Shadow and Light are the most fundamental forces in existence. Although contradictory by their very nature, they are bound together on a cosmic scale. One cannot exist without the other. Pure Light and Shadow dwell in a realm outside the borders of reality, but shades of their presence are found in the physical universe. Light manifests as holy magic, while Shadow (also referred to as "the Void") appears as shadow magic.[1]

The Light is often said to bring about feelings of positive emotion—hope, courage, comfort—and the like. Shadow abilities are just the opposite, able to impart feelings like despair, doubt, and panic. In a poetic sense, it can be said that the emotions which the Light brings about come from the "heart," whereas the emotions manipulated by shadow are often based on survival logic, and therefore affect the "mind."[2]

A Shadow For Every Light

Before life began, before even the cosmos took shape, there was Light ... and there was Void. However, the Light, unfettered by the confines of time and space, swelled across all existence in the form of a boundless prismatic sea. Great torrents of living energy flitted through its mirrored depths, their movements conjuring a symphony of joy and hope. The Light's ocean was dynamic and ever shifting. Yet as it grew, some of its energies faded and dimmed, leaving behind pockets of seemingly cold nothingness. From the absence of Light in these spaces, a new power coalesced and came to be. A dark and vampiric force driven to devour all energy, to twist creation inward to feed upon itself, this power was the Void.[3] It has been stated that the Void quickly grew and spread its influence, moving against the Light's flowing waves. The mounting tension between these two seemingly opposing yet inseparable energies eventually ignited a series of catastrophic explosions, rupturing the fabric of creation and birthing a new realm into existence. In that moment, the physical universe was born.[4]

An Astral Dimension Of Chaos

The most unstable energies coalesced into an astral dimension known as the Twisting Nether. Light and Void collided and bled together at this realm's edges, throwing it into turmoil. Linked to the Great Dark Beyond, although tangentially, the Twisting Nether existed outside the physical universe's borders.[5]

Denizens of the Cosmos

Creatures of the void are naturally chaotic creatures.[6]

Dark Naaru

"It is a facet of the naaru condition - without the void, the Light cannot exist."—D'ore[7]

The dark naaru are creatures of living holy energy and, presumably, shadow energy. It is EXCEEDINGLY rare for a naaru to fall into a void state, and even rarer for a fallen naaru to be brought back into the Light. A naaru's fall into the void represents a catastrophic loss for the naaru and for the forces of the Light, and it is the saddest, most heart-wrenching event for the naaru to witness. Conversely, a naaru being reborn into the Light brings renewed hope and sense of purpose to every naaru.[8]

Because dark naaru seem to have both Light and Void energies, it could be possible that the Light and Void energies a dark naaru can have can become unstable and coalesce into nether or bled together at the borders of nether.


"Demons! Slope-shouldered, ram-headed brutes. Equal parts shadow and fire. More beast than human, more raw bile than both." - Medivh[9]Demons are evil immortals who feed upon life and magic.[10] They had been formed as a result of the Light and Void energies that had bled together at the borders of the Twisting Nether.[11] Among the great demons were the nathrezim, otherwise known as dreadlords. Cunning and manipulative, they dedicated their existence to mastering the arts of shadow magic.[12]


The Orcs are - or were - stated to worship dark gods and shadows.[13]

Old Gods

The Old Gods are physical manifestations of the Void. They are nightmares incarnate: mountains of blighted flesh and writhing tentacles that grow like cancers within the worlds of the Great Dark.[14]


Phantoms were described as shadows of the past, nothing less than pieces of the past that had become unstuck from the flow of time.[15]


Composed of the primordial matter from which the universe was born, the titans are godlike beings[16] who were uniquely susceptible to fel magic, a destructive form of magic often used by members of the Burning Legion.[17] The fallen titan Sargeras created this vast demonic army to scour all creation. The Burning Legion moves from world to world, decimating everything in its path with devastating fel magic.[18] The Old Gods' tendrils can envelop a slumbering titan's spirit in shadow.[19]

Twilight Dragon(kin)

"They were like dark ghosts, living shadows in the shape of dragons..."[20]


Enigmatic and emanating pure demonic fury, a voidwalker is sometimes the last thing someone encounters before crossing over into death.[21]

Void Lords

The void lords are monstrous entities composed of pure shadow energy. These beings are cruel and merciless beyond mortal comprehension. Driven by an insatiable hunger, the void lords seek to devour all matter and energy in the physical universe. In their natural state, the void lords exist outside reality. Only the most powerful of these entities can manifest in the physical universe, and only for limited amounts of time. To maintain their presence in reality, the void lords must consume untold amounts of matter and energy.[22]

Void Revenants

Void revenants are a race of parasitic void-beings that tear holes through the planes of reality, consuming and absorbing the energies and beings within. A void revenant can be twisted by being fed overwhelming fel energy,[23] the dark and corrupting essence wielded by the demonic Burning Legion itself.

Entropy (Order vs. Disorder)

Questionmark-medium This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials.*
"Beneath the shadow of the darkened spire, there is no light, no mercy, only void, and the chaos within." - Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron[24], the Old God of Death

Chaotic Shadows

"Feel the grip of entropy!" - Viz'aduum the WatcherDisorder can be defined as a lack of order[25][26] and it is manifested as highly destructive fel magic, a brutal and extremely addictive energy is fueled by drawing life from living beings.[27] As such, one can consider fel magic to be a manifestation of a - or the - void. The void is chaotic since energies, naturally, want to spread out and become "messy". Despite that fact, a person named Matt Burns thinks there are exceptions to that rule when it comes to Warcraft powers since they are all magic.[28] It seems that Matt Burns doesn't understand that his thoughts cannot change the fact that the void is devoid of order.On the temperature scale, there can't be anything colder than absolute zero, which is physically impossible to reach to.[29] In every system, there would be a certain amount of energy that is unavailable for work. This would include systems containing, or composed of, void energies. It seems that without any energy available for work, systems containing, or composed of, void energies cannot be able to operate at all. However, creatures of the void are naturally chaotic and it seems that they can only operate so long as they have the energy or fuel that allows them to operate. If anything, creatures of the void possess some level of the demonic, entropic fel (or chaotic energy) when they manifest in the physical plane: voidwalkers emanate pure demonic fury,[21] twilight beetles are stated to feed off the chaotic energies of the Old Gods, physical manifestations of the Void, and the nature of the void horror is entropic, causing it to drift into the Twisting Nether.

Entropic Horrors

Energies can be so chaotic that they manifest as entropic horrors, pure fel magic given form to lash out at all life - the essence they drop is poisonous[30] and would - or does - poison living beings with a sickness that drains life.

Void Horrors

A void horror is a horror with an entropic nature, which causes the horror to drift back into the Twisting Nether.[31]

Place(s) of Shadow

"Too much knowledge of the confines of shadow has been known to forever trap a caster within the realm of darkness."[32]


Helheim is the realm of the unworthy dead, the place where the spirits of the dishonorable spend eternity in an endless futile battle, always seeking glory but never able to attain it.[33] The darkness that had long festered in the heart of Helya, the first Val'kyr, transformed Helheim into a place of nightmare and shadow.[34]

Shadow/Void-Related Items

The Earthmother And Her Eyes

Before the Age of Memory, the gentle Earthmother breathed upon the golden mists of dawn. Where the amber clouds came to rest, there were endless fields of flowing wheat and barley. This was the basin of her works - the great basket of life and hope. The Earthmother's eyes shone down upon the lands she had breathed into creation. Her right eye, An'she (the sun), gave warmth and light to the land. Her left eye, Mu'sha (the moon), gave peace and sleep to the stirring creatures of the dawning. Such was the power of her gaze that the Earthmother closed one dreaming eye for every turning of the sky. Thus, her loving gaze turned day into night for the first dawning of the world. While the right eye shone down upon the golden dawn, the Earthmother's gentle hands spread out across the golden plains. Wherever the shadow of her arms passed, a noble people arose from the rich soil. The Shu'halo (the tauren) arose to give thanks and prayer to their loving mother. There, in the endless fields of dawn, the children of the earth swore themselves to her grace and vowed to bless her name until the final darkening of the world.[35]


"The descending sun created shadows in the forest that seemed to dance for the pleasure of Cenarius"[36]An'she, the sun in Tauren mythology, is stated to be the right eye of the Earthmother.


"The moonlight made her face look haggard, casting shadows beneath her cheekbones and under her eyes..."[37]Elune is the goddess of the moon. Strongly associated with healing, peace, and tolerance, Elune has been revered by the night elves and other races since ancient times. However, the Mother Moon is not a goddess who advocates peace at all costs. Indeed, one of Elune's aspects since ancient times has been the Night Warrior, who is said to take the valiant dead from the battlefield and set them riding across the evening sky as stars. She is as much a collection of ideals as she is a personality in her own right. A powerful and spiritual deity, she is fundamentally an incorporeal being. Nevertheless, she is often depicted as a beautiful night elf woman crowned with a simple platinum circlet and surrounded by dazzling luminescence. Artists also traditionally portray her with long, white hair, alabaster skin, and eyes of pure moonlight.[38]

The God of Fel and Flame

The Lich King

"Every Light has its shadow—every day has its night—and even the brightest candle can be snuffed out. And so can the brightest life." - Ner'zhul as the Lich King[39]

Cult of the Damned

"The dark void awaits you!" - Kel'Thuzad

Reaching out into the human lands with his vast consciousness, the Lich King called out to any dark soul that would listen. Most notable of those who heard the Lich King's mental summons was Kel'Thuzad. After long months of trekking through the harsh arctic wastelands, Kel'Thuzad reached the dark glacier of Icecrown. Kel'Thuzad eventually descended into the cold earth and found his way down to the bottom of the glacier. There, in the endless cavern of ice and shadows, he prostrated himself before the Frozen Throne and offered his soul to the dark lord of the dead. The Lich King was pleased with his conscript. He promised Kel'Thuzad immortality and great power in exchange for his loyalty and obedience. Kel'Thuzad, eager for dark knowledge and power, accepted his first great mission - to go into the world of men and find a new religion that would worship the Lich King as a god.[40]

Kel'Thuzad returned to Lordaeron in disguise, and over the span of three years, he used his fortune and intellect to gather a clandestine brotherhood of like-minded men and women. The brotherhood, which he called the Cult of the Damned, promised its acolytes social equality and eternal life on Azeroth in exchange for their service and obedience to Ner'zhul. As the months passed, Kel'Thuzad found many eager volunteers for his new cult amongst the tired, overburdened laborers of Lordaeron. Surprisingly, Kel'Thuzad's goal to pervert the citizens' faith in the Holy Light towards belief in in Ner'zhul's dark shadow was easily attained. As the Cult of the Damned grew in size and influence, Kel'Thuzad made sure to keep its workings secret from the authorities of Lordaeron at every turn.[40]

The Professions of the Cosmos

"We think what we see is always real, that the light always reveals what is there the same way at all times. But light and shadow can be manipulated, directed, by those that understand it." - Restalaan[41]


Priests are devoted to the spiritual, and express their unwavering faith by serving the people. For millennia they have left behind the confines of their temples and the comfort of their shrines so they can support their allies in war-torn lands. In the midst of terrible conflict, no hero questions the value of the priestly orders.[42] The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.[43]Some priests pride themselves on pragmatism. They understand that light casts a shadow, that darkness is defined by light, and that true discipline stems from one’s ability to balance these opposing powers in services of a greater cause. While these priests possess many holy virtues to aid their allies, they also dabble in the dark arts to debilitate their enemies—always exercising immense discipline to keep themselves away from the brink of insanity. Many would say the ends justify the means; scriptures both virtuous and vile should be studied and understood to protect the congregation.[43]


Subtlety rogues are the masters of the shadows, and they strike unseen. They don’t have the lethal poison-tipped daggers of the assassin or the brawling prowess of the outlaw, but their acumen on the battlefield and ability to hide in plain sight are unrivaled. Some claim the art of subtlety looks like malevolent shadow magic—but no matter from where their power is derived, these rogues are capable of performing devastating assaults on their enemies, slipping away unharmed to strike again without detection. Most rogues train their entire lives to learn how to walk in the shadows—subtlety rogues were born there.[44]


"The purpose of operating in the shadows is to not be noticed. Trust me. It is only the insecure who must announce how dangerous they are with black clothes and bones. The rest of us know what we can do, and do not need to boast of it." - Thrall while pretending to be a warlock[45]Warlocks are the most volatile and insatiable of spellcasters. Though they often pledge themselves to the service of noble causes and are not innately evil, their desire to understand darker magics and exercise unwavering command over demonic forces breeds mistrust among even their closest allies. Warlocks peer into the Void without hesitation, leveraging the chaos they glimpse within to devastating ends in battle. Their greatest abilities are fueled by the souls they’ve harvested from their victims and they exploit powerful shadow magic to manipulate and degrade the minds and bodies of their enemies. They also summon and command indomitable demons from the Twisting Nether to do their bidding, or even to be sacrificed as the warlock sees fit, empowering and protecting the dark caster from harm.[46] According to the Historian known as Justin Parker, warlocks aren't necromancers even though they have necromantic abilities. Don't be fooled by his nonsense.Affliction warlocks are the masters of shadow magic, indulging in fel energies that wither away their life force over time.[47] Shadow magic can be described as priestly and perhaps warlocks who worship demons can be considered demonic priests. It seems though that these demonic priests would be necrolytes. Masters of shadow-touched powers, but unlike shadow priests—deadliest when pushed to the brink of insanity—these warlocks delight in using fel forces to cause intense pain and suffering in others. They revel in corrupting minds and agonizing souls, leaving enemies in a state of torment that would see them undone in due time. Even the most battle-hardened warriors can be deceived, landing blow after blow against the warlock, only to succumb to their suffering as their very vitality is siphoned away by the dark spellcaster.[46]By their very nature, demons are leeches on the living universe—but the demonologist has mastered harnessing the power of these malefic beings on the field of battle. Warlocks harvest the souls of their defeated enemies; those specialized in the ways of demonology use this life essence to tap into the Void, pulling all manner of abomination from the chaos of the Twisting Nether. While such a practice is often considered by outsiders to be wicked and reckless, the demonologist maintains absolute control over the summoned creatures. These malignant entities are fully beholden to—and empowered by—the will of the warlock, until banished to the realm from whence they came.[46]Warlocks who command the power of destruction favor incantations of pure chaos and aggression in battle. In this regard, they’d find a stronger kinship with fire mages than warlocks of other disciplines—if not for their propensity to make use of magic deemed detestable by all mage orders. The destruction warlock is stated to be well-versed in discharging a dizzying array of shadow, fel, fire, and chaos magics upon opponents that rattle souls and conflagrate bodies. They require little motivation for the havoc they wreak, happy to revel in the destruction they cause—thrilled at any opportunity to watch the world erupt in discord around them.[46]

The References

  1. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 21 on iBooks
  2. Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
  3. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 40-41 on iBooks
  4. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 42 on iBooks
  5. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 42-43 on iBooks
  6. Quest:Unbound Darkness
  7. Quest:What the Soul Sees
  8. Ask CDev: Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
  9. The Last Guardian pg. 208 on iBooks
  10. The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Demons
  11. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 52 on iBooks
  12. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 39 on iBooks
  13. The Last Guardian pg. 296 on iBooks
  14. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 26 on iBooks
  15. The Last Guardian pg. 12-13 on iBooks
  16. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 25 on iBooks
  17. Ultimate Visual Guide pg. 21
  18. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 25-26 on iBooks
  19. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 44 on iBooks
  20. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects pg. 268 on iBooks
  21. 21.0 21.1 World of Warcraft > Major Payne's Pet Menagerie: Lesser Voidcaller
  22. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 24 on iBooks
  23. World of Warcraft > Patch 6.2 Raid Preview: Hellfire Citadel
  24. Puzzle Box of Yogg-Saron - Notes
  25. Disorder lack of order or regular arrangement; confusion:
  26. Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Disorder a confused or messy state : a lack of order or organization
  27. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1
  28. Matt Burns on Twitter
  29. Google Search: Absolute 0
  30. Quest:Collecting Corruption
  31. Wowhead: Database > Spells > NPC Abilities - Unstable
  32. Warcraft: Orcs & Humans manual - Dark Vision
  33. Quest:An Unworthy Task
  34. World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 118 on iBooks
  35. Mists of Dawn
  36. The Well of Eternity pg. 76 on iBooks
  37. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects pg. 162 on iBooks
  38. The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Elune
  39. Arthas: Rise of the Lich King pg. 344 on iBooks
  40. 40.0 40.1 Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual - Kel'Thuzad and the Cult of the Damned
  41. War Crimes pg. 102 on iBooks
  42. World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes Priest
  43. 43.0 43.1 World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Priest
  44. World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Rogue
  45. Thrall: Twilight of the Aspects pg. 130-131 on iBooks
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Warlock
  47. Word of Warcraft > Legion: Warlock Artifact Reveal