World of Warcraft
Warcraft : Orcs & Humans
For ages, the fallen titan Sargeras plotted to scour all life from Azeroth. To this end, Sargeras possessed the human sorcerer Medivh and compelled him to contact Gul'dan, an orc warlock on the world of Draenor. There, Sargeras' demonic servants among the Burning Legion worked to corrupt the once - peaceful orcs and forge them into a bloodthirsty army known as the Horde. This cursed force invaded Azeroth through the Dark Portal, a dimensional gateway created by Medivh and Gul'dan, and clashed with the human nation of Stormwind. Aided by the half-orc Garona, human champions like Anduin Lothar fought valiantly to protect their kingdom. Yet, in the end, the mighty Horde shattered Stormwind's defenses. Amid the city's tragic fall, Garona betrayed her allies and assassinated King Llane Wrynn, sealing the nation's defeat.
Warcraft II : Tides of Darkness
The human nation of Stormwind had fallen before the Horde. Knight Champion Anduin Lothar gathered the scattered remnants of the human army and led the refugees north across the Great Sea to the kingdom of Lordaeron. By enlisting the aid of other nations - humans, gnomes, elves, and dwarves - Lothar helped form a great Alliance to stand against the orcs and their ruthless new leader, Orgrim Doomhammer. The seemingly unstoppable Horde continued its rampage, reinforcing its growing army with savage trolls and brutish ogres. But, on the eve of victory, Gul'dan and his followers selfishly abandoned their allies to seek out powerful artifacts, forcing the weakened Horde to retreat. Doomhammer momentarily rallied the orcs when he slew Lothar in a harrowing battle, but the hero's death did not break the Alliance's resolve. Turalyon, Lothar's loyal lieutenant, quickly took up leadership of Azeroth's defenders and finally defeated the Horde.
Warcraft II : Beyond the Dark Portal
Following the destruction of Azeroth's Dark Portal by the victorious Alliance, the orc shaman Ner'zhul took command of the remaining Horde on Draenor. There, he plotted to create portals to other unspoiled worlds and invade each in turn. To enable the rituals for his dimensional conquest, Ner'zhul sent orcish forces through his world's intact Dark Portal in search of powerful relics on Azeroth. Wary of the Horde's plans, the heroes of the Alliance invaded Draenor to end the orcish threat forever. Facing certain defeat at the hands of his enemies, Ner'zhul succeeded in opening numerous portals to new worlds. The resulting magical stress shattered Draenor, trapping many of Azeroth's greatest heroes on Outland, the damaged remains of the planet.
Warcraft III : Reign of Chaos
After years of languishing in captivity, the remaining orcs on Azeroth were liberated by a former slave named Thrall. This young shaman and his reformed Horde fled to the continent of Kalimdor to escape the invasion of the Burning Legion, a demonic army that sought to ravage all of Azeroth. To weaken the world's defenses, the Legion unleashed a horrifying new weapon: the undead Scourge. Prince Arthas Menethil of Lordaeron fought bravely to protect his lands from this dreaded enemy, but his fear and desperation led him to join forces with the Scourge's mysterious leader, the Lich King. On Kalimdor, Thrall's Horde set aside old hatreds and united with other races to thwart a massive Legion assault helmed by the demon lord Archimonde. At great cost, the unlikely union of humans, night elves and orcs defeated their enemies atop sacred Mount Hyjal.
Warcraft III : The Frozen Throne
While the armies of humans, orcs, and their allies recovered from their battle against the Burning Legion, Arthas Menethil - now a Death Knight - slaughtered the living denizens of Azeroth's Eastern Kingdoms in the name of the Scourge. But new forces emerged that threatened to destroy Arthas and his minions: the banshee Sylvanas Windrunner rebelled, creating a splinter faction of undead known as the Forsaken, and the demon-tainted night elf Illidan Stormrage sent his armies to the icy continent of Northrend to strike at the Lich King. Arthas rushed to his master's defense and defeated Illidan, who fled to Outland in shame. At last close to the seat of the Scourge's power, Arthas did the unthinkable, and willingly merged his own spirit with that of the Lich King.
World of Warcraft
Intent on settling the arid region of Durotar, Thrall's new Horde expanded its ranks, inviting the undead Forsaken to join orcs, tauren, and trolls. Meanwhile, dwarves, gnomes and the ancient night elves pledged their loyalties to a reinvigorated Alliance, guided by the human kingdom of Stormwind. After Stormwind's king, Varian Wrynn, mysteriously disappeared, Highlord Bolvar Fordragon served as Regent but his service was marred by the manipulations and mind control of the black dragon Onyxia, who ruled in disguise as a human noblewoman. As heroes investigated Onyxia's manipulations, ancient foes surfaced in lands throughout the world to menace Horde and Alliance alike.
Azeroth is the name of the world in which the majority of the Warcraft series is set. The world of Azeroth is the birthplace of many races, most notable being elves (night elves, high elves, and blood elves), humans, dwarves, tauren, goblins, trolls, gnomes, pandarens and dragons. At its birth, Azeroth was blessed by the titans. One day, the demonic armies of the Burning Legion came and shattered the peace and led the night elves to sunder their world. Gradually, races were dragged to Azeroth (such as the orcs, draenei, and ogres), others evolved, and others were brought up from the dust itself.
The peoples of Azeroth have fought brutally against the demons and their servants, and much blood was, and is still being, shed. After the Third War, three major powers emerged: the Scourge, Horde, and Alliance. Other major powers include the naga, qiraji, and Scarlet Crusade. Although ravaged by conflict, somehow through trickery, betrayal, and sheer blood, Azeroth has survived the Burning Legion four times. However, Azeroth is still torn by conflict, hate, and war.
For much of Azeroth's prehistory, the Old Gods ruled Azeroth along with their Elemental Lieutenants. Deep within Azeroth's core lies a world-soul, a nascent, sleeping Titan that, when awakened, could be extremely powerful. Its echoing dreams reached out to the Titan Aggramar, who then traveled with the rest of the Pantheon to Azeroth. They fought the Old Gods in a global war of ordering. With the help of their constructs (the antecedents of dwarves, gnomes, vrykul, and giants), the titans allowed life to flourish on Azeroth. Satisfied, the Makers built hidden cities for their construct creations and created the Great Aspects to guard the planet before leaving on their cosmic journey.
Pandaria was also created at some point, but quickly fell out of the history of most sentient races, due to its magical shrouding mists. It developed a parallel history, largely out of the view of most historians.
The trolls are presumed to be Azeroth's first sentient race, not including the titan constructs who would later suffer the Curse of Flesh. From Zandalar, they spread across Kalimdor and formed great empires, most notably the Gurubashi and Amani. Later, the Azj'Aqir empire rose in the west, forcing the trolls to better defend their major holdings. With pressure from their trollish enemies, the empire of the aqir collapsed and split into the qiraji and the nerubian kingdoms.
Around this time, the elves appeared in Kalimdor. Using the potent magics of the Well of Eternity (a legacy of the titans), the elves broke troll influence in many regions and established a magocratic empire. At the height of kaldorei power, however, the Burning Legion invaded Azeroth, inciting the War of the Ancients. The night elves were forced to destroy the Well, which caused a Great Sundering that split the ancient supercontinent of Kalimdor apart — creating several continents, Northrend, the Eastern Kingdoms (continents of Azeroth, Khaz Modan, and Lordaeron), and "Kalimdor".
Just before the Great Sundering, the last pandaren Emperor was made aware of the impending disaster and found a way to protect Pandaria from the destruction. He made a pact with unknown forces to shroud his land within an impenetrable mist for ten thousand years. Following the war there was a schism among the elves. The night elves started druidism with Malfurion Stormrage as the first Night Elf Druid; the high elves refused to give up arcane magic. These high elves were banished from Kalimdor and settled in the north of Lordaeron, establishing the mighty kingdom of Quel'Thalas. The Amani Empire was still a strong force here, and the two cultures soon clashed in what became known as the Troll Wars. With support from the young race of humanity, the high elves broke and scattered what remained of the Amani empire. Thousands of years later, the Burning Legion attempted to destroy Azeroth once more, this time indirectly. Sargeras forced the once peaceful orcs and ogres of Draenor into Azeroth. The extended conflict with these alien invaders became known as the First and Second Wars, during which time the Horde established strongholds in Blackrock, Alterac Valley, Zul'Dare, and the Swamp of Sorrows. The mighty Horde was defeated by an alliance of high elves, dwarves, and humans. Feeling the effects of their demonic bloodrage dissipate as they languished in internment camps, the orcs were able to remember their peaceful, shamanic roots. Sensing this change, Thrall of the Frostwolf clan set about establishing a new Horde.
Angered by the Horde's failure, the Burning Legion prepared for yet another invasion, the culmination of their efforts, on both continents. In the east, the Legion's Lich King pawn set loose a plague of undeath on the human kingdom of Lordaeron that the Legion so despised. This undead Scourge quickly crippled the northern powers, demoralizing the people of the Eastern Kingdoms in preparation for a Legion offensive. Lured to north by the Lich King, Prince Arthas of Lordaeron became his death knight pawn and the instrument of his liberation from the Legion's grasp. The Scourge under Arthas scattered the Knights of the Silver Hand, obliterated Lordaeron and broke the power of the Sunwell in Quel'Thalas. In the West, the demons and their satyr allies made a more direct assault on their old kaldorei enemies. In desperation, the elves turned to Illidan, a demon hunter from the War of the Ancients who had violated druidic law and had been imprisoned for ten thousand years.
During the course of the conflict, Illidan was persuaded by the insidious Arthas to attack the demon known as Tichondrius and drink from the Skull of Gul'dan (a small part in the Lich King's greater scheme to emancipate himself from his Legion jailers). Through the machinations of Medivh, Last Guardian of Tirisfal, leaders of the New Horde and the Alliance were drawn to Kalimdor. There they joined with the night elves to thwart the Legion advance into Hyjal, where the World Tree was vulnerable to demonic attack. While in Kalimdor, Thrall's people forged powerful alliances with the native tauren and the Darkspear exiles. Concerned with the separatist Scourge, Kil'jaeden solicited the half-demonic Illidan into destroying the source of the Lich King's power. With the aid of his naga allies, who he had recalled from the Maelstrom, he succeeded in breaking at least some of the Lich King's power. Hounded by his night elf jailers and the seething blood elves, Illidan was unable to complete his task. Suffering under the effects of magical withdrawal, the blood elves were persuaded to enter into the ranks of the Illidari. With their help, Illidan toppled the regime of Magtheridon to become the new ruler of Outland.
The weakening of the Frozen Throne allowed some of the Scourge to regain their free will. Under the Banshee Queen Sylvanas Windrunner, these Forsaken managed to force the Legion-controlled undead from the ruins of Lordaeron and establish a stronghold beneath its streets. Arthas, meanwhile, fought a desperate battle in Northrend to save his master from the newly empowered lord of Outland, who under increasing threats from Kil'jaeden had taken up his quest to destroy the Lich King once more. Illidan failed and retreated to Outland, and Arthas was merged with the malicious spirit of the Lich King. Following the Third War, the political landscape of Azeroth changed greatly. The night elves joined the Alliance, and the Forsaken joined the New Horde. The remaining citizens of Lordaeron, broken by the Scourge, formed new regimes: the xenophobic and zealous Scarlet Crusade and the compassionate Argent Dawn. The orcish nation of Durotar was established in Kalimdor, as was human colony of Theramore. With the armies of the Horde and the Alliance decimated by the Third War, or occupied with the new conflict in Outland, the defense of their borders became the responsibility of small bands of heroes and adventurers.
After major threats in Silithus were neutralized by Horde and Alliance forces in the Qiraji War-Effort, the power-blocs once more formed a tentative alliance in response to the opening of the Dark Portal. The Horde formed an alliance of necessity with the blood elves, while the Alliance warily welcomed the draenei exiles into their ranks. The War in Outland was fought on multiple fronts and against numerous factions. The greatest threat was the Burning Legion, who, after their defeat on Hyjal were mobilizing their forces for yet another invasion of Azeroth, this time via Draenor. Illidan's hegemony in Outland proved short-lived. After losing the support of Kael'thas Sunstrider, whose addiction to fel energy led him to side with the Legion, the scattered coalition of nagas, fel orcs, and demons called the Illidari were defeated by Sha'tari and Azerothian forces. After the destruction of the Illidari and his own defeat, Kael'thas returned to Azeroth, where had restored his beloved Sunwell as a means of summoning his new master, Legionlord Kil'jaeden into the material world. To counter this, the opposing factions in Shattrath, the Aldor and Scryers, joined with the Blood Knights of Quel'Thalas. This Shattered Sun Offensive succeeded in disrupting the Legionlord's entry into Azeroth. After defending their major holdings from a Scourge incursion in Kalimdor and Azeroth, the Horde-Alliance blocs, emboldened by their conquest of Outland, launched a final joint offensive on the Scourge forces in Northrend.
Their efforts have been bolstered thanks to yet another internal rebellion against the Scourge by the Knights of the Ebon Blade. The Horde-Alliance entente ended with the crisis at the Wrathgate. The joint forces were routed at the gates to Icecrown when a separatist faction of Forsaken bombarded the living and dead alike with their new strain of blight.
At war once again, Alliance and Horde heroes now compete for glory throughout the northern lands: aiding the Kirin Tor of Dalaran in their fight against the blue dragonflight, protecting the Frostborn dwarves and giants from the corrupted Titanic Keepers of Ulduar, and joining the Argent Crusade in the final push against the Lich King and the Scourge.
Meanwhile, deep within Deepholm, the domain of earth in the Elemental Plane, the corrupted Dragon Aspect Deathwing waited, recovering from the wounds of his last battle against Azeroth and biding his time until he tries again to reforge the world in molten fire. His eruption from Deepholm massively damaged the world. The kingdoms of Azeroth witnessed seismic shifts in power, the kindling of a war of the elements, and the emergence of unlikely heroes who rose up to protect their scarred and broken world from utter devastation.
After the utter ending of Deathwing, the main antagonists of Azeroth like restless siblings the Alliance and the Horde have renewed their conflict for the land and resources of the planet. Mysteriously, the previously impenetrable mists covering the hidden continent of Pandaria have cleared and both factions now attempt to make allies and extend their reach to this newly discovered continent. Unfortunately, amidst their squabbling they have stirred a new menace that is powered by their aggressions. Will the planet's heroes heed the warning of the newly met pandaren and unite against this common enemy?