“Magic is the art of circumventing the normal. [...] The stars march in order across the sky, the seasons fall one after the other with lockstepped regularity, and men and women live and die. If that does not happen, it's magic, the first warping of the universe, a few floorboards that are bent out of shape, waiting for industrious hands to pry them up.”
The universe is a realm filled with potent magics (also spelled magiks and magicks, or even called wizardry and sorcery) and mighty beings. Since the dawn of time, these forces have influenced the cosmos, setting the stars in motion and the destiny of countless worlds and mortal civilizations.
Magical energies are most apparent beneath the earth as well as in special locations - centers of elemental forces, otherworldly powers, and mystical energies.
The cosmic forces
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 called the Void) appears as shadow magic.
Life and Death
The forces of Life and Death hold sway over every living thing in the physical universe. 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 toward a state of entropic decay and eventual oblivion. Another type of Death magic is domination, which is capable of controlling and reshaping souls.
Order and Disorder
The forces of Order and Disorder (also called Chaos) govern the cosmic systems of the physical universe. Order is most commonly perceived in reality 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.
It has been hinted that when titans die, their souls would return to their own Order plane.
The elements of fire, air, earth, and water serve as the basic building blocks of all matter in the physical universe. Shamanic cultures have long sought to live in harmony with, or assert dominion over, the elements. To do so, they called upon the primordial forces of Spirit and Decay. Those who seek to bring balance to the elements rely on Spirit (sometimes referred to as the fifth element by shaman, or chi by pandaren). This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one. Decay is the tool of shaman seeking to subjugate and weaponize the elements themselves.
Elements can influence a variety of emotionally positive and negative states:
- Fire influences passion and fury
- Air influences cunning and madness
- Earth influences stability and stubbornness
- Water influences tranquility and indecisiveness
- Spirit influences bravery and naiveté
- Decay influences efficiency and ruthlessness
The seventh force?
A few in-game sources imply the presence of a potential seventh force. The broker Al'firim compiled a report on his findings of a force he refers to as the "fractals". Additionally, a Korthian relic, the , whispers "The seventh covets what the six hold fast. The fulcrum wavers. All will be undone.".
Different types of magic
There are many different schools of magic, tapping into various cosmic energies and using different methods to sometimes reach similar goals. Most magic spells however require specific components, physical requirements the caster must meet in order to use them. These requirements might be verbal, with the spellcaster using specific words of power, somatic, with the spellcaster having to make motions, or material, with the spell requiring reagents. Some clothes might even be more adapted than others for the casting of certain spells. As such these spells might have different cast times and can even be interrupted by circumstances. Spellbooks are known to describe spells, their effects and their components. Medivh personally had Karazhan fitted with a fully equipped pantry of spell components, including a larder of aromatic and thaumaturgic herbs, and a lapidarium of crushed semi-precious stones.
Failing to follow a spell's components, such as changing a hand-motion or not using a required incense, would most of the times result in failure, with the energies of the spell dissipating harmlessly. Occasionally the energies may go wild and out of control, but usually the only result of a failed spell is a frustrated spellcaster. Changing the incantation or altering the motions isn't also enough to refit a spell for a new activity. Changing an existing spell requires a deep and precise understanding of how it works, and this activity is more dangerous than simply following a list of components, as a failed spell being very close to the final intended spell would lead to the magics trying to close the gap, to make something happen, though then resulting in unintended results or spectacular and dangerous failure.
- Main article: Holy
Pure Light cannot exist within the physical universe but shades of it manifest as holy magic. It can be channeled to heal, cleanse, protect, and even restore life to the dead, while being extra efficient against the undead and demons. The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion—hope, courage, comfort—coming from the "heart."
- Main article: Void
Shadow magic is the manifestation of the Void in the universe. A source of terrible power, it is the kind that comes at a price. Although destructive, it can also be used to raise the undead or to harm the mind, imparting feelings such as despair, doubt, and panic—emotions based on survival logic. Twilight magic is presumably Old God magic of the void branch.
- Main article: Life
The energies of Life, commonly known as nature magic, promote growth and renewal in all things.
- Main article: Shamanism and Nature Worship
Spirit, or Chi as the pandaren call it, is the life force that shaman manipulate. Spirit energy is intrinsically linked to the elements—earth, air, fire, and water. This life-giving force interconnects and binds all things in existence as one. Shamanism is a deeply spiritual form of elemental magic that involves a connection with both the natural and spirit worlds. Shaman do not normally enslave elementals, but honor them, asking the elements to heed their call. Shaman are not inherently imbued with magic—they harness the powers of the elements through ceremonial totems. Shamanism is also practiced by some of the draenei who learned shamanism from the orcs of Draenor.
- Main article: Geomancy
Geomancy is a crude form of shamanism.
- Main article: Necromancy
Necromancy is the study and use of magic to raise and control the dead. The manifestation of Death magic, it has many functions. Masters of this tainted field of magic can conjure festering diseases, harness the shadows into bolts of incendiary energy, and reconstruct the flesh of undead creatures, allowing them to function again even after the foul monsters have been destroyed.
- Main article: Arcane
On Azeroth, volatile arcane magic was once concentrated in the Well of Eternity, but its destruction spread arcane magic throughout the world. Arcane is distinctive for its ability to bend other energies (such as Fire, Life) to the caster's will. It can be used to manipulate space and time.
Arcane is derived from the phase transitions of mana - if mana were water, then arcane would be steam pressure. Arcane energy is so similar to an element it might as well be one, for all magical intents and purposes. Ley lines carry arcane magic. Sub-branches of arcane:
- Main article: Technomancy
- Main article: Time
Chronomancy is the art of weaving time.
- Main article: Fel
Fel magic is a destructive form of magic often used by the members of the Burning Legion. It is demonic, entropic, chaotic and extremely volatile. Its use results in the alteration of the individual, or corruption, which manifests as a physical transformation such as a change to an individual's eyes or skin color, or heavy genetic mutations. All of the Burning Legion carry the taint of fel magic within their very blood, allowing them to spread greater evil. Warlocks use life force to power their fel magic.
- Main article: Rune magic
Runic magic is a magic that employs runes. The vrykul practice a runic magic that even the most experienced wizards find unfamiliar. The runes can access various types of magic, such as fel, void, arcane, and death.
- Main article: Voodoo
Voodoo is a dark and powerful form of magic practiced by troll shadow hunters, hexxers, and witch doctors. They use mojo in their voodoo.
Table of magic-using races
In the RPG
Two categories of magic exist, arcane and divine. Divine magic contains druidism, shamanism, voodoo, and holy light, as well as other religions. Nature is a subcategory within the divine, but a form of it can also be found in arcane as well. Runes are mystically ancient, it is a type of arcane magic, but accessed by more natural means (see Runemasters and Inscribers).
Arcane, the most common form of 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. . 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.
Fel energy is arcane magic at its most corrupt. If arcane magic is an addiction, fel magic is the embodiment of the drug at its purest form.
Druids derive their power from the earth itself, although they do not require totems to channel energy like shamans. They become agents of nature itself, forming a bond with all beings of nature and pulling their strength directly from that bond.
The 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.
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.
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.
- The nature and uses of the forms of magic are vigorously debated on Azeroth, but the magnitude of what magic can accomplish cannot be doubted.
- The four motifs at the corners of the cosmology chart are identical to the four motifs used in the map of Azeroth after the sundering in World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1.
- Azeroth magic
- Gadgetzan Times/A Magical History of Azeroth
- Magic breaker
- Magic schools
- Magic (dispel type)
- The Schools of Arcane Magic
- ^ Grubb, Jeff. The Last Guardian, 92. ISBN 978-0-6710-4151-9.
- ^ Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual
- ^ Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness manual
- ^ Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal manual
- ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, chapter 16
- ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 8
- ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 23
- ^ Day of the Dragon, chapter 17
- ^ The Well of Eternity, chapter 15
- ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 7
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, chapter 16
- ^ a b c d e Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
- ^ World of Warcraft Devs Talk the New Raid and Mythic+ Score Coming to the Chains of Domination Expansion - "the First Ones, the progenitors who created the Shadowlands and other cosmic realms."
- ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter: "@koldun1029 There's nature magic, like druids use, and light magic, like priests/pallies use. Blood was tortured life. Fel is Chaos."
- ^ Steve Danuser with Taliesin & Evitel - 00:40:01
- ^ a b c The Last Guardian, chapter 6
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 10
- ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
- ^ The Comic Volume 3: Secrets
- ^ World of Warcraft: The Magazine Volume 2 Issue 1
- ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter
- ^ Jeremy Feasel on Twitter
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg 13.
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac: The Shamanic Races
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 21
- ^ The Schools of Arcane Magic - Necromancy
- ^ a b Tides of War
- ^ The Demon Soul - "Touching upon the green flames that were an inherent part of the demons, the red-haired wizard made them truly fiery and, in a sense, caused the demons to consume themselves."
- ^ Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects - "He spoke an incantation, and a strand of white arcane energy shot out from the artifact. It wrapped itself around the whelp, a rope of magic, and began to pull golden life energy from the small dragon. It squeaked in pain. "No!" screamed Kirygosa, lunging forward. The man jerked on the chain, hard. Kirygosa dropped to her knees, hissing in agony. The whelp grew. It opened its mouth and let out a small, squeaking cry as its body spasmed. Thrall could almost hear bones creaking and skin stretching as the mage drained its life energy, aging it quickly."
- ^ The Last Guardian - "Nature magic?" asked Medivh. "Ripening, culling, harvesting? Can you take a seed and pull the youth from it until it becomes a flower?"
- ^ The Worst Mage in Dalaran: A Children's Book
- ^ Weaver Belmaril - Quotes
- ^ Dave Kosak on Twitter (2014-04-27)
- ^ Thaumaturge Rafir
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 21
- ^ The Comic Volume 4 - Hard Choices: "We will use the injured gryphon's life force to power our fel magic."
- ^ The Old Wizard's Almanac: Non-Magical Creatures
- ^ Arthaus. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 248-249. ISBN 9781588467812.
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 150-151. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Arthaus. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 59. ISBN 9781588467812.
- ^ Johnstone, Mike. Magic & Mayhem, 24. ISBN 9781588469540.
- ^ Arthaus. World of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 60. ISBN 9781588467812.
- ^ Arthaus. Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 154. ISBN 9781588460714.
- ^ Borgstrom, Rebecca; Eric Brennan, Genevieve Cogman, and Michael Goodwin. Manual of Monsters, 79. ISBN 978-1588-4607-07.
- ^ Johnstone, Mike. Magic & Mayhem, 34. ISBN 9781588469540.
- ^ Arthaus. Lands of Conflict, 117. ISBN 9781588469601.
- ^ Johnstone, Mike. Magic & Mayhem, 55-57. ISBN 9781588469540.
- ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 66-68. ISBN 9781588467720.
- ^ Arthaus. More Magic and Mayhem, 8. ISBN 9781588469458.
- ^ Bennie, Scott; Richard Farrese, Bob Fitch. Horde Player's Guide, 67. ISBN 9781588467720.