Characters / Warcraft The Horde

The Horde

"Misunderstood and cast aside, these diverse and powerful races strive to overcome their differences and unite as one in order to win freedom for their people and prosper in a land that has come to hate 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"

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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 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 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.

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:

Other Hordes and History:

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

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".

    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. Also, the Alliance seems to be more of a confederation of different groups, while the Warchief is firmly in charge of the entire Horde, with the racial leaders having control of their individual territories.
  • Badass Army: The Kor'kron Guard, the elite force of the Horde, very much the equivalent of the 7th Legion.
  • Battle Cry: LOK'TAR OGAR! Translation: Victory or death!
  • 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 Wo W expansions have introduced many: The Old Horde, The Dark Horde, The Fel Horde, The "True Horde", and now, The 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 Wo W.
    • Orcs went from a savage, but honorable race, that had alot of respect for their allies, and tried to maintain their treaties. Cataclysm, and especially Mists Of Pandaria turned orcs into Stupid Evil Card Carrying Villains who hated all their allies for no reason. Note even when the Horde was demon corrupted, they could still be pragmatic, and even had respect for their allies, but the Orcs who follow Garrosh are Stupid Evil.
    • Tauren went from a generally peaceful race that was nevertheless fearsome when angered, yet starting from Baine's leadership became forgiving to the point of stupidity, with their leader excusing the Alliance for firebombing Taurajo, as well as going through absurd measures to appease the unrelenting quilboar who, along with the centaur, have attacked them for generations... though Baine was much less so with regards to Garrosh's True Horde.
    • The Forsaken and Sylvanas started as a noble people, though dour, ruthless, and cruel, they had good intentions of killing the Lich King (Although their methods were questionable). While they came off as uncaring, they truly did care for their new Horde companions and wanted their own place in this world and the Horde. After Cataclysm, those 'questionable' themes are constantly on the forefront with Forsaken experimenting on humans, making corrupt abominations, and raising the dead just for the hell of it. Sylvanas in particular only raised dead so that her people wouldn't die out and she could be protected, not because she enjoyed it, but in Siege of Orgrimmar she seems all giddy over the prospect of raising Lor'themar and others into undeath.
  • 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: Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren (Seeing a pattern, here?), but the other races indulge in it sometimes.
  • 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.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Much to players' dismay, over time the entire faction has been periodically given the Villain Ball and the Idiot Ball, now with two of the races having a Well-Intentioned Extremist racial leader and many of the formerly good races like Orcs being treated far more negatively. This can get especially confusing when it comes to the Orcs, as they went from good to evil with no overt explanation offered within the game beyond a leadership changenote . The only races that currently have stayed undeniably good are the Tauren, who have always been good — although under Baine this sometimes veered into Good Is Dumb — the Darkspear Trolls, who are the diamond in the rough compared to all other Trolls, and the Huojin Pandaren... which didn't really do anything of note anyway!
  • True Companions:
    • This was always a theme between the Orcs, Trolls, and Tauren, all of which banded together and formed close bonds to help survive in a hostile world. This is best exemplified by the icon for Spirit Link ability in Warcraft III. Goblins(particularly Gazlowe), and the ogres are sometimes included as well. How the other races fare with this trope is unclear, but considering the new Warchief is a strong advocate of this mentality as seen by the quote at the top, they may pick up on it. Ironically the expansion to point this out as in the above quote, was the one many fans feel broke the theme, due to the Flanderization of the orcs.
      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.
    • The blood elves and the Forsaken have their own special relationship: The Banshee Queen Sylvanas, who rules the Forsaken, was in life the Ranger-General of Silvermoon City, and both races share a past scarred by the Scourge, the Forsaken being undead freed from the Lich King's will, the blood elves being the survivors of Quel'thalas after the Lich King's march. The only reason the blood elves were even accepted to the Horde in the first place was due to Sylvanas' insistence. The blood elves' leader Lor'themar Theron was even once her Number Two when she was Ranger General. There is a dark side to this, as Sylvanas appears to still consider him as such and has little problem issuing orders to him and taking advantage of blood elf resources and manpower to accomplish her own ends.
      Sylvanas: I haven't lost any love for my homeland or its people, as you know. I've fought tooth and nail for Silvermoon to be allowed a place beside Undercity and Orgrimmar at the negotiating table.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • So who's the Orc racial leader after the Siege of Orgrimmar? A few tweets have confirmed that it isn't Thrall, and that it might be either Saurfang or Eitrigg, but no one knows. Though, most likely, it will be Saurfang.
      • Saurfang is the confirmed Orc racial leader. If one were to do the series of Blood Elf quests at the end of the Ghostlands chain where you contact the leaders of the Horde, Sylvanas, who is now warchief, sends you to the Orc leader: Saurfang.
    • Also, while the Kor'kron organization was presumably purged due to its ties to Garrosh, what happened to the Blackrock and Warsong clans(who weren't at the Siege Of Orgrimmar), or the Dragonmaw who wanted to atone?
    • And what about the Garad'kra, Garrosh's secret police organization from Bloodsworn?
    • Or Vol'jin's elite rank of Shadow hunters, the Siame-Quashi, who only appeared during the Rise of the Zandalari patch and who can still be found within the revamped Zul'gurub/Zul'aman raids-turned-dungeons.