- For other stories, see The Story So Far.
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Conflict is, in a series called Warcraft, an arguable necessity. But battles of good versus evil are never straightforward when cosmic deities meddle in the matters of mortals. When a fallen titan possessed of untold power and a desire to scour all life ordered the corruption of the orcs, they were set on a path that would end in an inevitable clash with a nation of humans enjoying a prosperous existence. This universe-spanning conflict helped forge Azeroth into the world we know it as today.
Read on to relive the history of Warcraft and prepare yourself to take up arms in Warcraft III: Reforged.
Of Orcs and Humans in Warcraft
Once the greatest warrior of the godlike Titans—the assemblage of cosmic entities responsible for the shaping and ordering of the universe—Sargeras succumbed to the all-consuming corruption of the Twisting Nether, a plane between worlds composed of chaotic magics, and its resident fiends while attempting to shield his brethren from its depravity. Convinced that the only way to spare the universe from the Nether's demonic entities was to purge it, he soon turned his power on the cosmos, seeking to cleanse all life in existence. To this end, he forged the demonic Burning Legion. After a failed attack on Azeroth 10,000 years ago, Sargeras saw an opportunity to once again strike at the world, and possessed the magus Medivh, intending to use his power to foment a war between worlds that would force Azeroth to buckle upon itself.
Corrupted by the malignant magics of Sargeras, Medivh, the last of an ancient line of powerful magi and friend to the throne of Stormwind, worked to orchestrate Azeroth's downfall. He found in the far-off world of Draenor a kindred spirit—the powerful warlock Gul'dan. Wielding heretical magic, this nefarious orc taught his brethren to channel demonic energy. His influence over the orcs came to a head when he convinced them to drink the blood of the demon Mannoroth, promising them invincibility in exchange for their compliance. The fiend's blood poisoned their minds, transforming the orcs into an army consumed by bloodlust and controlled from the shadows by Gul'dan and his puppet Warchief, Blackhand.
Medivh struck a deal with his new ally: in exchange for the promise of godhood, Gul'dan would create a gateway between the human homeworld of Azeroth and his own planet, Draenor. Thus, the Dark Portal was first opened, and the Horde flooded through to clash with the humans of Azeroth.
The orcish Horde assailed the humans' heartlands, razing entire towns and leaving ruin in their wake. For years, orcs and humans clashed in savage skirmishes, each side biding their time and surveying the enemy with the intent to launch a full-force strike when the hour was right. Three years after the Dark Portal was opened, the Horde marched on Stormwind City. Though their first attack was repelled by the King's Commander Anduin Lothar, the Horde retreated to regroup and decide how best to land a decisive blow against the human kingdom.
Meanwhile, Medivh's apprentice Khadgar confided in King Llane and Anduin Lothar, revealing that his master had been corrupted by dark forces and had unleashed the Horde upon Azeroth. With Khadgar's aid, Lothar slew Medivh and banished the spirit of Sargeras within him to the Nether. Gul'dan, having entered Medivh's mind prior to his death to scour it for information, fell into a deep coma after the magus's death.
The great orc chieftain Orgrim Doomhammer found himself disillusioned with the Horde's leadership under Gul'dan and Blackhand. Sensing an opportunity, he challenged Blackhand for the mantle of Warchief and emerged from the fray victorious.
United under the banner of Doomhammer, the Horde marched upon Stormwind once more. While the city was under siege, Garona Halforcen, a former ally of the humans who was secretly in the thrall of Gul'dan's Shadow Council, secured victory for the orcs, and assassinated King Llane under the Council's orders. The morale of Stormwind's military died along with him, and the city fell to the might of the Horde. Anduin Lothar declared the war lost and retreated with the remnants of Stormwind's populace across the Great Sea.
Warcraft II's Turning Tides
Desperate for aid, Lothar and the survivors of Stormwind's siege fled north. There, they sought support from the sovereign of the mighty human kingdom of Lordaeron, King Terenas Menethil II. The refugees were irrefutable proof of the threat posed by the Horde; unable to deny the existence of such a threat to life on Azeroth, King Terenas summoned the leaders of the human kingdoms to prepare a counteroffensive against the Horde. Seven nations united under a single banner for the first time in three thousand years, giving birth to the Alliance of Lordaeron.
Gul'dan, recently awoken from his magical coma following the death of Medivh, bargained with the Horde's new Warchief and disavowed the Shadow Council to spare his life. Though wary of the warlock, Doomhammer spared Gul'dan, and allowed him to establish his own clan to bolster the Horde's ranks. With powerful aid in the form of conscripted Amani trolls and the recently discovered Demon Soul—an ancient artifact capable of controlling dragons—the orcs prepared to advance upon the remaining human nations.
While the Horde readied themselves to march upon their enemies, Lothar rallied the disparate races of Lordaeron, gaining the aid of the dwarves of Ironforge and invoking his right as the last descendant of the Arathi line to call upon the high elves of Quel'Thalas. Bound by a blood oath sworn long ago to Lothar's kin, King Anasterian Sunstrider sent a small force of soldiers to Lordaeron's aid, first among them the Ranger-Captain Alleria Windrunner.
Orgrim Doomhammer led his Horde north on a continued path of destruction, following the remnants of Stormwind's people to Lordaeron and razing all that stood in his way. Though victory seemed in sight as the orcish forces marched on Lordaeron, the city would live to withstand the latter days of the Second War by virtue of discord within the Horde's ranks. Doomhammer and his army, poised to strike at the heart of the Alliance, received dire news: Gul'dan had abandoned his fellow orcs, taking with him half of their military might to seek out the fabled Tomb of Sargeras in his pursuit of godhood.
Gul'dan's betrayal afforded the Alliance the very chance it needed to turn the tide of war. Anduin Lothar's troops rallied and pushed the Horde from the lands of Lordaeron all the way down to the volcanic fortress of Blackrock Spire. Unwilling to accept defeat, the determined Doomhammer landed one final blow upon the humans, putting an end to Lothar's life in a suicidal charge.
As Lothar fell, his lieutenant Turalyon took up the mantle of commander, calling upon his brothers and sisters to persevere and fight on in honor of their commander's legacy. So inspirational was his battle cry that the human forces fervently cleaved through the Horde, scattering its army and seizing those they could find as prisoners of the Alliance. Those who were caught were herded into internment camps and left to wallow.
And so, the flames of the Second War guttered out, and peace settled upon a land that had for so long been plagued by war. In the years following the Horde's defeat, the Alliance splintered, no longer held together by the tenuous covenant that had been forged out of common desperation. Thus, the Kingdom of Lordaeron was left to face alone an uncertain future.
As Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos begins, nearly 13 years after the Horde's defeat, trouble stirs once again. Rumors of a plague spread quickly through the kingdom of Lordaeron, unsettling the citizenry and prompting King Terenas's son, Arthas, to investigate its source—a venture that will set him on a dark path and forever define his fate. Meanwhile, a young upstart rallies the orcs that have spent the past decade laboring in crowded internment camps, inspiring them to cast off the yoke of imprisonment and once more take up their blades. Within Alliance-ruled lands, a cult arises, poisoning the minds of its members and heralding the start of an insidious scourge that seeks to pave the way for a new invasion of Azeroth. And the Night Elves, desperate to protect their ancient homelands from destructive forces, awaken their dreaming kin and contemplate freeing the most dangerous prisoner their kind has ever known, in a bid for the power necessary to stand against their enemies.
Calamity returns once more to the world of Warcraft, and its inhabitants, both new and old, take up arms to fight for the future. Will you stand with them? Assemble your armies and live out this legendary chapter of Warcraft's history by purchasing Warcraft III: Reforged today.