The undead, very simply, are the dead once again risen to life. Examples of this phenomenon include zombies, vampires, wraiths, and lichs. The undead are universally considered to be evil.

Most powerful members of the genre entered into the state of unlife willingly. Lichs, especially, are horribly evil magic users which delve into the forces of necromancy in order to prolong their lives and give them power. The weaker members of the undead genre are conversely, usually forced into the state by others. Zombies are generally assumed to be the bodies of the dead imbued with unholy force, to do the bidding of the raiser, or more rarely, the souls of the dead forced into their former bodies for the amusement of a necromancer. Vampires, usually, are the unwilling victims of a series of changing bites by a person who has already been transformed into a member of the walking dead.

Generally speaking, it's assumed that objects of holy signifigance do considerable damage to these nefarious creatures. Holy water, symbols of a religion presented strongly by a person of faith, priests, and paladins are the most oft used weapons in a fight against the undead.

What happens to us after we die? It is one of the oldest questions to haunt the human imagination. Many modern people believe the idea of an afterlife was invented to comfort us in times of loss and bolster our sense of importance. Afraid to accept the finality of death, we dreamed up the immortal soul. Be that as it may, belief in an afterlife carries a price of its own.

Perhaps the only thought more terrifying than ceasing to exist is the possibility that we might not. Fear of death pales in comparison to the horror of becoming trapped between death and life, unable to fully enter either condition.

Many of the world's rituals of mourning take on a dual purpose in this light. Beyond comforting themselves, the living also desperately seek to ensure that the dead stay dead. To leave the deceased restless in any way is greatly feared, for who could it be more unwise to offend than one who cannot die? Even if the dead do not themselves take offense, they might fall under the influence of other forces unless protected somehow. Either way, if the dead become active in the world of the living, they become members of a separate type of beings, no longer fully human, which we call the undead.

The undead occur in many forms in fiction and folklore, from some of the oldest tales handed down by word of mouth to that most modern storytelling medium, the computer game.

Most forms of the undead are assumed to be evil, or mindless at best; almost all are believed harmful to the living. However, there are a few exceptions to these rules.

These beings can be grouped into several different categories. Considering the diversity of different cultural sources involved, some overlap between categories is inevitable, but it is still a useful way to introduce the subject.

Restless Spirits

Usually known as ghosts, these can arise without any supernatural influence other than the spirit of the deceased person. In one sense this makes them simpler than many other forms of the undead, but the circumstances of their creation can be quite complicated. There are almost as many different ways to become a ghost as there are people.

The most frequent key ingredient is for the dead person to be unhappy about something. The problem often relates to the manner of death, but it can be almost anything. In many cultures you would be expected to come back as a ghost if murdered, especially if the murderer is not brought to justice. In some you might become a ghost because the terms of your will were not properly carried out, or perhaps just because your children put the wrong kind of flowers on your grave. Ghosts who arise for any such reasons might simply fade away if the cause of their unhappiness is resolved.

There are a variety of different ways ghosts can make their presence known to the living. They may appear as pale, faded images of their living selves, or as the insubstantial image of a rotting corpse. They may be heard to speak in nearly normal tones, or only to groan and wail miserably. They may seem to address unseen persons, as if replaying situations from their lives; or they may try to speak directly to their living witnessses. Sometimes they are only seen and make no sounds; in other cases, they make sounds but are not seen; and often they make other sensory impressions, such as strange odors, or an unexplained chill in the air.

Some ghosts are said to be unaware of being dead. They wander around in the places they used to frequent while alive, sometimes repeating whatever traumatic incident caused their spirits to become restless. Others are believed to know exactly what their situation is, and know who is responsible, and burn with desire for revenge.

Often, spirits are believed to have little or no power to affect the material world directly. Many lack even the desire to harm the living, and do so only accidentally, mostly by frightening people. In some tales, ghosts have the power to cause indirect effects such as drownings and other accidents, disease, crop failure, and similar misfortunes.

In older tales, at least in Western cultures, it was rare for restless spirits to be portrayed as capable of attacking people in any direct physical sense, although such powers were seen more often in stories and legends from non-European cultures. Modern portrayals are also leaning in this direction.

Another subcategory of restless spirit is one of the few undead types considered benevolent. Some rare ghosts interact with the world of the living to bring some benefit, or prevent some harm, to their loved ones. Many tales of such ghosts are quite similar to the miraculous events sometimes attributed to angels.

General terms for restless spirits include ghost, apparition, specter (or spectre), phantasm, phantom, poltergeist, wraith, shade, banshee and spirit. All of these are somewhat interchangeable terms in older literature and folklore. Notable exceptions include the word "poltergeist" which is sometimes reserved for spirits with the power to move small material objects, and the word "banshee" which often means a female spirit whose wailing is so terrifying it can cause insanity or death.

The most recent stories, especially those told in game form, tend to invent extremely specific distinctions between different types of spirits. Sometimes there are equally specific methods for dealing with each type, so be sure to check any appropriate rulebooks carefully.

Restless Bodies

For all the unease and even terror at the thought of spirits that linger after death, bodies that cannot rest after dying are worse. If restless spirits are like cold fingers running down the spine, restless bodies are more like a punch in the stomach.

To a narrowly logical being, this reaction might seem strange. If it comforts you to imagine lost loved ones are still alive in a spiritual sense, some might think there should be greater comfort in imagining they might become physically active again. Quite a few stories feature someone who naively thinks this is a good idea, but it almost never turns out to be good for anyone.

Our instinctive feeling that dead bodies ought to stay down is often stronger than our hope of an afterlife. No matter how deeply religious, people are likely to view a moving corpse as a sign of evil forces at work, except in the very few cases when they are strongly convinced of the opposite.

Our revulsion at the idea shows in the gruesome imagery often used to portray these walking dead. Their bodies continue to rot. Their wounds cannot heal. Often, they shamble at only a fraction of the speed a living person can walk, and retain little or none of the mental function a living person would have.

Even the least disgusting of the walking dead, the clean white bones of the reanimated skeleton, is somehow creepy in a way that the most gruesome disembodied phantasm is not. The putrid imagery of restless corpses in earlier stages of decay can provoke a strong visceral reaction in almost any living human, a fact which many horror film makers have rushed to exploit. As modern people turn away from worrying about the fate of the immortal soul, disembodied spirits become less scary than hungry zombies.

Not only are restless bodies a far more physical threat to the living than ghosts are, they also symbolize a deeper violation of the peace we might hope to find in death. Many of the restless spirits we imagine as responsible for their own condition. If they would just let go of whatever is bothering them, they could be freed from the burdens of the physical universe. Bodies, however, are more often dragged away from their eternal rest by some malignant force, which enslaves them to serve its own dark purposes.

Sometimes, the walking corpse is thought of as completely mindless, just a puppet controlled by the will of its reanimator. It is common to think of walking skeletons in this way, but the more intact animated corpse often called a zombie is also sometimes included. The dead person's soul is assumed long gone, to wherever it is that souls go; the corpse or skeleton is merely an object conveniently shaped to become an obedient servant.

By far the more frightening possibility, however, is that the soul or consciousness of the dead person becomes trapped in the body, a helpless witness to acts commanded by the evil force that has gained control over its body. For example, the voodoo concept of a zombie as a person killed and then brought back to life enslaved to a sorcerer's will is so terrifying that even a marginally plausible threat of this fate can give someone tremendous influence over those who believe in it.

Another vivid example of this fate worse than death are the flesh-eating undead sometimes called ghouls, as popularized in the "Dead Trilogy" of horror films by George Romero, and adapted with some modification into many games, such as Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Resident Evil.

The "Romero Zombies" in particular were created by some mysterious impersonal force, never fully explained in the films. They had no identifiable "master" like voodoo zombies, but they did appear to retain some memories from their previous lives. In several scenes they hesitate, as if trying to resist the compulsion to kill and eat their former loved ones, but they always fail to regain their humanity.

(As a side note, the original ghoul of ancient Arab legend cannot be considered undead in the true sense of the word. These creatures are not really thought of as human in origin. They are evil spirits believed to prowl the wastelands in search of human flesh to eat.)

Unlike ghosts, the walking dead usually cannot be appeased or persuaded in any way. Instead, survival boils down to the intensely physical alternatives of fight or flight. In some tales, even the severed body parts of these undead will continue to attack their victims; in others, any part that loses its connection with the brain becomes inert, and destroying the brain destroys the creature, returning it to the fully dead condition of an ordinary corpse.

Some vampire tales include elements of enslavement similar to the voodoo zombie concept, such as the ability to recruit minions who are also vampires, but are subservient to the one who recruited them. (Drawing parallels between this idea and multi-level marketing is left as an exercise for the reader.) Mummies can also overlap into this category of restless bodies, because some of them are involuntarily reanimated. However, mummies are perhaps better considered in the next category:

The Unnaturally Prolonged

Despite the many differences between them, the restless spirits and the restless bodies share a crucial quality. Both are more dead than alive. The limits imposed by their undead condition exceed any advantages it may confer on them, and thus also help to define their very nature. These limitations exist at two ends of a spectrum. Hence ghosts are often defined by their limited power to affect the material world; zombies, on the other hand, although solidly physical in nature, are often mentally deficient in some way.

The most terrifying and powerful of the undead are the types that are more alive than dead. This state of unnaturally prolonged life still imposes some limits, but also renders such creatures significantly more powerful than an ordinary living person. They retain most of their mental function and most of their free will, and are often thought to gain enhanced physical vigor as well.

A prime example of this is the vampire as it first appeared in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, and was then copied in almost every other film, fiction, and game portrayal of vampires since. Dracula was physically robust, having "the strength of twenty men" as Stoker phrased it. He could change into various animal forms and even into a kind of mist that could pass through the tiniest of openings, giving him almost the same advantages of mobility a ghost would have. His mental powers were equally fearsome, verging on brilliance at times.

Luckily for the novel's protagonists, Dracula did have some limitations or they would never have had any chance against him. Anyone interested in the subject of the undead who has not yet read this book should place the highest priority on reading it. The book is flawed in some ways, but its cultural influence is huge. In fact, the modern meaning of the very word undead appears to originate from its pages. (An Oxford dictionary I checked reports archaic usage of the word "undead" as a synonym for "alive" but those references were all more than 300 years old when Stoker brought the word back to life with a new meaning.)

Another example of the unnaturally prolonged undead is the mummy. The power attributed to these beings is probably one of the legacies from the heights of ancient Egyptian civilization. Other cultures have left behind mummies, but few achieved anything with the impressiveness and longevity of the pyramids, so apparently we find it plausible to assume there is something equally impressive about their mummies.

Like the vampires, the mummies have grown more powerful in the literary imagination in the last century or so. In older tales, they had little more power than ghosts, mainly limited to causing bad luck for people who disturbed their tombs. Later, in early movies, they developed the ability to shamble around and frighten people. It is only with recent advances in special effects technology that mummies have really started to chew up the cinematic scenery.

Similar to the mummy in some ways is the lich, a creature owing its imaginary existence almost entirely to the influence of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons. Its name is borrowed from an old word for a corpse. Many of its traits seem borrowed from those of J.R.R. Tolkien's Ringwraiths, but the need to dissociate it from that copyrighted idea has been fulfilled quite successfully - perhaps too successfully.

Within their highly contrived context, liches are assumed to be the most powerful form of the undead, partly because they start the process of becoming liches while still alive, and partly because they have to be quite powerful in the first place to have any chance of successfully becoming liches. Despite all this, for some reason the concept of the lich seems to lack the psychological resonance found in the other types of undead, even ones supposedly far less powerful. This may be only because the lich (as distinct from the Nazgûl) has not yet found any literary promoters so influential as Bram Stoker or even Anne Rice, but it also lacks the long history of legends and folktales that give the other undead their sense of mystery.

The lich concept might resonate more deeply later on, as humans gradually discover the consequences of genetic and other technologies that promise to delay death in the glittering visions of the futurists.

The Future of the Undead

With the growing influence of rationality and science, we might expect that the undead would hold less fear for people with a modern outlook, but this does not seem to be the case. Vampires, zombies, ghosts, and mummies continue to be enormously popular in the literature and entertainment of the modern world.

With a little reflection, this is not terribly surprising. Modern medicine has yet to change the most frightening fact of mortality: not death itself, but the perilous twilight landscape between death and life.

Nota bene

Out of habit, almost everything I've said here about the undead has been phrased in the neutral language of careful objective scholarship, but in reality it is mostly lifted from the psyche of one North American who is probably a bit more morbid and introverted than it is really healthy to be, despite living in the early twenty-first century. Because of this, I am open to correction if I have made any errors, although I have tried to avoid saying anything grossly false.

One of the playable races in Warcraft III.

The Undead army, known as the Scourge, is one of the newest concepts in the *craft franchise. They combine a few ideas from previous games, with a few extra new ideas that weren't technically possible, making them a versatile, competent force that has a few caveats for prospective players.

The Undead are first and foremost one of the most difficult races to play. They require large amounts of pracitse, micromanagement and skill, and are also the only race with known faults. Their Acolytes summon buildings, not build them, much like the StarCraft Protoss do, allowing fast base building. However, the Undead have a fantastic reliance on blight - corrupted patches of ground that spread from their buildings. Only two buildings can be summoned on "normal" ground - the Necropolis, serving as the bases "Town Hall", and the Haunted Gold Mine, which can be summoned on to uncorrupted mines around the map. Each of these buildings, once complete, generate a radius of blight, allowing further buildings to be summoned.

Their units range from the versatile lumber carrying Ghoul to viscious spellcasters like the feared Necromancer, to massive beasts of war - the filthy Abomination or gruesome Frost wyrm. Overall they can field an army that is varied and complementary - they are good support armies, and the very best can take anything thrown at them.

As background information, a new expansion does not need a town hall as other races do - a Haunted Gold Mine is simply summoned and other buildings summoned once the mine is complete and the radius of blight is generated. Gold is magicked away from the mine automatically by up to five Acolytes. Unlike other races, the Acolyte remains stationary outside the mine at all times, making their mines quite susceptible to attack.

The Undead also have an easy path to towers - their "farm" building, the Ziggurat is able to be upgraded to a Spirit Tower with a piercing attack that is available once a Graveyard has been completed. Their upgraded town halls (Halls of the Dead and Black Citadel) also have piercing attacks, making even an undefended base quite deadly to the unprepared.

Additionally, the Scourge also make use of a "tertiary resource" - corpses. Once an enemy is slain, their body remains on the ground for 88 seconds, allowing use by a number of units - the Death Knight can truly Animate Dead, passing control of the deceased for 2 minutes; the Necromancer can Raise Dead the corpse in to 2 Skeletons, tenacious but fragile fighters, and finally the humble Ghoul can Cannibalize them to regain HP at a fantastic rate.

For completeness, I have included the summary statistics of both buildings and units here for ease of reference. These stats were taken directly from the public pages of www.battle.net/war3, the definitive, official online reference for Warcraft III. As a guide, Cool represents Cooldown - how quickly a unit can do another action, Ground represents their ground based attack damage, as does Air in relation to airborne attackers.


Hero         Role        Spells
Death Knight Melee Death Coil, Death Pact, Unholy Aura, Animate Dead Dreadlord Support Carrion Swarm, Sleep, Vampiric Aura, Inferno Lich Spellcaster Frost Nova, Frost Armor, Dark Ritual, Death and Decay
Unit Gold Wood Food HP Armor Armor Sight Speed Build Attack Weapon Ground Air Cool Range Building
Acolyte 90 0 1 180 Medium 0 80/60 220 15 Normal Normal 9.5 None 2.5 Melee Necropolis Ghoul 140 0 2 330 Medium 0/6 140/80 270 18 Normal Normal 13/17.5 None 1.3 Melee Crypt Crypt fiend 250 40 3 550 Small 0/6 140/80 270 30 Pierce Missile 29.5/40 None 2 55 Crypt Gargoyle 220 30 2 400 Medium 5/11 160/80 270 35 Pierce Normal 17/23 51.5/71 2.2 30 Crypt Abomination 280 70 4 1080 Large 2/8 140/80 270 45 Normal Normal 36/48 None 1.9 Melee Slaughterhouse Meat wagon 270 65 4 380 Medium 2 140/100 180 45 Siege Artillery 79.5/108 None 4 100 Slaughterhouse Necromancer 170 20 2 230 Small 0 140/90 270 30 Pierce Missile 10.5/15.5 10.5/15 1.8 60 Temple of the Damned Banshee 180 30 2 210 Small 0 140/80 270 35 Pierce Missile 13/19 13/19 1.5 50 Temple of the Damned Frost wyrm 450 120 7 1100 Large 0/6 160/80 220 60 Pierce Msplash 95/113 95/113 3 30 Boneyard Shade N/A N/A 1 250 Small 0 190/80 270 15 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Sacrificial Pit Skeleton N/A N/A 0 180 Medium 1/7 80/60 270 N/A Normal Normal 14.5/19 None 2 Melee Necromancer Infernal N/A N/A 0 1500 Large 6 140/80 320 N/A Chaos Normal 54.5 None 1.35 Melee Dreadlord
Building Gold Wood HP Armor Armor Sight Build Attack Type Ground Air Cool Range
Haunted Gold Mine 300 170 800 Fort 5 90/60 100 Necropolis 350 0 1500 Fort 5 90/60 120 Halls of the Dead 310 150 2000 Fort 5 90/60 120 Pierce Missile 45.5 45.5 1 80 Black Citadel 345 150 2300 Fort 5 90/60 120 Pierce Missile 54.5 54.5 1 80 Crypt 280 50 1300 Fort 5 90/60 60 Ziggurat 150 50 500 Fort 5 90/60 50 Spirit Tower 120 40 550 Fort 5 160/80 35 Pierce Missile 29.5 29.5 1 70 Altar of Darkness 300 100 900 Fort 5 90/60 60 Graveyard 250 0 900 Fort 5 90/60 80 Slaughter House 240 80 1200 Fort 5 90/60 80 Temple of the Damned 225 80 1100 Fort 5 90/60 70 Sacrificial Pit 200 80 900 Fort 5 90/60 45 Boneyard 350 125 1500 Fort 5 90/60 80

The undead, formally known as The Forsaken, are a race of creatures within the Warcraft video game universe. They made their first appearance as playable characters in Warcraft III, and then went on to be one of the five main components of what makes up the Horde in the MMORPG World of Warcraft setting. They grew by leaps and bounds between the relatively wooden undead characters in WCIII to the fully player-controllable race in World of Warcraft.

Originally, the undead were the stereotypical shambling corpses, knowing only that they should destroy anything they could get their hands (or any other body part capable of handling should the hands be severed) on. As the universe within the games evolved, so did its races: the undead split into two groups, the Scourge and the Forsaken. The Scourge were, like any Hollywood zombie, largely recently-deceased corpses brought to unlife, as it were, by a powerful lich or necromancer. The Forsaken, however, are quite different. They possess genuine intelligence, agility, strength, wisdom, and even compassion for others. Also unlike the Scourge, the Forsaken have political ambitions—they formed, in part, the Horde, Azeroth's largest group of what many consider to be the world's evil force, and the only real enemy to the Alliance, who share population sizes, professions and, in some areas, land (such areas are universally designated "disputed").

The other branches of the Horde, with whom the undead form something of a quadriateral commission, include the orcs (originally aliens from another planet who came to Azeroth via a portal that the mage Medivh opened), the tauren (bovine and huge, the tauren are the only cloven-hoofed member of the Horde), the trolls (who look a bit like lithe orcs with hair, though they are largely blue-skinned to the orcs' green skin, though some areas harbor green-skinned trolls), and the blood elves (a splinter group from the rest of Azeroth's elves out of a lust for carnage, sorcery and treachery).

Like the Alliance's gnomes, the Horde's undead are generally considered to be "the cute race" by players, whereas the other races on both sides are of a more utilitarian appearance. The undead retains the trademark shambling, forward-leaning gait of more traditional zombies, but they're also able to run, jump, swim (indeed, one of their natural racial abilities is underwater breathing), and their small stature and emaciated figure (roughly 1/8th the mass of a male tauren) makes them a popular choice for the rogue class, or as a warlock due to their natural affinity for the shadow magic that warlocks deal in, though in the hands of the right player, they can excel at any of the classes open to them: rogue, warrior, mage, warlock, death knight and priest. A priest, you ask? It's true! During the early history of the Horde/Alliance conflict on Azeroth, the elves fought and lost a number of key battles, and the Scourge were able to capture (and turn into an undead banshee) who was perhaps the most politically important elf, Sylvanas Windrunner (whose name was borrowed from the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons "Faerûn" book, in which Sylvanus is the (male) god of rangers). Those undead that chose to enthrone and worship her caused the split between the two partisan groups of undead, with the Scourge eventually leaving to settle in the high elves' former home, Quel'Thalas, and the Forsaken continuing the fight, during which they built a home for themselves: the Undercity, beneath Death Knight Arthas Menethil's palace at Lordaeron, which is now in ruins and is the main focal point of the blight that covers the entire northwestern part of the eastern continent, collectively known as the Eastern Kingdoms.

As in most fantasy mythos, the undead were originally created by foul craft from elves and humans; in Warcraft's case, it was the high elves (the predecessors to the modern night elves and blood elves, of whom very few remain) and ordinary humans who were captured during the wars; they were enslaved and tortured by Arthas, the High Prince of Lordaeron and future undead ruler that was nearly as powerful as all the other big guns in the world combined as a Death Knight, and his untold thousands of minions. Before this time, Arthas, who many had seen as a benevolent and kind person, was growing increasingly paranoid about a plague sweeping through the area, turning its inhabitants into mindless undead. Fearing the further spread of the disease, Arthas led a campaign to raze the entire area, blighting vast expanses of wilderness, several towns and villages (Dalaran, Darrowshire, Corin's Crossing, Brill, Stratholme and Quel'Thalas to name but a few; these areas are now the Western Plaguelands (in which the undead stronghold/university Scholomance is located) and the Eastern Plaguelands (which contains both Stratholme, perhaps the least-difficult instance to conquer, and Naxxramas, widely regarded as the most-difficult instance (before the release of The Burning Crusade, at least), whose entrance is so well hidden that a large quest chain is required to locate it) and the Tirisfal Glades forest). The more Arthas flew into a violent rage, the more ripe he became for turning over to the undead he hated. Azeroth's most powerful lich, Ner'zhul, tainted Arthas' thoughts, urging him to purge more innocents, and eventually turned Arthas undead himself, but not before losing his own unlife and power to the immense and infinitely more powerful Arthas, who, it is said, now forever sits upon his throne of ice within the highly dangerous, bitterly cold and extremely treacherous realm known mostly in hushed whispers as Naxxramas, which floats, improbably, above Stratholme.

In appearance, at least in World of Warcraft, the undead look like... er, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but they look like goths with mild hunchback conditions. Among the hairstyles you can choose for your undead character include the "modified pixie" look for females and the "liberty hawk" for males, or pyramid spikes for both sexes, plus about a dozen others, all recognizable to anyone who's ever set foot in a goth club, with colors to match. The eyes of every undead glow a bright green/yellow. They seem paranoid, too, as even at rest they continually look to the left and right, stare at something, then stare at something else, following things imperceptible to anyone else nearby, like cats do. Their clothing is suitably ripped, torn and stained, and the chainmail or plate their warriors wear is noticeably dented and rusted, giving them that fresh "just out of the grave" look. Their skin color is a uniform gray/green, without much difference in hue from one undead being to another. Though every undead is born into undeath inside the tiny crypt in the tiny village of Deathknell, they can be found all over Azeroth and Outland.

Undercity itself is a huge, multi-level, maze-like metropolis, and it's very easy to get lost in for those not accustomed to its constant twists and turns. Despite its size, it has only two entrances and exits: there is a tunnel in the former Lordaeron palatial garden (the only part of the palace which still has standing walls), which leads down to an elevator, which finally deposits you at the bottom of the place, near the canals of green ooze that run freely around the sprocket-shaped city. Another aperture is an old sewer, accessible from the very bottom of Undercity and leading out into Tirisfal Glades, roughly a mile from the garden opening. A short distance inside the city is a bat roost, where one can catch a ride on a large and screeching bat to another bat roost in another area, and a short walk from the sewer exit is a zeppelin landing pad manned by neutral (neither Horde nor Alliance) goblins from the Steamwheedle Cartel (the Cartel operates similar options for travelers at many other places in Azeroth, not just here, and the only differences is that their operations for the Horde involve zeppelins, while their Alliance operations use ships at sea); the zeppelin near Undercity leads across the Great Sea to the land of Kalimdor, and just outside the orc/troll shared capital of Orgrimmar, within the land known as Durotar, a peninsula separated from the Kalimdor mainland (specifically Azshara, home of a great many nagas and blood elves), by the Southfury River.

If you've never played a Horde race before, the undead offer a good place to start as they're versatile in just about every class available to them. Players are unable to roll undead characters as shamen (they are the only Horde race unable to play a shaman), druids (night elves and taurens only), hunters (the undead, along with the gnomes, seem to be the only non-hunting races, possibly because the undead have the ability to consume their fallen (human) enemies to regain health lost in battle (obviously the gnomes don't do this)) and paladins (humans, dwarves, draenei and blood elves only).

All things considered, playing an undead character is fun. So far the only problem I've had is acclimitising to the acid-tripped/Frank Lloyd Wrong layout of Undercity, but I have a terrible innate sense of direction. If you're a claustrophile like Isaac Newton was, you should feel right at home there, but all things considered, I prefer Orgrimmar. And for completeness, the last remaining Horde capital cities that I haven't mentioned yet are Thunder Bluff, which is only sparsely populated, located on a large mesa in the center of the green, rolling steppes of Mulgore, which the taurens call home, and the stronghold Silvermoon, in the Ghostlands area north of the Plaguelands, inhabited by the blood elves.

 

World of Warcraft

Alliance Races

Draenei | Dwarf | Gnome | Human | Night Elf | Worgen

Alliance Capital Cities

Darnassus (Night Elves) | Exodar (Draenei) | Gilneas (Worgen) | Gnomeregan (Gnomes) | Ironforge (Dwarves) | Shrine of Seven Stars (Alliance in Pandaria) | Stormwind (Humans)

 

Horde Races

Blood Elf | Goblin | Orc | Tauren | Troll | Undead

Horde Capital Cities

Orgrimmar (Orcs) | Sen'jin (Trolls) | Shrine of Two Moons (Horde in Pandaria) | Silvermoon (Blood Elves) | Thunder Bluff (Tauren) | Undercity (Undead) | Undermine (Goblins)

 

Neutral Races

Pandaren

Neutral Capital Cities

Dalaran (both factions) | Shattrath City (both factions)

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Undead_(Warcraft)
http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/info/races/undead.html

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