World of Warcraft's upcoming races revealed: adorable foxes and cyborg gnomes

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Blizzard unexpectedly just revealed the upcoming 8.3 update for World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth in an 18-minute video detailing all of the new features players can look forward to when it launches, presumably, early next year. But of those new features, one is sure to set the community on fire: The fox-like Vulpera are joining the Horde as a playable Allied Race while the less-exciting Mechagnomes team up with the Alliance.

Seen above, the Vulpera have been teasing players since Battle for Azeroth's launch last year as one of the new non-playable races added in the expansion. They're the inhabitants of the Vol'dun zone found on the island of Zandalar. Conversely, the Mechagnomes are the natives of Mechagon, a once-lost city where normal gnomes have augmented their bodies with robotic parts.

Both the Vulpera and Mechagnomes are the two newest Allied Races—of which there are eight that have been added since Battle for Azeroth first launched. For the uninitiated, Allied Races work a little differently than normal races because they're not immediately available for new characters. Instead, players have to complete a lengthy grind that involves maxing out an associated faction reputation and completing a quest before they can start a new character and play as any Allied Race.

(Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

Typically, Allied Races are variants of an archetypal race. Players can play as a dwarf, or if they unlock the Dark Iron Dwarf allied race, can choose to play as their red-eyed, ashy-skinned version. Sometimes these changes can be quite dramatic, though, as is the case with the Zanadari Trolls being able to stand upright and Kul Tiran humans being considerably more girthy.

Both the Vulpera and the Mechagnomes fall into the latter category. Though the Vulpera technically have the same dimensions as the Horde goblins, they really look nothing alike. Likewise, Mechagnomes can look more like mini-robots than living, meaty gnomes—as you can see from the image above.

The Vulpera are particularly noteworthy since the Horde lacks races that I would ever describe as cute or cuddly. Now Horde players have the option of retaining their badass Horde reputation while still looking like a very good boy who definitely deserves a treat.

Two new Allied Races is actually one of the smaller features coming in update 8.3. Find out what else is coming in our full story here.

Steven Messner

With over 7 years of experience with in-depth feature reporting, Steven's mission is to chronicle the fascinating ways that games intersect our lives. Whether it's colossal in-game wars in an MMO, or long-haul truckers who turn to games to protect them from the loneliness of the open road, Steven tries to unearth PC gaming's greatest untold stories. His love of PC gaming started extremely early. Without money to spend, he spent an entire day watching the progress bar on a 25mb download of the Heroes of Might and Magic 2 demo that he then played for at least a hundred hours. It was a good demo.