Mages, or magi are a group of spell conjurers, specializing in the arcane forces. Originally hailing from the mageocracy of Dalaran, after its destruction by the hands of the Burning Legion, those who survived traveled to the far corners of the world, taking their knowledge and spreading it others who wished to learn the art. Unlike warlocks, mages specialize in direct damage and area of effect spells. They're also quite versed at polymorphing their foes into harmless, domesticated creatures for a short amount of time. In addition, they're also able to conjure up their own food and water for consumption, as well as for their allies on long expeditions, and even teleport themselves, or open portals to major cities.
Mages, the most common of arcanists, are found all over Azeroth. They focus on magic that creates and that changes things, most often with the purpose of damaging their enemies and boosting the power of their allies. Such beings can obtain a familiar, which is a normal animal that gains new powers and becomes a magical beast when summoned to service by a mage, while others choose to become focused mages. Mages also understand the workings of arcane energy so well that they can counter most magic with great effectiveness. An adept mage who has dedication to and natural predilection for one of the schools of specialization becomes more entrenched. At this point the mage chooses either evocation or transmutation as a preferred school, and casts spells from his/her chosen school. The mages of the Kirin Tor first mastered the arts of casting spells using the elements of ice and fire. Mages are also known for being able to summon elementals, usually water elementals, but can also summon air, earth and fire elementals as well.
Early Kaldorei civilization was defined by direct manipulation of magic drawn from the Well of Eternity to create and sustain their society. The constant use of the well attracted attention from Sargeras and the Burning Legion, and their coming resulted in a massive war known as the War of the Ancients. The war had grave consequences, for even though the combined might of Azeroth's mortal races were victorious, the continent of Kalimdor was shattered, and a swirling, raging miasma of seastorms flowed into the vacant area where the Well of Eternity used to reside. This Great Sundering caused the Well's waters to be permeated into the atmosphere and spread magic all over the world.
This event convinced the majority of night elves to reject arcane magic and embrace Malfurion Stormrage's call for druidism. Many of the Highborne refused this lifestyle, and left in self-imposed exile to Lordaeron where they eventually founded their kingdom of Quel'Thalas and became the High Elves. When their kingdom came under siege by the trolls of Zul'Aman the high elves agreed to teach one hundred humans the arts of magic in exchange for military aid from the human nation of Arathor. From these two races, the arcane arts have spread to various races all over Azeroth.
Once students of the Conjurers of Azeroth, this new order of Mages have been forced to discover untapped magical forces to command in their war against the ruthless Orcs. Although masters of their arts, the Conjurers who fell during the First War were unprepared for the rigors of warfare. Determined to avoid a similar fate, the Mages have undertaken a regimen equally demanding on body and soul, thus dedicating themselves to the command of more aggressive and destructive magiks. Whether in their sanctum at the Violet Citadel in Dalaran or on the many battlefields of Lordaeron, the Mages are resolute in their efforts to defend the people.
The most powerful mages of the Eastern Kingdoms were perhaps the Archmagi of Dalaran, until the city was destroyed by Archimonde during the Second Invasion of the Burning Legion. Without Dalaran and thus without a centralized, ruling body of mages, exploration into the arcane arts has largely been experimental and an individualistic endeavor, as the old regulations and standardized teaching methods espoused by the Kirin Tor - for the most part - do not apply any longer. There is much more emphasis between the master-apprentice relationship than there is to a student-curriculum relationship. There have been both benefits and drawbacks to this. With a general nonexistence of rules the arcane arts have enjoyed a great degree of advancement during the events of World of Warcraft. However, without the authority of the Kirin Tor to fear, the number of warlocks has grown disturbingly high. Many are former mages, and most live openly and declare their study into the forbidden arts publicly.
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