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This article contains lore taken from Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, the manuals, and/or official bonus maps.

This text was featured in the in-game narration for the Horde and Alliance campaign missions in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness.

Note: While the kingdom of Stormwind was later retconned to have always been named as such, at the time of Warcraft II it was still known as the kingdom of Azeroth.

The game featured two separate storylines, one ending with victory for the orcs, while the other ended with victory for the humans. For a discussion on which aspects of each storyline ultimately became part of the lore of the Warcraft universe, see the discussion of retcons. While the two stories interweave for the most part there is some divergence towards the end of each campaign.

A game demo also exists. For those missions, see Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness missions (demo).


Animated introduction

Main article: Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness cinematic intro

Six years have passed since the First War between man and orc.

The once mighty army of Azeroth lay among the blackened and charred remains of Stormwind Keep. Those that escaped fled across the Great Sea, bringing tales of the suffering they had faced at the hands of the Orcish Hordes.

Eager to engage in battle once again, the Orcs constructed ships of war to bear them across the Great Sea.

The Orcish warriors yearned for the sounds of battle to fill the air and looked to the far horizon for new blood to spill. Using the weapons forged by their new allies, the Humans made haste to prepare for the onslaught. While Dwarven cannon were being loaded, others armed themselves with Elven steel and mail.

Now, united in arms with new allies against a common foe, Mankind stands at the shores of destiny and awaits the coming of the Tides of Darkness.

Orc Campaign[]

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 1 (Seas of Blood)
Act I Seas of Blood

I. Zul'dare[]

Map of Orc Mission #01

The Horde is preparing to launch an assault against the mainland of Lordaeron.

Orgrim Doomhammer - War Chief of the Orcish Hordes and Ruler of the Blackrock clan - has ordered you to establish a small outpost on Lordaeron's southern shores.

To secure the Zul'dare region as Doomhammer demands you will need to construct a Barracks and several Farms to feed your troops. Your success may help us determine the extent of the pathetic Human defenses and what resistance they can offer against our forces.

II. Raid at Hillsbrad[]

Map of Orc Mission #02

Our spies report that a band of Human soldiers have captured a war party led by Troll commander Zuljin and have taken them to a secret prison near the township of Hillsbrad.

Seeing an opportunity to place these captives in debt to the Horde, Doomhammer sends you to ransom Zuljin and his Trolls and return them to their own encampment nearby.

The War Chief believes that this raid upon the unsuspecting prison will strike terror into the hearts of those who would dare resist the Horde.

III. Southshore[]

Map of Orc Mission #03

In preparation for a final strike on Hillsbrad, the War Chief directs you to begin construction of facilities for the Orcish Armada near the Southshore region.

Zuljin and his Trolls, eager to take revenge upon the Humans who imprisoned them, have agreed to aid the Horde by supplying Axethrowers and Destroyers to assist in defending your Southshore operation.

A Shipyard must be constructed in order to build our wave riders and you will need much of the black liquid known as Oil to build your fleet.

Our assault on Hillsbrad cannot begin until your task is completed.

IV. Assault on Hillsbrad[]

Map of Orc Mission #04

Now that the Armada is well supplied with the precious black substance that your Tankers have amassed, Doomhammer feels it is time to make a gruesome example of Hillsbrad.

With the aid of new Foundry sites that allow you to construct more advanced ships, you may build Transports to deliver your forces across the channel to the cowering Human settlement.

All who oppose the Horde must be taught a harsh lesson - leave no one alive!

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 2 (Khaz Modan)
Act II Khaz Modan

V. Tol Barad[]

Map of Orc Mission #05

The township of Hillsbrad has been decimated, and throughout the Human kingdoms the rumors of impending doom spread like wildfire. War Chief Doomhammer is pleased with your success and has deemed you worthy of a more difficult task. Troubles have arisen in the Dwarven lands of Khaz Modan. A taskforce of Stromgarde warriors have laid siege to Dun Modr - a vital staging area for Horde troops. You are to retake Dun Modr and then bring your forces to bear against Stromgarde's nearby island citadel of Tol Barad.

VI. The Badlands[]

Map of Orc Mission #06

Doomhammer has sent word that the Ogre-Mage Cho'gall, chieftain of the Twilight's Hammer clan, is personally inspecting the Refinery at Grim Batol. Cho'gall and his convoy will be traveling through the badlands of Khaz Modan, and an ambush by Stromgarde warriors is expected. The War Chief expects you to safeguard Cho'gall and his minions through this region. Should he die, your life will be forfeit as well...

VII. The Fall of Stromgarde[]

Map of Orc Mission #07

Cho'gall reports that the Khaz Modan Refineries are well maintained and fulfilling their quotas. The Horde will now have more than enough Oil to mount a fierce campaign in the lands far to the north. Only the troublesome Human defenders of Stromgarde remain to be dealt with before sending the Horde on its next sojourn. The Human fleet has captured a group of our Transports just south of Stromgarde. Recapture these vessels and then lay waste to their capital.

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 3 (Quel'thalas)
Act III Quel'Thalas

VIII. The Runestone at Caer Darrow[]

Map of Orc Mission #08

Your forces have been assigned to an area along the southern border of the Elven kingdom of Quel'thalas. Gul'dan, hoping to sow the seeds of chaos among the Human and Elven allies, has located a mysterious Elven artifact near the Keep of Caer Darrow. This huge, monolithic Runestone is guarded by a Human Castle on the small island located in the middle of Darrowmere Lake. You must destroy the forces that guard this relic and gain control of the Runestone for use by the Horde.

IX. The Razing of Tyr's Hand[]

Map of Orc Mission #09

With the capture of the Elven Runestone, Gul'dan has been able to warp the power it contains to mutate an entire legion of his loyal and ruthless Ogres into wielders of arcane magiks. Along with this transformation these Ogre-Magi have been granted deadly magiks and a malicious cunning rivaling that of Gul'dan himself. You are to employ the Ogre-Magi in the creation and defense of a Fortress at the mouth of Tyr's Bay, cutting off the Human supply lines into Quel'thalas.

X. The Destruction of Stratholme[]

Map of Orc Mission #10

Stratholme, the chief source of Alliance Oil in the north, is preparing to deliver massive amounts of Oil to the kingdoms in western Lordaeron. You must sabotage their Refineries and Platforms to halt this shipment. Once Stratholme's ability to gather and process Oil is destroyed, proceed to crush any and all resistance offered by the Alliance.

XI. The Dead Rise as Quel'thalas Falls[]

Map of Orc Mission #11

With the destruction of Stratholme, the Alliance supply lines to Quel'thalas have been severed. Only a handful of Human and Elven defenders remain to safeguard the ancient Elf kingdom from the onslaught of the Horde. The enchanted domain of the Elves has inspired Gul'dan to unleash his most perverted creation - the Death Knights. Formed from the corpses of the fallen Knights of Azeroth, these once proud defenders of Humanity now serve the Horde in a blasphemous state of eternal undeath. Conjuring dark spells of necromantic horror upon their terrified foes, these Death Knights seek to unleash their wrath upon any foolish enough to stand in their way.

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 4 (Tides of Darkness)
Act IV Tides of Darkness

XII. The Tomb of Sargeras[]

Map of Orc Mission #12

The Northlands have fallen, and now only the western regions of Lordaeron stand defiant before the ultimate supremacy of the Horde. As the Orc clans prepare for their final, massive campaign against the weakening Alliance, the War Chief sends you ill tidings... Gul'dan and his Stormreaver clan have betrayed the Horde and coerced the Twilight's Hammer clan to set sail and search for an ancient tomb said to be buried beneath the waves. An infiltrator under the direction of Doomhammer reports that Gul'dan has indeed raised volcanic islands from the ocean floor and thus has opened a hidden vault. While it is unknown what the great Warlock has released from this tomb, the War Chief has issued this command - Destroy the renegade clans and return with the head of Gul'dan.

XIII. The Siege of Dalaran[]

Map of Orc Mission #13

The hour of judgment is close at hand as the Orcish Hordes stand ready to sweep across this domain like a pestilence and seize the capital of Lordaeron. Standing vigilant above the plains like the descending arm of twilight itself, is the Violet Citadel of Dalaran. The Citadel - serving as sanctum and haven to the Mages of Lordaeron - is the last barrier between the Orcs and their subjugation of Humanity. Manifested in the combined magical prowess of all Mages within the Alliance, this place must fall for the Horde to conquer Lordaeron. Fortunately, Orgrim Doomhammer has saved his greatest weapon, ready to unleash it upon the unsuspecting Alliance at just this moment - Dragons.

XIV. The Fall of Lordaeron[]

Map of Orc Mission #14

The alabaster parapets of Lordaeron's capital loom before you in the distance. The proud, defiant armies of the Alliance stand resolute in their final, fleeting moments. All that remains is the shrill, clarion call to battle and the fulfillment of our destiny. The tides of darkness are now at hand!

Victory for the Horde[]

The victory pyres burn high into the twilight skies covering the ruined capital of Lordaeron. Your success has led Orgrim Doomhammer - War Chief of the Orcish Hordes - to elevate you to the station of Warlord, thus giving you power and the command of your own clan. The Alliance has finally been crushed, with all those surviving being slain and cremated as is dictated by the rituals. At long last Azeroth and all of its lands belong to the thunderous force known to those foolish enough to stand in its way as the Horde!

Human Campaign[]

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 1 (The Shores of Lordaeron)
Act I The Shores of Lordaeron

I. Hillsbrad[]

Map of Human Mission #01

Due to your position as regional commander of the southern defense forces, Lord Terenas commands that you raise an outpost in the Hillsbrad foothills. It is rumored that Orcish marauders have been raiding coastal towns in the area, but whether these attacks are part of a greater Horde offensive is, as yet, unknown. Your outpost is to provide food and information for Alliance troops and, as such, should be a community consisting of at least four Farms. You must also construct a Barracks in order to safeguard the Hillsbrad operation.

II. Ambush at Tarren Mill[]

Map of Human Mission #02

The mysterious Elves of Silvermoon have sent a contingent of Archers south to survey the supposed Orcish threat for themselves. Our spies report that shortly after passing through the Alterac grasslands the Elves were ambushed by Horde troops. It is believed that these Elves are now being held in a small prison camp near the northwest region of Tarren Mill. Lord Terenas, fervently hoping to enlist the Elves into the Alliance, has asked that you search for the missing warriors and deliver them to safety. The Elves have sent a cadre of Archers to assist in your quest. You will also be provided with plans to construct an Elven Lumber Mill and the sylvan craftsman to operate it.

III. Southshore[]

Map of Human Mission #03

With the safe return of the Elves from the loathsome clutches of the Orcs, the Council of Silvermoon has resolved to combine the armies of Quel'thalas with those of the Alliance of Lordaeron. As a show of their support, a mighty fleet of Elven Destroyers have been sent to help safeguard the Lordaeron mainland. In preparation for the arrival of these ships, Daelin Proudmoore - Lord of Kul Tiras and Grand Admiral of the Lordaeron Fleet - has ordered that you begin the construction of naval facilities near the township of Southshore. There is some suspicion that the Horde has constructed a secret base near the mainland, so it is imperative that you begin building your defense with haste.

IV. Attack on Zul'dare[]

Map of Human Mission #04

Having established some order in the region with a display of naval power, Admiral Proudmoore advises that the time has come to search out the secret lair of the Orcs. Scouts report that this base is located somewhere within the Zul'dare region of the Channel Islands, just south-east of Hillsbrad. Lordaeron artificers have completed designs for a Foundry. With this new innovation, you will be able to construct Transport ships that can ferry your troops across large bodies of water. These vessels should provide great assistance in the completion of your task.

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 2 (Khaz Modan)H
Act II Khaz Modan

V. Tol Barad[]

Map of Human Mission #05

Although the Horde has been driven from the shores of Lordaeron, it has left the townships of Hillsbrad and Southshore in ruins. It is clear that the war will cost the Alliance dearly... Impressed with your victories against the Horde and the destruction of the Zul'dare base, the High Command has decided to dispatch you and your troops to the main battleground. The forces of Stromgarde and Kul Tiras are stationed along the northern border of Khaz Modan, fighting to keep the Orcs from advancing into southern Lordaeron. An Orcish outpost, nestled near the ruins of the ancient Dwarven city of Dun Modr, has repeatedly beaten back Alliance troops and ravaged the surrounding farmlands. You must reclaim the nearby island Keep at Tol Barad and then launch an attack upon the outpost.

VI. Dun Algaz[]

Map of Human Mission #06

Following their defeat at Dun Modr, the Orcs were forced to retreat south, across the Thandol Valley to a secondary outpost at Dun Algaz. Lord Lothar, hoping to push the Orcs even further back into Khaz Modan, has ordered that you destroy this newly discovered encampment. To aid you in your mission, you will be able to employ Knights who are eager to engage the Horde in glorious battle.

VII. Grim Batol[]

Map of Human Mission #07

Advance scouts report that they have located Grim Batol - the primary base of the Horde's Refinery operations in Khaz Modan. Seeing a chance to strike a decisive blow against the Horde, Lord Lothar has ordered that you infiltrate Grim Batol and put an end to all Orcish activity there. Once Grim Batol has been destroyed, Lothar believes that the Orcs will have no further use for Khaz Modan, thus pulling their forces back to the mainland of Azeroth. Victory could secure the shores of Lordaeron and greatly impede the Horde offensive.

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 3 (The Northlands)
Act III The Northlands

VIII. Tyr's Hand[]

Map of Human Mission #08

With the destruction of Dun Modr and the downfall of Grim Batol, the Orcs have completely withdrawn their armies from Khaz Modan. While your victories have been notable, the menace of the Horde still hangs over the head of the Alliance. Lord Lothar has stationed your troops in the northlands to protect the borders of Quel'thalas. Troubles have arisen in the township of Tyr's Hand, with the local peasant population in a state of minor revolt. You must quell this uprising and then summon the Knights of the Silver Hand to watch over the populace. To maintain order in the region, you must search out all of the Horde forces in the area and destroy them.

IX. The Battle at Darrowmere[]

Map of Human Mission #09

With his Paladins keeping vigilant watch over the northlands, the Archbishop's assistant Uther Lightbringer of Lordaeron has come to offer comfort to those who are suffering the misfortunes of war. Lord Lothar has entrusted you with the protection of the Paladins' Commander and his entourage as they travel to the island township of Caer Darrow.

X. The Prisoners[]

Map of Human Mission #10

Following the battle at Caer Darrow, a number of renegade Alterac soldiers were captured. A crew of Alterac sailors were also caught assisting the Horde during the battle and have been placed under close guard. Under the edict of Lord Lothar, you are to restrain the prisoners until they can be escorted to the capital of Lordaeron for interrogation.

XI. Betrayal and the Destruction of Alterac[]

Map of Human Mission #11

Lord Lothar sends word that the Alliance has been betrayed. Lord Perenolde - sovereign ruler of Alterac - has been working with the Horde since the beginning of the war. It was Perenolde who provided the Orcs with the routes of the Elven strikeforce passing through Tarren Mill. The rebellion at Tyr's Hand was also started by Alterac spies in hopes of concealing the Orcish mining facility located there. The High Command has decreed that the nation of Alterac has committed treason against the Alliance and their union with the Orcish Hordes must be broken. You must free those unjustly held by Perenolde and enlist their aid in launching an attack against Alterac's capital.

Warcraft II Tides of Darkness - Act 4 (Return to Azeroth)
Act IV Return to Azeroth

XII. The Battle at Crestfall[]

Map of Human Mission #12

With the destruction of Alterac, the Orcish armies in the north have staged a massive retreat. Admiral Proudmoore sends word that Gnomish Submarines have located the Horde's main naval base near Crestfall. Proudmoore believes that the Orcs plan to launch the remainder of their armada and retreat to the mainland of Azeroth. Lord Lothar has ordered that you destroy the base at Crestfall before the fleet can escape.

XIII. Assault on Blackrock Spire[]

Map of Human Mission #13

The remnants of the routed Orcish fleet have managed to reach the northern shores of Azeroth. Admiral Proudmoore believes that the Horde will attempt to reinforce their main Fortress at Blackrock Spire. Leading a large strikeforce of Lordaeron troops, Lord Lothar was sent to attempt a parlay with the Orcish Chieftain Orgrim Doomhammer. No reports have been heard in days... Assuming the worst, Admiral Proudmoore and King Terenas agree that it falls upon you to stage a final siege upon Blackrock Spire. The feral Dwarves of the Northeron wildlands have offered the service of their Gryphon Riders to assist in the decimation of the foul Orcs that have desecrated their homeland and slain the leader of the Alliance forces.

XIV. The Great Portal[]

Map of Human Mission #14

The Orcs have been driven from the Northlands as the hulking remains of Blackrock Spire lay silent amongst the freed lands of Azeroth. The battered remains of the once mighty Horde have rallied to protect their last bastion of hope - the Great Portal. With Lord Lothar dead, you have been given the duty of leading the forces of Lordaeron to ultimate victory over the Horde - a victory that lies with the destruction of the Great Portal itself...

Victory for the Alliance[]

Quiet settles over the Black Morass with the blackened, burning remains of the cursed Portal serving as a solemn reminder of the evil that once stood here. After the long and savage battle, you stand victorious over the tattered remnants of the once mighty Orcish Hordes. Those Orcs that survived the conflict have fled to the northeast in hopes of escaping your vengeance. You allow them their reprieve, knowing that the power of the Horde has been forever broken and that the lands of Azeroth belong to its native sons and daughters once again.