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Introduction Edit

If you're new to the game, you're faced with a lot of choices. The most important of these choices are without a doubt what class you want to be. Then, along with choosing a faction, you must choose a race.

One thing you should know before starting this process is that, unlike a class, your race and faction are not set in stone. As of September 2, 2009 in the US and September 17 2009 in the EU, players may now choose to change their Faction for a fee of $30.00 in the Account Management Page. Also, as of October 27, 2009 for US and EU, players may now also change races for a fee of $25.00 in the Account Management Page.

See the Faction Change service and the Race Change service pages for more in-depth information on the two services.

What is a race? Edit

Well, in WoW Icon 16x16 World of Warcraft, there are two factions: the Alliance 15 Alliance and the Horde 15 Horde. Each faction currently has 6 race options to them. The races for the Alliance are the dwarves, gnomes, humans, night elves, Bc icon draenei, and the Icon Cataclysm 18x18 worgen. The races for the Horde are the orcs, tauren, trolls, undead, Bc icon blood elves, and the Icon Cataclysm 18x18 goblins. Icon Mists 34x18 Pandaren are available for both factions (AlliancePandaren 15HordePandaren 15). Click on an individual link for in-depth information on each specific race.

Choosing a race Edit

Each of these races has unique racial traits and certain playable classes available to them. These racial traits and class options help them to accomplish their goals in the world. Racial traits, also known as "racials", can be either passive or active.

Characters can only talk, group, and create guilds with players from their own faction. Certain zones and cities in the world are also friendly to one faction while hostile to the other. Additionally, certain quests can only be completed by members of one faction and not the other.

The tables below outline which player class is available to a race (denoted by X).

Alliance 32 Alliance Edit

Dwarf Gnome Human Night elf Draenei Bc icon Worgen Icon Cataclysm 18x18 Pandaren Icon Mists 34x18
IconSmall Deathknight Death Knight Icon Wrath 30x18 x x x x x x -
IconSmall Demonhunter Demon Hunter Icon Legion 18x18 - - - x - - -
IconSmall Druid Druid - - - x - x -
IconSmall Hunter Hunter x x x x x x x
IconSmall Mage Mage x x x x x x x
IconSmall Monk Monk Icon Mists 34x18 x x x x x - x
IconSmall Paladin Paladin x - x - x - -
IconSmall Priest Priest x x x x x x x
IconSmall Rogue Rogue x x x x - x x
IconSmall Shaman Shaman x - - - x - x
IconSmall Warlock Warlock x x x - - x -
IconSmall Warrior Warrior x x x x x x x

Horde 32 Horde Edit

Orc Tauren Troll Undead Blood elf Bc icon Goblin Icon Cataclysm 18x18 Pandaren Icon Mists 34x18
IconSmall Deathknight Death Knight Icon Wrath 30x18 x x x x x x -
IconSmall Demonhunter Demon Hunter Icon Legion 18x18 - - - - x - -
IconSmall Druid Druid - x x - - - -
IconSmall Hunter Hunter x x x x x x x
IconSmall Mage Mage x - x x x x x
IconSmall Monk Monk Icon Mists 34x18 x x x x x - x
IconSmall Paladin Paladin - x - - x - -
IconSmall Priest Priest - x x x x x x
IconSmall Rogue Rogue x - x x x x x
IconSmall Shaman Shaman x x x - - x x
IconSmall Warlock Warlock x - x x x x -
IconSmall Warrior Warrior x x x x x x x

Starting areas Edit

The zone you begin in depends on your race (unless you are a death knight, a demon hunter, or monk). The Blood Elf and Draenei starting areas (Eversong Woods and Azuremyst Isle, which were added in, and can only be accessed with, the Bc iconBurning Crusade expansion), are generally agreed to provide a smoother, more enjoyable leveling experience with better-designed rewards. However, any race can level in any starting zone of the same faction, you'll just have to hoof it over there. You'll probably want to reach level 5 where you start and then travel to the new zone.

The Goblin and Worgen starting areas (Kezan and the Lost Isles for goblins and Gilneas for worgen) were added with Cataclysm-Logo-SmallCataclysm expansion Patch 4.0.1, and have a more tightly linear, narrative flow through the first several levels. These starting areas are essentially instances that are specific to these races and make use of phase shifts as the player progresses through the content. As a result, other races in the same faction are not able to access these starting areas. In addition, unlike in other starting areas (besides Pandaren), Worgen and Goblin players must complete their starting zones before entering the wider WoW universe (including PvP battlegrounds), often emerging at level 12 or 13.

The Pandaren starting area is actually a gargantuan, floating turtle island added with the Mists of Pandaria expansion. Like the goblin and worgen starting areas, the Wandering Isle is effectively a giant instance and they must complete a starting experience and choose a faction (Alliance 15 or Horde 15) before venturing into the rest of the world.

Racial traits Edit

Main article: Racial traits

As mentioned above, different races have different racials. The importance of these traits is arguable (and they can change from expansion to expansion), but they do help distinguish them beyond physical aspects. However, if they did not exist, you might ask what would be the difference between races? Well, the answer is this:

  1. Different animations (most noticeable when dancing or idling)
  2. Different background stories
  3. Different looks
  4. Different starting locations

It is recommended that you choose a race according to what makes you most comfortable and based on a variety of factors only known to you. However, there are cases where having the right racials can be a life saver, depending on your class; see the Racial Traits for a full list.

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