Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Welcome, to the world of Warcraft.
Warcraft: Orcs and Humans opening.

Warcraft is Blizzard Entertainment's famous Real Time Strategy trilogy (yes, the franchise did exist before World of Warcraft).

Warcraft: Orcs and Humans tells the story of the kingdom of Azeroth, which is attacked by a Horde of green-skinned marauders that are hell-bent on exterminating the human population. The player is either a valiant human lord who beats back the orcs and gets crowned the monarch of Azeroth after King Llane dies, or an orc general who crushes the noble capital of Stormwind and betrays his warchief, becoming the new leader of the orcs.

In Warcraft II: the Tides of Darkness, we discover that while elements of both campaigns happened, the orc campaign victory was Canon. The new orc warchief (Orgrim Doomhammer, who slew Big Bad Blackhand after the conclusion of the previous game) is creating a Horde more dangerous than ever by enlisting creatures such as trolls, ogres, dragons and goblins into its ranks, while the surviving humans of Azeroth (led by the human commander from the previous game, Lord Anduin Lothar) have fled across the seas to the countries of Lordaeron and created an Alliance consisting of humans, elves, dwarves and gnomes. Soon, the two juggernauts face each other over global domination. Again, while missions from both sides occur, the Alliance victory is canonical, but Lothar, their greatest hero, falls; Doomhammer flees into exile. In the Expansion Pack Warcraft II: Beyond The Dark Portal, the Alliance pursues the beaten Orcs to their dying homeworld of Draenor to stop them from gathering reinforcements... and discover a far darker plot. Ner'zhul, a powerful Orc warlock, decides to use several ancient artifacts to open doorways from Draenor to other worlds for the Orcs to conquer. The foiling of his plot finally seems to spell an end to the red planet. The Orcs remaining on Azeroth are rounded up and placed in internment camps. The other creatures of the Horde go their own ways.

An Adventure Game was planned, called Warcraft Adventures: Lord of the Clans, which would detail the Horde shaking loose their demonic influences and make a Heel Face Turn under the leadership of a human-raised Orc named Thrall, but the game was cancelled supposedly due to low quality (it was animated by the same studio as the Mario and Zelda CD-i games). The key elements of its story were then used for one of the tie-in novels, Warcraft: Lord of the Clans.

Lord of the Clans' plot was worked into the backstory of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, which added the Night Elves and Undead as playable factions. In the game, the Horde, now under Thrall, flees Lordaeron on advice from a human prophet. Shortly after, the Scourge (an undead army created by the demons who had corrupted the orcs in the first place, and led by Ner'zhul, trapped in an almost formless existence) assaults the Alliance, which was already beginning to fracture politically. The Elves of Lordaeron are decimated, Lordaeron's prince Arthas becomes the Scourge's most powerful minion due to his lust for vengeance, and his former lover and princess of the nation of Kul Tiras, Jaina Proudmoore, takes any survivors she can over the sea... again, on advice from the prophet. Across the sea, on Kalimdor, the Horde has allied with a native race, the Tauren, and found a new tribe of Trolls that can join them. The Alliance arrives soon after, and again following the words of the Prophet, unite against their greater foe: the Scourge and their burning masters. But their settlement does not go unnoticed: the Night Elves, led by Tyrande Whisperwind, see the outlanders as despoiling Kalimdor... until faced with the horrible reality of the Scourge, and facing again the Burning Legion after ten thousand years. The truce between the Horde and Alliance expands to include the Night Elves, and their combined forces are enough to break the Burning Legion's advance and slay its leader. Despite the victory, Lordaeron is left ravaged, and the Scourge is feasting on the bones.

The expansion pack Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne focuses on the secondary night elf Anti-Mage Anti-Hero Illidan Stormrage, who is hired by the Burning Legion's new lord to kill the Lich King, the ruler of the Scourge, who through his machinations and indeed his dealings with Illdan had ensured the demons' loss despite ostensibly serving the Legion. Illidan hires the serpentine Naga, night elves corrupted by ancient magic, to help himself achieve the task, but is stopped by his people, who think he was trying something more villainous. Desperate now, he flees in search of new allies and a place to hide. In Lordaeron, the Blood Elves (the scraps of of the Elven civilization the Scourge had destroyed) are cast aside by Alliance's bigoted commander... and are aided by Illidan and his Naga, who go into hiding in the shattered remnant of Draenor. Illidan cannot hide from his master, however, and turns his focus back to the Scourge, settling on all-out assault with his new allies. Arthas, now calling himself King of Lordaeron, finds himself dealing with a rebellion led by minor lords of the Legion and some of the enemies he had killed and brought back as undead allies, who have regained their minds with the Lich King so harried. One of them, an Elven general named Sylvanas Windrunner, takes commanad of the rebellious undead and carves out a new nation for them. Arthas has no time to deal with her, however, and hurries to save his Master. He and Illidan battle in Northrend, and the death knight defeats Illidan, sending him and his allies packing. Arthas then goes to his master and enacts the Lich King's masterstroke: their bodies and minds fusing permanently into one of the most powerful beings on the face of Azeroth.

Meanwhile, Thrall and the Horde settle down and the orcs begin work on their new capital city Orgrimmar. The traveling beast master Rexxar becomes involved in the orcs' work to forge a new homeland, but trouble rears its ugly head when Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, Jaina Proudmoore's father and an Alliance hero from Warcraft II: the Tides of Darkness, shows up. Jaina has built a city for her refugees called Theramore Isle, and has been able to maintain peace with the nearby Horde. However, her father still hates the orcs for their demon-fueled war crimes, and, unwilling to see that they have changed, takes control of Theramore from his daughter and begins to attack the Horde. After helping the trolls evacuate to Orgrimmar, saving the tauren leader Cairne Bloodhoof's son, and taking over a clan of ogres, Rexxar is declared the Champion of the Horde, and the Horde attacks Theramore. In return for Jaina's aid in stopping her father, Thrall agrees to spare her soldiers, so Rexxar and his posse of Cairne, the troll scout Rokhan and the pandaren brewmaster Chen Stormstout go and kill Daelin while the forces of the Horde and the Admiral fight. Daelin is slain, Jaina is sad, and the Horde leaves the city of Theramore to rebuild.

Warcraft‍'‍s success eventually gave birth to the MMORPG monster World of Warcraft, which retconned some of the backstory developed by the previous games. It also created the Warcraft Expanded Universe.

Tropes used in Warcraft include:
  • Action Girl:
    • Tyrande Whisperwind, Jaina Proudmoore, Sylvanas Windrunner, Maiev Shadowsong... and there's even Mook style action girls: the Night Elf Archers and Huntresses, and High Elf Sorceresses.
    • Aleria Windrunner from the Warcraft II expansion is the first Action Girl to appear in the series (the first female characters to appear in the games, Garona and Griselda, were both non-combat units), who also happens to be Sylvanas' older sister.
  • The Ageless:
    • Night elves used to have this form of immortality, before sacrificing it to save the world from the Burning Legion.
    • Draenei may also have this form of immortality (Velen is explicitly stated to), or they may just be extremely long lived.
    • Demons also have this type of Immortality.
    • Dragons, or at least the Aspects, seem to be undying as well. Or were until they recently had to relinquish it, anyway.
  • The Alliance: The Alliance in both the sequels, and the Horde in Warcraft III.
  • All Trolls Are Different: In this case, a savage yet spiritual people with ties to the elves who happen to have Cuban and Jamaican accents.
    • There are several sub-species of trolls, mainly differing by skin color but sometimes with more pronounced differences. Sand and Jungle trolls, including the playable Darkspear tribe, are hunched and lanky. Forest and Ice trolls are notably larger and more muscular. The Zandalari trolls, being the civilized, pureblood ancestral race, look much less monstrous, and actually stand upright.
    • Night Elves are evolved from Trolls — specifically, a tribe of now-extinct Dark Trolls settled by a magical lake (which would later become the Well of Eternity), and the exposure to magic turned them into Night Elves. The Elves don't really like to talk about it.
  • Ancient Tomb: The Tomb of Sargeras.
  • And I Must Scream: What Kil'jaeden did to Ner'zhul to transform him into the Lich King.
    • Arthas, already dead, is spiritually stuck in something similar, when Sylvanas sees what waits for her in the afterlife.
  • Animated Actors: The Hilarious Outtakes in the closing credits for Reign of Chaos.
  • Animate Dead: The Scourge's entire modus operandi.
    • Necrolytes in Warcraft, Death Knights in Warcraft II and Scourge Necromancers in Warcraft III can make Skeletons from corpses. In the third game, the Graveyard and Meat Wagons provides infinite corpses. Thus the only limiter is mana. Even that limit can be raised to an extent using Obsidian Statues.
    • The Death Knight hero unit has for his ultimate move Animate Dead, which revives any six nearby corpses to fight for him. In Reign of Chaos, it lasts for 180 seconds or until they're re-killed, while Frozen Throne changes it so it lasts 40 seconds and makes the units invulnerable (in either case, the animated units don't leave reusable corpses).
    • The Night Elf Avatar of Vengeance spams a variant of Animate Dead (on top of being huge).
  • Anti-Gravity Clothing: Kel'Thuzad and other Liches have magical floating vests and chains, and Kael'thas has three green orbs called Verdant Spheres flying around him.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • Highly visible in Warcraft II, where melee units will happily stand still and get killed by a ranged attacker two spaces away.
    • Visible as well in Warcraft III, where sometimes a computer opponent will just stop evolving at the second tier. Worse, if you choose to start with a random hero, they sometimes ignore it completely and build up to second tier before starting to explore and level their hero.
  • Ascended Extra: Some of the major characters were initially just mentioned briefly in the early games. For example, Sargeras was nothing but a throw-away name for a demon whose sceptre Gul'dan was trying to steal.
  • Asteroids Monster: Hydras. As there's no way to represent one hydra's head being replaced by more, a dying hydra will be replaced by two smaller and weaker hydras.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: While attacking hero units with a horde of weak units is an effective tactic, you need enough Mooks to overwhelm the heroes. This is not the case with the small bandit gangs at the beginning of the Human Alliance campaign... but they insist on making a beeline for paladin Arthas and his high defense stats and enormous smite-mallet anyway. It's common for him to one-shot *thock* them (for honour). Very entertaining, but the labour turnover for bandits has to be ridiculous.
  • Author Appeal: Character Designer Samwise Didier's love of pandas led to the creation of the Pandaren, though it was the fan's affection for the notion that finally made them canon. You have to squint to see it, but Illidan also has tiny pictures of panda faces on the hilts of his weapons. And there's somebody in the Blizzard staff (probably several) who really, really likes Monty Python.
  • Autobots Rock Out: The Power of the HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRDDEEEE!!!.
  • Awesome McCoolname: A lot. Most characters from all the races, right down to the generic hero units in multiplayer, get surnames that are just two cool-sounding words squashed together. Even so, "Malfurion Stormrage" stands head and shoulders above the rest.
  • Badass Beard: Every dwarf unit and paladins.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jaina Proudmoore. "All I wanted is to study."
  • Badass Mustache: Knights in Warcraft III, and units with similar models (Bandit Lords, Garithos).
  • Bag of Spilling: Happens to Arthas between the Human and Undead campaigns of Warcraft III, but the game goes to some effort to avert this within the campaigns themselves, as a Hero unit that departs for story reasons leaves all their items behind.
  • Baleful Polymorph:
    • Sorceress' "Polymorph" and Shadow Hunter's "Hex" spells can turn opponents into critters. Quite a few mobs and bosses have access to these spells as well.
    • In Warcraft II, the wizard's polymorph is a permanent instakill move, which simply turns any hostile unit into the tileset-appropriate critter. There's a reason it's one the most expensive ability to both research and cast.
  • The Beast Master: The, uh, Beastmaster hero. However, gameplay-wise, he's closer to Summon Magic: every one of his abilities involves summoning an animal companion to fight at his side from nowhere.
    • In Warcraft I, each side's high-end caster could summon weaker mooks and a single powerful summon, the orcs having the warlock summoning spiders and Daemons, and the human Conjurer creating scorpions and water elementals.
  • The Bechdel Test: In Warcraft III, Tyrande and Jaina have a conversation about the defense of Mount Hyjal against Archimonde; Sylvanas also has a conversation with one of her banshees about their newfound freedom. Warcraft I and Warcraft II, however, fail the test.
    • Lady Vashj also has an extended conversation with Maiev about the origin of the Naga early on too, and Maiev and Tyrande have a few (admittedly hostile) conversations during the course of the Night Elf campaign.
  • Berserk Button: Screwing with the land, and Illidan in general, tend to stress Malfurion out, but he usually keeps his cool in most any situation, unlike his partner Tyrande. Mess with her though...
    • Basically your mouse. Keep klicking each and every unit, and you will piss him/her/it off, often with threats of physical violence.
      • Aleria Windrunner: Do that again and you'll pull back a stump.
  • The Berserker: Grom Hellscream. And, of course, Troll Berserkers.
  • Best Served Cold: Ner'zhul thinks this way. His brilliant plan to destroy the Legion and install the Scourge (with himself as head) as the dominant power in Azeroth is one of the finest examples of this trope.
  • Big Bad: Blackhand and Gul'dan in Warcraft I, Orgrim Doomhammer in Warcraft II, Ner'zhul in the expansion Beyond the Dark Portal, Archimonde in Warcraft III. The Frozen Throne didn't have a single Big Bad, but the main campaign sequence was driven by the Evil Versus Evil conflict between Kil'Jaeden and the Lich King, while Admiral Proudmoore was Big Bad for the Orc bonus campaign. Sargeras for the whole series.
  • Big Badass Wolf: Orcish Raiders (a.k.a. wolf riders) in Warcraft I and Warcraft III. Also the ones the Far Seer ride.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Ballnazar, Detheroc and varimathras in the "Legacy of the Damned".
  • Bigger Bad: Sargeras is the ultimate evil in the setting, but as he's usually on his throne and/or out of commission, this is the role he takes in most of the games and novels, rather than direct Big Bad.
  • Big No:
    • "You... did this... to our people... knowingly!? GGRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!!! "
    • "No, old friend, you freed us all... RRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGHHHH!!"
    • "Within your heart, you know, we are the same!" "NUUUUUUUUUUURGH!" (It's actually a "NO", but Grom's yell sounds almost inarticulate.)
  • Big Red Devil: Kil'jaeden is the most famous example. Several other demons including the Succubi, the Eredar and especially the Doomguard also qualify.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In The Frozen Throne's Orc campaign, there's a bear called Misha, which means 'bear' in Russian.
  • Black Magic: According to Canon, most types of magic in the Warcraft universe are this. Although Shadow magic (used by Shadow Priests, Death Knights and the Undead) and Fel magic (used by Demons and Warlocks) are explicitly derived from The Dark Side, even Arcane magic (used by Mages) has the twin drawbacks of being extremely addictive and acting as a beacon to attract demons to Azeroth... as the High Elves found out long ago. Also see White Magic below.
  • Black Magician Girl: Jaina.
  • Bonsai Forest: The forests seem to be very thick compared to how short the trees are.
  • Booze Flamethrower: Pandaren Brewmasters in Warcraft III have both a "throw booze" and "spit fire" abilities, which can be combined.
  • Boss Battle:
    • Kathuulon, Ra'Adoom, Xaxion Drak'eem from "Warchasers" are explicit bosses.
    • Beyond the Dark Portal has some, most notably Deathwing in the human campaign. In the final orc mission, you also have to kill all human hero units bunched together. Best not bring Terron Gorefiend there...
  • Butter Face: The Blademaster.
  • Butt Monkey: Alterac, during the Second War and before the Syndicate. Lore keeps reminding us that they were "the weakest of the Human nations" and "only a minor contributor of troops and equipment to the Alliance" before their betrayal. The Orc campaign in Beyond the Dark Portal has a mission in which you aid the survivors of Alterac and one of their mages. Its mission briefing reminds you how weak the nation is, and an accompanying cutscene in the Playstation version shows Orcs killing the Alterac mage's bodyguards, just because they can, while the Alterac mage helplessly dips his head (skip to 3:09).
  • Cannibal Tribe: The Bonechewer Clan and various Troll tribes.
  • Captain Ersatz:
    • Between his undead pallor in lieu of albinism, his soul-drinking runeblade, and his being monarch of a kingdom he eventually turns against and destroys, Arthas has a lot in common with Elric of Melnibone. Even the naming and art of the swords is similar.
    • Sylvanas is Sarah Kerrigan with the serial numbers filed off.
  • Chain Lightning: The Far Seer can use this.
  • The Chessmaster: A fair few: Ner'zhul, Tychondrius, Kel'thuzad, Sylvanas and Mal'ganis being prime examples.
  • Chew Toy: Malygos... until World of Warcraft.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder
  • Civil Warcraft: The Trope Namer.
  • Classic Cheat Code: All Your Base Are Belong to Us gives instant win, and Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb gives instant failure.
  • Color-Coded Armies: In the entire series.
  • Combat Medic: Druids of the Claw are the rare melee-oriented spellcaster, capable of turning into a rampaging bear as well as being able to heal their allies. They're even pretty beefy when not in bear form. Paladins in Warcraft II and Warcraft III are also melee-oriented healing spellcasters.
  • Combat Tentacles
  • Combined Energy Attack: The Nature Spirits' combined energy is what killed Archimonde.
  • Command and Conquer Economy: You assign peasants to their tasks and build farms and lumber mills, as well as more military kinds of facility.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: It sees the full map, needs no resources, and can control more units at once than you can. And prioritizes players over other AI opponents.
  • The Computer Shall Taunt You: In a cutscene preceding one mission in Warcraft III where you are controlling the undead Scourge, the orc leading a charge against you opines that killing a bunch of weak, mindless undead like you guys should be no problem.
  • Construct Additional Pylons: Farms for both sides in the first two games. The orcs switched from farms to burrows in Warcraft III, while the two new factions had similar buildings of their own: moonwells for the night elves and ziggurats for the undead.
  • Cosmetically Different Sides: In the first two games, the two factions were identical, save for their spellcasters and some upgrades. Averted hard in number three.
  • Crate Expectations: In Warcraft III.
  • Creative Closing Credits: Warcraft III and The Frozen Throne have humorous scenes playing during the credits, such as Archimonde trying to film a remake of the scene from Warcraft II where a footman shoots down a zeppelin with a catapult, or Arthas holding a rock concert.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max:
    • One of Warcraft II's cutscenes shows a Catapult destroying a Goblin Zeppelin despite the fact that catapults cannot attack flying units in actual gameplay.
    • In Warcraft III. Cairne's war stomp can cause an avalanche, and Tyrande's Starfall can destroy bridges. Neither is possible in the game.
  • Damage Increasing Debuff: Several examples in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos and its Frozen Throne expansion.
    • Druids of the Talon's "Faerie Fire" autocast ability removes some armor from the target and allows the user to see that unit until the effect fades.
    • Troll Berserkers' "Berserk" ability allows the user to attack faster but take more damage (in %).
    • The Orb of Corruption item reduces the armor of units attacked by a Hero who carries it.
    • Ethereal units are immune to physical attacks, but cannot use their own attacks and take increased damage from Magic-type attacks and spells (including healing magic). The Blood Mage's "Banish" spell temporarily makes a physical target ethereal and slows it.
    • The Alchemist's Acid Bomb spell reduces the target's armor and inflicts damage over time.
  • Damage Is Fire: Buildings and mechanical units catch on fire (cosmetic only) as their health is depleted.
  • Dark Action Girl: Sylvanas Windrunner.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • The Night Elf race.
    • The Orcs as well, after their Heel Face Turn in Warcraft III anyway.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Every novel and comic released is technically there to provide the backstory of the side characters. Though since every campaigns have different set of main characters, each campaign is probably one since there is no single 'main character' in the story.
  • Degraded Boss: The abomination in The Scourge of Lordaeron .
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Ogres had a major role in Warcraft II, but were neutral creeps and mercenaries in Warcraft III. Ditto for Goblins (mostly as merchants).
    • Gnomes were cut from Warcraft III entirely, only seen again when World of Warcraft came around.
    • The human campaign in the The Frozen Throne expansion focused largely on the plight of Kael'thas and his Blood Elf remnants... for about two and a half missions. Then they became more or less Out of Focus as the story importance shifted to Illidan and his Naga (made worse by the Blood Elf forces being completely irrelevant alongside the much stronger Naga). By the middle of the Undead campaign, the Blood Elves were out-and-out Mooks with the exception of Kael'thas himself.
  • Devour the Dragon: Or the Mook, anyway: Death Knights can eat minions for a health boost. Liches can do the same to get mana. Om nom nom.
    • One could theoretically devour a frost wyrm in this fashion, making this more literal... and probably a massive waste of a good unit.
  • Disposable Bandits: In Warcraft III, bandits are a common type of unaligned creep. They can "Shadowmeld" to turn invisible at night, and the stronger ones have some tricks, but generally are no match for a hero with decent backup.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:

Shade: "I'm invisible... gaseous... and deadly."

  • The Dragon: Just to name a few:
    • Kil'jaeden and Archimonde for Sargeras.
    • Tichondrius for Kil'jaeden.
    • Anetheron and Azgalor for Archimonde.
    • Orgrim Doomhammer was the Dragon and The Starscream for Blackhand.
    • Cho'gall was the Dragon for Gul'dan (Warcraft II).
    • Dentarg was the Dragon for Ner'zhul (Warcraft II Expansion).
    • Both Arthas and Kel'thuzad for the Lich King.
    • Kael'thas and Lady Vashj for Illidan.
    • Varimathras for Lady Sylvanas.
    • Master of Pain and Mistress of torment for Magtheridon.
    • Chief of Chaplains and Chief Petty Officer for Admiral Proudmoore.
    • Morbent Fell and Ras for Balnazzar.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Dagren the Orcslayer.
  • Duel Boss: Rexxar Vs Kor'gall.
  • Dumb Muscle: Specifically Ogres and Abominations. Some Orcs fall into this, but not the Orc Shamans.
  • Dying as Yourself: Grom.
  • Elemental Shapeshifter: Warcraft III's Pandaran's "Storm, Earth, and Fire" ability splits the hero into three different beings, each themed after the particular element.
  • Elite Army: The army of Kul Tiras.
  • Enemy Civil War: The Forsaken against the Dreadlords' enslaved undead forces (starts out as a three way war with Undead still loyal to Arthas, but he took off to Northrend); Thrall's orcs against fallen orcs under a corrupted Grom.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • The Horde team up the remnants of The Alliance to defeat Mannoroth. They then both team up with the Night Elves at the Battle of Mount Hyjal.
    • The Night Elves and The Naga team up to rescue Tyrande from the Undead.
    • The Forsaken strike an unholy alliance with Alliance forces to defeat the Undead force holding Lordaeron.
  • The Engineer: The Gnomes and Goblins
  • Entropy and Chaos Magic: The burning legion, and associated warlocks, demons and mages, often use a highly destructive form of magic, including many spells with "chaos" in the name, and Chaos damage being a strong damage type in Warcraft III.
  • Escort Mission:
    • Nearly every Hero Unit who appears before Beyond the Dark Portal. Lothar, Garona, Zul'jin, Cho'gall and Uther Lightbringer are all either escorted or rescued-then-escorted. Of those, only Cho'gall is of any special use in the mission.
    • There were also some of escort missions with normal units. The Alterac PoW's spring to mind.
  • Everything Fades: Eventually, the corpses disappear.
  • Everything Is Worse With Bears: Druids of the Claw, Furbolgs, Pandaren and the Largest Panda Ever.
  • Evil Counterpart: Warcraft III plays this perfectly straight in the form of Death Knights and Paladins. Paladins have a spell that heals the living and hurts the dead, Death Knights have a spell that does exactly the opposite. Paladins can improve their lifespan with a spell that makes them invulnerable, Death Knights can improve their lifespan by sacrificing minions for hitpoints. Paladins have a defensive aura that improves armor, and Death Knights have an offensive aura that boosts hitpoint regeneration and movespeed for hit-and-run attacks. Paladins have a spell that resurrects the six strongest dead friendly units near him permanently, while the Death Knight can animate the corpses of the six strongest units of any sort near him to fight for 40 seconds before exploding in a shower of gore.
  • Evil Is Burning Hot: The Burning Legion.
  • Evil Is Deathly Cold: The Scourge.
  • Evil Prince: Arthas Menethil.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Illidan's voice gets quite a bit deeper after he absorbs the Skull of Gul'dan and becomes half demon.
  • Evil Versus Evil: The battles between the Scourge and the Burning Legion in The Frozen Throne. Also, Illidan versus Magtheridon. There's quite a lot of infighting in the Horde in the first two games.
  • Exclusively Evil: The Horde, The Burning Legion, the Satyrs, the Gnolls...
    • Funnily enough, many of the races a player would expect to be Chaotic Evil from other works are anything but, whereas a lot of races that are portrayed as good elsewhere are actually pretty nasty in the Warcraft universe. Tauren are basically minotaurs, but most of them are good and honorable. As detailed in the description, the orcs made a Heel Face Turn. Meanwhile, centaurs are brutal savages and satyrs are demon-worshippers. As for goblins, see Our Goblins Are Wickeder below.
  • Expanded Universe: Specifically, the Warcraft Expanded Universe.
  • Face Heel Turn: Arthas, (sort of) Sylvanas in the expansion, Sargeras in the backstory.
  • Faction Calculus: Humans (Balanced) vs. Orcs (Powerhouse) vs. Undead (Subversive) vs. Night Elves (Glass Cannons) in Warcraft III.
  • Fallen Hero: Arthas, Illidan, Kael'Thas Sunstrider and Grom Hellscream. A few others might be considered this as well.
  • Fantastic Racism: A lot of races in Warcraft really don't like each other. The most prominent example is the Humans and Night Elves viewing Orcs as murderous war-like savages (while having some basis in fact, this isn't completely true). Then there's Grand Marshal Garithos, who hates other Alliance races. Warcraft loves this trope.
  • Fantasy Axis of Evil: Almost literally in Warcraft II. The Horde consists of Orcs, Ogres, Trolls, Goblins, the Undead, Daemons and Dragons (willing allies in the expansion). Pretty egalitarian too. If they weren't The Horde, they'd be The Alliance.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture:
    • Lordaeron is quite obviously European. The Jungle Trolls are Jamaican-like. The Taurens seem to be the native peoples of America's Great Plains, but with their cultural ties to buffalo herds emphasized.
    • The Pandaren are a race of anthropromorphised pandas. Nevermind being the mascot of Chinese culture, the Pandarens also believe in a religion similar to Daoism, practise similar style martial arts, wear stereotypical Asian clothing have an equally stereotypical accent.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Satyrs in the Warcraft universe are half-demonic corrupted night elves, and Fauns are half-daughters of the Demigod Cenarius.
  • Firewood Resources: Though the Lumber Mills show them as planks, worker units carry them as fireplace-sized logs.
  • Fish People: The mur'guls and the murlocs.
  • Five-Bad Band:
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Flesh Golem: The abominations through necromancy, and in TFT, you get actual flesh golems.
  • Fog Feet: The Firelord hero from Warcraft III.
  • Forged by the Gods: Frostmourne... well it was forged by something pretty powerful, anyway.
  • Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Alliance and The Horde went to war over oil in Warcraft II. Not so in Warcraft III.
  • For Want of a Nail: One of the tie-in manga brought up an interesting question: what if Jaina didn't leave Arthas at Stratholme? Well, Arthas wouldn't have become the Lich King. There'd be a Lich Queen though.
  • Fungus Humongous: Some areas had giant mushrooms that could apparently be substituted for lumber. And used for healing Ancients or summoning Treants too.
  • Funny Background Event: In Jaina's first appearance. Two sorceresses duel, and one of them gets turned into a sheep.
  • General Ripper: The bigoted Garithos, who planned to get Kael and the Blood Elves killed by the Undead. And Jaina's father Daelin Proudmoore who wants to continue fighting the orcs, despite their peace treaty with Jaina's forces.
  • Gentle Giant: The Tauren. Don't piss them off though.
  • Gladiator Revolt:
    • Thrall, the warchief of the Horde, was raised as a gladiator by humans, but turned against his former masters.
    • The comic photocopied this (however narmily): after the king of Stormwind washed up on the shores of Durotar after escaping his imprisonment, some orc found him and made him fight as a gladiator.
  • God Save Us From the Queen:
    • The only Queen known by name in the series is Aszhara, a narcissistic egomaniacal Nightelf Highborne largely responsible for bringing the Burning Legion to Azeroth the first time. After the plan was foiled, and the Well of Eternity consumed itself, she was lost in the deep sea along with her servants... only to remerge as the Naga.
    • The speculative Lich Queen Jaina nightmare in one of the manga sure fits this too.
  • Going Through the Motions:
    • It really kills the mood when Illidan, in the middle of a dramatic speech, starts flipping out and going through his idle poses. How exactly does standing on one foot and throwing your hands in the air help your case, great demon hunter?
    • The Blood Mage has one where he puts his hands on his hips, thrusts his chest out, and laughs. It pops up during Kael'thas' story at some very unfortunately timed moments.
    • Warcraft III also indulges in the voice equivalent, if such a thing exists - unit or hero quotes are sometimes inserted into cutscenes, especially in The Frozen Throne.
    • The portraits can be guilty of this. It ruins the drama when after his serious dialog, Thrall turns to the camera and does this weird half-smile.
    • Footmen have an animation where they sheathe their sword and take a swig, ending up looking like The Snack Is More Interesting.
  • Government in Exile: Azeroth in Warcraft II has lost both its homeland and its king, but it remains one of the most powerful human nations and is leader of The Alliance.
  • Hair-Raising Hare: The Easter-egg hunt themed map includes horrifying bunnies.
  • Happily Married: Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande.
  • Heel Face Turn: Again, sort of Sylvanas at the end of the The Frozen Throne expansion, though she remains quite ruthlessly hostile to any possible threats against her new people.
    • Don't forget the Orcs and Night Elves in Warcraft III.
  • Herd-Hitting Attack: Many of the hero skills.
  • Heroic Neutral: The Night Elves... at first anyway.
  • Hero Unit:
    • Heroes in Warcraft I include Lothar (roughly as strong as a knight, but he appeared before you got to build them in the campaign), Medivh (far more powerful than any normal unit... and you had to kill him) and Garona and Griselda (both defenseless units with Peon stats).
    • Warcraft II started the prototype "Blizzard hero", almost identical to other units of the same kind (with greater hit points and the exception of Zul'Jin's slightly higher range) at first, these type of units grew more unique over the course of subsequent Blizzard games. The hero units who were stronger versions of normal units didn't show up until Beyond the Dark Portal.
    • A core concept in Warcraft III. Heroes level up, collect equipment, and can be resurrected for a fee if they die.
  • Holy Hand Grenade: Paladins and Priests.

Elf Priest: By the power of the Light, Burn!

  • Hook Hand: The Shattered Hand Clan and its leader Korgath Bladefist.
  • The Horde: The titular example, though only in the first two games. The Scourge and the Legion take over in the third.
  • Horned Humanoid: Illidan, Dreadlords, Kil'jaeden, and... well, Malfurion is more antlered, but still.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Before becoming the Lich King, Arthas remembers the voices of his friends and teachers telling him what a bad idea all the other things were that he's done to get this far. This doesn't stop him.
  • Ignored Expert: The Dalaran Ambassador from "The Warning" counts as this: when he warns the council that "The orcs are not our primary concern here... this plague that has gripped the northlands could have dire ramifications", another ambassador laughs him down: "Plague? You wizards are just being paranoid!"
  • Instant Win Condition: Destroy all buildings, it doesn't matter if your opponent has an unstoppable army compared to yours, if you trash all of your opponent's buildings before he trashes yours, you win. Several parts of the campaign do this as well.
  • It Got Worse: The Human Alliance Scourge of Lordaeron campaign is just a perfect example of this. What starts out as a few isolated cases of mysterious, scary illness quickly escalates into a full-blown disaster, and as all hell breaks loose Arthas starts to gradually lose it. This is, of course, all part of the Lich King's colossal bloody Evil Plan.
  • Just Eat Him: Kodo Beasts and Dragons have an ability that does this. Dryads have a spell immunity, that somehow results in them being indigestible. In the story, Alexstrasza also did this to Nekros Skullcrusher.
  • Klingon Promotion:
    • Arthas claimed the title of king of Lordaeron after killing his father Terenas.

King Terenas: What are you doing, my son?
Arthas: Succeeding you, father.

    • Orgrim Doomhammer becomes the Warchief during the First War after murder of Blackhand, the previous Warchief.
  • Knight Templar: The Silver Hand under Arthas, during his Start of Darkness. Later, you get the Argent Dawn, and the templars-in-name-only (definitely NOT in attitude) Scarlet Crusade.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Daelin Proudmoore.
  • Lady of War: Tyrande and Maiev.
  • Large and In Charge: The hero units, and by extension the "leader" units in the campaigns, are much larger than the other units... and sometimes the buildings.
  • Large Ham:
    • Bill Roper, THE narr-A-tor for Warcraft II is a bombbastic joy, especially when proNOUNcing names like Orgrim Doomhammer and Lord Lothar.
    • He also does the voice for the Orc mission briefings. One word: DRAGONS!
    • He also does the voice work for footmen, grunts, peons, elven archers, Danath and Grom Hellscream.
    • For a taste click here.
    • Kael'thas to an extent, most apparently when he's promising loyalty to Illidan at the end of the Black Citadel battle. Illidan gets in on the fun too, when he's taunting Magtheridon.
    • Let's not forget the Paladin. "STRIKE with great JUSTICE!" and "In Lightbringer's name, HAVE AT THEE!".
    • Chen Stormstout: "I will bring PANDA-MONIUM"
    • Dwarves in general, but the Mountain King takes the cake. "FOR KHAZ MODAAAN!"
  • Lawful Stupid: Again, Tyrande and Maiev. Tyrande grows out of it eventually, though. Maiev doesn't.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Arthas: "It's time to finish the game."
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Grom pulls this off in the third Orc Mission: when Thrall was about to move on past the humans, Grom goes along to attack some human bases.
  • Les Collaborateurs: The human nation/city-state of Alterac.
  • Lightning Bruiser Spellcasters: The Ogre-Magi and Paladins in Warcraft II. They were your tanks.
  • Loads and Loads of Races: Type 1: a few races in Warcraft, mainly orcs and humans (with a dash of undead and demons). Elves, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, ogres and trolls were added in Warcraft II. Night elves, taurens and naga added in Warcraft III, plus countless other neutral races.
  • Looks Like Orlok: Dreadlords.
  • Love Triangle: We have the old Malfurion-Tyrande-Illidan triangle in Reign of Chaos. In The Frozen Throne, we get hints that there was a triangle between Arthas-Jaina-Kael, which is confirmed in Rise of the Lich King.
  • Magic Is a Monster Magnet: Attracts demons and other things.
  • Magic Knight: The Paladin in Warcraft II and Warcraft III, the Ogre-Mage in Warcraft II, and the Death Knight and Priestess of the Moon in Warcraft III.
  • Mayincatec: The Trolls. They live in jungles, have ziggurats, and have been known to practice human(oid) sacrifice.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Gul'dan for Blackhand. Mal'ganis for KelThuzad, then the Lich King for Mal'ganis, then the Burning Legion for the Lich King.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Arthas/Arthur, Medivh/Merlin, Sylvanas (Forest Ranger)...
    • Grom Hellscream, at least in his first appearance. He had a remarkably high and screamish voice in Beyond the Dark Portal, and one of his responses when selecting him was simply screaming "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEHHHHH!!!".
  • The Messiah: Thrall.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: Box art for the first two games.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In an underground cave in Kalimdor, Thrall runs into a bunch of sheep, remarking he'd never seen them on that continent. Which is the signal for the Baleful Polymorph to wear off and leave you facing a bunch of footmen.
  • Mistaken for Granite:
    • At one point in the third game, there's a hallway with statues of armored men on either side. Further down the hallway are robotic golems which activate when you reach them (complete with "The statues are coming to life!" in case you missed the point). The golems and the statues look nothing like each other, but that might be Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • In the same game, certain treasures are seemingly out in the open, only for the nearby rocks to crumble and turn into golems. This is done better than the statue example, as the game script actually destroys said rocks (which are normal, destroyable doodads that would otherwise yield additional loot) and spawns golems almost instantly after the rocks are "destroyed". The animation of the rocks crumbling and the golems being summoned (which they are formed from rocks coming out of the ground) blend together well. A variant of this happens with a pile of bones and flesh turning into skeletons.
  • Monster Mash: The Scourge.
  • Mook:
  • Multiple Head Case: Ogres.
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning: Kel'Thuzad.
  • Mystical Plague: The plague of undeath that turns people into zombies, preparing the way for a demonic invasion. Well, that was the original intention, anyhow. Ner'zhul had other ideas.
  • Mythology Gag: When Arthas and Jaina set foot for the first time on Undead soil in Warcraft III, they say "What the hell is that? Looks like the land around that granary is...dying"... just like Jim Raynor in StarCraft when he sets foot for the first time on Zerg soil, only in this case the ground is alive.
    • If you click multiple times on an Undead Acolyte, he will say "My life for Aiur!... uh... Ner'zhul."
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: One of the Druid of the Talon's quotes:

Druid of the Talon: Talon. Druid of the Talon.

  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Rend and Maim Blackhand.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Gets used to a greater or lesser degree with Tyrande Whisperwind and Alleria Windrunner.
  • No Arc in Archery: Somewhat subverted by Night Elf Archers firing at a (fixed) angle, but other projectiles don't arc.
  • No Canon for the Wicked: Averted in the first game, where the orc campaign was Canon. Used in the second game, though parts of the orc campaign did take place despite their eventual loss.
  • Non-Entity General: Sometimes given a name and face in the sequels, such as Doomhammer for the Horde.
  • Non-Human Undead: The Scourge in Warcraft III includes undead spider-men called Crypt Fiends, undead elves called banshees, and a super flying undead dragon with ice breath. Plus, generic human skeletons can be made with the corpses of any species.
  • The Obi-Wan: Grom to Thrall, Uther to Arthas. Later, Grom to Garrosh, and deceased loved ones of death knights in Battle of Light's Hope Chapel, at least to Darion and Thassarian.
  • Ominous Floating Castle: The Undead necropolis.
  • Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Shadow Council.
  • One-Man Army: The Admiral Proudmoore.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: Frostmourne in Warcraft III, encased in a floating block of ice.
  • Our Monsters Are Different:
    • All Trolls Are Different: Tall, thin Mayincatec barbarians with Jamaican accents, some of them cannibalistic.
    • Our Centaurs Are Different: Pretty much the same as the Greek version (barbaric and violent), except they have a Mongol-inspired society. Said to be the cursed offspring of Cenarius (a night elf/stag god), whose daughters are the much nicer Dryads (night elf/doe).
      • There are also Magnataurs, a much larger polar creature that are a mix of human and mammoth.
      • Dragonspawn are draconian versions, following the same body layout as a centaur.
      • Nerubians, Crypt fiends (undead Nerubians), and Crypt Lords are centauroid versions of spiders and beetles respectively: a large abdomen supported by four legs, a vertical humanoid torso (head, arms and shoulders) and the thorax joining the two together.
        • Apparently a pre-release version of the Crypt Fiend was a drider-like unit, rather than the mutated spider it is now.
    • Our Dragons Are Different: The Dragons of Azeroth take a lot of cues from other fantasy stories, though there are some differences. There are five main "Dragonflights", each headed by an "Aspect" of a particular part of Azeroth.
      • Red: Life. Led by Alexstraza the Life-Binder, who also happens to be the queen of all the dragons (except for Black, and more recently Blue). They were enslaved by the orcs during Warcraft II to be used as mounts, a feat only possible with the Dragon/Demon Soul.
      • Blue: Magic, led by Malygos the Spellweaver. Nearly wiped out in the past which threw Malygos into a Heroic BSOD for a several millenia. When he snapped out of it, he decided that Magic was being over used, and that he should get rid of it... by killing all Mortal Magic users and their allies (i.e. pretty much everyone) and trying to redirect the planet's ley lines to a central point, and direct the energy into space, which could result in an Earthshattering Kaboom.
      • Green: Nature/Dream, led by Ysera the Dreamer. This Flight mostly resides in the Emerald Dream, protecting nature. They're also responsible for the introduction of Druidism to the mortal races, through Cenarius. Recently, the Emerald Dream has been corrupted by a strange force called the Nightmare, and there are rumors of powerful Green Dragons being corrupted by it, including (possibly) Ysera herself.
      • Bronze: Time, led by Nozdormu The Timeless One. These dragons have the power to travel through time, ensuring history isn't altered. Recently, a strange flight known as the Infinite Dragonflight has been attempting to derail history, keeping the Bronze Dragons very busy. There are rumors that the Infinite Dragonflight is actually a future version of the Bronze Flight, as indicated by quests in Dragonblight and a timed event in the Caverns of Time.
      • Black: Earth. This Flight is led by Neltharion the Earth-Warder, now known as Deathwing. Once charged with shaping the earth, this Dragonflight now seeks to subvert all of Azeroth to it's masters will.
      • There are also some other dragonflights that seem to have mutated from these five, such as the Infinite, Chromatic and Twilight Dragonflights. You can also find the ancestors of the Dragons, known as Proto-Drakes, throughout Northrend.
    • Our Dwarves Have the Funniest Unit Quotes.
    • Our Gargoyles Rock: Flying undead bats that can turn into statues to regenerate health.
    • Our Goblins Are Wickeder: Warcraft goblins are smaller than orcs, but also have some knowledge of technology, particularly that which explodes. They first showed up in WarCraft II as the inventors of the Horde. They were characterized by their suicidal insanity and seem to be fighting for kicks. In WarCraft III, goblins left the Horde, becoming a neutral force, but they still aren't exactly good. They've become a bunch of greedy industrialists with a Screw the Rules, I Have Money attitude, a taste in clothes that would shock Paris Hilton, a deep belief that people from other cultures are inferior to them, and a mercantile ruthlessness that would be horrible if it wasn't Played for Laughs. Sound familiar?
    • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: For starters, they have two heads, and are capable of magic.
    • Our Orcs Are Different: They appear to be traditional Orcs at first, but they're actually fairly decent folks. It's just the world reviles them.
    • Our Titans Are Different: There seem to be two flavors of this trope within Warcraft. The humanoid and semi-benevolent creator race of Titans, and the Old Gods.
  • Panthera Awesome: The panthers ridden by Night Elf Huntresses and the tigers ridden by Priestesses of the Moon.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: In the Backstory, Sargeras had a bad experience with the Nathrezim.
  • Paused Interrupt: Warcraft III does this form of interrupting a lot, including when Arthas is in the cinematic.
  • The Pennyfarthing Effect: Warcraft I is pretty bad with this, being one of the first RTS games ever made. You can't drag a box around a group of units without holding Ctrl down. For no readily apparent reason.
  • Pinball Projectile: Happens with projectiles with the Missile(Bounce) attribute.
  • Plaguemaster: The Lich King spends much of Warcraft III spreading his Plague of Undeath across Lordaeron, and the Scourge's units have a few disease-related abilities on the battlefield.
  • Precision F-Strike: Done a few times.

Uther the Lightbringer: This urn contains the ashes of your father, Arthas! What, were you hoping to piss on them one last time before leaving this kingdom to rot?
Sylvanas Windrunner: Give my regards to hell, you son of a bitch.
Kael'thas Sunstrider: Insolent son of a... let's get this over with.
Dwarf Rifleman: (Of Garithos) They don't pay us enough to put up with that asshole.

    • Oddly enough, the dwarf units seem to get a pass on this: "Take this, you bastard!" for both the Mortar Team and Muradin, though with different word emphasis.

Mortar Team: Move yer arse!

  • Prophecy Twist: "Your young prince will find only death in the cold north." Which he does, in the form of a sword which turns him into an (undead) Death Knight... and a lot more death besides (an entire undead army). But Arthas doesn't find what he was looking for, a way to save his kingdom; instead, he's turned into his kingdom's destroyer.
  • Proud Merchant Race: Kul Tiras was known for its merchant fleet before the Second War. The Goblins are a more violent example.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy:
    • The Orcs, who maintain their warrior traditions even after being freed from influence of the Legion. Maybe the Tauren as well, but they don't actively seek battles.
    • The human nation of Stromgarde, led by a family named Trollbane. Guess how they became famous.
  • Psycho Rangers; Illidan's Blood Elf, Naga and Draenei forces are smilar to Alliance, Orcs and Night Elves.
  • Put on a Bus: Gnomes disappeared entirely in Warcraft III, their role having been taken over by the dwarves. They were eventually brought back for World of Warcraft. Also Turalyon and Alleria.
  • Recurring Extra: Thornby, Timmy, Captain Falric and Dagren the Orcslayer.
  • Redemption Demotion: Inverted in Warcraft III. Arthas goes from a level 10 Paladin with awesome gear to a level 1 Death Knight with no items.
  • Red Herring: The Warcraft II manual has a few. Gilneas thinks its army is powerful enough to face the Horde alone? Well, no need to find out. The Black Tooth Grin Clan is led by the sons of Blackhand, who was killed by the current Horde leader Doomhammer, and now they're secretly plotting revenge? And the Dragonmaw Clan has close ties to them? Well, no worries: you won't hear anything about them, ever. However, these storylines have been developed further in World of Warcraft.
  • Red Herring Shirt: The Captain Thornby.
  • Remixed Level:
    • The first and last Murloc island maps in the demo's Prologue campaign, included with the Frozen Throne expansion.
    • Andorhal is visited twice in Reign of Chaos ("The Cult of the Damned" and "Digging Up the Dead" respectively), during different seasons and for literally opposite reasons.
    • "The Siege of Dalaran" in Reign of Chaos becomes "The Ruins of Dalaran" in The Frozen Throne.
    • The Tomb of Sargeras, initially featured in Warcraft II, makes another appearance in The Frozen Throne.
  • Retcon: The third game changed the orcs from The Horde into a brainwashed proud warrior race and Medivh from an Evil Sorcerer into a Fallen Hero. The demons were coined into the overall villains of the series. Too many others to list.
  • Ridiculously-Fast Construction: Sometimes justified, like buildings summoned by the Undead in Warcraft III.
  • Roar Before Beating: Infernals in teaser trailer, and Grom in his battle with Mannoroth. Justified with units that have Roar or Howl of Terror, as it increases/decreases your allies'/enemies' damage.
  • Running Gag: The Demon Hunter, the Dreadlord, Tichondrius, and Arthas have a running gag based on the line "Darkness called". Darkness attempts to call them, but can't because of his mediocre phone service.
  • Savage Piercings: In Warcraft III, trolls have bone piercings.
  • Schizo-Tech: Thanks to the gnomes, dwarves and goblins. Bows, crossbows and thrown weapons are still used alongside guns though
  • Schmuck Bait: Frostmourne. "Just as the blade rends flesh, so must power scar the spirit." Arthas falls for it.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Warcraft II. Level 8: There's been a peasant revolt by guys wearing Alterac colors - how strange. Level 9: Uther Lightbringer was almost killed by Alliance ships sailing with Alterac colors - how strange. Level 10: Let's interrogate these traitors who were wearing Alterac colors when they were caught. Level 11: Alterac has betrayed us! So that's why their national banner has a Horde emblem on it.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Frostmourne has a barbed blade. And the whole 'scarring the spirit' warning on its plinth isn't for show. It rips souls out.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The Tauren Chieftain does it for his Shockwave and War Stomp abilities.
  • Shout-Out: It's Blizzard's tradition to put lots of Shout Outs in the form of the annoyed quotes.

Mortar Team: "Clearly, Tassadar has failed us. You must not"

Acolyte: "My life for Aiur! Uh, I mean... Ner'zhul."

Illidan: "Wings, Horns, Hooves, what should I say, is this Diablo?

Gryphon Rider: "This warhammer cost me 40K!"

My favourite colour is blue. No! Yelloooooooooo..."

  • Simpleton Voice: Peasants and Ogres in Warcraft II and Warcraft III. Averted with the orcish peons, who are supposedly just as dumb as human peasants, though you can still hear some Hulk Speak from them.
  • A Sinister Clue: Arthas begins a right-handed paladin, but switches to his left after he changes class, though the cinematic at the end of the Human campaign does show him wielding Frostmourne in his right.
    • Left-handedness seems to be incredibly common in the world of Warcraft. All human Footmen and orcish Grunts are left-handed as well, along with the Priestess of the Moon.
  • Sinister Scimitar: Skeletons are equipped with scimitars, no matter what weapon the creature they were created from was holding.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Northrend.
  • Snake People: The Naga.
  • Some Dexterity Required: The first Warcraft game required much more clicks to move a single unit than most of the modern RTS games.
  • Space Is Magic: The Twisting Nether.
  • Spike Shooter: Warcraft III has quillboars, a race of Pig Men who can throw their quills at enemies. The quilbeast, a warthog-like creature summoned by the Beastmaster, does the same.
  • Staged Populist Uprising: During a mission in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, a peasant revolt erupts in the township of Tyr's Hand while the Alliance is still fighting the Horde. It's later revealed that it was started by spies from Alterac, whose king had been working with the Horde the whole time.
  • Standard Fantasy Setting: Averted as most races, including humans, have 20th century technology, but have for the most part been blown back into the dark ages by infrastructure loss resulting from cataclysm and war.
  • The Starscream: The Horde has had several. Orgrim Doomhammer (read as: you) in the original game. Gul'dan in the second game. Ner'zhul himself.
  • Still the Leader
  • Stop Poking Me: Trope Namer.
  • Storming the Castle:
    • The Blood Elf/Naga/Lost One Draenei coalition storming the Black Temple, the residence of Magtheridon, the Lord of Outland.
    • The final missions of both sides in the first game, with the Humans assaulting the Blackrock Spire and the Orcs storming the Stormwind Keep. The siege of Dalaran for a notable one from the second.
  • Story and Gameplay Segregation: Combined with Cutscene Power to the Max in the last level of Warcraft III, when Thrall defiantly tells Archimonde that the orcs are now free, hitting him with a lightning spell before teleporting away. In-game, Archimonde is immune to magic, meaning not only would the spell do no damage, you wouldn't even be able to target him with it.
    • There's a beautiful subversion of this in The Frozen Throne: Arthas LOSES LEVELS as the Lich King loses power.
  • Sturgeon's Law: The enclosed "World Editor" allows a creative player to create their own scenarios and maps for the game with a great deal of customization options. Unfortunately, many of them suck. However, some of them are very well done. See Defense of the Ancients above and To the Bitter End below.
  • Summon Magic:
    • Many heros or magic caster units can temporarily create other units to fight in your army. Hero-summoned units are usually pretty tough, however, dispelling effects damage or destroy the summoned creature (a Tauren spirit walker can wipe out a squadron of skeletons).
    • In Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, the summoning spell was the most powerful and expensive for each side, summoning ranged water elementals and huge blade-wielding daemons for the humans and orcs respectively.
  • Super Empowering
  • Suspiciously Small Army: With a 90- or 100-food cap, you can have "armies" of under 25 individual units.
  • Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: In general, melee units beat artillery, artillery beats towers, and towers beat melee units. In Warcraft II, destroyers beat gryphons, gryphons beat battleships and submarines, and battleships and submarines beat destroyers.
  • Talking to Himself: Chris Metzen voice acts both Thrall and Rexxar, who get a lot of dialogue in the orc campaign of The Frozen Throne.
  • Tank Goodness: Dwarven siege engines in Warcraft III.
  • Technicolor Toxin: Mainly green, seen with the Poison Globe, the Scourge's Plague cloud and the attacks of Dryads, Chimeras and Assassins. There's also a purple Globe which "slows enemies down" which could fit as toxin.
  • Themed Cursor: The cursor is the hand of whatever race you're currently playing as.
  • Unexpected Genre Change: In The Frozen Throne, the Orc campaign is an RPG.
  • Unholy Holy Sword: Frostmourne when you first encounter it, though it's not too long before The Reveal.
  • Units Not to Scale: Very obvious. The Tauren Chieftain in Warcraft III is as tall as the barracks!
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Warcraft III.
  • Villain-Beating Artifact:
    • Not a specific weapon per se, but a damage type. Since Divine armor's weakness is Chaos, a type that's reserved for Hell's Legions or insanely strong monsters. In order to defeat Cenarius, an invulnerable demigod, Grom Hellscream's orcs reactive some sort of a demon pact that allows them to defeat him by giving them Chaos damage.
    • Illidan devours the Skull of Guldan, which the Legion used earlier to spread corruption in the Night Elves' forests. This gives Illidan the powers to defeat Tichondrius.
    • Prince Arthas heard that to defeat Ma'Ganis (aka the dreadlord), he must find a legendary sword, the Frostmourne. After getting it and confronting the dreadlord, Mal'Ganis laughs and tells the prince that he fell into their trap, and to add to the It Got Worse factor, the sword consumes Arthas's soul. Though it's true that Arthas's real master is the Lich King, who seemingly has his own agendas while severing the Burning Legion. Arthas then follows orders to slay the dreadlord.
  • When Trees Attack: Treants and Ancients.
  • White-Haired Pretty Boy: Arthas.
  • White Magic: Consists of Holy magic (used by Paladins and Priests) and Nature magic (used by Druids and Shamans). In lore, these are the only pure sources of power; all other types are either corrupt to begin with or inevitably lead there. See Black Magic above.
  • Wizard Beard: The Archmage hero (and, by extension, Antonidas) sports a classic one. Night Elf Druids also have rather impressive beards: it helps that they probably haven't shaved in goodness knows how long.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Well, many of them are elves to begin with.
  • Worker Unit: Human Peasants, Orc Peons, Acolytes and Ghouls for the Undead, and Wisps for the Night Elves.
  • Wreathed in Flames: The Immolation ability, the Cloak of Flames item, Infernals, and Doomguards' Flaming Swords.
  • Xanatos Gambit: HOLY CRAP, Ner'zhul the Lich King. Everything he does leads up to the end result he gets (although it does fall apart on him very very slightly at the final stages, as he didn't count on his host being such a stubborn punkass). Actually kind of terrifying when you stop to think on it. Even Illidan playing roflstomp-the-glacier ultimately works to his benefit...
    • There's actually a scene in-game where one Dreadlord exposition-fairies much of this to a startled Arthas. The player will share his 'bwuh!?'.
  • You Have Failed Me...:
    • In Reign of Chaos, at the start of the second Night Elf mission, Archimonde and two doomguards corner Tyrande, but she uses her invisibility to make them think she got away. Archimonde was so pissed, he killed one of the doomguards.
    • In The Frozen Throne, Kil'jaeden drops this on Illidan, but gives him another chance.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Ghouls actually have to research the ability to eat the dead. Night Elves have to learn Ultravision, the ability to see well at night. Crypt Fiends don't know they can burrow into the ground, and Chimeras haven't figured out that their second head spits acid.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Sylvanas Windrunner promises to give the Capital to Grand Marshall Garithos if he aids her in destroying the Dread Lord Balnazzar. After a two-pronged attack, their joint forces overwhelm those of Balnazzar, and he is (seemingly) killed. Garithos then demands that Sylvanas leave his city, and she has no problem commanding her lieutenant, Varimathras, to kill him.
  • You Have to Believe Me: The Prophet might have had more success in getting people to go to Kalimdor if he warned them in a calmer tone.
  • You Require More Vespene Gas: Gold and Lumber are your resources here. Also oil in Warcraft II for naval units.