From what we DO know, is that 80% of the food that Orgrimmar gets comes from Quel’Thalas and 10% from Mulgore. Most of what Mulgore can produce is grains while Quel’thalas can produce fruits, veggies, fish and game. The last 10 percent is whatever Durotar can scramble together.
What we also can gather is that though they all came over together, sooner or later, families would have branched and split off to do their various things, leaving some elves to wither away into nothing and others to become wealthy off of being more naturally gifted. While most elves DO have an affinity for the arcane, not all are so gifted, and those without either find means of work such as labor or tend to work for Lords.
Being a Lord, Magister or Priest would have been considered honorable. Anything involving hard labor such as tending fields, working in shops or even petty merchants would have been far below the class of many. THOSE are the people they would be truly shameful of, but also be too proud or full of themselves to admit to interaction with them as well.
Lords could also be those without magical prowess, but grew up in luxury or wealth so their station is never questioned and their position is never in doubt.
Magisters are similar to lords in the fact they are political and posses amazing arcanic ability, but also were born into nobility.
Now.. Priests are interesting because the priests of the Sunwell are just as revered as any mage or magister. They are the blessed attendants to the magic that gives them their life (in a sense). They are revered for wisdoms and their ability, but have little to no political sway.
I think 80% is a rather high estimation there. By a long shot, actually. I mean by that estimation the Horde would have been nearly starving prior to Burning Crusade and there is no mention of that anywhere. I think what people easily forget is how Azeroth in WoW is this huge microcosm. It’s big, sure, but it’s not as big as it actually -is-. i.e. it doesn’t take you 10 minutes to fly from Durotar to Uldum. You can’t run across the entire zone of Ashenvale in 10 minutes, and what you see in the game is a rough… 10-20% of what is actually IN the world. What you do get is a basic sampling, though. Durotar doesn’t have a ton of agricultural farms because their food staple is pork so you see pig farms. Do they likely HAVE wheat farms? Sure they do. With access to water (and lets not forget -magic-) they can grow any crop they likely wish to. Wheat will provide them with foodstuffs like bread and the ability to make beer.
Then you have the Barrens which is very Savannah-like but it does have space and a nearby river and oasis’s spread around. Though it’s likely hunting is the better game in the Barrens but some limited agriculture could be found there especially with that wonderful thing called ‘magic’. Their shaman and the druids are easy enough plot devices to ensure that the Horde was anything but starving. The Tauren are in a very lush area so if we were to attribute a majority to the Horde’s food production it’d be from Thunder Bluff area.
Honestly I’d imagine that the Sin’Dorei probably import a good amount of their food from anyone that will sell it. Over half their land is diseased and infected by Scourge forces still, the other half is run through by a nasty scar, and they were all damn near wiped out as a race. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of them survived by eating meagerly or relied on ‘mage food’ or whatever they had at hand for a long time until they could get their feet back under them. Do they likely have agriculture? I’m sure they do but given the decadence of the culture I imagine that they are as reliant on trade as much as anyone else for variety of foodstuffs. Where most areas have a tiny sampling of their agriculture you see really -none- of that in Quel’Thalas, so either they conjure up all their food, buy it and have it shipped in, or they received nourishment the same way plants do. Maybe that’s why they have such a huge sun fetish! =P
The 80% only accounts for Ogrimmar. Considering even Thrall at some point mentions his people starving since Durotar is a barren wasteland. Nothing grows there. The only thing they can manage to keep are pigs. Otherwise, the trolls have a means of food depending on where they are geographically from, Tauren have the large open fields to hunt and survived from the Kodo and bounties of nature… but the orcs are starving and the undead don’t eat.
Quel’Thalas is bountiful. Even with the taint of fel in the area, (which is slowly diminishing over the years since the restoration of the Sunwell) we can still assume that the harvest of produce and livestock remain relatively unharmed. (Unless we have cows with green eyes…)
We also have the unfortunate reminder that much of the farmlands of Lordaeron are dead or destroyed by plague or the forsaken, which leaves us with Mulgore and Eversong at this point.
Thinking to the Barrens now, it’s much like the African savanna where nothing grows. It’s just a very hot road that leads from the lush forests of Ashenvale toward Thousand Needles (Which, before the flood and even after) is also barren as fuck. The only thing is south to Feralas which is treacherous and wild, but there are two settlements there, so we have to assume they are well off on their own.
THEN YOU GET A DESERT. WOO.
Kalimdor isn’t big on growing things outside of Ashenvale, (possibly) Un’Goro and Mulgore.
Which is all really silly considering that if they wanted to then Durotar could easily be a bountiful area agriculturally speaking. I mean we can use Egypt as an example of how a barren wasteland can use its geography to provide for a nation that was once one of the most powerful in the world. By which I mean farm along the river and use dat irrigation. Though it isn’t safe to say “Nothing grows there” clearly things do grow there especially now post-cata with water stretching inland more readily. Also before that herbs clearly grew there in enough amounts to be worth while.
Mulgore is most definitely fertile but since there’s no in-game example of any farming it’s not safe to assume much of anything. The same really goes for Quel’Thalas, unforutunately. So without any samplings I would say that nothing is really ‘starving’ at this point though Orgrimmar probably does rely on a good deal of agricultural import now that Garrosh has turned it into an industrial war machine and pretty much could care less for the well being of a nation as long as it has people to kill. >.<
Oh yes. It’s all extremely silly considering. They could have better turned their resources on places like Azshara, Durotar and even Thousand Needles to try and get more places to propagate or promote growth.
But also keep in mind that all of the water that stretched inland is sea water— too salty and would insta-kill most crops.
Garrosh mentions that the work the Goblins are dong in Azshara is polluting the water, which is why the have to import it. The Southfury river is also polluted but they can apparently water crops with it