The high elves were once a significant force on the continent, but in recent times their numbers have been dramatically reduced: approximately 90% of their population was slaughtered during the Third War. Following this, 90% of the surviving high elves changed their name to "blood elves" or sin'dorei (children of the blood in Thalassian) in remembrance of their fallen brethren, and no longer consider themselves high elven.
The high elves as a whole were relatively secluded from the younger races for several millennia, though both the Troll Wars and the Second War saw relations established with them: with King Thoradin of the Kingdom of Arathor, and the Alliance of Lordaeron respectively. The high elves' reluctant allegiance to the latter proved short-lived, as the high elven king Anasterian Sunstrider quickly grew apathetic to the plight of his allies, and officially seceded his nation. Subsequently, the high elven kingdom was brought to the brink of annihilation when Prince Arthas Menethil launched the Scourgeinvasion of Quel'Thalas and decimated the high elves. Rallied by Lor'themar Theron, second-in-command of the fallen Sylvanas Windrunner, the high elves rejoined with Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, and renamed themselves "blood elves", in honor of their perished brethren. The blood elves then sought to unite and restore their people to the glory they enjoyed at the height of high elf civilization, and have retaken much of their land from the Scourge.
However, a few high elves did not rename themselves blood elves. High elves and blood elves are physiologically the same race, and the difference between high and blood elves is only political. When Quel'Thalas left the Alliance, some high elves chose to remain with their allies over their kingdom, and to this day still support the Alliance. Some high elves were exiled from Quel'Thalas after the Third War. Other high elf remnants have chosen to rejoin the Alliance in recent years, arriving to a cold reception. Modern high elves are a rare sight, and are commonly mistaken for blood elves. In consequence, there are very few high elves left on Azeroth today. High elves did not gather in any significant numbers and are a very small group of individuals. Indeed, modern high elves cannot even truly be said to have a culture—only a past filled with glory and regret.