Happy two weeks until BlizzCon, everyone! I’ve covered several previous datamining clues towards expansion seven in these past few months, and unless something huge happens, this should be the last one. On MMO-Champion’s “Official Patch 8.0 Speculation thread,” a list from the game database was uncovered that could point towards four new (sub)races being added in. What are these potential subraces? What is the evidence for them? Find out after the jump!

Update: A new piece of information has surfaced, as well as a look back at an interesting quote from a Gamescom interview. Check them out at the bottom of the page.

This newest discovery came about when MMO-Champion poster KayRule showed something curious they’d found in the WDBX Editor, a program used to view and edit the client db files in World of Warcraft. There had been a previous “leak,” using edited information from WDBX which proved to be a hoax, but notable dataminer Marlamin has confirmed KayRule’s discovery to be legitimate. So what exactly did they find?

KayRule had looked through the “chrraces” file, which contains data for all races, playable and NPC alike, that can equip armor. At the very bottom of the list were four new entries: Nightborne, Hightmountain Tauren, Lightforged Draenei, and “Void Elf.” Stranger still was their data for “CreateScreenFile” and “SelectScreenFile.” This information is used to indicate what background shows up on the character creation screen. Non player races that can equip gear, like fel orcs, naga, vrykul, and forest trolls, always have entries of “0” for those fields as they are not playable and would never appear on the character creation screen. Not only do the four new entries have values for what background should show up during character creation, they’re the same entries as certain other races:

Nightborne – Blood Elf

Highmountain Tauren – Tauren

Void Elf – Night Elf

Lightforged Draenei – Draenei

No other entries share ID numbers for those fields, except for Worgen and Gilnean (as you customize each form separately) and the three entries for pandaren due to their ability to choose a faction (alliance, horde, and pre-choice Wandering Isle). It’s as if these four new races are subraces of the above.

While all four of these entries stand out, the two most interesting are Nightborne and void elves. All nightborne models currently in-game cannot equip armor, their clothing is all part of their base model. And no one has any idea what “void elves” even are.

A mock-up of what nightborne might look like on the character selection screen. Not official.

The highmountain tauren and lightforged draenei stand out as well, because variants of existing races usually don’t get separate entries. For example, highmountain tauren aren’t a separate model from player tauren, they’re just extra character customization options not available to players. This is the same for examples like wildhammer and dark iron dwarves, or mag’har orcs, which are not included as separate entries on the database list.

A player tauren with regular horns and highmountain skin, as they are just customization options for one model, unlike the separate Highmountain Tauren listing in the database file.

There is an exception to the rule. As visible on the above screenshot, lightforged draenei are separate models from player draenei. There are also the strange “orcmale/femaleshadowmoon” models, but they cannot be customized and don’t actually seem to be used in-game. So it may be possible that Blizzard has just changed the rules on how they catalog NPC races in their files.

However there’s no explanation for nightborne, who as mentioned previously would need an entirely new model to be able to equip armor like every other race on the list, and void elves, which we’ve never head of before. Speaking of void elves, this makes a strange set of items found months ago on the 7.3 PTR make a lot more sense.

Handclaw discovered a set of weapons, and matching icons for them, on the PTR all labeled “Voidelf.”

They never appeared in 7.3, and while Alleria, a high elf, become a void user, she never has any weapons matching that art style, nor is there any sign of her teaching other elves to use the void. For those reasons the models were quickly forgotten about. Perhaps they were just leftovers from some scrapped idea for 7.3. That’s all changed now that void elf has showed up again in the files, this time as a playable race. The fact that they share the same character creation screen IDs as night elves suggest they’ll be an alliance subrace, and since the high elf Alleria Windrunner is the closest thing we’ve to got a void elf so far, perhaps this means we’ll finally get playable high elves of a sort.

So with this evidence, I would hazard to guess that expansion seven will add at least four subraces to the game. Lightforged draenei and void elves for the alliance, and nightborne and highmountain tauren for the horde. I’m not as confident in this as the Kul Tiras information, as that follows previous trends for expansion leaks. This is uncharted territory, and maybe Blizzard really has just changed the way they categorize NPC races in their database. But the evidence is strong enough to at least give this serious consideration. Either way, we’ll know in two weeks.

See you at BlizzCon!

UPDATE 1: Marlamin has found out something even more interesting. A popular theory was that at least the highmountain tauren and nightborne entries were just from the start of Legion with a new way of listing NPC races. However, Marlamin has found that all four of these entries were added in 7.3.

Good eye picking that up, rechecked and found out that I am actually entirely wrong on that first answer. 
Nightborne, Highmountain Tauren, Void Elf and Lightforged Draenei were all added in 7.3. Welp, that shakes things up a bit!

-Marlamin, MMO Champion forums

UPDATE 2: Danny asked during the GamesCom 2017 World of Warcraft: Legion 7.3 interview whether the Lightforged Draenei would be considered to be a choice in the draenei character customization at a later date. Seems they took the question to heart.

We noticed that there is a new draenei model. The Lightforged draenei. There is a lot of customization on their models for the existing draenei. Are we going to see any of that in the future for our draenei characters, or is that just pretty much only for NPC models?

Ion: For now just the NPC models. I can’t say what the future holds, but yeah, we were just trying to build out a very different ecology of draenei. These are the Army of the Light (Lightforged), and they have been in the direct service of the Naaru, fighting the Legion, fighting these battles across worlds, so we wanted to make them very visually distinct; and as we were throwing out a full cast of NPC characters, we wanted a lot more customization to help distinguish them from each other.

Now, in terms of player customization, we know that is something that there is always demand for; and for sure, that is the sort of thing that we would want to revisit in the future, and just open up customization options wherever possible.


UPDATE 3: Fan over at WoWHead, velicela, pointed out that Chris Robinson answered a question (during the BlizzCon 2015 World of Warcraft Q&A panel) concerning subraces. I found the exact quote, and put together a short YouTube audio clip.

Jesse Cox: Our first online question. Is there any hope of sub-races such as Taunka, or Dark Iron Dwarves being playable in the future?

Chris Robinson: Actually, this is like the most voted or one of the most voted-up questions amongst our community. There are like tens of thousands of votes for those. So I feel like a couple of things… number one: I think it is important for us to sell the fantasy behind the races and the classes on our game. That is like the core feature of something that we consistently try to support and grow.

If we have successfully done that, I think the second part becomes then supporting that, and adding more variety in customization within that system. So, the easy answer is: yes, we are going to do that.

We really love the idea. We have the characters in-game. We are connected to them. We feel very strongly about that.

The more difficult answer is: How are we going to do that; and whether we continue to work on that and make it happen.



Part 1: Subraces dataminedPart 2: Before the Storm  

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please, support Blizzplanet via PayPal or Patreon, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch for daily Blizzard games news updates.

BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

Ian Bates

World of Warcraft Writer and columnist for Blizzplanet. I am also known as The Red Shirt Guy (BlizzCon).