Stormshield Keep in Ashran.

Keeps are the center of advanced military communities. They are often protected by strong walls, and several races besides those of the Alliance are known to build them.

Second War

WC2BnE-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness or its expansion Beyond the Dark Portal.
Main article: Keep (Warcraft II)

In large and well-defended settlements, the keep replaced the town hall as the center of commerce where peasants could deliver shipments of gold and lumber for processing. The artisans who dwelled here had mastered means of better extracting the gold from the ore mined by the peasants, thus increasing the yield of mining operations. The keep was also a military structure protected by high granite walls, making it difficult to destroy. Advancing legions of orcish warriors forced the Alliance to assign their elite troops - the knights of Lordaeron and the mysterious elven rangers - only to such places, where their presence could serve to deny the Horde further strategic gains. As control of these towns became more critical, the keep could be needed to be upgraded into a castle.[1]


WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft novels, novellas, or short stories.

Durnholde Keep in the Hillsbrad Foothills.

Following the Invasion of Draenor, and the closing of the Dark Portal, the Order of the Silver Hand dedicated themselves to safeguarding the land from orc attacks by directing a few settlements across Lordaeron. The settlements were described as keeps, with high stone walls surrounded functional and unadorned establishments where holy knights, squires, and small populations of common folk attempted to live in relative frugality. The banners of the brotherhood flew side-by-side with those of the Alliance of Lordaeron, and if not for the townsfolk, these settlements might have been mistaken for completely military operations, for the rule of the holy order clearly had control over all matters.[2]

One such keep stood in the Hillsbrad Foothills on the way to Hasic, being yet unnamed on Alliance maps. Its walls were breached when goblin sappers tried to murder Rhonin, only for Deathwing to swoop down and save the mage from certain death. The keep was under direction of Lord Duncan Senturus, a paladin of the Order of the Silver Hand.[2]

Third War

WC3RoC-logo.png This section concerns content related to Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos or its expansion The Frozen Throne.
Main article: Keep (Warcraft III)

With the advancement of human technology and the need to support growing numbers of fighting troops, the town hall may be upgraded to a keep. In addition to adding heavier fortification, the keep allows for the introduction of the mage class into human society. The keep can later be upgraded even further, to a castle.[3]

High elven and blood elven keep

The keeps helped the high elves to fend off Arthas and the Scourge as he tried to attack their capital of Silvermoon City and Quel'Thalas in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos by serving as a returning point for gold and training units. However, the Keep couldn't be built by the high elf worker unit likely due to the limited ability of the map editor prior to the Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne expansion. With the addition of The Frozen Throne expansion's map editor, it is possible to make additional groups with building orders.

The keep also helped the blood elves and Kael'thas during the Curse of the Blood Elves campaign in The Frozen Throne. This keep produced unique blood elven-only units.

World of Warcraft

WoW Icon update.png This section concerns content related to the original World of Warcraft.

Ruined Stromgarde Keep in the Arathi Highlands.

Keeps can be found as the center, or at least military center, of many human towns. Keep can also refer to both the building and the town within its walls.

For some reason, the human keep design used in Warcraft III was combined with the Alliance barracks design of the same game to create the type used in World of Warcraft. This means that the human barracks found in World of Warcraft are very similar to keeps, to the point that barracks and keeps are often interchangeable in dialogs.

Buildings that are distinctly ruined keeps have a clock tower like they did in Warcraft III, but there is no intact keep model. As an example, Menethil Keep previously had a barracks model when it was intact, but now that it has been partially destroyed it uses a keep model with a clock tower.

This continued with the new style of buildings used by the Alliance in Northrend, where keeps are similar but again distinct from the barracks due to their tower. Sadly this does not stop the confusion, as Recruitment Officer Blythe calls the presumed keep part of Valiance Keep a barracks in A [10-30] Enlistment Day.

To make matters worse, dwarven keeps like Dun Garok and Angor Fortress were previously often described as either keeps or barracks.[4][5] Keeps of other races exist as well.

Human keeps

Shadowfang Keep in Silverpine Forest.

Proudmoore Keep in Boralus.

Dwarven keeps

Bael'dun Keep in the southern Barrens.

See also the Dwarven Bunkers, which were inspired by the design of dwarven keeps.

Orc keeps

Domination Keep in the Krasarang Wilds.

These could be considered as strongholds instead. Some of them uses a barracks model.

Other keeps

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

A keep is a fortified stone building which has fifteen to twenty-five rooms. A keep surrounded by a stone wall is known as a castle.[6]



Fan art