It's a story as old as the hills, repeated and argued to death and beyond for nearly two decades, one that was effectively ended in 2011, during Cataclysm, when Blizzard published the second volume of World of Warcraft: The Magazine, which in no ambiguous terms clarified that the night elves did in fact descend from the dark trolls, with this lovely drawing:
But Turtle WoW with its wonderful magic takes us back in time to 2004, long before any magazine, so you might be wondering: do the night elves still descend from trolls? The answer is...not quite sure!
With this thread I'll provide two of the most relevant sources valid to Turtle I could find on the argument. The goal of this post is to inform everyone of how someone from back in the day may have come to read this topic, but also to prevent any misconceptions that may be caused by mistakenly confusing new material for the original.
The Official Race Description
Our first entry is all the way back from 2002, and was used as the official race description for night elves on the battle.net website until Cataclysm was released in 2010. This is what anyone who wanted to learn more about night elves first read when opening their page there.
(Full text: https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/The_Wo ... ight_Elves)The reclusive Night Elves were the first race to awaken in the World of Warcraft. These shadowy, immortal beings were the first to study magic and let it loose throughout the world nearly ten thousand years before Warcraft I.
- This passage seems to give a pretty exhaustive and definitive answer. The night elves were the first race in the world, so they could not have descended from trolls.
- The wording in the passage may be debatable. 'The first race' could be a confusing expression for some. According to the Warcraft III manual, the night elves did not truly come to be until they found the Well of Eternity, and the Well of Eternity didn't exist until the Ordering of Azeroth, and by the time of the Ordering of Azeroth, Titans and Old Gods and some of their creations already existed. Technically speaking, they would therefore not be the first, unless the text was referring to them being the first among the other playable races.
However, the manual also states that before finding the Well of Eternity, the night elves existed as a 'tribe of primitive, nocturnal humanoids'. It is unclear what these primitive elves looked like, or if they were elves at all, and which point of their origin 'awakening' refers to. The official race description is from an introductory page intended for new players, the overview is intentionally brief, so many details with other sources may not neatly fit.
- All other sources, some which will be presented below, never adhere to the categorical wording of this description, casting some doubt over its reliability.
This second entry is from a few years after the first, from about 2006 at the earliest I can find on waybackmachine, but still within the constrains of vanilla.
(Full text: https://wowpedia.fandom.com/wiki/Troll_ ... t_Elves%3F)Little is known about the night elves' precise origins, for their race was formed so long ago that no hard evidence has surfaced to prove or invalidate this theory. [...]
Certainly many trolls do believe that the humanoids who developed into the night elf race were trolls. The theory does have some credibility, for there is at least a superficial physical resemblance between trolls and night elves. Furthermore, the troll race dominated much of ancient Kalimdor--the only continent on Azeroth before the Great Sundering--long before the night elves came into power. [...]
The trolls hated the night elves--a sentiment that persists to this day--and may have wished to marginalize the night elf race and its accomplishments. Also, attributing the night elf race with a troll heritage likely helped the trolls come to terms with their own shocking defeat.
Without additional data, there is little point in debating the merits of this controversial theory. No doubt it will remain a matter of contention for years to come.
- This passage is actively encouraging the reader to engage in speculation, unlike the first which provides a straight answer. In other words, Blizzard is telling us one thing, but also inviting us to dispute it and refute definitive answers.
- The Troll Compendium makes two points for its argument:
1. The night elves look somewhat like the trolls
2. The trolls say that the night elves descended from them.
Admittedly, neither of these make a very strong argument. A similar appearance doesn't necessarily suggest anything. After all, humans look somewhat similar to high elves and dwarves, who also look loosely similar to gnomes and monkeys and yeti.
The second one, as acknowledged by the text itself, could be subject to bias. But beyond that, there is a glaring logical flaw in the fact this is referring to events that happened 10,000 years ago. To put it into perspective, ten thousand years ago most of our ancestors in the real world were still dwelling in caves, it was approximately 5,000 years before the Bronze Age, but we're meant to believe that the trolls somehow preserved this knowledge, as well as their hatred for the night elves, for countless generations.
This is dubious to say the least, and doesn't follow any credible logic, considering most trolls have lived in tribal societies on the opposite side of the world and nowhere close to the night elves to maintain a feud or keep such an impeccable record of history over a period of time this large.
By the end of this you've seen that the answer to the title's question isn't as clear-cut in Classic as it is on Retail.
Although at least one source gives a clear answer to the question, Blizzard also suggests an alternative, contradictory point of view, without providing a definitive answer, preferring instead to leave it ambiguous for the sake of player speculation.
It is likely that the writers were toying with different ideas and weren't sure themselves.
In any case, I hope I've been able to present the state of affairs as it is relevant to Turtle, so we can all have a better idea of what the story looked like compared to today.