I’ve spent the last several years in an Undercity library, my head in a book. I learned everything I could about the arcane, and now I’ve returned home to share it with grunts like yourself. — Acrypha
Orc Mages are probably the most oddball class/race combination to have arisen after the Shattering. There was no existing lore concerning Orc Mages, as there was for Night Elf Mages and Dwarf Mages, and Blizz didn’t add new lore to the game to support them, as they did for Tauren Priests & Paladins and Troll Druids.
Blizz didn’t have to give Orcs a new class; after all, they didn’t give Draenei a new class on the grounds that none of the classes Draenei didn’t have yet (Druid, Rogue, Warlock) were directions they wanted to take the Draenei story. So why allow Orcs to become Mages?
For me, the easiest way to answer that question was to think about a different one: why might an individual Orc desire or choose to become a Mage?
I imagined an Orc of the last generation to be born on Draenor, an Orc who was a child at the time of the opening of the Dark Portal and the beginning of the First War, an Orc who came to maturity on the cusp of the Second War, an Orc who became a Warlock because that was simply what one did in the Orc culture of that time if one was so unfortunate as to have more brains than brawn.
She was glad to be freed from the internment camps by Thrall and fought bravely and with much honor to help establish a new homeland in Kalimdor using that power which she had mastered.
After the settling of Durotar, she decided to follow Thrall in rejecting the ways of the Old Horde and turn from the path of the Warlock. But she could not become a Shaman. Her soul was too tainted with Fel, and the elemental spirits were deaf to her pleas.
She continued to use the fire magic she had learned as a Warlock to defend her family’s farm, but she did not use the shadow magic, and she no longer summoned demons. Sometimes, she still misses her Imp.
She sought to learn more about pure fire magic from the Orcs’ new Troll and Forsaken allies. She conversed with their Mages and began to study their texts. She was not the only one. Several others like her also sought pure magic. As they became more adept at wielding pure fire magic, free from any fel taint, other forms of pure magic, those of frost and the arcane, opened to their minds. Over several years of study and hard work, they became Mages.
Orc society has been freed from the demonic taint for many years now. During those years, the rising generation of Orcs has mixed and mingled with the Trolls (and to a lesser extent the Undead and Blood Elves) and had ample opportunity to observe and learn from their Mages. It seems appropriate to me that young Orcs who are interested in magic, learning, and scholarship but do not hear the call of the Elements can now choose to be Mages instead of Warlocks. I think that this class represents the advancement or evolution of Orc culture and society since the formation of the New Horde. I think that it symbolizes not only how far the Orcs have moved beyond their dark demon-dominated days, but also how they can’t go back to the simple warrior/hunter/shaman society of the Mag’har because of the influence of their other allies in the Horde.
Now, where did my tinfoil hat go? Oh, there it is, it’s on my head!