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Blizzard's enduring franchise, Warcraft, celebrates its 15th birthday
Hard to believe it's already been 15 years since a race of ugly green monsters passed through the Dark portal an invaded Azeroth.
Since then, the brutal green Orcs have renounced their violent past, Prince Arthas has been transformed into the vile Lich King to lead a undead scourge army and the nefarious Black dragon aspect, Deathwing, is gearing up to unleash his wrath on the world.
Of course, that is all in-game fiction, but the the rich lore of Warcraft has captured the imaginations of gamers for over a decade.
In the real world, the Warcraft franchise spans three RTS games and an insanely popular MMORPG with over 11 million players worldwide.
What better way to celebrate its 15 year anniversary with a trip down memory lane?
Though not explicitly stated in the first ever Warcraft game, the series' canon pointed to the Dark Portal as the source of the Orc invasion of human world of Azeroth.
The Orcs were a peaceful group until the demon lord, Kil'jaeden cursed them with an insatiable blood lust.
They ravaged their homeland, Draenor, before passing through the portal.
The first Warcraft garnered rave reviews and Blizzard wasted no time in developing a sequel.
Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness introduced the High Elves of Quel'thalas and Dwarves of Khaz Modan, races that banded together with the humans to form the Alliance. Together, they battled the Orcish Horde to finally defeated the invaders. Surviving Orcs were placed in internment camps.
The Dark Portal was sealed and a period of peace ensued...
Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos marked a major turning point in the series. The game was given a huge graphics boost compared to its predecessors and the storyline broadened out to include new races and shone light on important individuals.
The oldest race on Azeroth, Night Elves, emerged from its clandestine existence and the future King of Lordaeron, Arthas, begins his descent into darkness...
The time of peace is officially over as an army of demons hell-bent on destruction, The Burning Legion, comes back to Azeroth after an extended absence.
The time of peace is officially over as an army of demons hell-bent on destruction, The Burning Legion, comes to back to Azeroth after an extended absence.
Alliance and Horde armies form an uneasy team to battle the new threat
Warcraft fans all know Arthas eventually goes bananas and becomes (or rather, merges with) the Lich King, a minion of the Burning Legion.
The franchise makes the jump to MMORPG with the launch of every parent's nightmare: World of Warcraft (WoW). Players can assume customise a 'hero' and thrust it into Azeroth ward off the evil forces afflicting the land. Hours upon hours can be spent to deck out a hero. Deaths from excessive gameplay has been attributed to this game, not that its scaring off any of its 11 million subscriber based.
The Lich King doesn't appear in WoW's first expansion, the Burning Crusade, but the Dark Portal is re-opened and the Orc's distant cousin, the Draenei, makes its debut.
The portal now leads to the desolate ruins of Draenor, now dubbed, the Outlands. Here is a panoranic view of an Outland continent, Hellfire Peninsula.
Alas, the Arthas re-emerges in WoW's latest expansion, Wrath of the Lich King. Players will soon be able to kick his but when the next patch is released.
To celebrate Warcraft's 15 anniversary (as well as WoW's 5th anniversary), WoW players will receive an Onyxian Whelpling pet - a mini-me of the Black Dragonflight's broodmother, Onixya.
Blizzard is currently working on another WoW expansion pack. Called Catacysm, the mighty black dragon, Deathwing, is a gearing up to scorch the lands of Azeroth... Did I mention there will be Werewolves (i.e. Worgens) in the game?
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