Almost 25,000 years ago, a faction of uncorrupted eredar led by Velen fled their home world of Argus, calling themselves the Draenei (“the Exiled Ones”). After traveling through the cosmos they finally found a world which they called Draenor (“Exile’s Refuge”). They at first shared a peaceful existence with the native orcs and traded with them. They followed the path of the Holy Light of Creation as shown to them by the Naaru. Unfortunately, Kil’jaeden eventually discovered the refuge, and found the combat-driven and honor-seeking orcs to be easily manipulated. As a potent act of vengeance and a safety precaution, Kil’jaeden ordered the Draenei to be exterminated by the orcs through his student, the warlock Gul’dan.
After the Dark Portal was destroyed, Draenor collapsed in on itself, and what remained was a sundered mass of planetary debris and floating asteroids hovering in stasis within the Twisting Nether. The regions of Draenor that are still habitable are now known as Outland. Draenor was not the only thing to change in this ordeal, as some Draenei were altered by the destruction of their world, and became known as the Broken. Some of these corrupted Draenei fled through the open portals on draenor and settled in the Swamp of Sorrows on the world of Azeroth. Several of these Lost Ones were driven mad by the absence of their home world, and sank into an even deeper primitive state.
A number of Draenei still remain untainted, and it is these that are destined to come crash landing onto Azeroth in a dimensional traveling ship sabotaged by the malicious Blood Elves of outland (not the blood elves that joined the horde). The Draenei will be the new Alliance race in the Burning Crusade expansion.
Draenei are physically different from the Eredar of the Burning Legion. Draenei have only been seen to have aqua-colored skin hues, rather than the purples and reds of the demonic Eredar. Draenei also lack the fangs and horns that Demonic Eredar have on their faces.
Certain Draenei also seem to have some sort of mystical sigil floating above their foreheads. This can be seen in the male Draenei art by Glenn Rane at right and the shaman Draenei screen shot below. This could be another selectable feature at character creation, or something to signify the casting of a spell or a permanent feature on all Draenei.
Draenei men have tendrils coming out of their chin and a fan-like forehead plate which rises and overlaps other forehead plates behind it. Male Draenei have large tails which are held erect by developed muscle structure. The women look very different: Rather than the forehead plates that the men have, they have cranial extensions, vaguely horn-shaped, that extend over the upper cranium and end on either side of the crown. Female cranial tendrils sprout behind the ear and typically are long enough to reach the neck. They are thinner than the men’s. The women’s tails have a lower muscle density. In both genders, the hooves are relatively large, in contrast to the more compacted hooves of their demonic counterparts.
The female Draenei seen thus far have dark hair, while the men either have dark or light hair, but this can probably be adjusted in the player creation screen. Similarly, the number of cranial tentacles appears to be chosen by the user as well, as Draenei of both genders have been seen with two or four tendrils.
The Draenei start in the Azuremyst Isles, a grouping of islands off the northwestern coast of Kalimdor. The island is between Darkshore and Teldrassil . Nearby is Bloodmyst Isle, a level 10-20 zone .
Their capital city is Exodar.
Those who play as Draenei can choose from the following classes
From Blood Elf and Draenei Racial Abilities (Bluetracker copy):
Since our showing at E3, we have seen many threads and articles discussing the blood elf and Draenei racial abilities, and were happy to see so many players excited about these two new races! In some cases these conversations have included misinterpreted or otherwise incorrect statements of the abilities of these two new races. Below we have listed the abilities that were shown at E3 for both the blood elf and Draenei.
On the Planet of Argus, nearly 25,000 years ago, the eredar race arose. They were extremely intelligent and had a natural affinity for magic in all its myriad forms. Using their gifts, they developed a vast and wondrous society. Soon, 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 sick dread. He saw the dark future his people were heading towards: siding with the dark titan Sargeras and transformed 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 profess loyalty to the Destroyer of Worlds. Together, they transformed a majority of their people into an insidious race of warlocks and later allied themselves with the Burning Crusade.
Velen nearly despaired, but his prayer for help was overheard. A being came to Velen and explained that it was one of the naaru, a race of sentient energy beings bent on stopping the Burning Crusade. 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 fortress Tempest Keep, with the Burning Legion only moments behind. 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 Legion chased the Draenei for many thousands of years. The Draenei visited many worlds and explored much of the known cosmos in their quest to find safe harbor. Still the Legion, under the guidance of a hell-bent Kil’jaeden, would not give up its pursuit. 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 magics hidden for generations.
In time the Draenei met and befriended the shamanistic orc clans that already lived in the tranquil southern grasslands of 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 Kil’jaeden, in his quest to find more minions of the Legion, stumbled upon the planet and found the Draenei. But, his attention was soon fixed on the neighboring orcs. Intrigued, Kil’jaeden realized that they were exactly the race of warriors he was looking for and soon succeeded in corrupting the orcs though his protégé Gul’dan. Smoothly manipulated from a state of wary acceptance into blind rage and bloodlust, the orcs attacked the Draenei. This bloody conflict lasted nearly eight years, but the orcs’ triumph was inevitable. The orcs killed over eighty percent of the Draenei race and sent the rest fleeing for safety to the remote corners of the world. Afterwards, 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.
After coming to Draenor, the blood elves discovered the power of Tempest Keep and successfully seized it. To escape, the Draenei managed to wrestle control of a wing of the keep, the Exodar and make good their escape to find aid in retaking their home. Before they could escape, however, the blood elves managed to sabotage what is essentially the ‘engine’ for the Draenei’s transdimensional travel. The remainder of the Keep remains in Outland in Netherstorm area and is now a new home of Prince Kael’Thas.
When the Draenei tried to planeshift, the engine went haywire, and the Exodar ended up hurtling out of control through the Twisting Nether, crash-landing on a chain of islands called Azuremyst Isles, off the western coast of Kalimdor. As the surviving Draenei salvage what they can of their ship, they begin exploring this new world; contact with the night elves of Darkshore is imminent.
Not much is currently known about Draenei culture. Their capital city Exodar is built from the wreck of a satellite structure of the Tempest Keep they used to escape Outland. Blessed by the naaru, they worship the Holy Light, which makes them a natural ally of the Alliance. Having the same natural affinity for magic as their demonic cousins, a wide variety of magic-wielding classes are available to Draenei. Due to the influence of the naaru and their reverence for the holy powers of the universe, many Draenei are priests and paladins. While many Draenei are mages, none are warlocks, as the Exiled Ones well remember their narrow escape from darkness.
Recently, Shamanism has made an appearance among the Draenei, in the teachings perpetuated by the Broken Shaman Nobundo, a member of Velen’s inner circle.
Racial Offshoots and Factions
Draenei (Exiled Ones)
This is the faction of Draenei that have joined the Alliance. In a twist, the Draenei are eredar that broke away from the rest of their race leaving their homeworld of Argus when it looked like their race was going to become demons. The brethren that they left produced some of Warcraft’s most fearsome foes, like the demon Archimonde. They remained uncorrupted while the rest of their kind turned into the eredar known today. Their appearance is different from that of demonic eredar as they lack fangs and have different skin coloration. Both have horn-like protuberances from their foreheads, tentacles sprouting from their chins, cloven hooves, possess tails, and walk unguligrade like a horse.
Some Draenei mutated into lesser forms, resulting in a number of subspecies, of which the Lost Ones and the Broken are examples.
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. Members of some of these tribes were at odds with Akama’s tribe.
Akama’s tribe is known as the Broken.
Another of these tribes left outland after the destruction of their world and call themselves the Lost Ones.
Draenei is the name of the language used by the Draenei of Outland and Swamp of Sorrows. It is unknown if it is derived from Eredun, or one of the languages of Draenor. The Exiled Ones Draenei speak Eredun.
Controversy, Confusion, and Retcons
There has been a huge amount of confusion relating to the new lore for the Draenei. The revelation that they are an offshoot of the eredar was bewildering to some fans, as was the idea that Sargeras corrupted the eredar as opposed to the other way round.
The Dimensional Ship/Tempest Keep was also controversial, as some fans considered the concept more at home in sci-fi than fantasy.
In a post on the World of Warcraft forums, Metzen apologised for the difficulties the new lore created, but stood by his revisions, believing that this version grounds the Draenei and the eredar more firmly in WarCraft lore (he sheepishly admitted that he simply forgot the eredar were already demons). Metzen also claimed that the new dimensional ship lore would not be too similar to science-fiction “spacecraft,” with enough of a twist to make it work in a fantasy environment. (Metzen on Lore) The ship does not travel through “outer space” (or the Great Dark in Warcraft lore). It instead teleports between worlds using the Twisting Nether. Therefore it is inaccurate to say the Draenei are in any way related to outer space.
Metzen also cautioned players would “have to wait and see” about Garona, who was confirmed as half-Draenei following an earlier retcon.
A number of WoWWiki users have expressed annoyance over the Draenei’s continued dislike of orcs (apparently a reason for them joining the Alliance), as the current Horde is made up almost completely of orcs free from corruption. This animosity is similar to that some of the humans bear for the same race, so opposition to the blood elves and reverence for the Light should be regarded as more major reasons for their joining the Alliance.
The most recent addition to controversy surrounding the Draenei race has been the recent choice of Blizzard to allow Draenei, an Alliance race, to become Shaman (a class previously limited to Horde characters). Likewise, they are allowing the Blood Elves, a Horde race, to become Paladins (a class previously limited to Alliance characters).
In Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, the race’s name is pronounced with a short initial vowel sound and the accent on the first syllable: ‘dra-nI. (see this guide)
Various alternative pronunciations have also been heard or described:
• Scott Mercer, one of the lead designers at Blizzard, puts the emphasis on the second syllable: dr&-’nI.
• A post by CM Tseric claims it is “DRAY-neye”.(‘drA-nI)
• IGN states that lea