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postheadericon Undead

Warcraft Undead

The Forsaken is the name of the faction of undead who broke away from the Scourge and took control of much of the kingdom of Lordaeron, destroyed during the Third War by the death knight Arthas. They are currently allied with the Horde, but an alliance of convenience only. The Forsaken is led by their Banshee Queen, Sylvanas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel’Thalas. Their capital is the Cities/Undercity, in the royal catacombs beneath the ruins of Lordaeron City.

•    Start Location: Tirisfal Glades
•    Home City: Undercity
•    Racial Mount: Undead Steed
•    Available Classes: Mage, Warlock, Priest, Rogue, Warrior

Starting Attributes

  • Strength 22
  • Agility 18
  • Stamina 23
  • Intellect 18
  • Spirit 25

Introduction and history

In the wake of Illidan’s failed attempt to melt the icy continent of Northrend, the powerful energies possessed by the Lich King inside his Frozen Throne slowly began to decay. Inexorably this resulted in a partial loss of control of the more distant Scourge forces. The result was that many undead under the Lich King’s mental domination had their conscious will restored. Their spirits and memories were somehow returned to their undead bodies. Even the Lich King’s champion, Arthas, began to weaken as the Lich King’s power waned. Arthas the Death Knight and his lieutenant, Kel’Thuzad the Lich were suddenly thrust into an undead civil war. Still fanatically loyal to the Lich King, Arthas heeded the call of his master and returned to Northrend as Illidan launched his second attempt to destroy the Lich King directly. Arthas left Kel’thuzad in command of his forces when he departed.

With Arthas’s departure from Lordaeron, the three Dreadlords Balnazzar, Varimathras and Detheroc attempted to regain control over the undead forces in Lordaeron using their formidable mental powers. The former High Elf Sylvanas Windrunner rallied many of the newly freed undead to counter the Dreadlords’ efforts. Sylvanas was amazingly successful and not only crushed the Dreadlords’ forces, but also utterly destroyed the last major contingent of human forces in Lordaeron. She forced Varimathras into her service in exchange for sparing his life and took control of the ruined capital of Lordaeron as her own. Within the sewer system of the ruined city Arthas had constructed his throne room; but with Arthas now gone, Sylvanas claimed this Cities/Undercity as her capital and set out to expand her ranks by freeing even more undead.
Dubbing her band of free-willed undead the Forsaken, Sylvanas

worked to ensure that the damned such as herself would have a home free from threats by the living. Whether she plans a cure for undeath or to bring suffering to all the world is a question whose answer only Sylvanas knows. What is known is that the Horde sympathizes with the Forsaken. The Orcs, having been enthralled to demon masters for a generation, felt an obligation to help similarly liberated people. Among the Tauren the Forsaken found a champion in Magatha Grimtotem, who argued in favor of the alliance between the two peoples and who continues to work closely with them. Magatha claims she merely wants to aid the Forsaken in their quest to redeem themselves, although there are many who believe her true motives to be something very different and much less innocent. While the Horde does not fully trust the Forsaken and vice versa, it is a start.
Excerpt from World of Warcraft manual

“Bound to the iron will of the tyrant Lich King, the vast Undead armies of the Scourge seek to eradicate all life on Azeroth. Led by the banshee, Sylvanas Windrunner, a group of renegades broke away from the Scourge and freed themselves from the Lich King’s domination. Known by some as the Forsaken, this group fights a constant battle not only to retain its freedom from the Scourge, but also to slaughter those who would hunt them as monsters. With Sylvanas as their banshee queen, the Forsaken have built a dark stronghold beneath the ruins of Lordaeron’s capital city. This hidden Undercity forms a sprawling labyrinth that stretches beneath the haunted woods of the Zones/Tirisfal Glades.

Though the very land is cursed, the zealous humans of the Scarlet Crusade still cling to their scattered holdings, obsessed with the eradication of the undead and retaking their homeland. Convinced that the primitive races of the Horde can help them achieve victory over their enemies, the Forsaken have entered an alliance of convenience. Harboring no true loyalty for their new allies, they go to any lengths to ensure their dark plans come to fruition. The members of the Forsaken have a simple task – to massacre any who pose a threat to the new order, human, undead or otherwise.”

With undead comes new capabilities and immunities no other race is afforded. The undead do not need to draw breath to fill their lungs nor have any need for mortal hang-ups. Theirs is an unlife of working not only for their own survival, but of revenge and power. Their dark lands are plagued by the remnants of the Scourge and the fanatical Scarlet Crusade, but they remain vigilant in their pursuit to rid themselves of both menaces and establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with.

In terms of play style, the Forsaken are probably specialised towards using either the Mage or Warlock class. They have the highest starting Intellect and Spirit stats, and lowest starting Strength of the Horde races, and are also the only Horde race other than the Trolls which allow the Mage class. Consider also the following points:-

•    The underwater breathing racial bonus very effectively counters a Mage’s characteristic fragility in certain situations, as it allows remaining underwater for extended periods as a means of escape.
•    The Will of the Forsaken ability is essentially an inherent means of countering certain debuffs/spells.
•    Cannibalize helps quickly regenerate health out of combat, reducing downtime.

According to information taken via the CensusPlus user interface modification, the Forsaken are the most popular Horde race, and the third most popular race (after the Humans and Night Elves) in the game overall.

The Forsaken are also apparently a highly popular choice for the Classes/Warrior class, again according to CensusPlus. While this may initially seem strange, given the Forsaken’s low starting Strength, on closer analysis it makes sense. The Will of the Forsaken ability grants Undead Warriors greater protection against magic than is customarily available for that class, and Cannibalize is a valuable means of health regeneration out of combat.

Racial traits

•    Will of the Forsaken – active Activate to become immune to fear, sleep, and charm effects – lasts 20 sec – 3 min cooldown
•    Cannibalize – active Increase health regeneration by 200% while consuming a corpse – lasts 15 sec – 3 min cooldown Useful for regaining your health in between fights.
•    Underwater Breathing – passive Underwater breath increased by 4x
•    Shadow Resistance – passive All Undead get +10 Shadow Resistance

Reasons for racial abilities

The Undead have special racial abilities due to their condition in undeath. Since they live in melancholy over their wretched physical condition they have grown resistant to the charms of their former life. They hardly sleep now, because their mind is no longer bound by normal living bio-rhythms. With dulled senses and a gruesome appearance, they no longer are as afraid of frights. These three factors have allowed them to use their willpower to become immune to charm, sleep and fear effects through the “Will of the Forsaken.” Since they are made of dead humanoid flesh, they have the ability to perform “Cannibalism” on dead humanoids, absorbing and repairing themselves with once-living foes. Their dead bodies they have little use for air, so they can breathe underwater for longer periods of time in a phenomenon called “Underwater Breathing.” The darkness of their soul, resulting from the curse of undeath, has caused their “Shadow Resistance” to be naturally higher.


Undead characters may play as a Classes/Mage, Classes/Priest, Classes/Rogue, Classes/Warlock or Classes/Warrior. All of these classes mimic the playable classes of the Human race, with the exception of Classes/Paladin, who exist as the very antithesis of the Undead.


The undead start in Towns/Deathknell, and after the quests are finished there, they head on to Towns/Brill. While at Towns/Brill, you have many quests that involve going to the Cities/Undercity, the undead capital town. It resides in Zones/Tirisfal Glades. After finishing the quests in Towns/Brill, you then head to Silverpine Forest to the outpost of The Sepulcher. Alternatively, Undead players can go to Durotar from the zeppelin tower near Towns/Brill, and then walk to The Crossroads in Zones/The Barrens rather than Silverpine Forest after completing the Towns/Brill quests, at roughly level 14 or so. Although the initial walk to The Crossroads is long, following this path has some advantages:-

•    Quests at the Crossroads are somewhat less challenging than those in Silverpine at the same character levels, allowing more rapid level advancement.
•    Several high level aggro mobs roam Silverpine, most notably Son of Arugal.
•    The Barrens are customarily a much busier area than Silverpine, and thus level 14+ characters are able to get an introduction to larger scale socialisation within the game.
•    The Barrens hosts two low-level instance dungeons (Ragefire Chasm under Orgrimmar, and the Wailing Caverns southwest of the Crossroads) which can also assist newer players in becoming familiar with that aspect of the game. Silverpine only has one, Shadowfang Keep, south of the Sepulcher.
Additional background

For the Forsaken to be part of the Horde is not a terrible stretch of the imagination. It is really just a matter of fully understanding both the motivations for both sides to ally, and the reality of their current alliance. Therefore, in an attempt to shed some light onto this, and hopefully cure naysayers of their doubts, I will cover the major points which lend what in my eyes is a very solid sense of verisimilitude to Blizzard’s decision:

First of all, the Horde is clearly aware of the difference between the Forsaken and the Scourge. The Horde has battled the Scourge in the past, and understands that the Forsaken are not mindless killers, but rather tortured souls afflicted with a debilitating condition not at all unlike the Orcs’ former demonic curse. Playing upon this knowledge, the Forsaken have used the premise of desperately seeking a cure for their affliction to mask their true purposes. So, although the apothecaries and likely Sylvanas are certanly plotting evil, the Horde is not at all aware of it. They do not fully trust the Forsaken, but many – such as The Earthen Ring, the advisory council within the Horde – believe the Forsaken to be seeking redemption.

Furthermore, the Forsaken and the Horde share an enemy in the Alliance, while not being enemies themselves. As such, the Horde has gained an ally against its enemies by accepting the Forsaken into its ranks. And in war, a new, powerful ally is nothing to discard lightly. Although they later went to war, it is not so unusual for peoples which may normally never consider alliances to become allies in times of desperation.

Additionally, the Forsaken do not live on Kalimdor with the rest of the Horde races. Instead, they live in Lordaeron. So, it isn’t like the Horde races are living together with the Forsaken. While they will get Forsaken visitors frequently, there are few if any Forsaken settlements on Kalimdor, and as such, the races likely do not have very frequent contact with each other outside the battlefield. This is a very important factor to consider when analyzing the political situation within the Horde; with the Forsaken being across the ocean, on a wholly separate continent, the rest of the Horde likely feels much more secure about allying with them, as they are at no risk of any military betrayal from the Forsaken. The Forsaken can’t launch a surprise attack against them, and yet are right next door to the core of the Alliance’s forces and territories. This provides a number of advantages.

To begin with, because the Forsaken are a lot closer to Alliance territory than the rest of the Horde nations, the Forsaken are a much easier and more convenient target for the Alliance than the rest of the Horde. This provides the Orcs with a decoy, or means of keeping the Alliance distracted in a conflict.

Secondly, there is the potential for intelligence gathering and the ability of Lordaeron to act as a source of advance warning of a potential Alliance attack. The Forsaken would frequently engage the Scarlet Crusade and other elements of the Alliance military, which could in turn provide access to Alliance lines of communication, and thus give information about Alliance activity.

Third, with the rest of the Horde’s magic users being entirely shamanic in nature, the Forsaken (and the magical research done by the Royal Apothecary Society) provide the Horde with its only source of non-shamanic magic, and thus could be indispensable in providing defense against Alliance magical attacks.

Finally, (and perhaps most importantly) the North Coast and the associated Zeppelin route would be of enormous strategic value and importance. The Orcs could use the Undercity as a staging area and means of obtaining reinforcements during an offensive down into Arathi, and over time the Undercity could enable them to control all of the territory north of the Wetlands, keeping the Alliance very effectively boxed in south of Ironforge.

To reiterate, the Horde on the whole does not trust the Forsaken. They know they’re undead, and probably can tell they’re not the most benevolent individuals, but because of their situation, and because the Earthen Ring put in their blessings, both Thrall and Cairne agreed to accept the Forsaken as a part of the Horde. While they are allied, it is an uneasy alliance to be sure. They had everything to gain by making the agreement with Sylvanas, and nothing to lose by accepting it.
The Forsaken in World of Warcraft

In World of Warcraft, players have the option of playing as a former sentient being transformed into an undead entity, best described as a vile mockery of what they were once in life. The Forsaken maintain virtually all of their memories and experiences from their life, but the experience of becoming a servant to Ner’zhul typically makes even the most noble creature into a much darker character. Although no Paladins ever became Forsaken due to their immunity to the Blight Plague, even the Priests who fell to it became twisted by their experiences, using their dedication to the Holy Light to further their dark purposes.
Although the success of the Forsaken’s plan to create a new, more potent Blight Plague remains uncertain, the fate of the Forsaken, and indeed of the entire world, will be revealed in more depth as the story of Warcraft progresses.