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The naga are former Highborne night elves who mutated into vengeful humanoid sea serpents. While many remain on Azeroth to attempt to reclaim the surface world, a large group followed the betrayer, Illidan Stormrage, into Outland and proceeded to claim the watery areas of the shattered land. In addition to their natural longevity, a number of naga develop mutations that increase their life spans even further. Some are immortal.
War of the Ancients
Naga are sinister, ophidian humanoids that dwell beneath the ocean. Their culture is ancient and mythical, for ten thousand years ago they were Kaldorei.
Ten thousand years ago, during the reign of Queen Azshara, there was an elite magic-using sect known as the Highborne, who dabbled in magics that many other elves considered reckless and irresponsible by drawing upon the power of the Well of Eternity. The high-borne elves enjoyed great power and comfort before the War of the Ancients. During that conflict, the Highborne sought to abuse arcane magic to bring demons to the world. This action led to the War itself, in which the night elves, at great cost, defeated the Burning Legion. The magical backlash shattered the world, imploded the Well of Eternity, and blasted the Highborne’s capital city to the bottom of the ocean. Many were cast far into the flooding depths of the great cataclysm that sundered the land and destroyed the Well of Eternity; it was Queen Azshara's quick thinking that saved them. She is thought to have managed to make a pact with the Old Gods on behalf of her people, though the exact beings that transformed them are unknown. It is also possible its curser was Neptulon the Tidehunter, the water Elemental Lord. With the Old Gods' curse they started to change. Since then they have further been twisted by the residual cascading energies of the Well of Eternity. They took on new shapes, new powers and became the hateful, serpentine naga.
When the naga awakened, they set about building a new life for themselves on the ocean depths, within the abyssal sea trench beneath the swirling waters of the Maelstrom they built their new city, Nazjatar. Azshara herself expanded with hate and rage, becoming a massive monstrosity, reflecting the wickedness and malice that had always hidden within her core. For 10,000 years, these elves of the abyss dwelt in a dark and powerful empire. Pagodas and balconies line the deep trenches, glimmering lights picking out the shapes of cities in the cold black. Sinuous figures drift and twist along the passageways, their elven origins difficult to discern.
The Frozen Throne
There in the depths of the ocean for ten thousand years the Naga plotted their revenge against the night elves. Most naga are still content to wait. However, a small group led by the naga Sea Witch, Lady Vashj, answered a summons from Illidan Stormrage to aid him in his quest to destroy the Frozen Throne.
Lady Vashj joined forces with Illidan and his forces in order to serve her own ends.
They made new allies in the form of their Highborne kin, the blood elves, as well as enemies of the night elves and the Alliance. They aided Illidan in the recovery of the Eye of Sargeras, and fought alongside the blood elves to take Outland as well as at the Icecrown Glacier against the Scourge. After suffering defeat at the hands of Arthas this group retreated back to Outland with Illidan.
The exact ends for Vashj's alliance with Illidan remain unknown.
World of Warcraft
This section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
More recently naga have begun to reappear around the coasts of the world, creating settlements on land, most noticeably in the ruins of their old cities in Azshara. It seems as though they are now followers of the Old Gods, as they have made alliances with the Twilight's Hammer cult and the corrupt satyr. They have laid claim to several stretches of coast on both continents, including in Darkshore, Ashenvale, Desolace, Feralas, Dustwallow Marsh, Azshara, Hillsbrad Foothills, Arathi Highlands, and Stranglethorn Vale. They have significant numbers and pose a serious threat to anyone standing in their way.
The Burning Crusade
This section concerns content exclusive to The Burning Crusade.
The Outland tribes of naga have begun draining the water of the Zangarmarsh lakes and marshes with steam pumps. The pumps are all connected through underground drains to Coilfang Reservoir, where Vashj and her underlings reside, turning Serpent Lake into a giant water sink for the rest of Zangarmarsh. Due to the Cenarion Expedition's meddling, the naga operating the steam vaults end up at war with the druids, at the orders of Lady Vashj.
Wrath of the Lich King
This section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
In the Borean Tundra, tribes of naga have made a fort in Northrend in Riplash Ruins. From here, the naga are making ominous attempts at melting the polar ice caps in order to flood the world and create an entirely underwater empire for their revered empress, Queen Azshara.. Apparently, the Naga's plan's in Northrend will not come to fruition, as the sea vrykul have slaughtered most of them, feeding them to a mighty sea creature..
This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
The Naga play a large role in the expansion World of Warcraft: Cataclysm with the Great Sea seeing recent activities and Queen Azshara's anticipated return. Vashj'ir will be inhabited by them. Azshara herself has been stated to not be making an appearance but her presence will be felt, however this has proven to be false, as she has made a small appearance in Darkshore. (Using Lady Vashj's model, assumed to be a place holder). Naga will also get new models and skin colors. The Naga have also declared war upon Neptulon and seem to be allied with Deathwing and the Twilight's Hammer clan.
Naga only marginally resemble the noble race they once were. Their proud Kaldorei visages are warped and twisted. The naga are part night elf, part serpent, and some have evolved bizarre oceanic mutations. The Well of Eternity's residual energies are unpredictable, and their mutative power manifests in different ways. In all naga, many of these mutations are simply cosmetic — soft spines running down their backs, or extra fins adorning their arms, for instance. Some naga, though, also possess mutations that have a more substantial effect. In this way, the race has developed an array of genetic variations and defenses, such as ink jets, tentacles, razor fins, venomous fangs, hardened barnacle carapaces and spined fists. Naga men are bestial, remarkably strong and tough, able to withstand a great deal of bodily injury. Naga women more resemble the kaldorei from whom they came, their faces fair, even beautiful. This unearthly splendor is ruined by their monstrous deformities — they often have multiple limbs (four to six arms). Naga average 6 1/2 feet tall, and naga men are much bulkier than women.
Naga are now serpent-like humanoids. The men are thickly built, with humanoid torsos merging into a serpent hind section. Their scales are large and thick, and their heads are reminiscent of dragons, showing little sign of their elven ancestry. The women are tall and slender, with fine scales covering their angular features.
Society and Culture
Naga culture is complex. A clear delineation exists between the sexes. Male naga are larger and more muscular, reminiscent of dragons. Naga men serve as soldiers and guardians. Female naga are more slender, with smaller scales and finer, more human-seeming faces. Naga women are natural spellcasters and rely on magic and poison to defeat their enemies. Naga men are more numerous, but as naga consider their women to be magically and intellectually superior, their society is matriarchal. Women occupy most positions of leadership, and all naga pay homage to their queen, Azshara. Several ranks and types of naga exist. Naga myrmidons and royal guards, for instance, are strong males and powerful melee fighters; naga sirens are female mages.
Naga males and females have different features; in their transformation, males increased in size and strength. Their faces now appear almost draconic with little resemblance to their Elven heritage. Females kept more of their Elven features. Naga female faces are fair, even beautiful. Most females have four arms.
Some naga have unique features. For example, sea witches like Lady Vashj have snakes instead of hair, and naga lords like High Warlord Naj'entus have stony arms and shells fused to their skin. This may be resultant of their mutations, or they may be a different subspecies altogether.
Naga society is female dominated; they are considered the intellectual superiors and possess the greater magical power. While females are greatly outnumbered by males, females are found more often in positions of authority. Usually females are more proficient in the ways of magic, while the males are warriors, but there are a few males that are deadly in both close combat, and spell casting. The civilization of the naga has extensive codes, laws, and ceremonies. Factions, some millennia old, work continuously in bids for power. Males can rise to prominence and even lead communities, but there is a limit to what they can achieve. In terms of class, this makes them the opposite of the night elves they evolved from, where males typically work magic and females fight (though the kaldorei lack intellect-based prejudice).
They seek the blessings of their queen, one familiar to history: Queen Azshara lives still, in the vast city of Nazjatar at the bottom of a deep ocean trench. She has embraced the power of the naga, grown in size, and possesses many tentacles bedecked in jewels and items of power. She plots her revenge on the night elves, biding her time until the growing might of the naga can be brought to bear.
Naga have finely worked robes that function as leather armor. They hunt large prey with tridents and scimitars. They are experienced in formation fighting, particularly in dealings with murlocs and mur’gul. A warband will deploy male infantry to engage at moderate range with tridents, while the females cast spells. The men are willing to sacrifice themselves if ordered. Leaders will avoid heavy losses, but are otherwise open to small risks.
Naga typically speak their own language, Nazja, and most know Common. For various reasons, individual Naga learn to speak with the creatures with which they interact. Some also learn the language of their heritage, Darnassian.
Naga are avaricious, dangerous and sadistic. Their millennia of aquatic banishment has only intensified their evil, power-hungry nature and made it so most races are unaware of their existence. Naga play well with blood elves, trolls, and other dark, independent powers, but only the rarest naga joins the Alliance or Horde.
The naga traveling with Illidan have a more educated view of Kalimdor’s races than the naga who remain at the bottom of the sea or in one of the eastern outposts. These travelers hold the blood elves in high regard, as they are also evolved children of the Highborne, and they too fought with Illidan. The time spent together in battle made the two races respect and admire each other’s skills. They are united against all others, as they are currently the two most unpopular races on the continent.
The naga can either take or leave the goblins and trolls, creatures who care nothing for their own pasts. The half-orcs, furbolgs, and pandaren do not trust the naga, and the naga feel the same way in return. They feel that divine magic practitioners are weak and without ambition. The naga are a neutral race for a very good reason: neither the Alliance nor the Horde will welcome them. The Alliance elicits nothing but rage in the minds of the naga. Their former brethren, the night elves, still thrive on the continent, and have not forgotten their grudges with the naga. Their blatant hatred of the night elves is only rivaled by the night elves’ feelings for them. As night elf leaders Tyrande Whisperwind and Malfurion Stormrage are highly respected within the Alliance, their hatred and distrust of the naga has spread to the other races.
The races of the Horde are met with derisiveness from the naga; they would have no part of the Horde even if invited to join. The spiritual natures of these races are similar to the pandaren and furbolgs, and therefore worthy of similar disrespect. The naga consider the Horde to be nothing more than barbaric, weak-minded fools. They would sooner accept the night elves as masters than join the Horde.
Naga are dark creatures, evil and cunning. A naga might join forces with a being of another race in order to serve her own ends, however, much as Lady Vashj did with Illidan and his forces. Naga are selfish creatures, though, and think only of their own (and their race’s) dominance. Their minds have little room for charity or kindness. A naga that renounced her evil ways would be a unique individual indeed.
Some naga may be sent to the land on a mission, or they may be exiles who defy the naga queen. Few among the humanoid races are aware of the nagas’ history, so most encounters deal primarily with their strange countenance. Naga characters can use disguise or magic to avoid notice. Naga heroes are usually limited to a few mutations. Far from the power of Nazjatar, the powers of the flesh are less likely to be awakened in this way.
Even though the blood elves of Quel'Thalas are members of the Horde, there is no sign of diplomacy between the two powers; in addition to naga opinions, the Azerothian blood elves do not unilaterally accept the philosophy that Kael has adopted, and likely wish to avoid association with the naga. The naga seem to be hated by the Horde as they've assaulted their newfound friends, the tuskarr.
Naga have managed to enslave large numbers of mur'gul. This aquatic race fears the nagas' magical abilities. The nagas' main rival for dominance of the ocean are sea giants; these creatures hate naga and slay them on sight.
The naga have an army composed of various races. Mur'gul slaves are used as staging troops and cannon fodder, with artillery support from mighty dragon turtles. Naga males serve as shock troops; they deploy as infantry in close formations wielding scimitars, tridents and nets while females stand back hurling spells at the enemy. Males may have command over small numbers of troops but females will always be in overall command of any Naga force.
The naga have a powerful military, though they have yet to truly make their presence felt in the world. So far, their efforts are limited to certain select engagements (such as against the Scourge during Illidan’s attempt on the Frozen Throne) and various exploratory missions along Azeroth’s coasts and other removed locales. Rumors say that the naga are preparing for a major invasion of the land; they are now building their forces, securing strategic locations, claiming important items and information, and probing the defenses of the Alliance, Horde, Scourge, and their numerous other rivals. Whispers say that Azshara seeks to regain her position as queen of the land.
Naga society is ancient and cunning, and their warriors are the same way. All naga enjoy using their aquatic natures against their foes, particularly against generals who have not fought naga. A naga commander attempts to maneuver her forces to meet the enemy on a battlefield with rivers, lakes, marshes or similar features; such bodies of water are no impediment to naga, but serve as barriers for land-based forces as well as hiding spots and roads for the naga forces.
Naga men, stronger and tougher than women, act as front line soldiers and as bodyguards. They are adept at using the terrain to their advantage, and their lack of ranged weaponry (it’s not very useful under water) makes then canny about sight lines and flanking maneuvers. Naga myrmidons are strong melee combatants and willingly come to grips with the enemy. Naga royal guard, as their name implies, serve as protection for important individuals.
Naga women take the field as spellcasters, usually magi drawing from the most ancient arcane legacy in the world. Some few are priestesses of the tides. Naga women act as both a source of support magic for their allies and as offensive ranged punishers. Naga leaders tend to be women adept at both weaponry and magic — naga sea witches are some of the most powerful champions the race has to offer. Naga sirens are more common but still deadly, using their magic to incapacitate foes so the naga myrmidons can sweep in and finish them off.
As far as anyone knows, the only real naga armies that currently exist are beneath the waves, in Nazjatar, and in Outland, where a force of naga under Lady Vashj works with Illidan. Other, smaller groups are scattered across the world, where they investigate items and places of importance to the naga’s mysterious purposes. These forces usually have a single leader — a powerful spellcaster (female) or warrior (male) — a dozen or so naga myrmidons, and a few naga sirens. They may have some mur’gul slaves to serve as expendable troops and do the dirty work, and some groups include a couple of snap dragons, couatl, or tidal guardians as support, depending on the nature of the mission. In addition to these groups, naga explorers travel out from the coasts and from naga bases, gathering information for their queen.
Units from The Frozen Throne
- Naga sea witch (adept at ranged combat and controlling)
- Water priest (adept at healing and watery magics)
- Temple of Tides (returning point for resources and trains Mur'gul Slaves and Mur'gul Reavers)
- Shrine of Azshara (trains naga sirens, couatl and naga priest)
- Altar of the Depths (revives hero or summons heroes)
- Spawning Grounds (trains naga myrmidons, dragon turtles, and snap dragons)
- Coral Bed (provides food and healing)
- Tidal Guardian (land and air tower)
- Naga pool (regenerates health and mana to nearby units)
- Naga vault (sell items and orb of frost or orb of water)
- Moving units
- Mur'gul Slave (worker unit)
- Mur'gul Reaver (light melee unit)
- Watery minion (summoned unit)
- Sea elemental (summoned unit)
- Naga myrmidon (heavy melee unit)
- Naga Royal Guard (caster and heavy melee unit)
- Naga siren (caster unit)
- Naga priest (healer, ranged unit)
- Snap dragon (ranged unit)
- Dragon turtle (siege unit)
- Couatl (flying unit)
- Naga Summoner (custom unit)
- Main article: Naga NPCs
- Empress Azshara
- Lady Vashj
- Tidemistress Athissa
- Fathom-Lord Karathress
- Lady Serpentra
- Serena Scarscale
- Lady Darkscale
- Scilla Murkshadow
- Prince Nazjak
- Lady Sarevess
- Lady Szallah
- Lady Vespia
- Lady Vespira
- Warlord Kalithresh: A good example of a male authority in naga civilization.
- Lord Shalzaru
- Warlord Krellian
- Overseer Tidewrath
- High Warlord Naj'entus
- Skar'this the Heretic: A friendly naga who serves Neptulon.
- Meridith the Mermaiden: A friendly naga met during the Scepter of the Shifting Sands quest chain.
- Hydromancer Thespia
- Lady Naz'jar
- Lady S'theno
No information is available on the internal division of naga. However, the game has provided us with a list of names that are associated with naga NPCs.
- Wrathscale (Azuremyst Isle & Bloodmyst Isle)
- Bloodcursed (Bloodmyst Isle)
- Stormscale (Darkshore)
- Wrathtail (Ashenvale)
- Blackfathom (Blackfathom Deeps, Ashenvale)
- Daggerspine (Hillsbrad Foothills & Arathi Highlands)
- Slitherblade (Desolace)
- Hatecrest (Feralas)
- Spitelash (Azshara)
- Strashaz (Dustwallow Marsh)
- Darkspine (Greengill Coast)
- Riplash (Borean Tundra)
- Spitescale (Echo Isles)
Illidan's Naga, Outland
- Bloodscale (Zangarmarsh)
- Darkcrest (Zangarmarsh)
- Wrathfin (The Underbog)
- Coilfang (Coilfang Reservoir)
- Coilskar (Shadowmoon Valley & The Black Temple)
The twin massive skeletons of ancient combatants in Valley of Bones in Desolace bear striking resemblance to those of naga, along with tridents as their weapons. Some have speculated that these are the bones of Old Gods.
- Naga is the name of two cities in the Philippines.
- Naga were first mentioned in Day of the Dragon, Krasus found one frozen in Malygos's sanctum in Northrend, he was only able to utter, "Na-" before he was cut off.
- Nag is the Hindi word for cobra.
- Naga is the Somali word for women.
- Naga is the Malay and Indonesian word for dragons.
- The naga come from Hindu and Southeast Asian mythology. There they are beings of great power and magic. The myths reference naga living high atop mountains and deep in caverns, but the majority of them live in underwater cities, where races of enslaved fish-people serve the Naga, whose prowess in sorcery is surpassed only by the gods themselves. The Naga and their females, the Nagini, took many forms: human-headed serpents, multi-headed serpents, humans with the heads of serpents, and of course, a serpent with the head and torso of a human. In terms of attitude and temperament, the Naga are neither good nor evil. Their motivations change from myth to myth (even from Veda to Veda), depending on the message. Naga can often be cast in the classic role of evil monsters, and many serve as the antagonists of the Devas. Alternatively, Naga are also extremely wise, and have aided many a legendary adventurer. A king of the Naga is recorded as using his seven heads as an umbrella to keep Gautama Siddhartha (later the Sakyamuni Buddha) dry as he meditated.
- Metzen has stated as far back as the Burning Crusade expansion that he would like naga to be playable one day along with ogres and goblins (the latter of which have become playable in Cataclysm, after the interview took place). Due to their general role as villains, it is likely the playable naga would be like the Draenei are to the demonic Eredar.
- Naga are perhaps the first World of Warcraft creatures to make an appearance in a major motion picture. One of the main characters in the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still is seen playing WoW on his laptop; at the time he is shown fighting several male naga.
- ^ a b c d e Monster Guide, 105.
- ^ Dark Factions, 24.
- ^ Manual of Monsters, 66.
- ^ a b The Sundering of the World
- ^ a b Birth of the Naga, Characteristics and Abilities
- ^ a b Dark Factions, 12, 66, 85, 119-20.
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 54, 66.
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 72-3.
- ^ The Sundering, 332-3
- ^ a b Alliance & Horde Compendium, 19.
- ^ a b Dark Factions, 14.
- ^ a b c d Magic & Mayhem, 66.
- ^ a b c d Monster Guide, 106.
- ^ Monster Guide, 66.
- ^ World of Warcraft
- ^  ω τ ϖ.
- ^ http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/wrath/features/northrend/borean-tundra.xml
- ^ Quest:A Father's Words
- ^ Quest:A Revenant's Vengeance
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 21.
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 73.
- ^ Manual of Monsters, 67.
- ^ Dark Factions, 180-1.
- ^ Day of the Dragon, 145-146
- ^ in interview (around 7:43)