Nerubians and The War Within

Alpha spoilers ahead. Beware.

The new Azj-Kahet content confirms that nerubians, much akin to WotLK, still don’t like the Old Gods very much. They speak very harshly about the worship of their former masters/creators as being practically heresy. Interestingly, the Kaheti nerubians also seem to be aware of the mantid/qiraji and have a very low opinion of them.

The question is, why? Do we know the reason they severed their ties? Is there anything within the questing content that explains it further? I’ve genuinely been wondering about this for 15 years.

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The portrait in the dungeon implies that the Nerubians offered themselves as food for their old god masters. Thousands likely were fed and many resent the idea of going back to that role. The Mantid and the Qiraji are willing sacrifices, but the Nerubians did not agree with their cousins.


Yeah I feel that the Nerubians knew what they were during the Black Emprie back when they were all Aqir. That being slaves to the faceless ones and their Old God masters. So with their new found freedom following the Troll Aqir war, they rejected the Old Gods. Unlike the Aqir that evolved into the Mantid, which continued to worship Y’shaarj and the Qiraji, Aqir that were directly uplifted by C’thun.


nerubians have to repent of the sacrifices to the false old gods or else hakkar the one true blood god will get them when he reclaims the great troll kingdoms


I’d just like to know if there will be major nerubian characters in this expansion. Have their whole story typed up on Warcraft Wiki.

I’m disappointed that the bug people are just raid fodder yet again.

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I get the feeling they’ll be more like the Nightborne. Some are raid fodder, but some will become our allies and friends.


I still feel the Mantid were the best ‘bug people’ we have ever interacted with.

Even if the Paragons did end up siding with Y’shaarj (via Garrosh), they did warn us that they would if he ever returned. Plus I do love how the Klaxxi were in a weird spot. A fragment of their God was destroying their culture and corrupted their empress. But in order to face such a power, they had to ally with us. Which honestly helps showcase why Y’shaarj was considered the most powerful of the Old Gods that landed on Azeroth. If a mere fragment made the Klaxxi shallow their pride, imagine what Y’shaarj would be at its full strength.

But then BFA happened and they became daily fodder and a world boss.


While we do fight against the Nerubians, we also work with a splinter faction against the Queen.


It’s less of a splinter faction, more of a full-on civil war.

As a minor spoiler for the alpha leveling experience, you’re essentially working to liberate the oppressed nerubian populace from Xal’atath’s propaganda. Azj-Kahet’s story seems to be very keen on portraying nerubians as fully realized three-dimensional people – I would honestly say they feel more interestingly depicted than the dragons in Dragonflight.


There’s a few big ones.

Queen Neferess - The “original” nerubian queen of Azj-kahet who reigned during a similar timeframe as King Anub’arak. By most accounts she’s considered fair and reasonable.

Queen Ansurek - The daughter of Neferess, she’s the one who allied with Xal’atath and the void in order to crush the zealots who live above their city.

Widow Arak’nai - Former spymistress of Queen Neferess, she serves a similar role to Thalyssra. Was very loyal to Neferess, who was apparently usurped by her daughter.

Anub’azal - Big spiderlord general dude, he commanded the military of Azj-Kahet before his position was taken by one of Xal’atath’s mutated humanoid nerubians.

Executor Nizrek - Scholarly vizier fella with connections to the inner circle. He’s on good terms with Anduin.

Mr. Sunflower - The nerubian therapist from Zaralek Cavern. Has his own clinic in the capital.


Such nice sounding characters.

I hope they hunt down and eat Non-Sapient Spiders that aren’t Daddy Longlegs(the largest should stay out of site and gorge on other Non-Sapient Spiders) for the sake of protecting their fellow Sapient Spiders!

Non-Sapient Spiders with their Venoms and stabbing legs are a threat to Sapients everywhere! Same goes for Large Non-Sapient Bugs!

Just looked at a close up YouTube video of the Zone’s ambience( and don’t see any Non-Sapient Spiders so the Sapient Spiders may be doing what I want them to(get rid of Non-Sapient Spiders for he safety of Sapients everywhere).

I’ve been watching a lot of the Azj-Kahet alpha footage from people like Nobbel, and I will say I’m quite pleased with what I’ve seen. I think they’ve done a pretty good job of making the Nerubians unique and interesting while also making it very clear the majority of them are just, well, people.

One thing very interesting I’ve noted is the nature of the different Nerubian forms we’ve seen over the years. A sidequest giver with a Vizier model calls himself a “sageform” and mentions “skitterlings” and “trueborn”. The skitterlings appear to be the Ranishu skeleton pillbug Nerubians.

The “trueborn” appear to refer to the classic “Crypt Fiend” body type of Nerubian with six legs and two arms. These seem to make up the majority of Azj-Kahet’s populace, and all of the Nerubian children we see use a smaller, cuter version of the crypt fiend model. And during the City of Threads dungeon, we confront the final boss in a “tranformatory” that, while used to create Xal’atath’s humanoid “ascended” Nerubians, appears to have predated that process. Said final boss transforms two “honored citizens” into a Vizier and a Spider Lord respectively.

So, the crypt fiend Nerubians are the “natural” Nerubians all of them are born as, and the other body types are created through magical fleshcrafting, presumably as a form of status.


That’s fascinating! Makes sense, too – I always wondered if spiderlords/viziers came out of the egg like that, or if it was some sort of metamorphosis granted to nerubians with certain aptitudes. Now I’m curious if it ties into their caste system in some way. Really neat stuff.

In the (formerly known as canon) Warcraft RPG, Brann has this to say about spiderlords. Obviously it’s no basis for lore discussion, but it’s interesting to bring up and compare to the current lore.

Nerubian spiderlords are cold, ruthless, deadly, and intelligent beetle creatures. They are perhaps the most powerful nerubians. Spiderlords once formed the majority of Azjol-Nerub’s leadership in Azjol-Nerub they were the keepers of law and dominated nerubian society, though the eldest members of other castes held considerable sway. In the largest communities, they still serve as advisors to a local queen. Small communities are led by spiderlords. They exhibit more callous intelligence than their underlings; a nerubian spiderlord is willing to sacrifice almost anything to further one of his complicated schemes.

They also typically grow to a larger size and train in some combination of aristocrat, warrior, mage, or other spellcaster classes. They must choose between training as aristocrats, warriors, or mages, the choice may not be changed later. When challenged, a nerubian spiderlord tries diplomacy first, after which he switches to his spell-like abilities. Melee combat is a spiderlord’s last resort. A nerubian spiderlord possesses the same poisonous bite of other nerubians, but due to his scarab body he cannot spin webs. They can spin a single strand to ascend or descend in order to climb, but they cannot throw webs like common nerubians.

Only nerubian queens give birth to spiderlords; one out of every twenty eggs she lays on average grows into a spiderlord (the rest emerge as regular nerubians).


While the Kaheti are ruled by a queen, nothing I saw in the Alpha footage suggested she’s a mother to most of her subjects like, say the Mantid Queen. All the evidence I saw suggests that Nerubians, socially, form standard family groups, get married, and have children. It’s one of the most obvious ways I think the difference between the Nerubians and the other bug races is shown, in that they aren’t nearly as militarized. Heavily stratified, with some less savory traditions (one quest deals with an increasingly out of fashion custom that Nerubian women eat their first husbands to “preserve their love eternally”), but with an actual majority being noncombatant civilians.

Mantid hatchlings, from birth, are compelled psychically to attack the Serpent’s Spine in a social darwinist test to prove their worthiness to join society. Nerubian hatchlings in Azj-Kahet are just ordinary children. They even go to school.


Mueh’zala seems to be making a huge play to reclaim troll worshippers. It’s interesting that those sacrifices sound a lot like onces made to “The Ancient One” mentioned in Shadowlands and in the Cracked Stone Tablet we recovered from Time rifts.

Hearthstone implies The Ancient One was an amalgamation of blood, an experiment created by the Old Gods. The fact that the Spriggans were carrying the document, Orders of the Ancient One, and the lore that the Spriggans were created by Mueh’zala might mean Mueh’zala is this Ancient One.

They missed their grand moment back in wotlk.

iirc Queen Ansurek here isn’t a loyal follower of the Void. She’s just happy to weaponize it for her own gain, and Xal’atath’s providing that.


Interesting, the Azj-Kaheti seem to be aware of the Mantid, and even make disparaging remarks towards them in the quest text.

Stolen Influence Quest - Anub’azal: “These logs of Zev’kall’s… he is wasting numerous nerubian lives. Throwing them away like some rabid mantid. We must act. As I said, Zev’kall doesn’t produce his own pheromone marks anymore due to this ‘ascension’ process. He’s been forced to use mine. His alchemist is trying to concot some for him… but once they do, what of me?”

It seems like in the diverging paths of the aqir descendants, the qiraji are zealots and the most devoted to the Black Empire, the mantid are one step removed by having their own warrior culture (which still ultimately exists to further the Old Gods’ interest), and the nerubians seem to reject the empire entirely in favor of building their own society with a more scholarly, agnostic focus.


That’s absolutely hilarious.