The sha (known as "ikk" to the hozen) are creatures native to Pandaria. They are the physical manifestations of negative emotions like fear, hatred, and anger. The arrival of the Alliance and the Horde and their imported conflict awakens the dormant Sha. The reason the pandaren are such a calm, peaceful people is to prevent their negative emotions manifesting as the sha.
When the Titans brought order to Azeroth, they slew a seven-headed Old God named Y'Shaarj. However, Y'shaarj's "last, terrible breath" cursed Pandaria with the shadowy aspects of the fallen Old God, the sha. For reasons unknown, the sha mostly lay dormant within Pandaria for many thousands of years, with only the lesser sha known to have ever manifested at this time.
Ten thousand years ago, Shaohao, the last Pandaren emperor, sought to save Pandaria from the impending Great Sundering. To protect his people, Shaohao undertook a grand quest to strip away his own negative emotions. He succeeded, and the doubt, anger, fear and still more that he plucked from himself was imprisoned beneath the earth. But it did not lie still. It seeped into the very land Shaohao hoped to protect. In the heart of Pandaria, Shaohao’s darkness – the Sha – waited, feeding off every harsh word, angry fist or pang of despair.
The Pandaren have trained themselves in compassion, patience, and love of life in order to limit their contribution to the power of the Sha, but with the arrival of violent outsiders on Pandaria, all their care may be for naught.It is not clear if the Sha have an agenda, but there is no doubt that they exist in disharmony with life. Wherever they lurk, they bring and delight in discord and death in a cycle that seems difficult for even the greatest heroes to end. Swords cannot slash doubt. Armor cannot deflect hatred.
Unwary mortals can also become possessed by negative Sha energy, becoming embodiments of pure anger or fear. Individuals turn black and white, and may gain other Sha-like features such as Sha arms or masks. It is possible to reverse Sha transformation in the beginning stages, as Rell Nightwind and Nazgrim were being possessed and were saved from such a fate by Taran Zhu. It is also possible for an individual to completely transform into a Sha, like Ga'trul and Doren do.
Recent developments in the Alliance-Horde War have led to attempts to harness the sha as a weapon against the opposing force, unaware of the potential danger it poses to its very users. After Garrosh arrived in Pandaria he began experimenting with the sha he found in the mountains of the north, believing that the sha can strengthen his soldiers. The results, however, have been quite the opposite. His troops are erupting into random violence, and it later emerges that the sha controls those who try to use it directly, rather than the other way round.
The sha's strength is mostly determined by their size; the larger the manifestation the more powerful they have become. In World of Warcraft three models are used to represent them: lesser weak ones, medium strong ones, and large powerful ones. The latter are the 'main' sha aspects of negative emotions.
Most of the sha and the energies associated with them are monochromatic, the exception is Sha of Fear, which is a mixture of dark purple and red, and the Sha of Pride and its associated spawns, which are bit more blueish in tone instead of black/grey.
The sha minions created directly by the Heart of Y'Shaarj (both inside and outside his realm) are a bit more violet in tone in addition to their original monochromatic forms, signifying their infusion with the Old God's power.
- - A world boss found in Kun-Lai Summit, appearing every few hours.
- - A quest mob in the Temple of the Red Crane located in the Krasarang Wilds.
- - A boss in the Temple of the Jade Serpent located in the Jade Forest. Archnemesis of Yu'lon, the Jade Serpent.
- - A boss in the Terrace of Endless Spring, located in the Veiled Stair, this Sha also has corrupted the majority of the Mantid, including Grand Empress Shek'zeer.
- - A quest mob in the Townlong Steppes, also confronted indirectly, possessing Taran Zhu in Shado-Pan Monastery in Kun-Lai Summit.
- - A boss in the Siege of Orgrimmar. Referred to as the most insidious sha, and the cause of the mist around Pandaria. It was released along with the power of the Heart of Y'Shaarj upon the Vale of Eternal Blossoms by Garrosh Hellscream.
- - A boss in the Shado-Pan Monastery located in the Kun-Lai Summit. Imprisoned by the Shado-Pan, he is eventually freed from his cage and defeated.
- Sha (煞, shā) is Chinese for "evil spirit."
- The sha were loosely inspired by Mark Gibbons's research into feng shui, a Chinese form of geomancy. In feng shui, sha is a toxic form of energy that is believed to cause negative emotions, misfortune, and illness. It is the negative counterpart to chi; while chi is channeled as a positive force, sha must be dispersed.
- The creation of the sha is detailed in , though how it relates to Y'Shaarj's involvement is unknown. The pandaren legend is at least partially true, such as hozen masks exorcising the sha.
- In the Descent into Madness in Ulduar there are stained-glass windows resembling the sha. During a developer chat, it was mentioned that they were not meant to be the sha and it was a "happy coincidence".
- All six emotions of the sha are mentioned during The Warlord and the Monk as the mogu turned against each other: "War waged before the temple as the mogu destroyed themselves, unleashing the full weight of their doubt, anger, fear, hatred, violence and despair."
- The lesser sha is based on the Fleshbeast model, and the medium sha is based on the unbound elemental models. However, the large sha model is a unique skeleton.
- Most Sha are classified as Elementals, though some are marked as Demons.
- Until Patch 5.3.0 there were only six known 'main' sha, though there were seven heads of Y'Shaarj. This led to the speculation that there is another sha somewhere. Dave Kosak said in an interview that "The seven heads of Y'Shaarj breathed out the ... Seven Burdens, although that was from an early draft of the story, we really only see six sha in the game ... which have to do with the Burdens of Shaohao." In Patch 5.3.0 the final sha was revealed to be the Sha of Pride.
- The Sha bear a strong resemblance to the Spirits and Avatars of Vengeance created by night elf wardens. Both are described as beings of shadow and are created from a person's negative feelings. In the specific case of the avatar of vengeance, vendetta.
- The sha primes' absence between the death of Y'Shaarj and the Seven Burdens of Shaohao may be due to the titans. There is a titan facility in Pandaria. It is possible that the titans imprisoned the sha, and Shaohao's rituals accidentally freed them. In fact the location of the Dark Heart may indeed have been where the Sha were imprisoned, alongside the remains of the Old God itself.
- ^ a b Mists of Pandaria Press Tour. MMO-Champion (2012-03-19). Retrieved on 2012-03-19.
- ^ Blizzcon 2011 - Warcraft Preview Panel
- ^ Blizzcon 2011 - Warcraft Lore Q&A Panel
- ^ a b Best Buy Live Chat
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 2
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 3
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 4
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 5
- ^ The Emperor's Burden - Part 6
- ^ Bestiary: Sha
- ^ Dread Wastes storyline
- ^ Patch 5.3 - Old Seer Emperor Shaohao
- ^ "Well, one of the things, when I was doing research, I read up about was feng shui [...] The sha being the darker side of feng shui. Chi is the channeling of the positive energy, the sha is the dark stuff you try to disperse." - Mark Gibbons, BlizzCon 2011 World of Warcraft Art Panel
- ^ But Wait! There's Lore! S5E01 : Dave Kosak & Chris Metzen
- ^ Patch 5.3 - Old Seer Emperor Shaohao