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  • Alternative Character Interpretation: 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. Maybe it's both. Later lore confirms both to be the case; the Lich King wanted Arthas to strike him down, but encouraged it to make Arthas easier to corrupt.
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    • 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. However, this overlooks how Tyrande helped a group of Furbolgs (try to) escape the corruption, mobilized her people against the Burning Legion and eventually turned from her racist ways.
    • Uther's death by Arthas. Did Uther hold himself back due to his fatherly feeling for Arthas? Keep in mind that Uther is full-powered Paladin and much more experienced than Arthas even if the latter wielded powerful runeblade. Arthas also only had (very weak) ghouls and meat wagons in his forces that even with Zerg Rush, Uther can easily kill the ghouls.note  Arthas and later World of Warcraft: Chronicle clarifies that this was actually almost inverted; Arthas starts off somewhat matching Uther, but starts losing the duel thanks to the power of the Light, but as he is pushed to the edge of defeat, the Lich King invigorates him and he uses superior speed to defeat Uther.
  • Anticlimax Boss:
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    • Gul'Dan in Tides of Darkness. Considering that he's a major leader in the Horde, and the goal of "The Tomb of Sargeras" is to kill him you'd think he'd be a challenge. But unlike the hero units Beyond the Dark Portal, the hero units in Tide of Darkness have unimpressive stats, and Gul'Dan is no exception, being a Death Knight who actually has less health and damage.
    • Examples from Reign of Chaos:
      • Kel'Thuzad in the 4th human level makes for a Boss Battle that can only be described as being quite pathetic. He's basically just a normal necromancer that can be one-shotted by a maxed out level-3 Holy Light from Arthas.
      • Grom in the last orc level ends up as this. A fight against a demon influenced level-10 Blademaster? Instantly gets put in a Soul Gem. That being said, the hard part is actually getting to Grom as you have to fight your way though at least one base full of Fel orcs and several Burning Legion units such as Doom Guards and Fel Stalkers while also fending off raids against both your base and Jaina's base by those same Fel orcs and Infernals.
      • The Keeper of the Grove, Califax, serves as a rather lackluster Boss Battle at the end of the 5th night elf level when it turns out that he's only a level-3 hero unit backed by a couple Wildkin that can be killed quite easily. Even on Hard mode, Califax's level remained unchanged. For comparison, the player's hero unit, Tyrande, is at level-6 by this point.
      • Tichondrius also ends up being this in the 6th night elf level. Since he's got Divine Armor that can only be damaged by Chaos attacks, the only way to kill him is to just distract Tichondrius' forces with Night Elf units while the demonized Illidan whittles down Tichondrius' health with his basic chaos-damaging ranged attack.
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    • In the Frozen Throne expansion, there's the Forgotten One at the end of the second Azjol-Nerub level. If the player manages to keep a majority of the 12 Crypt Fiends gathered throughout the level alive, the Forgotten One will end up going down very easily before ever coming close to posing an actual threat.
  • Arc Fatigue: 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 Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer wanting to find every piece of loot or stat tome available.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Warcraft II had one of the finest and most memorable soundtracks in RTS history, even if newer players may not remember it due to the first two games being overshadowed by Warcraft III and subsequently World of Warcraft. It's still used to this day in Hearthstone (during the matchmaker spinner) and, in awesomely remixed form, in Heroes of the Storm.
    • The four factions' themes in the third game.
    • 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.
  • Best Level Ever:
    • The Battle At Crestfall in the Human Tides of Darkness campaign of Warcraft II, gets props for being ahead of its time in level objectives. After the traitorous Kingdom of Alterac was razed by the Alliance, the Orcish Horde has fled the Northlands and makes a desperate last stand in the seas of Crestfall. Your only objective is to send your own navy to the Horde naval structures and take them out, a refreshing departure from the usual "destroy all enemy forces" missions.
    • The Dark Portal, the final mission in the Orc Beyond the Dark Portal campaign. You're given a massive starting army and all five of your heros and the objective of clearing the map of Human Alliance forces. It feels like the Alliance is making their final stand and can only delay the inevitable. Build your base, smash everything in sight, capture the Portal and enjoy the ending cinematic.
    • Twilight of the Gods, the last level in Warcraft III is an absolutely massive forty-five minute Hold the Line mission where after eight years the Alliance and Horde finally work together to stop Archimonde as he 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.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Coming across some secret areas and things throughout Warcraft III can be considered this, such as the Panda Relaxation area in "Digging up the Dead," the Largest Panda Ever in "Brothers in Blood," or the Penguin King in "The Return to Northrend."
    • 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.
  • Breather Level:
    • 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 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.
      • Human and Orc level 10. While you have no base and no reinforcements, you do have a huge army at your disposal. The computer player simply will slowly build up his forces, but you hold such a huge advantage that it's impossible to lose barring exceptionally bad play (such as repeatedly clumping your troops up when facing catapults or Cloud of Poison, not watching out for friendly fire from your own catapults, etc.).
    • Warcraft II
      • Orc level 6, "The Badlands," is a somewhat easy micro mission where the player escorts Cho'gall to a Circle-of-Power on the other side of the map. The enemy Human units the player has to fight through are quite spread out around the map, and most can be avoided while taking few casualties if the player beelines down one route towards the Circle-of-Power. Using Cho'gall makes this mission even more of a breeze due to Bloodlust.
      • Human level 9, "The Battle at Darrowmere," is a fairly easy naval micro mission where the player has to transport a hero unit, Uther, across the water to reach a Circle-of-Power. Your starting army is large enough to easily clear away the few enemy ships and coastal towers that guard the waterways between Uther's starting location and the Circle-of-Power that he needs to get to. Being a Breather Level is especially true when you consider that this mission is sandwiched between level 8, which is a mission that pits the player against 3 opposing Orc factions, and level 10 which is a long naval heavy slog to get some Alterac prisoners back to base.
      • In Beyond the Dark Portal, Human level 4, "Beyond the Dark Portal" you're tasked with building a Castle, and wiping all enemy units & structures. However, you're give a large enough starting army to eliminate the southern base, start your own base there and immediately siege the base on the west end of the map. Once you've neutralized this second base, it's a breeze to mop up the rest of the map while the air-attack-only base in the northeast doesn't bother you for a long while and has a sparse ground force and a bunch of towers defending. Even if the western base is left to build up, they do not even upgrade to tier 3, and attack with a mediocre army.
      • Also in the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion, Human level 6, "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.
      • In Beyond the Dark Portal, Orc level 8 "Assault on Kul'Tiras" is surprisingly relaxed compared with what preceeded it. The Human Paladins don't even have Exorcism so you're free to have a blast with Death Knights. The Human ground attacks waves are also very weak; Just remember to watch for patrolling Gryphon Riders.
    • 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 Villain Protagonist 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 Evil vs. Evil 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.
      • The expansion has "The search for Illidan" which is the fourth chapter of the Alliance campaign. You only control your heroes, while your army engages the Night Elf enemies on its own. Your goal is to secure Illidan's cage and return it to your base, while Maiev, your enemy does the same. During this level, both your heroes will receive their Ultimates, which makes this mission rather easy. If you managed to beat Bonus Level, you'll also get help from a Pandaren Brewmaster hero, making it almost impossible to lose.
      • The Frozen Throne Orc Campaign "The founding of Durotar" is more or less a Breather Campaign. Instead of being a challenging RTS, this campaign is more like a simple RPG in which you control a party of up to four heroes who move throughout the maps doing all kinds of quests (essentially a test-run for WoW). For most of the campaign, there is literally no way you can lose, as losing your heroes only results into them resurrecting at a nearby checkpoint. Near the end of the campaign, your heroes will be so strong that they become One Man Armies. Storywise, this campaign feels more lighthearted compared to the other three campaigns. Instead of playing morally black or grey characters in the rather bleak settings of Outland, the ruined Lordaeron and Northrend, this campaign takes place in the tropical Durotar and focuses on the noble Horde forging their new kingdom, while trying to maintain peace with the humans from Theramore led by Jaina.
  • Cliché Storm: 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.
  • Complacent Gaming Syndrome: Considering the very, very long hiatus before patch 1.29, the metagame of Warcraft III had ample opportunity to become stale. You could pretty much expect everyone ever to open with a Blademaster, Demon Hunter, Archmage, or Death Knight depending on their race, and each matchup was mostly railroaded into a single game plan. Night Elves versus Orcs, for instance, would turn into mass Druids of the Talon + Beastmaster and Tinker against Tauren Chieftain and mass Raiders nine times out of ten, and Undead used Destroyers as an answer to basically everything.
  • Complete Monster: See here.
  • Critical Dissonance: Metacritic's professional review score of Reforged sits at slightly over 60% (as of February 2020). While that's a far cry from what a remastered classic was destined for, it's positively stellar when compared to the abysmal 0.5/10 score it garnered from the players, one of the worst user scores for a video game in the site's history.
  • Designated Hero: 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. In addition, she mercilessly slaughters Humans and Orcs (who have allied together at this point) even though they all have a common enemy in the Burning Legion.
    • However, the character she freed is a fan-favorite, and possible Designated Villain, Illidan Stormrage. Not to mention that before then Tyrande helped a group of Furbolgs (try to) escape the corruption and eventually turned from her racist ways.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Several from the franchise. Some examples that appear in World of Warcraft include;
    • The Captain, an unnamed character who only serves as someone Arthas can talk to in the human campaign of Warcraft III has attained many fans among the community. In the retelling of the Warcraft III events in the book Arthas: Rise of the Lich King, he finally gained a name — or actually two, split into two separate characters, Falric and Luc Valonforth.
    • Tichondrius from Warcraft III. Well, he was quite charismatic.
  • Even Better Sequel:
    • Warcraft II was such a drastic improvement over the original in every way that the original was almost completely forgotten. Just for starters it codified the Alliance and the Horde (while the first game had literally been "Orcs and Humans"), the graphics were leagues better, the voice acting and soundtrack were absolutely superb (the voice acting in particular, as each unit had its own voice set, rather than only a single set used by almost all units on each side), and the gameplay was far faster, smoother, easier to control, better balanced and much more varied.
    • Whether Warcraft III counts as this or not is debatable, as it was such a radical departure from the formula of the series (and the RTS genre in general) that it and Warcraft II are barely even comparable. It's still considered a superb game, though, and ultimately even more influential in making Warcraft completely indipendent from its Warhammer roots and making it the industry-dominating juggernaut that it is today.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Sylvanas and the Succubi. Harpies are a subversion, while they look pretty attractive, they supposedly are filthy and smell bad.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With fans of Warhammer Fantasy, mostly caused by the Pop Culture Urban Legends about the first Warcraft game, Orcs & Humans, being originally intended to be a Warhammer game before Games Workshop stopped Blizzard to protect their IP.
  • Foe Yay: Between her lamentations about how she 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.
  • Game-Breaker:
    • In Warcraft:
      • The basic range units (Spearmen for Orcs and Archers for Humans). They're cheap, easy to tech up to, and they fire really fast - and to top it off their missiles completely ignore enemy armor. 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 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 (at the mere cost of 1 less damage point). It's hardly surprising ranged troops got nerfed hard in the sequel.
      • Catapults are pretty damn strong in this game to the point that a single shot in the right place can absolutely annihilate a large chunk of the opposing army. Only major summons stand a chance of surviving a direct hit. One shot deals the game's maximum of 255 damage while no trainable unit has even half that amount of Hit Points (major summons aside).
      • The final-tech mage summons (Daemons for Orcs and Water Elementals for Humans) are insanely overpowered, much stronger than any unit that can be built normally. A mass army of these guys can clear entire maps by themselves without ever having to pay attention to them. To top it all off they're free, only costing what it takes to train a late game caster, and as long as you keep them alive you can keep summoning more and more Daemons/Water Elementals at no cost to your economy.
    • In Warcraft II:
      • 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 Game-Breaker 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 Polymorph we know today which usually turns people into sheep for 30 seconds before changing back...no...these people are gone for good.

        On top of that is Invisibility and Blizzard. Imagine the frustration of having an invisible mage(s) enter your base and massacre your entire economy by unloading deadly icicles upon your workers. If the Human player is able to wall-out Ogre-Magi from entering their base, this sneak attack is typically executed. Not even walling off your base against Mage infiltrators is fool proof, due to the long range of the Blizzard spell.
      • The Blizzard and Death & Decay spells are remarkably powerful, arguably the most powerful incarnations of the spells in the Warcraft series. They're almost identical, randomly selecting a number of tiles to deal damage to and costing a generous 25 mana per cast. Even a half-full mana bar can unlease some havoc in a move that pro players call the Mage Bomb. A single (or two) Mage/Death Knight can lure an idle army to their deaths by casting their respective AOE once then spamming it in front of themselves as the aggroed army rushs to their doom. These AOE spells are also fearsome against a player's economy, where a single caster can completely wipe out all the wokers mining gold in a base; this is extermely effective against computer opponents' economies as they are almost helpless against an Invisible Mage or invulnerable Death Knight, the only hope they have being the fact that computer spell casters are allowed to ignore stealth effects.
      • In the Single-player campaign, Gryphons or Dragons are amazing for surgical strikes to trigger an Instant-Win Condition. They're restricted on many levels for this reason as Artificial Stupidity prevents the enemy from using everything at their disposal to counter your flyers, and in order to encourage creativity beyond "send flyers to key targets & win".

        For instance, on the final level of the Human campaign in Tides of Darkness, it's very feasible to fortify your starting base and use the goldmines in this sector to amass a swarm of Gryphons and bum-rush the portal (your only objective). Amusingly, this contradicts the ending cut-scene. Meanwhile, the Orcs can buff their Dragons with Bloodlust and Haste and send a flock with triple damage & doubled attack rates to eliminate key targets.
    • 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 That One Level, surprisingly easy, as Anub'arak alone can tank Illidan's army's attacks, with Arthas healing or damaging Illidan with Death Coil (while you can leave 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 Good Bad Bug mentioned below.
      • Frozen Throne's Orc campaign gives you a new Game-Breaker 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 Chain Lightning 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.
      • Goblin Land Mines can be this if used correctly; especially when used against buildings. As seen in this video, the player successfully destroyed Archimonde's base in the final level of the game by using Goblin Land Mines combined with the Invulnerability Potion to destroy all of Archimonde's production buildings.
      • While the Naga faction overall is not balanced due to their campaign-only nature, a very special mention is needed for Couatls. In terms of power, they are in-between Wind Riders and Gryphon Riders as support air units, but they are cheaper than both and, much more importantly, a Couatl only uses 2 food compared to the aforementioned two's 4 food. The equivalent of a late-game air unit (with Abolish Magic to boot) that costs the same food as a basic infantry unit makes spamming Couatls a perfectly viable strategy - understandably, you can only train Couatls in one mission ("Gates of the Abyss") and the AI never considers the possibility of spamming them in other missions.
      • There's a reason the unique Orc Warlock unit was seldomly allowed to be used by the player throughout the campaigns. This is primarily because they were given a Firebolt spell that can be summed up as a single-target damage nuke with a secondary effect of stunning the target for a couple seconds as well. Have enough Orc Warlocks amongst your army, and what you got is basically the equivalent of a bunch of spellcaster units running around with a Mountain King's level-1 Storm Bolt spell. This is made extremely apparent in the "Hunter of Shadows" mission where you're actually allowed to build Warlocks for Grom's army. You can effectively keep Cenarius stun-locked forever by spamming Firebolt upon the Keeper while the rest of Grom's army whittles away at his health with their chaos damaging attacks until Cenarius dies.
      • In melee matches, maps containing the Marketplacenote  are usually banned from tournaments because of a wide variety of game-breaking items that turn heros into demi-gods. Crown of Kings increases a hero's stats by 5 each and you can have as many as you wish on your hero up the limit of 6 items. The Sobi Mask increases a hero's mana regeneration by 50% and you can carry up to 6 as well allowing absurd mana regeneration rates. With some imagination, one can craft a broken hero with ease due to how diverse the selection of items are.
  • Gameplay Derailment: 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.
  • Goddamned Bats: 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. Fortunately, these are limited to the expansion's orc campaign.
    • 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.
  • Good Bad Bugs:
    • 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. This was finally fixed in Reforged.
    • 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. This was finally fixed in Reforged.
    • 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 Bonus Dungeon, 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 Final Boss of the dungeon. And if you think that you'll miss out on the stat tome pick-ups that some of said Infernals drop when killed, don't worry. They will be on the ground for free at the spots where the Infernals were placed on the map.
    • 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 ungodly tough by the final mission, with an armor stat of 47 if done right. At that point, Anub'arak is pretty much a walking Castle and the only thing that does anything resembling noticeable damage is Illidan's Mana Burn.
    • In the Scourge mission where Arthas kills Sylvanas Windrunner and Banshees are first unlocked, along with their Possession spell, it is possible to possess an Elvish worker and build their buildings. Given that the rest of the campaign typically disables workers' abilities to build when possessed, this in and of itself may or may not be an oversight. The actual bug, however, is that Elvish workers can build multiple defensive towers at the same spot. The result is what looks like a normal tower but fires either stupidly overpowered lightning bolts (actually several bolts fired at once), or regular bolts at a machine gun-worthy rate. Not too game-breaking, since all it really does is save space and is only available in a single mission... but certainly a bit hilarious.
    • One patch caused a bunch of unit names in the expansion's orc campaign to be changed into "You are not paying me at all, little goblin", including Bloodfeather and Rexxar's stash in the first mission, and switching "Centaur Marauder" with "Place Unstable Concoction" in the second (also renaming many enemies as "P").
    • Units sometimes turn their heads towards each other in cutscenes. Sometimes this doesn't get reset, and the units' heads take on Abnormal Limb Rotation Range.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Tyrande's Fantastic Racism. She'd rather slaughter the humans and orcs than getting their help against the Burning Legion, whom she thinks the druids can handle. World of Warcraft and the Expanded Universe show that the Night Elves needed the help from several races to defeat the Burning Legion during the first invasion (the Tauren, now part of the Horde, among them) and makes Tyrande's motives more difficult to justify.
    • When Jaina opposes her father taking control of Theramore to wage war against the orcs of Durotar, telling him that he doesn't understand, he has a few choice words for her: "I understand more than you suspect, my dear. Perhaps in time, you will too." Fast forward to Mists of Pandaria and the Horde's destruction of Theramore, she does.
    • Anub'Arak's joke line "And they say Blizzard games don't have bugs" became somewhat darkly amusing after the release of Warcraft III Reforged which was notorious for its numerous game breaking bugs.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • 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 Back from the Dead in World of Warcraft :Muradin and Mal'Ganis themselves, Kael'Thas...
    • The Leeroy Jenkins meme that was born in World of Warcraft 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. 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".
    • At the end of the Blood Elf campaign, when Kil'jaeden accuses Illidan of hiding from him in Outland, Illidan says he "was merely setback". And Kael was right behind him when he said that.
  • Informed Wrongness: 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 using evil as a weapon as a law, even if it's decreasing the chance to reach the goal, and Illidan broke it.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Not to a severe extent, but The Frozen Throne expansion pack is remarkably shorter than Reign of Chaos lacking a full Orc campaign and having a much shorter "Human" Campaign. The "Human" campaign is somewhat In Name Only, as save for one level, you don't have access to the Human Alliance tech tree and tend to use a mixed of Blood Elven and Naga troops instead and the Night Elf hero Illidan Stormrage. Not that a fresh new experience isn't welcome, but if one is expecting a full-fledged Human campaign, they may be disappointed at the lack of said content in the full campaign.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: The 2018 trailer and live demo play for Reforged showed great improvements in the cinematics and the overall graphics. None of which is in the release version. The fandom wasn't pleased at all. Blizzard's mediocre response to the complaints (look at They Changed It, Now It Sucks! below for a full list) combined with the inability to even refund the game (later made possible) amplified the fandom's rage.
  • It Was His Sled: 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 World of Warcraft, 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.
      • Arthas kills Sylvanas, which he then proceeds to resurrect as an undead.
      • 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.
  • Lady Mondegreen: Kinda. Sylvanas' name is spelled out in the game, but her model file is named Sylvanus. Also, some unit quotes:
    • Naga Sea Witch: "I grow anxious twat." note 
    • Varimathras: "Don't waste my tie, mama." note 
    • Pandarian Brewmaster: "Save your husband." note 
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Arthas and Uther's dialogue before the Culling of Stratholme is fairly popular as both quote and snowclone material, at least partly due to how heavily the marketing for Reforged focused on it.
    • A close-up image of low-poly orc peon from Warcraft III with a text "Oh shit that's deep" has gained popularity.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Arthas massacring Stratholme so the city does not fall to the Undead is one In-Universe, 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 Mercy Kill, 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 Fate Worse than Death).
  • More Popular Spin-Off:
  • Narm:
    • It's impossible to take seriously Grom Hellscream's high-pitched voice acting from ''Warcraft II''.
    • At the end of TFT, Arthas is about to fight his way through Illidan who is trying to destroy the Frozen Throne. Illidan replies with "I have sworn to destroy it, Arthas, it must be done!", which sounds more like Arthas is Illidan's friend and has tried to stop him from destroying the Throne out of concern for him.
    • The Reforged take on the scene where Arthas kills Mal'Ganis comes less dramatic and serious than the original with the animation that makes it look like Arthas impales the dreadlord through his groin, quickly followed by Mal'Ganis' limp body just casually floating away upright and doing a spin.
    • Reforged's take on Arthas's cinematic duel with Illidan also invited mockery. The fight itself has no music, and the first strike has them struggle for a long moment in a clumsy-looking Blade Lock punctuated with uncomfortable closeups. At one point Arthas Matrix dodges Illidan's blade, which was widely considered to be too over-the-top, especially compared to the original fight which was relatively grounded in tone. The two also react to each other by snorting.
    • Some cutscenes in 'Reforged change the position of the characters so some who suddenly appear into view are until then hidden behind camera. It's especially bad with Maiev who watches from a nearby cliff as Illidan bid his farewells to Malfurion and Tyrande, takes his sweet time to open a portal and step through, instead of teleporting out of nowhere like she did in the original.
  • Narm Charm: 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.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Medivh is usually known as that guy who can't send a proper message. His warnings to the people of Azeroth are so pointlessly vague in what he's describing that there's really no explanation for why he doesn't just tell everyone that the Burning Legion is coming.
    • 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 for rather vague reasons despite the fact that he just killed a major Burning Legion member in Tichondrius, and could have stuck around to face off against Archimonde.
  • Rooting for the Empire: The Sylvanas missions in The Frozen Throne's Undead campaign. Three forces try to take over Lordaeron after Arthas left for Northrend: Sylvanas's forces (which initially consist of little more than undead elves), the three Dreadlords (who work for the Burning Legion) and the New Alliance led by Grand Marshal Garithos. Despite Sylvanas's questionable methods, it's of little wonder of why players would rather have her control Lordaeron over the other factions.
  • Scrappy Mechanic:
    • For many, Warcraft I was a pretty flawed game.
      • One of the game's biggest problems was that the player couldn't rebuild Town Halls at other locations. As a result, peasants had to travel long distances to mine gold from Gold Mines at far away locations across the map.
      • Hardly anyone liked the road mechanic, which restricted where players could build their structures. As a result, roads were done away with in the later games.
      • A unit's sight range was only at maximum when they stopped moving, which made scouting a tedious affair.
    • Warcraft II had its share of annoyances as well, but was a major improvement over Warcraft I regardless:
      • The sight range of many units was so small that you'd be practically blind without a far-sighted unit or tower handy. This was problematic for scouting and necessitated having Flying Machines/Zeppelins handy to cover blind spots or scout out enemy operations. Starcraft corrected this, by making all unit sight ranges much longer overall so that early-game land scouting could be done efficiently with mere worker units.
      • The naval combat was initially a novelty when the game was released, but the need to manage three different theaters of war (land, sea & air), drill for oil, and inability of naval units to attack tucked-away land settlements made naval warfare lose its novelty in the long run. Notably, Warcraft III didn't include naval combat in its multiplayer melee modes.
    • For Warcraft III:
      • The upkeep mechanic where your gold Income is taxed at 30% when your supply usage exceeds 50/100 and 60% at >80/100 (in The Frozen Throne). It's supposed to discourage you from turtling and encourage you to push out with your army, and stay at no upkeep unless absolutely necessary which promotes a micromanagment-focused gameplay. Given that gold is in limited supply on a map, it's wise to spend it on an actual army and research as much as possible. However, the upkeep mechanic does have praise for adding complexity to army size decisions and softening the Unstable Equilibrium effect from losing a battle since reaching upkeep draws income away from your bank.
      • The AI tends to prioritize weaker units first before stronger ones, which can be particularly annoying for the factions that have weaker ranged units compared to the melee units on the front line (Horde and Night Elves). This is particularly noticeable with the Horde, which their ranged headhunters have less than double the health of the melee attacking orcs. The result is the player spending loads of time microing to keep the headhunters alive while the fighting goes on.
  • Sequel Displacement: III was pretty much responsible for bringing the series global recognition, making it easy to forget it was the third instalment in the franchise.
  • Serial Numbers Filed Off: When the Starcraft I alpha was released, it was accused to having done this to Warcraft II and being Warcraft IN SPACE!. The game got rebuilt from scratch, but then Warcraft III was accused of being Starcraft Fantasy IN 3D!:
    • The campaigns. The vanilla pack starts with the humans, has a hero Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad, then continues the Protagonist Journey to Villain until they invade in full and make landfall into the home of an ancient civilization that was their true enemy all along. In the end, the ancients lead a final battle alongside those of the other races who were sane enough to band together, and defeat the Big Bad. The expansion starts with the ancients recovering from the invasion. Another faction of human(oid)s is thrown into the fray, incapacitating The Remnant of the evil faction, and in the end the corrupted hero from the first pack returns to take advantage of the Evil Power Vacuum, crush all their enemies and reign supreme.
    • Kerrigan's arc was also ripped by Sylvanas, as a powerful superhuman female markswoman who was given mind control powers and corrupted, only to then become independent from her enslaver and climb to the top. The similarities are so blatant they get lampshaded in Heroes of the Storm:
      Sylvanas: I thought I was the only one who'd been murdered by a cruel man, raised as a powerful but horrible abomination, subsequently crowned myself queen, and dedicated my subjects to orchestrating my vengeance. But then I met Kerrigan!
    • Some of the more unusual traits of the melee, to a lesser degree: the Undead summon their structures like the Protoss do and can only build and regenerate on corrupted ground like the Zerg. Most night elf buildings grow from a Worker Unit, like those of the Zerg, and can lift off and relocate, like the Terran ones.
  • Shipping:
    • 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.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: In the Warcraft III campaigns, going off the main path to complete the Side Quest, or buffing up your heroes by finding items and stat-tomes, can be described as this for players.
    • The dungeon crawl missions that have loot and secrets hidden throughout is perhaps the most prominent example of the player getting distracted from the main objective since they can go searching for treasure and hidden areas that could be blocked by puzzles, rocks, trees, and whatever else that could act as a roadblock. One major example is the dungeon mission of the Night Elf campaign, "Brothers in Blood," which holds many secret areas if the player goes about knocking down mushroom trees using Malfurion's summon treants ability.
    • The expansion's Founding of Durotar bonus campaign, which plays out similar to an RPG rather than an RTS, will have the player scouring all around each map for hidden treasures and stat tomes to buff up your small group of heroes. The campaign's second Act, "Old Hatreds", even added optional dungeons that the player can go about exploring. One particular optional dungeon the player may end up spending a lot of time in is the Outland Arena, which the player can fight up to 30 arena battles against 3 bosses for additional stat tome rewards. Once each of the arena bosses has been defeated 10 times, further rewards are just more gold coins.
    • One of the most common methods Blizzard pulled to hide secrets and loot in Warcraft III was to place them behind trees. This usually resulted in ignoring the mission objectives to go off and chop through trees with workers, or using unit abilities and siege attacks that could knock down the trees, in order to reach the treasure.
    • In the Frozen Throne expansion, you're very likely to get hooked on the secret Tower Defense level you find during the Blood Elf campaign.
    • The Sentinel campaign for Frozen Throne really plays this trope straight due to the fact that one of Maiev's abilities is Blink. This allowed for the developers to be a bit more creative at hiding loot and secrets that can only be accessed by having Maiev teleport around the map.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Almost any Warcraft fan will tell ya that Arthas' storyline is probably the best thing to come out of the franchise's RTS games.
      • If there's ever any pre-WoW lore that will get people talking, it's the Arthas/Uther cut-scene before the start of the Culling mission for Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Even today, it continues to be a huge debate if Arthas slaughtering an entire city of plagued villagers was the correct choice or not. It's such an iconic moment for the franchise that it was used as the first bit of marketing for the upcoming release of Reforged.
      • Cinematically, we have the finale of Reign of Chaos' Alliance campaign. Arthas murdering his father, King Terenas, is perhaps the defining and most memorable moment of Arthas' Fallen Hero storyline.
      • For the Warcraft III: Frozen Throne expansion, the final cinematic of the Scourge campaign could give the previous example a run for its money. After defeating Illidan, Arthas ascends the icy spiral staircase up to the Frozen Throne, breaks the Lich King's icy prison, and donns the Lich King's helmet and armor for the two of them to fuse into one powerful being that rules over the undead Scourge. Overall, the sight of Lich King Arthas makes for quite a defining image of the series as a whole.
  • Special Effects Failure:
    • In the last mission of the original Orc campaign in Reforged, the cinematic that introduces Infernals has the skies suddenly turning pitch black instead of becoming red and blazing while Jaina comments on it.
    • The Night Elf mission "Brothers in Blood" has a moment where the player is introduced to the Druid of the Talon units, which have Cyclone which creates a small cyclone that traps the enemy unit. The animation in Reforged however looks incredibly low effort and looks like a tornado model from a desert map.
    • The Night Elf mission "Shards of the Alliance" from The Frozen Throne ends with Tyrande performing a You Shall Not Pass! and holding off the undead on a bridge, at which point it breaks and she is swept down river. In Reforged however, the game glitches and skips this scene, causing it to just act like nothing happened. It was later patched out, but players reference it as a sign of the poor quality of the remaster.
    • The end cutscene of the Undead campaign in Reforged, which was one of the few that was changed from using in-game models to being fully CGI that was actually kept in the finished product, suffers from this as well - the final battle takes place in the middle of a blizzard, and Athras's head is constantly moving around, yet despite this, Athras's hair remains motionless throughout the whole scene.
  • 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 or are knockoffs or endless rehashings of the same type of map. Or all three. However, some of them are very well done. See: Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars, The Chosen Ones, and To the Bitter End.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The first few measures of Warcraft II's "Human 4" are pretty similar to those of Bach's Bouree in E-minor.
  • That One Attack:
    • Paladins make it almost impossible to properly use Death Knights in Warcraft II thanks to their Exorcism spell, especially when said spell is used by the AI. The reason being that the Paladins have the potential to One-Hit Kill a Death Knight from a far distance using Exorcism depending on how much mana they got banked up (240 mana to kill a full-health Death Knight), which the AI will always be smart enough to move towards a Death Knight that appears in the area to cast Exorcism upon it. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the AI ignores the fog of war.
    • The Polymorph spell from Warcraft 2. Unlike the Warcraft 3 version, this one permanently turns the target into a neutral critter and has no restrictions on what it can be cast on. Again, due to the numerous perks the AI has, this becomes far more dangerous (and annoying) in their hands. In Beyond the Dark Portal, the AI may even cast it on Teron Gorfiend if you're not careful (instant defeat), plus Gorefiend is also vulnerable to the aforementioned Exorcism (3-hit-kill at worst, mercifully).
    • Blizzard or Death-&-Decay for Humans and Orcs respectively are ridiculously powerful in their Warcraft II iteration. Being on the receiving end of either one can feel very cheap as the mana cost for each wave is a paltry 25 and each wave stacks cumulatively. This enables attacks on gold mining operations where workers get slaughtered so fast, its not possible to pull them away to safety in a lot of cases.
  • That One Boss:
    • Frozen Throne
      • The 3 Paladins in the first Undead mission are a pain to deal with when the player is out trying to destroy the human villages. This is primary because the Paladin's Divine Shield makes them invulnerable to kill for up to 45 seconds, and will constantly heal nearby friendly units with Holy Light, which greatly prolongs the fights against them. Amongst the players' 3 factions, Sylvanas' side has a means to counter the Paladins using her Silence spell to stop enemy spell-casting, but Arthas and Kel'thuzad have no such way to counter them. As a result, the player's only option with the Arthas and Kel'thuzard factions is to just hold out prolonging the fights against the Paladins until their Divine Shield finally wears off, and then move in to finish the Paladin off before they're able to pop up Divine Shield again. It doesn't help that Holy Light doubles as a massive nuke against Undead, letting them burst down your units with impunity while you're helpless to stop them. It's especially painful for Kel'Thuzad: Arthas's Abominations can tank a few Holy Lights to the face and get healed by Death Coil, and Sylvanas can use Banshees to steal human units which can't be blasted, but Kel'Thzad and his Necromancers are out of luck. In fact, the Paladins are so annoying to deal with that one of the most common tactics that players use nowadays is to just dispose of them right away with a cheese tactic. Said tactic being to bum-rush the Paladin encampment with Arthas right at the start of the mission to drop Goblin Land Mines upon the 3 Altar of Kings just to make sure that after the first time the Paladins are killed, they don't come back.
      • Baelgun Flamebeard could end up as this at the end of the first Azjol-Nerub level. Baelgun is a powerful Level 10 Mountain King facing off against a Level 5 Death Knight (Arthas), and a Level 6 Crypt Lord (Anub'arak). His Storm Bolt and Thunder Clap abilities are highly effective against Arthas and Anub'arak, and if the AI chooses to do so, Baelgun will use its ultimate to go into Avatar mode for additional health and spell immunity.
  • That One Level:
    • Tides of Darkness
      • Level 11 "The Dead Rise as Quel'Thalas Falls" for the Orcs. This mission is a rude awakening due to limited gold in each mine compared to previous missions, making expansions necessary to keep pressure on. The mines are spread out, and the Humans apply pressure with a comprehensive tier-3 arsenal. Death Knights are introduced, but are limited to two basic spells: Haste which only affects limited numbers of units (Ogre-Magi gain no real benefit), and Raise Dead which allows you to summon very weak skeletons from the dead.
      • Level 12 "The Tomb of Sargeras" isn't much better. The mission requires island hopping to take over two gold mine islands at the bottom half of the map, and you're then required to destroy two orc factions that control an island along the top half of the map. The tough part comes when you're required to start making your naval fleet. The two enemies will constantly send non-stop Destroyers and Juggernauts at ya, which becomes a pain in the ass when you're trying to start up your naval base to make a fleet when all you start with to defend is 2 Destroyers and 1 Juggernaut. There's hardly any breathing room to get a naval fleet up in time before being overtaken by the non-stop enemy ships, and as a result, you're forced to just turtle on your island, and use catapults to kill any enemy ship that comes up to your coast until their resources are used up to the point of being unable to make any more units.
      • 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 Difficulty Spike 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 factionnote . 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 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.
      • Orc 5: "Blackrock Spire" warrants mention due to a claustrophobic starting area. You have Peons but no buildings, and there's no time to waste because Gryphon Riders will soon start harassing your position. The objective is to "rescue" a roost of dragons in the mountain protected by a significant Human army.
      • Orc 9: "The Tomb of Sargeras" is a brutal slog with a limited army that is barely sufficient to reach your goal. Because the Orcs can't heal their troops, this makes the mission much more finicky than any of the Human's no-base missions. You're also pretty much screwed if you don't keep enough air-attackers alive to kill the flying Daemon at the end of the level (especially since said Daemon has buffed up stats compared to normal Daemons). Don't feel bad if you need to Save Scum to make it through, especially to keep that one Death Knight alive whenever it unexpectedly gets one-shotted by a Paladin's Exorcism.
      • Orc 11: "The Eye of Dalaran" puts most of Beyond The Dark Portal to shame. You need to transport your troops off of an island and make a beachhead while contending with a very aggressive opponent. You have very limited time to get your base up and running, while your main enemy has a head start on advancing to their Castle technology. After that, they attack relentlessly. Even starting your base at the alternate gold mine to get cover from Dalaran in the south is still a struggle, as it's well protected, and Lordaeron pressures you with constant Gryphons for a long while, and stands a chance of exhausting your starting army.
    • 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.
      • 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 Hold the Line on their own, and they send a lich hero to "death and decay" your towers and nuke your army for good measure. Base expansion and multi-tasking skills are suddenly required in a campaign that has not been too difficult up until this point. There's also an optional Side Quest 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 Hold the Line mission.
      • Into The Realm Eternal (Hard) An early Undead mission, the prime reason for its 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 Zerg Rush. And even by Zerg Rush 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 Animate Dead 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 Hold the Line mission where you have to defend Squishy Wizard, Kel'Thuzad for 30 minutes until he summons Archimonde, during which you have no control over Kel'Thuzad and he won't even defend himself. 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. This was so bad that Blizzard patched the free reinforcements from the Burning Legion, which in early versions were just Felhounds, but after the patch the final wave gave the player Infernals that don't count as summoned units.
      • 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 The Berserker, and this entire mission (defending against impregnable bases) goes against everything he stands for. On Hard, the attacks are even more ruthless.
      • The mission 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 Early Game Hell.
      • The third mission of the Night Elf campaign, "The Awakening of Stormrage" really pushes your limits as to how fast you can rush the main objective. You're basically on a Race Against the Clock to reach Cenarius' Horn before the undead completely chop through the 100 trees (90 on Hard mode) protecting Malfurion's Barrow Den, which is about a 15 to 20 minute window to complete the mission. To get the horn however, the player has to build up their initial Night Elf base, and then build up a large enough army that can push through a Horde settlement blocking the path leading to the horn. And it doesn't even end there. The player has to then defeat the three Keeper of the Grove guardians protecting the horn. It's such an unforgiving mission that you're pretty much forced to pull everything off on the first attack. This includes making very few mistakes to keep your army alive through the Horde base just so that the player still has enough units to take on the three guardian forces. By the time all the guardians and their minions are finally killed, you're very likely to only have around 10 or fewer trees protecting Malfurion remaining.
      • 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. "Twilight of the Gods," 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 Curb Stomp you with their high-level heroes before you can blink if you try the single-player turtling approach.
    • 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 is 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 resourcesnote , 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 villagesnote  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 separatednote . 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  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 best to teleport your Alliance army over to your own Undead one once you get the Siege Tanks (or vice versa) for a steamroller attack, but even this does not make the assault easy.
  • That One Sidequest:
    • As mentioned above in That One Level, 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 Hold the Line mission. The easiest work-around people will usually resort to using is sending Arthas out on his own to cheese the Meat Wagons while under the protection of his Divine Shield spell. Especially so if Divine Shield is leveled up more than once.
    • 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 (although there's no indication of where to find it). However, the third item of the Sidequest is the difficult part; having to fight through an area of thunder phoenixes 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.
    • Assembling the Shadow Orb in The Tomb of Sargeras, from the Frozen Throne Night Elf campaign. The Orb is divided into 10 fragments littered throughout the level in all sorts of out-of-the-way nooks and crannies, often only accessible by having Maiev Blink into difficult-to-notice spots. In order to find all of them, you'll need to either be extremely thorough or just consult a walkthrough.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Warcraft III: Reforged is getting a new Russian translation that will replace the original translation by SoftClub and will be more faithful to the original (and more in line with World of Warcraft's Russian version). There are already some people displeased with it.
      • Subverted - it's the new, objectively inferior voiceover that get most of the hate, not the translation change itself.
    • Reforged is also receiving flak from fans after Blizzard announced a change to its policy regarding custom maps. Unlike in III where anybody could make whatever custom make they wanted and technically owned it, Blizzard has announced that they own all rights to any custom map created in Reforged. That means if you were to say, create a custom map like Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars, Blizzard can legally take your map and sell it as a separate game without giving you a single cent. Another side effect of this policy is that Blizzard can ban or restrict any custom map that violates their rules, essentially having the same policy on custom content as StarCraft II. Naturally, many fans didn't take kindly to this, pointing out this new policy completely robs the point of making custom maps in the first place (and is widely seen as Blizzard still not getting over having done the exact same thing for the original DOTA, causing the creator to take his game to Valve instead).
    • The Reforged launch was filled with misfeatures that weren't present in the original, such as an always-online requirement for single-player games.
    • Not even fans who preferred to stick to the original III are safe, since the original Warcraft III has been removed from the Battlenet client and merged with Reforged, meaning everybody who owned the original is forced to deal with all the new changes.note 
    • While a mild one, there is some dislike for some of the new models used for the units. One of them being the Footmen, whom went from being fitting for their title, tier and purpose to looking a bit, too fancy and big. A good amount of fans tend to poke fun of how huge the pauldrons are.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • It's a somewhat minor example, but it can come off looking rather odd that Cairne Bloodhoof was absent from the Battle of Mount Hyjal. This is despite the fact that Cairne joined up with Thrall's Horde, and traveled with them as far as Ashenvale forest, during the Orc campaign.
    • The Night Elf campaign of Frozen Throne spends a great deal of time building up the Night Elf warden, Maiev Shadowsong, as a key character of the story. However, she's pretty much forgotten about in the following campaigns. Maiev basically gets one mission in the Blood Elf campaign showing that she's still hunting Illidan in Outland only to then never appear again. One would think that at the very least, she would have continued the hunt to Northrend once Illidan's army begins their march towards the Lich King, which could have added a Night Elf faction into the mix during the final Undead mission.
    • It can be a bit surprising how cast aside Kel'thuzad was in the Frozen Throne's Undead campaign. Arthas leaves the Lich behind in Lordaeron to make sure that the Scourge keeps control over the land in the King's name. Despite that objective, Kel'thuzad doesn't appear at all in any of the Sylvanas missions.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Not much was done with Illidan becoming the ruler of Outland. He obtains a new batch of Demon and Fel Orc allies after taking Magtheridon's place as the ruler of Outland, yet they don't follow along on Illidan's Northrend journey to defeat the Lich King. In the end, it will just leave you wondering how neat the Scourge campaign chould have been if along with fighting Naga and Blood Elves, Arthas would also have to deal with Demon or Fel Orc factions under Illidan's command. An argument could be made that Akama's Broken Draenei could have followed along as well, but given that they were simply trying to survive against Magtheridon's forces in Outland, them staying behind to celebrate their victory is the one faction Illidan obtained that actually would have made sense.
  • Tier-Induced Scrappy:
    • The Human faction in Frozen Throne multiplayer is generally considered unfun to play against for several reasons. Their building upgrades and cheap defensive structures mean that they can easily either turtle behind a wall of towers or lay siege to your base with those same towers. They also have access to Siege Engines, heavily-armored base-killers that no one enjoys dealing with, as a pack of these attack-moving into a base is very hard to stop. Furthermore, the Archmage's Brilliance Aura (grants bonus mana regeneration to all nearby allies) is often seen as one of the strongest abilities in the game.
    • Destroyers get hate due to them packing just about everything a unit could want: spell immunity, flying movement, decent damage, a good chunk of health, and the ability to dispel buffs. Depending on who you ask, they're either obscenely overpowered or the only thing keeping Undead relevant at all. When Blizzard finally ended the decade-long drought of balance changes, Destroyers were severely nerfed, to no one's surprise.
  • Uncanny Valley: Some of the portraits in Reforged are rather unsettling, often due to the complete lack of expression some of them (Thrall and Malfurion among them) portray.
  • Underused Game Mechanic:
    • Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness: Hero units were so incredibly underutilized, and unchanged compared to the normal units that it really felt like there was no point in having them (especially with the hero's death being an instant loss condition). That was changed by the time the Beyond the Dark Portal expansion was released where hero units now came with powerful stats compared to the normal units they were based on, and appeared much more often throughout the campaign levels. Hero usage eventually became a main selling-point of Warcraft III.
    • Warcraft III's "Spirits of Ashenvale" mission had a unique mechanic where it was possible to obtain lumber from destroying Night Elf tree structures, yet it's seen nowhere else throughout the game. Even though 3,000 lumber coming from Trees of Life sounds way overpowered, it makes sense in context when you realize that Night Elf structures that absorb the Wisp worker are technically trees.
    • Sea warfare, which was a major component of Warcraft II, took a huge backseat by the time Warcraft III came around. It didn't exist in the original Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos game, and while the Warcraft III: Frozen Throne expansion brought back naval combat ships, they were still limited to only being in the single-player campaign, and only for certain missions since it wasn't possible to build shipyards (the player could only purchase ships from pre-placed shipyards). The expansion added water transports to some melee maps, but the AI is incapable of using them.
      • Blizzard actually planned to properly return it in the expansion. Alas, tests showed that people either used almost exclusively ships (on a map had a lot of water) or didn't use them at all. It was decided that removing sea units would be easier than finding a solution to this problem.
    • For some odd reason, the player is never able to make Chimaeras in the Night Elf campaign for Reign of Chaos. The most logical guess why is perhaps Blizzard was worried that players would find a way to cheese the structures of Archimonde's base with mass Chimaeras on the final level.
      • As anyone surely noticed, said campaign is also the shortest in the game. Originally it had one more mission after the current ending. Here Night Elves were supposed to defeat the army of the Scourge (which didn't just disappear after death of Archimonde). They had 3 HUGE bases that the player was supposed to destroy with Chimeraes' help. Tests showed that after the already lengthy mission 7 another long mission was just overkill, and Archimonde's death actually was a pretty good place for ending the game, so mission 8 was removed.
    • Destructible wall doodads can go very unnoticed in Warcraft III. The possibilities of hiding treasure areas or opening new pathways behind destroyable walls are there, but this is only ever used one time throughout the campaigns. The second Undead mission of Frozen Throne, "The Flight from Lordaeron," has a secret area that can be opened up after destroying two wall doodads with Meat Wagons, but even for what seems to be the player discovering a neat little hidden area, the treasures it offered turned out to be lackluster anyway.
    • The Naga race that was introduced in the Warcraft III: Frozen Throne expansion had the potential to be an official 5th player faction. However, the Naga in the finished product is left as a Game-Breaker pseudo-faction that's limited to the single-player campaigns, and came with a tech-tree and unit arsenal much smaller than the 4 primary factions. The only Naga unit that made it to custom maps and multiplayer is the Naga Sea Witch (same model as Lady Vashj), a neutral hero. The race's amphibious capacity was removed from her on said maps.
      • It was confirmed by a former dev that they indeed were created as the new race for the expansion. A lot of their mechanics were tied to water, which is logical by itself, but created the same problem as the planned naval units of other races had - they were OP on maps with a lot of water and rather useless on maps without it. By the point when it was decided to drop the whole idea with sea warfare, a lot of Naga models were already complete, and Blizzard instead used them for a campaign-only mini-race.
    • While it's somewhat downplayed due to the existence of Rexxar's bonus campaign, some feel that the lack of an actual Horde campaign for the Frozen Throne expansion sticks out like a sore thumb. A bit of missed potential was possibly having said campaign centered around the Fel Orcs, which could have been placed after the Alliance campaign where they're left with nothing to do after Illidan takes control of Outland.
  • The Un Twist: Those players who paid attention to the story in the first act of The Founding of Durotar have likely guessed that Daelin Proudmoore was going to be that campaign's main antagonist, as it was Kul Tiras that had an emblem that looked like an anchor on a green background, and "Admiral Proudmoore" was referenced in the game's editor even before the other two acts of the campaign were released.
  • Win Back the Crowd:
    • Blizzard pulled a surprising move in 2018 by releasing balance changes for Warcraft III, despite the game being 15 years old at this point and not receiving a proper balance patch for the last decade or so. Needless to say, dedicated fans were very pleased that Blizzard hasn't forgotten about the game's existence. Of course, this all made sense when they followed it up by revealing Warcraft III: Reforged at BlizzCon.
    • As controversial as Warcraft III: Reforged has been, the remaster does provide a couple additions that were noted to be worth being changed. Particularly when it comes to playing the campaigns. Some of said changes include the following:
      • Consumable items are now stackable, which makes for better hero inventory management.
      • The remaining three missions of the "Exodus of the Horde" prologue campaign are fully restored, which players can now truly experience the necessary lore as to how the Darkspear Trolls joined Thrall's Horde. In addition, the missions were provided with full voice acting in cinematics, which was present in the demo but was weirdly absent in the Frozen Throne custom campaign featuring those missions.
      • Overlapping The Frozen Throne's updates to Reign of Chaos such as the changes made to attack-type, armor-type, and upkeep, which reduces having to remember the differences between the two games.
      • Certain trees are removed from blocking some level secrets, which reduces the annoyance of having to knock down trees before being able to reach them.
      • The few times the Blackrock Clan shows up now properly have Warcraft II-style Forest Trolls instead of Darkspear Headhunters, which is a neat little addition to story immersion.
      • Some campaign heroes now have unique skins instead of just being the common multiplayer hero skins, which again, is a neat little addition to story immersion.
  • The Woobie:
    • 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 taunts him about stealing Jaina from him.
  • Woobie Family: 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.
  • Woobie Species:
    • 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 its 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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