Distinct racial leaders (or faction leaders) for the first ten playable races in World of Warcraft acted as a PvP boss NPC in the capital city of that playable race's faction. World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King added the and achievements, gained for killing each of the opponent faction's racial leaders. The gnomes and trolls, due to being added late in the core game's development, lacked distinct capitals and had much less involved racial leaders that did not count towards the achievements.
The initial racial leaders were Thrall, Vol'jin, Cairne Bloodhoof, Sylvanas Windrunner, Magni Bronzebeard, Gelbin Mekkatorque, Bolvar Fordragon, and Tyrande Whisperwind, with Velen and Lor'themar Theron being added with The Burning Crusade.
With the game dynamically changing over the course of multiple expansions, not only did racial leaders become more active in the overall plot of the game, many have been outright removed as bosses, and the criteria of the achievements reshuffled.
- Most of the other playable and non-playable races also have distinct racial leaders in a similar sense, due to the setting's writing style.
- While Varimathras would help Sylvanas Windrunner in her boss fight alongside the Royal Dreadguards, Malfurion Stormrage would not assist Tyrande Whisperwind.
- Alleria Windrunner assists Turalyon in his boss fight alongside the Stormwind Royal Guard.
- Patch 9.0.1 (2020-10-13):
- Patch 8.3.0 (2020-01-14): Sylvanas Windrunner encounter removed.
- Patch 8.0.1 (2018-07-17):
- Sylvanas Windrunner moved from Undercity and replaces Varok Saurfang. Undercity removed.
- Tyrande Whisperwind encounter removed with Teldrassil.
- Patch 7.0.3 (2016-07-19):
- Patch 6.0.2 (2014-10-14): Garrosh Hellscream removed and replaced by Vol'jin in Grommash Hold.
- Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23):
- Patch 3.0.2 (2008-10-14):
- Bolvar Fordragon relocated to Fordragon Hold with a new model; replaced by Varian Wrynn as faction leader. Throne room revamped.
- Achievements added.
- Patch 1.7.0 (2005-09-13): Racial "Leaders" have been strengthened, and are now worth slightly less honor.
- Patch 1.5.0 (2005-06-07): Highlord Bolvar Fordragon is once again the Stormwind faction leader.
- Patch 1.4.1 (2005-05-05):
- Archbishop Benedictus staged a temporary coup, and has taken the title of NPC leader of Stormwind City from Highlord Bolvar! Horde seeking to take out the leader of Stormwind should focus their efforts on Archbishop Benedictus for the duration. These changes will remain until the next content patch, when Highlord Bolvar reclaims his rightful throne:
- Highlord Bolvar should be respawning between 5 and 8 minutes.
- Bolvar will give no contribution points.