Race is a term used in World of Warcraft to split various unique creatures into separate groups. Numerous races populate Azeroth including elves, trolls, human, orcs, gnomes, and murlocs, among many others. Many races can interbreed including humans, high elves, night elves, ogres, orcs, and draenei — producing offspring often called half-breeds.
The Warcraft universe is inhabited by many sentient and sapient beings. These races speak many different languages, have different homelands and racial traits, and can pursue different classes. Though most races are native to the world of Azeroth, some have arrived from other worlds, such as Draenor. The armies of the Burning Legion are culled from many worlds throughout the Twisting Nether.
Blizzard occasionally interchanges the terms species and race, giving them roughly the same meaning. Though species is usually reserved for non-sapient creatures such as wolves, or non-humanoid creatures like dragons, the term is occasionally used to refer to races like elves, dwarves, humans, orcs, draenei, ogres, goblins, tauren, etc. Such uses are rare, however, and entirely absent in newer material such as World of Warcraft: Chronicle. Only the non-canon Warcraft RPG uses "species" with any consistency.
In Warcraft lore, race is often used interchangeably with species. Occasionally, within a race/species are groups called subspecies/subraces Note that use of race may not always denote separate species however (and may refer to ethnicities/subraces/subspecies within species) .
Subraces (aka subspecies) are generally considered smaller groups within a main race/species. However, even these subgroups can be considered separate races or species themselves in some cases.
- Dwarf sub-races can include Wildhammer, Ironforge, or Dark Iron dwarves.
- The various types of trolls are usually considered separate subraces, though occasionally separate races. The terms appear to be interchangeable to Blizzard.
- Aesir and vanir are considered two of the Giant's various subraces.
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/High Elves and Blood Elves
- ^ The Dark Portal and the Fall of Stormwind
- ^ Rise of the Horde, pg. 251
- ^ Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 38
- ^ Alliance & Horde Compendium, 22
- ^ abWorld of Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game, 50
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, 10
- ^ abAlliance Player's Guide, 82, 86
- ^ The Last Guardian, ??
- ^ Manual of Monsters, ??
- ^ Horde Player's Guide, 143
- ^ Tribunal of Ages, 107