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"Warcraft II" redirects here. For the expansion RTS game, see Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
For the novel covering the same events, see Tides of Darkness.


Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (usually simply called Warcraft II; sometimes abbreviated to WCII, WC2, or War2) is the second, highly popular real time strategy game from Blizzard Entertainment set in the Warcraft universe. The novel Tides of Darkness, by Aaron Rosenberg, focuses on the events in this game.

Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness is a sequel to the real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans and published by Blizzard in December 09, 1995.[1] Users play either orcs or humans in a fantasy medieval world full of magic and swords. It was originally written for the DOS operating system, though it had a MS Windows launch screen and played well under Windows 95. In addition, there was a Macintosh version of the game. Blizzard also released an expansion pack known as Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal and later a sequel to this game, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. The game has a linear single-player campaign for each side, and a multiplayer option via a LAN or the Internet, using existing or user-created maps. According to the README.TXT file included alongside the Warcraft II demo version, the graphics are pre-rendered 3D models.

Both Tides of Darkness and Beyond the Dark Portal were later compiled and ported to the PlayStation and Sega Saturn as Warcraft II: The Dark Saga.


Main articles: Second War, Tides of Darkness missions

From the Blizzard's official site:

With the death of the Orcish Warchief Blackhand, his underling Orgrim Doomhammer was quick to seize control over the most powerful of the Orcish forces on Azeroth. Although each day finds other factions growing stronger within the chaotic Horde, it seems certain that all of the clans will follow Orgrim's plans to hunt down and destroy the renegade Azerothiens wherever they choose to run...
Sir Lothar, in charge of the scattered armies of Azeroth since the death of King Llane, has led his people across the Great Sea to the shores of Lordaeron. By enlisting the armies of Lordaeron, and making new allies in the Elves and Dwarves, a mighty force known as the Alliance has been forged. Now, the last of the once great armies of Azeroth seek retribution for the loss of their homeland.


Main articles: Warcraft II units, Warcraft II structures

Like Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, most of the game's units on the two sides are immediate counterparts to each other. The armies are balanced by their similarity; the only real differences can be found in the spells used by some higher-level units. The number of units has been increased, and the units themselves have more elaborate abilities. Naval combat was first introduced into the Warcraft series, there are transports, oil tankers and attacking ships.

As an aesthetic change, both sides are allied with three minor races. Humans allied with Elves, Dwarves and Gnomes while Orcs allied with Ogres, Trolls and Goblins. Some campaign missions feature hero units. Hero units have heightened statistics compared to their normal counterparts, cause mission failure when killed, and each have a unique picture and name.


Main article: Quotes of Warcraft II

One of the features of Warcraft II are the unit quotes. If a single unit was clicked several times in a row, the unit's voice samples would change. The unit would start getting angry at the player, or start saying silly things in reference to movies, games, or other things. For example, a footman might say, "Don't you have a kingdom to run?". Footmen and Grunts said different things in the game's demo, from some of those they did in the retail version, most of them exhortations to buy the game later.


Warcraft II - The Dark Saga.png
  • It was originally written for the DOS operating system, though it had a MS Windows launch screen and played well under Windows 95.
    • In addition, there was a Macintosh version of the game.
  • Warcraft: Battle Chest - Released in 1996, it included Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness, and Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal.
  • Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal were released together for Sega Saturn and PlayStation under the title Warcraft II: The Dark Saga in 1997 by Electronic Arts.
  • Blizzard made a new version of Warcraft II in 1999 called Warcraft II: Edition. Changes made for this release included porting the game's code to Microsoft Windows, fixing a few minor bugs, and enabling multiplayer support via Blizzard's online matchmaking service,
  • Warcraft II: Battle Chest - Released in 1999, it included Warcraft II: Edition and its official strategy guide.
  • Warcraft II: Combat Edition  (War2Combat) is an unofficial stripped-down version of Warcraft II: Edition created & maintained by, a private player-versus-player gaming network (PvPGN) server operating out of Russia. The project, including both the PvPGN server and modified game client, were started in 2006 by Ldir when Blizzard discontinued support for hosting via War2Combat is optimized for online multi-player gameplay and by default includes the Gateway (simulates old information for connecting to It has been updated to be compatible with the latest operating systems including Windows XP/7/8. As of February 2015, the latest version of War2Combat has restored the original single-player campaigns, which can now be played in addition to connecting to the online multi-player server.

Utilities, modifications and conversions

Rotation animation of box.

Warcraft II was an unusual game for the time because a large number of third-party utilities were written for it. Among the first things, Daniel Lemberg reverse-engineered the Warcraft II map file (*.pud) format and created the first third-party map editor, War2xEd, which could do numerous things the bundled map editor could not do, such as editing unit attributes. Although Daniel Lemberg did not make the source code for War2xEd public, he did publish the complete Warcraft II map file format, which led to a wealth of new tools. More importantly, Blizzard began to use War2xEd internally, and it influenced them to bundle a feature-rich editor with their immensely popular game StarCraft.

The next important breakthrough came when Alexander Cech and Daniel Lemberg broke the encryption used in the base game data files. Alexander Cech went on to create a program called Wardraft, which allowed users to browse and modify the contents of the game data files, allowing comprehensive modifications. The spawn of extensive alterations became known as "Total Conversions", and a great many projects were in motion for a good long while. Some of the more prominent were DeathCraft: Twilight of Demons by Dirk "The Guardian" Richartz, War of the Ring by Gurthaur, Editor's Total Conversion by Fronzel Neekburn and the whole of the Warclan, and the noteworthy Rituals of Rebirth spearheaded by Kalindor, Kosmous, and Commoner.

There was also a free software game inspired by Warcraft II called Freecraft, which, while allowing users to import actual game data from Warcraft II, also contained their own artwork and scenarios. Although it used no art or code from Warcraft II, the project received a threatening cease-and-desist letter from Blizzard, apparently due to similarity to the Warcraft trademarks. Not willing to fight Blizzard, the maintainers canceled the whole project. The project was later rekindled under name Stratagus.

Many of the utilities and conversions have faded into the depths of obscurity, but the appeal of feature-rich editors and total conversions has lived on.


  • Warcraft II users may play each other online (via LAN or the Internet) using existing maps or ones they create. Users may also play the game solo, taking them through a story in which orcs and humans are at war.
  • Some parts of this game were later retconned out of the storyline. To see a list of what parts of this game's two interweaving storylines became part of the lore in the Warcraft universe, see Warcraft II retcon.


  • "After the first Warcraft and when we were talking about Warcraft II, there was an idea for about a week where we'd open another portal open and have the Orcs invade the modern-day world. We had this whole cut-scene we were talking about where it was going to be dragons and F-16s and firefights and stuff. And we were like, "Man, that's going to be weird. That's going to suck. That's not going to be Warcraft." - Bill Roper, Games for Windows, Jan, 2007.
  • Clicking on a non-playable critter such as sheep long enough will cause it to blow up.
  • If the disk for Beyond the Dark Portal or the original demo is inserted into a CD player, the orchestrated music from the game can be played. In addition, there is a bonus 13th track called "I'm a Medieval Man" which features remixed sound bites from the first game. The track is also available in-game by typing "disco" as a cheat. (This however gives you the status cheater when you finish that mission.) "Medieval Man" is also a cheat code in Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness to play the song as background music or in StarCraft to obtain all unit upgrades for free. Also, in StarCraft, if one clicks on an observer while playing as the Protoss, a clip of the song will be played.
  • The script that was used in the book positioned in the background screen while the player was informed about mission objectives is the Cyrillic alphabet, but the language in which it is written is English. The text contains a small section of a game story text, mentioning how the Orcish hordes entered the forests of Lordaeron.



Fan videos

Reference list

See also

Units & Structures
General Information

External links