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More orcs are being added to World of Warcraft in Battle for Azeroth

The ability to make brown orcs finally comes to WoW

A brown-skinned Draenor Orc Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

In last week’s developer Q&A, World of Warcraft’s game director, Ion Hazzikostas, sat down to answer community questions about Battle for Azeroth, the game’s seventh expansion.

While answering a question about Battle for Azeroth’s new Allied Races system, Hazzikostas confirmed that the Draenor Orcs would eventually come to the game.

“Once Battle for Azeroth releases, after you’re leveling to 120, going to new lands, you’ll be able to begin working on the requirements to unlock future Allied Races such as the Dark Iron Dwarves or the Orcs from Draenor that we’ve hinted at,” Hazzikostas said.

The main difference in these Orcs versus the ones players have had access to for years is the color of their skin. Draenor Orcs are brown, whereas player Orcs are green. This new color of Orc has been a highly requested feature for WoW, years before the Allied Race system was even announced.

Warcraft veterans know that all Orcs, even our green-skinned ones, used to be brown. The Orcs that currently live on Azeroth, the planet that the “World” in World of Warcraft refers to, are actually aliens from another planet, Draenor.

Decades before World of Warcraft takes place, many of the Draenor Orcs were tempted by the Orc warlock and Warcraft big bad Gul’Dan into drinking demon blood. This made the orcs powerful but also enraged them, making them easier to control from the warlock’s perspective. This powerful drink also turned their skin green — a trait that is passed down generation after generation.

This cinematic shows the alternate timeline Gul’Dan attempting to sway the Orcs to his will.

The Draenor Orcs are those who are untainted by the demonic blood, who never willingly gave up their freedom to become more powerful. The green Orcs eventually defeated the demons and Gul’Dan, but were forever marked by their green skin.

But this is where things get a little complicated. In World of Warcraft’s primary timeline, brown Orcs are rare. After our Orcs drank the blood and escaped to Azeroth, the demons took over Draenor and transformed the planet into Outland, the continent players conquered during WoW’s first expansion, The Burning Crusade.

However, in WoW’s fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, players traveled back in time to a different timeline and befriended the Draenor Orcs before they were corrupted. Players helped push the demons away from Draenor, saving that timeline from the same fate as ours. These alternate timeline Orcs are still out there, and it seems that players may soon be venturing to bring them to Azeroth.

Brown-skinned Orcs have a lot of lore significance to players. Not only are they aesthetically distinct from the Orcs we have now, they represent a group of Orcs who fought the good fight, rather than playing the villains in the old Warcraft RTS games.

Hazzikostas didn’t make it entirely clear when the Draenor Orcs will be coming, but players should expect to get their hands on these time-traveling Orcs sometime in the next two years.

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