Set six years after Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, Warcraft II follows on from the end of the Orc Campaign. The Orcs move on from Azeroth to conquer Lordaeron, this is known as the second war. The Orcs travel to Lordaeron by sea (thus, Tides of Darkness) and air bringing into the game naval combat and aerial combat, both firsts for the series. The Humans rally together and form the Alliance, along with the High Elves of Quel'Thalas and the Dwarves and Gnomes of Khaz Modan. Likewise the Orcs are now allied with trolls, ogres and goblins. Eventually due to a split within the forces of the Horde the Alliances pushes the Orcs back to Blackrock Spire, their base in Azeroth. The Alliance eventually win this battle, at the cost of the life of Lord Anduin Lothar their commander. The final battle take place at the Dark Portal (the link between Draenor and Azeroth) and the Alliance ultimately win with the Archmage Khadgar destroying the portal. Khadgar however did not seal the rift between the two worlds and this would lead to the events of the expansion Warcraft II: Beyond The Dark Portal.
The Horde and Alliance units were near replicas of each other, sharing nearly all stats. This did not hold true for late game caster units, who differed due to the spells available to them. The two ranged units also differed, with the Alliance rangers receiving a damage bonus and the Horde axe throwers receiving slow health regeneration. Eventually the game (originally made for Dos and Mac) was re-released for Windows with multi-player functionality, it was known as Warcraft II Battle.Net edition. The Single-player campaigns were linear, the Alliance campaign ending was used for the canon ending in Warcraft II, as the Orc campaign ending is canon for Warcraft I. The other stages for both campaigns are considered canon and to have been occurring simultaneously.
Advanced gameplay for the Horde is generally focused on mass producing Ogre-Mages with bloodlust. Advanced gameplay for the Alliance focuses almost exclusively on micromanaging Mages. Early rushes in the game proved so effective that most players will not use the Medium resource setting as rushes are the only viable strategy.
When clicked on repeatedly, the units of Warcraft II will elicit a humorous quote. In the demo these quotes instead badgered the player to buy the full version. Repeated clicking on an N.P.C.'s such as a sheep would eventually cause it to blow up. The soundtrack has been released in MP3 format. When the CD is placed in a CD-player it plays the games' soundtrack along with a 13th track titled Medieval Man. Medieval Man could be used as a cheat to listen to the song in Warcraft II, or to get free units in Starcraft, this was in response to the Command and Conquer song Mechanical Man.
Standard resource gatherer. Produced at the Town Hall/Great Hall "Yes, Milord?"
Early game melee unit. Useful for rushes and dieing quickly. Produced at the barracks.
Ranged unit. Heavily upgraded and in large numbers these can prove to be a valuable asset. However, they will be easily torn to pieces in melee by the later game units. Produced at the barracks.
Upgraded version of the Archer/Axe Thrower. Cool war paint. Produced at the barracks.
Late game melee unit and the core of most armies. Good at everything. Produced at the barracks.
Upgraded version of the Knight. Produced at the barracks.
- Holy Vision: Illuminates small portion of the map for a limited time. Detects invisible units as well.
- Healing: Heals wounded units. (Shocker I know) Requires research.
- Excorcism: Damages undead units. IE Horde Death Knights and Skeletons. Requires research.
Upgraded version of the Ogre. Produced at the barracks.
- Eye of Kilrogg: Floating eye that can move about the map quickly and scout. Detects invisible units
- Bloodlust: Enchantment on a friendly unit that doubles the amount of damage it deals for a short time. The most useful spell for the Horde. Requires research.
- Runes: Enchantment on the ground that causes units to take great damage when crossed over. Also damages friendly units. Requires research.
Long range siege unit. Useful for destroying towers and buildings. Produced at the barracks.
Alliance spellcaster unit and their most important unit. Produced at Mage Tower.
- Fireball: Sends a fireball that damages everything in a straight line.
- Flame Shield: Surrounds a unit in fire and causes it to deal damage to all nearby units. Useful for damaging clumped units. Requires research.
- Slow: Slows and enemies movement and attack speed for a period of time. Requires research.
- Invisibility: Renders a unit invisible for a time or until he attacks. Invisible mages Blizzard = Great Success! Requires research.
- Blizzard: Powerful area of effect damage that needs to be constantly channeled. Requires research.
- Polymorph: Turns an enemy unit into a sheep. Permanently. Requires research.
Horde spellcaster unit. Produced at the Temple of the Damned.
Death Knight spells:
- Death Coil: Drains enemy units health and adds it to the Death Knights.
- Haste: Increases a units movement and attack speed for a short time. Requires research.
- Unholy Armor: Makes a unit invulnerable for a very short time at the expense of health. Requires research.
- Death and Decay: Powerful area of effect damage that needs to be constantly channeled. Requires research.
- Whirlwind: Randomly moving "whirlwind" that damages anything it touches for a time. Also damages friendly units. Requires research.
- Raise Dead: Raises the corpses of dead enemies as skeletons that last until their time runs out or until they are destroyed. Requires research.
Demolition Squad/Goblin Sappers:
Suicide unit that causes great damage in a small area. Also can destroy resources or destructible barriers. Produced at Gnomish Inventor/Goblin Alchemist.
Fast flying unit useful for scouting the map. Detects invisible units. Produced at Gnomish Inventor/Goblin Alchemist.
Powerful flying unit that deals area of effect damage in a straight line. Also damages friendly units. Produced at Gryphon Aviary/ Dragon Roost.
Resource gathering unit that is able to build oil platforms to collect the oil that enables the building of more advanced ships. Produced at the shipyard.
Basic warship. Able to attack flying units. Produced at the shipyard.
Holds up to six units. Can be turned invisible by Mages.
Advanced warship. Slower but capable of dealing much greater damage. Unable to attack air units.
Invisible naval unit. Very low on health but deals large amounts of damage.