Last updated: 11/13/07 for patch 2.3.
The slash of a sword – an ally takes critical blow. A brilliant, golden light flashes from your hands, mending her wound right before your eyes. Without missing a beat, your ally stands her ground in battle, able to keep defending.
Being a priest, your ability to cast spells comes from your faith and worship of, well, something. Most would just assume that your worship of the Light (aka, the “Holy Light”) grants you your spells. Well, the Holy Light is probably the largest of the Azerothian religions, but be sure to explore all the options before you assume:
The Holy Light
The Holy Light is a nontheist worship – a philosophy. It is the belief that one is connected to the universe, and the experiencing of love, beauty, and goodness brings strength to the Light, which in turn gives them power. Followers are expected to lead a life filled with goodness, and spread the power of the Light through their own goodwill. The power to cast spells from the Light isn’t granted from gods, but from the universal force of the Light at work in the cosmos.
Followers of the Light may belong to the Church of the Holy Light, though its constituency is mainly Alliance, as it is based in the Cathedral District of Stormwind. The Church bases it’s worship of the Light on three virtues:
- Respect of oneself, other beings, and the connection of both to the universe.
- Tenacity in belief, as the following of the Light isn’t a simple study mastered in a day, but a way of life.
- Compassion toward others, as the philosophy dictates that by increasing the happiness of others through goodwill, ones bond to the universe becomes stronger, granting greater power.
Followers are typically: Undead
Shadow is another nontheist worship. It’s a philosophy very similar to that of the Holy Light, but focuses on how the forces at work in the universe, like the Light, can be twisted to ones own ends. This is more about power and about self than about goodwill and helping others.
Practitioners of both Light and Shadow draw their powers from their bond with the universe. Where practitioners of the Holy Light believe that bond to be innate, worshipers of the Shadow believe that bond will only exist by exacting their will upon their surroundings. Bringing their desires to fruition, and by shaping reality, their powers grow greater. Shadow followers believe that with enough power, they will be able to ascend death.
A key idea in the Shadow faith is that every being holds the ability to exact their will upon the universe, whether a member of the faith or not. The tenet that “self shapes the universe” is called “Divine Humanisn“.
One would assume that Shadow is the opposite of the Holy Light, which is grossly incorrect. Both recognize the connection between self and the universe, and the denial of either (self or universe) would be the the opposite. Hedonism (the concept of taking all, denying the rest of the universe) and altruism (the concept of giving all, denying oneself) are both opposites of the Holy Light (and Shadow).
The largest practice of the Shadow is the Cult of the Forgotten Shadow. It is mainly composed of Forsaken (undead) who were practitioners of the Holy Light before death. Feeling abandoned and cynical about the Light since succumbing to the curse of undeath, these priests now practice self-empowerment and believe in a balance of life and death.
The Cult of the Forgotten Shadow lack organization on the whole. Practicing members frequently disagree about its tenets. It has no official home base, either. The three main virtues of the religion as widely contested by its members, with some adding additional ones to suit their own personal philosophies (such as: death, or compassion).
The three virtues generally agreed upon are as follows:
- Respect for the fact that all beings have the ability to exact their wills upon the universe, and that the world around them is a manifestation of that.
- Tenacity in seeking change in the world around them, despite the fact that others are also exerting their wills upon it at the same time.
- Power of will and ability.
The Power of Voodoo
Followers are typically: Trolls
Voodoo is a pantheistic faith. Practitioners of Voodoo worship Loa spirits and primal gods. A Loa is any being that has died and transcended death; they are more powerful than elementals, but less powerful than gods. Typically worshiped Loa spirits are ancestral spirits and forest spirits. Primal gods are all of animal forms. Sharda, the spider in the Hinterlands, is an example of a primal god.
Due to the multitude of spirits and gods that can be worshiped, the range of what the Voodoo religions covers is vast. A Voodoo priest (also sometimes called a “Hexer”) can invoke spirits to harm others with dark magic, call upon spirits to aid in war, ask spirits for healing, have spirits guide companions for safe travels, use visions from spirits as portents, and so forth.
The scope of Voodoo varies greatly by tribe, and even by individual priest. All tend to have a great respect for nature and its forces. It is also a bit more primal in practice than most other faiths, and has no organizational center.
The Goddess Elune
Followers are typically: Night Elves
Elune is an Eternal, and a protector of living beings. Worship of her dates back 14,000 years, however the religion is actually a polytheistic one as it recognizes other gods who were present during the creation of Azeroth. However, she is the central figure of the faith and the focus of worship.
In a word, she stands for peace. Historically speaking, Elune has stood against the invasion of Azeroth by otherwordly sources. She has calmed battles, and resurrected fallen creatures. She is a benevolent protector.
Her followers practice diplomacy, and serve in many governmental positions. They have been granted strong healing and protective magic by the deity, and can also cause a rain of moonlight (as Elune is considered to be a moon goddess represented by the larger of Azeroth’s two moons).
The largest group worshiping her are the Sisters of Elune, Night Elf priestesses serving at the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus, which is also the center of her worship.
While not typically followed by priest player characters, there are other worships on Azeroth worth mentioning.
- Dragons – There are numerous smaller cults that worship the various dragonflights (for exmaple, the Wyrmcult which worships the Black Dragonflight). The Sect of Dragons worships the five powerful dragon aspects in Azeroth.
- Old Gods – It has been widely debated lately just how many Old Gods there are (five, probably more). C’Thun is/was an Old God. The remains of another Old God can be seen at the Master’s Glaive in Darkshore. The Twilight’s Hammer Cult is the primary group worshiping Old Gods.
- Elemental Lords – There are a number of beings representing various elemental forces that could each be a subject of worship.
- Lesser Deities – There are various Ancients and Demigods present in modern day lore who could each, in theory, have their own followings.
- Earthmother – The Tauren ideal of natural spirits is compressed into the worship of one being, the Earthmother. They believe the land, sea, and air to be her body, and all lesser nature spirits descended from her.
- Mystery of the Makers – The Bronzebeard Dwarves have recently come onto evidence that they were created by a now gone race. Many of these dwarves are pursuing knowledge of their origins, or the “Mystery of the Makers“. However, there is little faith involved as the dwarves are looking for hard facts (measurements, artifacts, maths) that support this theory.
- Necromancy – Necromancers, followers of Necromancy, practice the manipulation of life and death. Most current Necromancers were trained at Scholomance (School of Necromancy) and work with the scourge. Most Necromancers are organized into the Cult of the Damned.
- Echo of Life – This is a belief system held by some Forsaken (undead) that an echo of their former selves still exists within them somewhere. Followers of the Echo of Life are typically mages and warlocks, and focus in using arcane magics (as opposed to divine magics) to try to gain access to aspects of their prior life, often to the point of addiction.
So Which Do You Worship?
Whatever you want! You want to be a voodoo dwarf? Go for it. Did those twill boots in your bag bring you luck? Then perhaps they are a holy symbol from a long forgotten deity or power. Do you not know where your power comes from? Great, then you are on a quest to seek its source.
As a priest in Azeroth, you have no shortage of options.