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This article is about the race. For the Warcraft III unit, see Wisp (Warcraft III). For the NPC, see Wisp (NPC).
Wisp (Wispering Woods) full.jpg
Faction/Affiliation Night elves, Wild Gods, Cenarion Circle, Independent
Racial capital Grove of Aessina (presumed)
Racial leader(s)  Aessina (presumed)
Homeworld Emerald Dream, Azeroth
Environment Forests
Area(s) Darkshore, Felwood, Feralas, Mount Hyjal, Stonetalon Mountains, Teldrassil, Wetlands

Wisps are ancient spirits of nature that inhabit the forestlands of Kalimdor. They are actually the disembodied spirits of deceased night elves who have become one with the forest, though their minds and the way they perceive things is very different than in life.[1]


The wall of wisps summoned by Malfurion Stormrage during the War of the Thorns.

Upon death, the souls of most night elves are brought to the Shadowlands like any other mortal race. However, some instead linger in the mortal realm as wisps. Ta'lora considers wisps to be a type of soulshape and believes that their existence is the result of the soul's intrinsic bond with their home forests creating a tether that allows them to remain among the living. However, he cannot entirely rule out the interference of Elune.[2]

Wisps exist in tight connection with their forest homeland and night elves in general, performing such beneficial activities as construction, repair and defense of elven communities.[3][4] The wisps act in unison with the night elves and serve to strengthen the demigod-like trees known as the ancients. Beckoned by the night elves, wisps are capable of animating various trees and expanding themselves into rough-hewn structures of living wood and stone.[5] In Warcraft III, wisps can gather resources for night elf forces without destroying trees and have the power to detonate, causing a backlash of mana. They are capable of navigating the spirit world much faster than normal spirits.[6]

Wisps are mostly silent except for a low humming sound. Oddly enough, some are able to communicate with mortals through thoughts.[7] Some wisps have the extraordinary ability to encourage the rapid maturation of saplings into trees.[8]

While wisps are generally friendly in demeanor, they can cause small stings when making physical contact with those they don't like.[9] When truly angered, they can burn people to nothing but charred skeletons or merely ash in just a few moments.[10]


Wisps fleeing the burning forests of Ashenvale during the War of the Thorns.

During the final battle of the Third War, thousands of wisps, known as Ancestral Spirits, gathered at the call of the Horn of Cenarius and sacrificed themselves to destroy the demon lord Archimonde and save the world, so there are fewer wisps today than there once were.[3]

During the Cataclysm, the spirits of the dead inhabitants of the Ruins of Auberdine were coaxed from their bodies and appears as wisps.[11]

During the Burning Legion's third invasion of Azeroth, the wisps summoned by  [G'Hanir, the Mother Tree] destroyed the pit lord Destromath on Mount Hyjal.

During the War of the Thorns, Malfurion Stormrage summoned a wall of wisps to try and slow down the invading Horde forces, destroying some of their number and delaying them considerably for a while, though the Horde was ultimately able to break through their defenses.



As a companion pet

A red version of a wisp.

In the RPG

Icon-RPG.png This section contains information from the Warcraft RPG which is considered non-canon.

Wisps are mysterious "forest spirits" of unknown origin. Wisps are forest spirits that heal ancients and keep the forest clean and pure. They are dedicated to the well-being of night elf forests. They are connected to the forest on a supernatural level rivaling that of Cenarius' children; indeed, many believe that wisps often evolve into mighty ancient protectors and other creatures. Wisps play a major role in night elf life by creating and repairing their wooden structures. In addition to healing living wood with their mere touch, they can detonate themselves to banish or kill summoned monsters (such as any outsider, elemental, or several kinds of undead). Wisps show little intelligence, free will or self-interest. They appear to exist purely to serve the will of the night elves. Whether this is reality or whether they serve the night elf leadership out of some personal agenda or sense of duty is unclear at this time. A tremendous number of wisps were destroyed at the end of the Third War in Malfurion’s gamble to destroy Archimonde. As a result, they are nowhere near as numerous as before the Third War, but nevertheless, they play an integral part in the lives of all night elves. Some human scholars think that wisps are the souls of deceased night elves, but these claims have yet to be proven and are met with near mockery among the night elves. The glowing ball of light hovers a few feet off the ground. Within the eldritch glow, inside can be seen the translucent features of an elven face.

Wisps avoid combat and will flee when attacked if they can. Instead, they follow night elf orders, which usually means they act as support troops, healing ancients and repairing night elf structures. They detonate if ordered to do so, or if they cannot flee. If pressed, they slam into mortal foes or detonate themselves to destroy or banish outsiders or undead. A wisp may sacrifice itself to seed an ancient. It takes decades for the ancient to grow to maturity and centuries before it reaches its full potential. Wisps have the ability to safely extract wood from a tree without damaging or harming the plant. This is a slow process, but over the course of a day, a single wisp can produce about 20 pounds of lumber from a large tree. Wisps have the capability to mold wood into nearly any form. A wisp can change the shape of up to a 5-foot cube of wood, shifting the wood’s dimensions at will. This potent ability allows wisps to swiftly create structures for the night elves. A wisp can sacrifice itself. Creatures within 30 feet suffer the simultaneous effects of the spell's banishment, dispel magic, and mana burn. A wisp may heal an ancient, plant or wooden structure. The wisp must touch the plant or structure, to heal it.[13][14]

Notes and trivia

  • Troll druids visiting the Moonglade have been overheard calling the wisps who reside there as loa. Night elves and tauren have tried to counsel these trolls on "correct" druidic nomenclature, but the trolls thus far have been stuck in their ways.[15]
  • [Wisp Spirit] is a night elf racial trait that allows night elf characters to move much faster than the ghosts of other playable races, as well as fly in certain zones.
  • Untargetable wisps can be found on several night elven boats, helping find the souls that were lost at sea.[16]
  • Magister Garuhod turns into a wisp after creating a drink that freed him from Queen Azshara's curse.
  • According to a night elf female joke, wisps are useful for personal hygiene.
  • An article "announcing" that wisps were to be a new playable race appeared on the official World of Warcraft website as part of 2006's April Fools.
  • In Heroes of the Storm, one of Lunara's basic abilities is "Wisp", which allows her to summon a wisp to scout out an area.
  • The Highborne, such as members of the Court of Farondis, also become wisps upon their deaths, at least after being liberated. However, former night elves or kaldorei offshoot races who likewise widely practice arcane magic, such as the nightborne and the blood elves, no longer become wisps after passing, apparently implying this quality is somehow intrinsically and uniquely bound to the kaldorei race.


Warcraft III
Other games


Patch changes

  • Bc icon.gif Patch 2.3.0 (2007-11-13): Wisps were added to the elven ships.

See also


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