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Alliance-Horde War

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Previous: Northgate rebellion, War against the Nightmare, Operation: Gnomeregan, Zalazane's Fall
Concurrent: War against Deathwing, War against the Zandalari
Begin: Invasion of Gilneas (Year 28 ADP)
Alliance-Horde War
Alliance-Horde War
Location: Azeroth
Outcome: Alliance and Darkspear Rebellion victory
Belligerents
Commanders and leaders


Strength
Casualties and losses
Major Battles: Invasion of Gilneas, Battle of the Lost Isles, Second Battle for Hillsbrad, Battle for Andorhal, Attack on Theramore Isle, Battle of the Temple of the Red Crane, Battle for Lion's landing, Battle for Domination Point, Purge of Dalaran, Battlefield: Barrens, Siege of Orgrimmar

The Alliance-Horde War is an intercontinental war which serves as one of the driving forces of the plot of World of Warcraft. After years of cold war, with conflict being restrained to skirmishes in places like Alterac Valley and Warsong Gulch, King Varian Wrynn proclaimed open war against the Horde following the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate, a challenge in which the newly crowned Warchief Garrosh Hellscream gladly engaged in. The new war between the two superpowers raged across the Cataclysm and Pandaria Campaigns.

Though at war, the two sides have worked together on several occasions to combat larger threats, whether directly or through intermediary organizations such as the Argent Crusade or Cenarion Circle.

Contents

Prelude

World of Warcraft

Five years after the Battle for Mount Hyjal, the fragile truce between the Horde and Alliance had all but evaporated. In the wake of the Third War and The Founding of Durotar, the Forsaken entered a partnership of convenience with the Horde while the night elves and gnomes emerged from ages of solitude to join the Alliance. For another year the armistice held, though tensions continued to mount as worldwide conflicts drew the two sides closer to all-out war and fighting erupted in strategic battlegrounds. Despite these frequent skirmishes, the Horde and Alliance often set aside their differences and joined forces to face a number of threats.

Burning Crusade

In time the blood elves and draenei led them through the Dark Portal to wage the War in Outland against the Burning Legion. Following the year-long campaign in Outland, the Horde returned to Azeroth with a new ally in the Mag'har, led by Garrosh Hellscream. Soon, the long-missing Varian Wrynn put an end to Onyxia's schemes and returned to reclaim the throne of Stormwind. Attempts at diplomacy between Thrall and Wrynn soon fell apart as a peace conference in Theramore was ambushed by the Twilight's Hammer. Attention quickly turned northward, however, as the looming threat of the Lich King bore down on the mortal races of Azeroth.

Wrath of the Lich King

Garrosh Hellscream and Bolvar Fordragon, appointed as the supreme commanders of the Horde Expedition and Alliance Vanguard respectively, led their forces to Northrend where they waged war against the Scourge. Though fighting a common enemy, tensions between the Horde and Alliance grew swiftly until spilling over after the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate. During the resulting Battle for the Undercity, Varian Wrynn, grief-stricken over the loss of Bolvar Fordragon, and the state of the former Capital City of Lordaeron which the Forsaken held within human captives in order to test on them the new plague, lashed out at Thrall and declared war against the Horde. Hostilities continued to escalate for the remainder of the War against the Lich King, including an aerial battle, until the Lich King was finally defeated.

Cataclysm

Cataclysm This section concerns content exclusive to Cataclysm.

The Shattering

Main article: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm

With both factions recovering from war, the Alliance and Horde attempt to resume their tentative peace declared by their respective faction's peace treaty. Yet political tensions rose as the night elves of Darnassus have refused trade with the Horde and barred them from Ashenvale in protest of the Wrathgate. With the Horde’s supplies being depleted on account of the war with the Lich King and the unusual droughts affecting Orgrimmar, things were looking bleak for the Horde. Relations worsen as Twilight Hammer orcs under the guise of Horde forces, kill and skin night elf sentinels to frame the Horde. In an effort to quell the rising tensions, Hamuul Runetotem attempted to pursue diplomatic talks with his fellow night elf druids. Yet the talks became violent when the druid meeting was attacked by Twilight Hammer orcs believed to be sent by Garrosh Hellscream, acting warchief of the Horde.[1]

Three years have passed since the military forces of the Horde and Alliance first set foot on the shores of Northrend, and they now wage war amidst the disasters wrought by Deathwing's return to the world. Thrall has left the Horde to lead the Earthen Ring's efforts in preventing the rift beneath the Maelstrom from tearing apart the world, and has appointed the ambitious Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief of the Horde in his absence. King Varian Wrynn, convinced that the Horde has remained unchecked for too long, continues to lead the Alliance.

Invasion of Gilneas

Main article: Invasion of Gilneas
Invasion of Gilneas.jpg

Employing the Val'kyr to raise a mighty army, the Forsaken have begun a bold campaign to secure their hold over Lordaeron. By orders of the new Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, the Forsaken mobilize and move into Gilneas to secure a port for the Horde in southern Lordaeron. The Forsaken have conquered much of Silverpine Forest, and have been battering the Greymane Wall with their siege weapons. The Forsaken soon aligned themselves with Ralaar Fangfire and his Gilnean Wolfcult and helped him infiltrate Gilneas so that he could spread the worgen curse and sow civil discord in Gilneas. The Cataclysm then caused the Greymane Wall and many of the nation's defenses to fall, allowing the Forsaken to invade freely. The Gilneans, now transformed into worgen, attempt to fight off the invaders as best they can. Eventually the night elves arrive in Gilneas, bringing both vital military aid and the truth behind the worgen curse. Likewise, Orcs reinforce the Forsaken forces, causing an escalation into an all-out battle between the Alliance and the Horde in the region. The Forsaken, against the orders of the Warchief to cease production, unleash their devastating Forsaken Blight against Gilneas. Many of the survivors flee across the sea to Teldrassil, where the night elves grant them sanctuary.

By this time, the Gilneans had already arrived in Darnassus. King Genn Greymane had arrived in Stormwind, asking Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind, to send Gilneas aid.[citation needed] With the power hungry Forsaken decimating the Alliance in the north, the potential of Gilneas for an Alliance foothold in the north, and understanding the plight of their new allies, the king's finest were sent to ensure victory, The 7th Legion. Led by High Commander Halford Wyrmbane, the 7th Legion fleet arrived to the shores of Gilneas, where they discovered a large Horde fleet, likely the fleet that was coming with the Gunship during the first phase of the invasion. To clear a way for landing troops, the 7th Legion used Gnomish submarines to blow up the enemy ships. As the Horde's fleet was destroyed the 7th Legion landed troops and the city of Gilneas was liberated by the Alliance. The Forsaken command had ordered a counter attack on the city but it was then discovered that the remaining Hordes forces were wiped out by the worgens of the Gilneas Liberation Front led by Lord Darius Crowley and the Bloodfang worgens led by Ivar Bloodfang. With the mainland under Worgen control and the city liberated by the 7th Legion, the Forsaken forces fled back to the Gilnean coast, making their last stand. Gilneas was eventually freed by the Alliance and officially rejoined it for the first time since the Second war. After that, the Alliance began to push further into Lordaeron, with the Stormpike Clan brigade marching into the Alterac Mountains, the mages of Dalaran reinforcing the Alliance from the Dalaran's crater and Ambermill, and the Gilneans retaking Pyrewood Village.

Ashenvale Offensive

Main article: Wolfheart
The orcish invasion of Ashenvale.

With Ashenvale's elven defenses weakened, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream finally decides to take the night elven forest for the Horde. Garrosh personally led his troops into the neighbouring borders of Ashenvale. While his Warsong Clan had made considerable progress over the course of Warchief Thrall's reign, it is a far cry from the ambitions that Warchief Hellscream desires to achieve. Garrosh plans to create a massive city in the heart of the forest, one with the potential to rival Orgrimmar in size and power. With rich minerals ripe for the taking, and all of the tools needed to see his people grow, Garrosh surges viciously through the kaldorei ranks and cuts a swathe of destruction straight to the Silverwing Grove. Having brought down a number of tamed proto-drakes and magnataur captives from Northrend that he domesticated by holding their young hostage, Garrosh plans to see his dreams of expansion realized.

His attack on the Grove results in a decisive Horde victory. Garrosh reflects on how the forest that gave his father such harsh resistance is falling, piece by piece, and wonders what the mighty Grom would have made of this triumph. He concludes that not even Thrall could deny his prowess at this point, and will hail him as the champion of the orcish race and the entire Horde. Garrosh's plan is twofold - he had gained knowledge of a meeting between the leaders of the Alliance, and strikes at this point in order to lure out Tyrande Whisperwind. As he had expected, the priestess arrives on the scene to relieve the waning sentinels, though the Horde unleash the magnataur upon the Alliance's ranks. In the ensuing chaos, Tyrande was struck down and wounded by orc archers. Confident in a victory, Garrosh also takes the fray.

The battle is interrupted by the arrival of worgen reinforcements led by Varian Wrynn and Genn Greymane, who proceed to fight back several magnataur. On several occasions, Garrosh and Varian clashed and did battle; with both leaders matching each other's attack, blow by blow, and killing all who interfered with their duel. Though evenly matched at first, Varian eventually gained an advantage. Varian had been fighting with an in-explicit focus and unyielding vigor. While Garrosh tired, Varian was still full of stamina, which allowed Varian to press on his attack. Garrosh is fought back at this point, and Varian succeeds in wounding him and disarming Gorehowl. A dying magnataur separates the two combatants, and Garrosh composes himself. He prepares to rush at Varian once more, though is held back by several Kor'kron; urging Garrosh to retreat. Garrosh grudingly complies, though not before swearing to kill Varian himself.[2]

Since then, General Shandris Feathermoon has taken advantage of their victory at Ashenvale to commission more fortifications and outposts at Ashenvale's Alliance controlled borders.[2] Yet the night elves' troubles are far from over, as an enormous volcano has erupted in central Ashenvale. As the night elves struggle to deal with the chaos caused by the Cataclysm, the Horde is seizing what it perceives to be a golden opportunity.

Some time after the first Horde offensive in Ashenvale(The one detailed in Wolfheart), a new attack was launched by the Horde. However, they were soon stuck within their own territory, as the night elves locked down all the trade routes, besieged Splintertree Post, and reinforced forest song to put pressure on the Lumber Camps to the Far East. Horde adventurers came a few days after the “Offense” started, and helped decimate the night elven attack on the Mor’sharn Ramparts, killing a Silverwing commander. Then, using a convoy of Kodos, the Horde made a push from the ramparts up to the Warsong Labor camp, getting much needed supplies for the ramparts. After delivering the supplies, another mission was performed by the adventurers, breaking the first siege of Splintertree Post. Using demonic magic, the Horde then broke a second, renewed siege by the night elves, and also saved Warsong Lumber Camp.

With the main Horde encampments secured for the time being, the Horde sent a large force to take control of Silverwind Refuge. Using a corrupted water elemental, the defenses of the refuge were broken, and the attack was a success. Using the captured refuge as a base of operations in the region, the horde sent a two pronged attack out. One of the Horde groups was sent to Raynewood Retreat, in order to take the area around it. However, the attack was beaten back by Alliance adventurers, who took on the shade of the ancient cat, Shadumbra, and utterly destroyed the horde attackers. The other prong of the attack did much better, at least first, establishing a camp near the night elven city of Astrannar, and firebombing the city. With the initial success of the Firebombers, the Horde sent out a final push to Maestra’s post, hoping to cut off any Alliance reinforcements to the north, and eventually use it as a base to invade Darkshore with. The attack failed, however, as a few Alliance heroes, with the aid of the Sentinels, destroyed the attacking Horde demolishers and killed most of the infantry, as well as defeating the Horde warlock leading the attack.

Emboldened by their success at Maestra’s post, the Alliance pushed forward, clearing the siege of Astranaar, and putting out the fires in the city. Next, the Alliance military used a mystical scepter to turn the Furbolgs against the Horde at Silverwind Refuge, weakening them enough to allow the Night elves to retake the refuge. Finally, night elven operatives at forest song killed a Horde ambassador at the Warsong Lumber Camp, and destroyed it. While the operatives were at work at the Warsong Lumber Camp, the Alliance put another siege back on Splintertree Post, finally turning the tide of the war against the Horde in the region. As of the end of cataclysm, it is assumed that the borders within the Forest of Ashenvale are drawn along the Falfarren River in the Nightsong Woods. However, with the dismantlement of Warchief Garrosh Hellscream's war machine and the conclusion of the Alliance-Horde War, Tyrande Whisperwind allowed the Horde unimpeded access to Azshara's lumber in return for the complete withdrawal of Horde forces from Ashenvale.

Forsaken offensive

The Forsaken forces later march onto the town of Southshore and completely annihilated all life with in the region by deploying the New Plague. Magistrate Henry Maleb led the ones who managed to escape Southshore and fled to the town of Hillsbrad Fields. The Ruins of Southshore is left inhospitable, and will be so for several decades. The ramifications of the Forsaken Blight forced the high echelons of the Horde to reconsider the free use of such a potent weapon. Instead, the Horde has issued a diluted version of the Forsaken Blight for the Forsaken to use. The town of Hillsbrad Fields was later finally destroyed by the Forsaken, concluding the Hillsbrad campaign initiated by Varimathras years ago. Magistrate Henry Maleb led the Hillsbrad Refugees to Fenris Keep, where they have been taking refuge. A few Hillsbrad residents and Magistrate Burnside stayed behind and led a resistance but were eventually defeated and imprisoned by the Forsaken war machine. Those who stayed to defend Hillsbrad eventually became prisoners in what is now known as the Sludge Fields, a Forsaken prison where the mad Warden Stillwater cruelly experiments on his prisoners and even fellow Forsaken. When the other Forsaken discover that Forsaken are being turned mindless, he is punished for his illdoings.[3]

Even with Gilneas falling into the hands of the Forsaken, the fighting between the Gilnean worgen and the Forsaken continues. Bloodfang worgen who had recently allied themselves with the Gilneas Liberation Front, destroyed three Orc gunships that had arrived. The ships were full of supplies, weapons and soldiers.[4] Later, the Forsaken kill some of the Hillsbrad refugees on Fenris Isle and resurrected them, bolstering Forsaken forces and somewhat making up for the loss of the three orc gunships.[5] However, after this attack, many of the Hillsbrad refugees decide to take the Worgen curse offered by Darius, rather than be resurrected as Forsaken. Later, the Forsaken discovered that lord Darius Crowley and Ivar Bloodfang are having a meeting in Deep Elem Mine, and Sylvanas sent a squadron of elite Veteran Forsaken Troopers under the leadership of Master Forteski to trap and slay the Worgen leaders. However, the Forsaken soon discovered that instead of trapping an enemy, they were trapped themselves. As a result, the whole squadron of elite Forsaken Troopers were destroyed.

A convoy of Veteran Forsaken Troopers and Forsaken catapults were ambushed by the Bloodfang pack while attempting to cross Olsen's Farthing in Silverpine Forest. The ambush resulted in all those Forsaken troopers being killed and the destruction of the Forsaken catapults.[6] Warlord Torok sent Sea Dogs to fight the Hillsbrad worgen that were swimming to the Decrepit Fields from Fenris Isle. The Sea Dogs attacked the Hillsbrad worgen but were eventaully defeated after killing many worgen.

Meanwhile, 7th Legion reinforcements from Stormwind, sneaked their way into Gilneas and aided the Gilneas Liberation Front in retaking Gilneas City. Together, the Alliance forces were able to neutralize Rutsak's Guard, Dreadwatch Outpost, and Forsaken Forward Command. The Forsaken forces eventually had to fall back to Silverpine Forest but not before recovering the corpses of Lord Godfrey and the Gilnean traitors, whom they raised to undeath as Forsaken allies. The Gilneas Liberation Front continued to harass Forsaken forces in Silverpine while the 7th Legion retook Pyrewood Village.[7][8] Druids in the Gilneas Liberation Front used their bear form in guerilla warfare against Horde forces at the Forsaken Front, which resulted in the loss of a few Horde battalions. Eventually the Horde forces learn of this tactic, and it becomes ineffective after counter-measures are implemented.[9]

Eventaully, the tide turned. The worgen and their Alliance allies were driven back. The town of Ambermill was conquered by Forsaken forces and its inhabitants converted to Forsaken. Another town, Pyrewood Village, was burned to the ground and the Alliance's battle plans were stolen thanks to Lord Godfrey's guidance. In a final push, Alliance and Gilnean forces met the Forsaken army on the Battlefront for one final battle. The Forsaken emerged victorious as the Gilneas Liberation Front was coerced to retreat after Sylvanas kidnapped Lorna Crowley, and blackmailed Darius Crowley with threats to raise Lorna as an undead slave. The celebration was short lived though as Lord Godfrey and his allies unexpectedly betrayed the Horde and assassinated Sylvanas. When Sylvanas was brought back to life, she remains determined to get her revenge on Godfrey and the Alliance and the Alliance's push on Silverpine was stemmed.

Gilneas was not lost to the Alliance, Sylvanas' leading the invasion into the area was halted by Godfrey's betrayal.Currently the only assaults by the Horde are by sea, as they are attempting to re-establish a land base in Gilneas, having lost all of them prior. The invasion by sea, which is on going, has met an issue as the Gilnean forces have been heavily reinforced by the Alliance, currently the Horde has been unable to properly re-establish a land base on the coast, as the Alliance has met them to deter or repel these attempts.

Following the events at Silverpine Forest, the Bloodfang pack have since been fighting a guerrilla war with the Forsaken forces at Hillsbrad. They are later found allying with the Stormpike Guard and have been amassing their forces at Purgation Isle. Due to the efforts of Kingslayer Orkus and Horde adventurers, their plans to launch an all out attack were uncovered. High Warlord Cromush asked for reinforcements from the Frostwolf Clan, but were denied by Drek'thar, who despises the Forsaken's cruel genocidal campaign. Cromush panics at the Frostwolf Clan's abandonment but later composes himself and sends Horde adventurers to blow up the Alliance vanguard forces before their offensive on Hillsbrad could begin.

Forsaken forces are later found establishing Galen's Fall for their impending invasion on the nation of Stromgarde. To aid them in their efforts, they have recruited the fallen prince of Stromgarde, Galen Trollbane. He aids Horde adventurers in taking the legendary sword, Trol'kalar, so that the Forsaken may use it as a weapon against the Alliance. Forsaken forces have since tried to invade the Hinterlands and launched an all out assault on the Highvale elves of Quel'Danil Lodge. The combined Alliance forces were able to drive back the Forsaken assault and retain their hold over Quel'Danil Lodge[10].

The Alliance reconstruction in Andorhal.
The Forsaken prepare to do battle in Andorhal.

With the weakening of the Scourge after the War against the Lich King, the Alliance forces led by Thassarian have claimed the western part of Andorhal, and the Forsaken forces led by Koltira Deathweaver have claimed the eastern part of the city. The two factions are currently fighting each other for control of the whole city.[11] During the Battle for Andorhal, the Forsaken, their ranks bolstered by the use of the val'kyr to raise their slain foes, push the Alliance out of the city and conquer Andorhal.

Other conflicts in the Eastern Kingdoms

In the Twin Peaks near Grim Batol in the Twilight Highlands, the dwarven Wildhammer clan fight against the orcish Dragonmaw clan, having recently rejoined the Horde, battle for control of this strategic mountainous region. The Twin Peaks are crucial for staging effective offensives against the black dragonflight and the Twilight's Hammer, who currently control the Twilight Highlands.[12]

To the south, the humans of Marshtide Watch are able to launch an assault on the Stonard orcs in the Swamp of Sorrows and steal supplies from the town. The humans had managed to defeat the orcish army, pushing it all the way to Stonard and laying siege to the town. However, the defenders of Stonard were able repel the siege, but never recovered the stolen supplies. The outcome ended undetermined as the Horde managed to save Stonard, but failed to seize control of the swamps, as their armies were defeated by the humans of Marshtide Watch, who managed to secure their kingdom's back yard.

The Horde have also conquered Dreadmaul Hold from its previous inhabitants and have been launching raids on the Alliance forces of Nethergarde Keep. They are planning to weaken the Alliance so they can wrest control of the Nethergarde Mines.

Meanwhile in the Hinterlands, the mainline Alliance and Horde forces turned their attention to this previously neglected region. The Wildammer clan expanded eastward, setting up new camps such as Stormfeather Outpost in former Revantusk territory. The Horde presence was augmented with the Forsaken, who took over Hiri'watha, converting it into Hiri'watha Research Station. The Forsaken then had tried to lay siege to the high elven settlement of Quel'Danil but the defenders of the Alliance managed to repel the attack.

Off the coast of Tol Barad, Hellscream's Reach fought over control of the isle against the Baradin's Wardens.

Azshara

All-out battles have erupted in the Barrens, Ashenvale, and the Stonetalon Mountains. Off the coast of Kalimdor, on the Lost Isles, the Bilgewater Cartel goblins were caught in the crossfire between an Alliance fleet and a Horde ship that contained an important passenger. Seeing as the Alliance would have killed all who witnessed their attack, the goblins chose to ally themselves with the stranded orcs and fought against the Alliance forces. After rescuing a captured Thrall from the Alliance and taking back control of the cartel from Trade Prince Gallywix's greedy schemes, the Bilgewater Cartel was sent to Orgrimmar and was officially inducted into the Horde. The Bilgwater Cartel has since established a new city in Azshara, Bilgewater Harbor, to replace the loss of Bilgewater Port on Kezan.[13] In a show of good faith to their new allies, the goblins have reshaped Azshara to resemble a giant Horde symbol. They have also begun constructing a massive war fleet for Garrosh Hellscream. Yet they have also come into conflict with the naga, Blackmaw tribe furblogs, and the Alliance forces of Talrendis Point. The Horde was able to prevent a potential alliance between the Blackmaw tribe and the Alliance by framing the Alliance with an assault on their tribe. [14] They also drove back most of the Alliance forces to Ashenvale after assassinating their commanders and destroying their ancients.[15][16][17]

Barrens

Due to the Cataclysm the Barrens have been split into the Northern Barrens and the Southern Barrens. King Varian Wrynn has not backed down from Garrosh's aggression, nor has the rest of the Alliance. In the Northern Barrens, the Horde defensive post Mor'shan Rampart is under attack by the Alliance. In turn Northwatch Hold is now under attack by Horde forces.[18]

Since Warchief Garrosh wants to defeat the night elves and conquer the whole of Kalimdor under the banner of the Horde, offensives into the Southern Barrens have been sent in response and secured territory once belonging to the Horde for Varian and his allies. The humans of Theramore have sent their army and tried to establish a military line between night elf territory and Theramore.[19] The Alliance forces were able to take the outpost of Honor's Stand just before the Cataclysm affected the Barrens in an effort to expand into the Northern Barrens. Alliance forces streamed out of Northwatch and marched up the Gold Road, besieging the Crossroads as dusk fell. Then, in the heart of the night, they force-marched southward, leaving their campfires burning behind, and overran the Horde forces at Honor's Stand at dawn's first light. The Alliance has since been trying to fortify themselves in Honor Stand after the Cataclysm left their defenses in disarray while also dealing with the Horde resistance in Hunter's Hill.[20]

The Battlescar, theater of war in the Southern Barrens.

In the Southern Barrens Alliance forces have invaded the eastern lands while the Horde has maintained control of the west. The Alliance has constructed a new military outpost to try to solidify their control of their new territory while the Horde has done the same to prevent further Alliance expansion. The central region between the two forts has become a war zone as the factions fight for control. The Alliance launched an attack on the outpost of Camp Taurajo and the forces of Bael'dun Keep helped by firebombing Camp Taurajo. [21] General Hawthrone had tried to avoid civilian casualties by opening a gap on the easten part of the camp so that the civilians can escape. However despite Alliance efforts to preserve civilian lives the heavy artillery and airstikes fired from Bael'dun Keep caused many civilian casualties. The destruction of Camp Taurajo has stirred the Horde and bolstered their resolve. The Horde has begun efforts to drive the Alliance back as a result. The new Horde general made an example of General Hawthorne by sending Horde adventurers to assassinate him on the streets of the Battlescar[22]. Unbeknownst to the Horde, Hawthorne had worked to avoid civilian casualties, and his death at the hands of the Horde served to cement Alliance resolve in the region. In the initial counter-attack, Gann Stonespire, already upset by the dwarves of Bael Modan wiping out his tribe, parts way with the Horde [23], and leads an angry mob of Tauren civilians to attack Bael Modan to avenge the destruction of Taurajo and the killing of the Stonespire Tribe. While mortally wounded by Marley Twinbraid, Gann manages to blow up the dwarven fortress known as Bael'dun Keep, ironically killing Marley Twinbraid. Marley's father General Twinbraid later finds the corpse of Weezil Slipshadow in the ruins of Bael'dun Keep and thinks it must have been the goblin workers in Frazzlecraz Motherlode who were responsible for the destruction at Bael Modan. He sends Alliance adventurers to kill every goblin miner they can find and blow up the mine in Frazzlecraz Motherlode.[24] Following General Hawthorne's death, General Twinbraid takes command of the Alliance armies in Fort Triumph.[25]

Other conflicts in Kalimdor

The Alliance have since sought out new ways to expand north, using their navy to establish a presence in the Merchant Coast and attempting to reestablish themselves in Tiragarde Keep.

In the Stonetalon Mountains, the Horde established Krom'gar Fortress where Overlord Krom'gar oversees all Horde military operations in the region. The forces of Northwatch have broken through the Horde's blockade in the south and occupied Windshear Valley, to the west. From the northern front comes an onslaught of night elf soldiers. Krom'gar's army has so far been able to defend themselves from their assaults and have expanded to go on the offensive on the Grimtotem clan in the area. The Alliance enters an alliance of convenience with the Grimtotem clan of Grimtotem Post. The Alliance forces agree to supply the Grimtotem there with weapons in exchange for protection from the Horde and free reign to move freely through their territory. Together, the Grimtotem and the Alliance beat back the Horde and slay four of the Horde's most fearsome generals at the battle for Greatwood Vale.[26] After which, the Alliance continues to kill Horde reinforcements from Ashenvale and Azshara hoping that enough dead bodies will deter the Horde from advancing.[27] Krom'gar grows more paranoid and orders the bombing of Thal'darah Grove while also slaughtering their allies in Cliffwalker Post. Warchief Garrosh Hellscream arrives in the aftermath of the chaos and punishes Krom'gar for his ill-doings. Garrosh then disbands Krom'gar's army and focuses his efforts on the campaign in Desolace and the Southern Barrens.

In Darkshore, the Horde have employed the Shatterspear tribe to attack the night elves of Lor'danel. Having uncovered the Shatterspear's war plans, the night elves of Lor'danel launched an offensive on the trolls and attacked the Shatterspear tribe, destroying their village.

Off the coasts of Tanaris and Tol Barad, the Horde has scored a naval victory over the Alliance.

Great Sea

The war even extends to the Great Sea where naval battles are fought for control of key trade routes.[28]

Tides of War

Attack on Theramore Isle

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft novels or short stories.

Main article: Attack on Theramore Isle
Theramore's last stand

Warchief Garrosh Hellscream, incensed at the lingering Alliance presence on Kalimdor, resolved to crush the nation of Theramore once and for all. Shortly before calling a meeting between his fellow Horde leaders to voice this notion, he devises a strategy to wipe the isle out completely. A Blue dragon escort is slain (presumably by Garrosh's agents), and the Focusing Iris -- a powerful item capable of augmenting the destructive capability of already-formidable weapons of destruction -- is delivered to the warchief. Some of the Horde leaders are dubious of this attack, and voice opinions against it. Regardless, it is set in stone, and the assault begins.

Garrosh, Baine Bloodhoof, Vol'jin, Malkorok, and Trade Prince Gallywix are present to rally their troops for the war, while Lor'themar Theron and Halduron Brightwing send Kelantir Bloodblade and two blood elven ships of warriors to assist on their behalf. Similarly, Sylvanas Windrunner sends Captain Frandis Farley and a Forsaken regiment on hers. The Horde begins their campaign by conquering Northwatch Hold. The tauren and trolls marched from the Great Gate, assaulting the Alliance outpost from the west. Meanwhile, the Forsaken and blood elves sail from Ratchet and launch a naval attack from the east and the orcs finishes the assault by attacking from the north, using dark shamanistic magic to summon lava elementals to besiege Northwatch and decimate the outpost and its Alliance defenders. After a long delay to entice the Horde's bloodlust, Garrosh eventually leads the Horde to Fort Triumph, which has also fallen. After looting the fort's siege weapons to be used for their attack on Theramore Isle, the Horde marches on to Dustwallow Marsh.

Lady Jaina Proudmoore herself gains knowledge of this looming attack, thanks to a disheartened Baine Bloodhoof's prior warning. Jaina scrambles to defend her home, quickly earning the support of King Varian and his top generals, including Marcus Jonathan and General Tiras'alan. She also gains the reactionary support of the Kirin Tor, who agree to send several mages (including Rhonin himself) to act as a deterrent, reasoning that doing nothing would be tacit support of Garrosh's war. The defense of Theramore is ill-fated, however: Garrosh reveals that the entire ordeal had been a feint attack, in order to gather the best and brightest of the Alliance in one place, and then annihilate them with a Focusing Iris-empowered mana bomb. The Alliance discover this too late, and the nation of Theramore is utterly obliterated.

The ruins of Theramore.

Jaina is horrified by the loss of all she had worked for, and the deaths of her friends and people. She travels to beseech the Kirin Tor once more, and demands their aid against the Horde. Though committed to making sure Garrosh Hellscream will answer for Rhonin's death, the Kirin Tor are unwilling to give Jaina their support to destroy Orgrimmar: having just lost their leader as a result of getting involved in the war and their belief that Jaina's plans could lead to the deaths of many innocents who had nothing to do with the bombing of Theramore. King Varian, too, is wary of simply attacking Orgrimmar head on, and instead advises caution. King Varian and Prince Anduin are also against using dishonorable tactics to fight the war. The Horde in the aftermath of Theramore's fall, has set up an effective naval blockade of Kalimdor. While the Alliance regrouped to rebuild their fleet and counterattack the Horde, Jaina was too impatient to work with the Alliance and instead went to fight the Horde using her own methods.

Jaina eventually poises herself to destroy Orgrimmar in retaliation with the stolen Focusing Iris. Kalecgos however, is able to stay her hand. Instead, she uses the Iris to summon an army of water elementals to save the Alliance fleet, which was sent to besiege Bladefist Bay and eventually Orgrimmar. The Horde's enthralled krakens nearly annihilated the fleet if it wasn't for the intervention of Jaina Proudmoore. With the Alliance fleet rescued, Jaina and the Alliance fleet remnants sailed to Northwatch Hold, routing any Horde presence in that area and reclaiming the ruined Alliance outpost, thus ending the Horde's blockade of Kalimdor.

In the aftermath of these events, Jaina's restraint in the face of despair endears her to the high council of the Kirin Tor, who vote her in as their new leader. Jaina herself maintains that while her black rage against the Horde had dissipated (according to her, perhaps partly wrought on by residual energy of the mana bomb), she still fully believes that Garrosh must be removed from power for the good of Azeroth, and is therefore perhaps not cut out to lead a neutral faction. What becomes of this remains to be seen.[29]

The aftermath of this turn of events for the Horde is equally dark: Vol'jin, having privately given up on all hope for Garrosh, falls back to his isles to plot his next move. Baine is somewhat relieved that Garrosh had called off his immediate blockades and conquests, though is stunned to learn it is simply a means to an end -- Garrosh now intends to wage a war of genocide against the Alliance rather than conquest. Thrall himself is guilt-ridden for how far Garrosh has been allowed to go, holding himself responsible.

Garrosh proclaims that all men, women and children are to enlist in the Horde's war against the Alliance, and any found shirking their duties will answer to the Kor'kron, now run by the ruthless Malkorok and his Blackrock forces. The slightest hint of betrayal is brutally snuffed out by Malkorok, as both Kelantir and Farley learn to their sorrow; and some of the Horde's more moderate races essentially find themselves held hostage for their good behaviour, such as the neighbouring trolls and tauren, geographically most at risk of Garrosh's wrath.[29]

Quest for Pandaria

WoW-novel-logo-16x62.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft novels or short stories.

Mists of Pandaria

MoP This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

Pandaria

The war eventually spreads to Pandaria: a naval battle between the Horde and the Alliance left the survivors stranded on the beaches of Pandaria. Rescue parties of those factions’ elite soldiers set out to explore the mysterious, fog-shrouded continent and establish a foothold on the newly discovered land. Its peace was shattered as a result of the conflict.[30][31] Both factions try to gain the favor of local pandaren and other races such as the jinyu or hozen in order to add their strength to their own armies and spread their influence over Pandaria.

One of the major battles which took place in Serpent's Heart resulted in the unleashing of the Sha of Doubt due to a tremendous surge of negative energy which weakened the malicious entity's shackles. Most of the forces were obliterated in result of this, but commanders of both factions (Admiral Taylor and General Nazgrim) survived and were taken to Kun-Lai Summit for recuperation.

The Skyseeker and the Wandering Isle

The Skyseeker, an Alliance gunship that was escorting Horde prisoners from Pandaria to Stormwind City, somehow crashed on the great turtle-island Shen-zin Su. The factions were eventually discovered by the turtle-island's adventuring pandaren denizens and were helped in repelling the invasion of the Saurok. Then, both factions have agreed to heal the wounded turtle after the wreck of the Skyseeker was dislodged. The community of the Wandering Isle were divided however, as the Tushui expressed their interest in lending their aid to the Alliance; where as the Huojin found themselves closer to the Horde's way of life and these decisions have turned the old comrades into sworn enemies.

Purge of Dalaran

Two months following the rediscovery of Pandaria, the main Alliance and Horde forces finally arrive on the myth-shrouded continent. Both the Alliance and Horde land on opposite sides of the beach of Krasarang Wilds and established their main bases of operations: Lion's Landing and Domination Point. The conflict at Krasarang Wilds reached its peak, with both the Alliance and Horde fighting each other to drive their enemies from the new continent. While the Alliance tries to stem the occupation by Horde forces by freeing the Temple of the Red Crane from Horde control and thus gaining the pandaren's favor, Garrosh had the Horde tear through mogu ruins to discover more information about the  [Divine Bell], an ancient mogu artifact of immense power. Not wanting to waste orc lives for such a dangerous endeavor, Garrosh delegates this task to the blood elven Reliquary, neglecting to warn them of the mogu danger and resulting in several blood elven casualties. Lor'themar Theron himself is incensed at this callous disregard for his people's welfare, and rifts continue to form between the Regent Lord and the Warchief. The Alliance, discovering Garrosh's intent to find the Divine Bell through their own spy that infiltrated his ranks, secured the bell first and sought to protect it within the city of Darnassus. Jaina Proudmoore herself personally placed wards and enchantments on Darnassus to protect it from any would-be thieves. However, the Horde calls upon agents of the Sunreavers to assist in circumventing Jaina's protections, and several Horde members succeed in subtly entering the city and stealing the Bell from the Cenarion Enclave. They teleport the Divine Bell outside the city, subsequently handing it to Garrosh Hellscream.

To the Sunreavers' surprise, however, their involvement in the theft of the Divine Bell was uncovered by the current ruler of the Kirin Tor, Jaina Proudmoore, who proceeded to expel the Sunreavers from the Kirin Tor, imprisoning all those who surrendered peacefully inside the Violet Citadel, and putting to the sword all those who resisted. She calls upon the Silver Covenant and several Alliance troops to assist with the purge. In the early stages of the purge, several Sunreavers are killed in action, while many more (including bewildered civilians) are sent to the Violet Hold as prisoners of war.

In a desperate attempt to locate Aethas Sunreaver and break out the Sunreavers, Grand Magister Rommath led a strike force within the city of Dalaran, fighting his way through the city to forewarn the unaware Sunreavers of the impending arrest, securing reliable escape routes for those broken out, and attacking the Alliance and the Silver Covenant. Rommath succeeds in his mission, culminating in locating and breaking Aethas out of his imprisonment in the Violet Citadel. Rommath and Aethas escape the city and return to Silvermoon, where Lor'themar and Halduron Brightwing are overseeing portals funneling in the escaped Sunreavers. Relations between Lor'themar and Garrosh break down, as well as putting an end to the talks between the regent lord and King Varian Wrynn that they were secretly engaging in in order to bring Quel'Thalas back into the Alliance. Though driven back to Hellscream's Horde, Lor'themar hopes dearly that Garrosh's new treasure, bought with the blood of Lor'themar's people, destroys him.

The sin'dorei prepare to mobilize their forces. Rommath states that Theron himself would make a fine Warchief, and the regent lord notes that it may indeed come to that, demanding his blades and vowing that the next move will belong to him.

Following the purge, Jaina meets with King Varian Wrynn, and pledges the Kirin Tor to the Alliance. Varian, upon hearing about the purge, reveals to Jaina in disappointment that he was attempting to bring the blood elves into the Alliance though secret diplomatic means, and that by attacking their people she has forced their hand. An unapologetic Jaina states that such endeavours are foolish as once Horde means always Horde, and that he should not show weakness of such sort. Varian returns to the war, with only the unified Alliance at his side.

Liberation of Echo Isles

Thrall, having returned to Durotar with his beloved Aggra and their newborn child, is roped into Garrosh's conflict after the Warchief attempts (and fails) to murder Vol'jin. Narrowly surviving the attempt on his life with the help of Chen Stormstout and Horde heroes, Vol'jin has them contact Thrall and save the Echo Isles from Garrosh's tyranny. Thrall leaves to do so, reiterating what his vision of the Horde -- when it was simply an idea in the desert of Durotar -- had first entailed.

Thrall finds the isles under martial law, the Darkspear rounded up by Thrall's very own Kor'kron. After relieving the isles of their control, Thrall ponders how best to deal with Garrosh, concluding that simply challenging him for the right to the Horde would be ill-advised at this point. Instead, he takes up leadership of the isles in the Darkspear heroes' absence, and plans to confer with Vol'jin before making any rash moves.

Fate of the Divine Bell

After hearing about the Horde's acquisition of the  [Divine Bell], Prince Anduin Wrynn began searching for a means to counter its power. His research has led him to an item known as the Harmonic Mallet. The Harmonic Mallet was last seen in the hands of the Monkey King. The tomb of the Monkey King is located in Tomb of Conquerors, where he and his mogu adversary are frozen in jade. As legend has it, the Monkey King and a Mogu named the "The Jade Warlord" were in the middle of a duel until both of them somehow became petrified in jade. Anduin discovered an incantation to release him from the jade imprisonment but it would release the Jade Warlord as well. After the Alliance champion defeats the Jade Warlord, the Monkey King asks the champion to solve his three riddles in exchange for the whereabouts of the Harmonic Mallet: an instrument used by the Pandaren rebels in ancient times to counter the mogu's Divine Bell by turning its power into pure harmony. After solving his riddles, the Monkey King revealed that he had to to break the mallet and sent his minions to hide it's pieces in the far away corners of Pandaria in order to prevent it from falling into Mogu hands. Anduin and the Alliance player then go on a quest to reassemble the Harmonic Mallet.

When news reached the Alliance that Horde forces were amassing in huge numbers at Emperor's Reach, everyone expected Garrosh to use the Divine Bell. Knowing that time was of the essence, Anduin stole the Harmonic Mallet and went to stop Garrosh personally. The player witnesses Garrosh make a speech about the Horde's grand destiny, and how he will use the Divine Bell to erase weakness from his orcs and create a stronger Horde. Garrosh rings the Divine Bell and it turns his kor'kron into Sha. After they are dispatched by the player, Prince Anduin Wrynn intervenes and tries to deter Garrosh from using the Divine Bell. Anduin's pleas fell on deaf ears however, and Garrosh used the Divine Bell to sha infest his champion Ishi, who the player then has to fight. Though Garrosh encouraged his troops to master the Sha energy, in the end, none of his champions were able to do so. In the aftermath of the battle, Anduin used the Harmonic Mallet to turn the Divine Bell's chaos into pure harmony. This stuns Garrosh but Garrosh recovers and strikes at the bell and destroys it; causing its rubble to fall on Prince Anduin. The impact of the bell has caused Anduin's bones to shatter. Believing Anduin dead, Garrosh lets the Alliance champion live to relay the fate of Anduin to King Varian; thereby illustrating the price for his continued defiance. The player discovers that Anduin still lives and retrieves Anduin's broken body from the ruins. Using a signal flare for immediate evacuation, they fly to Lion's Landing where Varian mourns and tends to his son, ordering for Velen to be sent to their location at once. Both Varian and Jaina Proudmoore are furious at this assault and swear to make Garrosh pay.

Isle of Thunder

The Kirin Tor Offensive, led by Jaina Proudmoore, and the Sunreaver Onslaught, led by Lor'themar Theron, face off to lay claim to Emperor Lei Shen's island stronghold and the treasures contained therein. Those who have earned her trust through their heroics will be tasked by Jaina to assault the Thunder King's palace and use the  [Staff of Antonidas] to absorb his power from his dais in the [Pinnacle of Storms]. With the Thunder King's power fused with her staff, Jaina plans on using the Thunder King's terrible power on Garrosh when the time comes. Meanwhile Lor'themar also takes an interest in Lei Shen's "blood golems" and sets his top archmages to harnessing their power as leverage against Garrosh should the Horde fall to anarchy.

Darkspear uprising

Garrosh orders the excavation in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, violating the sanctity of the land, which greatly angers Taran Zhu and orders the Horde to leave the Vale before the season's end. Sunwalker Dezco states that not all of the Horde follow the warchief's orders anymore and tries to apologize for the desecration, but to no avail. At the same time Vol'jin returns from his recuperation, and a major anti-Garrosh uprising erupts in Durotar and the Northern Barrens. In response to this, the Kor'kron have enforced martial law in the entirety of orcish territory, and erected new fortified outposts to cull the rebellion.

Battlefield: Barrens

While the Alliance grows stronger amid the pressures of war, the Horde, under the weight of Garrosh’s command, continues to fracture. The Darkspear Trolls are rebelling, Orgrimmar is on lock down, and the Warchief has sent crews into the Vale of Eternal Blossoms and into the Northern Barrens in search of resources to push his war machine forward.

Horde
Vol’jin Makes his Move

For Horde champions, it’s time to meet up with Ki'ta Arrowtusk in Sen'jin Village who will lead you to Vol'jin. He’s alive and well thanks to Chen Stormstout’s aid and he’s not alone. Both Chen and Thrall are with him but he needs the aid of more members of the Horde to truly rebel. Things aren’t all that peaceful in the Village and Horde champions soon need to help deal with the Kor’kron who have managed to lock down the Troll section of Orgrimmar and are looking to take control of other Darkspear Troll strongholds before things get too out of hand.

Once Horde champions have purged the Kor’kron from Sen'jin Village, they'll be sent to Razor Hill as Vol’jin works his way and his troops toward Orgrimmar.

Razor Hill is just a temporary stop for Vol’jin and the rebellion, but before they can move on toward their ultimate goal, they’re going to need supplies –lots of supplies. Horde champions will be asked to go out into the Northern Barrens to steal supplies from the various Kor’kron supply locations.

Alliance
SI-7 Reporting

After months of preparation, the Alliance war machine is turning toward the heart of enemy territory. But Varian Wrynn doesn’t want to commit any regular forces until he knows exactly what to expect. SI:7 spies outside of Orgrimmar were sent to scout out a naval landing site, learn the enemy’s weaknesses, and give Alliance landing forces any advantage they can find.

Using top-secret SI:7 gadgetry, the king's scouts got an early look at the forces that will be arrayed against them when they assault Orgrimmar and also discover that the Horde is falling apart. The trolls are in active rebellion. By escalating this rebellion, the SI:7 agents have devised a plan to sow chaos and bloodshed behind enemy lines without risking a single Alliance soldier. SI-7 agents, after witnessing the might of Garrosh´s power structure, knew that it'd be most practical to work with the Darkspear Rebellion in order to bring Hellscream to justice and put an end to the ongoing war.

Alliance players are being sent personally as an envoy of the Alliance to the rebel leader: Vol’jin of the Darkspear. With a little deft political maneuvering, Alliance players earn his trust, securing a potential Alliance beach landing and ensuring that trolls and orcs kill one another up and down Durotar.

By killing Kor’kron in the Barrens and delivering their stolen supplies to the rebels, the Alliance ensure that Garrosh’s power structure crumbles around him.[32]

Battle on the High Seas

The war between the Horde and Alliance isn't confined to land. Both factions are in the midst of a battle for naval supremacy on the High Seas. After numerous clashes, the Alliance and any Horde rebels within the Horde fleet eventually call for a ceasefire and decide to focus their naval strength against Orgrimmar.

Siege of Orgrimmar

Infestation of the Vale

The discovery of the ancient Titan vault buried beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms gave Garrosh access to the dark heart of Pandaria itself, the Heart of Y'Shaarj, an Old God. The actions of the warchief led to the unthinkable: the awakening of the last and the most dangerous Sha prime, the Sha of Pride, and its subsequent corruption of the Vale.

Preparations for the Siege

High King Varian Wrynn has rallied the Alliance war fleet and has managed to breach Garrosh's blockade over Kalimdor. Their fleet comprising of reinforcements from Stormwind, Dalaran, New Tinkertown, and Ironforge; sailing on Alliance ships armed with heavy artillery, has set sail for Bladefist Bay, blocking every access to Orgrimmar and preventing any reinforcements coming from the sea. Also, the night elf Sentinels under Tyrande Whisperwind's command began marching with siege weapons towards Orgrimmar, planning to use them once Vol'jin's forces attacked the gates.

In the meantime, Vol'jin and Baine Bloodhoof rallied their forces, gaining control of most of Durotar and the Barrens; they also obtained the support of the Bilgewater Cartel, which supplied them with heavy siege weapons. Many orcish citizens of Durotar who opposed Garrosh joined the rebelling forces as well. The blood elves and the Forsaken sent reinforcements across the sea from Lordaeron, planning to regroup them with the rest of the rebels once the Alliance attacked Bladefist Bay. Garrosh, however, was prepared for the siege and managed to bring reinforcements to the city before the start of the rebellion. The Dragonmaw clan under Zaela's command was charged to protect Dranosh'ar Landing against the invading naval forces, General Nazgrim and his forces were sent to defend the main gate, and the Kor'kron legions were placed inside the city, guarding the underground entrance to Garrosh's compound. Garrosh also gained the aid of the Klaxxi, earning reinforcements from them as well.

The final push

After mopping up the damage in the Vale, a combined Horde and Alliance force launch an attack on the capital, ultimately leading to the underground part of the city and a final confrontation with Warchief Garrosh himself. Once defeated, Garrosh is taken in custody by Taran Zhu to let him face trial in Pandaria, a solution approved by both Thrall and Varian Wrynn.

After that, with the agreement of the other Horde leaders, Thrall appoints Vol'jin as new Warchief of the Horde. Jaina Proudmoore tells Varian to take advantage of the Horde's weakness to dismantle it, but Varian chooses to stop the war, and warns Vol'jin that if his Horde fails to uphold honor, as Garrosh's Horde did, the Alliance will return to end it.[33]

Playerbase reaction

During Cataclysm the imbalance between the faction story progression became highly controversial, with the devs admitting to running out of time for the Alliance storyline. In the wake of BlizzCon, this perennial topic has flared up pretty brightly. While the devs did indicate they wanted to give the Alliance a bit more good stuff during some panels, some other incidents during and after BlizzCon (including the news that Theramore, one of the most iconic Alliance cities, will be razed to the ground) has left some doubtful, leading to intense debates and 100+ page forum threads on the subject. The Horde's story has gotten very interesting with Sylvanas' darker path, Garrosh's controversial leadership, and Thrall's place on center stage in Cataclysm. The Alliance, however, has seen very little involvement from its leaders, and some players feel what they have seen has been out of character for their leaders. Malfurion neutral as Ashenvale burns and as Tyrande is attacked.[34]

Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak posted on this topic on a Dev Watercooler. The way Kosak explains it, the devs definitely want to make sure that there is faction pride for both sides. Cross-faction communication was banned outright, even where it made little or no sense in the lore. Entire realms are dedicated to PvP. Battlegrounds and quest hubs feature prominent Alliance and Horde iconography. And, he argues, while the Alliance may be getting beat up, the Horde has taken its share of lumps too. But in the long run, heroes are not born out of easy times. The Alliance will go through tough times, but it will give heroes the opportunity to arise. The Alliance's time is coming. One thing he did admit to is that Blizzard needs to do a better job of making sure people can interact with their heroes. He acknowledges that the Alliance may not think of Thrall as theirs or part of their story, and he promises that once Cataclysm as over, we will catch up with other characters.[35]

References