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Concurrent: War in Outland, Nexus War, War against the Lich King, Gilneas civil war, Operation: Gnomeregan, Zalazane's Fall, War against the Nightmare, Elemental War, War against the Zandalari
Alliance-Horde War
Alliance-Horde War
Place: Mainly in: Great Sea, Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms and Pandaria. Minor conflicts in Northrend.
Outcome: Ceasefire



Major Battles: Invasion of Gilneas, Second Battle for Hillsbrad, Battle for Andorhal

The Alliance-Horde War is an intercontinental war which is the pivotal act of the expansion set World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria.


World of Warcraft

Five years after the Battle for Mount Hyjal, the fragile truce between the Horde and Alliance had all but evaporated. In the wake of the Third War and The Founding of Durotar, the Forsaken entered a partnership of convenience with the Horde while the night elves and gnomes emerged from ages of solitude to join the Alliance. For another year the armistice held, though tensions continued to mount as worldwide conflicts drew the two sides closer to all-out war and fighting erupted in strategic battlegrounds. Despite these frequent skirmishes, the Horde and Alliance often set aside their differences and joined forces to face a number of threats.

Burning Crusade

In time the blood elves and draenei led them through the Dark Portal to wage the War in Outland against the Burning Legion. Following the year-long campaign in Outland, the Horde returned to Azeroth with a new ally in the Mag'har, led by Garrosh Hellscream. Soon, the long-missing Varian Wrynn put an end to Onyxia's schemes and returned to reclaim the throne of Stormwind. Attempts at diplomacy between Thrall and Wrynn soon fell apart as a peace conference in Theramore was ambushed by the Twilight's Hammer. Attention quickly turned northward, however, as the looming threat of the Lich King bore down on the mortal races of Azeroth.

Wrath of the Lich King

Garrosh Hellscream and Varian Wrynn, appointed as the supreme commanders of the Horde Expedition and Alliance Vanguard respectively, who had previously butted heads in Theramore, led their forces to Northrend where they waged war against the Scourge. Though fighting a common enemy, tensions between the Horde and Alliance grew swiftly until spilling over after the Battle of Angrathar the Wrathgate. During the resulting Battle for the Undercity, Varian Wrynn, grief-stricken over the loss of Bolvar Fordragon, and the state of the former Capital City of Lordaeron, lashed out at Thrall and declared war against the Horde. Hostilities continued to escalate for the remainder of the War against the Lich King, until the Lich King was finally defeated.

The War during and after the Cataclysm

The Shattering

Main article: The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm

With both factions recovering from war, the Alliance and Horde attempt to resume their tentative peace declared by their respective faction's peace treaty. Yet political tensions rose as the night elves of Darnassus have refused trade with the Horde and barred them from Ashenvale in protest of the Wrathgate. With the Horde’s supplies being depleted on account of the war with the Lich King and the unusual droughts affecting Orgrimmar, things were looking bleak for the Horde. Relations worsen as Twilight Hammer orcs under the guise of Horde forces, kill and skin night elf sentinels to frame the Horde. In an effort to quell the rising tensions, Hamuul Runetotem attempted to pursue diplomatic talks with his fellow night elf druids. Yet the talks became violent when the druid meeting was attacked by Twilight Hammer orcs believed to be sent by Garrosh Hellscream, acting warchief of the Horde.[1]

Three years have passed since the military forces of the Horde and Alliance first set foot on the shores of Northrend, and they now wage war amidst the disasters wrought by Deathwing's return to the world. Thrall has left the Horde to lead the Earthen Ring's efforts in preventing the rift beneath the Maelstrom from tearing apart the world, and has appointed the ambitious Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief of the Horde in his absence. King Varian Wrynn, convinced that the Horde has remained unchecked for too long, continues to lead the Alliance.

Invasion of Gilneas

Main article: Invasion of Gilneas

Invasion of Gilneas.jpg

Employing the Val'kyr to raise a mighty army, the Forsaken have begun a bold campaign to secure their hold over Lordaeron. By orders of the new Warchief of the Horde, Garrosh Hellscream, the Forsaken mobilize and move into Gilneas to secure a port for the Horde in southern Lordaeron. The Forsaken have conquered much of Silverpine Forest, and have been battering the Greymane Wall with their siege weapons. The Forsaken soon aligned themselves with Ralaar Fangfire and his Gilnean Wolfcult and helped him infiltrate Gilneas so that he could spread the worgen curse and sow civil discord in Gilneas. The Cataclysm then caused the Greymane Wall and many of the nation's defenses to fall, allowing the Forsaken to invade freely. The Gilneans, now transformed into worgen, attempt to fight off the invaders as best they can. Eventually the night elves arrive in Gilneas, bringing both vital military aid and the truth behind the worgen curse. Likewise, Orcs reinforce the Forsaken forces, causing an escalation into an all-out battle between the Alliance and the Horde in the region. The Forsaken, against the orders of the Warchief to cease production, unleash their devastating Forsaken Blight against Gilneas. Many of the survivors flee across the sea to Teldrassil, where the night elves grant them sanctuary.

Ashenvale Offensive

Main article: Wolfheart

The orcish invasion of Ashenvale.

With Ashenvale's elven defenses weakened, Warchief Garrosh Hellscream finally decides to take the night elven forest for the Horde. Garrosh personally led his troops into the neighbouring borders of Ashenvale. While his Warsong Clan had made considerable progress over the course of Warchief Thrall's reign, it is a far cry from the ambitions that Warchief Hellscream desires to achieve. Garrosh plans to create a massive city in the heart of the forest, one with the potential to rival Orgrimmar in size and power. With rich minerals ripe for the taking, and all of the tools needed to see his people grow, Garrosh surges viciously through the kaldorei ranks and cuts a swathe of destruction straight to the Silverwing Grove. Having brought down a number of tamed proto-drakes and magnataur captives from Northrend that he domesticated by holding their young hostage, Garrosh plans to see his dreams of expansion realized.

His attack on the Grove results in a decisive Horde victory. Garrosh reflects on how the forest that gave his father such harsh resistance is falling, piece by piece, and wonders what the mighty Grom would have made of this triumph. He concludes that not even Thrall could deny his prowess at this point, and will hail him as the champion of the orcish race and the entire Horde. Garrosh's plan is twofold - he had gained knowledge of a meeting between the leaders of the Alliance, and strikes at this point in order to lure out Tyrande Whisperwind. As he had expected, the priestess arrives on the scene to relieve the waning sentinels, though the Horde unleash the magnataur upon the Alliance's ranks. In the ensuing chaos, Tyrande was struck down and wounded by orc archers. Confident in a victory, Garrosh also takes the fray.

The battle is interrupted by the arrival of worgen reinforcements led by Varian Wrynn and Genn Greymane, who proceed to fight back several magnataur. On several occasions, Garrosh and Varian clashed and did battle; with both leaders matching each other's attack, blow by blow, and killing all who interfered with their duel. Though evenly matched at first, Varian eventually gained an advantage. Varian had been fighting with an in-explicit focus and unyielding vigor. While Garrosh tired, Varian was still full of stamina, which allowed Varian to press on his attack. Garrosh is fought back at this point, and Varian succeeds in wounding him and disarming Gorehowl. A dying magnataur separates the two combatants, and Garrosh composes himself. He prepares to rush at Varian once more, though is held back by several Kor'kron; urging Garrosh to retreat. Garrosh grudingly complies, though not before swearing to kill Varian himself.[2]

Since then, General Shandris Feathermoon has taken advantage of their victory at Ashenvale to commission more fortifications and outposts at Ashenvale's Alliance controlled borders.[3] In Ashenvale, an enormous volcano has erupted in central Ashenvale. As the night elves struggle to deal with the chaos caused by the Cataclysm, the Horde is seizing what it perceives to be a golden opportunity. Garrosh Hellscream's forces are now bearing down upon the night elves and have overtaken several key positions that once served as Alliance strongholds. The Horde has been able to conquer more of the ancient forest and have cut down even more trees. This allowed the Horde to wrest control of Silverwind Refuge. Meanwhile Zoram'gar Outpost has its defenses improved and a new Horde camp, Hellscream's Watch, has been built overlooking the Night Elf village of Astranaar. The Horde has begun launching air raids on Astranaar from the new camp. Maestra's Post, Raynewood Retreat, and surrounding towers have also been attacked by the Horde. Despite Silverwind Refuge and other Alliance outposts being conquered by the Horde, Alliance forces continue to hold what little ground they have left.

Forsaken offensive

The Forsaken forces later march onto the town of Southshore and completely annihilated all life with in the region by deploying the New Plague. Magistrate Henry Maleb led the ones who managed to escape Southshore and fled to the town of Hillsbrad Fields. The Ruins of Southshore is left inhospitable, and will be so for several decades. The ramifications of the Forsaken Blight forced the high echelons of the Horde to reconsider the free use of such a potent weapon. Instead, the Horde has issued a diluted version of the Forsaken Blight for the Forsaken to use. The town of Hillsbrad Fields was later finally destroyed by the Forsaken, concluding the Hillsbrad campaign initiated by Varimathras years ago. Magistrate Henry Maleb led the Hillsbrad Refugees to Fenris Keep, where they have been taking refuge. A few Hillsbrad residents and Magistrate Burnside stayed behind and led a resistance but were eventually defeated and imprisoned by the Forsaken war machine. Those who stayed to defend Hillsbrad eventually became prisoners in what is now known as the Sludge Fields, a Forsaken prison where the mad Warden Stillwater cruelly experiments on his prisoners and even fellow Forsaken. When the other Forsaken discover that Forsaken are being turned mindless, he is punished for his illdoings.[4]

Even with Gilneas falling into the hands of the Forsaken, the fighting between the Gilnean worgen and the Forsaken continues. Bloodfang worgen who had recently allied themselves with the Gilneas Liberation Front, destroyed three Orc gunships that had arrived. The ships were full of supplies, weapons and soldiers.[5] Later, the Forsaken kill many Hillsbrad refugees on Fenris Isle and resurrected them, bolstering Forsaken forces and making up for the loss of the three orc gunships.[6] However, after this attack, many of the Hillsbrad refugees decide to take the Worgen curse offered by Darius, rather than be resurrected as Forsaken.

A convoy of Veteran Forsaken Troopers and Forsaken catapults were ambushed by the Bloodfang pack while attempting to cross Olsen's Farthing in Silverpine Forest. The ambush resulted in all those Forsaken troopers being killed and the destruction of the Forsaken catapults.[7] Warlord Torok sent Sea Dogs to fight the Hillsbrad worgen that were swimming to the Decrepit Fields from Fenris Isle. The Sea Dogs attacked the Hillsbrad worgen but were eventaully defeated and were forced to retreat after killing many worgen.

Meanwhile, 7th Legion reinforcements from Stormwind, sneaked their way into Gilneas and aided the Gilneas Liberation Front in retaking Gilneas City. Together, the Alliance forces were able to neutralize Rutsak's Guard, Dreadwatch Outpost, and Forsaken Forward Command. The Forsaken forces eventually had to fall back to Silverpine Forest but not before recovering the corpses of Lord Godfrey and the Gilnean traitors, whom they raised to undeath as Forsaken allies. The Gilneas Liberation Front continued to harass Forsaken forces in Silverpine while the 7th Legion retook Pyrewood Village.[8][9] Druids in the Gilneas Liberation Front used their bear form in guerilla warfare against Horde forces at the Forsaken Front, which resulted in the loss of a few Horde battalions. Eventually the Horde forces learn of this tactic, and it becomes ineffective after counter-measures are implemented.[10]

Eventaully, the tide turned. The worgen and their Alliance allies were driven back. The town of Ambermill was conquered by Forsaken forces and its inhabitants converted to Forsaken. Another town, Pyrewood Village, was burned to the ground and the Alliance's battle plans were stolen thanks to Lord Godfrey's guidance. Under his guidance, the Forsaken were able to take back the territories the Alliance had annexed with interest.

In a final push, Alliance and Gilnean forces met the Forsaken army on the Battlefront for one final battle. The Forsaken emerged victorious as the Gilneas Liberation Front was coerced to retreat after Sylvanas kidnapped Lorna Crowley, and blackmailed Darius Crowley with threats to raise Lorna as an undead slave. The celebration was short lived though as Lord Godfrey and his allies unexpectedly betrayed the Horde and assassinated Sylvanas. When Sylvanas was brought back to life, she remained determined to get her revenge on Godfrey and the Alliance, now that the Alliance's push on Silverpine was stemmed.

Gilneas was lost to the Alliance, Sylvanas' leading the invasion into the area was halted by Godfrey's betrayal.Currently the only assaults by the Horde are by sea, as they are attempting to re-establish a land base in Gilneas, having lost all of them prior. The invasion by sea, which is on going, has met an issue as the Gilnean forces have been heavily reinforced by the Alliance, currently the Horde has been unable to properly re-establish a land base on the coast, as the Alliance has met them to deter or repel these attempts.

Following the events at Silverpine Forest, the Bloodfang pack have since been fighting a guerrilla war with the Forsaken forces at Hillsbrad. They are later found allying with the Stormpike Guard and have been amassing their forces at Purgation Isle. Due to the efforts of Kingslayer Orkus and Horde adventurers, their plans to launch an all out attack were uncovered. High Warlord Cromush asked for reinforcements from the Frostwolf Clan, but were denied by Drek'thar, who despises the Forsaken's way to make war. Cromush panics at the Frostwolf Clan's abandonment but later composes himself and sends Horde adventurers to blow up the Alliance vanguard forces before their offensive on Hillsbrad could begin.

Forsaken forces are later found establishing Galen's Fall for their impending invasion on the nation of Stromgarde. To aid them in their efforts, they have recruited the fallen prince of Stromgarde, Galen Trollbane. He aids Horde adventurers in taking the legendary sword, Trol'kalar, so that the Forsaken may use it as a weapon against the Alliance. Forsaken forces have since tried to invade the Hinterlands and launched an all out assault on the Highvale elves of Quel'Danil Lodge. The combined Alliance forces were able to drive back the Forsaken assault and retain their hold over Quel'Danil Lodge[11]. The Forsaken now control nearly all land from Ghostlands to Thandol Span.

With the weakening of the Scourge after the War against the Lich King, the Alliance forces led by Thassarian have claimed the western part of Andorhal, and the Forsaken forces led by Koltira Deathweaver have claimed the eastern part of the city. The two factions are currently fighting each other for control of the whole city.[12] During the Battle for Andorhal, the Forsaken, their ranks bolstered by the use of the val'kyr to raise their slain foes, push the Alliance out of the city and conquer Andorhal.

Other conflicts in Eastern Kingdom

In the Twin Peaks near Grim Batol in the Twilight Highlands, the dwarven Wildhammer clan fight against the orcish Dragonmaw clan, having recently rejoined the Horde, battle for control of this strategic mountainous region. The Twin Peaks are crucial for staging effective offensives against the black dragonflight and the Twilight's Hammer, who currently control the Twilight Highlands.[13] To the south, the humans of Marshtide Watch are able to launch an assault on the Stonard orcs in the Swamp of Sorrows and steal supplies from the town. However the defenders of Stonard were able to push back the assault but never recovered the stolen supplies.



All-out battles have erupted in the Barrens, Ashenvale, and the Stonetalon Mountains. Off the coast of Kalimdor, on the Lost Isles, the Bilgewater Cartel goblins were caught in the crossfire between an Alliance fleet and a Horde ship that contained an important passenger. Seeing as the Alliance would have killed all who witnessed their attack, the goblins chose to ally themselves with the stranded orcs and fought against the Alliance forces. After rescuing a captured Thrall from the Alliance and taking back control of the cartel from Trade Prince Gallywix's greedy schemes, the Bilgewater Cartel was sent to Orgrimmar and was officially inducted into the Horde. The Bilgwater Cartel has since established a new city in Azshara, Bilgewater Harbor, to replace the loss of Bilgewater Port on Kezan.[14] In a show of good faith to their new allies, the goblins have reshaped Azshara to resemble a giant Horde symbol. They have also begun constructing a massive war fleet for Garrosh Hellscream. Yet they have also come into conflict with the naga, Blackmaw tribe furblogs, and the Alliance forces of Talrendis Point. The Horde was able to prevent a potential alliance between the Blackmaw tribe and the Alliance by framing the Alliance with an assault on their tribe. [15] They also drove back most of the Alliance forces to Ashenvale after assassinating their commanders and destroying their ancients.[16][17][18] All of the Night Elves near the border of Ashenvale were also killed by an elite Goblin commando team. [19]


Due to the Cataclysm the Barrens have been split into the Northern Barrens and the Southern Barrens. King Varian Wrynn has not backed down from Garrosh's aggression, nor has the rest of the Alliance. In the Northern Barrens, the Horde defensive post Mor'shan Rampart is under attack by the Alliance. In turn Northwatch Hold is now under attack by Horde forces.[20]

Offensives into the Southern Barrens have secured territory once belonging to the Horde for Varian and his allies, who are also working to retake portions of Ashenvale. The Alliance forces were able to take the outpost of Honor's Stand just before the Cataclysm affected the Barrens in an effort expand to the Northern Barrens. Alliance forces streamed out of Northwatch and marched up the Gold Road, besieging the Crossroads as dusk fell. Then, in the heart of the night, they force-marched southward, leaving their campfires burning behind, and overran the Horde forces at Honor's Stand at dawn's first light. The Alliance has since been trying to fortify themselves in Honor Stand after the Cataclysm left their defenses in disarray while also dealing with the Horde resistance in Hunter's Hill.[21]

The Battlescar, theater of war in the Southern Barrens.

In the Southern Barrens Alliance forces have invaded the eastern lands while the Horde has maintained control of the west. The Alliance has constructed a new military outpost to try to solidify their control of their new territory while the Horde has done the same to prevent further Alliance expansion. The central region between the two forts has become a war zone as the factions fight for control. The Alliance launched an attack on the outpost of Camp Taurajo, which ended in many civilian casualties, causing the Horde to label the attack as a massacre. The destruction of Camp Taurajo has stirred the Horde and bolstered their resolve. The Horde has begun efforts to drive the Alliance back as a result. The new Horde general made an example of General Hawthorne by sending Horde adventurers to assassinate him on the streets of the Battlescar[22]. Unbeknownst to the Horde, Hawthorne had worked to avoid civilian casualties, and his death at the hands of the Horde served to cement Alliance resolve in the region. In the initial Horde counter-attack, Gann Stonespire leads an angry mob of Horde civilians to raid the dwarven dig sites in Bael Modan. The Horde eventually causes the death of Marley Twinbraid, son of General Twinbraid[23]. The Horde also manages to blow up the dwarven fortress known as Bael'dun Keep. General Twinbraid finds the corpse of Weezil Slipshadow in the ruins of Bael'dun Keep and thinks it must have been the goblin workers in Frazzlecraz Motherlode who were responsible for the destruction at Bael Modan. He sends Alliance adventurers to kill every goblin miner they can find and blow up the mine in Frazzlecraz Motherlode.[24] Following General Hawthorne's death, General Twinbraid takes command of the Alliance armies in Fort Triumph.[25]

Other conflicts in Kalimdor

The Alliance have since sought out new ways to expand north, using their navy to establish a presence in the Merchant Coast and attempting to reestablish themselves in Tiragarde Keep.

In the Stonetalon Mountains, the Alliance enters an alliance of convenience with the Grimtotem clan of Grimtotem Post. The Alliance forces agree to supply the Grimtotem there with weapons in exchange for protection from the Horde and free reign to move freely through their territory.

In Darkshore, the Horde have employed the Shatterspear tribe to attack the night elves of Lor'danel. Having uncovered the Shatterspear's war plans, the night elves of Lor'danel launched an offensive on the trolls and attack the Shatterspear tribe.

Night Elves attacking the Shatterspear tribe



Great Sea

The war even extends to the Great Sea where naval battles are fought for control of key trade routes. These conflicts include a major skirmish off the coast of the Lost Isles and harassment of supply convoys by both sides. [26] Technological advancements, including the advent of submersible craft by the goblins and gnomes, has ushered in a new era of warfare; this can be seen in the oceanic zone of Vashjir off the coast of the Eastern Kingdoms. Other naval battles have been fought off the coasts of Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms, and shipwrecks litter the beaches of many regions, including Booty Bay.

The War during Mists of Pandaria

Theramore will be destroyed and the leaders of the Alliance, outraged at this matter, will completely devote

Casualties from both sides on Pandaria.

themselves into the war, which will reach its peak on the continent of Pandaria.[27]

The war eventually spread to Pandaria. Its peace was shattered as a result of the conflict.[28] This conflict between the Horde and Alliance manifested in the form of various skirmishes throughout the continent, with the native Pandaren expressing their distaste, as the war clashed with their pacifistic ideals. Following the culmination of Garrosh Hellscream's machinations against the Alliance in Pandaria, during which the Sha of Pride was released with devastating consequences, the two factions reunited once again in an offensive against Hellscream's loyalists on Pandaria and, later, against the freshly-fortified bastion of Orgrimmar.

As the conflict between the "True" Horde and the united Horde and Alliance forces came to a close, King Wrynn informed the newly minted Warchief, Vol'jin, that he would need to keep his faction in check, lest the Alliance again find themselves sending armed forces into Orgrimmar.

Playerbase reaction

During Cataclysm the imbalance between the faction story progression became highly controversial. In the wake of BlizzCon, this perennial topic has flared up pretty brightly. While the devs did indicate they wanted to give the Alliance a bit more good stuff during some panels, some other incidents during and after BlizzCon (including the news that Theramore, one of the most iconic Alliance cities, will be razed to the ground) has left some doubtful, leading to intense debates and 100+ page forum threads on the subject. Developers incite cheers of Lok'tar Ogar and For the Horde! at BlizzCon while suggesting Not the face! for the Alliance's new battlecry. The Horde's story has gotten very interesting with Sylvanas' darker path, Garrosh's controversial leadership, and Thrall's place on center stage in Cataclysm. The Alliance, however, has seen very little involvement from its leaders, and some players feel what they have seen has been out of character for their leaders. Malfurion neutral as Ashenvale burns and as Tyrande is attacked.

Lead Quest Designer Dave "Fargo" Kosak posted on this topic on a Dev Watercooler. The way Kosak explains it, the devs definitely want to make sure that there is faction pride for both sides. Cross-faction communication was banned outright, even where it made little or no sense in the lore. Entire realms are dedicated to PvP. Battlegrounds and quest hubs feature prominent Alliance and Horde iconography. And, he argues, while the Alliance may be getting beat up, the Horde has taken its share of lumps too. But in the long run, heroes are not born out of easy times. The Alliance will go through tough times, but it will give heroes the opportunity to arise. The Alliance's time is coming. One thing he did admit to is that Blizzard needs to do a better job of making sure people can interact with their heroes. He acknowledges that the Alliance may not think of Thrall as theirs or part of their story, and he promises that once Cataclysm as over, we will catch up with other characters.[29]

== In Mists of Pandaria

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria This section concerns content exclusive to Mists of Pandaria.

In Mists of Pandaria Varian announces he is willing to end the bloodshed, in the wake of Garrosh's defeat




Garrosh's death cinematic

Garrosh's Defeat Horde version


Garrosh's death Alliance version

Garrosh's defeat Alliance version