- For other story summaries, see The Story So Far.
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Prepare to re-enter the Dark Portal by brushing up on the major events that compel Azeroth's heroes to enter the shattered world of Outland in Burning Crusade Classic. For those interested in how the story begins, read on to see how the two new playable races, the Burning Legion, and Illidan Stormrage tie together in Burning Crusade Classic.
During WoW Classic, we've hunted down and disposed of corrupt black dragonflight's leaders—Nefarian and his sister Onyxia. We've banished the fiendish blood god Hakkar to the plane from whence he came. We exterminated the hivemind infestation that plagued Ahn'Qiraj and shut C'Thun's all-seeing eye once and for all (we hope). And when Kel'Thuzad's icy grip threatened our world with an apocalyptic invasion? We shattered his wicked bones and scattered their dust to the wind.
Azeroth's heroes have bravely faced these challenges and more, struggling to ensure the continued survival of their races. The greatest perils, however, have just begun.
This story began over 10,000 years ago during the War of the Ancients, back when the demonic Burning Legion invaded Azeroth. A night elf who held great promise, Illidan Stormrage, allied himself with Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds, and his Burning Legion armies in exchange for unfathomable power. At the eclipse of the conflict, when the Burning Legion would vanquish Azeroth and enslave all its inhabitants, Illidan had a change of heart. He joined forces with his brother Malfurion Stormrage and together they reversed the magic of the portal Sargeras tried to use to enter Azeroth. Though Illidan fought against the Burning Legion's forces, he was put on trial for his reprehensible crimes—notably for attacking his fellow kin and creating a forbidden fount of power. He was found guilty, and was imprisoned under the watchful eyes of the night elf wardens, led by Maiev Shadowsong.
The Burning Legion once again invaded Azeroth during the events of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Out of desperation, Tyrande broke Illidan out his prison deep within the earth so he could fight the sinister demons and save their world. To ensure victory, Illidan consumed the fel power of the Skull of Gul'dan. In so doing, he grew wicked curved horns, cloven hooves, and leathery wings and became the very thing he hunted—a demon. This transformation forced Malfurion to exile him from their home, and Illidan disappeared into the wilds.
Not finished with his never-ending pursuit of power, Illidan recruited Lady Vashj and her naga to steal another demonic artifact, the Eye of Sargeras. He used it to perform a ritual to split Icecrown asunder and stop the Lich King. However, Malfurion, Maiev, and Prince Kael'thas of Silvermoon intercepted him and caused the spell to end prematurely. An emotional Malfurion confronted Illidan, and accused him of killing Tyrande. Illidan denied this atrocity, and it is revealed that Maiev lied about Tyrande's death. Worried about the woman he loved, Illidan pledged to save her. With his naga allies, they searched the river she fell into and broke through Scourge lines to rescue her.
They saved Tyrande but failed to stop the Scourge, and Illidan realized his Burning Legion masters would search the ends of the universe to punish him. He prepared for their wrath, and erected a magical portal into Outland and rushed through, closing the doorway behind him—but not before Maiev and her Watchers followed, intent on seeking justice and vengeance.
In Outland, Maiev captured Illidan, but his naga and new blood elf allies rescued him. Kael'thas pledged his loyalty and that of his people to Illidan in exchange for curing their addiction to arcane magic. Illidan told the prince that there was no cure, but instead taught them how to siphon magic from other sources to sate their hunger..[sic] The Betrayer tasked his minions to scour Outland for the Burning Legion's agents so he could claim the broken world and solidify his power for the inevitable confrontation with Kil'Jaeden. While smiting the land, they located the demonic pit lord Magtheridon who has amassed a massive army by bringing in hapless demons through the many portals that to Outland. Together, Illidan and his allies sealed the dimensional gates and prepared to storm the seat of power in this shattered world, the Black Temple. Upon storming the desecrated fortress, a warped subsect of draenei known as the Broken also joined the fight. Together they overthrew Magtheridon, and Illidan ascended as the master of Outland with the Broken—led by Akama—joining Illidan's ranks. Soon after taking over the Black Temple, Kil'jaeden found them. He threatened Illidan and gave the demon hunter one last chance to redeem himself: Destroy the Frozen Throne or suffer the Burning Legion's eternal wrath.
Knowing that the demon's threat was dire, Illidan journeyed to the frozen tundra of Icecrown. At the steps of the Frozen Throne, Arthas intercepted him and asked him to stand down. Knowing he could not fail Kil'jaeden again, Illidan refused to give up his quest and drew arms against the death knight. After a long, bloody battle, Arthas gained the upper hand and cut down Illidan and left him for dead in the snow. Illidan was recovered by his allies and returned to Outland, where he began to build an army to protect his people from Kil'jaeden, who would certainly bring the Burning Legion to Outland.
THE DARK PORTAL
Now, many years after the Third War, Illidan Stormrage's past betrayals threatens us all. The Burning Legion has come to Outland, seeking their revenge on the wayward demon hunter and to reclaim the shattered world. Knowing full well that their conquest will not stop until they pour into Azeroth, the Horde and Alliance are preparing a preemptive strike by using the Dark Portal to attack the demonic forces that constructed it. Step through the gateway between worlds and drive these terrors back into the abyss[sic]
To face the relentless threat of the Burning Legion, both the Horde and Alliance have recruited new allies. Read on to learn more about the two bold new races who have stepped forward to answer the call.
The Flight of the Draenei
Long ago, on the world of Argus, the brilliant and magically gifted eredar race drew the attention of Sargeras, the Destroyer of Worlds. Sargeras offered untold power to the three leaders of the eredar–Kil'jaeden, Archimonde and Velen–in exchange for their unquestioning loyalty. A troubling vision soon came to Velen, who saw the eredar transformed into unspeakable demons, who would decimate all life.
Despite Velen's warnings, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde decided to accept Sargeras' offer. Velen despaired at his former friends' decision and prayed for help. To his surprise and relief, he was answered by one of the benevolent naaru. These energy beings had, like Velen, foreseen the formation of the Burning Legion.
The naaru offered to shepherd Velen and other believers to refuge. Velen quietly gathered those of his fellow eredar who seemed trustworthy and dubbed them the draenei, or "exiled ones." As Sargeras returned to Argus and transformed many willing eredar into demons, the draenei narrowly escaped their homeworld. Furious, Kil'jaeden vowed to track Velen to the ends of creation.
In time the draenei settled on a remote world and met the shamanistic orcs who inhabited it. The draenei came to call their new home Draenor or "Exiles' Refuge." Kil'jaeden continued to hunt the exiles, however, and he eventually learned of the idyllic world and its unsuspecting inhabitants.
Working through the shaman Ner'zhul, the demon lord gradually began corrupting the orcs. When Ner'zhul refused to serve the Legion's agenda past a certain point, Kil'jaeden turned to Ner'zhul's apprentice. Gul'dan worked the orcs into a frenzy of bloodlust, and the newly formed Horde began slaughtering the peaceful draenei.
The orcish campaign against the draenei was brutally effective—most of their race was destroyed. A small group of survivors remained, including the noble Velen.
Recently Velen and the remaining draenei survivors gained control of one of Tempest Keep's satellite structures and used it to escape to Azeroth. Now they search for allies in their never-ending battle against the Burning Crusade.
Legacy of the Blood Elves
Using a vial of sacred water stolen from the first Well of Eternity, the high elves created a fount of mystical power at a convergence of ley energies within their home. They named this fountain the Sunwell. Its potent arcane magic fed and strengthened the high elves, and soon the wondrous city of Silvermoon was established.
Protected by a magical barrier, the high elves enjoyed peace for thousands of years, but that peace was not meant to last. The Amani trolls gathered an immense army and assaulted the elven kingdom. Vastly outnumbered, the high elves hastily struck an alliance with the human nation of Arathor. The elves taught a small number of humans how to wield magic. In exchange the humans aided the elves in destroying the trolls' power base forever.
Over the following years the high elves returned to their reclusive ways, but during the Third War, the diabolical Prince Arthas Menethil brought battle once again to their doorstep. Arthas craved the power of the Sunwell and would stop at nothing to harness it. He invaded Quel'Thalas and wiped out most of its population. In the end, even King Anasterian Sunstrider lay dead.
With the fount corrupted and unusable, it became clear that the high elves had become addicted to the Sunwell's arcane energies. Now that the source of their magic was gone, the few remaining high elves quickly grew ill and apathetic.
Prince Kael'thas, last of the royal line, returned from his studies in Dalaran to find Quel'Thalas in ruins. Thirsting for vengeance, he gathered the survivors, renamed them blood elves, and took a group of the strongest fighters to join Lordaeron's campaign against the Scourge.
Due to human prejudice, Kael'thas was forced to accept the assistance of Lady Vashj and her reptilian naga. When the humans discovered that the blood elves had been working with the naga, Kael'thas and the others were imprisoned and condemned to death. Lady Vashj soon arrived to set them free, leading them through a portal and into the broken wastes of Outland.
There, the elves met the one being capable of putting an end to their hunger: the renegade demon, Illidan Stormrage. Certain that the blood elves would die without Illidan's assistance, Kael'thas agreed to serve the Betrayer. A lone representative, Rommath, was sent back to Azeroth with a message of hope for the blood elves remaining in Quel'Thalas: that one day Kael'thas would return to lead his people to paradise.
Now that you're caught up on the story, you can try out the two new playable races—blood elves and draenei—during the pre-expansion going on right now and then prepare to step through the Dark Portal on June 1.