For ten thousand years, the immortal night elves (kaldorei) cultivated a druidic society within the shadowed recesses of Ashenvale Forest. Then the catastrophic invasion of the Burning Legion shattered the tranquility of their ancient civilization. Led by the Arch-Druid Malfurion Stormrage and the Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, the mighty night elves rose to challenge the demonic onslaught. Aided by the newly arrived orcs and humans, the night elves succeeded in halting the Legion’s advance and defeating its master, the demonlord Archimonde. Though victorious, the night elves were forced to sacrifice their cherished immortality and watch their beloved forests burn.
In the aftermath of the horrific conflict, Malfurion and Tyrande helped their people rebuild their shattered villages. Slowly the night elves began to adjust to their mortal existence. Such an adjustment was far from easy, and there were many night elves who could not adjust to the prospects of aging, disease, and frailty. Seeking to regain their immortality, a number of wayward druids conspired to plant a special tree that would reestablish a link between their spirits and the eternal world. When Malfurion heard about this plan, he warned that nature would never bless such a selfish act. Shortly thereafter, Malfurion’s spirit was somehow lost within the depths of the Emerald Dream. Though his fellow druids attempted to find his wandering spirit, only his body remained sleeping within his Barrow Den.
With Malfurion missing, Fandral Staghelm – the leader of those who wished to plant the new World Tree – became the new Arch-Druid. In no time at all, he and his fellow druids had forged ahead and planted the great tree, Teldrassil, off the stormy coasts of northern Kalimdor. Under their care, the tree sprouted up above the clouds. Among the twilight boughs of the colossal tree, the wondrous city of Darnassus took root. However, the tree was not consecrated with nature’s blessing and soon fell prey to the corruption of the Burning Legion. Now the wildlife and even the limbs of Teldrassil itself are tainted by a growing darkness.
Night elves have skin colored subtle shades of purple ranging from dark to light, and from almost blue to bright pink. Their hair ranges from blue, green, dark violet, white, or very rarely, black. Female night elven eyes glow blue while male’s eyes have an amber glow to them. For the most part, they are suited to quick and deadly combat. Most elves have a slim, athletic build and are rather tall. The average for a male is 7 feet tall and about 220 pounds, with females only weighing slightly less. There is not much variation between the size of night elves. Unlike most other elves, night elf men often have thick beards and bushy eyebrows.
Among night elves, amber-colored eyes, as opposed to the traditional silver of other elves, are a sign of inherent druidic potential and/or a night elf destined for greatness. Among the class-obsessed night elves who lived prior to the War of the Ancients, amber eyes were rare, and thus viewed as a sign of underlying greatness. Queen Azshara and Illidan Stormrage, both extremely powerful sorcerers, had amber eyes. The night elves became vastly more egalitarian since the War’s end, abandoning their former obsession with bloodlines, and thus, amber eyes are now far more common. In addition, druidism spread throughout night elven society, and many night elves develop amber eyes after birth if they practice the art. Though amber eyes are a sign that the individual has a natural ability for druidic magic, it does not mean that all amber-eyed night elves become druids, or that silver-eyed night elves are unable. Malfurion Stormrage himself was born with silver eyes, and developed amber eyes only after studying druid magic. His own brother, though born with amber eyes, lacked the patience to succeed in the art. The symmetrical, often colorful markings worn on the face by many night elf females do have some meaning. The tattooing marks an earlier rite of passage. It is not yet clear what the rite of passage consists of or whether the act of tattooing itself is the rite of passage.
– Night elves have lived in the forest for thousands of years, some of them actually being alive that entire time. Naturally, they are very skilled at staying hidden when they want to; Druids of the Claw and night elf rogues are among the best. Improves [stealth].
(Passive)+ – Night elves are also extremely agile and difficult to strike in combat. Gain an additional 10% chance to dodge a physical attack.
– Night elves have lived beside nature for their entire existence instead of pushing it away. This gives them a slight resistance to the elements and poisons. Nature and poison damage does half damage.
– Spirits wander the forests of Kalimdor and sometimes aid the night elves in construction and gathering. According to legend, these forest lights are the ghosts of dead kaldorei. Archimonde was defeated at the last hour when Malfurion Stormrage desperately summoned many thousands of these spirits to destroy the demonlord. Upon death, while an encounter is still active, you can still auto attack for KS damage. During this time, you are untargetable.
– Surprise is at the heart of kaldorei battle tactics. A typical attack consists of a group of Sentinels staying hidden, melding with the shadows around them, making a rapid strike, and then disappearing before the enemy can respond. While in combat, you can enter a modified [stealth] mode, where you become nearly invisible, but cannot move. Only usable once per encounter.
- Death Knight – The Lich King reveled in bringing formerly immortal beings into undeath. Nearly every night elf death knight is bitter and would rather be dead if there wasn’t a burning need to take vengeance on the Lich King and all else that is bad in the world.
- Druid – Night elven druidic traditions extend back further than most races have existed. The demigod Cenarius taught the druidic arts to the kaldorei early in their history, and the most devout of night elf druids honor and pass on his original teachings. A few were there when Cenarius provided his tutelage and learned directly from the demigod. The night elf druid can drop into a deep slumber. While hibernating, they do not need to eat or drink, and barely need to breathe — others must be careful to determine that the druid still lives. When the druid enters hibernation, any poisons working within him are suspended, and he does not bleed. His breathing is so shallow that he does not suffer effects from inhaled toxins or other dangers, and he can survive for a year on the amount of air he would normally need in a day. He heals at twice the normal rate. When the night elf druid enters hibernation, he sets the conditions to awaken. He can choose a specific amount of time (“twenty-four hours”) or some other event, such as, “When the sun strikes my eyes” or “When I hear the call of the horn of Cenarius.”
- Hunter – The night elves are natural experts at stealth and cunning and so they can very easily stalk and hunt their prey. Night elves are also very adept with the bow with many female members of the race becoming archers who ride atop hippogryph and nightsaber companions, known to night elves and in legend as huntresses.
- Mage – Due to the catastrophic failure of the Highborne and the questionable motives of Illidan Stormrage, arcane magic has been forbidden in Night Elf society since The Sundering, yet the Cataclysm brought about a greater need to adapt to an ever-changing world. These are returning exiled Highborne attempting to make amends, as foreshadowed by Mordent Evenshade. They may also be night elves willing to learn the trade of the arcane once again under Highborne tutors, as witnessed at the Tower of Estulan. If playing a night elf mage before the Cataclysm, the player will not be welcomed into most societies.
- Priest – The night elven priesthood is the only major priesthood in the Alliance to not follow the Light, as the night elves have been practicing their own religion since long before their contact with the races of the Eastern Kingdoms. Until recently, like the Sentinels, the priesthood was a strictly female order, who worshipped the moon goddess Elune. The night elves believe that she is the protector of all living things and helps living things grow and avoid conflict, and has helped their race thrive, grow and survive. Though the Sisters of Elune are still the highest religious order, male priests are now trained. In both genders, the priesthood appears to worship Elune exclusively. It has been hinted by neutral scholars and other higher powers that Elune may be a wayward Naaru, but the night elves will not even begin to listen to such blasphemy.
- Rogue – Due to their agile nature, nocturnal behavior and inborn ability to be one with the shadows, many night elves are drawn to the path of the rogue. Furthermore, night elves of all kinds fight in ways that would not seem out of place in a rogue’s repertoire – ambush, rapid attacks, focusing upon the swift dealing of deadly force before vanishing into the shadows. Consequently, rogues are not viewed with the same disdain among the kaldorei as they are within other societies. Some night elven rogues have chosen to become the arbiters of stern night elven justice – the wardens – while others seem content to act as scouts, assassins or spies in the employ of the main Sentinel army. Though night elven rogues are based within the barrow deeps beneath the Cenarion Terrace in Darnassus, they show little allegiance to the Cenarion Circle, save in working with the Circle to preserve Teldrassil from corruption.
- Warrior – Extremely agile, night elf warriors combine their speed with good tactical knowledge and deadly fighting style that, in some cases, has been honed for thousands of years.
For more in-depth information: night elves.