Meet 40+ Popular World Of Warcraft Characters (And Get A Quick Game Primer!)

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World of Warcraft Characters
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Wanna up your nerd status, Mama? Your Harry Potter and Star Wars obsessions are fun and admirable. Your comic book collection is enviable. But, if you really want to reach peak “nerd,” there’s only one way to turn: World of Warcraft.

Set in a world where magic and mythical creatures not only exist but thrive and battle, World of Warcraft is an online role-playing game that is the game of choice for literally millions of people. The Warcraft fantasy universe has been around for more than two decades. World of Warcraft, though, was the fourth release set in the universe and quickly became the most popular. Now WoW is 16 years old and still as popular as ever.

One of the best parts of World of Warcraft? The vibrant and elaborate characters. You can crest your own character, making them as unique as you but a million times more evil — and probably more skilled with a sword, too. Over time, you’ll create a backstory for your character and, in full disclosure, become pretty attached to them. The OG characters of World of Warcraft, though, are even more storied and elaborate. Every character’s story and history goes back generations and contains more twists than a convoluted soap opera.

Below, you’ll find a bit of a primer on how character-building works in World of Warcraft, as well as a list of some of WoW’s most beloved characters. Enjoy!

World of Warcraft Factions

Like any good rivalry, there are always two sides to every battle. In World of Warcraft, those two sides are the Alliance and the Horde. Where you end up in the fight is based on your character’s race. Here’s how those break down.

Horde vs. Alliance

The Horde comprises orcs, trolls, undead, blood elves, goblins, Pandaren, and Tauren. The Alliance comprises humans, dwarves, night elves, gnomes, Worgen, Pandaren, and Draenei.

Those in the Horde faction are often seen as the “bad guys” because, historically, those in the Horde faction (namely orcs) were bad and those in the Alliance (humans) were “good.” However, the continued Warcraft story has complicated things by creating flaws and allowing for dark-doings from both sides. Things are no longer good and bad or black and white in the World of Warcraft, just like in real life. But in most cases, the real distinction between the factions lies in the skill of the players. WoW OGs typically go for characters within the Horde faction.

World of Warcraft Races

In World of Warcraft, “races” aren’t like they are in real life. The races are the types of characters that make up each faction — humans, orcs, night elves, etc.

Each race comes with its own set of unique abilities, skills, and weaknesses, known collectively as “stats.” In addition to the main races that make up the Horde and the Alliance, you also have allied races from faraway lands. These include the:

  • Void elf
  • Lightforged Draenei
  • Dark iron dwarf
  • Kul Tiran
  • Mechagnome
  • Nightborne
  • Highmountain Tauren
  • Mag’har orc
  • Zandalari troll
  • Vulpera

A bit about your stats

All players are given a set max number of “points” in each attribute. For instance, intelligence or stamina. Depending on the race you choose, you’ll start with a certain amount of “points” for each attribute. Some races come with great intelligence but very little stamina, meaning your character might not last as long during battle. As you continue to play the game, you’ll be able to earn more points and spend them on various attributes, tweaking your character until they’re just how you want them.


The best way to think of your character’s class is to look at it as a job. Both factions have a set of classes unique to their faction. Some classes are hybrids, though, so players on each side are performing the same jobs. The classes in World of Warcraft are:

  • Warriors
  • Paladins
  • Druids
  • Mages
  • Shamans
  • Hunters
  • Warlocks
  • Monks
  • Rogues
  • Death knights
  • Priests
  • Demon hunters


Just like your stats, each class comes with its own set of talents. As you continue to play, you can earn more points to develop your talents further.

Popular World of Warcraft Characters

While you can create your own character, there are a number of prominent, permanent characters in WoW, too. A few examples:

  1. Fenris Wolfbrother — The Hunter Iron Wolf
  2. Yrel — The Light of Hope
  3. Ner’zhul — Warlord of the Shadowmoon Clan
  4. Archmage Khadgar — Leader of the Kirin Tor
  5. Velen — The Divine
  6. Blackhand — Warlord of the Blackrock Clan
  7. Vindicator Maraad — Hammer of the Light
  8. Kilrogg Deadeye — Warlord of the Bleeding Hollow Clan
  9. Durotan — Son of Garad, Chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan
  10. Grommash Hellscream — Warchief of the Iron Horde
  11. Kargath Bladefist — Warlord of the Shattered Hand Clan
  12. Vereesa Windrunner — Ranger-General of the Silver Covenant
  13. Tyrande Whisperwind — High Priestess of Elune
  14. Li Li Stormstout — The Wild Dog
  15. Sunwalker Dezco — Chieftain of the Dawnchaser Tribe
  16. Rexxar — Champion of the Horde
  17. Gul’dan — Betrayer of the Orcs
  18. Malfurion Stormrage — First of the Druids
  19. Uther the Lightbringer — The First Paladin
  20. Shaohao — Last Emperor of Pandaria
  21. Taran Zhu — Lord of the Shado-Pan
  22. Varian Wrynn — High King of the Alliance
  23. Anduin Wrynn — Crown Prince of Stormwind
  24. Jaina Proudmoore — Leader of the Kirin Tor
  25. Garrosh Hellscream — The Stranger
  26. Sylvanas Windrunner — The Banshee Queen
  27. Thrall — World Shaman
  28. Vol’jin — Warchief of the Horde
  29. Baine Bloodhoof — High Chieftain of the Tauren
  30. Lor’themar Theron — Regent Lord of Quel’Thalas
  31. The Lich King — Lord of the Scourge
  32. Illidan Stormrage — The Betrayer
  33. Deathwing — The Destroyer
  34. Lei Shen — The Thunder King
  35. Wrathion — The Black Prince
  36. Chen Stormstout — Legendary Brewmaster
  37. Moira Thaurissan — Queen-Regent of the Dark Iron Clan
  38. Cairne Bloodhoof — High Chieftain, Earthmother’s Chosen
  39. Bolvar Fordragon — Lich King and Jailer of the Damned
  40. Lady Katrana Prestor (Onyxia) — Lordaeron noble

Where to Read About WoW Characters

Want to get a real feel for some of the most popular WoW characters? Read about them in action through these short stories.

War of the Shifting Sands (WotSS)

Road to Damnation (RtD)

Charge of the Aspects (CotA)

Heart of War (HoW)

Lord of His Pack (LoHP)

Trade Secrets of a Trade Prince (TSoaTP)

Fire and Iron (FaI)

The Judgment (TJ)

Cut Short (CS)

Seeds of Faith (SoF)

Edge of Night (EoN)

Prophet’s Lesson (PL)

Quest for Pandaria (QfP)

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