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Every Major Lore Retcon Between WoW Classic and The Burning Crusade

World of Warcraft has enough lore to fill a library, and with the retail game constantly moving forward, it’s not unusual for old lore to get swept under the rug in favor of new developments. With World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic announced last week at BlizzConline 2021, WoW Classic fans are about to see Warcraft's history rewritten once again. 

The Burning Crusade expansion brought with it several key retcons to World of Warcraft’s lore to justify its new playable races and the events in Outland. Here’s a breakdown of every retcon which is about to take place as World of Warcraft Classic sends players beyond the Dark Portal into World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic.  

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The Draenei

The Draenei retcon is the most famous change made to the Warcraft lore between WoW’s original release and the start of The Burning Crusade. The Draenei were originally introduced in Warcraft 3, though not as they appear in The Burning Crusade. These Draenei were led by Akama, and joined Illidan Stormrage in Outland after he helped them fight off the attacks of their Fel Orc neighbors, led by the Pit Lord Magtheridon.

These Draenei had three digits per hand like a Tauren and no noses. When the Draenei were revealed for The Burning Crusade they looked far more like Warcraft 3's Archimonde, an Eredar, than Akama. It was revealed that the Draenei who appeared in Warcraft 3 were in fact “the Broken,” a type of Draenei that had been mutated over time by exposure to the Red Mist. 

The Red Mist was a version of a disease called the “red pox,” that was mutated by the Fel magic of the Burning Legion’s Orc Warlocks. This plague was put into bomb shells that were fired at Shattrath during a siege. Those Draenei that survived were severed from their connection to the Light, and became the Broken. Those who survived even higher levels of exposure became the Lost Ones, completely feral Draenei.

This wasn’t the only major change to the Draenei lore established in Warcraft 3, however. The Burning Legion was founded by Sargeras, the Dark Titan. As the Titans seeded life throughout the cosmos, Sargeras was originally the protector of the worlds they visited. In the Warcraft 3 manual, however, it was stated that he eventually gave into despair while fighting two demonic races, the Eredar and the Dread Lords. Going mad, he recruited two Eredar, Kil’jaeden and Archimonde, to be his lieutenants. 

In The Burning Crusade, however, Sargeras’ relationship with the Eredar was changed significantly. In the new version, Sargeras still battled the Dread Lords, which was at least part of what drove him to despair and betrayal. Once this had happened, however, he began seeking out races to bring into his new demonic legion. 

Around 13,000 years before the events of World of Warcraft, Sargeras found the Eredar, a prosperous race led by Kil’jaeden, Archimonde, and Velen. Sargeras offered them untold knowledge and power, an offer which only Velen refused. Archimonde, Kil’jaeden, and their followers were bathed in Fel magic, becoming some of the Burning Legion’s most powerful new additions. 

Velen and his followers fled, calling themselves the Draenei, meaning the “Exiled Ones.” From there these Draenei, who still looked almost identical to the Eredar, eventually landed on and populated the Orc home world of Draenor, which eventually became Outland. To save his people from the Burning Legion, Velen would hijack a part of the Naaru dimensional fortress of Tempest Keep from the Blood Elf forces of Prince Kael’thas Sunstrider. The Blood Elves, however, managed to sabotage the Draenei’s escape route, causing their ship “the Exodar” to crash land on Azeroth, leading the Draenei to join the Alliance. 

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The Blood Elves

The Burning Crusade’s other new playable race, the Blood Elves, also required some retconning to take them from the faction seen in Warcraft 3 to the Horde members who appear in World of Warcraft. In the original lore, the Elves of the Eastern Kingdoms were a race descended from Highborne Night Elves who left Kalimdor to practice their magic. These exiles became known as the High Elves.

The High Elves built their society around a powerful magical font called the Sun Well, which was eventually corrupted by former Prince of Lordaeron and future Lich King Arthas Menethil to bring the Lich Kel’Thuzad back to life. Arthas and the Scourge devastated the land of the High Elves, leaving few survivors. 

To protect the survivors from Arthas and the Lich King's forces, Prince Kael’thas was forced to accept the help of Lady Vashj and the Naga, who were allied with Illidan Stormrage. When Lord Garithos, human leader of the remaining Lordaeron forces, caught wind of this alliance, he attempted to have Kael’thas and his men sentenced to death. However, Vashj helped the High Elves escape to Outland to reconvene with Illidan’s forces. The High Elves who joined Illidan renamed themselves the Blood Elves.

In The Burning Crusade, however, not only are there survivors who still live in the Elven kingdom of Quel’Thalas, but these Elves also renamed themselves “Sin’dorei” or Blood Elves after those who died during the Scourge invasion. These Elves are led by Regent Lord Lor’themar Theron,  who despite initially staying loyal to his prince later discovers that Kael’thas is serving the Burning Legion itself and has betrayed his people.

Resurrected Raid Bosses 

The Burning Crusade also came with a few retcons for major villains. Magtheridon had once been the leader of the Fel Orcs until he was defeated and presumed dead. After defeating the Pit Lord, Illidan took his title, the “Lord of Outland.” 

In The Burning Crusade, however, it’s revealed that Magtheridon was imprisoned, not killed. He can be found in-game in Magtheridon’s Lair, beneath Hellfire Citadel in a one-room raid similar to Onyxia's Lair in Vanilla and Classic. Onyxia herself it also technically retconned by The Burning Crusade - she was never killed in Vanilla or Classic, and lives through the main events of The Burning Crusade only to be defeated by King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind in one of The Burning Crusade's last patches before Wrath of the Lich King.

World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade Classic releases 2021.

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Broken Draenei For Shadowlands

Okay I think it’s long overdue that the Alliance get Broken Draenei. I haven’t seen much of any support for our ugly friends. Now I for one feel they would definitely add some variety to the alliance and possibly introduce a bit more of a dark and monstrous looking race which the alliance lacks as people are fond of saying. The possibility with the customization would be phenomenal to say the least. Being able to customize them to have the monstrous sharp Akama like teeth.

Now I understand that many people aren’t a fan of Broken Draenei because “They’re too ugly! Blah, blah, more elves, blah!” and may be one of the less requested races around the level of ogres (who are also not properly appreciated), but they are something that many players would very much appreciate. Also on that note I’d suggest we introduce ogres for horde alongside our broken friends.

There is a lot of amazing fan made concepts and artwork for broken females as well as armor and weapon aesthetics that blizzard could definitely pull some inspiration from.


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Broken Draenei instead would be better

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Almost all the allied races are lazy. They couldn't even be bothered to add some simple new customization options for them with 9.0

Some people are like slinkies: good for nothing, but still bring a smile to my face when I push 'em down a staircase.

Broken Draenei could also be demon hunters so it would be double

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They absolutely are. The difference is especially noticeable after regular Draenei got all the cool new appearance options but lightforged are stuck with crappier horn shapes, two hair colors and a handful of haircuts.

i was hoping for jinyu myself (after the naz faction) but oh well. At least they’re not as disappointing as mechagnomes.

"The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent." -Carl Sagan

The entire reason Draenei exist in their current form was because Broken flopped in Focus group testing during BC development.

Believe in yourself. Not you, that believes in me.
Not me, that believes in you. Believe in you that believes in yourself. - Kamina, TTGL

Although Blizzard is lazy, this was not a lazy plan. They introduced allied races with cool new looks, then everyone bought race changes to switch to those. Then next expansion gave the old races even cooler new looks and allied races nothing so they switch back. Then the next expansion the old allied races get stuff and people switch again.

Warcraft III Reforged - Draenei Race Gameplay - Akama Model
"Krokul" redirects here. For the Broken of Argus known as the Krokul, see Argussian Reach.
For the original race, see draenei. For the race in general, see eredar. For the more corrupted version, see Lost One.
Not to be confused with Broker.
Faction/AffiliationAlliance, Sha'tar, Earthen Ring, Argussian Reach, Illidari, Burning Legion, Independent
Character classes

WoW Icon update.pngAlchemist, Hunter, Mage, Paladin,[1]Priest,[2]Rogue, Shaman, Warlock,[3]Warrior

WC3RoC-logo.pngAssassin, Seer, Vindicator
Racial capitalNeutralShattrath
NeutralTemple of Karabor
NeutralKrokul Hovel
Racial leader(s)Neutral  Akama
Neutral  Hatuun
Alliance  Arechron
Alliance  Nobundo
Racial mountIconSmall Elekk.gifElekk
IconSmall Talbuk.gifTalbuk
HomeworldArgus, Draenor
Area(s)Outland, Eastern Kingdoms, Argus

The Broken[4] (also known as Broken Ones[5] and Krokul[6] or krokul[7] in Draenei) are a devolved sub-race of draenei who live in Outland, mutated after being exposed to the fel energies wielded by orcwarlocks.[8] Many tribes have joined or become enslaved by the Illidari. When the Dark Portal reopened, several of them tried to get to it and escape Outland.[9]

Another tribe of Broken, called by their draenei name Krokul to differentiate them, are found on Argus. These Krokul have been hiding on Argus since the draenei flight from the Burning Legion. They look slightly different than Outland's Broken, having upright bodies and hooves, likely because they were mutated by Argus's fel energies instead of the red mist. But it might just be an updated and more logical model for all Broken.



Years ago, the draenei narrowly survived a horrific genocide by the orcish Horde. Blinded by rage, the Horde slaughtered most of the draenei race and forced the survivors into hiding. After being exposed to the fel energies wielded by orcwarlocks, many draenei were mutated into physically deteriorated forms known as the Krokul, or the "Broken". Years later, the shamanNer'zhul opened magical portals throughout Draenor, and the resulted energies shattered the dying world.[8] Although the Broken in Outland (the shattered remnants of Draenor) were thought by many to have been completely wiped out by the orcs' genocide and the world's cataclysm, some survived and have formed various tribes. However, many still fought for survival from the Burning Legion, who had claimed Outland with the aid of their fel orcs. Illidan and his forces discovered a surviving Broken village in Outland during their flight from Azeroth. The village's inhabitants, ruled by Akama, swore allegiance to Illidan in return for him liberating them from orcish and demonic oppression.[10] Having been corrupted by demonic influences, they lost some of their former draenei abilities, and their already Broken forms were further altered, causing them to become the sub-species known as the Broken draenei.

In The Burning Crusade, the term "Broken" is used mainly as a racial name, though sometimes it is used to refer to the Ashtongue Deathsworn. This faction, led by Akama, the elder sage, contains most of the Broken draenei in Outland. They are allied with Illidan Stormrage, and with his naga and blood elves.

Broken draenei are often rejected from draenei society due to their deformities, and inability to use the Light, leading them to eke out miserable existences in Outland's wastes. It is not uncommon for Broken living in Shattrath to throw themselves off elevators, committing suicide as the draenei guards simply watch.[11]

It is unknown how many Broken draenei are in Outland, though there are several groups not serving Akama. Nobundo is a notable Broken draenei shaman, though he is not a follower of Akama. A number of Broken draenei serve as laborers in a crystal mine beneath the Exodar, and appear to be loyal to Velen. It was speculated that this was evidence of prejudice on the part of the uncorrupted draenei, but this could be a case of physical tolerance.

While they are referred to as "Broken", even by themselves, many, including Akama himself, still consider themselves draenei. Some are trying to find a cure to return them to their original forms.

Even further below on the social scales are Draenei Lost Ones, who even many broken shun.

In Warcraft III, Akama's tribe possessed the Lost Ones physical appearance. As Lost Ones, they were renowned for being unbeatable spies and assassins, as their warriors can [Shadowmeld] regardless of the time of day and even while moving. This was before the retcon to the draenei/eredar history and the introduction of the Broken. Akama's new appearance is primarily that of a Broken draenei, although he possesses the characteristic mouth of the Lost Ones.

Nobundo, a Broken draenei shaman

From Velen's Vision

In recent years, Velen, the noble leader of the draenei, was granted a it he saw the Broken; formerly healthy draenei who had devolved during the orcs' murderous crusade to wipe out the draenei race. According to Velen's vision, the Broken would rise to power once again and aid their displaced brethren.

Velen's vision was given substance in the form of Nobundo, a one-time draenei Vindicator who had devolved while the orcs decimated his race and tore the planet apart. Like his fellow Broken, Nobundo had lost contact with the Light, and so he ventured far into the deserts of Outland to meditate and pray for guidance.

After decades of silence, an unfamiliar voice finally answered his prayers. It was not the Light that whispered to him, but the wind. The breeze spoke to him of lost truths, of the might of the elements – of the delicate balance of power embraced by the shaman.

Nobundo listened eagerly and learned all he could. When he judged the time was right, he departed the desert determined to use this knowledge to help the draenei race. However, most draenei refugees greeted the sight of a Broken with skepticism and outright prejudice. Only one of the healthy draenei did not shun the Broken: the wise and perceptive Velen.

Velen had heard the philosophy of the shaman before, but Nobundo revealed new truths. The elements were timeless; they stretched across the cosmos to inhabit every world they touched. With the proper training, the draenei might learn to wield this overlooked, seemingly inexhaustible source of power. Velen rejoiced to realize that his vision was coming to pass. Accordingly he took Nobundo with him when he and his fellow refugees took possession of the naaru satellite structure Exodar from the blood elves. Thus it was that Nobundo journeyed with the draenei to the world of Azeroth.

Nobundo found that unlike the desolate wastes of Outland, Azeroth possessed abundant elemental energies. He shared his knowledge of shamanism with the draenei on Azeroth, and all who adopted its path flourished.

The time for the draenei shaman to test themselves draws near, for the battle against the Burning Legion is once again at hand. And the fate not only of Azeroth, but of all worlds, hangs in the balance.

The Burning Crusade

Bc icon.gifThis section concerns content related to The Burning Crusade.

When the Allianceinvaded Outland, many draenei sought to reconnect with and redeem their Broken kin. Some of these Broken they reached out to included the Kurenai in the Orebor Harborage[12] and the Feralfen Lost Ones in the Boha'mu Ruins.[13] While the Feralfen refused to re-assimilate with draenei society,[14] the Kurenai were more receptive to reconciliation.[12]

The Alliance would later solidify diplomatic relations with the Kurenai in Nagrand after helping them secure their home of Telaar from various threats. However, the Kurenai and the draenei didn't always see eye to eye, particularly on the issue of the Lost Ones. While the Kurenai were content to help the Lost Ones who sought them out, they didn't pursue them and those who went too far were immediately put down. Some of the draenei, on the other hand, were intent on 'redeeming' them all. The Kurenai appear to be fierce enemies of the Daggerfen tribe — whose use of poisons and deceit they found distasteful[15] — and later on the Murkblood tribe for their role in harming their ecosystem and creating hostile relations with the Mag'har.[16] The Kurenai were also not fond of the Horde due to the orcs' role in the genocide of the draenei people.[17]

Many of the other Broken tribes appear to have been conquered or sold into slavery by the Illidari. This appears to be the case for the Wrekt,[18]Wastewalker tribe,[19] and the Dreghood tribe, although some Broken were enticed to betray their Broken kin in exchange for promises of power.[20]


CataclysmThis section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Sometime after the reopening of the Dark Portal, Broken exiles crossed the portal into Azeroth and made a home for themselves in the Swamp of Sorrows. They settled in the Harborage, and sometime during that time, Anchorite Avuun came to live with them and study their transformation.[21] Avuun worked for years to try to cure the affliction of the Broken. The foul energies that corrupted them did more than twist their bodies - it took the comfort of the Light from them so they cannot feel its warmth.[22] Avuun was also eager to help Magtoor who grew ill and weaker every second. Avuun desperately sought a remedy to cure Magtoor but despaired when his remedy failed. As Magtoor began to pass away, Avuun pondered why the Light forsook the innocent. A portal from the Exodar opened and Prophet Velen stepped through. Velen explained that the Light wishes suffering on none, but it does not reign unopposed in their realm. As Magtoor had embraced his plight bravely he was ready to return to the embrace of the Light. In his final moments, Velen performed an unction on Magtoor as he passed away.[23]

The Broken of the Harborage were also harassed by the Lost Ones of the Fallow Sanctuary despite being their former brethren. The rigors of the difficult journey made these former Broken exiles violent, full of hatred, and furthered their corruption. They became enemies of the Harborage when they began to kidnap their former brothers.[24]


LegionThis section concerns content related to Legion.

During the joint attack on Argus by the Army of the Light and Armies of Legionfall, the heroes of Azeroth came across Krokul led by Chieftain Hatuun, the Argussian Reach. They had lived on Argus all this time, having sought escape but finding themselves trapped in a nightmare.[25] They changed and endured without choice, hidden underground in hovels they moved to and from every time the Legion discovered them,[26] and resent the draenei who fled for abandoning them. When the Army of the Light's flagship, the Xenedar, fell, they brought High Exarch Turalyon to safety in their current home, the Krokul Hovel.[27] They seem inclined to shaman magic and have a Sacred Stone within Krokul Hovel from which they hear the faint whispers of Argus, the world-soul of their planet.[28] The Burning Legion uses the Krokul both as a labor force and tortures them for fun. Their mount of choice is the talbuk.

One of two fates await Krokul prisoners taken to Nath'raxas Hold. Consume the fel, and become a willing soldier of the Infinite Army, or be mutated into a disfigured abomination, an ur'zul.[29]

The Krokul in Mac'Aree have been mutated by Void energies by the Shadowguardethereals.



  • Kurenai: This group of Broken, whose name means "redeemed", have attempted to re-establish contact with their "pure" cousins from the Exodar. They are enemies of the Horde, much like the majority of their race. Their home ground is the city of Telaar in Nagrand; their other major outpost is the Orebor Harborage in Zangarmarsh. Led by Arechron.
  • Murkblood tribe: The Murkblood tribe is a tribe of hostile Broken located in the Underbog of Coilfang Reservoir, as well as Nagrand. They are enemies of both the Kurenai and the Mag'har. They are led by the hunter Swamplord Musel'ek. Some of the tribe has also been enslaved by the Dragonmaw clan and are kept working in the Netherwing mines. Theses Murkblood have secretly allied with Netherwing in an attempt to drive away the Dragonmaw.
  • Dreghood tribe: This tribe of Broken has been almost completely enslaved by the naga in Zangarmarsh and the Illidari demons. They were enslaved when one of the tribe betrayed them to the Illidari. However many have escaped to the Temple of Telhamat and are relearning the ways of the light. Their capital was Sha'naar in Hellfire Peninsula before they were enslaved.
  • Greyheart tribe: They are a tribe of Broken that reside in the Serpentshrine Cavern of Coilfang Reservoir.
  • Wrekt: This tribe of hostile Broken were partially enslaved by the naga in Zangarmarsh. The ones that remained free have allied with the TuuremLost Ones.
  • Ashtongue tribe: The Ashtongue is the faction of Broken in the service of Illidan Stormrage. They are the most evil tribe of Broken and their leader, Akama, is considered to be the most evil traitor against the draenei people. These Broken were handpicked by Akama himself to maintain his evil facade with Illidan Stormrage.
    • Ashtongue Deathsworn: The Ashtongue Deathsworn are Akama's personal guard, they are a subdivision of the tribe that know Akama's true intention. They are seeking adventurers to aid their master for the final battle against Illidan.
  • Broken exiles: This tiny group led by Magtoor went through the Dark Portal when it was first opened. They made a home for themselves in the Swamp of Sorrows. Despite having received emissaries from the Exodar they remain neutral to both the Horde and the Alliance. They are enemies of the insane Lost Ones of the Swamp of Sorrows, that went with them through the Dark Portal.
  • Wastewalker tribe — Enslaved by the naga of Coilfang Reservoir.

Racial hatred?

Despite the (in most cases) accidental regression into Broken draenei, many draenei not only distrust them but despise them.[31] Although understandable of those Broken draenei who remain corrupted or in service to the Legion, one would think that the draenei would be willing to welcome any of their people that survived the orcs' genocide. Talking with Nobundo, however, reveals a possible reason for this distrust and hatred. Broken draenei are unable to draw upon the Light's powers, being infused with fel energies. The draenei, being deeply religious, could view this in a very negative context. For some draenei, the shamanistic teachings of the Broken were even considered as heretical.[32]

However, some draenei such as Velen, work to reintegrate Broken into draenei society. The fact there are so many Broken draenei working in and on the Exodar is a testament to Velen's unending compassion for his people. Yet sometimes even in societies such as Shattrath, the social rejection from other draenei can turn Broken suicidal, while uncorrupted draenei guards watch, presumably viewing an ended life as better than a Broken life.

Still despite this rejection, Broken are in general accepted more than the Lost One draenei.

Notes and trivia


Draenei broken


World of Warcraft lore lesson 85: Draenei


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