Gilneas City

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This article is about the human city. For human kingdom, see Gilneas (kingdom). For other uses, see Gilneas (disambiguation).
AllianceGilneas City
Level: 1-30
Gilneas City HS.jpg
Type Capital city
Races HumanHuman Human
WorgenWorgen Worgen
  Formerly ForsakenForsaken Forsaken
Government Hereditary monarchy
Ruler(s)  Queen Tess Greymane
Former ruler(s) See below
Languages Common
Faiths Holy Light, Old Ways
Affiliation Kingdom of Gilneas, Alliance, Church of the Holy Light
Former affiliation(s) Scarlet Crusade, Blackhowl, 7th Legion, Forsaken, Horde, Wolf Cult, Alliance of Lordaeron, Arathorian Empire
Location Central Gilneas
Status Active

“The Forsaken think we're weak. A broken people. They think we'll roll over like a scared dog. How wrong they are. We will fight them in the fields until the last trench collapses and the last cannon is silenced. We will fight them on the streets until the last shot is fired. And when there's no more ammunition, we'll crush their skulls with the stones that pave our city. We will fight them in the alleys, until our knuckles are skinned and bloody and our rapiers lay in the ground shattered. And if we find ourselves surrounded and disarmed... wounded and without hope... we will lift our heads in defiance and spit in their faces. But we will... NEVER SURRENDER!!!!! FOR GILNEAS!!!”

Prince Liam Greymane's speech during the Battle for Gilneas City.

Gilneas City (formerly known as the Ruins of Gilneas City[1]) is the capital city of the kingdom of Gilneas located in the peninsula of the same name. It is a dark and foreboding place of narrow cobblestone streets and crowded, Gothic houses, divided into four districts, centered around the Light's Dawn Cathedral. Shortly before the Cataclysm, the city was struck by a worgen assault led by the Wolf Cult, which was followed by an invasion of the Forsaken. After many conflicts and its abandonment by the Gilneans, the Alliance initially managed to retake the city, although it was ultimately left ruined and abandoned.[2]

Over a decade after their exile, King Genn Greymane and his people finally returned to Gilneas. However, in their absence, the Scarlet Crusade moved in the capital and used it as their stronghold for their operations in Lordaeron. With the help of the Alliance and the Desolate Council, the Gilneans defeated the zealots and returned to their homeland, where they began the rebuilding of their city.

The Gilneas City Guard are the law enforcement and protectors of Gilneas City, keeping the peace within the city's walls. Following the reclamation, the Greyguard manned the city defense.


Early history

Gilneas and the city-states of the Empire of Arathor.

2,700 years BDP, Arathor prospered after humanity won the Troll Wars. After the death of King Thoradin, the empire began to expand, founding new city-states in the wilderness - including Gilneas.[3]

1,200 years BDP, the empire disintegrated. Over time the power of Gilneas and the other city-states grew as that of Strom waned, eventually they developed their own customs and beliefs, and the empire splintered into independent kingdoms.[4] Its once-small trading outposts and cities had grown into independent city-states, which over generations became increasingly distant and insular.[5]

Under the rule of King Archibald Greymane, Gilneas entered into its industrial age, thriving and evolving into a formidable middle-power capable of rivaling even the kingdoms of Kul Tiras and Stromgarde. When he was still the prince of Gilneas, Genn Greymane admired the sight of the capital with its industrial towers, large tiled roofs poised over cobblestone streets; shops, factories, and billowing smoke; and as a city with an eye toward the future, toward the potential of its people. After Archibald's death, Genn took the throne and led Gilneas much like his father had.[6]

Northgate Rebellion

Main article: Northgate Rebellion

Following the Third War, in dissatisfaction with the king's decisions to isolate Gilneas from the world behind the Greymane Wall, and for abandoning his people and the refugees from Lordaeron to the Scourge, Lord Darius Crowley started a rebellion that quickly spread through the kingdom. Soon, his Northgate rebels marched onto the capital city itself,[7] where the final battle erupted, setting it ablaze with cannon fire. Yet Crowley's coup d'etat eventually failed and he, as well as the other leaders of the rebellion, were imprisoned for treason.[8] After their capture, the rebels went into hiding and stashed weapons throughout Gilneas, including a large cache that had enough firepower to take out half of the capital; which was hidden in Josiah Avery's cellar.[9]

Curse of the Worgen

Comics title.png This section concerns content related to the Warcraft manga or comics.

Gilneas City as seen in Curse of the Worgen.

Not long after calm had returned to the city, the Wolf Cult's worgen began terrorizing the forests of Gilneas. Their leader, Alpha Prime, infiltrated the kingdom by using underground tunnels hidden underneath the Greymane Wall and started inducting humans into the cult; turning them into worgen after they performed gruesome murders on innocent people in the capital, which came to be later known as the Starlight Slasher murders. Not wanting to scare his people following the end of the civil war and the fragile state Gilneas found itself in, King Genn Greymane and several other nobles began hunting down and killing these wolf men.[10] The worgen lurked throughout Gilneas for years, isolating the harbor towns from support from the capital and the rest of the kingdom.[11]

Several days before the attack by the Wolfcult; King Genn ordered his son, Prince Liam Greymane, to increase the presence of the military across Gilneas; concerned with the growing number of attacks and disappearances across the kingdom, of which included the Starlight Slasher murders in the capital, whose primary victims were "Greymane loyalists". When questioned on whether these troops should be moved from the wall, Genn refused to allow it; stating the Forsaken would use any opportunity to exploit a weakness on the wall. Not wanting to potentially alarm the civilians with the sudden upsurge of military forces; Liam was instructed to simply state that the Northgate rebels were acting up again.[12]

Invasion of Gilneas

Cataclysm This section concerns content related to Cataclysm.

Main article: Invasion of Gilneas
Gilneas' streets, ravaged by the worgen assaults.

Prior to the Cataclysm, on the day of the worgen's attack, the capital was put under complete lockdown, and the Greymane Court was the first quarter to fall to the hands of Wolf Cult, from where their leader Alpha Prime orchestrated the attacks across the city.[13] Among the beasts were the Bloodfang pack who, according to statements from Ivar Bloodfang, hold resentment towards Gilneas for having abandoned them and having left them to die beyond the Greymane Wall.[14] In Merchant Square, the citizens were ordered by the guards to join security perimeters in order to organize the evacuation. At the head of a regiment of soldiers, Prince Liam Greymane ordered his men to secure the exits,[15] but the square was eventually overwhelmed by the worgen,[16] and the army had to evacuate the population to the Military District where King Genn Greymane and his troops could protect them.[17] After he received his son's report, King Genn ordered the release of Lord Darius Crowley and the Northgate rebels from Stoneward Prison,[18] who leave behind the grudges and rivalries of the civil war, and agreed to let Greymane's forces make use of their hidden artillery stashes.[19][20]

After the loss of the other districts to the worgen, the survivors regrouped at the Greymane Court, the last place where they could hold out without being trapped. To secure the evacuation of the citizens to Duskhaven, Lord Darius Crowley and his Northgate rebels accepted a suicide mission to attract as many worgen as possible to the Cathedral Quarter.[21] Under Crowley's orders, the rebels brought their cannons to protect Light's Dawn Cathedral, and when enough worgen were lured into the quarter by the Gilnean adventurer, the rebels slaughtered them until they ran out of ammunition and retreated in the building.[22][23] They were eventually overwhelmed by the beasts and became worgen themselves,[24] while the Gilnean population was discreetly evacuated. One day after the attack, the capital was reported to be totally under the control of the Wolf Cult, but the bloodthirsty beasts and their leader remained inside for unknown reasons.[13]

King Greymane grieving the death of Prince Liam.

Following the Cataclysm, and the beginning of the invasion of Gilneas by the Forsaken, Alpha Prime and his Wolf Culte were defeated in the Blackwald by the Gilnean worgen and their night elves allies, allowing Sylvanas Windrunner's forces to take control of Gilneas City. A few days after the death of Lord Vincent Godfrey at Tempest's Reach, the Gilnean population went to listen to King Greymane's speech at Livery Outpost. The king decided to stop concealing the truth and transformed into a worgen, letting everyone know that he had been afflicted by the curse and fear for a long time. He then asked his people who would be willing to fight alongside him; who would be willing to put their fears aside and follow him to reclaim their capital. Eventually, the Gilnean people rallied behind him when he announced that it was time for the Forsaken predators to become prey.[25]

During the battle for Gilneas City, the Gilnean forces under the command of Liam Greymane fought their way through the Merchant Square, destroying the Forsaken forces positioned there. On their way to the Military District, the Gilnean Militia was blocked by abominations, until they were given cannons in support by the citizens of Emberstone Village. Soon, they eliminated all the Forsaken forces there and united with Lord Crowley's worgen forces around Stoneward Prison, where the Forsaken unleashed one of their most powerful creations — the flesh beast Gorerot. However, they took control of Forsaken catapults and took it down quickly, before continuing their assault. Soon Liam and Crowley caught Sylvanas herself at the Greymane Court, while the king came and attacked from the other side. As the tide was turning against Sylvanas, she used her dark powers to stun everyone in the immediate area and aimed a poisoned arrow at Genn. However, Liam jumped in front of the bowshot, saving his father from certain doom, and as Sylvanas fled the scene, Liam died with the knowledge that the city had been freed from Forsaken control.[26] In the aftermath, the worgen adventurer learned that the Forsaken were going to use the New Plague on the capital, and Genn prioritized the safety of the civilians rather than pursuing his son's murderer.[27] While the adventurer was sent to delay the use of the blight at the Northern Headlands, all the survivors were evacuated to Aderic's Repose by passing through the Undertaker's Pass, a subterranean passage hidden beneath a fishing shop in the district.[28][29] At the same time, the Val'kyr of Sylvanas raised the fallen Gilnean humans into Forsaken.[30]

After the Gilneans were forced to found exile to Darnassus, the Forsaken once again claimed the city for their own. At the time, Dreadwatch Outpost was key to holding the capital under their control.[31] However, during the liberation of Gilneas, a vanguard force of the 7th Legion was able to retake the city for the Alliance. They made the Cathedral Quarter their base of operations,[32] and their leader, Master Sergeant Pietro Zaren, was ordered by High Commander Halford Wyrmbane to use this position to push forward into enemy territory, but also to take out the Forsaken outposts across the region and cut their lines of communication.[33] With no other options, the Forsaken were driven back into Silverpine Forest and Gilneas was at last liberated.[34] The city itself could be seen covered in burning debris from the previous battles that took place here. At the conclusion of battles between the Gilneas Liberation Front and the Forsaken in Silverpine Forest, Darius Crowley surrendered the city to Sylvanas in order to save his daughter Lorna held hostage. Eventually, all the remaining Gilneans fled toward Gilneas and escaped.[35]

Prior to the fall of Deathwing, it was revealed that Lord Hiram Creed, leader of the Blackhowl, ruled over most of the Gilnean humans and worgen in the capital. In reality, Creed was a black drakonid disguised as a Gilnean nobleman, and who secretly infected them with his own draconic blood, which made them stronger but also unwittingly slowly turned them into his unwilling servants.[36] The organization took up residence in the courtyard of the Stoneward Prison, where many Forsaken assassins' bodies could be found after their unsuccessful attempts to regain control of the place. According to Master Fahrad of the Assassin's League, Creed's goal was to ultimately loot the whole of Gilneas with his army, and if he succeeded, there would be no telling where he would hide next.[37] In his crusade to eliminate all corrupted black dragons on Azeroth, Wrathion sent his rogue champion to assassinate Creed.[38] Following the death of Creed, both the Horde and Alliance withdrew from Gilneas' mainland for unknown reasons,[39] leaving the only area of activity in the zone along the coastline where the Alliance forces were constantly under assault by the Horde as the Battle for Gilneas raged on.

Battle for Azeroth

Battle for Azeroth This section concerns content related to Battle for Azeroth.

Gilneas City as seen in the Emerald Dream.

During the Fourth War, Princess Tess Greymane was sent by Goldrinn on a spiritual journey into the Emerald Dream's version of Gilneas City, in order to learn more about the worgen curse.[40] As she and the Gilnean champion relived the battle for Gilneas City, this time overrun with lush vegetation, they pursued and killed the apparitions of Nathanos Blightcaller and Dark Ranger Thyala. However, Tess failed to stop Sylvanas Windrunner from killing once more her brother Prince Liam and succumbed to the worgen frenzy. After the champion defeated the Essence of Rage that she manifested, Tess understood that even with the curse she could not have saved her brother and the kingdom, and then asked Goldrinn to let them leave the Emerald Dream.[41]

Following the armistice, Master Mathias Shaw of the SI:7 reported in his reports that Gilneas city remained isolated after the war.[42]


Dragonflight This section concerns content related to Dragonflight.

Shortly after the night elves moved to Amirdrassil on the Dragon Isles, King Genn Greymane declared that the time had come to reclaim Gilneas. However, following their defeat against the Forsaken in Silverpine Forest, the Scarlet Crusade managed to weasel their way into the peninsula and occupy Gilneas City, using it as their stronghold for their operations in Lordaeron. Led by Inquisitor Fairbell, they made their headquarters within the Light's Dawn Cathedral, and have filled the capital with their most experienced forces and stashed explosives across the Greymane Court.[43][44] Princess Tess was placed in charge of the operation from Keel Harbor, and despite Genn's opposition, she appealed for support from Lilian Voss and Calia Menethil of the Desolate Council, the Forsaken being experts in fighting the Scarlet zealots.[45]

During the Reclamation of Gilneas, the Forsaken forces and their catapults were present in both the Northern Headlands and Northgate Woods, but this time, to help the Gilnean reclaim their kingdom. Under the orders of Calia Menethil,[46] they bombarded the holy shields set up by the Scarlet forces in the Cathedral Quarter, creating a diversion for their allies.[47] Meanwhile, Princess Tess, Lilian Voss, and the adventurer infiltrated the district through the Undertaker's Pass,[48] in order to open the gates for their troops waiting outside the capital. Preparing the way for their allies, they reduced the number of the Scarlet forces here and recovered some of their explosives,[43][44] before Princess Tess opened the gates and began the start of the reconquest of their city.

While fights broke out across the capital, the largest battle took place in the Cathedral Quarter, where the Gilneans faced the most powerful zealots and their leader.[49] Slowed by multiple defenses throughout the courtyard, Tess tasked the adventurer to use the explosives they had previously gathered to destroy their barricades and artillery, so that their allies would have an easier time sieging the capital.[50] While their troops cleaned the remaining crusaders, King Genn, Princess Tess, Calia Menethil, and the adventurer entered the cathedral to slay Fairbell.[51] Once she was eliminated, the allied forces gathered in the Cathedral Quarter to mark the end of the reconquest of Gilneas. It is also here, on the steps of the cathedral, that Genn reaffirmed his faith in his daughter and abdicated as the ruling king of Gilneas, declaring that Tess would henceforth reign as the new queen of Gilneas, ready to lead their people towards a better future.[52]

In time, the capital was largely restored by the Gilnean Workers, who could still be seen repairing the damage caused by the numerous conflicts over the past decade. As the Gilnean citizens returned to their homes, most of them could be seen chatting or walking around the city with their children. Some came to stroll through the gardens of the Cathedral Quarter, while the Merchant Square became the main place of activity in the capital after many merchants and class trainers came to set up their stalls in the streets. The Undertaker's Pass also remained accessible as citizens of the Greymane Court could be seen entering and exiting the house which serves as access to Gilneas City.


Greymane clan
Under occupation


Main article: Gilneas City NPCs


Map of Gilneas City.

Undisplayed locations

Lore locations

Notes and trivia

  • Maxwell Wiggins was a newspaper owner in the capital, where he produced the Purity of Essence from his printing press for the Wolf Cult.[53]
  •  [Tess's Peacebloom] is a reward from the Gilneas Reclamation storyline, and can be use by worgen adventurers to teleport to Gilneas City.
  • Since the Patch 10.2.5, the  [Lord Godfrey's Old Spectacles] can be fished in the waterways inside and outside of Gilneas City.
  • Extra Large Grooming Combs can be looted from worgen adventurers in Ashran and are stamped with "Made in Gilneas City".
  • A coin fished from Dalaran's fountain called  [Genn's Copper Coin] reads "Pah, the fountains in Gilneas could grant ten times as many wishes as Dalaran's!".
  • In early concepts, the city was called Greymane City.[54]
  • The original design of the Battle for Gilneas battleground was intended to be set in Gilneas City and revolve around attempting to conquer the highest number of districts, but after internal playtesting it was deemed "unsalvageable" and was completely reworked in a fashion similar to Arathi Basin.[55]
    • The description of the original version of the battleground was as such: Located in the heart of Gilnean peninsula, the capital city is of vital strategic importance to the Horde's operations in the Eastern Kingdoms. Long seen by the Forsaken as a natural expansion to their dominion, Sylvanas Windrunner's armies are ready to defend their most recent conquest at all costs. Driven from their homelands by the Forsaken, Gilneans continue to view this city as their nation's rightful capital. After regrouping in Alliance territories, the people of Gilneas have rallied around King Greymane's call to arms and are ready to retake Gilneas City with the support of their new allies.[56]
  • Gilneas City, much like its people, is heavily inspired by Victorian era-London. Some Gilnean buildings, such as Greymane Manor and in the capital, have "onion domes" on them, possibly indicating a Russian influence in elements of their architecture.


Concept arts

Patch changes

  • Dragonflight Patch 10.2.5 (2024-01-16): Updated, filled with many Gilnean human and worgen NPCs. The debris has been removed and reconstruction is underway.
  • Cataclysm Patch 4.0.3a (2010-11-23): Added.

See also


  1. ^ World Map interface
  2. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 106
  3. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 133
  4. ^  [The Seven Kingdoms]
  5. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 141
  6. ^ Lord of His Pack, pg. 1
  7. ^ Lord of His Pack, pg. 9
  8. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Old Divisions
  9. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] The Rebel Lord's Arsenal
  10. ^ Lord of His Pack, pg. 11
  11. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Lockdown!
  12. ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 2
  13. ^ a b Curse of the Worgen Issue 4
  14. ^ H [5-30] Waiting to Exsanguinate
  15. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Lockdown!
  16. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] All Hell Breaks Loose
  17. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Evacuate the Merchant Square
  18. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Old Divisions
  19. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Brothers In Arms
  20. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Message to Greymane
  21. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Time to Regroup
  22. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Sacrifices
  23. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] By Blood and Ash
  24. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Last Stand
  25. ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 5
  26. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] The Battle for Gilneas City
  27. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Vengeance or Survival
  28. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Slowing the Inevitable
  29. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [1-30] Knee-Deep
  30. ^ World of Warcraft: Sylvanas, pg. 308
  31. ^ H [5-30] Break in Communications: Rutsak's Guard
  32. ^ H [5-30] What Tomorrow Brings
  33. ^  [Orders from High Command]
  34. ^ H [5-30] Resistance is Futile
  35. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide, pg. 104
  36. ^ N Rogue [35] The Deed is Done
  37. ^ N Rogue [35] To Catch a Thief, Fahrad's dialogue.
  38. ^ N Rogue [35] Assassinate Creed
  39. ^ Loreology on Twitter (archived)
  40. ^ Heritage of Gilneas description
  41. ^ A IconSmall Worgen Male.gifIconSmall Worgen Female.gif [50-70] Let Sleeping Wolves Lie
  42. ^ World of Warcraft: Exploring Azeroth: The Eastern Kingdoms, pg. 99
  43. ^ a b N [70] Scarlet Blood
  44. ^ a b N [70] Smokepowder and Mirrors
  45. ^ B [70] To Gilneas
  46. ^ N [70] A Crusade of Red
  47. ^ B [70] To Gilneas
  48. ^ N [70] Knee-High
  49. ^ N [70] Crushing the Crusade
  50. ^ N [70] Artillerist Arsonist
  51. ^ N [70] Righteous Fire, Righteous Fury
  52. ^ N [70] Beginning a New Dawn
  53. ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 3
  54. ^ File:GreymaneCity.jpg
  55. ^ (dead link)
  56. ^ Battle for Azeroth Build 26788 Updates - Interface, Strings, Icons, Maps

External links

Gilneas City Ruins of Gilneas City Ruins of Gilneas Heritage quest