Making sense of WoW characters and races can be confusing. Here is a quick guide to figuring out who’s who.

There are 6 playable races that are for the Alliance. They are Human,

  • Dwarf,
  • Night Elf,
  • Gnome,
  • Drainei,
  • Worgen.

6 other races are for the Horde.  They are

  • Orc,
  • Undead,
  • Tauren,
  • Troll,
  • Blood Elf,
  • Goblin.

The Pandaren are neutral and can be either Alliance or Horde.

Other races also exist in the game. These cannot be played with, though. They include

  • dragons,
  • elementals,
  • eternal,
  • deities,
  • and a few others.

Humans

Humans have three main racial traits. The Human Spirit gives them additional bonuses on secondary stats. Diplomacy means that they get on well with other races. Every Man for Himself can counter stun effects. They can choose between 9 different classes.

  • Aegwynn – When she was alive, Aegwynn was an Archmage and the Guardian of Tirisfal.
  • Darion Mograine – He was a paladin but became an undead death knight.
  • Bolvar Fordragon – The Lich King, once the Regent Lord of Stormwind.

Dwarfs

Dwarven characters receive bonuses on archaeology and critical strikes. Dwarves can also turn to living stone and resist frost magic. They can choose to be one of 10 classes. The three dwarven types are Ironforge, Wildhammer and Dark Iron.

  • Brann Bronzebeard – An archaeologist, ambassador, translator and adventurer, not a fighter.
  • Falstad Wildhammer – A gryphon-riding member of the Council of Three Hammers.
  • Moira Thaurissan née Bronzebeard – Widowed queen-regent of Ironforge and the Dark Iron clan.

Night Elves

Night elves have many magic abilities and an affinity with nature. There are 9 classes available to them. Using Wisp Spirit or Shadowmeld, they can camouflage themselves. There are other types of elves that cannot be played. They are Half-Elves and High Elves.

  • Queen Azshara – Became ruler of Nazjatar after becoming a naga demigod.
  • Illidan Stormrage – A sorcerer who was transformed into a demon.
  • Tyrande Whisperwind – High-priestess of Elune and co-ruler of the Night Elves.

Gnomes

Agile, gnomes have Escape Artist and Nimble Fingers as traits. They are also highly intelligent and have Engineering Specialization. Eight classes are available to them.

  • Gelbin Mekkatorque – King of the Gnomes and an inventor.
  • Millhouse Manastorm – A Forgemaster and warlock, using magic in battle.
  • Sicco Thermaplugg – A Gnomeregan leper who uses mechanised suits of armour.

The Drainei

Adept at healing and jewel crafting, Drainei is like spiritual outcasts. They can resist Shadow magic and have 8 possible classes. Their mysterious power often makes them good priests and sorcerers. They often practice magic and resemble druids in nature.

  • Akama – Formerly a priest, now a shaman of the Alliance Horde.
  • Velen – A prophet-priest, he was once Leader of the Aldor.
  • Restalaan – An immensely powerful hunter and friend to Velen.

Worgen

Worgen are powerful werewolf-like creatures who were cursed. They can change shape but are lupine in temperament. Their racial traits include Running Wild, Flayer and Darkflight. 8 classes are available to them.

  • Genn Greymane – King of Gilneas, Greymane is also a warrior.
  • Darius Crowley – The leader of the Gilneas Liberation Front and ally of Greymane.

Pandaren

Very like giant pandas in appearance, the Pandaren are nomadic. They remind one of the Buddhist fighting monks in nature. Inner Peace and Quaking Palm traits suit the monk class well. They only have 7 possible classes.

  • Chen Stormstout – A legendary Brewmaster and wandering monk of no specific affiliation.
  • Shaohao – The last emperor of Pandaria, deceased but active in spirit form.
  • Taran Zhu – A monk and warrior dedicated to keeping the peace in Pandaria.

Orcs

Like orcs in other fantasy worlds, they are vicious and ugly. Fierce in battle, their traits include Hardiness and Blood Fury. With 8 classes available, they make some of the best warriors. There are different orc races and half races. They are Orcs, Fel Orcs, Mag’har, half-orcs, and Mok’nathal.

  • Thrall – Born as Go’el, he is a shaman and warrior.
  • Garona Halforcen – Half-Drainei, she is a rogue and former assassin.
  • Garrosh Hellscream – A warrior and former Warchief of the Horde.

Undead

This is a race that was raised from the dead. Some of their creepy traits include Cannibalize and Touch of the Grave. There are three types of undead: Corporeal, Incorporeal and Skeletal. They can become one of 8 classes.

  • Sylvanas Windrunner – An undead elf and Banshee, she is Warchief of the Horde.
  • Blood-Queen Lana’thel – A vampiric San’layn who were made undead by the Lich King.
  • Amnennar the Coldbringer – A lich undead and the ruler of Razorfen Downs.
  • Tauren – These centaur-like creatures are powerful and make excellent warriors. They are focussed on nature and can Cultivate. Other traits are Endurance, War Stomp, Brawn, and Nature Resistance. They have 8 class options.
  • Baine Bloodhoof – The wise warrior chieftain of the Bloodhoof tribe.
  • Magatha Grimtotem – Shaman and matriarch of the formerly powerful Grimtotem tribe.
  • Muln Earthfury – High shaman and teacher of Kettara Bloodthirst.

Trolls

Trolls live in the woods and don’t like human invasions. They practice magic and can use Da Voodoo Shuffle and Regeneration. Berserking and Beast Slaying are traits that make them feared foes. They can take on 10 classes, showing intelligence. The two different troll types are Jungle and Forest trolls.

  • Vol’jin – A Shadow hunter and shaman, he had been Warchief of the Horde.
  • Zul’jin – Known as the Warlord of Amani, he is a masterful axe thrower.
  • King Rastakhan – The powerful ruler of the Zandalari Empire.

Blood Elves

Unlike Night Elves, Blood Elves are Horde affiliated. They practice arcane magic and have Magic Resistance. In their forest fortresses, their society has flourished for thousands of years. 10 classes are available to them.

  • Kael’thas Sunstrider – A mage and Lord of the Blood Elves.
  • Grand Magister Rommath – Grandmaster of Quel’Thalas and an archmage.
  • Aethas Sunreaver – A sin’dorei magi and fire mage.

Goblins

These little creatures are scheming and innovative. They like to blow things up and are protective of their money. The Rocket Barrage and Better Living Through Chemistry traits are formidable. They can choose 1 of 8 possible classes.

  • Jastor Gallywix – Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel.
  • Gazlowe – An engineer is known as the Garrison Architect.

Allied Races

In later versions of WoW, you can recruit 6 races to your faction. They are Dark Iron Dwarfs, Lightforged Draenei, Void Elves. Horde recruits are Highmountain Tauren, Mag’har Orcs and Nightborne. These races are variations of those already mentioned.