World of Warcraft breaks the trend of many MMOs by having a plethora of great female characters leading the story. That’s a rare sight in any game, even in one that has proven so popular among women.
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The female members of World of Warcraft’s cast aren’t simple two-dimensional heroes and villains - they’re leaders, inventors, workers, and warriors. Their focus isn’t only on the lives of male characters, either, as they’re interested in their own fortunes and development.
Better still, Blizzard’s listened to their community, creating characters that fill the gaps fans found in World of Warcraft’s representation. It makes the ancient MMO feel lively and fresh, moving with the times.
To celebrate Blizzard’s refreshing cast we’ve collected together some of our favourite female World of Warcraft characters from over the years. Bear in mind, though, that there are many, many more female characters in the game.
This isn’t the definitive list of best women in World of Warcraft, let us know in the comments below who your favourites are.
There's a tendency with a lot of characters to make their convictions a little too black and white. Tyrande Whisperwind defied that trend quite substantially. Originally featuring in Warcraft III, she's the chosen High Priestess of the goddess Elune, as well as leader of the night elves, alongside her husband, Malfurion Stormrage.
She's remained strong despite many battles with the Horde and her own brother-in-law. Frequently separated from her husband, it would have been easy for her to turn into the cliche of a woman lost without her love, but she uses such time to protect her people and, ultimately, defeat the Horde menace.
Some criticism may have been levied at her in the past for being too dependent on others along the way but life is like that. It makes her seem all the more plausible a figure.
The most powerful human sorceress alive, Jaina Proudmoore is a firm fan favourite for good reason. Leader of the Kirin Tor, she's consistently worked to defeat the Burning Legion and do everything in her power to stop the Horde. Not bad for a character that Blizzard originally planned to kill off in Warcraft III.
Over the years, she's evolved from a more diplomatic and peaceful character to a more aggressively vengeful person - not helped by the death of her love, Arthas - but who can blame her? It's been a rough time, and she's still come out fighting and independent.
There's a delightful story behind how Boss Mida came to be. Inspired by a fan group, the Trade Princess Movement, she's in charge of the Goblin Slums of Orgrimmar. It's an unpleasant sounding job but you wouldn't want to cross Boss Mida anyhow.
She came about through a campaign by fans to create a female Trade Prince for World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, and grew from there. A nearly 400-page thread developed on the official forums, along with a Facebook group, and an official RP guild called For Her Tallest.
It's quite the victory for player and feminist power, and really very good natured. She's a rare example of a female character that's powerful but far from stereotypical or a sex symbol.
Digging deep into the lore of Warcraft, Sylvanas Windrunner was murdered by Arthas, Jaina Proudmoore's beau, before returning as a banshee.
With a hatred for the living and a desire for conquest, Sylvanas is far from a 'nice' person, but few would be in her situation of betrayal. Oftentimes, the story presents her as sympathetic but never weak, making her a much-loved favourite among anyone keen for a strong female protagonist. She forms one of the best story arcs of the whole series, and is an incredibly powerful general, too. Cross her at your peril.
Playing a key role in the battle against the Burning Legion during the War of the Ancients, Maiev Shadowsong is a force to be reckoned with alongside her younger brother, Jarod. Over the years, she's been portrayed as a priest, warden, and rogue, ensuring she's a great all-rounder.
A little too driven by revenge, when she eventually defeats her enemy - Illidan - she realises she hasn't got much else left in her life, turning the mood tragic, but it's not long before she has more demons to drive back.
The story behind Exarch Yrel's rise to power is a satisfying if bleak tale. Starting out as a naive young priestess, a brutal experience with the iron Horde, leads to her becoming a paladin and ruling over the draenei.
By doing so, she became one of the main protagonists of Warlords of Draenor, being involved in pretty much every element of the expansion's storyline. It's a little cliched how she's forced to become strong and tough, but no more so than the average coming-of-age tale in so many other great series.
There's a good argument for WoW's expansion packs having stronger female characters, and Iridi forms part of that thinking. A draenei priestess, she's thrust into a larger world after her comrade is murdered and a powerful staff is taken.
This is Warcraft, though, so the story gets far more complicated than that. Soon enough, there are battles between her, her allies, and black dragon - Deathwing's consort - Sintharia. In this story, you get far more than one strong woman.
Where Iridi stands out more than most is the fact that she's not reliant on any man. However, it's a little unfortunate that she dies after saving much of Azeroth.