It's pretty easy for your average adventurer to hate murlocs. After all, wherever you first encounter them, they almost always seem to share the same characteristics.
- They seem to like to pack fairly tightly together, usually around quest objectives.
- They blend in well with wherever they happen to be so that often you don't notice one until it attacks you.
- They run away when you almost have them killed, usually right into others of their kind, making a fairly controlled fight transform into utter chaos at the slightest notice.
- They make that sound when they attack or run away. You know the one I mean.
In recent years, however, murlocs have been revealed to be more than just a pack of walking, screaming fish men for adventurers to cut their teeth on. The Winterfin tribe
of murlocs stands revealed as fully sapient, capable of loyalty to their tribe, economic awareness, even blackmail. They value their young and reward those who help protect them. With the revelation of the gorloc, relatives of the murloc who inhabit Northrend including Borean Tundra and Sholozar Basin, the true nature of the murloc is called into question. Another startling development takes place across the continent in Howling Fjord
, where Old Icefin enlists the aid of Horde and Alliance alike using complex drawings to communicate.
While the upcoming Cataclysm
will disrupt the world, it will also bring with it new opportunities to see the world the way the murlocs see it
. It would be a folly to assume all murloc tribes share a single culture or religion, but at least one tribe, the Rockpool, apparently suffered greatly from Deathwing's recent destruction of the balance between the elemental forces. The Rockpool apparently lived in peace for untold generations with the naga, until (as the deceased chief Neptool
relates) the naga turned against them and their god, Neptulon the Tidehunter (the elemental lord of water), seeking to replace Neptulon with Azshara, the queen of the naga.
Since we see similar use of murlocs by naga in locations as distant as Outland itself (Serpentshrine Cavern, ruled by Lady Vashi, contains many murlocs seemingly obedient to the naga) and the Isle of Quel'Danas, it seems safe to assume that the naga have been enslaving murlocs from a great many tribes. It may be the rise and spread of the naga in recent years that has also caused the murlocs to begin their colonization of the shores of Azeroth. It may well be that some murlocs seem to escape while others deliberately accompany the serpentine host of the naga.
World of Warcraft Lore - The Murlocs
In the last few years, the vile naga have begun reemerging from their watery abodes, causing historians to speculate that their migration may have triggered the murlocs' slow encroachment onto land. Some also guessed that the murlocs might be working in concert with the sinister amphibians.
What we see here is that murlocs have displayed sufficient intelligence to communicate with the other races in areas ranging across the globe. Their cultures, while hardly uniform, share similar elements. They have lived alongside naga for eons, seemingly peacefully, before the recent rise of the subjects of Azshara. They now often serve as slaves to entities such as the Sea Witch
who once attempted to enslave the Darkspear Tribe.
The murlocs seem to have a semi-animistic society, worshiping whatever entities in their nearby environment are powerful enough to compel said worship. While this often leads them into the servitude of powerful entities (such as the makura
, the naga, even elemental forces), it also seems to allow them to adapt themselves to a region fairly quickly. Local murlocs might worship a powerful naga witch until said witch is defeated, wherein they immediately switch their veneration to whatever defeated it or remains in the area. How this fits into the Rockpool's worship of Neptulon is unclear, but there's no reason to assume they feel constrained to worship anything exclusively. (The pen-and-paper RPG mentioned a "Deep Mother
" for example, which could be a deformed version of Therazane as seen through the eyes of an aquatic people who spend a great deal of time in underwater caves.)
Murlocs are extremely widespread, especially in the world's oceans and bodies of water. They can be found on all three of the known continents of the world. In addition, they seem highly adaptive and mutable, as we know for sure that deep sea murlocs differ greatly from coastal murlocs, who themselves are very different from gorlocs. Powerfully mutated murlocs
have been encountered in the Wailing Caverns
; murlocs have joined pirate crews
, lived alongside the Twilight's Hammer
, and can even descend into the same fel-touched madness that created the chaos orcs
Murlocs are far more complicated than their initial appearances suggest. Wild murlocs have been released into Outland, they thrive throughout Azeroth, and their ancient cultures are just now beginning to be understood. The deepest lairs in the oceans have yet to be explored. Their ancient knowledge is as yet only dimly understood. They rise, unhurried, ancient and unfathomable as their watery homes.
While you don't need to have played the previous
Warcraft games to enjoy
World of Warcraft, a little history goes a long way toward making the game a lot more fun. Dig into even more of the lore and history behind the
World of Warcraft in WoW Insider's Guide to Warcraft Lore