Characters / Warcraft The Horde

The Horde

"We came to this world as exiles and outcasts, but together, we can be more. A weapon to break the chains of oppression. A bastion for the hunted and the lost. A family bound by blood and honor. And if our enemies do not give us peace, we will give them war. Victory or death - this I pledge as your Warchief. Until the end of days, I live and die, FOR THE HORDE!"
— The sentiment of Warchief Thrall

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Banner of the Horde
Hailing from the world of Draenor, the orcish Horde was formed through Kil'jaeden the Deceiver's trickery and manipulation, who turned the savage if peaceful orcs of Draenor into a massive war machine. The Horde, after decimating almost the entire draenei population, spilled into Azeroth from the Dark Portal, where it laid waste to the mighty kingdom of Stormwind in what is known as the First War. During the Second War the Horde expanded to include ogres, forest trolls and goblins and fought the newly-formed Alliance of Lordaeron, composed of the humans' seven kingdoms along with their dwarven, elven and gnomish allies. The Second War ultimately ended with the Horde's destruction, whereupon the ogres, forest trolls and goblins left, and the orcs were rounded into internment camps.

Years later, the orcs were broken out of the internment camps by the new Warchief of the Horde, Thrall, who tried to bring the orcs back to their shamanistic and peaceful ways. Sailing west to Kalimdor, the orcs of Thrall's new Horde gained allies in the form of trolls of the Darkspear tribe of jungle trolls and the tauren of Kalimdor. After helping to save the world at the Battle of Hyjal Summit, the Horde settled formally in Durotar, with Orgrimmar as its capital city. As of World of Warcraft, the Horde has expanded to include the undead Forsaken of Lordaeron. In The Burning Crusade the Blood Elves of Quel'Thalas have turned to the Horde, and in Cataclysm the Goblins of the Bilgewater Cartel have joined as well. In Mists of Pandaria the Horde has been joined by the Pandaren who follow the philosophy of Huojin. In Battle for Azeroth the Nightborne of Suramar, the tauren tribes of Highmountain, the Mag'har orcs of alternate Draenor, and the Zandalari trolls of Zandalar join the Horde as well. Other races sworn to the banner of the Horde include the Mok'nathal of Outland, the Taunka of Northrend, the Revantusk Forest Trolls, the Stonemaul Ogres, and the Forest Hozen.

Ultimately a force of good in the world, the Horde has trouble fighting it's dark past. Valuing honor, survival, freedom, and family above all else, the Horde merely seeks to carve out a prosperous place in a world that has grown to hate and revile them. In the Horde, action and strength are valued above diplomacy, and its leaders earn respect by the blade, wasting no time with politics. The brutality of the Horde's champions is focused, giving a voice to those who fight for survival.

Due to length, this page has been split into the following subpages:

The Horde of Kalimdor

The Horde which was first reunited on the continent of Kalimdor under the leadership of Thrall after he led remnants of the Old Horde out of the Alliance's prisoner encampments in the Eastern Kingdoms. It later expanded to other races of Azeroth, opposes the Alliance and forms the playable Horde races in World of Warcraft. The Darkspear-led rebellion was its equivalent when Garrosh created his "True Horde".

Historical organizations and splinter groups.

Initially, the Horde was a villainous faction corrupted by demons. Later on, after the Horde's redemption, not all accepted the Horde as it is. The Horde has a painful history of infighting and betrayal, and those folk often form their own splinter groups.

  • The Old Horde/Iron Horde : The first Horde formed under the influence of the Burning Legion on Draenor. The "Iron Horde" is an Alternate Timeline version of that first Horde, led by Grommash Hellscream and using military knowledge given by Garrosh Hellscream.
  • Garrosh's Horde: What a splinter group of the Horde of Kalimdor became under the leadership of Garrosh, particularly after the events of Cataclysm and the beginning of the war in Pandaria.

    General Tropes 
  • The Alliance: The Horde of Kalimdor under the leaderships of Thrall, Garrosh (until it became the "True Horde") and Vol'jin actually fits this just as well as, er, the Alliance, though there seems to be more infighting, and two races, the Forsaken and the Blood Elves, originally joined merely for survival and not for ideological reasons (Although remain for the brotherhood). Also, the Alliance is more of a confederation of different groups ruled by different kings, councils, or leaders, while all of the Horde's factions and cities are ruled exclusively by the Warchief, and only governed by their respective racial leaders.
  • Badass Army: The Kor'kron Guard. They originally were the Warchief's 'secret service' and personal bodyguards, but in Wrath of the Lich King, turn into a full fledged, multi-racial, multi-disciplined army.
  • Battle Cry: LOK'TAR OGAR! Translation: Victory or death!. "For the Horde" is also very common, and each race tends to their own individual battlecries as well.
  • Barbarian Hero: Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren mostly, but the other races manage to do this sometimes.
  • The Berserker: Every Horde race, in some shape or form, is susceptible to fits of Unstoppable Rage in combat. In the cases of Orcs and Trolls, it's actually a bit of Gameplay and Story Integration.
    • Orcs have a savage, Hulk-like fury in their blood that rises whenever they get too angry. This manifests in the Blood Fury racial for Orc players, and Orcs in lore have been known to use this same fury. When the fury is activated, their tusks seem to grow sharper and their eyes glow a faint red color.
    • Trolls have access to the Berserking racial from the Berserker class in the RTS games. When wounded and cornered, the Troll is able to tap into a primal fight or flight response that causes them to go into a rapid flurry of desperate attacks. Nowadays, the racial merely increases the Troll's attack and casting speed when used. The original incarnation required the Troll have been hit by a critical strike for use, and the second changed the attack speed from 10% to a maximum of 30% depending on how wounded the player was.
    • Tauren are mostly Gentle Giants, but they are also Mighty Glaciers. Don't provoke one, or they will NEVER stop charging.
    • Forsaken do not feel physical pain, and so they can push themselves beyond the limits of normal beings, and their faith to Sylvanas can cause them to enter zealous fits of rage. Also, Word of God states that, when a body is newly raised, it enters a shocked and frenzied state where it will lash out and attack anything around it, and Sylvanas manipulates this when she uses her Val'kyr.
    • Blood Elves are a little more subtle, but it's there. It's especially prevalent before the Sunwell's restoration - Blood Elves NEED magic to function. They're addicted to it. Without the Sunwell, they could resort to anything - including destructive fits of rage - to acquire it.
    • Goblins, especially sappers, are often suicide bombers, and even if they aren't, they can go absolutely crazy with explosives, all whilst cackling and grinning manically the entire time.
    • The Huojin Pandaren would be the only ones exempt from this trope, but their urge to do anything and everything in their power to defend home and family, no matter the cost, could cause them to enter a rage if the situation is so dire, especially when considering their Hot-Blooded nature.
  • Blood Oath: The Blood Oath of the Horde, in which the one saying the oath swears absolute loyalty to the Horde. "Lok'tar ogar! Victory or death - it is these words that bind me to the Horde. For they are the most sacred and fundamental of truths to any warrior of the Horde. I give my flesh and blood freely to the Warchief. I am the instrument of my Warchief's desire. I am a weapon of my Warchief's command. From this moment until the end of days I live and die - For the Horde!"
  • Cool Airship: The Horde's main mode of airborne transportation are Goblin Zeppelins. They also have massive warships like Orgrim's Hammer based on the zeppelin design that resemble a giant boat held aloft by large balloons. The balloons are actually made of metal (And yet float), so they won't get immediately destroyed in the middle of battle. The large warships also have a huge BFG on the bow in the shape of a wolf's head.
  • Evil Counterpart. The expansions of World of Warcraft have introduced many: the Old Horde, the Dark Horde, the Fel Horde, the "True Horde", the Iron Horde and the Fel Iron Horde.
  • Fantasy Axis of Evil: They are for the most part made up of the traditional monster races, however it is Subverted by them not being evil:
    • Orcs: Humanoid (being the counterpart to the Alliance Human's Mundane) with some elements of Savage. Though Mists Of Pandaria diverged from this portrayal due to the orcs flanderization.
    • Trolls: Crafty plus Savage
    • Tauren: Savage, mostly of a Noble Savage bent
    • Forsaken: Eldritch
    • Blood Elves: Fallen, though between their racial philosophy (analogous with a phoenix rising from the ashes) and the first expansion's finale, this is not so apparent. From the point of view of their High Elf cousins in the Alliance, this appellation is quite fitting.
    • Goblins: Crafty, and possibly the Ugly Cute counterpart to the Gnomes' Cute.
    • If you squint the more Hot-Blooded Huojin pandaren could be Savage, but pandaren in general don't neatly fit into any of these.
  • Flanderization: Many of the Horde races have had their traits heavily exaggerated over the years of the game, with Orcish aggression, Tauren pacifism, Forsaken sour morality, and Goblin greed all being a bit too forefront. Mostly happened during Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria, but the leader's and member's characterization and goals recenter themselves over the courses of Warlords of Draenor, Legion, and Battle For Azeroth.
  • Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow: Subverted, sort of. On the surface, it would appear the Blood Oath is often broken by Horde members leaving to join neutral organizations, and more prominently, the Darkspear Rebellion. But Word of God revealed it's not just an Oath to the Warchief, but an Oath to the Horde itself and the ideals it represents. For example, when the assassin struck Vol'jin, he no longer recognized Garrosh as his Warchief but still considered himself part of the family that is the Horde, so the Oath remained unbroken. Also subverted in that Horde and Alliance members who join neutral factions still align themselves with that home faction. Example, Thrall became the leader of the Earthen Ring but he is still a member of the Horde, and he joins in their campaign on the alternate Draenor in Warlords of Draenor.
  • Had To Be Sharp: You have to be, when you live in a harsh desert with harpies and quilboar/eternally rainswept jungle island while being hunted by rival tribes/endless grassy savannah teeming with wild predators and cannibalistic centaur/hated and reveled by every living human on the planet.
  • Hidden Depths: A general Horde theme. The Horde's races, on the surface, seem like your typical villains, with monstrous features, a savage, tribal culture, and brutal mindsets. While they are more prone to violence than others, they also are deeply spiritual and very much intelligent, with a sense of honor, duty, and brotherhood.
  • The Horde: In Warcraft II. Averted since Warcraft III.
  • History Repeats: The Horde Rebellion is written to mimic the long past Pandaren Revolution. Both involve an oppressed people (The Pandaren, Hozen, and Jinyu in the latter, and the non-Orcish races in the former), ruled over by tyrannical dictators (The Mogu, and Garrosh's Orcs) and kept down under fear of death, until the day one of them stands up (Kang the Fist of First Dawn, and Vol'jin), is no longer afraid of the oppressors, and works to overthrow them.
    • It's also a repeat of the orcish redemption arc from Warcraft III.
  • Noble Savage: Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren. Huojin Pandaren to a much lesser extent.
  • Proud Warrior Race: Because of the Horde's 'melting pot' nature and frequent overlap of the Horde race's cultures, all of the races tend to end up this way, since the progenitor races of the Horde (Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren) bore this as one of their main cultural features.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: They are a coalition of different races who band together militarily and economically for survival. The Orcs are outcasts from another planet with a dark history of warmongering and demonic influences, The Darkspear Trolls are the Token Good Teammate to their Always Chaotic Evil race, The Tauren are a pacifistic society of animists, The Forsaken are nefarious, unliving zombie/ghost/ghoul people who may or may not be, in fact, evil, The Blood Elves are the shell-shocked remnants of a shattered civilization, and The Goblins are quirky industrialists whose home was destroyed by a volcano.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: In the old days of the Demon Curse.
  • Red Is Heroic: Main colors are red and black, even as good guys. Notably, the only Horde race that doesn't regularly incorporate the color red is the Forsaken.
  • True Companions: Was originally the main theme exclusive to the Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren, but Vol'jin's reign was somewhat of a cultural revolution that cemented this as a theme for the entire Horde. Anyone who wears the Horde crest knows that anyone else also wearing it is a friend, thick and thin. Horde storylines of infighting often test their resolve with each other, and indeed, in some cases, break the trust, as happened with the Forsaken. This makes it distinct from the Alliance, who, while they're friendly to each other, are generally invested in the Alliance for their own, individual interests as opposed to the Alliance as a whole.
    Vol'jin: I'll tell ya what de Horde is. De Horde that me an' Thrall built. It be a family. When de whole world try ta put us down, da family come an' pick us back up.
  • War Is Glorious: A recurring theme, as most Horde races enjoy and take very naturally to war and combat. However, as per their redemption, the glory of war is less focused on the violence and brutality and more of the glory of bravery, skill, and particularly, the glory of defending those you love, exemplified when Grom Hellscream sacrificed his life to slay Mannoroth and free his race from demonic slavery.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • The Garad'kra, Garrosh's secret police organization from Bloodsworn, is nowhere to be found outside of it's source comic.
    • Vol'jin's elite rank of Shadow hunters, the Siame-Quashi, are missing outside of the revamped Zul'Gurub and Zul'Aman they were originally featured it. While Shadow Hunters were prominent in Draenor, the organization of Siame-Quashi was never mentioned.
    • About a quarter of the Grimtotem who choose to split their tribe, and denounce support for Magatha Grimtotem, while agreeing to swear loyalty to the United Tauren Tribes and the Horde, and reform under Jevan Grimtotem's leadership in The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm, are also missing in later narratives.