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“Allied Races” are the New Subraces

by - 2 years ago

You may have seen all the hype behind the new subraces announced yesterday during BlizzCon. We put together a quick post to clarify the system and features, and will refer to them by their development name, Allied Races.

What Are Allied Races?

Allied Races are additional race options players can choose from during character creation and race changing. When Battle for Azeroth launches, six Allied Races can be unlocked.

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Blue Tracker / Official Post)
Experience Azeroth as one of Battle for Azeroth’s new six playable Allied Races. Earn the respect of the Nightborne, Lightforged draenei, and other noble allies, and you’ll unlock the ability to create new prestige characters of that race.

How Are These Different From Subraces?

Commonly, subraces have been described by fans as just an additional selection or toggle at character creation. Allied Races differ in a couple ways, making them a more distinctive, comprehensive, and lore-friendly experience.

First, Allied Races must be unlocked. On a current character of a regular race, players will have to embark on a custom, epic quest line for each Allied Race, telling the story of how they join their respective faction and their reasons for aligning with the Alliance or Horde. Doing this unlocks the ability to create an Allied Race character across your account.

Originally Posted by Ion Hazzicostas (Blue Tracker / Official Post)

You will reach out to these allies, see what problems they have, and see if they will join the Alliance or the Horde, playing through custom quest content that tells the story of how Thalyssra and the Nightborne come to join the Horde, or how Alleria and the elite squad of elves that she has trained to harness the power of the Void come to make their home in the Alliance, hardening the rift between her and her sister.

-via the World of Warcraft: What’s Next BlizzCon 2017 panel

Second, once you unlock the ability to play an Allied Race, you will notice they start at level 20 instead of level 1. Players who have unlocked an Allied Race will already be established players, so they don’t need to rehash introduction zones.

Instead, Allied Races enter the world at level 20 entering either the Alliance or Horde capital. From there, they will seek out opportunities to aid their new allies, adventuring throughout the world as per usual. This includes taking advantage of new level-scaling for all old world, MistsCataclysmBurning Crusade, and Wrath zones and dungeons. (No specific word on Warlords content, but we’re not ruling it out.)

Third, Allied races have their own racial abilities, passives, and customization options.

Originally Posted by Ion Hazzicostas (Blue Tracker / Official Post)

[They have] varied customization as makes sense for what the race is. Like, Lightforged Draenei have various holy markings across their bodies that you can customize, lots of facial hair options for the Dark Iron Dwarves, like ember-flecked beards from their time by the forge.

-via the World of Warcraft: What’s Next BlizzCon 2017 panel

Fourth, leveling an Allied Race character to max level (120) will unlock special Heritage Armor. This armor acts as “a lasting symbol of your dedication,” and allows you to transmog the special Allied Race armor for characters on your account.

What Are the Available Allied Races, and What Classes Can They Be?

Battle for Azeroth will launch with 6 unlockable Allied Races. These races will be split evenly between factions, and each has restrictions on its playable classes.

  • Horde: Highmountain Tauren, Nightborne, and Zandalari Trolls
  • Alliance: Lightforged Draenei, Void Elves, and Dark Iron Dwarves.


Faction: Horde | Classes: Druid, Hunter, Monk, Shaman, Warrior

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Blue Tracker / Official Post)
Descended from Huln, brave hero of the War of the Ancients, the Highmountain tauren honor the spirits of earth, river, and sky. Though the Legion invaded their lands and sowed seeds of distrust between them, the tribes of Highmountain stand united once more. At long last they are ready to venture beyond their sacred mountain and stand beside their kin from Kalimdor, lending their nobility and strength to the mighty Horde.


Faction: Horde | Classes: Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Blue Tracker / Official Post)
Isolated behind a protective barrier for 10,000 years, the elves of Suramar grew increasingly dependent upon the arcane magic of the Nightwell. To protect this font of power, the leaders of the Nightborne struck a bargain with the Burning Legion that plunged their kingdom into civil war. After fighting for freedom from their demonic masters, the Nightborne seek allies in the Horde to help them reclaim their place in the world.


Faction: Horde | Classes: (Unknown, but unofficially at least Shaman, Warrior, Hunter, Druid, and others)

Not much is known yet about Zandalari motives for joining the Horde, although the Horde will be directly aiding the Zandalari against threats to their capital and their continent, Zandalar. It may be that at max level players will find the quest line to unlock this Allied Race here.


Faction: Alliance | Classes: Hunter, Mage, Paladin, Priest, Warrior

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Blue Tracker / Official Post)
For untold millennia, the Army of the Light waged war against the Burning Legion throughout the Twisting Nether. The draenei most committed to their long crusade would undergo a ritual to become Lightforged, infusing their bodies with the very essence of the Holy Light. After finally achieving victory on Argus, the Lightforged Draenei have undertaken a new mission: protecting Azeroth from rising threats and helping the Alliance push back against Horde aggression.

Players of the recent Legion content, Argus, will undoubtedly be familiar with the Lightforged Draenei. Shortly after their unveiling, fans began to speculate that the detail paid to this branch of Draenei meant subraces would arrive soon, and developers hinted ambiguously at the possibility.

Void Elves

Faction: Alliance | Classes: Hunter, Mage, Monk, Priest, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior

Originally Posted by Blizzard Entertainment (Blue Tracker / Official Post)
Many have sought to harness the corruptive magic of the Void. Most who tried have fallen into madness. Determined to use this power for the good of Azeroth, Alleria Windrunner is the first mortal to succeed at defying the shadow’s whispers. Coming to the aid of a group of her kin who nearly gave in to the darkness, Alleria has vowed to train these Void Elves to control the shadows within them and pledge their newfound powers to the Alliance.

It appears that the brilliant purple Dark Naaru-esque wings may be optional, part of the armor the Void Elves above are wearing, or something else, altogether. Pictures on the official site show them without the wings.

Dark Iron Dwarves

Faction: Alliance | Classes: (Unknown, but unofficially probably Warrior, Hunter, Warlock, Mage, Shaman, and others)

Again, not much is known about how the Dark Iron Dwarves will join the Alliance, although the official site mentions that they will be unlocked during questing on Kul’tiras.

Will More Allied Races Be Added Later?

While only 6 Allied Races are coming at launch, Hazzicostas was quick to specify that more are planned. We don’t have a timeline for this yet, but it seems like this could be a great additional form of content, alongside things like collecting transmog, mounts, and toys, to explore in the future.

Originally Posted by Ion Hazzicostas (Blue Tracker / Official Post)

This is a system, a foundation, upon which we can continue to build in the future. Azeroth is full of countless, potential allies, and we could use all the help we can get. This is a starting point for more great things to come.

-via the World of Warcraft: What’s Next BlizzCon 2017 panel

Seth Harkins

PC gamer and lover of (most) things Blizzard. In his off time, he writes bad fan fiction, tends to his growing number of house plants, and enjoys a love-hate relationship with two cats.