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Old 04-05-2013, 08:39 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Map Second War: Lore and Development

Dedicated to fans of the Warcraft III Night Elf Sentinels.
I was never interested in your lore or your world. But even I can see that,
for a very brief moment, you had a story of a people that pulled you in.
Let's not fight over the Ballista unit.


The Second War: Lore and Development



Contents (to be linked as completed)

Introduction (this post)
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (1995)
* Retcons to the World of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans
* Aftermath of the First War - What Made Canon?
* Act I: The Shores of Lordaeron, or Seas of Blood
** Missions 1: Hillsbrad, and Zul'dare

** Missions 2: Raid at Hillsbrad, and Ambush at Tarren Mill
** Missions 3: Southshore
** Missions 4: Assault on Hillsbrad, and Attack on Zul'dare
* Act II: Khaz Modan
** Missions 5: Tol Barad

** Missions 6: The Badlands, and Dun Algaz
** Missions 7: The Fall of Stromgarde, and Grim Batol
* Orc Act III: Quel 'Thalas
** Orc Mission 8: The Runestone at Caer Darrow
** Orc Mission 9: The Razing of Tyr's Hand

** Orc Mission 10: The Destruction of Stratholme
** Orc Mission 11: The Dead Rise as Quel'thalas Falls

* Human Act III: The Northlands
** Human Mission 8: Tyr's Hand

** Human Mission 9: The Battle at Darrowmere
** Human Mission 10: The Prisoners

** Human Mission 11: Betrayal and the Destruction of Alterac
* Orc Act IV: Tides of Darkness
* Human Act IV: Return to Azeroth
Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal (1996)
* Aftermath of the Second War - What Made Canon?
* Orc Act I: Draenor, The Red World
* Human Act I: A Time for Heroes, and Orc Act II: The Burning of Azeroth
* Human Act II: Draenor, The Red World
* Orc Act III: The Great Sea
* Human Act III: War in the Shadows
* Orc Act IV: Prelude to New Worlds
* Human Act IV: The Measure of Valor
The Borderlore (impact on the Second War)
* Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans (1998, almost)
* Of Blood and Honor (2001)
* Day of the Dragon (2001)
* Lord of the Clans (2001)
* The Last Guardian (2001)
The World of Warcraft III (impact on the Second War)
* Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos (2002) and The Frozen Throne (2003)
* Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game (2003-2008) and World of Warcraft (2004-Present)
* Rise of the Horde (2006)
World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness (2007)
* (chapters to be subdivided later)
World of Warcraft: Beyond the Dark Portal (2008)
* (chapters to be subdivided later)
Closing Thoughts





Introduction
What is this thread? Well, think of it as a BaronGrackle "Let's Play" of Warcraft II. Except without the bothersome gameplay, since Grackle isn't a good gamer and doesn't have recording equipment. Also, it's more about the Second War than Warcraft II itself, a review of the sources that have shaped this event over the franchise's history... through depictions from the game and expansion themselves, the first Warcraft novels, Warcraft III, early World of Warcraft and the RPG, the Rosenberg-Golden novels, and any other modern considerations. I am not an expert on Warcraft, but I am disturbingly obsessed with this time period. It's much the same way that an American Civil War historian has less interest in ancient Sumeria, or in the Cold War détente. Of course, most of you already know this.

Most of you also know my biases here, how I naturally frown on retcons to this video game from my childhood. But, hopefully, you may find my glasses only have a tiny bit of rose tinting. There were numerous inconsistencies, question marks, and poor story decisions from the RTS games, and I consider some of the retcons from later works to be improvements.

Above all, I just love talking about this war. So please comment if you fancy, especially if you want to question my interpretation or memory. My findings are often biased and flawed; plus, I've learned things about Warcraft II that I never knew before finding Scrolls of Lore or Wowpedia, so it won't be a huge shocker to discover that I have other blind spots. And regardless, thanks for reading.

for I am BaronGrackle...
I am retrowhine incarnate.
I will not be denied.

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:09 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Medivh Earliest Retcons

Applicable Resources
Human story - Lothar's account
Human units
Orc story - Garona's account
Orc units
Other units
Mission briefings
Warcraft II full manual

Retcons to the World of Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

There is a certain appealing mystique to the First War. Some events from the original Warcraft have been set in stone, some have been definitively retconned, and some are in a dubious state of attempted retcon so that it's difficult to determine which lore is still valid. We'll get more into that when we cover The Last Guardian.


I'll be the first to admit that Warcraft II killed some beautiful lore from Warcraft. For me, the most regrettable loss was the three class-based subfaction balance of the Orcs, which at the time was described as three "clans": warlocks, necrolytes, and warriors (the latter of course having the most unit variety and presumably, further subfactional divisions). There was no historical or cultural connection between warlock magic and necromancy--no more than the connection between the Human Clerics (holy light) and Conjurers (arcane). Politically, the warlocks were the true heroes of the orcs at this time. Whereas the warrior orcs fell into civil war in the absence of a common enemy, and the necrolytes were content to have the dead pile up, it was only the warlocks who were far-sighted enough to see that this self-bloodshed was destroying the orcish people. In the language of environmentalism, the orcs were out of a critical natural resource. And it was the warlocks, not the necrolytes, who actively sought a solution.

In Warcraft II these two castes are retconned as branches from the same tree: Gul'dan. We're used to thinking of shamanism as the original orc cultural magic, with warlockery introduced by Kil'jaeden. Yet when the concept of shamans was introduced in Warcraft II, the relationship between them and the warlocks is extremely vague. Ner'zhul is briefly mentioned as a tribal shaman and as Gul'dan's teacher, and then a few sentences later Gul'dan claims to have become the greatest warlock the clans had seen in generations. But we'll talk more about shamanism when we get to the Dragonmaw and the Shadowmoon. Suffice to say for now, all three orc magical titles (shaman, warlock, necrolyte) had some relation to exploring the Twisting Nether.

Regardless, the point is that warlocks were historical and mainstream in this version of the Horde. Then Gul'dan made contact with Kil'jaeden and learned a powerful new magic: necromancy. And thus Gul'dan taught the secrets of the dead to his select clique of warlocks, which he shaped into the Shadow Council. He then set up a school for necrolytes. And what was the difference between necrolytes and warlocks-with-necromancy? The lore was unclear here, though we see that there was some difference during the forming of the Death Knights. More on that later. Any which way, the distinction that Warcraft set between these two magical classes was shattered by Gul'dan and Kil'jaeden's introduction to the franchise. I consider this the greatest sin that Warcraft II committed against the lore of the original game, in that it made the world a little smaller with no real payoff.


In terms of storyline, perhaps the most significant change Warcraft II brought was the relationship between Medivh and the orcs. In Warcraft, Medivh created the rift accidentally while battling his father during his historic outburst. The orc warlocks discovered this rift on their own initiative, leaping at the answer to their people's resource crisis and expanding the rift into a proper Portal. There is an attractive quality to this version--the idea of chaos being inadvertently released, of a villainous megalomaniac (Medivh) reaching too far and accidentally unleashing an entity that threatens to overwhelm him alongside his enemies (we'll see this theme return in later works, with summoned daemons instead of summoned orcs), and upon learning of his mistake, fortifying his own position and allowing the two forces to destroy each other. At least, until Azeroth struck to take him down anyway, not willing to risk Medivh recovering full power after the battle with his mother. Plus, it also depicts the orcs as remarkably independent.

In Warcraft II, Medivh is established to be in league with the orcs through Gul'dan. And I'm not saying this retcon is "better" than the Warcraft version, but it does add an entertaining element. This lore change (which more or less endures today, despite the clarification of Sargeras being a responsible party) establishes that the first example of a Human and Orc cooperating together was between Medivh and Gul'dan. If only humans and orcs today could follow their example of collaboration and brotherhood, right?

The villains' motivations aren't very complex. Medivh, already at the apex of magical power, wants an ally/weapon to gain him military-political strength by destroying the Kingdom of Azeroth--the only force that he thinks could physically stop him. And how right he was. Gul'dan, in turn, seeks to climb the magical totem pole. Feeling he has learned enough from the Daemon Kil'jaeden, he is ready to consume directly from a much more powerful source: the Tomb of Sargeras. Gul'dan's own words describe his goal the best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gul'dan
Within me an unfathomable lust was sewn - a desire to wield the fury of ethereal storms and to stand unscathed within the dying hearts of burning suns.
Really, it's a little more awe-inspiring if you don't think in terms of artifact macguffins like an "Eye" or a "Jeweled Scepter" and more in line with direct arcane absorption. Also consider... though this is a potentially contentious and debatable point... but at this time in lore, Sargeras was not quite as "titanic" a character as he is now. In a sense, he seems a Daemonlord on the level of Archimonde's or Kil'jaeden's current depiction--imposing, but realistically beatable or perhaps even killable--as Aegwyn did in fact defeat Sargeras legitimately, per my interpretation. We'll revisit this also at The Last Guardian.

But likewise, that bumps Kil'jaeden to a standard daemon, albeit one important enough to be named, knowledgeable enough to reveal to Gul'dan a new realm of understanding the aspects of the Twisting Nether, but still lacking enough to flee at the mentioning of Medivh--son of mighty Sargeras's slayer, who was passed his mother's power and knowledge, including the location of Sargeras's tomb. And again, it is debatable; one could easily argue that Blizzard already considered Medivh possessed by Sargeras as evidenced by his dramatic coma, and Kil'jaeden merely recognized this. I don't ascribe to the theory, but I can see how others might.


One final possible retcon we'll explore in this post is the length of the first phase of the First War, or the leadup to the First War, depending on whether you mark the start the First War at the opening of the Portal and first raids, or the first attack on Stormwind Keep and acknowledgement by Azeroth's king, or the ascension of Blackhand and start of the Warcraft campaign missions. In the Warcraft manual, Lothar's account gives us the only timeline we'll have until the modern era. In the Warcraft II manual, Aegwyn's account actually verifies some of these years (559 for Medivh's birth and 583 for the Portal's opening) and "corrects" one (Medivh's age of ascension at age thirteen; the Warcraft timeline marked Medivh's ascension twelve years after his birth while marking Llane's ascension thirteen years after his), but it leaves uncertainty on the length of the actual fighting.

From the Warcraft manual, Garona's account lists 15 years between the first attack on Stormwind Keep and the rise of Blackhand. Lothar's timeline seems to mark 10 years between these same events but (as has been pointed out to me in a recent discussion here) may instead simply mark 10 years from the Stormwind attack to the visit from Medivh's mother, leaving room for a further 5 year gap to Blackhand's reign. Now, in Warcraft II, Aegwyn's account simply states:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegwyn
The arrival of Gul'dan and the Horde War Chief Blackhand heralded a war that tore the realm of Azeroth asunder for nearly five years.
There are two main interpretations of this text. Either:

1) The Warcraft campaign events alone lasted 5 years, tacked onto the 10-15 years after First Stormwind (a maximum of 30 years of conflict), or

2) The large time span had a flat retcon, lasting only 5 years total.


At this point in lore development, it is difficult to determine Blizzard's intentions. Personally, I think it was a straight retcon. Let me tell you why.

In Warcraft, we didn't have very many characters set in place, and those established could foreseeably been on the scene for 10-15 years. Medivh is easily believable as timeless, Lothar could have started as a young adult and aged from there, Garona could have matured to adulthood as the long war progressed, Llane specifically did grow into his adulthood during this time (with a presumed year of regency for him to grow old enough to succeed his fallen father), and Blackhand didn't take the stage until at least a decade in. The latter two examples are particularly notable; we see that both King Llane and Warchief Blackhand gained their respective leaderships after the warfare had begun, and they both died before it ended--in both endings, no less. We can see this First War not as an event for a single set of leaders, but as a generational conflict. Not only would many die in this war, but many would be born in it and have it ingrained on their earliest memories as the only reality they've known.


In real history, we've had medieval wars that spanned these lengths and greater, sometimes named for the number of decades they lasted, fought in phases with different kings and leaders coming and leaving before the conflicts had run their toll.

With Warcraft II, in contrast, we take a step closer to individuals getting a fuller limelight. We now have Gul'dan, Cho'gall, and Kilrogg Deadeye as confirmed leaders through the full length of events. We further have implication that each Alliance king or leader has reigned since before the events of the First War--specifically so with Proudmoore, who is said to be a personal friend of Lothar. Therefore, my speculation is that this was a retcon of the First War's length, done to make room for a variety of fully veteran leaders--of characters--to assert themselves as iconic figures and "legends of the land", as the Warcraft II manual puts it.

Or, maybe, they just thought 10-20 years was way too long. Who knows.


EDIT: I have double-posted. If that's a problem, the thread can be moved to the fanfiction area.

Next: Aftermath of the First War

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 08:12 AM..
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:34 AM
HoodedMan HoodedMan is offline

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Now this is the reason why I absolutely love this forum.

You should put a link in your sig or something

Anyways, haven't even finished the 2nd post, but can't wait how this will all be completed.
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:16 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Grunt Aftermath of the First War

Aftermath of the First War - What Made Canon?


People more familiar with RTS games like Warcraft III or Starcraft, or even Age of Empires, will be accustomed to a progressive storyline. Every campaign mission is part of the story--it's all lore. Earlier RTS games, however, had competitive storylines. The different campaigns occupied the same space in time, such that it was impossible for both to be completely canon. This was the case with Dune, with Command and Conquer, and with Warcraft. For any given game, the "canon" campaign is generally left open to interpretation... until a sequel comes out. But with a sequel, one of the factions is declared winner from the previous game so that the story can continue.

When Warcraft II verified an orcish victory, it became safe to assume that every Orc mission was canon unless we were told otherwise. The Human missions, on the other hand, were less reliable. Only two of them were specifically verified: the rescue of Lothar from the Dead Mines (Human 4), and the assassination of Medivh (Human 8). Entertainingly, these were both dungeon missions. Also verified is Garona's assassination of King Llane--present in the Human storyline alone, while the Orc storyline had Llane unceremoniously gutted by "Doomhammer" and tossed into a moat.

And of course, when marking the canonicity of the Orc campaign, one of the most pivotal moments is the coup against Blackhand (Orc 7), which was retcon-reshaped so that the Shadow Council is purged instead of supporting the new warchief. Let's take a look at these mission titles, stacked together.

1. The Swamps of Sorrow / Regent
2. The Borderlands / Grand Hamlet
3. Grand Hamlet / Kyross

4. The Dead Mines [Dungeon: Killing Griselda] / The Dead Mines [Dungeon: Saving Lothar]

5. The Red Ridge Mountains / The Forest of Elwynn
6. Sunnyglade / Northshire Abbey
7. The Black Morass [Betraying Blackhand] / Sunnyglade

8. Northshire Abbey [Dungeon: Saving Garona] / Medivh [Dungeon: Killing him]

9. Northern Elwynn Forest / The Black Morass
10. The Center of the Human Lands / The Temple of the Damned
11. Goldshire and Moonbrook / Rockard and Stonard
12. Stormwind Keep / Black Rock Spire


Note that, with a few exceptions, Warcraft's missions are less diametrically opposed than one might think. Note how Humans defend Grand Hamlet in Mission 2, while Orcs destroy Grand Hamlet in Mission 3. Humans put down a traitorous rebellion at Northshire Abbey in Mission 6, while Orcs rescue Garona from the Abbey in Mission 8. The Orcs tear apart Sunnyglade and study its mysterious Conjurer Tower in Mission 6, while the Humans liberate a camp of imprisoned Sunnyglade peasantry in Mission 7. You can see how, even though the Human campaign is not canon, it could be very possible to weave a cohesive whole of the missions together.

That is precisely what Robertsbos did in this fantastic post:
~~The First War - Unretconned and lore-friendly~~

If you're wasting time by reading my mindless ramblings, then there's no reason why you shouldn't read that superior narrative I just linked.


The overall point is, there is a wide range of possibilities for how this war played out. The range ends in two points I call "Total Victory" and "Marginal Victory". The link right above describes a Marginal Victory interpretation of the First War: almost every Human mission is said to have occurred (even Rockard, with plans for Blackrock Spire foiled only by Medivh's betrayal). This interpretation has the advantages of faction balance (with both sides having about equal victories) and inclusiveness (you can treat most missions as part of the storyline).

My map at the top of this post shows the Total Victory interpretation: it assumes a Human mission never happened unless it gets verified in later lore. The only real benefit to this interpretation is that it presents the Orcish victory as an unstoppable force, with the Human defenders having no real hope of fighting them back... thus making the situation in the future game seem more dire. For me, still, I prefer to think the Human missions are canon up to Medivh's assassination. If true, this would exclude the final four Human levels from canon events.

But really, Blizzard to this day hasn't clarified many events from the First War, so it's anyone's guess. And a part of me actually prefers it that way.

If you haven't done so already, consider the Human and Orc endings for this game. We have some insight on what to expect in the next wars . . .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcraft Human Ending
The duty of ruling Azeroth is an awesome responsibility, and should prove to be your greatest challenge yet. Learning the intricacies of court politics alone will be like sailing in uncharted waters. King Llane was renowned for ruling with a fair and just hand, and you resolve to be as proficient as he was. There is also the matter of discovering the exact location of where the Orcish hordes entered into this world, and divining a way to end the threat of another invasion forever - but that is a story for another time...
Singular Alliance goal in Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcraft Orc Ending
What new conquests will await you in this place? The Shadow Council has begun to bring you information concerning the lands across the great sea that are as yet untouched by Orcish rule. The Warlocks also seek your permission to resume their experiments with the portal, their intent being the subjugation of other worlds. With the power you now possess your choices are limitless - but these are choices for another time...
Horde goals in Tides of Darkness and in Beyond the Dark Portal, respectively.

Pretty neat, huh?


Commanders and Player Characters
Out of all the Player Character commanders in these early Warcraft games, the Warcraft Orc commander is the only one most fans are comfortable identifying (as Orgrim Doomhammer), since Doomhammer did in fact become the orcs' new warchief. The Human player (identified as a Regent over a small parcel of land in the Moonbrook area) is often assumed to be an unknown individual killed in the war, or is identified as Lothar, or is seen as a combination of the two (since it's hard to imagine Lothar saving himself from the Dead Mines).


Current Timeline?

We touched on the mercurial timeline in the last post. Well now, at the beginning of Warcraft II, we get this bit of information in the intro:


Six Years between the wars. Well, here are some possible timelines based on that, each starting at 583 for the Portal's opening:

Lothar and Garona version
583 (0) The Dark Portal is opened
593 (10 ADP) Aegwyn Visits the Court of King Llane, warning of Medivh
598 (15 ADP) Blackhand becomes warchief; First War begins
603 (20 ADP) Stormwind Keep falls
609 (26 ADP) Second War begins

Lothar without Garona version
583 (0) The Dark Portal is opened
593 (10 ADP) Blackhand becomes warchief; First War begins
598 (15 ADP) Stormwind Keep falls
604 (21 ADP) Second War begins

Warcraft II flat retcon (6 year interwar)
583 (0) The Dark Portal is opened; First War begins
588 (5 ADP) Stormwind Keep falls
594 (11 ADP) Second War begins

Warcraft II flat retcon ("6 years have passed" = 5 year war + 1 year peace)
583 (0) The Dark Portal is opened; First War begins
588 (5 ADP) Stormwind Keep falls
589 (6 ADP) Second War begins


You might think that last one is a stretch. But, it ought to look awfully familiar to us nowadays.

Okay. Enough backstory. As soon as I work out some pixels on a map, we'll get into the actual war.

Next: Hillsbrad and Zul'dare

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 09:20 AM..
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Old 04-08-2013, 10:50 PM
CoDimus the Staunch CoDimus the Staunch is offline

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Nice work, Grackle.
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Old 04-08-2013, 11:08 PM
Cemotucu Cemotucu is offline

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Amazing work, Baron. ^^ Waiting for moar.
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Old 04-11-2013, 11:19 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Neutral Building Hillsbrad and Zul'dare

The world of Azeroth, at the end of the First War.



The yellow buildings represent an alignment possibly separate from the Seven Kingdoms. Yellow Blacksmiths represent dwarven settlements, and the yellow Elven Lumber Mill represents the heartland of Quel'thalas. Yellow Town Halls represent settlements of vague or unknown sovereignty--they might be human or elven, they might belong to one of the Seven Kingdoms, they might be independent or semi-independent. We'll discuss each as we come to them.

Now let's skip ahead six years or so.


~ ~ ~

Act I: The Shores of Lordaeron, or Seas of Blood


The Human and Orc Act I missions have a tutorial feel to them, and they mirror each other almost perfectly. Both campaigns involve founding a basic base, rescuing a potential ally, building a naval base, then promptly destroying the base built by the other faction. Evidence suggests that most if not all of these missions were considered canon, along with the razing of Southshore (an event not represented by any mission but described in the briefing to Human Mission 5).

~ ~ ~

Alliance Mission 1: Hillsbrad
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQDDS...371ADFA7386DA1

The refugees from Azeroth landed in the Southshore region of Lordaeron, and King Terenas allowed them to settle along the kingdom's southern coast. At this time, the Horde had already begun its invasion of Khaz Modan, though lore is unclear on whether they've conquered the continent yet. We can presume Lothar was commanding Alliance forces on that eastern front, since he is not the one issuing orders to you--instead, it is King Terenas who orders the military post built at Hillsbrad. The base is a response to increasing orcish raids on the coastline, and the well-founded fear that they could develop into a full-fledged amphibious assault that could lead to Lordaeron City itself. Note that a defensible center at Hillsbrad guards the quick path to Dalaran, as well.

According to the Official Strategy Guide (which, granted, should be taken with a grain of salt), there was no town of Hillsbrad at this time. Instead, there was a large stone mansion and farm, home to a local lord and his servants. The lord generously offered these buildings and his servants to the Alliance cause (or perhaps he knew it would be requisitioned anyway?), the latter being converted to a town hall. Hillsbrad was taking shape into a center for providing information, food, and quartering for soldiers protecting the area from raids. Indeed, an exploratory force would have found a small number of orcish grunts in the area--but no trolls, unlike the way the equivalent orcish mission includes elven enemies. This could indicate that the orcish-troll union was less intuitive or chronologically later than the human-elven counterpart.

~ ~ ~

Horde Mission 1: Zul'dare
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FftNP...4609E8DC345DB2

The primary and most effective wing of the Horde assault pushed northward by land, invading through Khaz Modan toward southeastern continental Lordaeron, which is today called Arathi. But simultaneously, the newly-constructed Horde fleet branched out to establish bases in the Great Sea.

The orcs' primary naval base was at Crestfall, which they somehow managed to keep hidden from the navy of Kul Tiras. As the bulk of the war passes without focus on the Great Sea, one can only speculate on the nature of any battles between Kul Tiras on one side and the Blackrock and Stormreaver fleets on the other--for the Stormreavers had spread from their fief in Stormwind to the western island of Balor, with both locations likely serving as launching points in Gul'dan's search for the Tomb of Sargeras. This being because Gul'dan had only gained a partial location of the Tomb from Medivh, before the wizard was slain and the warlock was thrust into his coma. It is likely the searchers would have encountered Tirasian patrols along the way, though this isn't verified.

But the first orc mission is north of Crestfall, on the island of Zul'dare. Zul'dare would become the staging ground for a Horde assault on Lordaeron's shores which, if successful, would leave the orcs in marching distance of Lordaeron's capital--while the bulk of the Alliance's armies were deployed east at Khaz Modan.

According to the possibly apocryphal Official Strategy Guide, the orcs did not actually build Zul'dare from the ground up. It had in fact been a human base that they seized and converted for their own purposes. Yet, let's also note that the name "Zul'dare" simply sounds like it could have orcish or troll origins, even if the geographic island had been inhabited by humans beforehand.

After taking control, the orcs found themselves cut from supplies and reliant on their own devices for food and resources. Thus, an injured Grunt was beaten to submission and conscripted to Peon work. (This gives us a glimpse into how unstable orcish classes were; anyone who showed weakness was apparently vulnerable to take a dive in prestige for the good of the Horde.)

Upon exploration, these Blackrocks would discover a token amount of human forces--as well as some elven archers. It is not clear if this indicates the elves had joined the Alliance so early, or that they were investigating the area independently.

~ ~

One more thing. I might be getting ahead of myself here, but wowpedia says that some source attributes Zul'dare's ownership to Gilneas. I'm not sure of the citation... RPG info? Anyway, that would open a realm of possibilities if true. Remember that the Warcraft II manual tells us that Gilneas refused to join the Alliance (at least at the moment the Alliance was founded), with the game never showing us those black Gilnean forces in battle, making them the only nation or clan without screentime. Yet the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion manual asserted that Gilneas had been Alliance members during the war. This might have been a straight retcon, or it could be interpreted that Gilneas only refused to join the Alliance initially, changing its mind after the war had begun. With this interpretation, combined with the Official Strategy Guide's info (of the Horde taking over a human base at Zul'dare) along with the RPG info (of Zul'dare being Gilneas's possession), it may have been possible that the events at Zul'dare catalyzed Greymane into a state of war with the Horde separate from the Alliance--with Alliance entry coming later. Again, this speculation is based on information from apocryphal sources and before more current sources established that Gilneas joined the Alliance from its inception... but that's modern, modern modern! We're not supposed to be dwelling there.

Suffice to say, I once had an argument with one of you here about whether we could guess that Gilneas was waging its own war against the Horde in Warcraft II, despite us not seeing anything about such campaigning in the game itself. I argued against the idea--now, I've come around and changed my mind. Even in the old lore, we found out that a lot of things happened off-screen... the Alliance campaign never saw the Runestone get taken or Dalaran get ravaged, and neither campaign saw Southshore burn. When Day of the Dragon told us orcs had reached Northrend, was that an impossibility in the old lore, even though we hadn't seen it or heard of such a place? Nah. As stubborn and pigheaded as I am, nowadays I think I was wrong on that point.

I think Mission 1 is enough for now. Let's look at the speculative campaign map.

~ ~ ~

The map below is my idea of how the world changed between the end of the First War, and the beginning of the Second. Doomhammer has given domains from conquered Azeroth to the Black Tooth Grin, Stormreaver, and Twilight's Hammer Clans. These locations are all high in prestige--Stormwind, Northshire, and the Dark Portal itself in the Black Morass... but could one argue that they lack strategic value, in Doomhammer's mind? Maybe?

The Horde has had six years to push into the heart of Khaz Modan, and I believe Ironforge and Grim Batol would have fallen by now--their lands secured by the Bleeding Hollow and Dragonmaw Clans, as the instruction manuel informs us.

The Stormreaver have built a secondary base on the island of Balor, from which I imagine Gul'dan openly sends ships to harass the naval power Kul Tiras--while secretly continuing his search for the Tomb of Sargeras, which he knows is somewhere nearby. Doomhammer's Blackrock have likewise seized the naval initiative by constructing a base at Crestfall, on Kul Tiras's doorstep.

The sword-and-axe battle icons represent what I imagine are the heaviest levels of fighting during this phase of the war. The front in Khaz Modan is going on its sixth year of conflict, the Dwarves desperately fighting to hold Dun Algaz while Stromgarde and the human kingdoms must make an important decision: reinforce the Dwarves immediately, or use what forces they can to secure the crossing at Thandol?

In the Great Sea, I have battle icons for the Horde's seizure of Zul'dare and the light raids along the coast near Hillsbrad. The battle icon near Kul Tiras represents the fighting that (so I speculate) would be inevitable from a newly-powerful Horde navy flexing its muscles and keeping the Crestfall base a secret. I imagine that at this point, warships stationed in Kul Tiras have a difficult time approaching the Horde fleets, but they are likewise secure enough so that an orcish assault on the island kingdom would be impractical.




Next: The Elves and the Trolls

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:43 PM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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I don't think you should flag Tyr's Hand as Quel'Thalas on the map just because it was in the "Quel'Thalas" Act.

The mission was about you suppressing a rebellion of human peasants as the Lordaeronian army. I thiiiink that's better proof - "Khaz Modan" areas were not all in Khaz Modan either.
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Old 04-11-2013, 04:50 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Originally Posted by Kir the Wizard View Post
I don't think you should flag Tyr's Hand as Quel'Thalas on the map just because it was in the "Quel'Thalas" Act.

The mission was about you suppressing a rebellion of human peasants as the Lordaeronian army. I thiiiink that's better proof - "Khaz Modan" areas were not all in Khaz Modan either.
I didn't put a key on the map, and twas my downfall.

I just used Yellow as a "neutral" or "unclear" color; only the Elven Lumber Mill is definitively Elven - for the generic and vague "Quel'thalas" level. The yellow Town Halls in Tyr's Hand and Stratholme represent more of an uncertainty over ownership - and technically I should've stuck one on Caer Darrow, if it didn't have the Runestone hogging the space. When we get to those missions, I'll mention the question of whether they could have been independent little duchy things (like Tol Barad eventually gets confirmed as in Day of the Dragon) or part of another kingdom like Lordaeron, which they eventually do get verified as. And there's the whole talk about how "Azeroth blue" could represent united Alliance forces vs. Azeroth itself vs. Quel'thalas.

EDIT: I also think an argument could be made that Tyr's Hand was originally part of Stromgarde, since Orc Level 9 has Stromgarde controlling it.


As for the Khaz Modan areas, the only reason I was comfortable marking Dun Modr with my Dwarf-representing Blacksmith is because Human 5 calls it "the ruins of the ancient Dwarven city of Dun Modr". Though looking at that wording, perhaps it'd be better to put nothing there until the Horde gets it, since it's only ruins. What do you think? Empty Dun Modr, until the Horde reaches it?

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Old 04-12-2013, 12:05 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Nah, it helps to show off its dwarven origins.
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Old 04-16-2013, 09:41 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Lumber The Elves and the Trolls

Shortly after the Horde reaches Lordaeron's shoreline, circumstances will lead the Elves and Trolls to enter the war against each other. The Elves have been on fair terms with humanity for a long time; their alliance is a natural one. Also natural is the turning of the trolls to the orcs, becoming the first native race of Azeroth to join the Horde. In a sense, this war merely intensifies the conflict between trolls and their neighboring races, which has existed for generations.



Orc Mission 2: Raid at Hillsbrad
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbcixmRtrWo

The second orc mission is the rescue of Zuljin (now called "Zul'jin"), leader of the trolls. It seems that somehow, Zuljin and a band of his warriors were captured and were being held near the new Alliance settlement at Hillsbrad. The orcs promptly rescue these trolls and return them to their village--which is apparently nearby to the west. Unlike the human counterpart mission, the orc player begins with only orc Grunt forces, again perhaps in testament to the orcish-troll cooperation being less inevitable than the human-elven one.

It is interesting that the trolls are given a leader NPC in Zuljin, while the Elves in the counterpart human mission have no such unit. Perhaps more interesting is that, in the lore of Warcraft II, the trolls are presented as the most sympathetic member race. The orcs--they are the proud barbarians, the glorious conquering warriors. The ogres are their brawny neighbors and allies. The goblins are intuitively destructive and insane. The undead are a supernatural consequence of the orcs' necromancy.

But the trolls? Yes, they are described as savage--but that's not why they join the Horde. The game manual tells us that Zuljin initially declined joining the Horde, that band of alien invaders. He joins now because tensions with the elves convince him that "only an alliance with the Orcs will save his people". But the manual's description for the Troll Axethrower describes the situation best:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troll Axethrower description
The Trolls of Lordaeron have suffered ages of attrition at the hands of the Humans, Dwarves, and Elves. The appearance of the Orcish Horde has given them the opportunity to ally themselves with kindred spirits with whom they can seek revenge upon their many enemies.
And we are likewise reminded that the leader of Stromgarde, Thoras Trollbane, carries a family name that indicates an active participation in these "ages of attrition". It's not that the trolls are wicked or innocent... it's that they had no friends and were on the brink of extinction, until the orcs dropped into the world and began destroying their historical enemies.

~ ~ ~

Human Mission 2: Ambush at Tarren Mill
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lvfWRS5LBow

The second human mission shows that Horde raiders have covered a wide stretch. The orcs--now with troll allies--ambush an elven scouting party from Silvermoon passing through the Alterac grasslands. The Alliance garrison is eager to rescue these elves, and Silvermoon is eager as well, sending not only archers but also a couple of Elven Destroyers. The elves are liberated, and Silvermoon promptly joins the Alliance.

Some things to consider. First, apart from a terse mention in the game manual, this is the only time "Silvermoon" is ever described in Warcraft II. Not anywhere else in the manual, nowhere on the maps, not in any future missions. Second, we are later told that this incident was the first act of Alterac's betrayal--Perenolde informed the Horde of the elves' movements, allowing the orcs to coordinate an ambush. One might consider this a silly decision for Perenolde and the Horde to make, since it cemented the union between humans and elves. On the other hand, considering the elven presence already on Zul'dare (and especially if this takes place after Zuljin's capture), perhaps such a union was already a de facto reality.

This level and the previous one are both satisfying to play, but they're strangely curious when combined into a single lore. Is it really the case that the orcs rescued a captured troll party AND the humans rescued a captured elven party, at about the same time in the war, and that both of these rescues resulted in the trolls and elves joining their respective sides? The mirrored levels make more sense when the Alliance and Horde are each building a separate base, or when they are each raiding a separate base, but this level of mirrored events strikes on the improbable.

That's why I sometimes feel that, while other events in Act I feel as if they could easily occur simultaneously, these rescue of the elves/trolls events feel mutually exclusive. One race joins the war through being rescued, while the other race joins the other side in a more natural and boring way.

Which is sad, considering both levels are enjoyable in atmosphere... the Horde's version has one of the game's few leader NPCs, while the Alliance's version is subtly linked to a major event of the third act.

Later, we'll see how modern lore resolves the situation.



(Note: I've edited this and earlier maps to show a settlement on Caer Darrow, with the Runestone separated. I've also added text at the beginning of the last post to describe the meaning of Yellow Town Halls, Yellow Blacksmiths, and the Yellow Elven Lumber Mill.)

Next: Southshore

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Old 04-16-2013, 11:10 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Oil Southshore

Next we see a new phase of naval buildup in the Southshore region. At the bottom of this post, you'll see that I've speculated an interpretation that this buildup was accompanied by similar buildups in other Alliance and Horde locations.



Human Mission 3: Southshore
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63XW1LIbYl0

As established earlier, the refugees from Azeroth landed in the Southshore region, where Terenas allowed them to settle. This mission sees Southshore grow from its prewar beginnings into a basic naval base. We are also introduced to a new valuable resource: oil. Wait a second. Oil?

The lore was never clear on exactly why oil was necessary for every warship. Viable theories are that it was used for waterproofing, a sort of tar. The Gnomish Submarine undoubtedly used oil as an actual fuel source, which could open the chance possibility that other ships may have a small need for fuel, despite visible sails deeming this counterintuitive.

We see that Southshore is near some sort of Horde naval base--without a Great Hall but with oil tankers and a refinery. It is unknown whether this is meant to represent the Horde base described in Orc Mission 3 or not.

Note that the mission briefing directly mentions your Elven Destroyers, attributing their presence to a Human-Elven alliance after the previous mission. At this moment, on this front of battle, Alliance and Horde warships are exclusively Elven and Troll. With this is the natural conclusion that Elves and Trolls both had access to cannon technology (which the introduction informs us was invented by Dwarves). With the absence of cannon during the First War, it is unknown whether this is a recent Dwarven discovery or if it was simply withheld from certain nations such as Azeroth. Though speculative, one could imagine that a Horde blitz through Khaz Modan might have resulted in the OPENING of Dwarven and Gnomish technology to the outside world--to the Alliance nations/races out of a need to bolster the allies' effectiveness, and to the Horde clans/tribes as the spoils of conquest. For all we know, prior to this point in history, perhaps elven/troll/human/orcish naval warfare consisted of firing arrows and axes at each other before boarding.

These are little intricacies of lore exploration which may or may not be valid, depending on whether modern lore depicts the non-dwarven races as having gunpowder and cannon before the Second War. I honestly don't know.

And while we're on the topic--the introduction to Warcraft II also credits the Alliance as taking up "Elven steel and mail". This indicates that the Elves either invented steel weapons and chain mail, or they had developed the most effective version of it by the time of the Second War. Which would mean that the Human Footman himself is an example of human-elven collaboration.

~ ~ ~

Orc Mission 3: Southshore
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGMiQ4HB1eE

The Horde's first naval mission is not far away from its human counterpart, specifically near Southshore on a tiny unnamed island. There's no indication that this base is located back on Zul'dare; the natural inference is that this is one of numerous islets off Lordaeron's coast, too many to map and too tiny to have a name.

One could guess the Alliance base is meant to be Southshore (especially since Human Mission 5 describes the town as destroyed), but, considering the base's small size and lack of Town Hall, it is quite possibly an unrelated center that is also built on a tiny unmarked islet.

In this mission briefing, we learn that orcs call their ships "waveriders", but the concept of oil seems new to them. Perhaps oil's mystery use was explained to them by the trolls? Or perhaps they just picked it up from facing the human and elven vessels.

~ ~ ~

The map below includes a lot of speculation.

First, a tiny Great Hall is inserted near Southshore to represent the small Horde naval base described in their mission. You may have noticed from the last post that Tarren Mill (and now Southshore) are represented in Azeroth blue, when they had formerly been shown in Lordaeron white. This was done to reconcile the facts that the area is described as Terenas's land and called "the shores of Lordaeron", and Terenas is shown to have prime authority in commanding this area, yet the buildings and units in the Alliance missions themselves are Azeroth blue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warcraft II manual: Azeroth
King Terenas, ruler of Lordaeron, agreed to support the landless Azerothiens. The peoples of Azeroth settled near the Southshore region of Lordaeron, pledging their loyalty to the Alliance.
So, on the map progression, the bases have been placed under the command of the mysterious blue forces. This color has implications both as the "Nation of Azeroth" and as the Alliance forces in general, but we'll explore those further during Orc Act III.

Notice that the Alliance and Horde's naval buildup near Southshore has been accompanied by the construction of refinery centers in Stratholme and Grim Batol. As the game progresses, you'll find that these refineries are critical to their owners' war efforts--and thus primary military targets to each side. Even though I just added them to the map now, it's possible that they became refinery centers much earlier than this, or perhaps much later. As a Bleeding Hollow refinery icon replaces the former Dragonmaw stronghold, I've also added a Dragon Roost to represent the captured Dragonqueen Alexstrasza. Again: we have no idea when Alexstrasza was captured by the Dragonmaw and Black Tooth Grin. We won't see dragons active until much later, but the lore narrative easily lends itself to occurring before the first events of Warcraft II. I've placed it at this moment in conjunction with the oil buildup, for the sake of convenience.

So why did I decide that the Horde has now pushed past Dun Algaz to the Thandol Valley? Well, that has to do with the demo missions.


The Warcraft II demo consists of three Human missions and three Orc missions. The Human missions are, lorewise, the same as the Act I fullgame missions--minus Tarren Mill. The Humans build Hillsbrad, then they build Southshore, then they attack Zul'dare.

But the orc missions occur in northern Khaz Modan. The first mission builds a base in "Tol Ronal", the second builds a naval base in "Dun Argath", and the third destroys a human base at Thandol. This is done because the orc warships cannot cross the ice bridge that forms Thandol during the winter, so they must establish a new base on the western side. (Note how this indicates that the Horde already has an established naval presence to the east of the continent, in what modern lore named The Forbidding Sea).

Therefore, in corresponding these orc demo missions to their human equivalents, I'm going to speculate that the taking of Thandol will take place at about the same time as the destruction of Hillsbrad and Zul'dare. Therefore, the Horde forces would have needed to reach the Thandol Valley by this time for the next battle to take place.

Stromgarde has sent its military southward to aid the dwarves, and Kul Tiras has landed an expeditionary force to form the right flank. It's presumed that the Black Tooth Grin form the primary Horde assault force in this region, due to their confirmed presence at Dun Algaz and Dun Modr.

The Alliance and Horde will fight with an indescribable desperation to secure this critical land passage at Thandol, and the Horde will ultimately triumph. But we're not going to see any of it. We're stationed elsewhere.




Next: Hillsbrad vs. Zul'dare

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 08:18 AM..
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:27 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Wait, captured Alexstrasza? I'm almost sure that was not the case in WC2.

Weren't we rescuing Alexstrasza from the Alliance as the Shadowmoon Clan in BTDP?

Cause I'm pretty sure Alexstrasza was described as a nasty and mean dragon before WC3.
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:39 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Wait, captured Alexstrasza? I'm almost sure that was not the case in WC2.

Weren't we rescuing Alexstrasza from the Alliance as the Shadowmoon Clan in BTDP?

Cause I'm pretty sure Alexstrasza was described as a nasty and mean dragon before WC3.
The dragons from Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness were enslaved from the captured Alexstrasza. The dragons from Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal were formerly enslaved dragons who, over time, had found that they developed a taste for human flesh. Stockholm Syndrome, if you will. Those are the dragons Ner'zhul recruited in Warcraft II: BtDP.



The sad part of it is that we still get the "chained dragon" building for BtDP missions, even though this is after the dragons were willing allies. Anyway, here are some passages from the contemporary lore describing the dragon enslavement and then freewill Horde membership:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ToD Manual, Dragonmaw Clan
Using ritualistic magiks dowered by the ancient Shaman, the Dragonmaw clan was responsible for the capture of the Dragon Queen Alexstraza and the Horde's current subjugation of the Dragons of Azeroth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToD Manual, Dragon
Dragons are native to the untamed Northlands of Azeroth. Reclusive by nature, Dragons have had little contact with their earthbound neighbors over the centuries. Rend and Maim, the Chieftains of The Black Tooth Grin clan, masterminded the capture of the Dragon queen Alexstraza by the Dragonmaw clan. With their Queen held captive, these majestic creatures have been forced into subservience by the Horde - her progeny being raised by the Dragonmaw clan to slaughter the enemies of the Horde
Quote:
Originally Posted by ToD Manual, Dragon Roost
Mighty chains of adamantine steel bind the most powerful creature in all of Azeroth - Alexstrasza the Dragon Queen. Captured and ensorcelled by magiks contrived by the Dragonmaw clan, the great Dragon is kept in a constant state of weakness and pain. As the unwilling slave of the Horde, the Queen is closely watched as she lays her precious eggs. The Dragonmaw clan then raises her young to fight for the Horde - slaying the whelps when they become too powerful to be properly controlled. Constant efforts are made to break Alexstrasza's will in an attempt to master the control of more mature dragons.
~ ~ ~

Quote:
Originally Posted by BtDP Manual, Deathwing
Second in power to only Alexstrasza herself, Deathwing is one of the greatest terrors of the known world. During the Second War, Goblin alchemists adhered plates of adamantine steel to the Black Dragon. This made the great beast virtually invulnerable to almost any physical attack. Deathwing has taken control of a group of renegade Dragons and roosts with them upon his mountain in the Northeast of Draenor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BtDP, Orc Mission 5
With the Dragon Queen Alexstrasza rescued and the Dragonmaw clan captured by the Alliance, we were no longer able to command these great winged beasts. While securing the rift and beginning construction of a new portal, your encampment is approached by a haggard Grunt. His uniform marks him as a warrior of the Bleeding Hollow. He tells how those of his clan who did not return through the Portal have eluded capture and imprisonment by the Alliance armies. You also learn that many of the Dragons that were once enslaved have continued to feed upon Humans and are now roosting at Blackrock Spire. If you can break through the Human defenses and gain the trust of these creatures, perhaps you can bring Ner'zhul powerful allies.

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Old 04-16-2013, 12:27 PM
Slowpokeking Slowpokeking is offline

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I really dislike the retcon of Lothar's death.
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Old 04-17-2013, 06:13 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Just wanted to say, this is one of the best threads ever. Bravo, Baron!

...
Wait, that confuses me even more. The BTDP briefing clearly establishes DOTD events - the rescue of Alextrasza and the defeat of Dragonmaw! Didn't DOTD happen AFTER BTDP, when Zuluhed escaped through the portal?

Argh!
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Old 04-17-2013, 07:30 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Wait, that confuses me even more. The BTDP briefing clearly establishes DOTD events - the rescue of Alextrasza and the defeat of Dragonmaw! Didn't DOTD happen AFTER BTDP, when Zuluhed escaped through the portal?

Argh!
DotD was written after the Warcraft II games, and it was meant to take place between WCII:ToD and WCII:BtDP. It explained the rescue of Alexstrasza and defeat of the Dragonmaw Clan, which had already happened by WCII:BtDP. As for Zuluhed... he's leading the Dragonmaw remnants in Dun Algaz at the end of DotD, and though WCII:BtDP doesn't mention his name specifically he's assumed to have been captured along with them.

Warcraft III established that the events of DotD happened after BtDP. So therefore, the BtDP novel tries to cement this with Deathwing's Black Dragonflight joining Ner'zhul's Horde at the same time that the Blackrock and Dragonmaw Clan remnants still control the Red Dragonflight as slaves in Blackrock Spire and Grim Batol.

WoW showed that Zuluhed passed into Draenor before the destruction of the Dark Portal. Which.... uhh..... kind of retcons a huge bit of Day of the Dragon's geopolitical atmosphere.

There's a lot to say about the influence of Day of the Dragon, what it retconned as well as what got retconned from it later---and a lot has nothing to do with dragons turning into people.

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Old 04-17-2013, 07:44 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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I remember the Zuluhed discussion. His presumed absence, despite Nekros's quote... can be explained.
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Old 04-17-2013, 08:02 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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I remember the Zuluhed discussion. His presumed absence, despite Nekros's quote... can be explained.
Yes... if there's one thing I'm trying to do with this thread, it's to make it open to all feasible possibilities at any given time, to interpretations of how the lore of the current period can fit and work.
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Old 04-17-2013, 10:57 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Crossed Swords (War2) Hillsbrad vs. Zul'dare

Pause. Let's take a moment to look at the cover of Warcraft II, for inspiration.


This image is a visual representation of the Second War's early western theater.


Human Mission 4: Attack on Zul'dare
Youtube video from CoreofthePixel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_b8AFPvT0M8

This western front is a set of multiple naval bases, isolated nests, each taking wild swings at each other. The Zul'dare base was, geographically, a daring one. Its proximity to the Lordaeron coast grants a terrific springboard for terrorizing coastal settlements, but its position is relatively vulnerable--a prime target for the Alliance fleet. Removing it as a threat would stem the tide of western raids and place an early end to the orcs' hopes of opening an early landfront in Lordaeron itself.

Perhaps the Horde would have had a more defensible position here if they had managed to seize Tol Barad earlier, forming a triangled island network with Crestfall. But even if the orcs succeed in taking Tol Barad, it would occur in a future mission--after Zul'dare is already lost.

Grand Admiral Proudmoore orders the human commander to take Zul'dare down, just as he had been the one to order the construction of the base at Southshore in the previous mission. I should have mentioned it in the last post, but that briefing had an interesting way of describing Proudmoore's position:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Human Mission 3 Briefing
Lord of Kul Tiras and Grand Admiral of the Lordaeron Fleet
It seems that "Grand Admiral of the Alliance Fleet" would make more sense here. There are probably ships from Azeroth, Lordaeron, and Kul Tiras present, and Proudmoore commands all of them just as Lothar commands the Alliance's land and air forces.

When Zul'dare is removed as a threat, the danger of a western invasion will decrease drastically. Even with the razings of Hillsbrad and Southshore... certainly a harsh blow to the Azeroth defenders here, who already lost so much to flee to this new land, just to have their new homes torched as fiercely as their old ones... even with these losses, it is a tremendous victory for the Alliance to tear Zul'dare down---guaranteeing that the Horde will not be able to accomplish a speedy checkmate against Lordaeron's City.

I could be wrong, but I think I've read somewhere this opinion about the American Civil War: that the Confederacy could only win if they won the war in the east... yet they would lose if they lost in the east OR in the west. Regardless of whether it's true or not, it applies to the Alliance here. And thankfully for them, due to that unnamed Regional Commander of the Southern Defense Forces, they indeed did not lose that early war in the west.

~ ~ ~

Orc Mission 4: Assault on Hillsbrad
Youtube video from Coreofthepixel:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oOUDCthRNIs

For the Horde, this mission is meant to be the culmination of every military action on the Great Sea leading up to this point. The unnamed Blackrock commander, under Doomhammer's orders, will lead an amphibious landing to tear down Hillsbrad. With the orcs secure at Hillsbrad and Southshore (the latter feat accomplished by some other Horde commander, revealed only in the Human campaign) they would have an ideal staging ground to march against Lordaeron, Dalaran, or even Gilneas. The demo version even states that Tarren Mill has been destroyed, leaving no major settlements along the warpath.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orc Mission 4 Briefing
All who oppose the Horde must be taught a harsh lesson - leave no one alive!
Regardless, the Horde campaign reaches a cul-de-sac here--despite success at Hillsbrad there are no followup missions on this front, at least not yet. So although the Horde briefings never mention Zul'dare's destruction, such an event would seem likely. It would have left the Horde's successful invaders without reinforcements or support. It would explain why these forces might pull back, the successful player commander reassigned east. Assuredly the Horde fleet would maintain a presence in the northwestern Great Sea, harassing the Kul Tiras navy and eventually rallying toward the end of the war. But that rally only comes during the last two missions, when the Horde Great Sea fleet gains dragon air support. For now, the coastal marauders are defanged.

It is no matter. Meanwhile, to the east, the Thandol Valley bottleneck has been broken, giving the Horde's innumerable land forces a corridor to continental Lordaeron. Just as they spilled through Azeroth and Khaz Modan, they now have an opportunity to spill into Quel'thalas and Lordaeron, without the need for ships to ferry them.

At least, they will, as soon as they take care of some unfinished business in the Dwarven and Gnomish homeland.




Act I Victory Cutscenes

http://youtu.be/Hc_MiZlz6gE?t=14s

Sadly, the Human cutscene here is short and arguably uncompelling. A commander looks over as his troops regroup, with Zul'dare burning in the background. On the other hand, it does give off an aura of... dare I say, pragmatic ferocity? We've seen from the Human victory and Orcish defeat screens that this Alliance will thrust your ugly green head on a pike without thinking twice. They aren't going to hesitate to tear down Horde settlements, and you can bet against them leaving an opening for unarmed ships to escape through.

Actually, that's just the way I remembered it as a child. Looking at this cutscene again... no, I was wrong. Instead of regrouping troops, it looks more like a train of human refugees are fleeing along a road, under the watchful guard of Alliance soldiers. Panning to the right, we see that the refugees are coming from a burning town. So this cutscene more likely shows the aftermath at Hillsbrad or Southshore. In which case, the aura it gives off is more akin to an unending series of tragedies, but with a resolution to never give up.

We might assume that, at this point, the surviving civilians of Azeroth would have fled north to the protective walls of other cities. Perhaps Lordaeron City itself.

~ ~ ~

http://youtu.be/2gs-hjD5lHE?t=14s

The Horde victory cutscene is longer, arguably more substantial. We see a group of humans, stripped, hanging in a circle by their arms. A lone orc sets a torch to them. Fans of The Frozen Throne may recognize this music from the Founding of Durotar campaign. I think most of us assumed the orc was burning these guys alive because, you know, monster brutality. But was he?

We didn't hear any screams. The bodies didn't seem to be moving. Is this orc burning a set of corpses? We'll discuss this further when we get to The Last Guardian.

Next: Dun Modr vs. Tol Barad

Last edited by BaronGrackle; 08-20-2013 at 08:19 AM..
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  #21  
Old 04-17-2013, 11:05 AM
Slowpokeking Slowpokeking is offline

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Did WC2 mention Derek Proudmoore's death?
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:13 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Lord of Kul Tiras and Grand Admiral of the Lordaeron Fleet...

Now that I think about it, didn't Daelin cheer "For Lordaeron!" in Rexxar's campaign in TFT?

And that orc was definitely burning dead bodies, no surprise about that. I never assumed otherwise.

The "gentle" musical leitmotif of this scene is also a nice touch. I like how the composer later combines it with Orc 2 into the Orc Theme of TFT.
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Old 04-17-2013, 11:13 AM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

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Quote:
Originally Posted by asafoetida View Post
Did WC2 mention Derek Proudmoore's death?
No, Day of the Dragon was the first to tell us that a dragon attack destroyed the Third Fleet of Kul Tiras, which included six ships and Proudmoore's "eldest son". We aren't told when or where this happened.

Tides of Darkness links the event to the Battle at Crestfall, and tells us the son is Derek Proudmoore. Though I don't know whether an earlier source gave Derek's name or not?
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Old 04-21-2013, 09:40 AM
Kir the Wizard Kir the Wizard is offline

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Old 04-21-2013, 12:00 PM
Euphemialibritannia Euphemialibritannia is offline

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I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure in the BTDP novelization it's stated that the dragons the Horde used then were black dragons that Deathwing had "lent" to the horde in order for them to help him carry the black dragon eggs over the portal.
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