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All the World's a Stage
This article is designed to illustrate the basics of roleplaying a draenei, important issues to consider, and links to other articles with relevant information.
Quick historical outline
The draenei have largely spent their lives on the run from demons. Under the guiding hand of the Prophet Velen and with the help of the naaru, they fled the demonically corrupted eredar on their home planet of Argus. After settling on Draenor, they began a reserved relationship of respect with the native orcs. The planet was discovered by the Burning Legion, and the orcs were corrupted and pitted against the draenei. Many draenei were mutated into Broken or Lost Ones, but some managed to escape once again with the Prophet Velen. Their craft, the Exodar, had been sabotaged by blood elves, and crash-landed on Azuremyst Isles, in Azeroth.
Things to consider
The important point to bear in mind is that the draenei do not work with the demons. If you decide to roleplay a draenei with the Burning Legion you would need to keep in mind that your fellow Draenei will likely hate you. The Broken and Lost ones are corrupted Draenei, but of course this does not mean they are all evil, but have the possibility to be as such. The draenei would have extreme distrust towards anyone who is even close to being on a demons side so keep that in mind when your character is around warlocks and their pets.
The vast majority of Draenei, as a basis, worship the light. They do not age most likely because of their relationship to the light itself. They are not invincible, but they do not die from old age, either. Counting age by years like other races do probably means very little to them. Instead, they might judge maturity by the actions and deeds done by the individual, or what rights of passage they have performed.
Also, they have a Russian accent.
NOTE: The race itself as a whole worships the light and the Naaru, no matter what "class" the character is.
Priest: The main link between the Draenei and the Naaru, the priests, or Anchorites are the main spiritual healers of the Draenei. If you're going to play an Anchorite, you can play as a healer, moral guide, or perhaps a prophet. Velen, the faction leader of the Draenei, is an Anchorite.
Paladin: The holy warriors of the Dranenei, the Vindicators are the equivalent of a paladin in other alliance societies. More typically combatants and warriors than Achorites, you may play these with a bit more vengeful nature. But never forget, paladins in general and vindicators in particular are calm, righteous defenders.
Death Knight: All Death Knights have lost the ability to use the light. A Death Knight Draenei is someone who has been completely removed from his or her connection to the light and is likely to be resentful or jealous of other Draenei - though many may not care at all. Be careful when you build the background of a Draenei Death Knights - for one, the Draenei have a natural distrust of everything dark, and secondly, Draenei are already immortal and therefore have one major reason less to choose to become a Death Knight.
Mage: Before the introduction of demons to the Eredar race, they were powerful and skilled magi and arcanists. This means that magic is an old part of Draenei culture. As opposed to popular belief, Draenei do not look with distrust on their arcane fellows, but revere them as the scholars and scientists that are important in any society. A good profession to play as a mage would be engineer, as much Draenei engineering involve some sort of magic, and the academics of the Draenei are usually all magi.
Hunter: A thing to remember is that a hunter Draenei is a young Draenei. Not until the Draenei met the orcs on Draenor did this art of living with and off nature really do much for the Draenei. Most draenei hunters are called Trackers and are often natural philosophers to a greater degree than hunters of other races. While many hunters may be marksmen or rangers, a Draenei hunter is also more typically not a warrior, usually adopting a "live and let live" mentality. An excellent class choice for the travelling merchant.
Shaman: While Anchorites are the spiritual leaders of city-dwelling Draenei, the Shaman would be the leader of a tribe or clan. This means they tend to have a more intimate connection with their most immediate surroundings and the people they advise. Two of their key philosophies are that they should never use their knowledge about the Elements to attack anyone, only for healing and self-defense. The other is that many Draenei Shaman believe the Elements to be an alternate voice of the Light. As the Shaman learnt theirs ways primarily from the Orcs of Draenor, they are unlikely to hold grudges against the Horde. In Draenei society, Shaman are known most commonly as Seers.
Warrior: A typical Draenei Warrior is the least tolerant among Draenei society, but still would be slower to give and take offense than most other races. They are also the most likely to hold grudges against the Horde for the attack on the Draenei by the Orcs on Draenor, meaning they will be the most eager of the Draenei's soldiers in the Alliance. The typical Draenei Warrior carries a single, huge mace, but may wield shields as well, if they are the protective type.
VELEN PERSONALITY Wise and not power hungry. Very honorable. Looked up to by many. Somebody people want in real life! ((Edit: Can easily become a Mary Sue))
AVERAGE PERSONALITY Most Draenei should be wise, loving, yet not afraid to defend themselves. Should be a Priest, Paladin, Hunter, or Warrior.
ARCHIMONDE PERSONALITY I know there are people out there who want to roleplay an evil draenei. This guy is cruel and heartless! Will do anything to gain power! I recommend a Death Knight or a Shadow Priest for this class!
Roleplaying ideas and class choices
NOTE: These are merely ideas, and none are obligatory. Do not feel that you have to conform to one of these archetypes. Feel free to create your own!
Army leader: The draenei have entered war and need organized military. Perfect guild oppurtunity there! Classes recommended: Paladin and warrior.
Repair man: The Exodar needs repairs doesn't it? Anything that can use a one-handed mace can do this so I won't put recommended classes! I know there's a mace that looks like a hammer if that interests you!
Explorer: The draenei are on a new world so why not explore it? Any class that can take a beating will be good at this! I'd prefer a Rogue and Warrior for this. You could also get a few people to help you!
Medic: As witnessed among the injuries from the Exodar crash, medics are helpful amongst the draenei. Any healing class is applicable to this role, such as priest, paladin or shaman. Consider supplementing with first aid.
Missionary: As the draenei spend a lot of time worshipping the light and exulting in the naaru, some may take it upon themselves to spread the word. Classes with a background in the Holy Light, such as priests and paladins, may be most applicable.
Soldier: While the draenei are primarily a peaceful race, they may need physical prowess to withstand attacks from their foes. Martial classes, such as the warrior and paladin, may be best suitable.
Exorcist: Being a race so interested in upholding the light, there may be some who wish to spend their time and effort deliberately hunting demons and expunging them from places where they do not belong. This may be most suitable for holy classes, such as priests and paladins. In addition, you could try out being a Draenei Death Knight killing demons and Scourge in an attempt to redeem themselves to the Light, or maybe just prove themselves to be a real person and not a mere demon to their fellows. You could try to accomplish this by slaying demons and dark creatures. The Anti-Hero would work quite well with this combo.
Scholar: Magic is something which can be researched and developed over time, and those who dedicate themselves to researching magic and unraveling further secrets may be among the first to make new discoveries. Classes with an intellectual or studious disposition may be most interested in this role, such as mages, priests, paladins and shaman.
Trapper: Draenei require nourishment, like all races, and it stands to reason that their tradition of hunting on Draenor would continue on Azeroth. Recommended classes include hunter and warrior, especially if supplemented with a high level of fishing or cooking.
Self-Standing: This personality involves being grateful for the naaru, but realising that they really cannot do much without them. They also know that there will come a time when they no longer need to constantly flee and fight for survival. Has a result, they look to make themselves more than just servants to the light, though they still hold it in high regard. A draenei of this type may find themselves approaching Shamanism as a way to seek out a real identity for their people. After all, nothing is more permanent then nature. They may also work to make the world a safer place through the ways of the Paladin or Warrior so their children can one day lead a peaceful life and be spared their hardships. Death Knights would work for this as well, perhaps feeling empty without access to the light, they seek to ensure even Draenei like them and the Broken can find a place in the world without relying entirely on the light.
Prophet: A prophet can see predict the future, as well as know what to do when it comes. A holy priest will fill this role well.
Tyrant:This personality is for all those people out there, including myself, who want to roleplay an evil draenei. Look at the Archimonde personality after reading this to get a bigger idea. Tyrants will do anything at all for power.They make deals with demons, kill the innocent, and have lost their total connection to the light. They do not care for the common, (sometimes pathetic,) average rabble in the cities or villages. They think that only the powerful can survive. Tyrants should have a good physical build and willing to kill anybody or anything. I would recommend spending most of your spare time in Outland working with demons and the Broken or Lost Ones. You can of course, go out occasionally and cause terror anywhere you wish to strike fear into the innocent and that should build your reputation as a... well,Tyrant. A Death Knight will fill this role very... perfectly. Side note: Be cruel everywhere you are.
NOTE: Please feel free to add any more good ideas to this list.