|Playable races in World of Warcraft e|
|Draenei · Dwarf · Gnome · Human · Night elf · Worgen||Pandaren||Blood elf · Goblin · Orc · Tauren · Troll · Undead|
- For the playable race, see Draenei (playable). For the article on the draenei language, see Draenei (language). For articles on the draenei racial offshoots and tribes, see Broken draenei, Draenei Lost Ones and Draenei factions and organizations.
|Draenei, the Exiled Ones|
|Faction/Affiliation||Alliance, Independent, Neutral|
|Character classes||Hunter, Mage, Priest (Anchorite), Paladin (Vindicator), Warrior, Shaman, Exarch, Harbinger, Peacekeeper, Death knight|
|Racial capital||The Exodar (by way of Shattrath City)|
|Racial leader(s)||Prophet Velen (draenei), Akama (Broken)|
|Average height||7'4" (220 cm)(male), 7' (210 cm)(female)|
The draenei (pronounced as DRAN-eye or DRAHN-eye) are a faction of uncorrupted eredar who fled their home world of Argus. 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.
Draenei factions and organizations
About 21,000 years ago, Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds, approached the eredar race, telling them that he was impressed by their work. He offered the three leaders of the eredar — Archimonde, Kil'jaeden, and Velen — untold power in exchange for their loyalty. Soon after, Velen then had a vision dictating the creation of the Burning Legion and its aftermath. He warned Kil'jaeden and Archimonde about this but they did not heed his warning. Instead, hungry for the power they could gain, they accepted Sargeras' offer. Many willing eredar were transformed, but a faction of uncorrupted Eredar led by Velen fled their homeworld of Argus, calling themselves the "draenei" ("the Exiled Ones"). For thousands of years, they wandered the universe exploring dozens of worlds. Each time they found a home, however, the Burning Legion would be upon them. After traveling through much of the cosmos, they finally found a safe world which they called Draenor ("Exile's Refuge"). At first, they shared a peaceful existence with the native orcs and enjoyed commerce 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. He chose to stay in the shadows and used the war-like and honor-seeking orcs, whom he manipulated, to do his bidding. As an act of vengeance for their actions on Argus, 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 upon 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 aspect changed in this ordeal; 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 Broken were driven mad by the absence of their home world and sank into an even deeper primitive state becoming the Lost Ones.
A number of draenei still remained untainted. They arrived in Azeroth after crash landing their dimensional-traveling ship, which fell victim to sabotage by malicious blood elves under the direction of Kael'thas. The draenei were the new Alliance race introduced in the Burning Crusade expansion. The draenei are also known to be very long-lived if not immortal, as Velen and possibly a few others have lived for at least 25,000 years.
More than 25,000 years 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 through his protégé Gul'dan. 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 univocal. 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.
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.
The information below originates from various sources including Warcraft III, Manual of Monsters, Lands of Conflict, and others. 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 lead by Akama, Elder Sage of the draenei. Cursed orcs serve Magtheridon--a terrible lord whose Black Citadel lies to the west. Cursed orcs under the command of Magtheridon, hunted the draene to the brink of extinction. With the help of Illidan and Kael 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 forver. 
- 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.
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. 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".
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 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.
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
Scattered tribes of draenei are rumored to still wander amongst 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.
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.
Draenei are physically different from the eredar of the Burning Legion. Draenei come in a wide variety of flesh tones, from ivory, aqua blue, dark blue, purple, and ebony. 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.
In Rise of the Horde, 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). 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.
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. 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 on the male, 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.
- Prophet Velen: Political and spiritual leader of all draenei.
- High Priestess Ishanah: Leader of the Aldor in Shattrath City.
- Karsius the Ancient Watcher: Ethereal draenei who has been tasked with watching over the spirit of Teron Gorefiend.
- Iridi: Draenei priestess featured in Richard A. Knaak's novel Night of the Dragon.
- Vindicator Maraad: Draenei paladin, featured in DC Unlimited's World of Warcraft: Series 2 action figure set.
- Tamuura: Draenei mage, featured in DC Unlimited's World of Warcraft: Series 3 action figure set.
- Dornaa: Shattrath's orphan from Children's Week. Through the questline it appears she is fated to grand things in the future.
- Farseer Nobundo: First of the draenei shaman.
- Akama: Master of Ashtongue Deathsworn, a faction of Broken draenei that first aided (and now plan to dethrone) Illidan Stormrage.
- Nemuraan: A survivor of the draenei massacre
- Garona - Half-orc of draenei descent, though alleged to be half-human.
- Lantresor of the Blade - Half-draenei of half-orc descent.
- Med'an - half-orc, half-draenei from his mother's side, father is Medivh making him Quarter-orc, Quarter-draenei, half human.
- Exodar draenei for gameplay information.
- Draenei NPCs
- Draenei (Warcraft III) for unit statistics from Warcraft III. (These draenei are actually broken draenei, though their models in fact resemble lost ones.)
- Garona Halforcen, who is half-draenei.
- Draenei controversy for controversy, confusion, and retcons.
- Draenei Village