, however, the blood elves managed to sabotage what is essentially the "engine" of the draenei's transdimensional travel. The remainder of the Keep lies in Outland in Netherstorm and is now the home of Prince Kael'thas.

When the draenei tried to planeshift, their sabotaged engine went haywire, and The Exodar ended up hurtling out of control through the Twisting Nether until it crash-landed on a chain of islands, the Azuremyst Isles, off the western coast of Kalimdor. As the surviving draenei salvaged what they could of their ship and tried to help what was left of their people, they began exploring this new world; contact with the night elves of Darkshore was imminent.

Alternate histories

Draenei (Lost One)

Draenei (Broken)

This information may not fit well with later material, however it is kept here for historical purposes.

This information about draenei originates from Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. It predates knowledge of draenei subraces

For centuries the draenei have been battling the Fel Orcs...they have fought the orcs and their demon masters for generations... but in the last hundred years the draenei have been slowly losing. One group was lead by Akama, Elder Sage of the draenei. Cursed orcs serve Magtheridon—a terrible lord whose Black Citadel lies to the west. The cursed orcs, under the command of Magtheridon, hunted the draenei to the brink of extinction. With the help of Illidan and Kael'thas, the draenei hoped to turn the balance in their favor and rid themselves of the fel orcs once and for all. With Illidan's help, they fought back to retake their ancestral lands; and hoped that they would end their curse forever.[1]

This information about draenei originates from the Manual of Monsters "draenei" article and Lands of Conflict. Both sources focus on the Lost Ones draenei-subrace found in the Fallow Sanctuary (Swamp of Sorrows), Blasted Lands, and Outland). The information predates the existence of the Harborage and knowledge of any other draenei subraces.

The draenei lived alongside orcs for countless generations on the planet Draenor. When that world exploded and crumbled into what is now known as Outland, most of the draenei perished. A few managed to survive the cataclysm, however. When the Dark Portal was reopened into Azeroth, a small number of draenei traveled through, scarred by the ordeal of their world's destruction. These ragged wretches now call themselves the "Lost Ones," in mourning of their former world. Though otherwise a peaceful, private race, the draenei carry an intense hatred for all orcs and will slay them whenever the opportunity arises. Their home on Azeroth lies within the Swamp of Sorrows, though some have begun to travel beyond the Swamp’s borders in recent times. Scattered tribes of draenei are rumored to wander still the devastated fields of Outland, the last remnants of Draenor that still float within the Twisting Nether.[2]

Having lost their home ages ago, the draenei struggle to reclaim their former lives - an impossibility, since their home no longer exists. Still, without the attempt, they would wither and die. Another factor that keeps the draenei alive is revenge against the orcs who once lived among them. They will take any risk to see an orc killed. If they can wipe out the entire race, so much the better. The draenei avoid combat unless the enemy in question is an orc. Then the normally peaceful draenei lash out in a fury, doing everything in their power to destroy their hated enemy.[2] They established a colony in the Swamp of Sorrows called the Fallow Sanctuary. They became vicious draenei and sequester themselves from outsiders, called themselves "lost ones".[3]


A draenei shaman's totem.

Blessing of the Naaru

The draenei culture is centered around two things: the Holy Light of Creation and magic. The first is the result of their unique relationship with the naaru, while the second is the path that the Eredar have always followed. As a result, draenei usually choose religious professions, such as priests or paladins, or magical ones, such as the mage. A few have started to follow the path of the shaman under the guidance of Farseer Nobundo.

As a people, the draenei have devoted themselves to preparing for the day when they will join the Army of the Light, when they will finally take the fight back to the Burning Legion and atone for the sins of their man'ari brethren. In spite of this overarching goal, the draenei still lead personal lives and pursue their own interests, just as other races do.

As far as interracial relations go, the draenei still distrust or in some cases hate the orcs after having lost so many of their kind when the orcs turned on them. Certain characteristics of modern orcs, such as their still-green skin and the fact that some still practice warlock magic (though their new allies, the humans, worgen, dwarves, and the gnomes, are also guilty of this), as well as personal grudges on both sides, make the road to forgiveness difficult, regardless of whatever peace initiatives Velen or Thrall are willing to launch. Nevertheless there are still cases of acceptance between the two; for instance, the Horde aligned Earthen Ring has accepted draenei and Broken shamans to heal Outland. The draenei are also coming to loathe the blood elves, due to the unprovoked assault on Tempest Keep by the blood elves under Kael'thas and their new methods of feeding their magical addiction. They do see that not all blood elves serve Kael'thas and even Velen himself has forebodingly told of the redemption of the elven race in the Sunwell Plateau epilogue. As with any other races though, there are people among them that have strong opinions and beliefs based on first impressions: Despite the help offered by the Scryers and Naaru's acceptance of them the Aldor are in strict competition with them, going so far as not to associate at all with those who have chosen to side with the Scryers.

Despite their differences, the draenei can be found fighting alongside blood elves against the Burning Legion on the Isle of Quel'Danas as part of the Shattered Sun Offensive.

The draenei banner showing what may be a weapon like the ones Akama's forces used in Warcraft III.

Early overtures of friendship with the Alliance had been met with varying degrees of success. Many of the Alliance races have trouble distinguishing the draenei from the man'ari Eredar who nearly brought about their destruction. The night elves in particular have twice suffered heavily at the hands of Archimonde. However, the draenei are quickly being accepted by most races, and ambassadors from the Exodar have been welcomed into the Alliance's halls of power — even those of the night elves, where a draenei emissary stands at the right of Tyrande herself.

Racial offshoots and factions

Main article: Draenei factions

The most ubiquitous faction of draenei in Outland are the pious Aldor of Shattrath City and their adherents throughout the Outland zones.

Some draenei mutated into lesser forms, resulting in a number of subspecies of which the Broken draenei and the draenei Lost Ones are examples.

Scattered tribes of Broken draenei wander amongst the devastated fields of Outland.[2][4] The Kurenai or "redeemed" in the draenei language have settled in Telaar, Nagrand and befriend many Alliance adventurers. The Murkblood tribe based in the Underbog have spread from Zangarmarsh to Nagrand and are hostile to all. Akama's tribe is known as the Ashtongue, while the elite are known as Ashtongue Deathsworn. Some of these tribes are at odds with Akama's tribe.

Another of these tribes left Outland after the destruction of their world and call themselves the Lost Ones.[2] There are also several Lost Ones villages in Outland.


In the RPG currently, draenei have only been said to speak Draenei, with no other primary or secondary languages listed. In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, they also speak Common. Many high-ranking draenei who have been in contact with orcs before their corruption also know Orcish.


Due to the Draenei's friendly and honorable attitude, they tend to get along well with other races, especially those who belong to the Alliance for obvious reasons, even if the race does not return the kindness. Draenei have very strong ties with the Night Elves, who were the first of the Alliance to greet the Draenei and welcome them into the Alliance. Humans find the Draenei odd, and often refer to them as one of the Alliance's more "exotic" races. Some Dwarves may share this feeling, but with the Dwarves learning the ways of the shaman, it can be assumed that the relationship between Draenei and Dwarves has strengthened. The Gnomes, being a happy and friendly race, get along well with the Draenei, although some seem to agree that Draenei are "weird." Both races have a knack for technology, which benefits in the relationship between the two races. It is rather unknown how the Draenei feel about Worgen, but they most likely have neutral feelings towards each other.

Many Draenei hate the Orcs for their actions in Draenor. This leads to a distrust of the other races of the Horde. However, they don't seem to hate the Tauren, who are arguably the most honorable race of the Horde. Trolls appear to be distrusted as well. Forsaken are viewed as dishonorable abominations, especially due to their recent activities. While the Blood Elves are not allied with the Burning Legion, the Draenei dislike them just as much due to what their brethren in Outland did to The Exodar.

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

Along with the Night Elves, it is very probable that the Draenei welcomed the Worgen of Gilneas as well, allowing them sanctuary in their lands if the Gilneans so choose. Relations between The Draenei and the Bilgewater Cartel can be assumed to be rather hostile, with the cartel joining the Horde.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

It is most likely that the Draenei have good relations with the peaceful Pandaren Of the Alliance and still probably rather well with the Horde Pandaren as they do want peace.


Male draenei artwork

Female draenei artwork

Draenei are physically similar to the Eredar of the Burning Legion.[5] They do not, however, seem to exhibit the red skin of demonic Eredar. Draenei also lack the horns that demonic Eredar have on their faces (this is not noticeable in-game models, only in artwork). They do have fangs.[6] Draenei are described as being all or overall blue (with the exception of Velen who is described as having white skin later in his life).[7] In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, draenei skin appears in most shades of color between very pinkish-white to light blue up to dark violet. Their blood is also blue.[8]

Draenei who use the [Gift of the Naaru] racial ability have a glowing sigil float above their head for the duration of the effect.

Draenei males have tendrils coming out of their chin and a fan-like forehead plate which rises and overlaps other forehead plates behind it. Some males even display distinct horn growth. Male draenei have large tails which are held erect by developed muscle structure. The female of the species exhibits marked differences: rather than the forehead plates featured primarily on the males, they have vaguely horn-shaped cranial extensions that extend over the upper cranium and end on either side of the crown. Female cranial tendrils sprout behind the ear and are typically long enough to reach the shoulders. Their tendrils are thinner than the male's. Female draenei tails are shorter and have a lower muscle density. In both genders, the hooves are relatively large, in contrast to the more compacted hooves of their demonic counterparts.

Draenei can choose from a diverse selection of hair colors including gray, white, blue/black, brown, and purple. Similarly, the number of facial tentacles on male draenei can be customized. They can feature zero, one, two, or four tentacles of different shape and size.

Notable draenei

Main universe

Name Role Condition Location Allegiance
IconSmall Velen.gif Prophet Velen Political and spiritual leader of most draenei. Alive Vault of Lights, The Exodar Alliance, Exodar
IconSmall Draenei Female.gif High Priestess Ishanah Leader of the Aldor in Shattrath City. Alive Shrine of Unending Light, Aldor Rise, Shattrath City Aldor
IconSmall Draenei Male.gif Karsius the Ancient Watcher Ethereal draenei who has been tasked with watching over the spirit of Teron Gorefiend. Killable Altar of Shadows, Shadowmoon Valley Unknown
IconSmall Iridi.gif Iridi Draenei priestess featured in Richard A. Knaak's novel Night of the Dragon. Deceased Buried in Outland Unknown
IconSmall Draenei Female.gif Tamuura Draenei mage, featured in DC Unlimited's World of Warcraft: Series 3 action figure set. Unknown Unknown Unknown
IconSmall Draenei Girl.gif Dornaa Shattrath's orphan from Children's Week. Through the questline it appears she is fated to grand things in the future. Alive Shattrath City Unknown
IconSmall Nobundo.gif Farseer Nobundo Former draenei vindicator and one of the most tragic heroes among the Broken of Outland. First of the draenei shaman. Alive The Crystal Hall, Exodar Alliance, Exodar
IconSmall Akama.gif Akama Master of Ashtongue Deathsworn, a faction of Broken draenei that first aided (and now plan to dethrone) Illidan Stormrage. Alive Warden's Cage, Shadowmoon Valley or Black Temple, Shadowmoon Valley Illidan's forces,Ashtongue Deathsworn

Sha'tar (secretly)

IconSmall Draenei Male.gif Nemuraan A survivor of the draenei massacre Unknown Unknown, Last seen at Auchindoun Auchenai, Army of the Light presumed
IconSmall Broken Male.gif Erunak Stonespeaker Member of Earthen Ring in Vashj'ir. Alive Vashj'ir; Throne of the Tides Earthen Ring
IconSmall Maraad.gif Vindicator Maraad Uncle of Garona Halforcen. Deceased Skybreaker, Icecrown, Shadowmoon Valley (Draenor), Talador Valiance Expedition

Alternate universe

Name Role Condition Location Allegiance
IconSmall Velen.gif Velen Political and spiritual leader of most draenei. Deceased Karabor, Shadowmoon Valley Alliance
IconSmall Yrel.gif Yrel High exarch of the draenei on Draenor. Alive Nagrand, Tanaan Jungle Council of Exarchs, Hand of the Prophet

Noteable half-draenei

Name Role Condition Location Allegiance
IconSmall Garona.gif Garona Half-orc of draenei descent, though alleged to be half-human. Alive, captured Bloodgulch, Twilight Highlands Shadow Council, Stormreaver clan

Kingdom of Azeroth, New Council of Tirisfal

IconSmall HalfDraenei Male.gif Lantresor of the Blade Half-draenei of half-orc descent. Alive Nagrand Boulderfist
IconSmall Med'an.gif Med'an half-orc, half-draenei from his mother's side, father is Medivh making him Quarter-orc, Quarter-draenei, half human. Alive Unknown New Council of Tirisfal


  • The Icon-youtube-22x22.png male Draenei dance is inspired by the Icon-youtube-22x22.png "Tunak Tunak Tun" video (1998) by Punjabi musician Daler Mehndi. While the female Draenei dance is inspired by the belly dance from Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie”.
  • The Draenei have many similarities with Eastern European, Middle Eastern, and Indian sub-continent Sikhs.[citation needed]
  • The Draenei people's story is quite similar to the Dunmers' one from The Elder Scrolls universe: both peoples had to run from their native land because of their beliefs or choices, falling in another conflict with the races they meet (the Draenei with Horde races, the Dunmer with Nords, Argonians and then the Empire), and naming themselves in a way that remembers their troubled past (Draenei= Exiled Ones; Dunmer= Cursed Ones); besides both peoples were led by leaders who are called "prophets" (and also share a similar name): the Draenei by Velen, the Dunmer by Veloth.
  • The Draenei draw some similarities with the Quarians from the Mass Effect series, including their accents when speaking, and both being alien races exiled from their homeworlds. The similarity is peculiar since the Quarians were first introduced in November 2007 with Mass Effect, but World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade The Burning Crusade expansion with Draenei was released much earlier in January 2007. It's possible that each team observed the other, but didn't seem to notice the similarities.





See also

External links