We conclude our primer on the playable races of World of Warcraft with an introduction to the remaining three Horde races: the brooding and sinister Forsaken, the proud Blood Elves, and the crafty Goblins.
When the Scourge swept through the Eastern Kingdoms, the Human capital of Lordaeron was among the hardest-hit. While it wasn't ground-zero of the initial Scourge plague (that'd be Andorhal, another Human town not too far away), it was where Prince Arthas -- long thought lost during his ill-fated expedition to Northrend – reappeared to great fanfare and celebration by his people.
In that defining moment, Arthas strode into the throne room where his father, the aging King Terenas Menethil, stood to embrace his son with open arms. Instead, Arthas murdered his father in front of his entire court, sending his blood-spattered crown clanking to the cold stone floor. Moments later, Scourge forces laid waste to the city, killing or turning most of its inhabitants into the ravening undead. For many years, the corpse-strewn halls of Lordaeron laid empty... until now.
The Forsaken are undead Humans who have, through alchemy, magic, or a simple quirk of fate, somehow managed to wrest free of the mind-control of the Lich King. The Forsaken are ghastly, partially-rotted husks of their former selves, but their wills are their own. Led by 'the Dark Lady' Sylvanas Windrunner, the former Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas, the Forsaken have retaken Lordaeron from the Scourge and built a haven for themselves deep beneath the bowels of the ancient kingdom, naming it 'the Undercity.'
Though officially allied with the Horde, the Forsaken restlessly pursue their own dark agendas.
The Human kingdoms weren't the only places ravaged by the Scourge. When Arthas tore through Quel'Thalas, the ancient home of the High Elves, he didn't just leave behind ruins and reanimated bodies. He also despoiled the Sunwell, the source of the High Elves' magical sustenance, forever corrupting it.
Since then, the scattered High Elf survivors have suffered greatly from what amounted to magic withdrawal, the worst victims being reduced to gaunt, emaciated husks outcast to the edges of a rebuilt Silvermoon City. Believing themselves spurned by their former friends in the Alliance and desperate for new sources of magical sustenance, the High Elves have brokered a partnership of convenience with the Horde, restyling themselves 'Blood Elves' to forever commemorate their terrible losses in the Third War.
Not long ago, the High Elves somehow managed to capture a n'aaru, a being of pure energy, and held it imprisoned behind the high walls of Silvermoon. There, Blood Elf magi continuously drained the n'aaru of its energy, slaking their thirst for magic. However, more recently, the Blood Elves have come to realize the folly of their ways: Kael'Thas Sunstrider, the last-surviving member of the Elven ruling class, fell prey to madness and ultimately cast his lot in with the Burning Legion.
Realizing that they would only doom themselves utterly by following Kael'Thas, the Blood Elves turned from their idolization of the Sun-King and aided both the Horde and Alliance in his defeat. Now, hoping to atone for their past mistakes, the Blood Elves fight to reclaim their former glory.
Consummate bargainers and inventors, Goblins are known for their dastardly mechanical contraptions and (often unscrupulous) ability to wheel-and-deal almost anything they can get their grubby little green hands on. Historically maintaining a neutral stance in the Alliance-Horde war (after all, there's more profit to be made by doing business with both sides of the conflict), a group of Goblins eventually joined sides with the Horde after a misadventure involving a certain trade prince (or princess), an erupting volcano, a mad black dragon, a famous Orc shaman, and lots and lots of explosions.
Without going into too much detail, these Goblins find themselves huddled together on a leaky boat as their island home sinks beneath the waves, but are luckily welcomed into the Horde and given a chance to rebuild along the coasts of Azshara.
Though diminutive in stature, Goblins more than make up for their size in their craftiness and intelligence, though most Goblin fatalities, especially engineering-related fatalities, seem to stem from an apparent lack of common sense and self-preservation. Indeed, most other races view Goblins as nothing short of maniacs – crazed geniuses and gifted merchants, certainly, but maniacs above all. More than anything, Goblins value technology as a useful aspect of commerce, an anomaly in a world governed by magic.
While Gnomes and Dwarves also share this gift of technological aptitude, Goblin technology is unique in that it tends towards more far-reaching and, some would say, sinister applications. Also, Goblin inventions tend to explode much, much more often, and with more catastrophic results.