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Everything you need to know about the new race to be featured in the upcoming expansion.
By Dave 'Fargo' Kosak | Oct. 28, 2005
Sunstrider Isle gleams in the sunlight, bright and shimmering and golden. Tall thin figures glide amongst the trees, with pale skin and golden hair. They're the Blood Elves, or "Sin'Dorei" in their own vernacular, and they're one of the two new playable races to be featured in the upcoming World of Warcraft expasion pack, The Burning Crusade. We got a chance to hobknob with the Elves themselves at the first ever BlizzCon, taking place in (equally sunny) Southern California. Here's what we learned about this new race after talking with the elders:
The entire race, once known as the High Elves, was nearly wiped out when their homeland was crushed by the Undead (as depicted in Warcraft III. The High Elves were dependant on the "Sunwell" for their magical energies, and after Arthas used it to resurrect the Lich Kel'Thuzad, it was consumed. What remained of the Elven population was a wreck: like junkies without a hookup, the best among them were like zombies and the worst went insane. With no magical energies to draw from, they grew desperate.
Then a hero rose from among their ranks, named Kael'thas Sunstrider (Kael for short). Kael taught his people how to tap into their own ambient magical energies, and how to suck the mana from creatures around them for sustenence. Like magical vampires, the High Elves -- renamed the Blood Elves in honor of their fallen dead -- learned to survive.
But the thirst for more magic is always within them, like a demon. This unquenchable thirst is a big part of the Blood Elf mythos: even as a level one character, you're introduced to it. Those who learn to control its power will thrive, whereas those who don't are headed for misery. "The Winnowed" are what the Blood Elves call those who have become hopelessly addicted to magic and insane. "Control your thirst for magic," Arcanist Helion explained to us at the start of a quest at Sunstrider Isle. "It is a thirst unending."
So, how is this reflected in gameplay? All Blood Elves have a racial ability to suck magical energy from magic-using creatures. This "Mana Tap" ability will drain mana from a target creature, and that energy will be stored in your body. You can stack several mana taps together. A second racial ability helps you channel that energy: "Arcane Torrent" expels the energy from a tap into some sort of class-specific bonus. As a Warlock, when I used the Arcade Torrent, I silenced all nearby creatures for several seconds and regained a huge amount of mana. Warriors could use it to generate rage, and Rogues would generate energy.
Thus, Blood Elves play the game in a whole different way. Often you'll detour past some magical creatures in order to suck them dry. Then, you'll carry that energy around like a giant battery, expending it in the heat of combat when you need it the most. As for the negative drawbacks to this power... well, we'll have to wait and see.
The Blood Elves were once a part of the Alliance, but their experiments with dark magics -- "Power at any cost!" -- have made enemies of their former friends. Desperate for more power, the Blood Elves have leaned on the resources of the Horde to continue their studies. As for Kael'thas Sunstrider himself, he's disappeared into a shattered world called the Outland to continue his studies. It's the goal of the Blood Elven people to join him in the Outland and fulfill their destiny, hoping to become flush with the powerful magics he's found there.
We'll have more information about the Blood Elves -- and their Alliance counterparts, yet to be revealed -- in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to GameSpy for details!