The Light is a mysterious and benevolent force in the universe. Light and Shadow are the most fundamental forces in existence. They are bound to together on a cosmic scale, although contradictory by their very nature. Without the other, one cannot exist. Pure Light and Shadow exist in a realm outside reality's borders, but shades of their presence are found in the physical universe. Holy magic is what Light manifests as, while shadow magic is what Shadow (also referred to a "the Void") appears as.
Wielding the Light is a matter of having willpower or faith in one's own ability to do it. 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."
Before life began, before even the cosmos took shape, there was Light ... and there was Void. However, great torrents of living energy flitted through the mirror depths of the Light, in the form of a boundless prismatic sea swelling across all existence unfettered by the confines of time and space, their movements conjuring a symphony of joy and hope. As the Light's ocean expanded, some of its energies faded and dimmed, leaving behind pockets of cold "nothingness". From the Light's absence in these pockets of seemingly cold "nothingness", a new power coalesced and came to be. This power was the Void, a dark and vampiric force driven to devour all energy, to twist creation inward to feed upon itself. Moving against the Light's flowing waves, the Void grew and spread its influence. These two opposing yet inseparable energies had a mounting tension between each other which eventually ignited a series of explosions, rupturing creation's fabric. The physical universe was stated to be born in that moment.
An Astral Dimension
The Twisting Nether is an astral dimension which the most unstable energies coalesced into. Light and Void collided and bled together at the edges of this realm, throwing it into turmoil. Although link to the Great Dark Beyond, tangentially, the Twisting Nether existed outside the borders of the physical universe.
Denizens of the Cosmos
Demons are evil immortals who feed upon life and magic. They had been formed as a result of the Light and Void energies bleeding together at the borders of the Twisting Nether.
Eredar (Draenei)Armed with their unshakable faith in the Light, the draenei ventured to their embattled former home as steadfast members of the Alliance and defeated their ancient demonic rivals.
GnomesThe gnomes have had an interest in the Light since they joined the Alliance, but they were so focused on technology and, later, the retaking of Gnomeregan that studying the Light didn't feel necessary to them; the dwarven priests and paladins of Ironforge served as the only connection to the Light they needed. Now that the gnomes have reclaimed a foothold in Gnomeregan and begun rebuilding their culture outside of Ironforge, however, they've recognized the importance of having followers of the Light in their own ranks. In addition, researching new methods of purifying irradiated gnomes has led to radical advances in Light-based technology!
UndeadFor the undead wielding the Light requires such a great deal of willpower that it is exceedingly rare, especially since it is self-destructive. When undead channel the Light, it feels (to them) as if their entire bodies are being consumed in righteous fire. Forsaken healed by the Light (whether the healer is Forsaken or not) are effectively cauterized by the effect: sure, the wound is healed, but the healing effect is cripplingly painful. Thus, Forsaken priests are beings of unwavering willpower.
It is difficult to say if there are long-term effects on an undead who is in regular contact with the Holy Light in a positive way. There are no known records of undead wielding the Holy Light before the Third War. There are reports, however, that some Forsaken have slowly experienced a sharpening of their dulled senses of touch, smell, etc., as well as an increase in the flashes of positive emotions that have otherwise become so rare since their fall into undeath. Unfortunately, this may be the cause of the Forsaken priesthood's increased attempts at self-destruction; regaining these senses would force the priests to smell their own rotting flesh, taste the decay in their mouths and throats, and even feel the maggots burrowing within their bodies.
Professions of the Cosmos
Like priests who serve the Light, holy paladins are devout in their faith. After spending much of their lives in hallowed halls studying divine doctrine, those who pledge themselves to a holy order become beacons of the Light for their allies in conflict, taking up the heavy armor and weaponry of justice. Holding the unwavering belief that any battle waged to eradicate evil in the world is righteous, these paladins stands on the frontlines in service to all others dedicated to the cause. The truth and virtue of the Light imbues these sacred knights with the power to revitalize their comrades. If necessary, they even lay down their own lives to serve as martyr for the greater good. Wielding the Light is a matter of having willpower or faith in one's own ability to do it. That's the reason why there are evil paladins.
To serve as instrument of the Light is to hold an unshakable faith. Oftentimes the most dedicated paladins become fanatical in their devotion, instruments of retribution against those who dare defy the laws of the divine. These paladins are vengeful guardians of the weak—crusaders judging and punishing the wicked. Their resolute conviction in the divine order of all things assures them that victory is inevitable—but they will fight to the end to ensure that the Light prevails. The paladin’s tools of war lay bare their motivations. Clenched in one hand is the weapon, a deadly device for exacting righteous judgment. Locked in the other hand is the shield, a symbolic and literal barrier protecting good from evil. Stalwart and steadfast, these protectors are ardent defenders of the Light and all that it touches, and are rejuvenated by its radiance in return. So dedicated they are to their cause that they consecrate the very ground upon which they battle corruption. This is the call of the paladin: to protect the weak, to bring justice to the unjust, and to vanquish evil from the darkest corners of the world. These holy warriors are equipped with plate armor so they can confront the toughest of foes, and the blessing of the Light allows them to heal wounds and, in some cases, even restore life to the dead.
PriestsPriests are devoted to the spiritual. As light cannot exist without darkness, and darkness without light, some priests tap into shadow to better understand their own abilities, as well as the abilities of those who threaten them. 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.
The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. After spending much of their lives in temples studying ancient doctrine, preaching the tenets of their faith, and pledging their full devotion to the divine powers they follow, the most adept priests leave their houses of worship to serve on the battlefield, as shepherd to flock. There, they use their holy powers to bless allies and mend wounds. And while most stay behind the frontlines to aid their comrades, these holy champions are also capable of smiting foes and carrying out sacred justice. They’re also morally opposed to the use of Shadow and Void magic—rather, they are exemplars of the incredible grace and power of the divine and the Light, and even death cannot fully stop their healing capabilities.
ShamansIt is stated that shaman are spiritual guides and practitioners, not of the divine, but of the very elements. However, the elements can be viewed as divine because they are Light-touched as they are, ultimately, a result of the Light and Void clashing. Mayhap, the elemental spirits are demigods who serve as conduits/proxies for the Light and/or Void.
Twilight is the soft glowing light from the sky when the sun is below the horizon, caused by the refraction and scattering of the sun's rays from the atmosphere. When regarding to World of Warcraft lore, twilight magic seems to be a combination of light and shadow (or the void).
- ↑ Ultimate Visual Guide pg. 21
- ↑ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 21 on iBooks
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Ask CDev: Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
- ↑ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
- ↑ WoW TCG Card: Lightwell
- ↑ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 40-42 on iBooks
- ↑ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 41-42 on iBooks
- ↑ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 24-25 on iBooks
- ↑ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1 pg. 52 on iBooks
- ↑ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Races
- ↑ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ↑ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 1
- ↑ Ask CDev#Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Paladin
- ↑ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes > Paladin
- ↑ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes > Priest
- ↑ 17.0 17.1 17.2 World of Warcraft > Legion Class Preview Series: Priest
- ↑ World of Warcraft > Game Guide > Classes > Shaman