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Dark rangers are elven rangers with a different focus. The dark ranger is a cunning hero, adept at manipulating opponents. Forcibly raised from the dead, the former rangers of Quel'Thalas enjoy nothing more than sowing dissension and hatred within the enemy ranks.
When Sylvanas Windrunner, Banshee Queen of the Forsaken, regained her physical body, she realized that the natural world would never respond to her wishes again. Angered by this development, she turned to the arts that were becoming more and more natural to her: Necromancy. She altered her elven ranger teachings into a new form. Thus, the dark rangers were born. When the Lich King's power began to wane, his mental domination was weakened, and many of his undead became free of will again. Many undead elves including the dark ranger Sylvanas, found themselves free of will, and Sylvanas rebelled against Arthas, turning her banshees against their former king. After gaining control of the Tirisfal Glades, Sylvanas proclaimed herself Queen of the Banshees and leader of the Forsaken (the free-willed undead).
Nearly all dark rangers are undead high elves found only among the Forsaken. No other faction has the elves' history coupled with the personal knowledge of shadows to learn the arts of a dark ranger. In fact, many dark rangers refuse to teach their arts to anyone who wasn't a former elf. While these rangers have slackened their restrictions some, most (nearly all) dark rangers were once elves.
Currently, there has been only one recording of a human ranger and subsequent dark ranger: Nathanos Blightcaller's resurrection as one of the Forsaken and service to the Dark Lady has earned him the rank of Champion of the Banshee Queen. Having once resided at Marris Stead in the Eastern Plaguelands, he is now a hunter trainer located in the War Quarter of the Undercity.
Abilities in World of WarcraftThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
In RPGThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG, and thus unlikely to be canon.
Dark rangers are similar to their high elven cousins, but focus on shadowcraft more than nature. Dark rangers are silent and invisible stalkers of the shadows, felling unsuspecting opponents with a single arrow. Dark rangers still favor the bow as the ultimate weapon, using the same arts that Quel'Thalas taught for millennia. Their spells work with manipulating the essences of life and death, as well as various horrible curses and mind-enslaving abilities.
Dark rangers' senses grow sharper than even those of other Forsaken. The dark ranger learns how to fade into dark conditions, wrapping herself with shadows. The skilled dark ranger can notice the tiny movements of her enemies along with other visual and auditory cues that allow her to react more quickly in combat.
While they no longer study nature, dark rangers remain some of the best trackers in the world. Naturally, most dark rangers hail from the scout class, but many newer rangers are former rogues, who use their stealth abilities to act as silent and near-invisible slayers for the Dark Lady.
Once fully trained, Sylvanas's dark rangers once again assumed their roles as guardians and hunters, now working for the Forsaken. Some undead, especially former elves, view rangers as a
necessary force, and trust them implicitly. Other Forsaken view these shadow killers as relics of an old past, with an inability to move along with the times.
Conversion from elven to dark
The blood-red eye glow and inhumanely pale skin are what distinguish dark rangers from their former high elvish selves. It may be a necromantic side-effect.
An elven ranger who dies and returns as a Forsaken undergoes a great shock. She can no longer cast elven ranger spells, and loses her woodland stride ability. While some may choose to let things be, most immediately seek out a dark ranger to relearn their arts.
An elven ranger seeking to convert to a dark ranger must, of course, have died, returned as a Forsaken, and seek to learn the arts of the shadow rather than the wild. This ordeal is difficult, as the dark ranger must twist everything she was taught about nature to start learning her darker trade. Then comes the hard part. A dark ranger-to-be must undergo a lengthy trial, where she unlearns everything she was taught as an elf and learns the new arts of a Forsaken.
A recent movement among the Forsaken has taken hold of dark rangers. The Cult of Forgotten Shadow moves like wildfire among the undead, and the dark rangers are no exception to the obsession with the faith.
To fill the void left by the "loss of their druidism," the dark rangers latched onto the Forgotten Shadow. Most dark rangers sympathize with the origins of the Forgotten Shadow and perhaps understand the Shadow more than any other undead in Lordaeron. While this movement disturbs Lady Sylvanas, she allows it to continue. 
Appearance in Warcraft IIIThis section concerns content exclusive to Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
Spells and abilities
- Silence - Stops all enemies in a target area from casting spells.
- Black Arrow - Adds extra damage to attacks. Units killed while under the effect of Black Arrow will turn into Dark Minions.
- Life Drain - Absorbs the life essence of a target enemy unit by taking hit points from it every second and giving them to the Dark Ranger.
- Charm - Takes control of a target enemy unit.
Named NPCs in World of WarcraftThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
- Dark Ranger Alina
- Dark Ranger Anya
- Nathanos Blightcaller
- Dark Ranger Clea
- Dark Ranger Cyndia
- Dark Ranger Velonara
- Sylvanas Windrunner
In Wrath of the Lich KingThis section concerns content exclusive to Wrath of the Lich King.
- Ranger Captain Areiel
- Dark Ranger Kalira
- Dark Ranger Loralen
- Dark Ranger Lyana
- Dark Ranger Marrah
- Dark Ranger Vorel
In CataclysmThis section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.
Comparisons to dark elves
Sylvanas' dark ranger form has been compared with dark elves by some fans, a race thought to have been the basis of her physical form, however, this is unconfirmed. Though it's partially implied in Horde Player's Guide, where dark rangers are considered cousins to high elves, and the idea of converting to "dark" is given. Dark elves were first mentioned in Day of the Dragon, but to date have not appeared in other sources, though Ul'haik Hadanot is an example that the potential for a similar race evolving from high elves is possible. In Burning Crusade, there is a new wretched elven type which has darkened grey skin and a gaunt appearance and who are enemies of the blood elves in Quel'Thalas, often living as bandits, thieves, and urchins. Some are undead, while others are humanoid. Many are aligned with the Scourge. Night elves have also been said to have been inspired by dark elves as well, however, they are benevolent compared to most other stories.
In Horde Player's Guide they are a prestige class though, and not a race. Another distinction between dark rangers and dark elves would be that dark rangers were former elven rangers who have died, become Forsaken, and then learned the "arts of the shadow" and unlearn the "arts of the wild" rather than dark elves, who would be living elves.
April Fools joke
On the 1st April 2013 there was a new page on the World of Warcraft website, which listed Dark Rangers as being a playable class in the Shadows of Sargeras expansion. This was however, an April Fool's joke.