Origins and Early HistoryEdit
Much of the early Orcish culture has sadly been lost, but it is known that the race originated in the region of Draenor known as Nagrand. With the arrival of the Draenei, the Orcs began to live in peace with their new neighbors.
Then Kil'jaeden tracked the Draenei to the world, and in his neverending quest to exterminate them, he tricked Ner'zhul in helping him. He led the Orc to believe the Draenei intended to attack the Orcs and wipe them out. Kil'jaeden promised vast powers and the ability to defend themselves against the oncoming attack -- if only the Orcs would drink the blood of Mannoroth the Destructer. Grom Hellscream drank the blood first, and easily convinced many other warchiefs to do so as well. As each drank, however, they fell under the Blood Curse.
The Rise of the HordeEdit
In the war that followed, the elements abandoned the Orcs -- not willing to aid in the genocide of the Draenei. Feeling betrayed, the Orcs to follow Gul'dan. Slowly, the majority of the race fell under the corruption of the Blood Curse. The bloodthirsty Orcs nearly erased the Draenei from the planet, along with many other races. Gul'dan gained increasing amounts of power under the tutelage of Kil'jaeden, and named Blackhand the warchief of the Horde.
Gul'dan began to seek out other worlds to conquer, gathering all the Orcish Warlocks he could and forming the Shadow Council to achieve his goals and to help him manipulate the Orcs. Gul'dan eventually managed to find Medivh on Azeroth and communicated with him briefly. Gul'dan attempted to break away from Medivh, but he was too powerful and soon swayed the Shadow Council into organizing an invasion of Azeroth, provided he could find a way to bring the Orcs to his world.
Some time passed, with nothing... and then the rift appeared. The warlocks were able to expand the rift, opening it into what would become known as the Dark Portal. A small expeditionary force was sent through to explore. The Shadow Council urged caution, but upon discovering how small and weak the humans were the war chieftains could not be contained. Engulfted by bloodlust, they launched a preemptive strike at the Kingdom of Stormwind.
The First and Second WarsEdit
Cho'gall of the Twilight's Hammer Clan and Killrogg Deadeye of the Bleeding Hollow Clan lead this first assault, and found themselves defeated. While each chieftain blamed the other for this failure, the Horde split. The Shadow Council worked to reunite the Orcish forces, by placing Blackhand in charge once more. Blackhand used an iron fist to unify the Orcs and order was restored.
Until Medivh contacted Gul'dan again. Medivh convinced Gul'dan that he should destroy the Kingdom of Stormwind -- in exchange, Medivh would reveal the location of the Tomb of Sageras. Because of this, the First War waged until the Kingdom of Stormwind was destroyed.
During that battle, Durotan was killed and his clan -- who had rejected the demonic corruption the other Orcs had embraced -- had been banished to Azeroth. Leaderless, they fled north. Meanwhile, Gul'dan attempted to extract the location of the Tomb from Medivh's mind. He was in Medivh's consciousness when Medivh was killed by a strike force sent by the Humans, throwing the Orc into a coma.
Orgrim Doomhammer overthrew Blackhand at the end of the war, after learning that Blackhand had participated in the corruption of the Orcs. Now in control of the Horde, Orgrim Doomhammer executed every member of the Shadow Council that he could find save Cho'gall and the unconscious Gul'dan. When Gul'dan awoke, he convinced Orgrim to spare him and the Ogre Mage Cho'gall. In exchange, Gul'dan would create an army of undead Death Knights for him. Gul'dan also formed the Stormreaver Clan to this end, raising the bodies of fallen human knights and placing the souls of fallen Orc Warlocks in them. The Horde also captured Alexstrasza. With these advantages, the Horde easily pushed north until they were met with the unprecedented might of the Alliance.
The remaining Human kingdoms of Lordaeron, Gilneas, Kul Tiras, Alterac, Stromgarde and Dalaran joined together with the High Elves of Quel'Thalas. The Dwarves and Gnomes, whose land the Orcs had ravaged, lent their support as well. Despite this, the Orcs seemed sure of their victory especially when the kingdom of Alterac betrayed the Alliance.
Gul'dan, confident in the Horde's victory, took Cho'gall and went in search of the Tomb of Sargeras. Followed by their respective clans, the Stormreaver and Twilight's Hammer clans, they set out to claim their own demonic power. Doomhammer, enraged, sent a large force to kill the deserters. This allowed the Alliance to gain the upperhand. The Dark Portal was then destroyed and the majority of the Orcs imprisoned in internment camps.
Rise of the New HordeEdit
Years after the Second War, Thrall the son of Durotan escaped from the cruel human who had raised him, Aedalas Blackmoore. He soon encountered Grom Hellscream and the Warsong Clan, who had managed to avoid the internment camps by hiding in the wastelands of Azeroth. The two became friends and soon met internment escapee Orgrim Doomhammer.
Doomhammer told Thrall about his father and the Frostwolf Clan, and Thrall set out to find his father's clan. When he found them, the Shaman Drek'thar taught Thrall about the shamanistic heritage of the Orcish people. Thrall studied shamanism under Drek'thar. Thrall, Hellscream, and Doomhammer soon set about raising the Orcs into a new unified Horde, and freeing them from the internment camps. Although it took some convicing to rouse the Orcs from their lethargy, they ultimately followed Thrall to freedom. Orgrim Doomhammer was struck down in the battle at one of the last internment camps. This internment camp would later be captured by the Horde and named Hammerfall in the Arathi Highlands.
A raven soon appeared to Thrall and told him the Orcs would not find their place in Azeroth and that they should set sail for the continent of Kalimdor. The Orcs stole a number of vessels and set out for the continent. Enroute, they rescued the Darkspear Trolls from their sinking island, and the trolls swore allegience to the new Horde.
Upon arriving on the new continent, the Orcs were met by the Tauren and Cairne Bloodhoof, and the trolls and Orcs helped the Tauren fend off an attack by Centaurs. In thanks, Cairne told the Orcs where they could find the Prophet they sought. The Warsong Clan, rather than joining the search, traveled to Ashenvale to harvest lumber. This drew them into combat with the Night Elves. As the Orcs were losing, the pit lord Mannoroth took advantage of the situation to empower them further with his blood.
Entering into an alliance with Jaina Proudmoore under the guidance of the Prophet, Thrall and the human mage captured Grom Hellscream and returned him to normal. Then, Thrall and Grom sought out Mannoroth. Grom sacrificed himself to slay the demon, freeing the Orcs from the hold the demons had over them. The Orcs sooned join the Battle of Mount Hyjal to defeat Archimonde. When the battle was over, the Orcs settled in a desert and named it Durotar and built a city, calling it Orgrimmar after Durotan and Orgrim Doomhammer respectively.
The tauren joined the new Horde and the survivors of Lordaeron, settling on Theramore Isle, helped the Orcs settle the land. This peace was not to last, as soon Admiral Daelin Proudmoore attacked with a fleet. The Darkspear trolls lost their new home on the Echo Isles in the attack. At first, the Horde believed the attack was led by Jaina Proudmoore, until she came to their aid and helped defeat her own father.
Orcs are staunch pragmatists, having always lived in a rugged society. They are a very equal society, with all men and woman being expected to pull their own weight regardless. Orc prize honor and strength above all else, although courage and initiative are also prized traits.
Infants perceived to be weak or sickly are drowned at birth by most clans, most notably the Blackrock Clan and the Bonechewer Clan. The Frostwolf Clan, known for its mercy, is known to have rejected this practice entirely.
Orcish religion is mostly animistic, placing great reverence in their ancestors. Shamans draw their power from the elementals, and one great spirit is recognized for each of the elements.
There have been many notable Orcish clans throughout history, including:
- The Frostwolf Clan
- The Warsong Clan
- The Shattered Hand Clan
- The Mok'Nathal Clan
- The Mag'har
- The Thunderlord Clan
- The Dragonmaw Clan
- The Blackrock Clan
- The Black Tooth Grin Clan
- The Dragonmaw Clan
- The Bonechewer Clan
- The Bleeding Hollow Clan
- The Shadowmoon Clan
- The Laughing Skull Clan
- The Stormreaver Clan
- The Twilight's Hammer Clan
- The Burning Blade Clan
Orcish adventurers have been known to be...
- Bone Crushers
- Death Knights
- Spirit Champions
- Wind Riders
Orcs are one of the main races of the Warcraft universe, first being playable in Warcraft: Orcs vs. Humans and appearing, and playable, in every game since.