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World of Warcraft fans just want Blizzard to be nice to Night Elves, please

Fans started #MightofNightElves in response to data-mined Dragonflight alpha content

World of Warcraft - A night elf and treant prepare to defend their home in the Battle for Darkshore Image: Blizzard Entertainment
Cass Marshall is a news writer focusing on gaming and culture coverage, taking a particular interest in the human stories of the wild world of online games.

Night Elves have been part of the Warcraft universe since Warcraft 3, and they’re the source of all elf-kind. They’re one of the most popular factions in World of Warcraft, and they have a rich history and tons of lore for fans to peruse and explore. But the faction has also been dealt a rough hand in past years, as the civilization has struggled to maintain a home in the turbulent world of Azeroth.

With the Dragonflight expansion currently in alpha, fans are hopeful for a better outcome for the Night Elves. But recently data-mined text from the Dragonflight alpha has sent ripples through the fandom, as it suggests there might be more tragedy ahead. Namely, that Malfurion Stormrage may be put on a metaphysical bus to the Shadowlands, separating him — again! — from his love, Tyrande Whisperwind. The two haven’t had much peace or actual character development together — and they might not, if the story currently on test realms comes to pass.

The story is, of course, subject to change; because it is in alpha, nothing is set in stone. And a group of passionate fans have taken to social media to share their love for the Night Elves in hopes that they can help light a brighter path for their beloved characters.

Ammatice, a Ukrainian artist, started #MightofNightElves on Twitter in an attempt to rally support for the faction. And fans have been using the hashtag to share fan art and impressive cosplay. “I started to play back in 2008 when my brother set the Burning Crusade expansion,” Ammatice told Polygon via Twitter messages. “I still remember that moment when I saw Teldrassil with the music playing in the background.”

Ammatice was drawn to the beautiful elves and their magic forest creatures, and it inspired her to create fan art of the faction. “It’s amazing how Night Elves consist of different ideas,” she said. “The architecture and lifestyle that combines both ancient Greece and Asian styles, cult of Goddess and Nature, an Amazon-like army of Sentinels, special detachments of Wardens, aristocrats obsessed with magic and power. So many amazing ideas, sometimes opposite, that combine perfectly with one another.”

Drekky, a Russian artist and Night Elf fan, also shared their appreciation with Polygon. “Meeting the Night Elves in Warcraft 3 made me fall in love with them instantly!” they said through Twitter messages. “They incorporated everything I love about fantasy races, with their whimsical forests, a mix of arcane and druidic magic, and an interesting matriarchal society, something I was never expecting to see back then. I spent hours and hours playing Night Elves back in those days, playing out my own RP scenarios of glorious Kaldorei and their animal friends.”

For these fans, watching the Night Elves’ story advance through World of Warcraft has had highs and lows. The Burning of Teldrassil was a disastrous low; the story event included the genocide of the Night Elf people and the torching of their World Tree home, and it was largely depicted through the eyes of the perpetrators. There has been no real justice for Teldrassil, and recent data mine suggests that the Night Elves might be seeing more losses in the future. While all alpha content is subject to change, some players are pessimistic.

“Shadowlands left off on the note of renewal, and it’s where I expected the story to go — a time of peace and restoration for the night elf kind,” says Lemongrace, an artist and player in the World of Warcraft community. “Instead we are almost taunted with more losses. Legion was when the night elf content hit its peak for me, and while some decisions made back then were discussed at length in the night elf communities, I still think it was a treat to play through it as a nelf [Night Elf] player. To say it’s been downhill from there is putting it kindly.”

“I want Blizzard to appreciate this whimsical race of magical and feral matriarchal elves, full of different cultures and love for nature, something that drew together so many queers, women and POC!” writes Drekky. “I want Blizzard to love and cherish them, sharing some of that love in the game for once since Warcraft III.”

Lemongrass, and others who are sharing artwork through #MightofNightElves, agrees. As she puts it, “Many of the night elf players I’ve met throughout my journey in WoW have been some of the most passionate people with deep connection to their characters and the story, and that the race they created has inspired so much creative works and enchanted people for years — this I love about the night elves and the nelf community. I only wish that they would share this passion with us and listen to feedback regarding the story’s direction.”

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