- This page is a work in progress, and designed to supply lore-based answers to questions that often arise in the course of Blood Elf roleplay. Development is mostly in the talk-tab, the basic structure has been lifted from the SWCwiki's Night Elf RP guide, but may change as convenient.
Introduction: Blood Elves and the Horde Edit
Ever since their introduction with The Burning Crusade expansion, there's been much talk of Blood Elves "ruining" the Horde by simply not fitting into the fierce mentality of the faction. Looking even a little past appearances, the complaint simply doesn't hold water - under surface appearances, Blood Elves are far more Horde than Alliance in mentality. They are not humans with pointy ears, any more than they are Victorian and androgynously ethereal Tolkien Elves. They aren't even the cliched Anne Rice vampires, "except with magic addiction instead of blood addiction". Though prettier on the outside and more political than most Horde species, as a race Blood Elves share the ferocity and some core beliefs as all the Horde races. More importantly, they share the same recent history and crisis. They belong with the Horde for the same reason as all the other races: for desperation. To survive, they have no choice but to accept the allies they have, and be grateful for them.
Like most Horde races, Blood Elves have a glorious past, now lost to them. They come to the Horde as the last 10% still standing after a disastrous war: this is much like what the Orcs faced in Kalimdor after the Second War, or circumstances that drove the Forsaken and the Darkspear to join the original Horde after the Third War. Like the more tribal Orcs and Tauren, the Blood Elves have deep respect for their ancestors and their fallen warriors; they wear red as a tribute to the hundreds of thousands lost saving Quel'thalas. Though historically elves and trolls are enemies, the Troll Wars were fought with the Amani trolls, not the Gurubashi tribes the Darkspear hail from. And though formerly members of the Alliance, the Blood Elves have as little cause to love their former allies as the Forsaken do. Like the Forsaken, they were abandoned by the Alliance in their hour of need; for their pragmatic willingness to make hard choices if it comes to a choice between high principals and survival, they find themselves branded traitors; for their thirst for magic, they have been demonized. As a species, the Blood Elves are compelled to get along with the Horde, or perish alone.
But - again something all Horde species have in common - for all their desperate need, Blood Elves are not beggars or victims, nor anything but proud of who they are. The core of Blood Elves is their tenacity and their sense of righteousness, even entitlement. This is not the first time their civilisation has been razed and rebuilt from ashes. They are the tenacious survivors of a race that has made war with dragons, demons and trolls; they have survived the threat of genocide by their kin, built a new home in exile, and always come out with their pride and identity and beliefs intact. If they are anything, it is survivors, who adapt to their fate and find a way to go on with their culture and heritage intact. Kaldorei, Quel'dorei or Sin'dorei, more than anything Blood Elves are survivors with a deep sense of racial identity.
Perhaps the core of RP'ing Blood Elves in the Horde is that theirs is an alliance of convenience. Though the survival of Quel'thalas requires bowing to the warchief, though they may even be able to find things to respect and identify with in the savages of the Horde, all of this exists only because a Blood Elf's first loyalty is to his people - and right now, his people need the Horde.
Chapter One: Mindset Edit
At Burning Crusade launch, Blood Elves were primarily described as vicious survivors, hungry for revenge for their destroyed home and desperate for magic to feed their addiction. Much of the addiction was resolved by the end of the expansion, with the fall of Kael'thas and Illidan and the restoration of the Sunwell - the nation's thirst for vengeance was addressed in Wrath of the Lich King, with Arthas and the Scourge finally being brought to justice for the devastation Quel'thalas suffered. The last ten years have been a tumultuous and traumatic period in any Blood Elf's life - with 90% of the race killed in the Third War, it's almost freakish for a Blood Elf not to have lost both friends and family.
Still, for a race whose natural lifespan measures in the thousands, how much should this recent trauma count for? Even the youngest adult Blood Elf will have at least a century of life behind them. How do we, as teenage or even middle aged players, go about building that sort of experience and perspective into a character?
One way is to take a look at the recent history the current Blood Elf generation have lived through, and deciding which of those experiences have left the most powerful mark on your character's personality.
High Elf mentality: Benevolent aristocracyEdit
- Descended from the Highborne of queen Azshara's court the Quel'dorei had the sort of formal, civilised and peaceful culture one might expect from a society whose entire founding population had, at one time, considered themselves the aristocratic nobility of their species. - Taught humans both magic (involved in founding the Order of Tirisfal and the Kirin Tor) and philosophy (taught humans to think of the Light as a principle, not 'god'). Nevertheless, elves remained apart and aloof from human society, and limited carefully what they were willing to teach. Lore suggests the more powerful of elven magics were always held back, and only one human in all history - Nathanos Marris - was considered adept enough to train with elven rangers. - Quel'dorei are no more - of the 10% of the Blood Elf race that survived, only 1% had the strength of mind to resist the addiction and not resort to fel magic and manatapping whatever was available after the war. Most if not all of them fled Kael'thas's rule and joined the Alliance, and are now viewed as the enemy. - How this applies to roleplay: lore suggests elves had a rather divided view of their role on the world. On the one hand, with their greater life experience came the responsibility to watch over the world like younger races couldn't - but since they were so much more experienced and capable, they also set themselves apart. It's debatable whether this was out of a sense of superiority, or a more emotional desire to not become too close with humans who will grow old and die in the time it takes for a Quel'dorei to just grow up - interestign roleplay characters can be built around either option, or a combination of them.
Blood Elf mentality: Bitter survivalEdit
- Survivors of the Third War that almost annihilated the race, only the inhumanly lucky haven't lost friends and family. Assumed their new name as a testament to their will to survive, rebuild and take revenge for those who died. For much of this period, the people hailed Kael'thas as the Sun King and the saviour of his people; most knew nothing of his dealings with Illidan and the Burning legion, only that he somehow supplied Silvermoon with magic that kept the addiction at bay and the survivors from becoming mindless Wretched. To Blood Elves, humanity are the traitors who denied help when Quel'thalas most needed them, and then turned on their former allies for taking help from the only people who would give it - the Naga. - How this applies to roleplay: lore suggests Blood Elves are pragmatics. They will gladly die for their kin and kind, but they will also accept fairly horriffic measures to survive. Perhaps they believe that the benefit their civilisation and wisdom offers the world forgives a little evil done to keep it alive, perhaps they are simply blinded by rage for what they have suffered, and still too close to the tragedy to even consider the implications of their actions, past what makes them feel better right now. Or perhaps they remember how things used to be, and are horrified by what the need to survive has driven them to - ten years isn't much in the life of someone who has lived centuries. Again, both extremes offer good roleplay possibilities.
Post-Reclamation Blood Elf mentality: return to LightEdit
- Rebuilding began with the restoration of the Sunwell, but will continue for decades and centuries yet, before the race has recovered it's former strength. Vengeance for Quel'thalas was claimed when Arthas fell in Northrend. The Blood Knights have pledged loyalty to the Naaru, and regent Lor'themar has pledged the Sindorei to the Horde. The Blood Elves have a place in the world again and some direction, but with Cataclysm, the world is about to go to pieces around them. - How this applies to roleplay: in many ways, the Blood Elves have passed a turning point in their history. Alliances have been broken and made - for better or for worse, they now owe their existence to the Horde and their sanity to the Naaru, and this has been fact long enough to sink in. The most immediate targets for Sin'dorei vengeance have been destroyed, and with the pure energies of the Sunwell rather than fel magics slaking their addictions, many may be remembering gentler Quel'dorei values. Deathwing changes all this, and throw the Sin'dorei back into wartime again. How does your character take to this - with the Quel'dorei mentality of safeguarding the world, or with the Sin'dorei mentality of surviving at any cost, and paying the price later?
Society vs. individualsEdit
- Authoritarian culture, and the tendency was only heightened after genocide. With the species still recovering from near annihilation, it's a bad time to be a rebel.
Chapter Two: Physiology Edit
Age and maturity Edit
The lore doesn't give us much in the way of information on Blood Elf Childhood. We do know they're genetically identical to Night Elves, and that Night Elves are physically adult enough to fight at sixteen - Shandris Feathermoon is a case example for Kaldorei teens taking adult action in a crisis. From Night Elves, we also get that they aren't considered adults until somewhere between the ages of 150 and 300. Finally, we have Warcraft Encyclopaedia, giving elven lifespans as "thousands of years". From this we can draw the following conclusions:
- Blood Elves age to physical and intellectual maturity at about the same rate as humans RL, the clearly are not babies for a decade and teens for six.
- Legal adulthood will probably begin much later than physical adulthood. Kael'thas was only in his hundreds by the time he was a senior member of the Kirin Tor, so the threshold is probably lower than it is for Night Elves - but still, going on that example, the "normal" age for an adult blood elf in RP would probably be from 150 upwards, with 200-400 being the average range for professional adults.
- Though Blood elves can be thousands of years old, few will be. Unlike their Night Elf Kin, even within the Sunwell's influence High Elves did age and grow frail. Mana deprivation could kill the very old after the Third War, and one assumes more who didn't die outright still became Wretched. Only very exceptional ancients would have survived with their sanity intact. Since being very exceptional is always a little questionable in roleplay, RP'ing millenarian elves should be taken with some caution - but lorewise it is possible.
Magic, addiction, corruption Edit
The other unique physical aspect of Blood Elves, aside from longevity, is their natural inclination toward magic. This dates back to the dawn of the race, when the elven nation made it's home by the Well of Eternity - more on this in the History section. But even since the exile from Kalimdor, for the last seven thousand years, all High Elves were born into the Sunwell's influence, immersed in Arcane magic from birth. This gives them both a predisposition and an addiction to arcane magic.
The positive aspect is that magic comes easily to them. Any Blood Elf can and even should know at least trivial magics - lighting a candle with a conjured spark, mending small tears in clothing with a word, chilling the wine in a glass to drinking temperature, and so forth. This isn't special to them - using magic for comfort, convenience and entertainment is as normal to Blood Elves as using technology for it is to modern humans. Reflecting this in roleplay as /emoted spells is acceptable, even good. Brooms that sweep by themselves, chandeliers that levitate and portals as a mode of transport are commonplace, even to those who can't perform more advanced magics themselves.
The flipside of magical convenience is dependence on energies that make it possible. Deprived of magic, Blood Elves become physically sick, and eventually degenerate into permanently insane Wretched. The struggle is rather like the situation of an old alcoholic - they no longer get pleasure from normal quantities of their poison of choice, they just plain need it to function normally. Deprived of the Sunwell's influence after the Third War, the race was temporarily forced to subsist of anything they could - in this case, the fel energies supplied by Prince Kael'thas's allegiance to the Burning Legion. The vast majority of the population didn't know, at the time that they were consuming demonic energy - they would have been horrified had they known. However, lore tells us the Blood Elves eyes glow fel-green as a direct result of the fel corruption they sustained from drinking demonic magic. It also suggests that while ambient magic is negligible, particularly powerful bursts of Arcane still have a pleasurable side effect, and that Fel has a similar effect, though with "darker overtones" (which in roleplay has frequently translated to vaguely sadomasochistic, and occasionally sexual).
The Sunwell was restored shortly before the Wrath of the Lich King launch, and for the last few years, Blood Elves have again existed in a magic rich environment. Their addictions are once again catered to by simply living in Silvermoon, and need no longer be a controlling factor of Blood Elf roleplay. How to reflect this in RP is up to individual choice. A few years isn't very long in an elven lifespan, so ignoring fel corruption is one option. The standard lore is that fel corruption makes subjects more selfish, more hedonist, more impulsive and cruel - roleplaying this, for example as a lingering after effect or something the character experienced at the time and now feels shame for, is also an option. The important thing at present is to remember that the addiction is no longer crippling to anyone who lives in Silvermoon - there is no need to dash about like a demented dopefiend looking for the next manafix.
Chapter Three: Culture and Society Edit
- Authoritarian society, formal and serene, honourable traditions - but under the peaceful veneer also fiercely passionate creatures with a dark underbelly of arrogance, hidden vices, arcane addiction and recent fel corruption
- Magisters, Farstriders, Blood Knights, the royal family (now the Regent) - lore institutions of note
Chapter Four: Attitudes to other races Edit
- Horde: ancient enemity with Trolls, uneasy history with the Forsaken, new allegiances with the Orcs, fundamental philosophical difference with the Tauren
- Alliance: former human allies, exiles from the Kaldorei, Draenai serve both the Ally-enemy and the Naaru saviours of the Sin'dorei race
Chapter Five: Love and Romance between Blood Elves Edit
- Attitudes to romance, sexuality, marriage, same-sex and interracial liasons (case: Kael/Jaina
- Totally cool
Chapter Six: History Edit
Below is a summary of blood elven history, following their origins from their ancient past as the servitors of Queen Azshara, to the founding of Quel'Thalas and its destruction at the hands of Arthas. http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/story/timeline.html
Origins - Primative humanoids settle by the edge of the Well of Eternity and begin constructing homes. The Well's power affects the humanoids, making them strong, wise and virtually immortal. These humanoids come to be known as the Kaldorei. The servitors of the queen, the Highborne, develop the ability to manipulate and control the Well's energies. Azshara and her Highborne practice their spellcraft with reckless abandon.
10,000 years before Warcraft 1 - Azshara agrees to summon Sargeras into the world through a portal. The Burning Legion begins their invasion of Azeroth. Malfurion Stormrage seeks the aid of Cenarius and aids the beleaguered night elves in storming the capital city of Zin-Azshari. The ensuing battle between Malfurion and Azshara throws the Highborne's spellwork into chaos and the portal destabalises, throwing the Well into turmoil. The Well implodes and destroys 80% of Kalimdor's landmass.
7,300 years before Warcraft 1 - Unwilling to forsake magic entirely, the surviving Highborne under Dath'remar Sunstrider unleash a magical storm across the new home of the night elves. Malfurion sends the Highborne into exile across the sea, but not before they steal a vial of water taken from the Well of Eternity.
6,800 years before Warcraft 1 - The high elves land upon the shores of Lordaeron and eventually make their way northwards, founding the kingdom of Quel'Thalas within the forests. Upon a convergence of ley lines, the mystical Sunwell is created as a font of powerful energy gleamed from the stolen vial of the Well of Eternity. Silvermoon City, the new capital, is discovered to have been built upon sacred troll ruins, and thus the Amani Empire begins attacking the elves en masse. Dath'remar prevails and the trolls retreat into their massive stone cities. Runestones are erected on the borders of Quel'Thalas, to disguise the spellcraft of the elves from the Burning Legion, and to ward away the superstitious trolls.
2,800 years before Warcraft 1 - As the Amani Empire emerges from the darkness to lay siege to Quel'Thalas, the scattered tribes of humans unite under the Arathi tribe and found their own kingdom of Arathor as a means of protecting themselves against the savage trolls. Desperate, the high elves send ambassadors to King Thoradin of Arathor to plead for military aid, agreeing to teach one hundred humans the ways of the arcane in return. The coalition of elves and humans clash with the troll empire and smashes its armies in a titanic battle from which they would never truly recover. King Anasterian Sunstrider swears an oath of friendship between Quel'Thalas and the descendants of Thoradin.
2,700 years before Warcraft 1 - The eager apprentices of the original one hundred human magi found the magical kingdom of Dalaran and accidently tear the fabric of reality around their city as a result of their sorcery. As panic ensues, the Convocation of Silvermoon dispatches its finest sorcerors and enters a secret pact with the lords of Dalaran. The Guardians of Tirisfal are founded and they agree to empower a single mortal champion to wage a hidden war against the Burning Legion and the misuse of magical ability.
6 years after Warcraft 1 - As the news of the First War reaches Lordaeron, King Terenas Menethil II sends word to King Anasterian of the high elves in a bid to garner his aid to combat an impending invasion by merciless green humanoids known as orcs. Unconvinced, but unable to refuse due to the oath sworn to the descendants of Thoradin, Quel'Thalas sends a token detachment of six destroyers accompanied by rangers led by Alleria Windrunner. The Second War begins, but the elves only commit to the war as the orcs reach the borders of their kingdom, aided by the hated forest trolls, and raze the outer woodlands. At the end of the Second War, Quel'Thalas withdraws its support from the Alliance of Lordaeron, blaming the humans' poor leadership for the burning of Eversong Woods. The high elves shut themselves within their kingdom.
20 years after Warcraft 1 - With the need to ressurect the fallen necromancer Kel'thuzad, Prince Arthas Menethil leads the undead Scourge in an invasion of Quel'Thalas. Bypassing the powerful magical defenses of the elves thanks to the betrayal of Lord Dar'Khan Drathir, the Scourge steamrolls through the land of the high elves, creating what is now known as the Dead Scar. Ranger General Sylvanas, King Anasterian and the wielder of Quel'Delar, Thalorien Dawnseeker, all fall to Arthas' advance. The Sunwell is befouled as Kel'thuzad is ressurected as a lich in its waters, and eventually explodes; depriving the high elves of its nurturing power.
Chapter Seven: Avoiding common mistakes Edit
- list and explain quick-fixes (To be covered: High Elves, half-elves, 'age in human years', raised in <human city that isn't Dalaran>, half-trolls ...)
Chapter Eight: Closing Remarks Edit
- everything else
- Elfy Elf
Appendix: Blood Elf RP on SWC Edit
Currently active Blood Elf communities on SWC alphabetically:
- Arcanum - Light roleplay guild, centered around magical research.
- The Suncrown Order - Heavy roleplay guild, an honourable military order dedicated to preserving Quel'thalas.
- Winterspark Investigations - Blood Elf detectives and mercenaries, roleplaying the seedier side of Quel'thalas between raids and PvP.