- For the mage specialization, see Mage#Arcane. For the magic school, see Magic schools#Arcane. For users of arcane magic, see Arcanist.
“This is not for idle hands, nor prying eyes. Information must not be lost. But it must not be used unwisely. Stay your hand, friend, or proceed—if you know the way.”
Arcane magic (also called arcane energy, or arcana) is a cold and intellectual magic that warps time, space, and controls the flow of mana, which is just a measure of a fundamental power—if mana were water, then arcane would be steam pressure. Though extremely volatile, arcane is so similar to an element it might as well be one, for all magical intents and purposes. While arcane represents order, fel is the magic of chaos and disorder, and are considered opposite ends of the same spectrum.
- 1 Origins and characteristics
- 2 Effects and applications
- 3 The history of arcane on Azeroth
- 4 Arcane-related items
- 5 In Netherstorm
- 6 Arcane wells
- 7 Arcane wielders
- 8 Schools of arcane magic
- 9 The laws of arcane magic
- 10 Warcraft film universe
- 11 Notes
- 12 In the RPG
- 13 Gallery
- 14 See also
- 15 References
Origins and characteristics
“I believe that you will find that my gift to you is not just a profound duty—which it is—but also a delight—which it is! Magic must be regulated, managed, and controlled. But it must also be appreciated and valued and not hoarded. Such is the contradiction you must deal with. May you be dutiful...and joyous both.”
Order is most commonly perceived in reality as arcane magic. Arcane energy is innately volatile, and wielding it requires intense precision and concentration. Disorder, on the other hand, manifests as highly destructive fel magic, a destructive and extremely addictive energy originating as a result of the mutual destruction of Light and Void as they collide on a cosmic scale in the Twisting Nether.
Arcane energy is thus countered by fel energy, and is fundamentally opposed to it. Arcane is also largely present in the Twisting Nether. Arcane magic can be pulled from ley lines, channels of immense magical power that course through Azeroth itself. The ley lines are like blood vessels of the planet, carrying arcane magic instead of scarlet fluid. Volatile arcane energies is described as the lifeblood of the nascent titan of Azeroth.
Pure arcane appears white and/or violet. However, when used to bend other types of magic, it takes on the characteristics and appearance of those magics. Examples of this can be seen with element-based abilities used by mages, or the bronze glow of chronomancy.
In eons past, the titan Pantheon, among the most powerful beings of Order in the universe, used the primal "language of the arcane" to weave entire worlds into existence, although Queen Azshara's people, the Highborne night elves of ancient Kalimdor purportedly had the potential to rival them. As the last ruler of the Kaldorei Empire, Azshara was seemingly more powerful than the likes of Mannoroth, and was allegedly comparable only to Archimonde and Sargeras, and others have described her as the greatest sorceress to have ever lived, her mastery of the arcane far surpassing and predating even the greatest of the human magi. While the exact limits of her power are unknown, she was notably able to shatter the , a Pillar of Creation able to hold Elemental Lords such as Neptulon at bay, "in a frightening display of arcane power", the same act trapping the entire Court of Farondis in an eternal ghostly state in Azsuna, unable to pass on from the world of the living even after ten millennia spent trying to break her spell.
Arcane has been described as the "base fabric" of the world, and like all other types of magic, can be animated, the prime example of this being the arcane elementals. Wielders of arcane magic are usually called mages, who usually use it to create portals or teleport people and objects. Arcane magic can be used with other types of magic to reinforce them, such as when Archmage Khadgar summoned an orb of fire and ice energy along with an arcane orb and combined them together in order to destroy a dam in Blackrock Quarry. Another example is Khadgar infusing ice with arcane, rendering it extremely resilient, so much that it nullified the fel assault of Gul'dan entirely. He also used arcane magic to create an arcane-wedge along with arcane elementals that would use the wedge to hammer and pierce the floor where he was trapped. The Fire and Frost schools seem to be related to the Arcane, with several of their spells described as "simple manifestations of arcana" by Archmage Nakada, and can be even be combined as the Frostfire school, although the exact relationship and workings remain unclear. The Moon Guard, the Nar'thalas Academy magi, and the Highborne of Queen Azshara's Court all seem to have used Frost and Fire spells alongside the Arcane, the ogre mage Glubtok was able to random channel Fire and Frost spells against his opponents using the arcane, and the draenei mage Valaatu has allegedly taught the arcane, frost and fire magics for over a century, feeling them just as strongly on Azeroth as she did other worlds. The ogres, as descendants of Aggramar's creation Grond, used the arcane to shape and bend rock and stone to their will, coming to prize Apexis Crystals in particular for their immense potential, and some Kirin Tor magi have used earth elementals in the past, implying the arcane can, under certain circumstances, bind other elements as well.
Void elves also seem to be able to use the arcane with shadow magic, with Magister Umbric himself being a Magister who experimented with Void energies; an alternate version of Umbric, despite being corrupted by the Void's energies, was still able to use arcane spells against his enemies. The successful restoration of the Sunwell, which transformed it into a font of holy and arcane energies, seems to indicate that the Light is compatible with arcane magic as well. was also a product of nature and arcane magic, the quel'dorei managing to link their Runestones to Thas'alah, tying the power of nature magic to their arcane spells. Several Ancients of the Arcane exist as a rarity, despite ancients being overwhelmingly associated with Life. Some arcanists, such as High Botanist Tel'arn, have openly embraced nature with their arcane gifts, even changing their forms to partly resemble plant life. The Arcan'dor is perhaps the most obvious example of the best and worst possible consequences of combining these two schools; their imbalance created the fal'dorei, but a harmonious blend between arcane and nature magic enabled most of the nightborne to completely restore themselves and seemingly free themselves from their addiction once and for all.
Umbranse, whose Arcane Tesseracts opened rifts into other worlds, was one of the few magi able to speak to those in the realm of Death. Jace Darkweaver, a former night elf mage, on the other hand, lost most of his former abilities (aside from occasionally glimpsing into faraway places) after becoming a demon hunter. The magic breakers of the Highmaul ogres are strong enough to completely dampen, negate and nullify any particular school of magic using their Forger stone, even rendering fel magic useless against them.
Effects and applications
“True arcane mastery only comes with patience and dedication.”
In general, arcane magic can be used to do nearly everything and is seemingly limited mostly by imagination, as it can be used to manipulate both space and time, and bend reality. It can be used to create objects such as such as food or drinks or conjure mana gems from nothing, and briefly enhance your personal intelligence. Arcane can be used to turn yourself and your allies invisible, to become inaudible, to create multiple images of oneself or other creatures capable of distracting enemies or assisting you in combat, or to objects and people into something else entirely, ranging from a variety of animals (including polar bears, porcupine, talbuks and monkeys) to worgen and elemental beings such as mana surges and phoenixes as well as to communicate from afar via projections and even enable understanding of other racial languages.
It can be used to animate constructs and objects such as arcane golems or brooms, power machinery, manipulate the fabric of time (usually by rewinding, reversing, slowing or hastening its flow), access alternate timelines, scry other places and peoples, view the past, sense the future by discerning fortunes, open locked doors, summon objects or individuals from other locations, share visions of others' memories, project visions of past events complete with sound, preserve and record messages inside enchanted crystals, form empathic bonds, strip others of their spells and use them as your own, conjure illusions by disguising yourself entirely, remove negative magical effects, erode others' magical resistances, create runes of power capable of greatly amplifying your spells, knock nearby enemies into the air, briefly fade into other realms such as the astral plane and avoid all attacks, or simply cause massive destruction. The night elves and then the nightborne elves became virtually immortal by feeding on potent sources of arcane energy, the Well of Eternity and the Nightwell respectively.
Arcane spells could also be used to protect yourself in a transparent Mana Shield, transmuting raw mana into a personal barrier and the weaker but more easily cast . The newer essentially combines their properties into a basic shield which does not burn through mana to sustain itself, and reduces the amount and duration of all magical damage, arcane and otherwise. Jaina Proudmoore and Thalyssra have been able to generate larger arcane barriers shielding entire groups of people, and Dalaran appears to be able to maintain city-wide shields capable of repelling the blue dragonflight. It is also possible for high-level magi to temporarily negate others' arcane abilities, sometimes with inhibitor crystals, even imprisoning them for an extended period of time, and it is not apparently uncommon or particularly difficult to ward cities against unwanted portals.
According to Medivh, the last Guardian of Tirisfal, when a mage creates fire, all they do is concentrating the inherent nature of the fire contained in the surrounding area into one location in order to call it into being. He also mentioned that stress and anxiety make it more difficult for a mage to read a person's mind.
In-game, in addition to the usual mage abilities, the arcane has been used to knock back, charm, stun, disorient, bind, suffocate, reflect spells, conjure spellswords, control humanoids, restore health by reversing time, siphon health, drain energy, increase and decrease size, increase movement speed, summon enchanted tomes serving as effective mailboxes, and generate a barrier capable of automatically preventing death and restoring health.
The individual members of the Kirin Tor, both past and present, are especially adept at manipulating arcane energies for various potent effects. For example, Kael'thas Sunstrider was able to suspend and lapse gravity itself in his immediate surrounding area, and created and enchanted seven legendary weapons able to fight remotely by themselves. Antonidas enveloped all of Dalaran in auras powerful enough to destroy any undead which passed through its boundaries, and erected barriers blocking all teleportation into the city, for a while holding even the Scourge led by Arthas Menethil at bay. Khadgar once channeled a spell capable of briefly stopping time in his vicinity. Arugal was able to awaken and pull the banished worgen, possibly in the hundreds, from their long seclusion in the Emerald Dream to fight for Gilneas despite having no connection with either them or the druids, and provide his favored servants with a semblance of sanity and human intelligence. The Great Akazamzarak simultaneously opened and maintained eight portals to locations scattered across three continents, and contained a pocket dimension capable of housing animals within his top hat. The Shade of Nielas Aran, formerly of the Tirisgarde, could instantly counter and interrupt all spells within a limited range, as well as magnetically pull his opponents to him in order to easily target them. The dragon mage Korialstrasz used his life force to link all of the sanctum portals beneath Wyrmrest Temple, sacrificing himself in order to instantaneously obliterate the sanctums and all of the thousands of eggs they contained, as well as destroying much of the Temple itself. With the Focusing Iris, Thalen Songweaver was able to manufacture a massive mana bomb able to destroy an entire city's population and permanently scar the surrounding region, as well as projecting a dampening field disrupting and preventing all magical means of escape. Jaina Proudmoore was later able to use the same Iris to bind together thousands of water elementals into a colossal tidal wave which nearly destroyed Orgrimmar.
Older and more experienced spellcasters are capable of even more extraordinary and formidable feats using the arcane. Malygos, the Dragon Aspect of Magic, was able to channel raw energy allegedly sufficient to destroy his entire planet ten times over through the Eye of Eternity. Nozdormu, the Aspect of Time, through his blessing of temporal magic upon Nordrassil, was able to make the entire kaldorei race immortal for 10,000 years. The Highborne night elves of Suramar and Eldre'Thalas were able to use arcane energy to shield their cities from the devastating effects of the Great Sundering, and the Highborne of Shandaral accidentally caused an enormous explosion which forever transformed part of their continent Northrend into Crystalsong Forest. The high elves of Quel'Thalas bathed their land, including Eversong Woods, in eternal springtime after creating the Sunwell, and its Runestone and mooncrystal-empowered barrier Ban'dinoriel not only masked their magical activities from others and weakened all other magics, it made their realm nearly impenetrable for millennia, even to the likes of the Amani trolls and red dragonflight. Kalecgos bound Tarecgosa's dying essence to a mortal and then an enchanted staff from Nordrassil to preserve her life, creating , enabling them to occasionally duplicate their spells and transform into her form at will. Empowered by the Nightwell, Grand Magistrix Elisande was able to place an entire invasion force comprised of three elven armies in a long-term temporal stasis or "time lock", something which Oculeth believed was impossible, and could scry countless possible futures to predict likely outcomes; in combat, she was able to stop the flow of time for all but herself and send her enemies back in time, repeatedly saving herself from being killed, although this required a considerable amount of even her energy. Illidan Stormrage was able to very nearly destroy the Frozen Throne and its Lich King by tapping into the nexus of potent ley lines near Dalaran, and unleashing a massive "tempest of arcane energy" from Hillsbrad Foothills towards Northrend, awing even Lady Vashj and the naga with his display of raw power and causing fissures to erupt around the world.
Former Guardians of Tirisfal such as Alodi and Aegwynn were able to permanently bind and tether spirits to the living world, as Alodi did with himself, and even return the dead back to life, as Aegwynn did with Medivh, albeit with considerable difficulty. Aegwynn was able to extend her natural life span by nearly a thousand years, and created Karazhan itself by harnessing the full potential of 's energies near a confluence of ley lines, causing a great tower to rise from the earth. The Kirin Tor of Ambermill were able to shunt their town into a nearly impenetrable pocket dimension in order to hide themselves from the Forsaken, Archmage Berinand and his companions utilized their illusory Transitus Shield to protect themselves from the blue dragonflight, Arcanist Doan was able to temporarily render himself completely immune to all spells and attacks, magical and otherwise, by encasing himself in an arcane bubble, and Modera stated that she could single-handedly wipe out the entire village of Socrethar's Rise if she so chose. Jaina Proudmoore and the Council of Six have been able to parts of entire armies as well as entire cities across vast distances, with the latter moving Dalaran from Karazhan to the Broken Isles in the blink of an eye; Jaina was also able to raise her father's battleship from the depths of the ocean, and later flew it into the skies above Lordaeron Keep to destroy part of the stronghold's defenses using cannons charged with raw arcane energy in a matter of seconds, a considerable feat impressing even the likes of First Arcanist Thalyssra. Jaina was later able to use her flying battleship against the Horde again, after turning part of the Great Sea into a frozen tundra during her struggle with them, simultaneously having her vessel circle overhead and raining devastation upon her enemies by continually bombarding them with arcane salvos even as she fought them with other abilities.
The history of arcane on Azeroth
When Aman'Thul ripped the Old God Y'Shaarj out from Azeroth, it created a gaping hole in the planet's crust itself from which arcane energy was hemorrhaging. After the war against the Black Empire, the Keepers healed the wound in the form of a lake of scintillating energies that they named the Well of Eternity. Its potent energies would nurture the bones of the world and empower life to take root in the land's rich soil.
The titan Norgannon — Keeper of Celestial Magics and Lore — blessed Malygos and indirectly the Blue Dragonflight with a portion of his vast power. From then on, Malygos would be known as the Spell-Weaver, the Aspect of magic and hidden arcanum.
Constructed by the Keepers, the Halls of Origination are filled with ancient relics and the fearsome guardians that protect them. Isiset served to regulate the arcane energies contained within, and produced by, the Halls of Origination.
The gifted titan-forged sorceress Helya created the Halls of Valor by tearing off a section of Ulduar and raising it into the skies above Stormheim, and later sealed Odyn and his Valarjar within the Halls for thousands of years.
The kaldorei and the Well of Eternity
In time, a primitive tribe of nocturnal trolls cautiously made their way to the edges of the mesmerizing, enchanted lake. The feral, nomadic humanoids drawn by the Well's strange energies built crude homes upon its tranquil shores. Over time, the Well's cosmic power affected the strange tribe, making them strong, wise, and virtually immortal.
The early night elf priests and seers studied the Well with an insatiable curiosity, driven to plumb its untold secrets and power. Azshara, the night elves' beautiful queen, shared the priests' curiosity towards the Well of Eternity, and ordered the educated Highborne to plumb its secrets and reveal its true purpose in the world. The Highborne buried themselves in their work and studied the Well ceaselessly. In time they developed the ability to manipulate and control the Well's cosmic energies. They harnessed the powers of the Well of Eternity with such skill that they attracted the attention of the Burning Legion. Indeed, their studies were in fact sending ripples of energy through the Great Dark Beyond, notifying Sargeras of Azeroth's location. The War of the Ancients resulted, and the Well was eventually destroyed, spreading its energy over the world and sundering Kalimdor. The well collapsed into itself. Its waters became the center of the Great Sea, and an immense, violent whirlpool formed where the Well had once been. Called the Maelstrom to this day, the water churns constantly in a dizzying storm of tidal and arcane energy that seems to have no end.
Just before the Well imploded, Illidan Stormrage, who practiced the Highborne's magics, had filled several vials of its powerful waters. He was certain that despite the night elves' victory, the Legion would one day return. Despite the grueling war that had just ended, he believed that arcane magic was necessary to fight the Legion back. Thus, he sought out a secluded lake atop Mount Hyjal and poured three of the vials into its waters, irreversibly changing the lake into a smaller Well of Eternity.
Exile of the high elves
The surviving Highborne were forbidden to practice arcane magic and they were awed by what Illidan accomplished. They soon grew bold in defying the new laws against arcane magic. They would not bow to the hysterical fears of the lower-caste majority. The Highborne felt they had taken all the necessary precautions by resolving to be more cautious than their predecessors. After all, the Highborne had no desire to bring about another Sundering. Rather than execute the Highborne, the rest of the night elves sentenced them to exile. The Highborne were thoroughly exasperated by what they saw as a foolish overreaction against sorcery. They were therefore not unhappy at the prospect of exile; on the contrary, they looked forward to it. Thinking ahead, they contrived to steal one of the magical vials that had been confiscated from Illidan.
Banished to the Eastern Kingdoms, the Highborne began seeking a new homeland, within which they could practice their magic freely. They founded the nation of Quel'Thalas and created the Sunwell, a new magical fount, using water from the original Well, and became high elves. The Sunwell's arcane magic was the heart of high elf society, empowering many of their day-to-day spells. The high elves, some of them eventually renaming themselves the blood elves, retain a deep affinity for the arcane.
In later years, the high elves of Quel'Thalas began to teach humans the arcane arts. These humans founded the city-state of Dalaran and formed the organization of the Kirin Tor magi as its ruling council.
Arcane bombs are weapons designed to fight spellcasters. They drain mana, inflict damage, and prevent spellcasting for a short time.
The Focusing Iris is an orb of immense power, capable of magnifying and focusing arcane energy. Malygos used it to create and direct surge needles. Its energy was used to animate Chromatus and to fuel the mana bomb that destroyed Theramore. Jaina once used it to create a gigantic tidal wave of water elementals to destroy Orgrimmar, but she was stopped by Thrall.
The arcane energies released by the Focusing Iris-powered mana bomb dropped on Theramore turned the people purple for a fraction of a heartbeat before they exploded in a cloud of lavender ash. Those further from the center of the blast were frozen like statues but crumbled into shining violet dust when touched. Jaina Proudmoore, barely surviving the blast due to Rhonin pushing her through a portal, found herself radiating with arcane energy and that nearly all of her once golden hair had turned to moonlight white.
The first Well of Eternity
The Well of Eternity was made from the very lifeblood of the nascent Azeroth titan, which was hemorrhaging out from the wound left behind by Y'Shaarj. Volatile arcane magic was once concentrated in the Well of Eternity, but its destruction during the War of the Ancients spread arcane power throughout the world. Its energies are still raining down from the skies to this day.
Elisande and her followers harnessed the Eye of Aman'Thul, one of the Pillars of Creation, to create an immense fount of arcane magic. Known as the Nightwell, this source of power would nourish the sorcerers for thousands of years, and protect them from future threats. In millennia to come, the fount would also change Elisande and her allies, transforming them into the nightborne.
Star Augur Etraeus, a skilled astromancer, used the Nightwell to directly draw upon the energies of planets he scryed from other star systems, including those of worlds completely consumed by Frost, the Legion, and the Void.
The second Well of Eternity
Before the Great Sundering, Illidan had filled several vials with enchanted liquid from the original Well of Eternity. He poured some of them into the lake atop Mount Hyjal, transforming the idyllic waters into another fount of arcane power. The dragon Aspect Alexstrasza would then plant the world-tree Nordrassil in the fount to prevent the Burning Legion from using it as an entry to Azeroth.
Moonwells are hallowed repositories of a mix between the sacred waters of the Well of Eternity and the magic of nature. Druids take advantage of the moonwells' properties, which provide growth and protection to their surrounding lands, and the Sentinels revere the wells as shrines to Elune.
Just before the Highborne had been exiled from Mount Hyjal, Dath'Remar Sunstrider had secretly taken one of Illidan Stormrage's remaining vials from the custody of the night elves. Dath'Remar poured the vial into a small lake at the center of a nexus, and a brilliant fount of energy tore through the skies of Azeroth. The Highborne dubbed this glorious cradle of power "the Sunwell", a name chosen in honor of Dath'Remar and his bold quest to reignite their culture. It was destroyed during the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas. The prophet Velen sanctified the legendary Sunwell using the power of the Light, reigniting it as a fount of both arcane power and Holy Light.
The Shrine of Lost Souls
Illidan used the fount of arcane energy beneath the Black Temple to free demons of their addiction to the Legion's fel magic and bind them to his service. Kanrethad Ebonlocke believed that this same power source is what Illidan intended to offer the blood elves to free them of their addiction to the Sunwell. Strangely, its properties resembled greatly the Well of Eternity's.
This labyrinthine complex built thousands of years ago runs beneath the foundations of Suramar's largest buildings, delivering the Nightwell's energies throughout the city. Before the creation of the Nightwell, it was used to deliver the energy of the ley lines beneath the land of Suramar.
In the Warcraft universe, there is an instability, and those skilled in arcane magic have learned how to exploit that instability, being able to control the elements and other forces such as time.
- Arcane elementals, Mana surges, and Arcane wraiths are manifestations of volatile arcane energy and are innately chaotic.
- Arcane Constructs are intelligent but unpredictable, spawned of pure mana, and allow their user to quickly assimilate large amounts of arcane knowledge. They are very vulnerable to external tampering. The high elves outlawed them around 1,500 years ago, but the new era of Highborne have begun using them.
- Arcane golems are robotic constructs powered by arcane energy. They are found prominently in blood elf zones and primarily serve as public defenders.
- Mana wyrms are attracted to and feed off arcane energies. They are commonly found in Quel'Thalas around fel crystals and were used as guardians. Blood elves have been known to drain magic from mana wyrms to sate their arcane addiction. Most recently, mana wyrms have been utilized by Sunreavers on the Isle of Thunder to fight Kirin Tor magi.
The blue dragons are the foremost experts on arcane magic. After the ordering of Azeroth, the titan Norgannon blessed Malygos and his flight with immense knowledge and power over the arcane, and the duty of ensuring it would never be abused.
Some blue dragons are seemingly immune to arcane magic.
Dimensius the All-Devouring opened countless gateways into the void and the Twisting Nether around the ethereals' homeworld, K'aresh, bathing it in arcane and dark energies. The unimpeded flood of arcane energy tore away the then-mortal race's corporeal shells and infused their souls with enough energy so that they could subsist without a body. Members of this race, now called ethereals, took to binding themselves with enchanted strips of cloth to provide their souls with enough structure to survive.
The high elf race was fundamentally changed from being constantly suffused in magic. As the few survivors of the Scourge's invasion grew ill and apathetic, it became clear that they had become addicted to the Sunwell's arcane energies. With their source of magic gone, they all suffered acute pangs of withdrawal, spellcasters and non-spellcasters alike. Kael'thas publicly asserted that his people would die unless they found a new source of magic, but was technically mistaken. Only the very old, the very young, and elves already in poor health died from magical withdrawal. Certain magical artifacts can ameliorate and even suppress the symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal from arcane magic can result in permanent mental or physical damage.
When Draenor was torn apart from the magical stress of Ner'zhul's multiple portals, the arcane energies released altered the black dragon eggs left there by Deathwing. This resulted in the nether drakes: ethereal dragons whose bodies are composed of energies from the Twisting Nether.
The savage trolls of Azeroth are infamous for their cruelty, dark mysticism, and seething hatred for all other races. Without Lei Shen, the Thunder King, trolls knew they would never fully learn the secrets of the arcane. The trolls found the mogu's knowledge of arcane magic useful and, eventually, dark trolls discovered an enormous lake of scintillating energies, a lake they would later know as the Well of Eternity. Mesmerized by their discovery, the dark trolls settled along the Well of Eternity's shores. Over generations, the energies radiating from the lake suffused the trolls' flesh and bones, elevating their forms to match their graceful spirits. They transformed into highly intelligent and virtually immortal beings. These former trolls gradually abandoned their ancient heritage and traditions. The tribe's mystics began worshiping the moon goddess, Elune, who they believed was bound to the Well of Eternity itself. They claimed that the deity slumbered within the fount's depths during daylight hours. The former trolls also discovered the name "Kalimdor" and other titan-forged worlds from communing with Elune and investigating strange artifacts scattered around the Well's periphery. Influenced by this newfound language, they called themselves kaldorei—"children of the stars"—or night elves.
The wretched are desperate and demented criminals who had siphoned arcane magic in amounts exorbitant, causing them to physically transform them into emaciated, reckless, black-hearted fiends who would gladly kill for a few mana crystals.
Demon hunters, disciples of Illidan Stormrage, uphold a dark legacy, one that frightens their allies and enemies alike. The Illidari embrace fel and chaotic magics, believing them necessary to challenge the Burning Legion. To keep their fel forces in check, they mark their bodies with arcane runes.
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 into a moonkin, and apparently bolstered by the lunar goddess Elune.
Magi are arcane spellcasters who favor magiks involving the cardinal elements of the universe. Students gifted with a keen intellect and unwavering discipline may walk the path of the mage. The arcane magic available to magi is both great and dangerous, and thus is revealed only to the most devoted practitioners. To avoid interference with their spellcasting, magi wear only cloth armor, but arcane shields and enchantments give them additional protection. To keep enemies at bay, magi can summon bursts of fire to incinerate distant targets and cause entire areas to erupt, setting groups of foes ablaze. When mages cast a spell, they employ magic formulas which they pronounce word by word in an intelligible manner, whether aloud or by mumbling like Rhonin, and which according to Krasus sound like "the language of Lordaeron spoken backwards, with the wrong syllables emphasized".
Mages of the arcane 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. Mages are often aged from the stress of the magical energies they wield, causing their hair to prematurely turn gray.
Some warlocks were former mages that delved too deeply into the roots of demonic power. There are also some who deliberately chose to follow this path to understand how to fight demons better, like Daio the Decrepit.
Schools of arcane magic
The mages of the Kirin Tor have divided the eldritch arts into eight[note 1] different categories. All schools of magic can be combined to create formidable spells that utilize multiple sources of power. Mages are cautioned about the dangers of combining multiple types of magic. There are also multiple spells and branches of arcane research forbidden to members of the Kirin Tor.
Abjuration is the study of protective magic. The most generalized abjuration spell is the mana shield, a spell that transmutes raw mana into a barrier that protects the caster from attacks. Elemental armor spells require far less raw energy than a mana shield and are more easily maintained over time, but lack the raw potency of the mana shield. Ward spells are quick, potent incantations to protect the caster against a form of magical damage, often caused when magic slips out of a mage's control.
Conjuration is the study of magically creating creatures and objects. There is nothing more enjoyable for a mage than creating a fresh slice of bread or a glass of water. Mages can combine water and air vapors into a water elemental for a short time before they deconstruct into their base liquid forms. The elemental attacks that mages use are a form of conjuration.
Divination is the school of magic dedicated to gathering information. Powerful divinations can allow the mage to see targets from a great distance, or even view what may normally be invisible. One of the most common uses of divination magic is scrying, which is the art of seeing something that may be far away—perhaps even on another plane of existence. Divination spells can be used to counteract Illusion spells.
- See also: Enchanting
Enchantment is the process of imbuing an object—or person—with magical power. Some enchantments are temporary, while others can offer permanent benefits. Disenchanting is the process of dispelling or removing magic. The dispel magic spell is among the most important in a mage's arsenal, as it can potentially reverse the catastrophic effects of a misfired spell. It is also possible to permanently a magical item. This process produces a unique form of crystallized mana that can be used in the process of imbuing another item with magical abilities. Conjured water elementals could possibly be considered to be water animated by enchantment.
Illusion is the art of deceiving reality itself. The mists of illusion can make a mage invisible or inaudible to the world or twist the image of a location into something entirely different. Illusion can be used for disguise or manipulation, but spells to counteract illusions exist in the divination school. Illusions can be used to trick your enemies into fighting each other and be used to display several images of a mage's body that are nearly indistinguishable from the caster's real form.
The ninth[note 1] and final school of magic is transmutation. It is among the most popular and useful of all of the schools, allowing a mage to manipulate time and space. Perhaps the most iconic Transmutation spell is , which allows a mage to temporarily turn something—or someone—into something else. It is possible, but unadvised, to increase the intelligence or power of a creature through polymorph, polymorph into exotic creatures, and polymorph inanimate objects.
The second most famous use is teleportation. The most basic teleportation spell is . Attempts to cast a teleportation "on the fly" often result in one very dead mage inside a wall, chair, or another mage. A properly used portal is just as safe as the average zeppelin trip, but frequent use of teleportation wears down the infrastructure of the ley lines.
Spells that manipulate time also fall into this category, such as , , and spells that increase movement speed. This particular arcane art is known as chronomancy.
- Main article: Necromancy
While the Kirin Tor consider necromancy to be a school of arcane and it has been described as an arcane art, World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 explains that necromancy is a separate branch of magic part of Death magic. Necromancy is the study of magic involving the dead. It is highly illegal and should be avoided at all costs. Necromancers and their followers are the enemies of all living things. Necromantic magic has many functions beyond simply raising the dead. Masters of this tainted field of magic can conjure festering diseases, harness the shadows into bolts of incendiary energy, and chill the living with the power of death. Necromancy can also be used to reconstruct the flesh of undead creatures, allowing them to function again even after the foul monsters have been destroyed.
In the RPG, Evocation is one of the eight schools of magic. The in-game book on Abjuration implies that Evocation is a separate school, noting that Arcanist Doan had perfected a spell that combines Evocation with Abjuration to shield himself for a short time while preparing a powerful area-of-effect spell. seems to be a weaker variant of the spell Doan used.
In Dungeons & Dragons, Evocation is one of the nine schools of magic and is used to manipulate energy or tap unseen sources of power. All of the other D&D schools are represented in Warcraft—with Alteration folded into Transmutation. This would seemingly explain why Warcraft's Transmutation book notes it as the ninth and final school, while the Introduction says there are only eight.
The laws of arcane magic
The four rules
There is a set of rules that governs the destiny of every person that chooses to continue down the path of a mage. These guarantees are:
Law of sympathy
- "When someone handles an item, they leave a part of their own magical aura attached to it."
The sympathy between a subject and the object used by her becomes stronger with a more constant and thoughtful use. As auras vary with individuals, the vibration makes it possible to connect to the individual by affecting the item, and vice versa.
Among its practical uses, sympathy may allow a lock of hair to be used in a love charm, or a coin to be tracked back to its original owner. Similarly, an expert can read handwritten letters or books without having to actually read them.
Warcraft film universe
The young Medivh, Llane Wrynn, and Anduin Lothar faced against a jungle troll warlord. He used fel magic and was invulnerable to arcane magic. However, Medivh used it to cause an explosion and collapse a building on the troll.
- According to Antonidas, magic draws its energy from the physical forces of the mage, and the only way to regenerate the body is by consuming food.
- The arcane blade was crafted on an arcane forge by Luminarian.
- Aluneth is described as an entity of pure arcane energy from another dimension beyond Azeroth's plane of existence.
- During the War of the Thorns, the Horde used demolishers and arcane-enhanced payloads to fire at a Sentinels fleet west of Ashenvale and later to shoot from Darkshore at Teldrassil itself, burning it down.
- Arcane was once described as chaotic in nature, this has been changed so fel represents chaos while arcane represents order. That being said, there are still many instances where arcane is described as being chaotic or volatile. For instance, the Rift within the Nexus released arcane beings such as Anomalus, Chaotic Rifts and Crazed Mana-Wraiths. The dialogue of Anomalus is particularly chaos-aligned. Those skilled in arcane magic are said to exploit the "inherent instability" of the universe.
- This is because arcane is still described as volatile and chaotic to wield, requiring perfect order and control to use correctly.
- Alternatively, ordered patterns overwriting each other would still be effectively chaotic.
- Shaman were once described as arcane masters.
In the RPG
Important note: While many elements differ between the RPG and game canon, this is especially true for information on arcane and divine magic. Though the origin of the sources of magic is the same, their implementation and effect on the world is wholly different. Most notably, in the RPG, Divine magic is overall good, while arcane magic is overall bad. In canon, arcane magic still has more corruptive elements than divine magic, but it is not corruptive in and of itself.
Arcane magic is the gift of titans to the world, a gift that comes with the highest price. Thousands of years ago, the titans placed the Well of Eternity in the center of Kalimdor to serve as a source of restoring, life-giving energy. They intended that the Well's energies would empower life of all forms to emerge on Kalimdor — plants, animals, monsters, races.
After a time, the titans left Azeroth, leaving Kalimdor in the hands of the five dragon Aspects. Yet the Well of Eternity proved too great a lure to remain hidden for very long, particularly from Sargeras and the Burning Legion.
The Well was discovered by the kaldorei, who were later known as night elves. Ever eager to uncover secrets hidden in dark places, the Kaldorei listened to the Well as it promised to give them great power. At the Well's behest, the Kaldorei learned spellspeech and used it to weave the first arcane spells. Within decades, Kaldorei mages had attained sufficient mastery over arcane magic that they built a great civilization. They founded the imperious city of Zin-Azshari, from which they extended their domination over most of Kalimdor.
Ultimately, the magic corrupted them. The kaldorei had been a simple folk who gazed blissfully at the stars, enjoying the immortality given to them by the Well, but their haughtiness robbed them of that gift forever. Each succeeding generation became prouder and more decadent, and the lust for power only made the Kaldorei more of a beacon to the lords of the Twisting Nether.
Finally, their greatest mage, Queen Azshara, cast a spell in the heart of the Well of Eternity itself — and a way was opened for evil to invade the world. Through Azshara's breach came the Burning Legion, the most terrifying warriors in existence. This fiendish horde ravaged Azeroth, pillaging entire kingdoms, destroying all that stood in its path, mocking anyone who begged it for mercy.
When the Burning Legion ravaged the land, great heroes recognized that arcane magic posed a continuing threat to all living creatures, so they elected to destroy the Well of Eternity and put an end to arcane magic forever. Unfortunately, among their number was one Illidan Stormrage, an arcane spell caster who dreaded the thought of losing his powers. Secretly he stole some of the well's water and used it to create a new Well of Eternity at Mount Hyjal, thus preserving the power of the arcane. This theft allowed future elven generations to follow in the footsteps of Illidan and Queen Azshara. These elves called themselves the Quel'dorei, "the high elves" (for they believed that their mastery of the arcane elevated them to higher status). They also taught the arcane arts to the newly discovered race of humans, who showed a natural aptitude.
These human mages, however, were even more reckless than the night elves had been. The high elf mages warned their human pupils that magic was addictive, but the acolytes dismissed any suggestion that the tragedies that had befallen the elves would also afflict them. The humans were no better at resisting corruption than the elves had been, and eventually the arrogance of wizards brought the Burning Legion to Azeroth once more. Once again, great acts of heroism were needed to spare Azeroth from destruction.
Elsewhere, on the orcish home world of Draenor, arcane sorceries corrupted the once noble race of orcs, transforming them into the Horde, a nigh invincible army. After ravaging their home world, the orcs came to Azeroth; and with their warlocks, they waged two great wars against the races of human, elf and dwarf. The orcs failed to seize control of Azeroth; during these wars, Draenor itself was utterly destroyed, and the orcs were forced to relocate to Azeroth.
In the wake of the Third War against the Scourge and Burning Legion, the orc Warchief Thrall has rejected arcane magic and embraced his race's traditional shamanistic ways. Yet orc warlocks still walk the world, and demons whisper in their ears each time they cast a spell. Neither human nor high elves have abandoned the pursuit of the arcane; if anything, the defeat of the Burning Legion at the Battle of Mount Hyjal has fed the arrogance of many spell casters, who believe the world is now protected from demonic influences and that arcane spell casters may practice their art in relative safety. Nothing sows the seeds of the fields of tragedy quite like arrogance.
The four laws
- Magic is powerful.
Magic in Azeroth is the difference between a slave and a master, a foot soldier and king. Few races and nations can operate without powerful mages and warlocks. The use of arcane magic is growing; historically, each time this has happened before, a great disaster shortly follows. However, even though the history of the arcane is well known, mages and their patrons invariably come to the same self-serving conclusion: It won't happen to them.
- Magic is corrupting.
Magic corrupts the soul; if the humblest person in Azeroth became a practitioner of the arcane, by the time the practitioner reached the higher levels in their art, all traces of her humble roots would be lost. Magic breeds pride and arrogance. Magic corrupts the body; it ages the caster before their time and hastens the blight that the world inflicts on things fair and beautiful. Those who claim that only necromancy and fel magic have a corrupting influence are fooling themselves.
- Magic is an addiction.
When one feels the power of an arcane spell coursing through one's body as it's being cast, resisting the urge to cast it again is difficult. Frequent use leads to a desire for more and, eventually, to a desire for the evil fel energy.
- Magic attracts the Twisting Nether like flies to honey.
The Burning Legion has invaded Azeroth three times, drawn by the power of the Well of Eternity and those who employ it. Magic is a literal gateway drug that allows dark titans such as Sargeras to bring evil influences to the world. Those who employ arcane magic must deal with demons and other servants of the Twisting Nether.
- Trading Card Game and Hearthstone
- ^ a b c d e Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War
- ^ Matt Burns on Twitter
- ^ Dark Riders
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, pg. 150 on e-book
- ^ a b Legion Class Preview Series: Mage
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-04-27)
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2015-11-10)
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2015-12-03)
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects, pg. 286
- ^ a b c d World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ a b
- ^ War Crimes, pg. 359 on e-book
- ^ World of Warcraft: Paragons, pg. 584 on e-book
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, pg. 371 on e-book
- ^ Sean Copeland on Twitter (20114-03-13)
- ^ Weaver Belmaril
- ^ Hellscream
- ^ The Sundering, pg. 310
- ^ Lor'themar Theron's gossip in Newhome
- ^ Oculeth: "Azshara is the most powerful sorceress to have ever lived. Do not think for a moment that you are safe or have the upper hand."
- ^ a b The Old Wizard's Almanac
- ^ Ancient Highborne Tome
- ^ The Tomb of Sargeras
- ^ Enchanted Magus
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 2
- ^ Elemental Slave
- ^ Sunwell Plateau epilogue
- ^ Tales of the Hunt
- ^ Code of Rule
- ^ On the Virtues of Magic
- ^ Aurosalia
- ^ Archmage Nakada
- ^ Manceroy Flamefist
- ^ Image of Kalec
- ^ The Everbloom#Dungeon Journal
- ^ The Last Guardian
- ^ Sayge
- ^ Sorcerer Ashcrombe
- ^ Ley-Guardian Eregos
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Night Elves
- ^ a b
- ^ Mage
- ^ The Dungeons of Dalaran (WC3 BloodElf)
- ^ Vaeldrin's Journal
- ^ The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm
- ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 3
- ^ The Last Guardian, chapter 2
- ^ Prince Tortheldrin
- ^ Lightforged Battlemage
- ^ Lor'themar Theron#Tactics
- ^ Shal'dorei Archmage
- ^ Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)
- ^ Aethas Sunreaver#Abilities
- ^ Sorin Magehand
- ^ Duskwatch Spellshield
- ^ Azuregos
- ^ Arcanagos
- ^ Magister Phaedris
- ^ Star Scryer
- ^ Nightborne Sage
- ^ Nightborne Tempomancer
- ^ Duskwatch Astralite
- ^ Ael'Yith
- ^ Terrace Grove-Tender (mob)
- ^ Kael'thas Sunstrider (tactics)
- ^ Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
- ^ Ask CDev
- ^ Grand Magistrix Elisande (tactics)
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 3
- ^ a b Archive of the Tirisgarde#Aluneth, Greatstaff of Magna
- ^ Lady Jaina Proudmoore (tactics)
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#The Titans and the Ordering
- ^ Charge of the Dragonflights
- ^ Halls of Origination#Dungeon Journal
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 47-48, 57
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#The Kaldorei and the Well of Eternity
- ^ a b c d e Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 18
- ^ The Sundering, chapter 22
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Dath'Remar Sunstrider#Escape from Zin-Azshari
- ^ Blood of the Highborne
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 533
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 52
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 552 - 553 (ebook)
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, pg. 383 (ebook)
- ^ Heroes of Azeroth, 57
- ^ Golden, Christie. "Fifteen", Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects. ISBN 978-1439-19663-2.
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 218 - 219
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 232
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos manual#Moon Well
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 251 on e-book
- ^ Wrath of the Lich King manual, pages 8 - 9: Winds of Change: From Dark Horizons to a Beacon of Hope in the World of Warcraft
- ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 4
- ^ Weaver Belmaril#Quotes
- ^ Indigos
- ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia - High Elves
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia - Blood Elves
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1. pg. 171 - 172 on e-book
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 194 - 195 on e-book
- ^ World of Warcraft: Paragons, pg. 686 on e-book
- ^ Legion Class Preview Series: Druid
- ^ World of Warcraft: Grimoire of the Shadowlands and Beyond, pg. 13
- ^ Warlords of Draenor Official Site "Perhaps the most accomplished of all living wizards..."
- ^ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes > Mage
- ^ Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, chapter 16
- ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 3
- ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 6
- ^ The Last Guardian, pg. 31 (ebook)
- ^ http://web.archive.org/web/20031002110845/http://www.blizzard.com/wow/townhall/classes.shtml#warlock
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Introduction
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Abjuration
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Conjuration
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Archmage
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual#Conjurer Spells
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Divination
- ^ a b The Schools of Arcane Magic - Illusion
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Enchantment
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual#Water Elemental "Water elementals were a favorite tool of the Conjurors of Azeroth during the First War, and now the enchanted creatures have come to aid the defenders of freedom once again."
- ^ Golden, Christie. "25", Jaina Proudmoore: Tides of War, 533 (ebook). ISBN 978-1416-55076-1. “Jaina laughed. Then she made more. And more still, until there was scarcely any unenchanted water to be seen.”
- ^ a b Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
- ^ a b c The Schools of Arcane Magic - Transmutation
- ^ Polymorphic Rules & Regulations
- ^ Thinking with Portals - A Memorandum on Proper Portal Usage
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual#The Destiny of the Orcish Hordes, " Using the arcane powers of our Warlocks and Necromancers."
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual#The Rise of the Shadow Council, "In pursuit of furthering our magical resources, I opened a new school of magical discipline that became known as Necromancy. We began training young Warlocks in the arcane mysteries of life and death."
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual#The Undead, "These unfortunate warriors gave their lives in battle only to be brought back into soulless servitude by arcane Orc magiks to fight for the Horde."
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Necromancy
- ^ a b c The Last Guardian, 40 (ebook)
- ^ WoW TCG - Khadgar's Kilt of Abjuration (Betrayal of the Guardian)
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, chapter 6
- ^ Bonds of Brotherhood
- ^ Warcraft: The Official Movie Novelization, chapter 7
- ^ Cycle of Hatred, pg. 39
- ^ Archive of the Tirisgarde#Felo'melorn
- ^ Elegy
- ^ A Good War
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Sisterhood of Elune The Sisterhood never quite approved of way in which higher-caste night elves made use of arcane magic, due to the magic's chaotic nature.
- ^ Anomalus#Quotes
- ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 14 - 15
- ^ Dark Factions, pg. 118
- ^ Magic & Mayhem, pg. 15