Who Are The Worgen In WoW?

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There are plenty of unique races to pick from in World of Warcraft, and with most of them we can trace their roots to Tolkien’s literature, like the many Elves and Dwarves. But that’s not the only source, as exemplified by the Worgens, clearly based on stories about werewolves.


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Yet they don’t work as literal werewolves, since Worgens can control their transformation, needing no full moon to reach their utmost potential. That begs the question, where do Worgens come from, and what’s the extent of their feral power?


An Elven Origin

World of Warcraft Night Elf Druid Casting A Spell

Millenia ago, the Night Elves and the demonic Satyrs were in a constant state of war, with the latter slowly gaining the advantage. The main strength of the Night Elves was their mastery over Druidic transformation, but they could hardly compete against their demonic foes.

The Satyrs were leftovers from the overall Demonic invasion that assaulted Azeroth millennia before the events of the first game.

There was one Druidic form that was mightier than the rest, but nearly impossible to control. This was the Pack Form, letting Druids that entered communion with the demigod Goldrinn become enormous wolves.

The greatest Druid among the Night Elves, Malfurion Stormrage, had tried the Pack Form himself, but it was impossible to control even for him, so he banned its use. Ralaar Fangfire, a devoted Druid of the Pack, refuses to listen to Malfurion’s warnings, searching instead for a way to better control the might of the wolf.

Ralaar, aided by his followers, crafted the Scythe of Elune, a weapon imbued with the Moon goddess’ magic and a fang of the demigod Goldrinn himself. The idea was to use the soothing power of the Moon to tame the Pack Form, but it backfired horribly.

What Ralaar didn’t know was that Elune had tried to tame Goldrinn in the past, something that angered the wolf demigod to no end. Seeing the Night Elves try the same thing now, prompted Goldrinn to curse every member of the Druids of the Pack, transforming them into the first Worgen.

Trapped In A Dream

World of Warcraft image showing a Worgen on the run

Compared to the Pack Form, a Worgen is even mightier: It can still run on all fours at great speeds, but it can now stand upright, making any Worgen able to use tools or just slash with its claws. The Worgen form is also harder to control, their rage giving them an unprecedented bloodlust.

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The Satyrs were no match for these new Druids, but once the enemy had fallen, the Worgens turned to their fellow Night Elves. The curse would spread to any survivors of their fangs and claws, making the Worgens a far worse enemy than the Satyrs ever were.

Malfurion stepped in, trapping all Worgen within the Emerald Dream, where they would slumber forever. As eons passed, the Worgens became more myth than reality, but those researching the arcane could sense their raging power, asking to be released.

Gilneas And The Curse

World of Warcraft image Greymane surrounded by Worgen

Gilneas was a human kingdom that had cut ties with the Alliance long ago, and they had built a mighty wall to symbolize their independence. This wall ended up being crucial in their defense against the Lich King’s Scourge, but it was far from a permanent solution.

Genn Greymane, King of Gilneas, was told by the Archmage Arugal of a possible solution to the undead infestation. Arugal had learned of the powerful Worgen, and planned on unleashing them in the forest of Gilneas, so they could take care of the Scourge for them.

Genn reluctantly agrees, mostly due to lack of options, and helps Arugal open a portal to the Emerald Dream. The Worgen annihilated the undead forces, making them retreat, but would soon attack the Humans just like they did with the Night Elves so long ago.

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The Gilneans tried their best to contain the Worgen curse, but to no avail, and the entire kingdom was nearly lost to the curse. In the end, it was the Night Elves that came to the rescue, not to trap them in a slumber, but to teach them to control this savage form.

The Worgen Of The Alliance

World of Warcraft image Greymane surrounded by loyal Worgen

Through a combination of alchemical potions, Druidic rituals, and self-discipline, the people of Gilneas learned to master their Worgen forms. It’s unclear why they managed a feat that eluded the Night Elves of old, but it might have to do with Humans being used to subduing their wild side.

The kingdom of Gilneas, grateful beyond measure to the Night Elves, joins the Alliance once again in order to better help their new Elven allies. Since then, the Worgens have served as elite agents, experts in the art of infiltration.

The Worgens As A Race

World of Warcraft image showing a Worgen in the city cielings

Even if the Worgens began as a modified Druidic Form, they’re now much more than that. Not unlike the Forsaken, the Worgens (specifically the Gilnean Worgens) have learned to embrace their wolf-like shape, many choosing to lead their everyday lives in this feral form.

It even goes beyond what they choose, since the curse is tied to them even after death. Killing a Worgen doesn’t revert them to their original Human form, and some ghostly Worgen have been spotted in the Shadowlands, their very souls being shaped by the curse.

Yet to actually function as a race, the Worgens would need to reproduce beyond spreading the curse, something they’re not known to do. Unless it’s ever stated otherwise in any piece of media, if two Gilnean Worgens were to have a child, that child would be a Human.

Resistance To Undead

Hearthtone promotional image showing a Worgen surrounded by spirits and ghosts

One of the perks of being a Worgen is their immunity to being turned Undead, something that made the idea of unleashing them against the Scourge make some sense. Yet a player can create their own Death Knight Worgen, a creature that, by all intents and purposes, is an Undead Worgen.

This is because Worgens aren’t immune to being turned Undead, only highly resistant. They’re made of Druidic energies, something not easily taintable, but also not impossible, which is why the only one with the power to turn a Worgen into an Undead has been the Lich King.

As stated before, since the curse is intertwined with the essence of the affected individual, when turned into Death Knights, the Worgens maintain their feral form. Their wild rage is now non-existing thanks to the commands of the Lich King, and even after he is defeated, their curse remains subdued.

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