The WoW races, ranked

I got a bit of blog inspiration today by reading Syp’s opinions on the World of Warcraft races over on Bio Break. There’s a bit of advice for the new bloggers this Blaugust: when in doubt, respond to something else you find in the blogosphere. Just keep it good-natured if you can. Unless somebody says something as objectively wrong as “Gnomes are the best WoW race”. Then the gloves can come off.

Best World of Warcraft (core) Race: Undead

Syp put them near the top of his list, which was a nice try but just not enough. While some people are baffled at why anyone would play the “ugly” Horde races, I embrace the ugly. I’m tired of games that give me the options of “too cute”, “too pretty”, or “too pretty and has giant boobs”, for player characters. The undead are like a giant middle finger to all the catgirls and sexy elfs, and my contrarian self enjoys it. Sure my undead priest has sizable boobs, but they’re probably full of maggots or something so it cancels out. As a bonus, I’m a sucker for their lore. I am a bona fide Sylvanas fangirl, even if I’m skeptical about the direction her story is heading right now. I love the idea of this race that got completely screwed over during a war, and when they tried to come home they got shunned and called monsters. Now they’re building their own place in the world as best they can. Plus they literally start the game by rising out of a grave, and they get to ride skeletal horses. What’s not to love?


Okay, okay, I know I just had a rant about “too pretty” races in MMOs, but sometimes you do want to be pretty. This is also the only race in the game that I enjoy playing both the male and female versions. While undead is my race of choice for mains that I spend a lot of time on, blood elves are one of my top choices for alts. Mainly so I can see my armor transmog without the holes that come from being undead. I also love their starting zone and city, because they remind me of when I was new to WoW at the start of TBC. They’re like a little time capsule that missed the worst of Deathwing’s remodeling of Azeroth.


These are my favorite of all the Alliance races. Although they are still pretty, they were the most “bestial humanoid” available to the Alliance until Worgen came around. They have a cool aesthetic, and their giant spaceship always fascinated me, even when I was baffled by the lore of it. The draenei also gave us Yrel, who was one of the best things that came out of the wreckage of WoD. I reserve the right to hold Yrel against them if BfA ruins her, though.


I might actually be a “masochist that enjoy[s] looking bad”, it’s hard to say. I do love the ugly Horde races, including trolls. I think the distinction here is that I love the female trolls. The male trolls are a bit too big and weird looking. But then again I feel that way about almost every race in WoW. I think the ladies look sassy. I love their tusks. They have one of my favorite hairstyles in the game (that long weird braid). I wish they wore shoes but if I’m willing to forgive the undead elbows I can forgive this too. As an added bonus their druid flight form is an awesome bat.


These are my other favorite Alliance race. They’re short without being silly cartoon characters. I like the female facial options. To me they look the most like real people faces of almost any race in this game. They have lots of beer, and their racial mounts are awesome. I always enjoyed their starting zone and Ironforge, although I’m still not sure why such a short race needs such high ceilings. I also like their leadership, and the more I read about Moira the more I like her as a character.


I feel fairly neutral toward Tauren but they are just too big. They’re fine lore-wise. I liked Cairn and like Baine and enjoyed the tension with the Grimtotem.  I don’t have the attachment to Thunder Bluff that some of my friends do. It’s okay but I fell off of those bridges a few too many times as a newbie cow and now I’m scarred for life. I also always felt like their starting zone was incredibly boring. I’m just not a fan of those wide-open spaces I guess. It’s pretty from a distance but not exciting to quest through. I had a tauren druid for a long time because I had no choice, but as soon as it was an option I race changed her to troll because I like bat form and fitting through doorways.


These guys are the boring option for the Horde. I guess both factions need one. They’re not terrible but they don’t really have a lot to recommend them, especially after the Savage Draenor Orc Fatigue set in. Side note: I’m pretty sure nobody ever plays female orcs. I get this impression because I got in a huge argument with someone while leveling my female orc DK a few years ago. The dude swore I was some sort of hacker because “armor doesn’t look like that on orcs”. He literally had never seen anybody playing a female orc before and followed me around and got mad at me about it.


I don’t think I could say it any better than Syp did:

“I think the best thing that can be said about Pandaren is that the models are well-detailed and you do get the option to choose your faction. But they still, three expansions later, don’t feel like they fit in World of Warcraft. “

Although I do have a pandaren mage I got to max level back in MoP so my guild could get the achievement for it. I’d be perfectly happy if I never looked at her again.


Normally humans end up much closer to the bottom of the list for me. I guess that tells you something about how I feel about the races below this. Humans in fantasy games just seem like a waste of a perfectly good character space to me. In WoW, I think the human males look a bit ridiculous, and I dislike what happened to the female faces during the character model upgrades. That said, I still have several human alts, mostly because I’m willing to forgive a lot of things for their super useful reputation boost racial.


Here’s another big difference of opinion. I used to sort-of like gnomes, back when I was new to the game and desperately trying to make a character I didn’t hate on the Alliance-side where all my friends were. My ranking of gnomes and humans has swapped a few times over the years. At least gnomes are different. Their engineering prowess is a plus. But they’re tiny. Transmog looks weird on them. They get lost on the screen in group content. As a culture in the game I like them fine, but as a player character they just fall a little short. Haha.


Worgen are one of those things that seem cool in theory but when you actually have to live with it they’re not so great. Their starting experience is one of the coolest in the game, and it’s all downhill from there. Female worgen look exceedingly weird to me. You can hide this sometimes by swapping to human form but…then you’re just a boring human. Also screw Genn Graymane and his grudge. Dark Lady watch over us!


Goblins are a weird race. I appreciate they gave the Horde some short people, but they’re just not for me. They’re ugly, selfish and rude. Their leader is horrible, and weirdly enough if you start as a goblin you probably hate him even more than everybody else in the Horde does. It also feels strange to still have some neutral goblin factions when some of them are Horde-aligned. I like them better as a neutral, only-in-it-for-the-money race.

Worst: Nelfs

This is something Syp and I can definitely agree on. They have weird eyebrows and bounce too much and their eyes don’t look right. Plain elves are almost as boring as humans at this point in fantasy settings. Also I’m just going to go ahead and hold Malfurion against them because I can. I hate that guy. Even though my very first, long-since-deleted WoW character was a night elf, I don’t have any residual fondness or nostalgia for them. Their starting zone is pretty, but I couldn’t even be bothered to go look at their tree one last time before grabbing my marshmallows and waiting excitedly for the bonfire.

9 thoughts on “The WoW races, ranked

  1. When I think of Priests, Blood Elves, and Silvermoon, I always go watch the video that still gives me a pick me up when I feel down about the class.

  2. It calls for a blogging challenge 🙂 I must find a gap between all the coming events and write one too.

    Gnomes have two major character traits that appeal to me. First, they are convincing in their crazy schemes – before you understand what’s happening, you’re already on an errand even if it’s testing a dangerous launch into the skies. And you don’t feel being cheated or bullied like it is with goblins. Second, they’re the most cheerful and happiest race of all. There’s simply no chance to be gloomy around them.

    I’ll be the third one to confirm the night elves somewhere in the bottom 🙂 Those eyebrows, most stereotypical fantasy vibe, and males are stooping for no reason.

    • I can see the appeal of gnomes but they’re just not for me. I definitely like their cheerful experimentation compared to feeling like I’m being scammed by the goblins!

      • Because you ARE being scammed by goblins 🙂 It’s like a joke:
        – I’ve got a feeling I have no pants on.
        – It’s not a feeling, it’s reality.

        Gnomes are about pure science, Goblins are about pure science + profit + a good spectacular boom is also a good outcome if an experiment goes wrong.

      • I do love a good explosion, but yeah I’m pretty sure the Goblins make big explosions to distract people while they pick through their wallets.

  3. Pingback: Ranking WoW’s races | Armagon Live

  4. Being a Druid since BC/Wrath there never was much choice in race. Nelf for Alliance and Tauren for Horde. Moving forward the choices for me didnt get much better so I have stuck with the original Night elf on my main. I suppose in many ways nostalgia fuels my love for Teldrassil and in some small way, by proxy, the Night elves but I have to agree the Nelfs are far to bouncy. Take for instance their clapping animation… could you spot the night-derps in the Alliance epilogue? They looked so silly bouncing up and down whilst clapping. xD

    • I am super excited for the two new races we are getting with new druid forms. Both Zandalari and Kul Tirans look so good compared to any of the existing druid races. I will definitely make both when I can.

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