World of WarCraft History and Timeline
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
Released in November 1994 | PC / Mac Game
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
Released in December 1995 | PC / Mac Game
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
Released in April 1996 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
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
Released in July 2002 | PC / Mac Game
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
Released in July 2003 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
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
Released in November 2004 | PC / Mac Game
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.
Assault on Blackwing Lair
Released in July 2005 | World of Warcraft Patch 1.6
Deep within the fiery heart of Blackrock Mountain, the black dragon Nefarian conducted twisted experiments with the blood of other dragonflights. Intent on seizing the entire region for his own, he marshaled the remaining Dark Horde, a rogue army that embraced the demonic bloodlust of the old Horde. These corrupt orcs, trolls and other races battled against the Firelord Ragnaros and the shadowy Dark Iron dwarves for control of the smoldering mountain. Before he was vanquished by fearless heroes, Nefarian created the twisted chromatic dragons and a legion of other aberrations in his bid to form an army powerful enough to control Azeroth and continue the legacy of his infamous father, Deathwing the Destroyer.
Rise of the Blood God
Released in September 2005 | World of Warcraft Patch 1.7
Years ago, in the ruined temple of Atal’Hakkar, loyal priests of the Blood God Hakkar the Soulflayer attempted to summon the wrathful deity’s avatar into the world. But his followers, the Atal’ai priesthood, discovered that the Soulflayer could only be summoned within the Gurubashi tribe’s ancient capital, Zul’Gurub. Newly reborn in this jungle fortress, Hakkar took control of the Gurubashi tribe and mortal champions of the trolls’ mighty animal gods. The Soulflayer’s dark influence was barely halted when the wise Zandalari tribe recruited heroes from the Horde and the Alliance and staged an invasion of Zul’Gurub.
The Gates of Ahn’Qiraj
Released in January 2006 | World of Warcraft Patch 1.9
The great desert fortress of Ahn’Qiraj, long sealed behind the Scarab Wall, was home to the insectoid qiraji, a savage race that had once mounted an assault to devastate the continent of Kalimdor. But something far more sinister lurked behind Ahn’Qiraj’s walls: the Old God C’Thun, an ancient entity whose pervasive evil had suffused Azeroth since time immemorial. As C’Thun incited the qiraji to frenzy, both the Alliance and Horde prepared for a massive war effort. A mixed force of Alliance and Horde soldiers, dubbed the Might of Kalimdor, opened the gates of Ahn’Qiraj under the command of the indomitable orc Varok Saurfang. Their charge: lay siege to the ruins and temples of Ahn’Qiraj, and vanquish the terrors of ages past.
Shadow of the Necropolis
Released in June 2006 | World of Warcraft Patch 1.11
In the Lich King’s haste to spread the plague of undeath over Azeroth, he gifted one of his greatest servants, the lich Kel’Thuzad, with the flying citadel of Naxxramas, a horrific base of operations for the Scourge. Consistent attacks from the Scarlet Crusade and Argent Dawn factions weakened the defenses of the floating fortress, enabling an incursion that led to Kel’Thuzad’s defeat. However, a traitor among the ranks of the knightly order of the Argent Dawn absconded with Kel’Thuzad’s cursed remains and fled to Northrend, where the fallen lich could be reanimated.
The Burning Crusade
Released in January 2007 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
The Doom Lord Kazzak reopened the Dark Portal to Outland, flooding Azeroth with the ravenous demons of the Burning Legion. Expeditions from the Horde and Alliance, reinforced by their new blood elf and draenei allies, passed through the gateway to stop the invasion at its source. On Outland’s desiccated Hellfire Peninsula, the Alliance discovered several of their heroes who had crossed through the portal many years before, while the Horde made contact with the Mag’har – ‘uncorrupted’ orcs who had not participated in their race’s original invasion of Azeroth. The expedition into Outland dragged Horde and Alliance armies further into conflict with the agents of the Legion and the lieutenants of Illidan Stormrage, who had claimed the shattered realm for his own.
The Black Temple (The Burning Crusade)
Released in May 2007 | World of Warcraft Patch 2.1
In his quest to reign over all of Outland, Illidan the Betrayer had established a mighty stronghold for his forces within the Black Temple, a former draenei citadel. Yet his influence began to wane after the defeat of his most trusted lieutenants, including the traitorous former leader of the blood elves, Kael’thas Sunstrider. The resulting window of opportunity permitted Akama, an elder sage of devolved draenei known as the Broken, to rebel against the self-styled “Lord of Outland.” Along with Illidan’s former jailor, the stoic night elf Maiev Shadowsong, Akama helped a group of heroes infiltrate Illidan’s seat of power and put an end to the Betrayer’s reign once and for all.
The Gods of Zul’Aman (The Burning Crusade)
Released in November 2007 | World of Warcraft Patch 2.3
Following years of battles alongside the old Horde, the troll warlord Zul’jin retired to the city of Zul’Aman, capital of the Amani trolls, where he called upon mysterious dark powers to rebuild his army. While the eyes of Azeroth focused on the fight against the Burning Legion and the expedition to Outland, treasure-seekers invaded Zul’Aman, rekindling Zul’jin’s hatred of the outside world – particularly the high elves of Quel’Thalas. Upon hearing that these newly christened “blood elves” had become part of the Horde in his absence, the infuriated Zul’jin declared war on both Horde and Alliance.
Fury of the Sunwell (The Burning Crusade)
Released in November 2007 | World of Warcraft Patch 2.4
Fresh from his defeat in Outland, Kael’thas Sunstrider returned to the blood elf city of Silvermoon. Rather than lead his people to glory as he had promised, the disgraced prince betrayed them. Kael’thas plotted to use the legendary Sunwell, source of the blood elves’ magical power, to summon the demon lord Kil’jaeden into Azeroth. Aided by a joint task force of blood elves and draenei, the Shattered Sun Offensive, Horde and Alliance heroes narrowly stopped both Kael’thas and Kil’jaeden, purifying the Sunwell with the help of the draenei prophet Velen.
Wrath of the Lich King
Released in November 2008 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
In the wake of the Sunwell’s purification, a period of suspicious quiet had swept over the world. As if on cue, the undead Scourge launched a massive assault against the cities and towns of Azeroth, this time extending its reach far beyond the Eastern Kingdoms. Under pressure to respond with a full army, Warchief Thrall deployed an expedition force to Northrend led by Overlord Garrosh Hellscream. Meanwhile, the missing human king Varian Wrynn at last returned to Stormwind City and reclaimed his crown. He sent an equally powerful Alliance army, commanded by Bolvar Fordragon, to defeat the Lich King—and any Horde forces who would stand in their way.
Secrets of Ulduar (Wrath of the Lich King)
Released in April 2009 | World of Warcraft Patch 3.1
The march of Horde and Alliance armies through Northrend led to a number of victories, but these successes paled before a discovery made by the explorer Brann Bronzebeard within the ancient titan complex of Ulduar. This mysterious fortress had long served as the prison of the Old God Yogg-Saron, a being of unfathomable evil whose influence had spread into the continent of Northrend itself. With Brann’s assistance, small bands of Alliance and Horde champions infiltrated Ulduar to confront Yogg-Saron, who blasted the invaders with cryptic visions: the millennia-old creation of an artifact known as the Dragon Soul, the assassination of Stormwind’s King Llane, and a glimpse of the Lich King’s future.
Released in December 2010 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
The victorious Northrend expeditions returned home to find all of Azeroth shaken by erratic elemental forces. This unrest preceded the return of the maddened Dragon Aspect Deathwing the Destroyer, who erupted from his lair in the bowels of the Elemental Plane, shattering Azeroth in the process. With the elemental realms now open to the world, chaotic elemental spirits and their tyrannical lords emerged to help the Destroyer and the nihilistic Twilight’s Hammer cult bring about the Hour of Twilight: the end of all life on Azeroth.
Released in September 2012 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
With Deathwing’s menace ended, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream seized the opportunity to strike at the Alliance and expand the Horde’s territory on Kalimdor. His assault completely obliterated the human city of Theramore, causing world-wide violence between the factions to erupt anew. A destructive naval skirmish left Alliance and Horde forces washed ashore on the fog-shrouded island of Pandaria, which had appeared in the open sea, defying modern maps and charts. As both warring factions established footholds on the resource-rich continent, they made contact with the noble pandaren, one of its most prolific peoples. This ancient race worked with the Alliance and Horde in the hopes of dispersing the Sha: dark, ephemeral beings roused from beneath Pandaria by the bloody conflict.
Landfall (Mists of Pandaria)
Released in November 2012 | World of Warcraft Patch 5.1
The conflict between the Horde and the Alliance entered a bloody new chapter in Pandaria. As the two factions’ armies clashed on the shores of the continent, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream dispatched elite troops to find the Divine Bell—an ancient mogu artifact capable of endowing his soldiers with unimaginable power. Garrosh’s bold and reckless actions, however, had dire consequences for the Horde, including the outbreak of violence against the Darkspear trolls and the expulsion of the blood elves from the once-neutral mage city of Dalaran. Although Garrosh claimed the bell, Prince Anduin Wrynn and the Alliance secret agents of SI:7 closely tracked the warchief’s every move. On the highest peaks of Kun-Lai Summit, the brave prince thwarted Garrosh’s plans, leading to the fabled mogu artifact’s destruction.
The Thunder King (Mists of Pandaria)
Released in March 2013 | World of Warcraft Patch 5.2
While war between the Horde and the Alliance raged across Pandaria, the scattered mogu plotted a return to their terrible former glory. They rekindled their historical alliance with the Zandalari trolls, who managed to resurrect the tyrannical mogu emperor, Lei Shen the Thunder King, in the hopes of restoring mogu dominion over the continent. The valiant Shado-pan rushed to suppress their enemies, creating a task force, the Shado-pan Assault, originally composed of pandaren warriors and later supported by heroes of the Horde and Alliance. These fearless champions strove to defeat the Thunder King, though they also simultaneously served their factions’ interests on Pandaria. Jaina Proudmoore led the Kirin Tor Offensive on a quest to uncover the source of all mogu power (and keep it from the Horde), and Lor’themar Theron took the Sunreaver Onslaught in search of mighty mogu weaponry to aid a daring plan…an insurrection against Warchief Garrosh Hellscream.
Siege of Orgrimmar (Mists of Pandaria)
Released in September 2013 | World of Warcraft Patch 5.4
Orgrimmar, heart of orcish civilization on Azeroth, was set ablaze by revolution. When Warchief Garrosh Hellscream revived the heart of the Old God Y’shaarj to empower his army, he desecrated Pandaria’s sacred Vale of Eternal Blossoms. This affront, alongside Garrosh’s increasingly dangerous conquests, led Horde rebels and Alliance stalwarts to assail the great walls of Orgrimmar, hoping to dethrone the tyrant before he ravaged an entire world. Alongside Thrall, champions of the Horde and Alliance fought their way to the Warchief’s lair beneath the city, where the battle grew so desperate that Garrosh absorbed the energies of the Old God to halt his downfall. It was not enough. At the behest of King Varian Wrynn, a defeated Garrosh was brought to trial before the August Celestials of Pandaria – but the scars of his rule will bleed for some time.
Released in August 2016 | PC / Mac Expansion Set
Following the battle for Draenor, the deceitful Gul’dan found himself on Azeroth. Gul’dan, tormented by whispers of Kil’jaeden the Deceiver, opened the Tomb of Sargeras and with it a gateway for the Burning Legion to invade Azeroth. The warlock bent the denizens of the Broken Isles to his will, including the ancient nightborne city of Suramar and their leader, Grand Magistrix Elisande. The Alliance and the Horde assaulted the Broken Shore, hoping to preemptively stop Gul’dan and the Legion’s forces. Their efforts ultimately failed, costing High King Varian Wrynn and Warchief Vol’jin their lives. A desperate effort by Archmage Khadgar to unite the shattered factions ultimately resulted in the recovery of the Pillars of Creation, the only instruments capable of sealing the Tomb once more. As the dwellers of the Broken Isles are rescued from the Legion’s grasp, the forces of the Alliance and the Horde close in on The Nighthold—Gul’dan’s base of operations, poised to end the warlock’s menace once and for all…
Though Gul’dan was defeated at the Nighthold, and the heroes of the Alliance and the Horde recruited new allies to their cause—including Illidan Stormrage—the Legion’s menace was far from over. Kil’jaeden the Deceiver, one of Sargeras’ most trusted lieutenants, bolstered the Legion’s defenses at the Broken Shore, hoping to use the Tomb of Sargeras and the power within it to end all life on Azeroth. The Armies of Legionfall , a special force of Azeroth’s greatest heroes, fought their way into the Tomb–and found that the Deceiver had nearly accomplished his goal. Kil’jaeden transported the heroes to Argus, the fel-wrought Legion homeworld, intent on exterminating them all, but the Eredar Lord met his end at the hands of Khadgar, Velen, Illidan and Azeroth’s champions. To save those on Argus and to seize an opportunity to fight the Legion on his terms, Illidan did the unthinkable—he used a device known as the Sargerite Keystone to open a rift that brought the worlds of Argus and Azeroth together. The Alliance and the Horde are now at a crossroads. They must strike at Argus with all of their might, or risk destruction by the persistent threat of the Legion.