Rise of the Blood Elves is a twelve-chapter custom campaign for Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, originally created by tomoraider in December 7, 2013, and is currently in Version 3.0 as of February 20th, 2017.
The campaign tells the story of the blood elves from their defeat at the hands of Arthas at the end of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, up to the final battle against Kil'jaeden at the end of World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade. The story is broken primarily into three acts, with chapters 1 and 2 portraying the brief struggle to restore Illidan Stormrage's domination of Outland, chapters 3 to 8 following the retaking of Quel'Thalas, and chapters 9 to 12 showing the betrayal and downfall of Kael'thas Sunstrider and the restoration of the Sunwell.
The campaign is played entirely from the perspective of the blood elves, giving the player control of a custom-made controllable race composed partly of returning units from The Frozen Throne (such as the Alliance spellcasters and Dragonhawk Riders), and partly of units created from the ground up by tomoraider (such as Arcane Golems and Blood Knights). Controllable heroes primarily include the canon characters Kael'thas Sunstrider, Lor'themar Theron, and Lady Liadrin, alongside original characters Alessandra Katryne and Aewynne Maysong.
Alongside its well-built custom race, the campaign boasts gorgeous map design, a custom blood elf user interface, a unique background track, customized unit quotes, and a difficulty level that strikes a fine balance between challenging and reasonable.
The custom campaign can be found and downloaded here.
A sequel campaign, also created by tomoraider and centering on Sylvanas Windrunner and the Forsaken, can be found and downloaded here.
Rise of the Blood Elves provides examples of:
- Adapted Out: Halduron Brightwing not only doesn't appear, but is also never mentioned at all. At least Rommath has cameo appearance in the ending.
- Arc Villain: Magtheridon for chapters 1 and 2, Dar'Khan Drathir for chapters 3 to 8.
- Arrows on Fire: Upgrading Rangers allows them to do this, increasing their damage at the cost of a small amount of mana per shot.
- Action Girl: Alessandra, Aewynne, and Liadrin apply, as do Blood Knights, the first female tier 3 melee unit.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: The Scourge forces in chapters 4 and 5 try to employ Arcane Golems against the player. Ironically, the blood elves are one of the most effective races at killing Arcane Golems, thanks to their access to Spellbreakers, Arcane Towers, Arcane Golems themselves, and Phoenixes (which, granted, aren't available during those chapters).
- Broad Strokes: It's a fan-made campaign, and there are at least two Canon Foreigner characters. But it also incorporates most of World of Warcraft canons.
- Broken Bird: In her backstory, Alessandra was a dedicated healer and follower of the Light, but the loss of both her husband and unborn child during the Scourge invasion drove her to becoming a warlock.
- Crutch Character: The naga can be this in chapter 2. The early blood elves are somewhat ill-suited to fighting the fel orcs fought in the chapter, but the naga bring nearly their entire arsenal to bear, and can make short work of the enemy.
- Deal with the Devil: Kael'thas makes one with Kil'jaeden near the end of the campaign.
- Decoy Protagonist: Kael'thas is the central character of the first two chapters and a major character during the following seven, but ultimately becomes a villain in the final two chapters. The true protagonist of the story can be argued for being either Alessandra or Lor'themar.
- Difficult, but Awesome: Chapter 6 grants the player control of all five of the controllable heroes at once. Together they can crush nearly anything, but using their skills properly can take some micromanagement.
- Distaff Counterpart: Aewynne is effectively this in terms of rank to the canon character Halduron Brightwing, who never gets even a passing mention in the campaign.
- Dug Too Deep: Ancient high elves dug below Silvermoon and accidentally awakened a powerful Eldritch Abomination, which they then sealed away at the cost of their own lives.
- Early-Bird Cameo: You may notice that Sylvanas' Forsaken units are quite radically different than Scourge units to demonstrate her and her people's freedom from the Scourge. They will have more playable appearances in the sequel campaign, Curse of the Forsaken.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first two chapters have a much stronger connection to The Frozen Throne than the ones following, as the player is granted control of Kael'thas and Lady Vashj as playable heroes, and commands the lower-tier blood elf units (largely identical to what the player is given control of in The Frozen Throne) alongside the naga. This has the positive effect of easing first time players into the campaign with something familiar.
- Easter Egg: Chapter 5 has two hidden away. One is a Pandaren Brewmaster who leaves an item before departing, and the other is a harmless Banshee who quotes GLaDOS before giving you a Crown of Kings.
- Eldritch Abomination: The high elves accidentally unearthed and then sealed a malevolent ghost-like entity beneath Silvermoon, which Kael'thas, Sylvanas, and Alessandra encounter while pursuing Dar'Khan.
- 11th-Hour Superpower: Phoenixes aren't unlocked until the penultimate chapter, and for good reason, as they're incredibly destructive (though expensive) flying units.
- Enemy Mine: Maive hates Kael'thas (and vice versa) but hates Illidan more and so is willing to join forces.
- Escort Mission: The first chapter involves escorting a heavily wounded Illidan to safety. Made very easy in that you control the wagon transporting him, so extreme carelessness is the only reason he should ever be in any sort of danger.
- FaceHeel Turn: Kael'thas, as in The Burning Crusade.
- Five-Man Band: The heroes during the Quel'Thalas restoration arc fall into this arrangement:
- The Hero: Kael'thas, the leader of the blood elves.
- The Lancer: Alessandra, who arranges the expedition despite Kael's protests.
- The Smart Guy: Lor'themar, who forms the strategies for the blood elves during their march for Silvermoon.
- The Big Guy: Liadrin, being the toughest fighter of the group.
- The Chick: Aewynne, who plays a more supporting role for the others.
- The Sixth Ranger: Sylvanas, who joins the group near the end.
- Flat Character: Aewynne was this in previous versions. Not as much in 3.0, which had her actually side with Kael'thas out of guilt for her earlier rebellion against him until being talked down by the other heroes.
- Gondor Calls for Aid: As they approach Silvermoon, the blood elves decide to request aid from Sylvanas and the Forsaken in retaking the city, with the Banshee Queen obliging them.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Lady Vashj (chapters 1 and 2), Sylvanas Windrunner (chapter 7), Akama (chapter 10), Maiev Shadowsong (chapter 10), and Kalecgos (chapter 12) are controllable only on certain maps. The Naga as a controllable race are also this in chapters 1 and 2, as are the Forsaken in chapter 8.
- Healing Hands: Liadrin specializes in this, with the twist that half of her spells heal her allies through damaging enemies. Blood Knights can also cast a weaker version of the human Paladin's Holy Light spell, and Alessandra was a healer in her backstory.
- Herd-Hitting Attack: Lor'themar specializes in this, with two of his abilities dealing strong area damage, and a third turning enemies he kills into living bombs that damage their allies.
- Hold the Line: The end of chapter 3, the first half of chapter 5, and the entirety of chapter 8 tasks the player with defending their position against waves of assault.
- It's Personal: Kael'thas, Sylvanas, and Alessandra personally chase Dar'Khan into the dungeons beneath Silvermoon, as all were touched deeply by the Scourge invasion of Quel'Thalas which he enabled.
- Lightning Bruiser: Arcane Golems are durable and, once upgraded, can buff themselves to move and attack very quickly. This makes them very effective at leading charges into enemy bases, as they can crush groups of enemy ground units, tank for their squishier allies, and demolish enemy structures. Unfortunately, thanks to them being mechanical, damage they take tends to stick until a fight ends. Blood Knights also become this when fully upgraded, as their healing and buffing spells make them strong, fast, and durable.
- Magic Knight: Aside from the heroes we have Blood Knights, the T3 melee unit of the blood elves that also double as a third spellcaster. This gives them the unique quality of benefiting both from spellcaster mastery ranks and weapon and armor upgrades. They have lower mana caps and regeneration rates to balance this out, and are one of the most expensive units to fully upgrade.
- Master of None: As noted by many players, the Hawkstrider Knights don't seem to fill any niche. The only thing that sets them apart from other units are their movement speed and Cleave ability, but their HP, attack and armor doesn't make them especially useful. There's also the fact that they're barely cheaper than the Blood Knights, who are better in pretty much every way except speed. The creator promised to make them more useful in future versions.
- My Greatest Failure: Aewynne is more heavily guilt-stricken by her part in the rebellion against Kael'thas than either Lor'themar or Alessandra, and briefly joins him after his Deal with the Devil in order to make amends for her actions.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: Aewynne and Liadrin both have brushes with this trope for Kael'thas. Both times this comes up, the player has control of one while the other is present as an enemy hero.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Alessandra's daring plan to retake Quel'Thalas is a success, but is also partly what inspires Kael'thas to agree to Kil'jaeden's deal, as he had come to believe the blood elves could accomplish anything with enough will.
- The Paladin: Blood Knights, who charge into battle to protect their allies while healing and buffing them. Liadrin is a twist on this, as her hero class is a counterpart to the human Paladin, with her spells focusing less on protecting herself and her allies and more on healing them through striking down enemies.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Kael'thas takes whatever gear he had at the end of chapter 10 with him when he pulls his FaceHeel Turn.
- Someone to Remember Him By: Tragically averted. Alessandra would have at least had this after her husband died in the Scourge invasion, but her resulting Roaring Rampage of Revenge caused her to miscarry.
- Taking You with Me: Alessandra attempts this on Kael'thas in the penultimate chapter. It fails to stick but her final spell scars him and destroys Tempest Keep. She comes back as a ghost during the final chapter, renewing her vow to fulfill this trope by slowing his ritual to bring Kil'jaeden into the world.
- Timed Mission: The final two chapters. In the penultimate chapter, the player must kill the phoenix god and obtain phoenixes before Illidan's forces penetrate Kael'thas' base. In the final chapter, the player must reach Kael'thas before he completes his ritual.
- Together in Death: Alessandra is briefly seen reuniting with her husband and child in the afterlife after she passes on at the end of chapter 12.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Inverted more often than not, thanks to the 2:3 male to female gender ratio of the playable characters. Chapters 7, 8, 11, and 12 all feature Kael'thas or Lor'themar paired up with two female heroes. Chapter 5 plays this straight, giving the player control of Alessandra, Kael'thas, and Lor'themar, as well as chapter 10, which features Kael'thas, Akama and Aewynne, but averts it when you rescue Maiev.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Alessandra starts a rebellion against Kael'thas in order to attempt a retake of Quel'Thalas from the Scourge. Kael'thas later makes a Deal with the Devil to restore the Sunwell, ironically with Alessandra herself initially leading the blood elves who side against him.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Back in 2.0, Illidan appeared prominently in the first two chapters and then stopped appearing. 3.0 corrects this by making him the final boss of chapter 10. Not as much an issue back in 1.0, as Illidan and his forces took Sylvanas' place assisting the blood elves in the retaking of Quel'Thalas.