Hello, and welcome to the first in a series based around role-playing the different races in World of Warcraft. The installments of this series will detail history, culture, racial characteristics and a few helpful hints and tips. This one, as you have probably guessed, is based around the ancient Night Elves or Kaldorei!
Due to the Night Elves having such a long history, I will be putting it all in a different artcle that you can read through at will, and will clarify a lot of the culture! All of this information is crucial when choosing just who your character will be and how you will play it in the role-playing world, as it is necessary to stay in character as much as possible in order to have the best experience.
For a start, it is important to remember that Night Elven culture has very set gender roles, and it is only recently that those roles have begun to be shifted. This is not to say that Night Elven culture is chauvinistic, in fact it is closer to matriachal. For thousands of years, only men could become druids and enter the Emerald Dream, while only women could become Priestesses of Elune. Women were often the warriors and hunters as well, defending the men in the Emerald Dream. Over time, women have been able to become druids and men able to become priests, or more often, warriors and Sentinels, the elite hunters and warriors. So, while possible to see male priests and female druids, it is still likely to be very rare!
Now, on to Elune. Elune is the moon goddess, and the most venerated Kaldorei deity. In most, if not all, Alliance settlements you will find a moonwell, a pool of magical water that are used as shrines to Elune. It is important to note that the moonwells actually contain water from the Well of Eternity, and can sate a Highborne’s magical addiction, although Night Elves do not allow Highborne into their territory.
Some Night Elves also worship the ancients, powerful nature beings who aided in, yep, you guessed it, the War of the Ancients. Part of the hatred the Night Elves have for the Orcs is that they killed Cenarius, the son of Malorne who is the most prominent of the ancients. Other Night Elves also worship the dragons, specifically the leader of the green dragon flight Ysera. Your Night Elf will probably worship both the Ancients and Elune, although maybe not devoutly. They might also worship the dragons. As religion is a huge part of Night Elven culture, it would be unlikely to see a Night Elf who has "tamed" a dragon - this would be seen as unnatural and almost blashphemous.
The Sisters of Elune, the priestess organisation, holds the most power in Night Elf society since the War of the Ancients, as it was based upon aptitude not lineage and therefore earned the trust of many of the Night Elves who were betrayed by the noble Highborne. More recently, the Night Elven druids of the Cenarian Circle have also taken a grip in Kaldorei politics, with the Sentinals also playing a large part.
The Night Elves do not have as much technology as the dwarves, gnomes or goblins, preferring instead to resort to nature as a way to build their flourishing cities and protect their borders. Although they do not have any great skill with metal, they have been able to forge rudimentary weapons. They are also familiar with alcohol, but prefer wines to the ales that many races of the Alliance partake in.
Night Elves, due to their longer lifespans and isolationism from the rest of the world, are often
figures of mistrust to the younger races of the Alliance. They are known to have called the other races of the Alliance “lesser races”. However, the younger races do offer excitement that has been lacking from the Kaldorei culture from quite some time, and the appeal of far off lands has often lured younger or less experience Night Elves down from their home tree, Teldrassil, to travel the world. They are active participants in many of the Alliances restoration projects, for example the Plaguelands. This may be something your Night Elf is interested in!
Most Night Elves carry a deep and abiding need to care for the world they caused to Sunder, and are honourable to a fault. They are strict, and often compassionate, and feel as if they are caretakers of Azeroth, willing to step in and prevent younger races from making the same mistakes they did. This they will do with either diplomatic tact, or the full force of their not inconsiderable martial prowess. While role-playing your Night Elf, it is important to remember that they have lived a lot longer, and seen a lot more, than the younger races and so have different priorites. They are less likely to care about going out and getting drunk than about the Orc invasion of Ashenvale!
Now that the Night Elves are mortal, many are suffering a kind of depression. It should be noted, however, that the oldest Night Elves are still going strong and so it seems as if the Night Elves that have lost their immortality will go on to have normal Night Elven life spans on top of their previous immortal lives. It has also been noted that there are more Night Elven children running around now than there have been previously. It is believed that the longevity of the Night Elves coupled with the fact that many males were off sleeping as druids meant that Night Elves did not seem to feel the same need to procreate as the younger races. Your character will definitely be affected by this, either by the depression itself or seeing many of it's race struggling with their new mortality.
Appearance and Naming
Night Elven names are often very fluid sounding, often having double s or double l. They have soft syllables, and it is rare to have harsher sounds in the middles of a name. I will show you a few examples, taken from WoWpedia:
Female: Kaylai, Keina, Deliantha, Meridia, Freja, Alannaria, Nevarial.
Male: Ilthilior, Mellitharn, Khardona, Andissiel, Mardant, Tanavar.
Meanwhile, surnames often consist of two parts and are passed down through the family. They often represent the calling of the family, for example a family of druids may carry the name Oakwalker while a family of Sentinals may carry the name Galivethrower.
Night Elves are often tall, with males usually being between 6’6” and 7’6”, and females being between 6’2” and 7’2”. Male Night Elves are bulky and strong,with broad shoulders and chest, while female Night Elves are more lithe and yet still muscular. They both share a same feral grace. They have skin tones ranging from a light blue to pink, however the most common skin colour is purple. Prominent hair colours include green, blue, deep violet and silver, and is often worn long. This is combined with bushy eyebrows and beards in the males.
Amber eye colour once indicated inherent power as a druid or sorcerer, or other paths of greatness in the time when Azshara ruled. Since the fall of the Higborne and the fact that Night Elves now care much less about lineage, amber eyes are much more common, although not as common as the prevalent Night Elf eye colour, silver. Amber eyes do still often indicate latent druidic abilities, however not everyone with amber eyes will become a druid and a Night Elf with silver eyes can become a druid. Often, their eyes change colour as they travel down the druidic path.
Facial markings on a female Night Elf mark some kind of rite of passage, however it is unclear what this rite of passage is, or even if the rite of passage is getting the tattoos. They are important, however.
So there we go! The culture and appearance of the Night Elves. Hopefully, this article will have given you a helpful hand in working out how your Night Elf will interact and react with the world around them. For more information, check out my other article that details the history, found here, which will also help build your chracter. For now though, happy playing!