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Choosing a race

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Introduction

If you're new to the game, you're faced with a lot of choices. The most important of these choices are without a doubt what class you want to be. Then, along with choosing a faction, you must choose a race.

One thing you should know before starting this process is that, unlike a class, your race and faction are not set in stone. As of September 2 2009 in the US and September 17 2009 in the EU, players may now choose to change their Faction for a fee of $30.00 in the Account Management Page. Also, as of October 27th, 2009 for US and EU, players may now also change races for a fee of $25.00 in the Account Management Page.

See the Faction Change service and the Race Change service pages for more in-depth information on the two services.

What is a race?

Well, in World of Warcaft, there are two factions: the Alliance and the Horde. Each faction currently has 6 race options to them. The races for the Alliance are the dwarves, gnomes, humans, night elves, draenei, and the worgen. The races for the Horde are the orcs, tauren, trolls, undead, blood elves, and the goblins. Click on an individual link for in-depth information on each specific race.

Choosing a race

Each of these races has unique racial traits and certain playable classes available to them. These racial traits and class options help them to accomplish their goals in the world. Racial traits, known as racials can be either passive or active.

Characters can only talk, group, and create guilds with players from their own faction. Certain zones and cities in the world are also friendly to one faction while hostile to the other. Additionally, certain quests can only be completed by members of one faction and not the other.

The tables below outline which player class is available to a race (denoted by X).

Alliance 32 Alliance

Dwarf Gnome Human Night elf DraeneiBc icon WorgenCataclysm-Logo-Small
IconSmall Deathknight Death KnightWrath-Logo-Small x x x x x x
IconSmall Druid Druid - - - x - x
IconSmall Hunter Hunter x - x x x x
IconSmall Mage Mage x x x x x x
IconSmall Paladin Paladin x - x - x -
IconSmall Priest Priest x x x x x x
IconSmall Rogue Rogue x x x x - x
IconSmall Shaman Shaman x - - - x -
IconSmall Warlock Warlock x x x - - x
IconSmall Warrior Warrior x x x x x x

Horde 32 Horde

Orc Tauren Troll Undead Blood elfBc icon GoblinCataclysm-Logo-Small
IconSmall Deathknight Death KnightWrath-Logo-Small x x x x x x
IconSmall Druid Druid - x x - - -
IconSmall Hunter Hunter x x x x x x
IconSmall Mage Mage x - x x x x
IconSmall Paladin Paladin - x - - x -
IconSmall Priest Priest - x x x x x
IconSmall Rogue Rogue x - x x x x
IconSmall Shaman Shaman x x x - - x
IconSmall Warlock Warlock x - x x x x
IconSmall Warrior Warrior x x x x x x


Starting Areas

The zone you begin in depends on your race (unless you are a death knight). The Blood Elf and Draenei starting areas (Eversong Woods and Azuremyst Isle, which were added in, and can only be accessed with, the Burning Crusade expansion), are generally agreed to provide a smoother, more enjoyable leveling experience with better-designed rewards. However, any race can level in any starting zone of the same faction, you'll just have to hoof it over there. You'll probably want to reach level 5 where you start and then travel to the new zone.

The Worgen and Goblin starting areas were added with the Cataclysm-Logo-Small 4.0.1 patch, and have a more tightly linear, narrative flow through the first several levels. These starting areas are essentially instances that are specific to these races and make use of phase shifts as the player progresses through the content. As a result, other races in the same faction are not able to access these starting areas. In addition, unlike in other starting areas, Worgen and Goblin players must complete their starting zones before entering the wider WoW universe (including PvP battlegrounds), often emerging at level 12 or 13.

Racial traits

As mentioned above, different races have different racials. Lets pretend here for a moment; lets pretend that racials did not exist. Then, what would be the difference between races? Well, the answer is this:

  1. Different looks
  2. Different starting locations
  3. Different background stories

It is recommended that you choose a race based on what looks best to you. However, there are cases where having the right racials can be a life saver, that is why this section will explain the racials to you. For further details on which race is "best" for what classes, feel free to skip this section.

Main article: Racial traits

Alliance 32 Alliance

Dwarf

  • Stoneform : Activate to remove poison, disease, and bleed effects; +10% Armor; Lasts 8 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Frost Resistance : Increases your resistance to harmful Frost effects by x.
  • Explorer : You find additional fragments when looting archaeological finds and you can survey faster than normal archaeologists.

Gnome

  • Escape Artist : Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect. Instant cast. 1 min, 45 sec cooldown as of Patch 2.3 (was 1 min).
  • Expansive Mind : Increase Intellect by 5%.
  • Arcane Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Arcane spells by 2%.
  • Engineering Specialist : 15 point skill bonus to Engineering (note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of Engineering).

Human

  • Every Man for Himself : Removes all movement impairing effects and all effects which cause loss of control of your character. This effect shares a cooldown with other similar effects, 2 minute cooldown.
  • Diplomacy : Reputation gains increased by 10%.
  • The Human Spirit : Increase spirit by 3%.

Night elf

  • Shadowmeld : Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until canceled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect, 2 minute cooldown.
  • Quickness : Reduces the chance that melee and ranged attackers will hit you by 2%.
  • Wisp Spirit : Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing speed by 75%.
  • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.

Draenei

  • Gift of the Naaru : Heals the target of X damage over 15sec. The amount healed is increased based on the caster's Spell Power or Attack Power, whichever is higher. 3 minute cooldown.
  • Heroic Presence : Increases chance to hit with all spells and attacks by 1% for you and all party members within 30 yards.
  • Gemcutting : 5 point skill bonus to Jewelcrafting (note, this also raises the cap by 5 at each level of jewelcrafting).
  • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.

Horde 32 Horde

Orc

  • Blood Fury : Activate to increase attack power and spell damage/healing by an amount based on level/class for 15 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Hardiness : Reduces duration of stun effects by 15%.

Tauren

  • War Stomp : Activate to stun opponents - Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yards for 2 seconds. 2 minute cooldown.
  • Endurance : Base health increased by 5%.
  • Cultivation : 15 point skill bonus to Herbalism (note, this also raises the cap by 15 at each level of herbalism).
  • Nature Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Nature spells by 2%.

Troll

  • Berserking : Activate to increase attack and casting speed by 20% for 10 seconds. Changed in 3.2 from: (Speed is raised by 10% at full health, increasing as health is lost to a maximum bonus of 30%.) 3 minute cooldown.
  • Regeneration : Increase health regeneration bonus by 10%. Also allows 10% of normal health regen during combat.
  • Da Voodoo Shuffle : Reduces the duration of all movement impairing effects by 15%. Trolls be flippin' out mon!

Undead

  • Cannibalize : When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 seconds for 10 seconds. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yards. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
  • Shadow Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by Shadow spells by 2%.

Blood elf

  • Arcane Affinity : 10 point skill bonus to Enchanting (note, this also raises the cap by 10 at each level of enchanting).
  • Magic Resistance : Reduces the chance you will be hit by spells by 2%.

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