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Old 05-10-2012, 12:30 PM
BaronGrackle BaronGrackle is offline

Echo of the Past
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Horde Flag ToD: The real reason Doomhammer's Horde lost

OP Summary: Even if Gul'dan had stayed loyal in the Second War and the Horde had sacked Lordaeron, they were so overextended that they probably would have lost the war anyway, eventually. But if Doomhammer had been a better strategist, his Horde might have won even in spite of Gul'dan's betrayal.

(For this topic, I'll be considering information from the novel World of Warcraft: Tides of Darkness. I've only read a SUMMARY of this and not the book itself, so correct me if my premises are wrong. If this is the case, then this is going to be a very embarrassing thread for me!)

Hi there! So I've noticed that within certain communities, there seems to be a certain Stab-in-the-back Myth interpretation of the Horde's defeat in the Second War, one which believes that the Horde had conquered all before them and was on the very verge of victory until the traitorous Gul'dan ruined things for everyone.

I contest this. So let's have some fun.

Warcraft II Game Events vs. ToD Novel Events

There are some who believe that nearly all of the events from the Warcraft II Orc campaign actually happened. They might believe that everything up to the Orc's final level is a part of official lore, and they'd say that the Horde at the end of the Warcraft II Orc campaign is of equal strength as the Horde of the official novel. However, this does not seem to be the case. I want to step back and take a look at the war situation between the two versions of the story, on the eve of the attack on Lordaeron's capital. Which Alliance nations still form a threat to the Orcs?


Azeroth: Destroyed; survivors escaped to Lordaeron (pre-game)
Ironforge: Destroyed (pre-game)
Stromgarde: Destroyed (Orc Level 7)
Quel'thalas/Silvermoon: Destroyed (Orc Level 11) (The Elfgates etc. were added to lore later)
Alterac: Surrendered
Dalaran: Destroyed (Orc Level 13)
Gilneas: Neutral

Northeron (Aerie Peak): Active - Location unknown
Kul Tiras: Active - South and west of Horde forces, the Great Sea
Lordaeron: Active - Northwest of Horde forces


Azeroth: Destroyed; survivors escaped to Lordaeron
Ironforge: Besieged - Behind Horde lines in Khaz Modan
Stromgarde: Active - in Alterac, dividing the Horde Assault force from Horde forces in Quel'thalas and Khaz Modan
Quel'thalas/Silvermoon: Raided but active - deeper in Quel'thalas, sandwiching Horde forces in the Northlands between them and Stromgarde to the west and south

Alterac: Surrendered but occupied by Stromgarde
Dalaran: Raided but active - South of Horde Assault force
Gilneas: Active - Southwest of Horde Assault force
Aerie Peak: Raided but active - East of Stromgarde, dividing the Horde Assault force and Horde forces in Quel'thalas from the Horde in Khaz Modan
Kul Tiras: Active - South and west of Horde forces, the Great Sea
Lordaeron: Active - Northwest of Horde forces

In the events of the Warcraft II Orc campaign, Doomhammer moves his forces like a a steamroller. Nations and kingdoms get conquered and sacked methodically, one after another. And even with Gul'dan's betrayal slowing the Horde down, it proceeds onward to finish off Dalaran and Lordaeron in the final moments. In this campaign, after the destruction of Lordaeron, the only remaining points of Alliance resistance are in Kul Tiras and Northeron (wherever it's meant to be--perhaps off the map near Quel'thalas?). And eventually Gilneas, if it ever wakes from isolationism. On a map, the Horde's forces would fill in a continuous area from Lordaeron through Quel'thalas, Khaz Modan, and back to Azeroth, with only the Great Sea contested.

This is remarkably different from Doomhammer's situation in the novel. In that version, the Horde has left behind Dwarves in Khaz Modan, instead of stamping them out. It has ignored Stromgarde's capital, choosing instead to bypass it. Aerie Peak is now retconned to this region, but the Horde only feigns an attack here---bypassing it for Quel'thalas. And the Horde fought well and took territory in Quel'thalas, but the magic of the Sunwell prevented it from finishing off the Elven kingdom.

At this point, the main Assault Force of the Horde had Silvermoon to its east, isolated from the rest of the Alliance. To its south and southwest were Aerie Peak and Stromgarde. To its west were Alterac, Dalaran, Gilneas, and Lordaeron. The Horde could have attacked its enemies one by one, proceeding methodically and keeping its supply line strong. But because of Alterac's betrayal, that didn't happen.

Instead, the Horde passed straight through Alterac to strike the capital of Lordaeron. We can assume that without Gul'dan's betrayal, Doomhammer would have sacked the Capital City and killed King Terenas, just like in the Warcraft II ending cinematic.

But what would have happened after that?

Soldiers and citizens in Lordaeron could have fled the battle south, to the safety of Dalaran or Gilneas. Or they could have gone east to meet with Stromgarde's forces, now behind Doomhammer.

Alliance forces, mourning the deaths of King Terenas and Lordaeron's capital, would still be united under the command of Anduin Lothar. One option for them would be to have Stromgarde's, Dalaran's, and Gilneas's forces counterattack the Blackrock Clan on the ruins of Lordaeron---perhaps hoping to wipe out the Orc forces while they're weakened and separated from the rest of the Horde. Another option would be to have Stromgarde and Silvermoon retake Quel'thalas and/or the Thandol Valley, which would finalize the separation of Doomhammer from the Horde in Khaz Modan, perhaps starving his forces for supplies.

Anyway, my main point is that the Old Horde was WAY overextended at the end of the Second War, according to official lore. Because Doomhammer bypassed so many enemy nations instead of destroying them completely, he needlessly stretched his soldiers and was on the way to being divided and conquered.
A better strategy would have been the actual Orc campaign from Warcraft II, which finished off Stromgarde before moving north to Quel'thalas and then finished off Dalaran before moving on to Lordaeron. If Doomhammer had taken this route, it's possible that he could have won the war even if Gul'dan had betrayed him---since his Assault force wouldn't have been so fractured and splintered by surviving nations behind his lines.

What if Doomhammer had moved slower and taken the time to eliminate his enemy nations, instead of rushing through Alterac toward Lordaeron? If Gul'dan had betrayed him while he as still in Quel'thalas, he could have formed a defensive line and held off the Alliance until the Stormreaver were defeated. If the betrayal had come during the invasion of Lordaeron, then Doomhammer could have pulled forces back without worrying about Stromgarde or Dalaran cutting him off--because by that time, Stromgarde and Dalaran didn't exist anymore. Either way, the Horde would have still had a solid chance at victory. Then the Burning Legion could have come to consume the world, and everyone would have been happy!

Well, that's my opinion. Feel free to tear it down.
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