There rages a fierce battle between the Alliance and the Horde in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. Both sides of the war are each other’s throats and it appears that the Alliance is quickly losing ground to the overwhelming strength of the Horde, under the new Warchief Garrosh Hellscream. This battle isn’t apparent to most who have forgotten the vanilla WoW experience, but new characters are finding a world in which the Horde has superiority and the Alliance is the one on the retreat.

How did it get to this point and what exactly is happening in the post Cataclysm world? For that we first need a brief history lesson.

History of the War

The war between the Orcs and Humans is nothing new, nor should it come as a surprise to any Warcraft veterans. The beginnings actually started a confusingly long time ago when Aegwynn, the Guardian of Tirisfal, battled the Avatar of Sargeras and defeated him. In the battle he placed some of his essence inside of her which would later come into play when her son Medivh obtained the guardian powers and Sargeras’s essence awoke inside of him.

Medivh contacted Gul’dan, an Orc Warlock on Draenor, and spoke of Azeroth’s abundant resources and the artifacts locked within the Tomb of Sargeras which would grant Gul’dan godlike powers. All Gul’dan had to do was come to Azeroth and wipe out the Human population. With Gul’dan and the orc Shadow Council along with Medivh the Dark Portal was opened and the First War began.

The Orcish Horde was relentless in their assault, besieging Stormwind quickly within their first assault. The tenacity of Humanity should not be taken lightly as the Humans repelled the attack and claimed an early victory. Gul’dan appointed a new warchief to the Horde, Blackhand the Destroyer, who led the Horde to victory. Eventually Doomhammer betrayed Blackhand and the Shadow Council while conquering the Kingdom of Azeroth (Stormwind). The remnants fled north into the relative safety of Lordaeron.

Humanity allied together with other races in order to defend itself against the Horde.

It wasn’t long before the Second War began which marked the Horde’s invasion into the northern Human kingdoms, including Lordaeron. The Human nations, the Dwarves of Ironforge, the Gnomes, and High Elves all formed the Alliance of Lordaeron. The Horde took much ground, but was eventually pushed back to the Dark Portal where the Alliance Expedition made its way through and eventually destroyed the portal. Thus, the Second War concluded and the Alliance was the victor.

The Burning Crusade had a heavy focus on the Alliance Expedition, the remnants of the forces that destroyed the portal in Outland to stop the invasion of the Horde.

The Third War eventually came, with the invasion of the Scourge, and the Alliance and the remnants of the Horde were both thrown into a battle for survival. The New Horde, led by a young warchief by the name of Thrall, fled to Kalimdor to find safety while Lordaeron was razed by the Scourge. Stormwind remained nearly unscathed in the south, as the undead forces didn’t bother to push past the plaguelands after Prince Arthas became the new Lich King.

World of Warcraft took place shortly after the RTS games with the Horde building itself up in Kalimdor, the Forsaken joining them in the ruins of Lordaeron while the Alliance worked to rebuild and prepare for the assault on the Lich King. After Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne the Alliance and Horde joined forces in order to assault the Lich King himself, but were defeated by the Forsaken’s new blight. The Lich King was defeated by a group of adventurers, the Argent Crusade, and the Ebon Blade but both sides were no long content with their uneasy truce.

Causalities of War

The ongoing war is extremely brutal, and one the Alliance is starting to find itself losing. A lot of the original Alliance holdings are currently lost, with only one Human settlement remaining in Lordaeron. The Horde has devised new weapons, including the Forsaken Blight and massive bombs, which have been used on the civilian population multiple times by the Horde.

Lordaeron is a great place to start talking about as an example of the current state of affairs. The Human town of Southshore has been completely obliterated by the Forsaken Blight and all Human remnants in Hillsbrad have been wiped out or moved to Fenris Isle where they’ve taken the Worgen curse. The Stormpike Dwarves have been forced to retreat into the Alterac Mountains. These losses are substantial, considering the Alliance lost the battle for Andorhal, meaning that there is only one base left in Lorderon: Chillwind Camp. The only other bases in Northern Eastern Kingdoms are Aerie Peak, Refuge Point, and what remains of Menethil Harbor.

To the south is slightly better, but Stormwind is already under the assault by Orcs in Northshire Abbey and the Horde hold multiple bases such as Grom’gol Basecamp, New Kargath, and more. Highbank is almost in ruins in Twilight Highlands and the Alliance is barely holding their own there. Things are not looking too brightly in the Eastern Kingdoms for the Alliance.

In Kalimdor things are extremely dire. The Night Elves have almost been completely wiped out. Astranaar is burning and under constant attack while Darkshore has been destroyed. In Stonetalon Mountains the Alliance faces huge losses from a large bomb being used on one of their cities while the entire zone is littered with conflict.

Here, thanks to a sneak attack from the Horde, a Dwarf rests within his airship awaiting delivery of ale.

It doesn’t get worse until you reach the Southern Barrens where the Horde has received its one loss: Camp Taurajo. There the Alliance warned them of the attack, then went in and razed the village, and then went so far as to arrest the looters that arrived afterward. What was their reward for allowing the civilians to escape? The general responsible, General Hawthrone, who worked tirelessly to bring an end of the war, was assassinated. Further south, the Dwarves take a strong blow as Bael Modan is obliterated by a Goblin spy.

Southern Kalimdor is completely lost to the Alliance, with very few bases and even fewer settlements. Only the Kingdom of Stormwind, Ironforge, and the fortress of Theramore Island are currently enjoying relative safety from the Horde. Yet, it’s hard to believe the once mighty Alliance could be taking such great blows from the same Horde that razed half of a continent and was pushed straight back to where they came from.

This Alliance base, their attempt at an assault into the Barrens, is overrun by the Horde.

There is much more to speak of, of course. Stormgarde has yet to be retaken and Danath Trollbane still sits within Honor Hold and not leading the assault to reclaim his kingdom. The Worgen make an excellent push into Silverpine Forest, but are defeated by the end of that storyline, leaving the 7th Legion and the Worgen on the retreat. The entire Gilneas storyline is a huge diaster for the Alliance, as the Worgen lose a large portion of their people to the Forsaken's invasion including their prince. However, before he died, he did give us one awesome quote:

"The Forsaken think we're weak, a broken people. They think we'll roll over like a scared dog... how wrong they are. We will fight them in the fields until the last trench collapses and the last cannon is silenced. We will fight them on the streets until the last shot is fired, and when there is no more ammunition, we'll crush their skulls with the stones that pave our city. We will fight them in the alleys until our knuckles are skinned and bloodied, and our rapiers lay on the ground, shattered. And if we find ourselves surrounded and disarmed, wounded and without hope; we will lift our heads in defiance and spit in their faces. But we will never surrender! FOR GILNEAS!"

That is, of course, talking in-game.

Out of Character

The Alliance used to be the highest populated faction on every server. Players love to play pretty characters and the Alliance is full of them. While the Horde had better racials, the Alliance was strengthened by Night Elves and Humans, the only two “pretty” races at the time. When World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade was released the Alliance took a huge blow in numbers as many players began to fight for the other side and the “prettiest” race released so far: Blood Elves.

Blood Elves were successful in driving the Horde numbers back up. According to Warcraft Realms, the WoW census site, there is now 1,431,338 Alliance to 1,364,986 Horde or roughly a 1:1 ratio. On many servers the Horde actually outnumber the Alliance by a great majority of active players. World of Warcraft: Cataclysm brought even more over to the Horde as players sought the new Goblin race which is not only the first “pretty ugly” race but also packs a punch with their strong racials and neat mount.

It’s no joke that the Alliance is no longer top of the charts. Is this necessarily a bad thing though? I personally believe so on some fronts. The lore in the game is currently heavily biased toward the Alliance being the good guys and as such taking heavy losses for it while the Horde, stereotypical bad guys at this point, do nothing but lead an unyielding assault. As far as server population goes, the more even it is the better, yet the numbers show something rather fierce.

The majority of PvE servers are heavily biased toward the Alliance while the majority of PvP servers are biased toward the Horde. This means any Alliance playing on PvP servers are usually outnumbered when it comes to world PvP, although as many know this isn’t necessarily that bad of a thing since world PvP is something rarely done to begin with.

What do you think of the conflict? Do you think that the Alliance, the stalwart good guys, should always be victorious or has their constant victories during vanilla gone on for far too long? Come to the Ten Ton Hammer community forums and share your thoughts!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

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Get in the bush with David "Xerin" Piner as he leverages his spectacular insanity to ask the serious questions such as is Master Yi and Illidan the same person? What's for dinner? What are ways to elevate your gaming experience? David's column, Respawn, is updated near daily with some of the coolest things you'll read online, while David tackles ways to improve the game experience across the board with various hype guides to cool games.