Magic or Magik (plural magics or magiks) is an ambient field of energy that pervades the world. It is stronger in some locations than others, but it is ever-present.
Few forces are as potent as magic. It can even bring about the destruction of entire worlds. The forms of magic found in Azeroth derive from different, ever-present energies. The nature and uses of magic are vigorously debated, but the magnitude of what it can accomplish cannot be doubted.
Light and Shadow
Light and Shadow are the most fundamental forces in existence. Although contradictory by their very nature, they are bound together on a cosmic scale. One cannot exist without the other. Pure Light and Shadow dwell in a realm outside the borders of reality, but shades of their presence are found in the physical universe. Light manifests as holy magic , while Shadow (also referred to as "the Void ") appears as shadow magic.
Before life began, before even the cosmic took shape, there was Light ... and there was Void. Unfettered by the confines of time and space, the Light swelled across all existence in the form of a sea. Great torrents of living energy flitted through its mirrored depths, their movements conjuring a symphony of joy and hope. The ocean of Light was dynamic and ever shifting. Yet as it expanded, some of its energies faded and dimmed, leaving behind pockets of cold nothingness. From the absence of Light in these spaces, a new power coalesced and came to be. This power was the Void, a dark and vampiric force driven to devour all energy, to twist creation inward to feed upon itself. The Void quickly grew and spread its influence, moving against the waves of Light. The mounting tension between these opposing yet inseparable forces ignites a series of explosions, rupturing the fabric of creation and birthing a new realm into existence. In that moment, the physical universe was born. The energies released by the clash of Light and Void raged across the nascent cosmos, raw matter merging and spinning into primordial worlds without number. For long epochs, this ever-expanding universe—the Great Dark Beyond—broiled in a maelstrom of magic and fire.
Life and Death
In the physical universe, the forces of life and death hold sway over every living thing. The energies of life known commonly as nature magic, promote growth and renewal in all things. Death, in the form of necromantic magic, acts as a counterbalance to life. It is an unavoidable force that breeds despair in mortal hearts and pushes everything towards a state of decay and eventual oblivion. Entropy, as it can be defined, is lack of order or predictability - a gradual decline into disorder.
Order and Disorder
Order, in reality, is most commonly perceived as arcane magic. This type of energy is innately volatile, and wielding it requires intense precision and concentration. Conversely, disorder is manifested as highly destructive fel magic. This brutal and extremely addictive energy is fueled by drawing life from living beings. Life, it seems, cannot be destroyed by the highly destructive fel magic because destruction is the process of destroying structures, breaking them down into the parts that they're constructed of. Life is a construct if it can be destroyed and constructs are not living things, so how can animate beings be alive if the thing that animates them is not a living thing? It is stated that only life can give life and if the thing that animates an animate being isn't a living thing and therefore has no life, the study of magic involving an animate being can definitely be considered necromancy. One thing to consider is the fact that necromancy can be viewed as animancy (or a form of it) and that studying magic used to animate inanimate objects is studying magic one can use to animate the dead.
After Micky was asked if life can be destroyed, Micky stated that it seems like just a change of energy and in most - if not all - fantasy settings, death (or necromantic) magic is considered to be a form of life magic (it's a form of magic and it's the opposite of life magic). Presumably, this is because if life can be converted (or transformed) into another state, the state that life can be converted (or transformed) into would not be animate or living. And when regarding to World of Warcraft lore, warlocks (according to how Dave Kosak describes it) convert life into fel, draining the victim as a source of power. Fel is the primal force of chaos and can pool into a green goop when it's in physical form. It is described as a substance and it can be animated (is that substance alive when animated?). Prior to being animated, fel is inanimate and so one can, presumably, animate - or fuel - the fel by drawing life from living beings and be considered animancers or necromancers.
In the physical universe, the forces of order and disorder govern the cosmic systems of the physical universe.
In the physical universe, the elements of fire, air, earth, and water serve as the basic building blocks of all matter. Shamanic cultures have long sought to live in harmony with, or assert dominion over, the elements. To do so, they call upon the primordial forces of Spirit and Decay. Decay is the tool of shaman seeking to subjugate and weaponize the elements themselves. Those who seek to bring balance to the elements rely on Spirit (sometimes referred to as the "fifth element" by shaman, or "chi" by monks). This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one. Sacrificial magic was considered the greatest violation of life. Despite that fact, it is treated as different from the energies of life, which are known commonly as nature magic. Technically, Spirit is nature magic.
Gods are neither omniscient nor omnipotent and there are no hard and fast rules to define what it means to be a god in Warcraft, save that all gods are immortal. Gods can be fundamentally incorporeal or they may have physical bodies. It is possible for a god to exert influence over several locations simultaneously yet the power of a god is limited. Can one ever truly destroy a god, putting a lasting end to its existence? Unfortunately that question has departed the realm of philosophy and become a matter of vital concern.
The following below this section can be viewed as gods as they are immortal.
Demigods in Warcraft are immortal, but they are neither omniscient nor omnipotent. Unlike gods, most demigods have never been the objects of worship. Few demigods have temples built in their honor. Priesthoods based on the worship of a demigod are extremely rare. Nevertheless, demigods been revered in the past, and some of them continue to be respected today.
Demons are evil immortals who feed upon magic and life.
Many immortal and near-immortal creatures exist in Warcraft. A number of these creatures are fundamentally incorporeal beings, but others lead a primarily physical existence.
The Nature of Immortality
"Immortality can be a great boon. It can also be agony the likes of which you have not yet begun to fathom..." - Ner'zhul
Immortals in Warcraft are generally resistant to sickness and injury, but immortality does not confer invulnerability. Immortal beings can still be wounded and even killed. It is stated that the death of an immortal is just as real as any mortal death and, barring a few extraordinary cases, just as permanent. What, then, does the term immortality mean in Warcraft? Immortal creatures essentially stop aging when they reach adulthood, and thus, they cannot die merely from old age. In addition, they tend to be more powerful than most mortal creatures, although this tendency does not always hold true. Even godhood itself is no guarantee of superior might.
Immortals are the opposite of mortals — living beings that die. As such, immortals cannot truly be considered living beings. If immortals are living beings, they can die. And if living beings can die, they can become dead. And if they can become dead, they can become undead. Immortals can't become undead—not if they're already undead.
"Death is for the living." - Bolvar Fordragon
The undead are former mortals who have died and become trapped between life and death. If immortals can't become undead, they can't be considered living beings that die (mortals) by any sense of the term. If immortals are merely living beings that can die, they merely seem to be mortals who can cheat death.
The Denizens of the Cosmos
Angels are winged creatures mentioned or witnessed throughout the Warcraft universe. They are rarely referred to specifically as "angels", though.
It may be possible that Angels later in the game universe are a different species not really the same Angels that appear in the early Warcraft Universe, but instead appear to be Angels as a practical conception by their appearance thus called Angels.
In the early games, Angels appear to be armored beings as opposed to spirit healers who lack armor. Tyrael resembles an armored old angel and not a spirit healer.
Demons are evil immortals who feed upon magic and life. They delight in inflicting suffering, spreading corruption, and, of course, destroying all that is good. Most demons were once mortal. Not all demons are intelligent: various animals have been transformed into demons, for instance.
In order to become a demon, a creature must be infused with fel energy. As the existence of non-sentient demons suggests, a creature's wishes are irrelevant to the process. Willing or not, a creature can be changed into a demon. Such a transformation alters the affected creature on a fundamental level and typically leaves little or nothing of that creature's original personality.
The Professions of the Cosmos
In undeath, some death knights find a special affinity for the blood and bone of the living. They carve into their enemies, sustaining themselves with deadly sanguine strikes, while using the bloody, shattered remains of the dead to fortify their own defenses. These crimson-soaked knights bend the very rules of mortality to control the frontlines of the battlefield.
Combining martial prowess with supernatural cold, frost death knights leave their enemies chilled to the bone—and broken of the will to fight. Unlike mages who learn to harness frost magic to great effect, these death knights are born of it, rime gripping their decaying hearts. These frozen undead warriors wield dual blades to strike with ferocity and inflict deathly cold upon anyone who would stand against them.
While free from the Lich King’s grasp, some death knights still embody the ever-corrupting nature of the Scourge plague that once threatened to consume Azeroth. No matter their allegiance or cause, they remain defilers of life; and nowhere is their callousness more on display than when threatened. Inflictors of the most aggressive of diseases—and masters of raising unhallowed minions from the ground—these unholy death knights are vicious melee combatants, capable of striking with the force of an undead legion and unleashing pestilence that would bring their foes to ruin.
Guardians of nature who seek to preserve balance and protect life, druids have unmatched versatility on the field of battle. This is in part because druidism is much more than a fighting discipline—it’s a way of life steeped in traditions so ancient that even the origin of their kind is preserved largely in mythology passed on through millennia.
The elements that carve form into the universe are fluid forces of nature. Some beings seek to bend the power of these natural elements to their will. Druids, however, worship the protecting spirits of nature. Long ago, nature’s equilibrium was thrown out of balance, leaving the world vulnerable to catastrophic events, including the first invasion of the Burning Legion. By leveraging the sacred powers of the moon, the sun, and the stars, balance druids access arcane and nature magics—made more potent still through shapeshifting, when the spellcaster takes the form of the moonkin—to aid in the fight against imbalance that threatens the natural order of all things.
The many gifts provided by nature must sometimes be reciprocated. Restoration druids seek order in the world by tending directly to its many life forms. Friend to flora and fauna alike, restoration druids celebrate birth and growth. Where there is decay, they bring rejuvenation. Where there is abatement, they summon regrowth. Life not only needs protection—it needs nourishment. To foster this harmony, the restoration druid builds a bond with the things that grow, gaining inspiration from the flower’s bloom, the seed’s sprout, the mushroom’s spores, and the tree’s growth. Like nature, the restoration druid perseveres through patience and persistence, the foundation upon which all life is built and sustained. They use this power to mend wounds and provide persistent remedies that keep their allies from falling.
Of the arcane, mages are diviners of secrets, balancing the ebb and flow of incredible mystic energies. Unparalleled skill is required to manipulate the volatile forces of the universe. These practitioners push their magical knowledge to its very limits—often to the brink of their own exhaustion, and at great risk to the world around them. Those who master this craft are capable of releasing a barrage of unrelenting power upon their enemies, drawing upon replenishing energies to maintain their assault for as long as the battle demands.
While any worthy mage is an unparalleled expert in the use of magic and heavily dedicated to their craft, those who master the forces of fire tend to be a little more audacious than their peers. If a threat stands before them, the answer is always to neutralize it in a glorious blaze. A lifetime dedicated to the study of fiery forces only fuels their pyromania, and these mages take pride—even pleasure—in igniting their enemies in wild bursts of flame. Mistake their affinity for watching things burn as a lack of self-control at your own peril.
Frost mages stand apart from their colleagues, in that their chosen school of magic focuses on maintaining supreme control over the capabilities of their enemies. Mages who command frost perform chilling displays on the battlefield, rendering foes immobile as they bombard them with ice. Often, the blade never reaches the caster before the bitter cold takes hold. The frost mage exudes frigid power as icicles form around them, foreshadowing the wintry demise of those who stand opposed on the field of battle.
Rogues have always employed a bit of minor mysticism in their trade - some slightly less minor. Subtlety rogues are the masters of the shadows, and they strike unseen. They don’t have the lethal poison-tipped daggers of the assassin or the brawling prowess of the outlaw, but their acumen on the battlefield and ability to hide in plain sight are unrivaled. Some claim the art of subtlety looks like malevolent shadow magic—but no matter from where their power is derived, these rogues are capable of performing devastating assaults on their enemies, slipping away unharmed to strike again without detection. Most rogues train their entire lives to learn how to walk in the shadows—subtlety rogues were born there.
For millennia, since the primitive tribal cultures of Azeroth and Draenor, the natural elements of the physical universe have been celebrated, feared, and even worshipped. Mystics sought communion with the earth, air, fire, and water, and learned to tap into their raw power. In time, these spiritual guides came to understand that nature’s elemental forces aren’t wholly benevolent, but have, in fact, been locked in an unending conflict of chaos and primal fury that once consumed the physical realm. So began the calling of the Shaman, to bring balance to these volatile energies, leveraging their intensity to mend wounds . . . or inflict them.
Certain shaman have dedicated themselves above all else to forging a deep bond with the elements. They have peered beyond the Elemental Plane, gleaning visions of an ancient past where manifestations of volatile energies once raged unimpeded across primordial Azeroth. Through careful study and dedication, the elemental shaman is able to channel such power into destructive magical surges. Through the body of the shaman flows bolts of lightning, as if from storm, and bursts of fire, as if from molten earth. They manipulate the land itself and summon spirits of earth, fire, and storm to their aid. To battle an elemental shaman is to taunt the very forces of nature.
Intense communion with fire, earth, air, and water isn’t exclusive to the elemental shaman. In many ways, enhancement shaman similarly bond with nature and leverage its power on the battlefield. What distinguishes them in their training—and in their connection with the elements—is their combat methodology. These shaman favor empowering their physical attacks with elemental energies and facing their adversaries up close. They don’t shy from the frontlines, wielding magically augmented weapons, potent elemental attacks, and totems that shape the tide of battle.
Some shaman find a serene affinity for the restorative properties of water. These shaman do not necessarily seek the Light or turn to the divine, yet they feel a profound spiritual connection with the source from which all mortal life took root. So strong is their connection with water that the shaman is able to restore life and heal afflictions. They balance this with a command of the other elements, finding harmony in nature and purifying their allies as a tidal surge washes across a sandy shore.
Warlocks are magical practitioners who seek to understand darker, fel-based magics, including destructive spells.
The RPGThis section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG, and thus unlikely to be canon.
Arcane is the most common form of magic. Used by mages, wizards, and other sorcerers, such as those of the Kirin Tor, arcane magic is ever present in the atmosphere and accessible to any who are capable of drawing upon its energies. Arcane magics were discovered by the Kaldorei and later refined by the high elves of Quel'thalas and the human nations, and are most commonly practiced by mages.
Arcane magic comes from the Well of Eternity, which itself draws from the Twisting Nether. Arcane magic is very powerful, but if not used carefully can cause corruption and great destruction.
Geomancy is a practice of divination and elemental combat native to several humanoid races of Azeroth. It is similar to shamanism in that disciples of geomancy wield the powers of the earth and encourage respect of earth’s spirits. The main difference between a geomancer and a shaman is the method through which the trust of the elements is gained. A shaman speaks directly with the elemental spirits, whereas a geomancer uses rituals, songs, and sacrifices to appease and propitiate the spirits.
Necromancy is similar to the magics used by warlocks, however, instead focuses on the study of death rather than demonology. They are capable of reviving living creatures from death to do their bidding as undead servants.
- Main article: Rune magic
Runic magic was created by the titans. Their creation, the dwarves, quickly mastered the mysteries of the runes taught to them. However, as generations passed, the dwarves forgot their heritage and lost all knowledge of runes and their hereditary powers.
Tauren in Kalimdor rediscovered the power of runes. An ancient race as well, the tauren remembered the myths of runecasting and revived interest in this nearly lost art. The dwarves that came to Kalimdor with Jaina Proudmoore's Alliance Expedition learned tauren runecasting techniques. Tauren and dwarves do not share good relations, but they were eager to share knowledge of runes and titan myths.
The Vrykul practice a runic magic that even the most experienced wizards find unfamiliar.
- Main article: Shamanism and Nature Worship
The shaman's power is drawn from spirits, both of ancestors and of spirits found in natural surroundings. Shamanism is also practiced by some of the draenei who learnt shamanism on Draenor. In modern history, shamanism is common among orcs, tauren, trolls and draenei.
- Main article: Voodoo
Voodoo is a strange tribal mix between the power of arcane and divine magic, practiced by witch doctors and shadow hunters. They often combine reagents in a cauldron to create strange brews that most often result in bizarre transformations when consumed. They are widely known for placing hexes to morph victims into various creatures or placing curses. The majority of voodoo users are trolls, although other races of the Horde have taken up the craft.
Other forms of magic
EnchantingThis section concerns content exclusive to World of Warcraft.
Battle.net, World of Warcraft, Game Guide, Professions, Enchanting. Archived from the original on 2013-08-05. Retrieved on October 10th, 2013. Retrieved on Sunday 2013.
- Main article: Enchanting
Enchanting was the art of interaction with magical objects and their effects. Specifically, Enchanting was the art of adding, removing and using magical objects. Enchanting on Azeroth was quite complicated, involving sophisticated work and many different ingredients, materials and other objects. In order to learn an enchantment, an enchanter had to disenchant a magical object in order to learn it. After that, the knowledge of the enchantment could be written down or even memorized. After that, an enchanter could add the magical effects of the previously disenchanted object to a new, unenchanted object. Besides enchanting pieces of gear, equipment, armor and weapons, enchanters can also create Wands, Oils, Rods and Scrolls.
Enchanting recipes, also referred to as formulas, were codes used by Enchanters to learn to enchant and craft items.
Table of magic-using races
|Form of magic||Races|
|Arcane||Humans, Gnomes, Draenei, Forsaken, Trolls, High Elves, Blood Elves, Ogre mages, Night Elves (After Cataclysm), Ironforge Dwarves, Goblins, Worgen, Orcs|
|Druidism||Night Elves, Tauren, High Elves, Wildhammer dwarves, Trolls, Worgen, Furbolg|
|Fel||Demons, Orc, Forsaken, Blood Elves, Humans, Gnomes, Highborne, Ironforge Dwarves, Worgen, Goblins, Trolls|
|Geomancy||Pandaren, Quilboar, Troggs, Kobolds|
|Holy Light||Humans, Ironforge Dwarves, Draenei, Blood Elves, High Elves, Gnomes, Worgen, Goblin, Tauren|
|Necromancy||Nathrezim, Undead, Orc, Human, Forsaken|
|Shamanism||Orc, Tauren, Troll, Draenei, Furbolg, Tuskarr, Quilboar, Ogre, Dark Iron dwarves, Wildhammer dwarves, Ironforge Dwarves, Murlocs, Goblins|
- Some claim magic is the result of the Well of Eternity's waters being spread to the entirety of the world.
- Medivh believed magical fire comes into existence because the caster concentrates the inherent nature of fire in a certain area to summon it into being. Medivh also maintained that the practice of magic is "the art of circumventing the normal."
- ^ The Last Guardian, pg. 240
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. ?
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 16 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 30-31 on iBooks
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 16-17 on iBooks
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 17 on iBooks
- ^ Micky Neilson on Twitter
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 17-18 on iBooks
- ^ Paragons, pg. 470 on iBooks
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Death Knight
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Druid
- ^ a b c World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Mage
- ^ WoW TCG Card: Shadow Strikes
- ^ World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Rogue
- ^ World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Shaman
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pgs. 150-151
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 59
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pgs. 248-249
- ^ Manual of Monsters, pg. 79
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 60
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 252
- ^ Magic & Mayhem pg. 34
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pgs. 154-155
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, pg. 65
- ^ Lands of Conflict, pg. 117
- ^ Magic & Mayhem, pgs. 55-57
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pgs. 66-68
- ^ More Magic and Mayhem, pg. 8
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, pg. 67
- ^ Last Guardian pgs. 47-48, pgs. 148-151
- ^ Last Guardian pg. 92