Possible New (Sub)Races Datamined

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  

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BlizzCon 2019 Panel Transcripts

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

37 thoughts on “Possible New (Sub)Races Datamined

  1. Hey Ian, small update.

    VoidElf entry refer to Blood Elf MODELS but the backgrounds refer to NIGHT ELF backgrounds.

    Not just an interesting thing to note, but it means they were just copy-pasted from Night Elf/Blood Elves like the others could have been.

          1. thanks man. It seems to indicate overall Void elves would be or use fully blood elf models but on the alliance.

            Not sure if nightborne will use night elf models though. It’s possible they will be based on them, it’s likely, but they could just as easily design new models, though it’s far easier just to use night elven models and alter their pose, hairstyles and skin colour, even ears. My suspicion is that they would use night elven models, and just adapt them slightly. Building a new model defeats the purpose of a sub-race as that is a brand new race.

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t see it on the screenshot either, so I’m hesitant to add it to the article. If you could point out where it is I would be really greatful.

      1. Sorry, don’t have photos cus at work. Marlamin has been going into more detail on MMO-C.



        Also important to note, not only do the Nightbourne NPCs in game not use the charraces entry, neither do High Mountain Tauren – they just use the Taurens.

        Also despite HMT and NB being in Legion on launch their charrace entries were only added in 7.3 along with Lightforeged Draenei – Void Elves were added in 7.2.3

        1. Wait, do you mean 7.3.2? I don’t think there was a patch 7.2.3. Either way thank you for the sources. I’ll include this in a sequel article since a lot of new information has come to light regarding these.

  2. Interesting, i’m not sure i like it though. Nightborne should stick with the night elves – haven’t the fans been waiting for the kaldorei empire night elves to return – they’re not going to like them being on the horde – unless blizzard converts the nightborne in suramar to night elves b/c of the fruit and create a story that shows why some nightborne couldn’t get it and decided to work with the blood elves – it’s inorganic. Also worried blood elf lore would be lost to the alliance because of high(void elves) and night elf lore will continue unimproved and unchanged having lost the chance for the nightborne to freshen things up. Makes more sense for void elves to be on the horde with blood elves, and nightborne on the alliance with night elves right? Why would Suramar ancient home of the alliance night elves now work with their enemies? And what do the nightborne bring to the horde and the blood elves that they don’t already have? Fancy arcane city (already got that) fancy high arcane wielders (already got that) – it’s the night elves in need of that stuff from their empire to spice them up.

    1. Nightborne absolutely should NOT stick with the Night Elves. You’d realise this if you had paid attention to the Suramar storyline at all. Tyrande, for one, completely looks down on the Nightborne as filthy addicts that brought their own fate upon them, whereas the blood elves, having also suffered the same addiction, are incredibly similar and empathic toward them.

      “it’s the night elves in need of that stuff from their empire to spice them up.”

      No, it isn’t. They don’t want that and they never will again.

      1. True, let’s not forget about the conversation between Liadrin and Sigryn aboard the Vindicaar.
        Which also points that Nightelfs might be heading towards the horde.

        1. And let’s not forget this only points to some nightborne elves heading towards the horde, doesn’t mean all of them would.

      2. Yes to that!

        This idea of night elves reuniting with their old brethren to reclaim their imperial roots is something some fans may want, but goes against the very basis of night elf culture. The whole point of the night elves is that they rejected their old culture and shun their past. They have no wish to return to it.

        Yes, they may have accepted the Shen’dralar back and may even accept the high (void) elves (if they become a Nelf subrace), but that’s different. It’s more about those types of highborne subjecting themselves to the new night elf culture (while being allowed to practice arcane magic) than night elf culture returning to its old traditions.

        1. I don’t think that accounts for all sides of the picture. So I disagree. it ignores everything shown in 7.0 which is the bulk of the nightborne story, it also ignores that this is a night elf city and so are the people – if the main group could accept the shen’dralar who were worse in every way, why would they have a probably accepting a far higher calibre group who they actually know as they’re from the same city/region? It’s like saying Parisians and the French would want nothing to do with each other because Parisians prefer tech and the high style life and the French provincials prefer the country.

          Night elf culture is not just one dimensional, this was what was most boring about the wow portrayal, the shen’dralar, moonguard, nightborne, highborne all show the arcane culture is alive, the priests have their own culture too as do the demon hunters, it’s a collection of segregated orders, and offering more than one path /one fantasy makes them far more interesting. As they lost most of their empire, its kinda nice if they start gaining the good parts that. and we know the nightborne under Thalyssra are not interested in conquest but in defending.

          Night elves use to be isolated, each of hte various groups, that’s no longer the case, druids may prefer to be in the wild continuing as before, but there is now a civilization to build and advance for the first time in 10k years, it kinda makes sense and is a good development that their elements start working towards this.

        2. I don’t think it’s about reclaiming imperial roots. For me it’s about reclaiming the best parts of thier past, their extraordinary arcane achievmeents and their wonders, it’s not about setting up an empire it’s about returning the strong fantasy of the pre-sundering master arcane dark/night elf wielders which is a part of their story I very much like

      3. I disagree there, ofc, it ignores everything shown in 7.0 which is the bulk of the nightborne story, it also ignores that this is a night elf city and so are the people – if the main group could accept the shen’dralar who were worse in every way, why would they have a probably accepting a far higher calibre group who they actually know as they’re from the same city/region? It’s like saying Parisians and the French would want nothing to do with each other because Parisians prefer tech and the high style life and the French provincials prefer the country.

        Night elf culture is not just one dimensional, this was what was most boring about the wow portrayal, the shen’dralar, moonguard, nightborne, highborne all show the arcane culture is alive, the priests have their own culture too as do the demon hunters, it’s a collection of segregated orders, and offering more than one path /one fantasy makes them far more interesting. As they lost most of their empire, its kinda nice if they start gaining the good parts that. and we know the nightborne under Thalyssra are not interested in conquest but in defending.

        Night elves use to be isolated, each of hte various groups, that’s no longer the case, druids may prefer to be in the wild continuing as before, but there is now a civilization to build and advance for the first time in 10k years, it kinda makes sense and is a good development that their elements start working towards this.

    2. Some of this in itself may spur from the idea that people seek further race/class combinations for their favourite races. A void elf could be the things a normal night elf could not (ie, warlocks, etc). Some of these two combinations probably come from the “we want blood elves on the alliance” argument. If you create a more versatile look for the main races on either side, people feel less guilty going to the opposite faction. Ie, if you have a blood elf looking night elf then you have more night elves being more comfortable on the horde and etc. Blood elves i believe are a reason lots of people choose the horde, and having them on alliance may be something that facilitates the consumer demand.

  3. I feel the need to point out that if we get Highmountain Tauren, Lightforged Draenei, and Nightborne playable sub-races (in other words only first-appearing-in-Legion subraces), but DON’T get some combination of Wildhammer or Dark Iron Dwarves, Taunka or Yaungol Tauren, Brown Orcs or Mok’nathal, Vrykul-esque Humans, Leper/Mechagnomes, Zandalari/Farraki/Amani/Gurubashi trolls, Dark-Ranger-style undead, or just updated Worgen models, people are going to pitch a shitfit the likes of which Blizzard has never seen.

    Personally, while I don’t have anything against the idea, I’ve never seen anyone asking for Lightforged Draenei to be playable, and certainly no one for anything like Void Elves. Not that this couldn’t be cool, but if we get these four as a big announcement and NONE of the ones people have actually asked and poked Blizzard about for years (especially ones like Dark Iron Dwarves and Brown Orcs that were promised in past expansions), people are going to actually riot in some manner.

    1. or just updated Worgen models

      And goblin. There are some outfits I’d love to use for my goblin, but the waist for her model — or skeleton, I’m pleading ignorance here — has always been sort of half-broken.

    2. the others like Dark iron, Leper Gnomes, Mok’nathal Taunka, Wildhammer, Undead Elven Darkfallen even Highborne could all be customizations on the main race. But groups like Mok’nathal, Zandalari, Nightborne, Amani – those are definitely sub races as they are slightly differenet versions of the race that are more than just a differnet skin colouring.. but then saying that.. it appears Lightforged Draenei, Void elves, Highmountain are reskins of draenei, blood elves and Tauren, and I presume that nightborne will be reskins of night elves – so I’m no longer sure. It’s quite possible Dark irons and Mag’har therefore will show up later as actual sub-races rather than cusomizations.

    3. If you look at the character selection screen. Blood Elves/ Draenei and Night Elves/ Tauren are across from each other. These four races may be added for GUI reasons at the same time. As one of the other sides of the others may not be ready yet. Ie, no Dwarfs if no Undead kind of thing. As it would mess up the balance. Obviously, later is a likely idea.

      Also these four races, are “current”. If the highmountain tauren and nightbourne make no other appearance in later expansions, it would be necessary to add them now whilst still fresh in the mind of players.

    4. We don’t know if the subraces thing is reliable as datamined stuff isn’t
      always accurate. So going along with it being somewhat or partially
      accurate, we only have this files fresh from Patch 7.3.2, which on
      itself means we only have partial data of something that might be added
      in pieces as it gets ironed out. The ones you mentioned might be added
      as they get finished. Even if beta launched today, not all assets might
      be available on day one of beta.

    1. I changed the code a bit. Let me know if it still breaks the page for you, after you hit CTRL + F5.

  4. Swap the Void and Nightborne around, and here is why:

    Concerning the elves that stick more to the arcane and have been shown to delve into deeper, darker powers in order to harness them, it’s safer to believe that Blood Elves would have the Void as their subclass/race.

    The Nightborne, however, have now harnessed the arcan’dor as their source of nourishment to revitalize themselves from the Nightwell’s effects, which if I may remind all those present, is a tool crafted by druidic magic and arcanist magic. This draws the source away from the raw potent arcane and more towards a natural, druidic appeal, which is why I think the Nightborne should belong to the Nightelves instead. Just a thought.

    1. While that makes sense, you have to remember the leaders in charge of the races. Tyrande would never accept the Nightborne into Darnassus. She never cared about them when saving Suramar, she only wanted to free the city not the people. Alleria, who we have to assume will be teaching elves void magic, would never join the Horde.

      1. That’s not true, if Tyrande can accept the Shen’dralar who behaved far worse, and could forgive the very highborne that literally summoned the portals for the demons in the first invasion (i.e. Darth’remar’s group), how much moreso her very own people who always stood against the legion both in the first war and under Thalyssra whom she meets, again in this 3rd invasion.

        Tyrande was being her usual self (like she was when she first met humans and orc) not sure of their intentions, but worked well with them and sided with the humans, how much moreso her own people? And the quests do show you that she helps them every bit as much as Liadrin does, and none of her people have snide or contemptuous remarks against them, nor belittles them like I noticed the blood elf Reliquary leader Tael’than Bloodwatcher does. We cannot ignore all of this. All we can say is that there is now precedence for nightborne working with blood elves because of Silgryn’s conversation with Liadrin, but we cannot ignore a huge precedence with night elves in both 7.0 and 7.1 – nor can we ignore that despite being cold at the start, which can be attributed to being annoyed at her own people (because she is fiercely proud of them – therefore that they are at the middle of a legion contreversy iwould annoy and disappoint) she does warm up to hem and hels them even remarking on how this time they are willing to fight till the end, an improvement over the Wota she certainly notices.

        Remember Tyrande has just met them in 7.1 while we have already spent 7.0 with Thalyssra and gotten to know where her heart lies, it’s inevitable Tyrande will do. Thalyssra even drains the nightwell. Tyrande would approve, but she is not one to shower praise and approval. She never has been. It’s her character.

    2. I agree here. Void fits the blood elves more, and nightborne are more exciting and longlasting on the night elves, but we are forgetting one matter this information wouldn’t show.

      1. Void elves could be available on the horde too – they wouldn’t need a separate customization race tab because they could be a blood elf skin – it could end up being both high elves and blood elves that have access to void elves.

      2. Nightborne could also be available on the alliance too as just an extra skin for night elf, like the above, on the alliance they wouldn’t need a separate tab because it’s just folded into the night elf customization.

      Lightforged Draenei and Highmountain Tauren get one even though they remain on the faction to help emphasize them further given the expected populairty of the elven choices. Just a thought

    3. We can’t look at power sets, but rather origin stories.

      The first person that comes to mind that would be the leader of Void Elves based on current information?


      Who is the most likely to never, ever, in a million years join the Horde?


      If we’re speaking on what powers don’t fit what factions — and I’d say alliance dabbles in the void more than the horde (and has more cults) — then the Blood Elves don’t fit with the horde at all. They are/were a light based religious society with sophisticated culture that only joined the Horde due to the geological position of Quel’thalas and the pressures of the Forsaken. This was almost never more evident than with WoD when we had elves living in squalor with mud huts and spikes and sticks inside their garrisons. Even the riots held in Silvermoon to leave the horde and not turn their backs on their kin (both human and elves through thousands of years of marriages) couldn’t express this enough.

      To add to this, the Night Elves are still a society based on the extreme dislike of arcane. We are able to make mages now with them, yes, but that doesn’t just instantly heal the divide. That is to speak nothing of the mass murders of those who practiced Arcane once the practice was reintroduced. Then we have to deal with how the leadership feels about about the Nightborne. Tyrande doesn’t seem to have the most positive of opinions of them.

      Lastly we look at the Vindicator and previous patches and how there have been a Blood Elf and Nightborne talking about how they coped with their addiction and supporting each other.

  5. Giving Highmountain to Horde instead of Taunka seems weird, nothing suggested that they would even think about siding with one of the main factions.

    1. things change, it felt pretty natural that they would go to the Tauren people of whom they are part off, just like it felt the nightborne would go over to the night elven people of which they are the kaldorei empire. This is to be expected unless events paint a story of something else happening. Thanks to the dialogs in 7.2 it’s not surprising anyone that some nightborne are joining the horde.

      question is, is it all of them or just a few? It makes most sense that it will be a few, as I suspect there is more night elf collaborations to come. And it could even be that Nightborne becomes a night elf skin as well and not a sub-race, meaning the option is there for alliance players, it’s just that on the horde it has to show up as a separate race, but on the alliance it can be a night elf skin.

  6. Hi Ian! This is Velicela from wowhead I was asked on wowhead where the blizzcon 2016 answer about sub races was from and it’s from this video https://youtu.be/dE8dxKoRbds it is around the 12 to 16 minutes mark anyway I hope I can help with people and sub races has I have found a lot of information abou this The from old blizzcons

  7. There’s always been a longing to meet the Pandaren. They’re so appealing in that they’re from an island steeped in it’s own special history, surrounded by mystical waters and exotic mists. That is some of their own lucky lore and it’s wholly significant. As a player and experiencer of blizzard’s stories, it was refreshing – a refreshing break from all the constant epic frenzy we so often get to/have to deal with. Adventuring on a very special hidden land, uncovering it’s mysteries and seeing the links between it and our known world, interacting with or avoiding extraordinary races and peculiar creatures who also call this land home all helped provide the experience and feeling of true exploration. Because I was so fortunate to play a part in Mists of Pandaria, I feel enriched by it’s pure waters, enheartened by harmonious bear-folk, and enlightened by the travels of an ancient turtle. I actually felt a breath of fresh air and welcomed Pandaria’s native whimsy and curious remarkableness. I felt deep emotion during that expansion, wanting to assist the inhabitants in their plight.

    I’d love if Azeroth revealed more explorable lands, painted with serene environments and exotic landscapes mixed with unknowable hazards. Until we’re IN them, unknowable hazards are truly perilous. So often we can see the dangers ahead or know the threat, partly because we know the bad guys, and it’s a matter of waiting until we’re given the ability to deal with it. It’s probably refreshing for the writers and artists, coming up with unfamiliar stories and creating unseen works, instead of immediately extending the current threat. Coupling danger of an unknown environment we’re trying to understand with figuring out how to counter it is thrilling.

    When asked about playable races, most people pull from a list of what makes sense story-wise or from a list of currently similar avaialable races.

    But there is another option, being greeted by, discovering, or meeting a race we haven’t met yet. Surely Azeroth is home to countless creatures and inhabitants we have not discovered. A people we did not expect to encounter is part of what made getting to know the Pandaren so effective and interesting – we didn’t know them or see them being introduced to us as players or to our characters. We got to know them over time. That mystery truly added to the depth of their story. Perhaps we will see new races pop up that we haven’t met yet, and get to know them through their expansion. That is one thing I hope for with each expansion. I would like to see that.

    What little I do know about the Tuskkar and Arakkoa excite me for the possibility of them being playable, plus I love their kits: the shadowy, crooked, trinkety, clever, kooky but warm-hearted Arakkoa, and the big-hearted, brave, stout, adventurous, deep, jolly and kind Tuskarr. There are others of course, but those two instantly pop in my mind as the the known races I’d like to see playable. Blizzard has proven with storylines and art such as those from the snowy Taunka and Tuskkar tribes, the wise and shadowy Arakkoa, and the emboldened Quilboar that special stories and unusual natures that shine in our neighboring races, are some of the best. I would be honored and excited to be given the chance to play as one of these special races.

    For unknown, I’d love a rabbit or fox race, possibly neighboring Pandaria on a few islands. Samurai and sorcerer type classes. Soft glowing paper lantern class accessory. Oh my god that would be the coolest! I would totally invest my heart and time into that game and onward. Or a Celtic-themed stag race, discovered in an Irishy expansion or zone. That could offer an additional cousin-like direction for druidism that we’re unfamiliar with and could be fun!

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