This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

This article deals with further speculation regarding retcons and other apparent discrepancies in Warcraft lore. It is left to the reader's opinion whether the discrepancies listed below constitute errors, retcons, flavor lore, or merely artistic license. The criteria for inclusion in this article is a clear, apparent contradiction between two official sources.

Where the sources are reconciled by another official source, that explanation is provided. Theories attempting to reconcile the discrepancies by reference to other sources of lore may also be present.


Alterac Valley

Lord of the Clans, World of Warcraft and its official site say Alterac Valley is an abandoned valley that the Frostwolf orcs have made their home since the orcs first came to Azeroth. The Stormpike dwarves recently arrived to the area to find titan relics but their archaeologists ended up drawing the ire of the Frostwolf clan and were killed. [1] The Alliance does not dispute that Alterac Valley is Frostwolf territory but seeks to avenge the deaths of their archaeologists and find the titanic relics in the valley. [2]

Yet the Alliance player's guide by Blizzard's former partner Whitewolf says the Stormpike clan make their home in Alterac Valley and they are being invaded by the Frostwolf Clan.

Azerothian Blood Elves

According to the mission in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, prince Kael'Thas Sunstrider took the remaining survivors with him to Outland to escape Lord Garithos, but according to new light in the World of Warcraft Encyclopedia, not all of the Blood Elves followed the prince, only the healthiest of them were sent in search of alternative magic sources. However, the mission could possibly be generalizing, and this may not be a retcon at all.[3]

Black Temple/Fortress Shadowmoon

Main article: Black Citadel and Temple

The Black Temple dungeon trailer claims that the Draenei Temple of Karabor was captured by orcs for a time before it became the sinister fortress of Magtheridon. This suggests that the Shadowmoon Fortress assaulted in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal was in fact another name for this structure.

Also, during the Black Temple trailer, Akama recalls a dialogue between Illidan and Prince Kael'Thas from the opening cinematic of Gates of the Abyss, but in that Warcraft III mission, Akama was not present when that conversation took place, and does not appear until much later.

Cenarius' mother

The War of the Ancients Trilogy describes Ysera as the mother of Cenarius, while other sources in the World of Warcraft, such as tauren mythology, suggest that Elune was his mother. This was later explained by the author of the trilogy, Richard A. Knaak:

"Elune birthed Cenarius, but gave him up to Malorne because Cenarius was more a creature of the mortal world and could not be with her. Malorne, who had relations with both Elune and Ysera, knew that he could not properly care for his son, but Ysera's love was so great for Malorne that she took Cenarius as her own. Hence being his mother (or adoptive mother)."
Richard A. Knaak

More recent sources appear to have established that Ysera was in fact not involved romantically with Malorne, and that rumors of the relationship were mortal interpretations of Cenarius's relationships with his father Malorne and teacher Ysera.[4]

Dark Portal appearance change

In Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, the Dark Portal of the side of Draenor looks like the side of Azeroth in-game, but it can be explained again through graphic reuse, as in the cinematics it looks different.

In World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, the Stair of Destiny is shown as a more extreme version of the new look. All lore still fits.

In Rise of the Horde, Medivh gives Gul'dan a vision on how to make the Dark Portal look, as was also said in Warcraft II manual, but this time he shows the Stair of Destiny as it is in The Burning Crusade. Gul'dan does not even know who or what the figures are.[5] (RotH 339)

Dar'Khan Drathir's death

According to the manga The Sunwell Trilogy, Dar'Khan Drathir is burned and appearently obliterated by Anveena.[6] However, he later appears in at Tower of the Damned in Deatholme at the southern reaches of the Ghostlands.[7] However in the manga it is not seen that he was completely obliterated, so it is possible that he was just burned and was later raised again by Arthas.


Main article: Deathwing timeline issue

In Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, Deathwing joined the Horde of Draenor and then crossed to Draenor, however the Dark Portal was destroyed. He then appeared inexplicably on Azeroth in Day of the Dragon.

It is possible that Day of the Dragon was supposed to be before Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal. This is supported by the fact that there is mention that the dragonqueen Alexstrasza was rescued in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, whereas that happened in Day of the Dragon. However, current lore supports the fact that Day of the Dragon happened after Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal, causing a retcon. Additionally, just before Khadgar closes the Dark Portal in the Alliance ending video of Beyond the Dark Portal, a dragon shaped shadow passes over him in the direction of the portal, possibly suggesting that Deathwing was able to escape back through the portal before it was closed.


In the Warcraft III and World of Warcraft game manuals, the draenei are described as a pacifistic race of shamans, native to Draenor, who were easily slaughtered by the orcs prior to the opening of the Dark Portal. In The Burning Crusade, however, the draenei are in fact an offshoot of the eredar race, native to the planet Argus. These eredar fled Argus at the beginning of the Burning Crusade and exiled themselves on Draenor some twenty-five thousand years before the time period of the Warcraft games, during which time the Burning Legion hunted unceasingly for them. Upon their discovery, and the unleashing of the orcish Horde upon them, the Draenei, using the powers of the Holy Light, fought for eight years against the orcs before being defeated.

The draenei playable race in the expansion is a previously-unseen refugee group of uncorrupted eredar who fled Draenor. The draenei that were previously seen in Warcraft III and World of Warcraft are explained as a subspecies, including the Broken and the Lost Ones, who had been mutated by fel energies.

Garona's parentage

Main article: Garona#Parentage

Originally, in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Garona was said to be a half-human. It is very probable that Blizzard intended her to be half-human, but when the timeline was revised the First War was moved to only a year after the Dark Portal was opened rather than twenty, that possibility was eliminated. It was later told by Caydiem that she was a half-draenei, stating that the draenei in Warcraft III were corrupted by the energies of Draenor's explosion and were formerly more human-like. However there was a plot hole when the uncorrupted draenei appeared and didn't look like humans. Eventually, the Warcraft comic officially established that she was in fact half-draenei and filled the plot hole by saying that she had been mutated by Gul'dan to be more human-like in appearance.


Questionmark-medium.png This section's content needs citations, references, or sources.
Main article: Hell

Their belief system was later revised to the philosophy of the Holy Light. The realm from which demons are summoned was originally referred to as Hell, Hades, and the underworld, as opposed to the Twisting Nether. This is not a true retcon as later sources confirm the existence of hell, although it is synonymous with the Twisting Nether, which goes by many titles. Hell as one of its names has been referenced in later sources.

In Warcraft I, and to a lesser extent Warcraft II & Warcraft III, and in the novels, Day of the Dragon specifically, the terms "hell", "hells", "Hades", "lower planes", "the underworld", "damnation",, "pit of darkness" and "Dark Below" are used in a very traditional sense.

Warcraft: Orcs & Humans

"Denizens of the underworld, the daemons are creatures said to be some of the most powerful entities to ever exist in the lands of Azeroth. Their aptitude in the arts of deception and combat are only equal by their sadistic nature, and puissance they possess in the black arts of Magic. They command the searing fires of Hell as if it where their plaything. They are the true lords of chaos, wreaking havoc at every step and destroying what they wish.
"There is rumored to be a gateway that appears every thirteenth full moon that bridges the gap between Azeroth and the underworld, and it is during these brief moments that the daemons came to this place. Legend also states that some have the power to summon these creatures and control them, but if this is so, none are alive to tell the tale of how it was accomplished."
"These hellspawn are evil incarnate. The ability to summon these dark minions of the underworld has long been lost, though the Warlocks seek to find those secrets once again. Breathing flame and wielding a blade forged in the fires of hades, destruction and death are their greatest desire. These daemons possess cruelty beyond the imagining of even the sickest mind, and delight in the execution of their plans. If there is a way to send these monsters back into the pits that spawned them without the loss of many lives, it too is a secret locked away in time."
"The fires of hell rise up to meet the enemies of the Warlock clan. Their sorceries are rooted in the deepest pits of the underworld..."
"Fireball: The basic fire spell which all followers of the Orcish cults (the underworld) first learn. It channels the flames of hades through the caster's body, allowing the wielder to direct it as a missile at anyone he choses..."
"Summon Demon: The most powerful spell ever rumored to exist. Legends say that the caster would have the ability to summon forth a daemon by allowing his body to be sacrificed to enable its existence in this plane. The daemon would then be guided by the spirit of the caster to do his bidding, but should the daemon be destroyed, the warlock's life would be forfeit. The truth to this tale is questionable, but the incantations are rituals used to summon the creature may lay in some lost runic writings. The dream of every follower of the underworld is to rediscover these incantations and be able to command the power of the Daemon."
"Tower: This is where the knowledge of dark magicks is are revealed. Warlocks reside here to focus their energies towards harnessing the forces of the underworld."

Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal

Sometimes the words show up in the names of characters and locations, for example, Grom Hellscream, Hellfire Peninsula and Hellfire Citadel.

Lord of the Clans

Even the novel Lord of the Clans made references to the word "hell":

"If a warlock was to summon hell's flames against an enemy, they would be burned to death...With hell's fire, you make a bargain. It costs a little of yourself."
Grom Hellscream in Lord of the Clans.

Day of the Dragon

"A paladin had indicated to Rhonin that he believed that, after death, the mage's soul would be condemned to the same pit of darkness shared by the mythical demons of old. This no matter how pure Rhonin's soul might have been otherwise."[8] (DotD 19) "...A damned soul..."[8] (DotD 39)

Warcraft III

There is a references to hell from Uther Lightbringer; "I dearly hope there is a special place in hell waiting for you Arthas." Arthas then replies back, "We may never know, Uther, I intend to live forever."

Sylvanas Windrunner tells Prince Arthas to, "Give my regards to hell."

Note: Underworld also refers to a secret underground hellish cavern system where ghosts, murlocs, skeletons, and other minions of a Sea Witch once resided.

Appendix Three

A place called the Dark Below, is described in the demons section of the Manual of Monsters Appendix Three which states that it is a place where certain demon races are originated from, but the validity of the source is disputed.

World of Warcraft

Caelestrasz states:

"Even if you somehow manage to free us without defeating C'Thun, we would focus all our powers to see the beast banished back to the hell from whence it came — AT ANY COST."

The spell Hellfire is also aviable.

The Burning Crusade

In The Burning Crusade, the term hell is used quite often, a notable example is Magtheridon being referred to as a "hellspawn".

High Elven druids

Blood elf druid

Main article: Elven Druid

The Runestone at Caer Darrow was described in the Warcraft II manual as being crafted by elven druids that used the "magics" connected to the "arcane". It has been assumed due to lack of mention of high elf druids in posterior sources, that high elf druids did not exist and were retconned out of history. This is assumed because, when the background of the high elf race was further developed in Warcraft III, they were depicted as a race dedicated to the free use of arcane magic, leaving behind the druidism.

However, the RPG implies that before and up to the end of the Third War, the high elves were more open to other philosophies and religions as alternate sources of power, especially the Holy Light. It is also said that the half-elves practiced savagekin, a form of druidism[9] (APG 60-62) and that high elven rangers practiced druidism before they became dark rangers.[10] (HPG 41) And Freywinn in Tempest Keep appears to be evidence of a blood elven druid.

Holy Light and God

In the description of the Warcraft I units, the Clerics of Northshire are described as worshippers of God, though whether or not this referred to a specific deity within a pantheon or a single deity is not known. This is followed in some of the later sources, such as Warcraft II ("Deo Gratias", Latin for "Thanks be to God") and Day of the Dragon.

"...clearly it was chosen by a higher power that your paths would lead you to us."[8] (DotD 44)

By the time of Warcraft III, they are shown as followers of the Holy Light, which is described as a philosophy that that does not follow any particular theology, although a reference to a single all powerful god-like being creating the universe is mentioned in the manual and angels appear during resurrection spells. It is unknown as to whether or not the individuals worship this deity.

Iblis, Blade of the Fallen Seraph, seems to be a reference to a fallen angel as well.

Spirit Healers and Spirits of Redemption have the form of angelic beings as well, though as of yet there is no name for the race, but it could be a Seraph.

In the preview information released regarding the draenei race for the Burning Crusade expansion, the naaru were referenced as "a race of sapient energy beings bent on stopping the Burning Crusade" and that they "blessed the draenei with Light-given knowledge and power". The naaru may explain the origin of the Holy Light or at least demonstrate that that the Holy Light is an interplanetary force not restricted only to the world of Azeroth. Additionally, its known that the naaru are also a source of Holy Light power, as blood elves have found a way of draining a naaru of its powers, in order to wield divine powers as blood knights.

Additionally, according to Warcraft III's manual, one legend states that the creation of the universe was from a single all powerful entity. The concept of God likely originated from this legend. See, Creation Myth.

Additionally, Alliance Player's Guide tends to switch between the points of view that the Light seems to be an sapient entity of some kind; while it may not be an individual it may be a force. But it says little is known as the philosophies have been changing over the years especially since many of the original books discussing the Holy Light were destroyed during the various wars, especially during the third war.

Illidan's bandana

In the book War of the Ancients: The Well of Eternity, Illidan is said to have been given an amber bandana (the color of his lost eyes) by Lady Vashj after having his eyes burnt out by Sargaeras. However, in WoW Illidan is seen wearing a black bandana. The bandana which drops from him is also black and appears to have been given to him by Sargeras, as it is called "Cursed Vision of Sargeras", rather than by Lady Vashj. It is possible he lost his old bandana during the 10,000 years, or it grew black with time, so this may not necessarily be a retcon.

Alternately, it is possible that this stems from the change made to the timeline in War of the Ancients (novel account) in which Illidan's bandana was given to him by Sargeras after burning out his eyes as Illidan was feigning service to the Burning Legion at the time.

Magtheridon's death

The death of Magtheridon has been revised in the Burning Crusade. Though he was defeated, he is now imprisoned within Hellfire Citadel and can be fought in the Magtheridon's Lair instance. In fairness his death was not explicitly shown in the Frozen Throne, merely his defeat.

Maiev's death

According to a mission objective in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, a player had to slay Maiev and the other guardians guarding Illidan's cage to progress in the mission (soon after she is resurrected by an invincible altar on the map). This was adapted into several of the books for the Warcraft RPG where it said Maiev Shadowsong had died (see Alliance & Horde Compendium page 9, Shadows & Light page 51 and Alliance Player's Guide page 68). Here's the corresponding quote from Shadows & Light:

"Sinking into vengeful madness, Maiev pursued Illidan all the way to Outland. Emotion clouded her vision, and Illidan slipped away from her several times. Finally, when Maiev was all but blinded by frustration and vengeance, the Betrayer got the better of her. Maiev died alone on the red sand, unmourned, unsung, with none to remember her fall, her soul empty of all but rage."[11] (S&L 51)

However, in The Burning Crusade, Maiev is Illidan's prisoner in the Warden's Cage. To explain her resurrection, without the use of altar in The Frozen Throne, this would either have to be flavor lore or a retcon.

Orc warlocks in World of Warcraft

Under the leadership of Thrall, the orcs have rediscovered their ancient Shamanistic traditions. In an attempt to rid the Horde of its demonic corruption, Thrall banned the use of warlock magic and necromancy. Now, all orc magic users practice shaman magic which draws its power from the natural world and the elements.

However, in World of Warcraft the orcs have begun training warlocks once again. They are though looked down by society and barely tolerated much like human warlocks. This could be reconciled by the suggestion that the Horde's warlocks are their equivalent of Demon Hunters (using the powers of darkness against their masters). This is backed up by the orc warlock quests where the warlock trainees do good deeds like reuniting two lovers.[12] The Warlocks are also supposedly a separate clan that has been integrated into the present Horde, much like the orc Rogues who are supposedly former Shattered Hand members.

Orcish clan names

Some orcish clans had names from something found only in Azeroth, but were supposed to have that name since they were on Draenor:

  • The Dragonmaw clan had strong ties to the red dragonflight during the Second War, however they had that name since before they discovered the dragons. When the Dark Portal on the side of Draenor was built by Gul'dan it is told in Rise of the Horde that a vision was shown to him showing the dragon but he didn't even know what they were(they are mentioned only as "cowled figures") and called the dragon a lizard.[5] (RotH 339)
  • The Frostwolf clan had that name since they were on Draenor but strangely in their exile at Alterac Valley there are wolves called Frostwolf.
  • The Blackrock clan had that name since they were on Draenor but a mountain on Azeroth had the same name.
    • It is later stated that the mountain had the name already through sheer coincidence, and the clan of the same name settled there because the coincidence was seen as a good omen.

Rend and Maim

Rend and Maim, the sons of Blackhand the Destroyer, led the Black Tooth Grin clan during the Second War, which was a clan that was almost destroyed at the end of the war,[10] (HPG 167) after their defeat they run away,[13] (ToD 368) set up a base in Blackrock Spire and formed the Dark Horde.[14] (DF 136)

They next appeared without mention during the Alliance campaign of Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne, in the service of Magtheridon, inexplicably on Outland and transformed into fel orcs: Rend (fel orc) and Maim (fel orc).[15]

Horde Player's Guide mentions rumors that they went through the Dark Portal back to Draenor and that Maim was killed by the humans.[10] (HPG 167) However, in World of Warcraft Rend appears in a prominent role as head of the Blackrock clan on Azeroth, and Maim is stated to be killed by the Dark Iron dwarves in Azeroth.[14] (DF 136)

Sargeras and the Eredar

In the Warcraft III and World of Warcraft game manuals (and in Sargeras and the Betrayal from the History of Warcraft), the eredar are described as being a demonic and evil race that had consumed their own world through arcane powers, and had already destroyed countless other worlds by the time Sargeras discovered them. It was not until after Sargeras destroyed them that he himself became corrupted, and the Burning Legion was born.

In The Burning Crusade, however, the Burning Legion had already begun under Sargeras' leadership when he encountered the eredar, who became corrupt through his influence. Furthermore, a faction of the eredar did not join the Burning Legion, instead became followers of the Holy Light, and renamed themselves Draenei.

Presumably, either another demonic race (such as the pit lords) take the place of the eredar in the role of corrupting Sargeras, or it is left completely up to the dreadlords. Blizzard has not released any official information on the matter.

Chris Metzen admitted the contradiction was a mistake in a forum post, but it has become the current story.


Tichondrius claimed that the Lich King forged the sword in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos,[16] however, Manual of Monsters told that demons had created Frostmourne.[17] Arthas: Rise of the Lich King revealed that those demons were the Nathrezim,[18] thus invalidating Tichondrius first statement because, if his race created the sword, it would be odd that their leader knew a different origin (unless he was lying, which is always a possibility with the Dreadlords).

Warcraft I and II

Warcraft I featured two separate storylines. While there were some interweaving events, most were standalone, which lead to some contradictory elements. Some elements from each storyline were taken and included in the backstory for the next game in the series.

Warcraft II evolved with two campaign stories that wove together in a tighter way, with references to missions from one campaign being mentioned in the events of the other campaign, although ending missions lead to alternate endings. Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal was unique, however, in that it was a completely linear story; it set the Alliance campaign after the Orc campaign chronologically (though one could play the campaigns in any order).

Warcraft III featured campaigns with story lines which formed a single linear narrative that had to be unlocked as you beat each campaign.

Warcraft I

Warcraft I featured many levels which are best described as generic battles with some interweaving plot elements, and contradictory endings.

Note that no later source has given any detailed analysis of all the events of the First War. Not all the battles or locations have been referenced in later sources. As such skirmishes and events surrounding said locations are up in the air. Some of these locations include Grand Hamlet, Sunnyglade, Kyross, and Rockard. The history of defense, rebuilding and destruction surrounding these locations is unknown as they have never been mentioned again in later sources.

While the orc campaign ending most closely matches the outcome of the First War as portrayed in later games, both campaigns and the manual for the game contained important plot points that became part of the lore:

Some elements of the game's plotlines were expressly left out of the ultimate account of the war:

Other events are indeterminate, not conflicting with any other accounts, but also not being referred to again:

  • The existence of a land referred to as the Borderlands.
  • The destruction of a key Blackhand Orcish outpost in the Black Morass by Orgrim Doomhammer (orc campaign).
  • The destruction of the orc outpost of Kyross in the Swamp of Sorrows (human campaign).
  • The destruction of the Temple of the Damned in the Black Morass (human campaign).
  • The destruction of Rockard and Stonard (human campaign).
  • The attack of Northshire Abbey by a band of warriors that had been convinced by enemy agents to fight against the crown (human campaign). As the mission ends with the destruction of the human rebels it can be assumed they were all killed and that's why they aren't present in the Second War; also it can be assumed this mission didn't happen.
  • Turok's death (orc campaign).
  • The rebuilding of Sunnyglade, and/or later destruction (human campaign).

Warcraft II

Warcraft II featured two interweaving campaigns with two separate and alternate endings. The true ending was found in the Alliance campaign, with the nearly complete defeat of the Horde in the Eastern Kingdoms. The expansion took it further by making the campaigns linear, with Horde campaign taking place entirely before the Alliance campaign:

  • The high elves joined the Alliance following an attack on their archers passing through Tarren Mill (human campaign).
  • The Horde was driven from the Hillsbrad region and Khaz Modan
  • The nation of Alterac betrayed the Alliance of Lordaeron and was destroyed (human campaign).
  • The Runestone at Caer Darrow was captured by the Horde and used to create the ogre magi (orc campaign).
  • Gul'dan betrayed Orgrim Doomhammer and withdrew his forces in order to seek out the Tomb of Sargeras (orc campaign).
  • Dalaran was razed by the Horde (orc campaign).
  • The Alliance forces defeated the Horde at Blackrock Spire, then recaptured and attempted to destroy the Dark Portal (human campaign).
  • Lothar is betrayed, ambushed and killed by the Horde when invited to Blackrock Spire for a diplomatic parley. Others say Lothar died in single combat against Doomhammer during the assault on Blackrock Spire. Although, Alliance Player's Guide 2006, still mentions that ambush still occurred and hints that foul play was involved, and the single combat wasn't as honorable as perceived (more than one against him).[9] (APG 134) Horde Player's Guide explains further that witnesses and historians give mixed accounts which include elements of both versions of the event.[10] (HPG 171)
  • After having been defeated by Doomhammer's forces at the Tomb of Sargeras in Warcraft II (orc campaign), Gul'dan is attacked by demons after he opens the Tomb (as forshadowed during a cutscene at the beginning of the act).[1] In The Frozen Throne, it further shows that he was killed by the demons he unwittingly set free while searching the tomb.
  • Quel'Thalas razed by the Horde (orc campaign). While it did not completely fall, much of Quel'Thalas was destroyed by dragons during the second war (and ravaged by the undead in the third), forming the Blackened Woods (later known by is alternate nickname, Ghostlands).[20] (LoC 112])
  • Dun Algaz razed by the Alliance (Human campaign). Hinted at in Lands of Conflict that it was important in the Second War and left a derelict after.[20] (LoC 78)
  • Grim Batol razed by the Alliance. While it did not completely fall, Milan's forces met some success on the surface.[21] (W2ToDOSG 118-119)
  • Stromgarde razed by the Horde. While it did not completely fall, much of Stromgarde was damaged by the Horde under Urok Scratcher's commander.[21] (W2ToDOSG 176-179)
  • Lordaeron razed by the Horde. The Horde destroyed much of Loraderon's outer defenses and structures,[22] (W2ToDOSG, 204-205 #?) but the city did not fall to the Horde.[13] (ToD 322-323)

Events which occurred in one of the Warcraft II campaigns, but which did not ultimately form part of the lore, include:

  • The Horde's ultimate victory (orc campaign ending).

Other events are indeterminate, not conflicting with any other accounts, but also not being referred to again:


Wrynn was initially given as the single name of the king of Stormwind at the time of orcish invasion, King Wrynn III, with his son being called King Llane. Wrynn was later used as the family name of the Stormwind royal line, being applied as Llane's surname, as well as that of his son and grandson.

Wyvern Sentience

In Warcraft III wyverns are said to be sentient and willing allies of the Horde. In a quest in Thousand needles, the Wyvern trainer Elu asks the player to steal wyvern eggs to train as mounts.

However, this could not be a true retcon according to the Manual of Monsters; which states that there are some groups of wyverns that are willful allies of the Horde, and some groups that are not. Specifically, the ones that are allies were the ones (and their descendants) that the Horde set free from the harpies when Thrall first arrived to Kalimdor (Where Wyverns Dare). The quest previously mentioned could just mean that the willing allies are not enough for the Horde ranks.