* AlternativeCharacterInterpretation: Plenty of them among the Lore Fans. For example:
** The Lich King telling Arthas that his time for vengeance has come on Mal'Ganis. Is he just allowing Arthas to finally have his revenge, or is this perhaps the start of the Lich King's entire grand scheme to bring about the downfall of the Burning Legion by killing off one of the Dreadlords when no one's watching? Mal'Ganis being surprised in his last moments that the Lich King ordered Arthas to kill him could make a case for the latter. [[TakeAThirdOption Maybe it's both]].
** Maiev chasing after Illidan. Doing it for a good cause by putting a condemned criminal back behind bars, or does she perhaps have sort sort of feelings for him having been his jailer for many decades?
** Tyrande is often seen as a villain rather than a hero due to her being unwilling to ally with the other Azeroth races to fight against the Burning Legion, and slaughtering a group of innocent prison wardens that were only doing their job keeping a condemned criminal (Illidan) behind bars.
* ArcFatigue: The length to finish the first two story Acts of Frozen Throne's "The Founding of Durotar" bonus campaign can get quite tedious for some people as Act One: ''To Tame a Land'', and Act Two: ''Old Hatreds'', can take between one to two hours each to complete. Especially if the player really gets SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer wanting to find every piece of loot or stat tome available.
* BestLevelEver: ''Twilight of the Gods'', the last level in ''Warcraft III'' is an absolutely massive forty-five minute HoldTheLine mission where after eight years the Alliance and Horde finally work together to stop Archimonde as he [[TheJuggernaut juggernauts]] his way through everyone's bases with almost no effort. His forces are unlimited and it is very difficult just holding them off long enough, but it is extremely satisfying to win.
* BigLippedAlligatorMoment: In the Blood Elf campaign's third mission, "The Dungeons of Dalaran," Kael comes across two captured Blood Elves that are, for some reason, polymorphed as spiders before they reach the weapon rack to rearm themselves as two Spell Breakers. Why they're spiders is never explained, and often goes completely unnoticed to the player since the spiders are marked as enemy targets.
* BreatherLevel:
** ''Warcraft I''
*** The final human level in the original game is much easier than the one before it, if you researched the water elemental before getting to it. You start this level with a decent number of troops, including a mage who can pop an elemental as often as he needs to to fend off the worst the orcs have to offer. All it boils down to is keeping them off your back until you get an army of summoners and [[CurbStompBattle send a horrifying number of elementals at them]]. This is especially noticeable compared to the orcs final level, who can't heal, can be outranged by archers, and have to deal with invisibility spam, basically guaranteeing the death of your starting summoner and any peons unlucky enough to be targeted, making elementals much harder to defend against.
** ''Warcraft II''
*** In the ''Beyond the Dark Portal'' expansion, the sixth human mission, "The Fall of Auchindoun", is a level that can be beaten fairly easily in the first couple of minutes. Despite going up against four orc factions here, you're only tasked to destroy the Orange base, and yet, you're provided a large enough army to just attack it right off the bat, and return to the Circle-of-Power with Turalyon and Danath after the destruction of the Orange base.
** ''Warcraft III''
*** If you feel particularly ''terrible'' for killing and slaughtering the (mostly good and heroic) Humans of Lordaeron and High Elves of Quel'Thalas (as you control Arthas as the VillainProtagonist at this point) in the first five stages of the Undead Campaign in ''Reign of Chaos'', then you might feel better in the sixth stage, "Blackrock and Roll, too!", since it is an EvilVersusEvil stage where your enemy is the Blackrock Clan, a villainous faction of the Orcs who continue to worship demons and don't join Thrall's Horde. The next two stages after this have you fight against heroic Humans again, however.
* ClicheStorm: Every line that doesn't contain a proper noun, you've heard in some other fantasy work. This is particularly noticeable in ''Reign of Chaos''.
* CompleteMonster: See [[Monster/WarCraft here]].
* CrowningMusicOfAwesome:
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXajx7l4VxE The]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxMLxJl9UWg four]] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SWGRsZai28 factions']] [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6_d1fhEXTY themes]].
** And speaking of the third game again, the sung part at the end of ''The Frozen Throne'' ending cinematic. No wonder it was reused (with a different voice and lyrics) in [=WoW=]'': Wrath of the Lich King''.
** ''Warcraft III'' (and subsequently ''World of Warcraft'') has so overshadowed the original 2 games that it's easy to overlook the fact that ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6Za0rZs0Qk&list=PL6DE187CED235E844&index=1 Warcraft II]]'' had one of the finest and most memorable soundtracks in RTS history. It's still used to this day in ''VideoGame/{{Hearthstone}}'' (during the matchmaker spinner) and, in awesomely remixed form, in ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm.''
* DarknessInducedAudienceApathy: Campaigns in ''Frozen Throne'' (except the Bonus Campaign, "Founding of Durotar", which is PoorlyDisguisedPilot for ''World of Warcraft'') with most of the heroes (except [[AllLovingHero Malfurion]], [[TheAtoner Tyrande]], [[TokenGoodTeammate Akama]], and perhaps [[EnsembleDarkhorse Illidan]]) being either AntiHero, AntiVillain, or VillainProtagonist.
** Maiev starts as a straight law enforcer who chase Illidan, a fugitive. But then her motivation changes into personal RevengeBeforeReason when she left Tyrande to die.
** Kael is WellIntentionedExtremist and his life just sucks in general. He serves under human commander who dislike his entire race, and when the commander sentence them to die for supposed treason, Kael has to leave Azeroth for Outland. There, he makes a [[DealWithTheDevil deal with Illidan]] and help him take over Outland as well as a good number of demonic army. In ''World of Warcraft'', he eventually became FallenHero.
** Lady Vashj was never even a good person in the first place. She was a handmaiden of Azshara, the [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen wicked queen]] of Highborne herself. Then she serves Illidan, with whom she appears to be loyal. But her true loyalty is always to Queen Azshara, and she's basically DragonWithAnAgenda to Illidan.
** Arthas is a straight-up VillainProtagonist, just like in ''Reign of Chaos''. So are Kel'Thuzad and the new Scourge hero, Anub'arak. At least, among them, Anub'arak is the most AffablyEvil, with the implication of being PunchClockVillain. And the whole Scourge campaign is a big EvilVsEvil case.
** Varimathras is an ''even worse'' VillainProtagonist than Arthas, Kel'Thuzard, and Anub'arak. Not only he has a bad case of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, but he is also a TokenEvilTeammate in an ''Nominal hero'' faction (Forsaken'), as if to remind everyone that being a Nathrezim is EvilerThanThou.
* DesignatedHero: Tyrande Whisperwind could be seen as one since she slaughtered a group of innocent prison Wardens who were just doing their job trying to keep a condemned criminal, Illidan, behind bars. Maiev even calls her out for this in ''Frozen Throne''.
** However, the character she freed is EnsembleDarkhorse, and possible DesignatedVillain, Illidan Stormrage.
* DesignatedVillain / InformedWrongness: While Illidan ''did'' do a lot of amoral things, it's still hard to understand why exactly Malfurion decided he had to be banished for turning himself into a demon, even though all he did after becoming one was, you know, ''saving the whole Forest''. The most probable reason is that Malfurion (and the Night Elf society) possibly held the firm belief about never [[HeWhoFightsMonsters using evil as a weapon as a law,]] [[StupidGood even if it's decreasing the chance to reach the goal,]] and Illidan broke it.
* EnsembleDarkhorse: Several from the franchise. Some examples that appear in ''World of Warcraft'' include;
** Tichondrius from ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII''. Well, he was quite charismatic.
** Thrall was considered one in ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII'', and the early years of ''World of Warcraft'' for his success to turn the Horde into what it is today...before the [[CreatorsPet overuse]] of the character turned him into a BaseBreakingCharacter starting from Cataclysm.
** Illidan Stormrage as well. Many felt that he got the worst treatment in World of Warcraft by [[TheyWastedAPerfectlyGoodCharacter being stuck in the Black Temple of Outland]].
** Prince Kael'thas due to his [[TheWoobie woobie]] status in ''VideoGame/WarcraftIII''. He becomes more of a BaseBreakingCharacter when people realized that ''World of Warcraft'' turned his character into Arthas 2.0.
* FoeYay: Between her lamentations about how she [[AccidentalInnuendo feels hollow inside]] and swearing that Illidan will be hers, Maiev Shadowsong, Illidan's former personal jailor, seriously comes off a ''lot'' like a spurned {{Yandere}} during her pursuit of him in the events of ''The Frozen Throne''.
* GameBreaker:
** In Warcraft:
*** Basic range units. They're cheap, easy to tech up to, and they fire really fast. Their weakness is their lack of armor and low health, but in high enough numbers, even the end game summons will die too quickly to harm more than one or two. Unless your enemy gets a lot of melee units to counter them (something the AI [[ArtificialStupidity never does]]), the only real threats to them are catapults and mage spells. And for good measure, archers out break spearmen due to having one more space of range. It's hardly surprising they got nerfed hard in the sequel.
** In ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'':
*** An Ogre-Mage's Bloodlust is an absolute nightmare to go up against; tripling the damage of any unit that is given the buff. While orc vs orc matches pits the GameBreaker against each other, the Paladin equivalent for humans only receive an inefficient healing spell, and an exorcism spell that only affects Death Knights and its Skeleton minions...which are two, rarely used, undead units for the orc side (this spell isn't even usable in human vs human match-ups!). Needless to say, orcs are considered to have a huge advantage in land battles, and that doesn't even include the fact that the Ogre-Mage has a deadly landmine spell to coincide with Bloodlust.
*** A group of human Mages are considered broken in the hands of a skilled player for one, simple, reason; the ability to Polymorph an army. And this isn't like the Polymorth we know today which usually turns people into sheep for 30 seconds before changing back...no...these people are gone for good.
** In ''III'':
*** High-level heros can often handle maps by himself, especially if you've been giving all the stat upgrades to one guy. The Undead campaign in ''Frozen Throne'' gives a game breaking duet in Arthas and Anub'arak, provided you give Arthas intelligence and mana regeneration items and you give Anub'arak strength and armor boosting items. Combined with the Crypt Lord's ultimate spell, this makes the final mission, otherwise ThatOneLevel, surprisingly easy, as Anub'arak alone can tank Illidan's attacks, with Arthas healing or damaging Illidan with Death Coil (The rest of your army can assault Kael and Vashj's bases). This was even more significant in early versions of Frozen Throne, due to a [[GoodBadBugs Good Bad Bug]] mentioned below.
*** Frozen Throne's Orc campaign gives you a new GameBreaker every time you kill a new monster. Here, have a shield that boosts stats while setting enemies on fire, or a hat that shoots lightning, or a stick that summons reinforcements while making your allies go faster, or a free ChainLightning spell, or a healing item that amounts to a fountain of health following you around... The biggest one, however, comes in chapter 2, where the shop at your main base sells relatively cheap Necklaces of Spell Immunity. Slap these on your entire party, and the rest of the campaign becomes a complete cakewalk.
* GameplayDerailment: It's very easy to abuse the AI of enemy peasants/peons throughout ''Warcraft II''. The reason being that if you damage a structure, but leave it burning in the red, it will cause the AI to immediately send their workers to try to fix the structure. Then, if you constantly kill the workers that the AI attempts to send, it will cause them to keep sending their remaining workers, as well as the newly created ones, directly to the structure that is in the red for needed repair. Eventually, the enemy faction will use up all their gold on making workers, and leaves the AI as sitting ducks to get steamrolled with no means of being able to reinforce themselves.
* GoddamnedBats: Due to its playstyle, ''Frozen Throne's'' bonus campaign has a few of these:
** Centaurs, mainly because you end up fighting so damn many of them. Particular standouts include Firecallers, who can deal a fair bit of damage with Flame Strike, and Deathcallers, who can revive other centaurs.
** Harpy Storm-hags cast Sleep to put your heroes out of action and Curse to make them miss half their attacks. They're not dangerous by any stretch of the imagination, but fighting them gets tedious very quickly.
* GoodBadBugs:
** For the seventh mission of the Orc campaign, "The Oracle," Thrall comes across a trap set by Jaina's sorceresses where a group of sheep suddenly become footmen, and attack Thrall's group. However, due to a few broken triggers, some of the sheep will spawn as Neutral footmen that will just stand there, and not do anything; making an already easy trap to defeat an absolute joke.
** The second mission of the Blood Elf campaign, "A Dark Covenant," has a broken script regarding three Doom Guards that are supposed to destroy the left most Observatory on the map so that the player could no longer have vision of the undead bases. Instead, the Doom Guards walk up to it, but then immediately walk back to the undead base without destroying it; allowing for the player to continue having vision of almost the entire map.
** The final Frozen Throne mission for the Scourge campaign, "A Symphony of Frost and Flame," has a bug where it is possible to break the AI for Illidan's faction to the point of only continuously sending the Illidan hero unit out to try to capture the Obelisks he doesn't control. Not an entire Naga army with Illidan mixed in; JUST Illidan.
** During "Old Hatreds" for the Frozen Throne bonus campaign, your hero group can enter a BonusDungeon, the Magistrates Temple, in search for extra loot. Some of the enemies you fight here are powerful Infernals. However, if you leave the Temple, then come back in, the Infernals will, for some reason, all be gone from the level; making for an almost empty path to reach the FinalBoss of the dungeon.
** Early versions of Frozen Throne had a bug in the Undead campaign in which, whenever Anub'arak leveled up, his base armor would be increased by the bonus armor he had. Coupled with Spiked Carapace and the huge amount of good armor and strength items that can be found in the campaign, this makes Anub'arak [[NighInvulnerability ungodly tough]] by the final mission, with an armor stat of '''47''' if done right. At that point, the only thing that does anything resembling noticeable damage is Illidan's ManaBurn.
* HilariousInHindsight: Remember when Arthas said "What trickery is this!? Mal'Ganis! I don't know how you survived..." and later, after encountering Muradin's dwarves, "Doesn't anyone stay dead anymore?" It's funnier to think about it after some characters are BackFromTheDead in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' :[[spoiler:Muradin and Mal'Ganis themselves, Kael'Thas...]]
** The LeeroyJenkins meme that was born in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' makes the third Orc mission even funnier. Grom Hellscream was Leeroying it out for years before Leeroy Jenkins.
** The closing line of the original game's intro, "Welcome to the World of Warcraft", was nothing short of prophetic. [[VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft Fast forward to November 2004...]]
** In Night Elf campaign in ''The Frozen Throne'', Maiev described Scourge-conquered Lordaeron as "the forsaken place". Later in Undead campaign, Sylvanas took over Lordaeron from the Scourge and christened herself and her people "The Forsaken".
* ItWasHisSled: The RTS games in the franchise are considered to be quite old nowadays, so some of what may have been interesting plot developments back in the day have become well-known within, and outside, the Warcraft fanbase. Especially since many of these story moments were used as the foundation to set up ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', and its later expansions.
** For ''Warcraft I''
*** Blackhand gets ousted as Warchief.
** For ''Warcraft II''
*** Gul'dan betrays the Horde, and dies at the Tomb of Sargeras.
*** The city of Alterac betrays the Alliance, and gets destroyed soon after.
*** Lothar dies.
** For ''Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos''
*** Arthas turns evil, and kills his father, King Terenas.
*** Uther dies.
*** The Human Kingdom of Lordaeron, and the High Elf Kingdom of Quel'thalas, get destroyed by the Scourge.
*** Thrall moves the orcs to Kalimdor, and establishes the current day Horde alongside the Darkspear Trolls and Mulgore Tauren.
*** Grom dies.
*** Illidan is released from prison, and becomes a demon after claiming the Skull of Gul'dan.
*** Archimonde dies after failing to consume the World Tree.
** For ''Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne''
*** Prince Kael moves his Blood Elf faction to Outland.
*** Sylvanas and Varimathras take control of Lordaeron to establish their undead Forsaken faction.
*** Arthas becomes the Lich King.
*** Thrall's Horde claims a home for themselves in Kalimdor, naming the territory Durotar.
* MagnificentBastard: Ner'zhul - just ask Archimonde and Tichondrius.
* MoralEventHorizon:
** Arthas massacring Stratholme so the city does not fall to the Undead is one InUniverse, but highly contentious amongst the players, with lots of arguments resulting over the finer details (the fact that the Plague can '''not''' be cured vs. the morality of the MercyKill, how quickly he leaps to this idea, etc).
*** Hiring mercenaries to help him burn the ships so his rebellious soldiers cannot flee Northrend and escape his obsessive quest to find and destroy the source of the undead, then telling the men that the "foul beasts" had done it all, is a lot less contentious of one.
*** Wandering off into the wilderness after claiming Frostmourne and leaving his former soldiers to die would probably be one if he wasn't already having his mind stolen by Ner'Zhul.
** Ner'Zhul himself crossed it after ''Warcraft 2'', when he abandons the Horde for himself, opening countless portals across Draenor in an attempt to escape to new worlds, which ends up tearing the orc homeworld apart (and unintentionally sending him straight into Kil'Jaeden and a FateWorseThanDeath).
* MorePopularSpinoff: ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
** To the point where Blizzard once released "''WOW: Heroes of Azeroth''" as a prequel to ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', on April Fool's Day. The game in question was better known as ''Warcraft III''.
** A lesser example, [[VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients Defense of the Ancients]], a mod for ''Warcraft III'', was so popular it spawned a [[MultiplayerOnlineBattleArena new genre]] popular enough that [[VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm Blizzard went on to make one themselves]].
** They also changed the novels accordingly by giving them the ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' icon even if the stories take place during the RTS games.
* NarmCharm: The writing in ''Warcraft'' games and books comes across to many fans as cheesy, but many of them enjoy the series specifically because of that.
* NeverLiveItDown:
** Tyrande slaughtering the innocent prison wardens to free Illidan is often pointed out as the primary reason that she's not a good person.
** Malfurion gets a lot of criticism thrown his way for banishing Illidan despite the fact that he ''just'' killed a major Burning Legion member in Tichondrius, and could have stuck around to face off against Archimonde.
* SidetrackedByTheGoldSaucer: In the Warcraft 3 campaign, going off the main path to complete the SideQuest, or buffing up your heroes by finding items and stat-tomes can be describes as this for players.
* ShippingGoggles:
** Thrall x Jaina is of course the major duo that gets shipped since they're basically the poster children of the Horde and Alliance being at peace. Jaina even stands against her father just to keep the peace with Thrall's Horde in tact.
** Illidan x Maiev is pretty popular due to how far the latter will go to make the former her prisoner.
--> '''Maiev:''' I grow tired of these games. Illidan will be mine!
** Kael x Vashj is also a pairing that sometimes gets noticed. They're both descendants of the Night Elven Highbourne, Vashj was the one who several times came to Kael's aid during the Blood Elf campaign, and would then fight alongside one another throughout the rest of ''The Frozen Throne''.
* SturgeonsLaw: 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 or are knockoffs or endless rehashings of the same type of map. Or all three. However, some of them are very well done. See: ''VideoGame/DefenseOfTheAncients'', ''The Chosen Ones'', and ''VideoGame/ToTheBitterEnd''.
** There are also Custom Campaigns whose stories based on ''World of Warcraft'' (with few non-canon elements such as CanonForeigner characters). They are ''[[http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/maps-564/rise-blood-elves-v2-2-a-245153/ Rise of the Blood Elves]]'' (based on Blood Elf story since Illidan's defeat at the end of ''The Frozen Throne'') ''[[http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/maps-564/curse-forsaken-v2-1-a-228049/ Curse of the Forsaken]]'' (based on Forsaken story since they take over Lordaeron in ''The Frozen Throne''), and ''[[http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/map-development-202/tides-war-228623/ Tides of War]]'' (based on [[Literature/TidesOfWar the novel of the same name]]).
* ThatOneLevel:
** ''Tides of Darkness''
*** Level 10 of the human campaign "The Prisoners" isn't that difficult of a mission, but it's an ''extremely'' annoying one due to the length the player has to go to bring the Alterac prisoners to the player's White base. To explain, the player has to build a base to make a naval army while fighting off attacks from a Blue Horde base, and then make landfall at a Red Horde outpost. After clearing out the Red Horde outpost, the player has to then make ''another'' shipyard to make transports that will then have to traverse a river that goes ''obnoxiously long'' around the bottom half of the map covered by Red cannon towers to finally reach the area where the Alterac prisoners are being held. And it doesn't even end with the transports reaching the prisoners. The player than has to backtrack to bring the prisoners all the way back to the Circle-of-Power in the player's starting base.
*** The final human mission "The Dark Portal" suffers from a nasty DifficultySpike that puts the mission in a league of its own compared to the rest of the ''Warcraft II'' levels. The toughest part of the mission is actually the initial set-up of the level where you must gather up your starting army to make landfall on an Ogre-Mage village, and build up your base from there. In addition, you're constantly attacked by dragons from another orc faction[[note]]''including'' a nasty trap where 3 Dragons come at your base if you destroy too many structures of the Ogre Village[[/note]]. The kicker that makes this even more of a pain is that because you have a large army, and no initial food reserves, you spend the first 20 or so minutes building up farms with ''just'' the six workers you're given as you're unable to build any more peasants to speed up your economy gain...unless you start axing off units from your army, such as the footmen and knights, that you deem useless.
** ''Beyond the Dark Portal'' in general might as well be known as [[ThatOneLevel That One Game]]. Compared to original Warcraft II, the expansion ups the AI difficulty greatly to the point that the enemy factions will become highly aggressive as the campaign levels go on. For added difficulty, some of these levels have the player fighting as many as 3 to 4 factions at once that if you don't manage to take out one or two factions early, it will be extremely painful later on.
** ''Reign of Chaos'': The game is not too frustrating on Normal difficulty, but Hard mode makes many of the levels harder than most Blizzard fans may be used to. A full-clear on Hard Mode unlocks a special ending after the Night Elf campaign.
*** It is possible, throughout the game, to play most levels by simply sitting in your base (turtling) until you have gained all tech levels and upgrades, and then go around to most other bases and either wipe them out, or beat them down building by building. The very last level, however, totally invalidates this approach, forcing players who have been playing the entire game by turtling to learn a whole new way of playing on one of the toughest levels in the game. This also applies to the multiplayer AI, who will CurbStomp you with their high-level heroes before you can blink if you try the single-player turtling approach.
*** ''March of The Scourge'' ''(Hard)'': The enemy applies considerable pressure, attacking with a much stronger army and siege weapons to makes your towers unable to HoldTheLine on their own, and they send a lich hero to "death and decay" your towers and [[KillItWithIce nuke your army]] for good measure. Base expansion and multi-tasking skills are [[DifficultySpike suddenly required]] in a campaign that has not been too difficult up until this point. There's also an optional SideQuest that is almost impossible to complete as you would need to take a small army out with your Paladin hero to take out a Meat Wagon escort, but in the meantime, those units you sent out would be extremely helpful if they had just stayed at the base for the primary HoldTheLine mission.
*** ''Into The Realm Eternal'' ''(Hard)'' An early Undead mission, the prime reason for it's frustration is that you have ''three'' units available to you. Ghouls, necromancers, and the meat wagon siege weapon. The limited troop types means that a balanced force is impossible, and there is only on strategy available to you; the ZergRush. And even by ZergRush standards your troops ''suck''. Ghouls are fragile and don't deal all that much damage, meat wagons are slow and fragile, and so are necromancers. Their ability to AnimateDead is vital early on, but the computer ''knows'' that the troops they summon will fall apart after a while, and doesn't bother to attack them until all the things that matter are dead. And when the priests start to show up in large numbers their dispel magic spell can wipe out swathes of animated skeletons in seconds, as well as buffing their troops and healing them through ghouls' attacks. Unlike the other examples in here, it's not a difficult mission, but you '''will''' hate it, possibly more than the other mentioned missions.
*** The Last Undead mission, Under the burning Sky on Hard: It is considered by some to be the hardest in the game. It is a HoldTheLine mission where you have to defend squishy wizard, Kel' Thuzad for 30 minutes until he summons the local Archdemon. There are three ways to get to them, one of which is defended by your base and the other two, which hold a spirit tower each. Your opponents? 3 human bases with their full arsenal. The last few minutes are particularly terrifying as your opponents proceed to dump their full arsenal into you.
*** The "Spirits of Ashenvale" mission of the first orc campaign where you have limited resources and are tasked with harvesting huge amounts of lumber with the worst lumber gatherer in the game. The only gold available for mining is far away from your main base, so you need to raid enemy bases (and the units that are good against buildings are bad against units). Your unit options are limited to some melee units with an inefficient anti-air attack, the worst ranged unit in the game, and the enemy just loves attacking your harvesters with air units, and most damning of all, no way of healing your units. There ''is'' a way to get lumber faster, but it involves a ridiculously difficult battle against tough enemies, during which you will take heavy losses, which must be replaced at great cost. And adding insult to injury, the hero you start with is TheBerserker, and this entire mission (defending against impregnable bases) goes against everything he stands for. '''On Hard, the attacks are even more ruthless.'''
*** The chapter right after that, "Hunter of Shadows," isn't anything too difficult per-say, but its well known to be problematic just to get passed the opening battle where you must survive Cenarius' all-out assault with nothing but your berserker hero, and a few other units that are likely to die off fairly quickly. Its more of a race to get a decently sized force, then to actually win against the assault with the small force you have currently. Once you get past this, the mission does get significantly easier, compensating that EarlyGameHell.
** ''Frozen Throne''
*** "A Dark Covenant", the second Human (Blood Elf) mission, is Frozen Throne's equivalent to Reign of Chaos's "Into the Realm Eternal". You have to destroy a big green Undead base. You start in a fairly healthy position (As well as an unusual fully upgraded tech tree), with your main base in your island and four expansions in the other part of the lake (Close to the Undead base you have to destroy), but they are quickly taken over by orange Undead forces, and since your main base lacks a gold mine, you need to retake an expansion. This part is not difficult, due to the new units you get - the problem is how you have to attack the other bases. From this point onwards, you cannot build human, dwarven or gnomish units, all of which are replaced with elven equivalents... with the exception the Workshop, which cannot be built. This means ''you cannot build ANY kind of siege unit'' in this mission (Not even Ballistas, something the High Elves used in ''Reign of Chaos''). You do get a Naga Royal Guard, which while more powerful than your heroes at the time, has Chaos-type damage and has no damage reduction against buildings, as well as Kael's Flame Strike spell to damage buildings, but that's all you have. Oh, and to make you feel angrier at Blizzard... in the Undead campaign, the Blood Elves build Glaive Throwers.
*** The expansion gives us the first undead mission "King Arthas"; ''especially'' on Hard mode. Despite having practically unlimited resources[[note]]120,000 gold and lumber split evenly amongst you and your two allies[[/note]], and three factions to control, the game-play to complete the mission is an ''absolute freaking nightmare''! You have to block off three map exits with each of your three factions in order to not allow a certain number of humans to get by and escape Arthas' slaughter. And while you do that, you gotta destroy 9 outlying villages[[note]]3 for each of your factions[[/note]] that will stop these humans from spawning. To make matters worse, there's a Paladin encampment in the center that not only protects these villages if they are attacked, but acts as a barrier to keep each of your three factions separated[[note]]Sylvannas can handle the Paladin on her side just fine thanks to her Silence spell, but Arthas and Kel'thuzard's sides have no real way to counter them[[/note]]. To top it off, your forces are vastly limited to 40 between each of your three factions for a total of 40/40/40, and aside from Ghouls, you're restricted to Abominations from Arthas' faction, Necromancers from Kel'thuzard's faction, and Banshees from Sylvannas' faction. Don't be surprised if you find yourself having to resort to cheesing the village structures with Arthas' Animate Dead and Kel'thuzad's Death and Decay.
*** "Dreadlord's Fall" can be somewhat problematic if the player isn't quick enough to take advantage of the sneak attack to deal plenty of damage to Garithos' and Detheroc's bases.[[note]]Or even possibly taking one of the enemy factions out of the game completely with enough micromanagement.[[/note]] Leaving too much alive will cause the enemy's starting counterattack once the timer runs out to send everything at the player; which can make for a '''very''' difficult 2 on 1 fight. On Hard mode, going on the offensive against two powerful foes becomes even more problematic, because you need practically your entire army to push against one of the enemy factions, but the second enemy faction will then send their attack at your base which is almost impossible to defend against since you'll hardly have anything to defend with other than static defense. It almost makes you want to just let your original base die, and just start over on the ashes of the enemy base that your primary force is attacking.
*** The last mission in the "Sylvanas Windrunner" story arc ''"A New Power In Lordaeron"'' can hurt your brain on Hard. What makes it painful is the Undead in the main city at the center is protected by Burning Legion demons as well as Balnazzar himself (A Dreadlord hero on crack). The main army will repeatedly send powerful summons to Garithos's Alliance army to distract you from planning your attack. After demolishing the support camps on the edge of the map, you'll likely attempt to assault the capital with both of your armies, only to see that the Undead army and the Burning Legion support can easily turn your troops to bloody goop. After a few hours of failing, you may then realize that it is [[GuideDangIt best to teleport your Alliance army over to your own Undead one]] (or vice versa, but don't forget to recruit the dwarves before this) for a steamroller attack, but even this does not make the assault easy.
* ThatOneSidequest:
** As mentioned above in ThatOneLevel, the {{Sidequest}} for ''March of The Scourge'' on Hard mode is almost impossible to complete as you would need to take a small army out with your Paladin hero to take out a Meat Wagon escort, even though those units you sent out would be much more useful had they just stayed at the base for the primary HoldTheLine mission.
** For the bonus ''Frozen Throne'' campaign, recruiting Chen Stormstout to the group can be somewhat troublesome if you try to complete his {{Sidequest}} as early as possible when your heroes are hardly leveled and decked out on items. To explain, the {{Sidequest}} that Chen offers Rexxar requires him to collect three items that need to be returned to Chen. Two of such items are incredibly easy to complete as one is just to pick up a Thunderbloom plant at a nearby camp of incredibly weak Murlocs, while the second is to purchase a barrel of Thunderwater from a Horde vendor. However, the third item of the {{Sidequest}} is the difficult part; [[DemonicSpiders having to fight through an area of thunder phoenixes]] [[BossInMookClothing in order to loot the Thunder Egg from the biggest one]]. The reason of the difficulty is that you only have Rexxar and Rokhan to fight these phoenixes, and these phoenixes hit incredibly hard with powerful magic-type attacks that not only have area-of-effect damage, but can also burn over time, which will easily leave your heroes' health down in the red after every engagement. Also, they're flying units, so Rexxar's bear, Misha, ends up being useless for this fight if your group has no means to force the phoenixes to the ground. Also, for a bit of added difficulty, there's a large group of Wildkin at the only chokepoint that leads into the home of the thunder phoenixes.
* WoobieFamily: The Windrunners. Parents and brother were killed by the orcs, oldest sister disappeared while exploring a dying world, middle sister was killed and turned undead by the Scourge, grandfather had to fight nephew-turned-undead, and two brothers ended up essentially killing each other.
* TheWoobie
** Jaina Proudmoore. Forced to watch the love of her life become a Death Knight for the Scourge, who then goes about destroying their home kingdom of Lordaeron. In addition, after creating Theramore Isle for the Lordaeron refugees that sailed to Kalimdor, she's forced to fight against her father, Daelin Proudmoore, in order to keep the peace with Thrall's Horde in tact.
** Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. Was not around to defend the High Elven kingdom of Quel'Thalas from being devoured by Prince Arthas' Scourge, and now leads what's left of his people to try to reestablish their once glorious civilization. All while having to deal with their racist Lordaeron Alliance remnants commander, Grand Marshal Garithos. For added insult, Arthas stole Jaina away from him.
* WoobieSpecies:
** The Human Kingdom of Lordaeron gets hit the worst in the Third War. One moment, it's Kel'Thuzad's plague, the next time, it's an undead slaughter led by their kingdom's traitorous Prince Arthas, another time, the Burning Legion's invasion begins here as it journeys to Kalimdor, and then once the Burning Legion is beaten, Arthas returns to Lordaeron to slaughter some more.
** The High Elves of Qual'Thalas for almost the exact same reason as their Prince. A race that was devastated by Prince Arthas' Scourge when his undead army marched through the elven kingdom, and slaughtered much of the population. Upon renaming themselves Blood Elves in honor of their fallen comrades, many are forced to relocate to Outland after being threatened with execution by Grand Marshal Garithos.
** Thrall's Orc Horde. One moment, they're locked up in Lordaeron internment camps. The next moment, they're dealing with Mannoroth's blood corruption.
** The Kalimdor Tauren started off as this being hunted to extinction by the roaming Centaur. However, they finally begin to build a civilization for themselves after the arrival of Thrall's Horde helps them reach the lands of Mulgore. But even then, they still have to deal with the occasional Centaur raid such as their attempt to take the Tauren Chieftain's son, Baine, captive.
** The Kalimdor Furbolgs. The bear-men race was hit hard by the arrival of the Burning Legion with many of its people becoming corrupted.
** The Nerubians of Azjol-Nerub. Lost the War of the Spider against the Lich King, which led to many of it's people, and the Crypt Lord King, Anub'arak, to be reanimated as soldiers for the Scourge. Those that survived continue to fight the Scourge in the hopes of one day liberating Azjol-Nerub from the Lich King's undead.
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