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For the NPC located in the Hall of Shadows, see Pirate (Hall of Shadow).
Pirate King Garrosh

Pirate King Garrosh in Hearthstone.

Pirates (also named buccaneers) are seamen and robbers of all races who attack, seize or destroy any ship at high seas. They are also involved in many other illegal activities for their personal interests, such as smuggling, mercenary, kidnapping, slave trading, and assassinations. Therefore they are feared by travelers and merchants for their cruelty, and are the enemies of the Alliance and Horde navies against which they are at war for control of the Great Sea. Many pirates have other synonymous titles, such as freebooters, privateers, corsairs, and raiders.

Despite their image as free men, seekers of treasure, with a life full of glory and adventure on the high seas, the life of a pirate is actually not so great. They don't have a warm home or even their own bed, they are constantly surrounded by enemies and betrayals, and are hated by the society.[1] In fact, piracy is considered one of the most vile of crimes under Kul Tiran law. Those caught and charged with piracy are sentenced to death and publicly executed.[2]

Known areas directly under the control of pirates are Booty Bay in Stranglethorn Vale, Bloodsail Hold on Plunder Isle, Rustberg Village in Tol Barad,[3] both Freehold and Plunder Harbor in the Tiragarde Sound of Kul Tiras, and the Scalawag Point in the Howling Fjord.[4]

In very rare cases, pirate crews may obtain a royal pardon for past crimes if they manage to accomplish a mission of great importance, giving them access to the port of the kingdom.[5]


Southsea Scoundrel HS

A Southsea Scoundrel in Hearthstone.

During the Second War, Uther the Lightbringer and his men were ambushed by Alteraci pirates on their way to help the citizens of Caer Darrow. After the naval battle, some of the sailors were captured and Uther uncovered a conspiracy that would reveal that Alterac had betrayed the Alliance of Lordaeron.[6][7]

Following the Invasion of Draenor, Kul Tiran fleets patrolled the trade lanes hunting pirates and marauders on the high seas.[8] Azeroth's buccaneers raided one another in search of treasure, giving little thought to the risks they would undertake. The choice to create a pair of nimble cutlasses, Fate and Fortune, the sort of weapons favored on the high seas, meant that the eredar Talgath saw great potential in corrupting pirates to the Burning Legion's cause, including the Bellwether's crew and later a portion of the Bloodsail Buccaneers who splintered into the Dread Fleet.[9]

The island of Tol Barad's location on sea lanes and lack of policing due to the collapse of many of the Alliance's states during the events of the Third War made it a very attractive location for buccaneers. The abandoned Rustberg Village was repurposed by a band of pirates into a base from which they would strike at the wealthy trade towns along the shores of the Baradin Bay. Some pirates also had journeyed to Kalimdor and recruited or impressed various tauren into their crews, tauren who would later call Rustberg home just as their shipmates do.[10][11]

Unlike Boralus, the town of Freehold in Tiragarde Sound is a "free people's port", as it has no rules or regulations about what vessels are allowed to dock. Merchants, privateers, mercenaries, and even pirates are welcome. One can get anything they want in Freehold, provided that they pay for it, in gold or steel.[12]

At the time of the war against the Lich King, while Arthas woke the vrykul, it was the simple greed of the Northsea Freebooters' pirates that brought the kvaldir to Northrend's shores. The thieves stole artifacts from a vrykul burial ground and disturbed the spirits of the dead; later, the tuskarr tried to lay the spirits to rest by returning the stolen items, but it was too late. These cursed souls were called in from the sea to raid the coasts and take souls to their mistress Helya.[13]

At some point after the Cataclysm, Feral Scar of Feralas "made a deal" with some pirates to transport his yetis and the Woodpaw gnolls to the Blasted Lands. The deal was that the pirate should help them unless they wanted to be pounded into dust by the yeti leader, so they agreed to give them ships.[14]

Prior to its destruction, the city-state of Theramore was in charge of protecting the Alliance and Horde merchant ships arriving in Kalimdor, notably through patrols from Theramore and Northwatch Hold tasked with tracking down pirate crews at sea.[15]

During the trial of Garrosh Hellscream, the Northsea Freebooters pirates were recruited by Zaela and the True Horde to attack the Temple of the White Tiger in Pandaria. When Garrosh's followers managed to free him, they abandoned the buccaneers who were quickly rounded up and turned over to the pandaren.[16]

In Draenor, the Bonefleet appears every year around Hallow's End with the sole objective of destroying all living things on the planet with their undead curse.[17]

During the Burning Legion's third invasion, pirates of the Bloodsail Buccaneers joined the Uncrowned and could be trained into duelists.

A few years after the war against the Jailer, Lord Admiral Jaina Proudmoore was reported to be in conflict with the pirates in Kul Tiras.[18]

Some time after the discovery of the Dragon Isles, on a pirate ship in the Shrouded Coast of the Forbidden Reach, a book mentioned that the Irontide Raiders, Bloodsail Buccaneers, Defias Brotherhood and Southsea Freebooters are welcomed to sail under the flag of Nightsquall's crew, who aims to build the biggest pirate fleet Azeroth has ever known. The volunteers were invited to travel to the Dragon Isles and to plunder its secrets in the name of Dread Admiral Nightsquall.


Secure the Supplies HS

Pirates securing their supplies after the plunder.

As they value their freedom and only follow captains they deem competent,[19][20] mutinies are common in the piracy community.[21] At the same time, the evidence of a mutiny is enough for a crew captain to accuse and execute the culprits.[22] In a pirate organization made up of several fleets, a captain cannot execute a member of his crew without impunity, as only the leader of the fleet can do it.[22]

A human ship flying no colors usually meant it is a pirate ship. They may use the fog to hide their arrival and ambush their target more easily. During a boarding, they use harpoons with ropes to hook their ship, and climb aboard to slaughter and capture its occupants. In case of difficulty, the pirates sound the retreat and sometimes throw crates of supplies to the sea in order to cover their escape.[23]

Some pirates have their own special way of speaking, and sometimes with very pronounced accents, to such an extent that it is difficult or impossible to understand what they are saying.[24][25][26] As a pirate's word is of very little value, it is necessary between them to present evidence to prove that they accomplished their mission.[27] It is also difficult if not impossible to negotiate with buccaneers unless you have appropriate clothing, wearing pirate outfits is particularly recommended.[28]

In order to expand their ranks or replace their dead comrades, pirate crews employ recruiters,[29][30] or go as far as kidnapping to force new recruits among them, threatening to kill them if they refuse or try to flee. The captain also seeks to have a clerk with them to ensure the cataloging of their treasures, and if something is missing, the latter will be held responsible in the event of a lack of culprit.[31] In cases of crime or betrayal on board, pirates are notorious for the cruelty of their punishments, this can range from being executed by the captain, to being thrown alive to sharks, or tied up at the top of the mainsail to be devoured by the buzzards.[31]

Pirate party - Legends

Buccaneers love to drink and sing after their raids.

When a crew has been at sea for a long time, and their supplies are as low as the morale of the occupants on board, the captain brings them back to their hideout or somewhere where they can restock, but above all, to rest and relax in partying over lots of rum for several days. A duel between pirates has nothing to do with honor, only those concerned compete, but all the blows, even the most treacherous, are allowed because only victory counts.[31] When they fight, the buccaneers are shouting joyfully as they gave vent to their bloodlust, pausing in their slaughter only long enough to rifle through the pockets and pouches of the fallen—friend or foe.[32]

The buccaneers are known for many things, but hygiene isn't one of them, as most pirate ships carry five or six times as many rats as the other ships.[33] Because most pirates get scurvy and therefore have sore gums, they keep plenty of limes in stock to prevent this disease which has claimed the lives of many pirates.[34]

According to Colonel Lorena of the Theramore Guard, pirates on the whole aren’t especially picky about who they attack, as they’ll go after goblins, orcs, trolls, ogres, elves, dwarves or humans.[35] Depending on the captain, they can slaughter the entire crew and sink the ship,[36] or leave survivors to continue trading and attack them again in the future.[31]

According to Handsome Terry, regular pirates don't appreciate treasures related to art, relics, antiquities, and collector's pieces, for they simply prefer gold and jewels.[37]

Pirates rolling dice

Pirates rolling dices during their free time.

To keep themselves busy in their spare time, buccaneers sometimes play dice and card games to pass the time.

Pirate shanties[]

Jerias Bloodvein's crew chant
Well we hate to see her go, but we love to watch her leave!
She'll do her best for William and Wes and Mike and Steve!
Her name is spread both far and wide!
Her legend is renowned!
They call her broadside Betty, she's the roundest game in town!
So if you've minde to travel south, be sure to stop and play!
'Cause she's the real reason that they call it Booty Bay![31]

Pirate organizations[]


Garrote's crew - Legends

A typical pirate crew, with multiple races within.


Inv skiff [The Dreadwake], a flying pirate ship mount.

A list of the pirate organizations on Azeroth:

Alternate Draenor[]

A list of the pirate organizations on Draenor:

Notable pirates[]

Name Role Crew Status
IconSmall Human Female Annie Bonn Leader of the Northsea Freebooters and Scalawag Point. Northsea Freebooters Alive
IconSmall Goblin Male Baron Revilgaz Leader of the Blackwater Raiders and de facto ruler of Booty Bay. Blackwater Raiders Alive
IconSmall SkeletalOrc Captain Bonerender Leader of the Bonefleet, which appears every Hallow's End in Draenor. Bonefleet Active
IconSmall VampyrHuman Captain Broketooth Captain of the Red Blade, turned into vampyr by Blood-Thane Lucard. Red Blade Killable
IconSmall Goblin Male Captain Greenskin Captain of the juggernaught in the employ of Edwin VanCleef. Defias Brotherhood Deceased
IconSmall Vulpera Female Captain Eudora Leader of the Bilge Rats and member of the Council o' Captains. Bilge Rats Killable
IconSmall HighElf Male Captain Thalo'thas Brightsun Captain of the Thalo'dan Privateers, employed by the Steamwheedle Cartel. Thalo'dan Privateers Alive
IconSmall Forsaken Female Dread Admiral Eliza Admiral of the Horizon's Edge and former wielder of the Dreadblades. Dread Fleet Deceased
IconSmall Human Male Fleet Admiral Tethys Fleet Admiral of the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Shadow of the Uncrowned. Bloodsail Buccaneers Alive
IconSmall Sweete Captain Harlan Sweete Captain of the Irontide Raiders and lord of Freehold. Irontide Raiders Deceased
IconSmall Hozen Lord Oona Sea captain and leader of the Oona tribe in Pandaria. Oona tribe Killable
IconSmall KulTiran Female Captain Owings Captain of the Fogsail Freebooters and leader of Plunder Harbor. Fogsail Freebooters Alive


In the RPG[]

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

Elven bucaneer in Lands of Mystery.

Buccaneer RPG icon

Buccaneer prestige class icon.[38]

Satisfied to let the Scourge, the Burning Legion and the mortals fight for supremacy of the land, the buccaneer is the unrivaled lord of the seas. A buccaneer dominates the seas and becomes rich off the helpless ships that fall into his traps. Nursing hatred in his heart, the buccaneer shows no mercy or consideration for any. He tyrannizes Alliance and Horde ships alike, gold being the same color to him no matter the race of the victim. The buccaneer is highly skilled in sea combat, including, but not limited to, firearms and sailing. The appearance of a buccaneer ship on the horizon can make the most seasoned captain's heart grow cold with panic.

Although any race can become a buccaneer, most are human or goblin, the Bloodsail Buccaneers and the Blackwater Raiders of the South Seas being the most notorious. The most successful buccaneers are part of larger organizations; a lone ship of buccaneers is going to do little damage before being set upon by authorities - or larger pirate groups. Some buccaneers are in the employ of more respectable members of society, acting as privateers or doing dirty work against a lord's enemy's fleet; but most work for themselves.

Pirates are feared and hated by the populace, and privateers have a reputation for being almost as bad as those they hunt. The seas are already a treacherous place to be, with the Maelstrom and the naga among other dangers, and the fear of pirate fleets slows sea travel considerably. The buccaneer is proud of this notoriety, and does much to encourage it.

In an adventuring party, the buccaneer is concerned with exploration and plunder, and is useful to have along for any trips across the seas or any dealings with unsavory characters. An evil buccaneer is likely to attempt to take the party's portion of the treasure once the adventure is at an end, or leave them stranded on an island. The typical buccaneer is a soul who believes the world is his oyster, and everyone else is there to either give him things, or be in the way of him having things. Treasure, the freedom of the sea, and more treasure are his only concerns in life.

Although an unsavory lot, buccaneers do revere and respect two things (other than themselves): the sea and her lover, the wind. The buccaneer has likely seen everything that floats or swims. He can identify a ship on the horizon.

The buccaneer becomes so obsessed with treasure that his eyes can more easily spot any treasure nearby.

A buccaneer is ultimately untrustworthy, and untrustworthy people trust no one else. A pirate cannot afford to be naive. Buccaneers are skilled at fighting on the pitching and rolling decks of ships. The life of a pirate also means making sure no one sneaks up on you. When the buccaneer has reached the pinnacle of his swashbuckling skills. He is adept at moving and tumbling around to confuse his opponents and put himself in the best position to strike.[39]

Notable Buccaneers[]


The leaders of the Bloodsail Buccaneers: Wallace Boltscrew, Duke Falrevere and Jessi Falrevere.

Southsea Pirates

Bloodsail Buccaneers

Lords of the Sea

Relations with other classes[]

The buccaneer favors firearms over swords (although he does, of course, use swords and knives frequently), and needs the sure-footedness of sea legs. Buccaneers commonly band together with other buccaneers, rogues or warriors. Tinkers are welcome on their ships for their usefulness, but scouts are considered useless, as the buccaneer knows all he needs to about the sea. Priests and shamans are considered useful for healing spells, but buccaneers do not tolerate proselytizing. Arcane spellcasters are regarded with caution, and can be bargained with if throwing them into the sea proves a bad idea.

Although some buccaneers have used the ingenious submarines that tinkers create, the majority of buccaneers love sailing almost as much as they love their treasure. Their ships are commonly in top shape, and they commonly have a crew of slaves on board to keep the ship watertight and seaworthy. A buccaneer pays for nothing he is not forced to.[41]

Notes and trivia[]


Trading Card Game

See also[]


  1. ^ A [10-70] Yo Ho, Yo Ho!
  2. ^ Kul Tiran Executioner says: For the crimes of piracy, theft, and murder, the courts have found you guilty. Piracy is one of the most vile of crimes under Kul Tiran law and you will be served justice.
  3. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 104
  4. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 12
  5. ^ N Rogue [10-45] Searching For Clues
  6. ^ Uther Lightbringer, The Paladin - Hearthstone
  7. ^ The Battle at Darrowmere (WC2 Human)
  8. ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
  9. ^ Blood Ledger#The Dreadblades
  10. ^ Ask CDev #3
  11. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 104
  12. ^ A [10-60] Freehold
  13. ^ Exploring Azeroth: Northrend, pg. 94
  14. ^ Traveler: The Shining Blade
  15. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 3
  16. ^ War Crimes
  17. ^ N [40-70G Daily] Mutiny on the Boneship
  18. ^ The Vow Eternal
  19. ^ H [35-60] Parleyin' Wit Pirates
  20. ^ H [35-60] A Change in Direction
  21. ^ H [35-60] Spike the Punch
  22. ^ a b N [10-30] Making Mutiny
  23. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 2
  24. ^ N [10-30] Zeh'gehn Sez
  25. ^ N [10-30] A Carver and a Croaker
  26. ^ Dark Secrets and Shady Deals#Notes
  27. ^ N [10-30G3] The Jig is Up
  28. ^ H [35-60] Swashbuckling in Style
  29. ^ N [10-30] Getting In With the Bloodsail
  30. ^ N Rogue [10-45] Fancy Lads and Buccaneers
  31. ^ a b c d e Legends Volume 4: Bloodsail Buccaneer
  32. ^ War Crimes, chapter 36
  33. ^ N [10-30] The Fragrance of Money
  34. ^ N [10-30] The Bane of Many A Pirate
  35. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 4
  36. ^ Traveler: The Spiral Path, pg. 310
  37. ^ N [10-30] Forgotten Treasure
  38. ^ Lands of Mystery, 193-194
  39. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 192 - 195
  40. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 57
  41. ^ Lands of Mystery, pg. 192
  42. ^ A [30-35] Call of Duty
  43. ^ War Crimes, chapter 19
  44. ^ Traveler
  45. ^ Cycle of Hatred, chapter 19
  46. ^ Pirates' Day#Notes
  47. ^ Inv letter 15 [Bloodsail Orders]: "[...] any man, woman, or child found consorting with the Blackwater Raiders will be sent straight to Neptulon's locker."
  48. ^ N [10-30] Drive-By Piracy Bloodsail Oarsman yells: They be on either side of us! Send 'em down to Neptulon's Locker!
  49. ^ Bloodsail Corsair says: I'll send ye down to Neptulon's Locker, ye three-gallon pufferfish!