This article is about the playable race of orcs. For more information on the orc race in general, see orc.
Unlike the other races of the Horde, orcs are not native to Azeroth. Initially, they lived as shamanic clans on the lush world of Draenor. They abandoned their peaceful culture when Kil’jaeden, a demon lord of the Burning Legion, corrupted the orcs and used them in his vengeful plot against the draenei, who were exiles from Kil’jaeden’s homeworld.
Long ago, the noble orcish race was corrupted by the Burning Legion and transformed into the merciless, destructive Horde. Lured to the world of Azeroth, the orcs were forced to make war upon the human kingdoms of Stormwind and Lordaeron in what would become known as the First and Second Wars. Though the Horde nearly succeeded in annihilating humanity, it ultimately devoured itself from within and collapsed. The defeated orcs spent many years within guarded prisons, unable to function without the prospect of conquest and warfare. After many years, a visionary young warchief rose to lead his people in their darkest hour. Fittingly enough, the young orc’s name was Thrall. Under his rule, the orcs freed themselves from the chains of demonic corruption and embraced their shamanistic heritage.
At the behest of a strange prophet, Thrall led his people to the ancient lands of Kalimdor. There, Thrall and the Horde came face to face with their old oppressor, the Burning Legion. With the aid of the humans and night elves, the orcs defeated the Legion and set out to find their own path in their adopted world. The orcs claimed the harsh wastelands of Durotar as their kingdom in Kalimdor.
Now based in the warrior city of Orgrimmar, the orcs look forward to a shining new future for their people. Though they are no longer driven by dreams of conquest, they stand ready to destroy all who would challenge their sovereignty or their supremacy. It is your duty to crush the enemies of Durotar, both seen and unseen, for the nefarious agents of the Burning Legion still wander the land.(WoWMan 180)
Male orcs are large, hunched and frightening, wielding axes and hammers as well as massive fists the size of a small child. They have flat, wide noses and beady red eyes. Female orcs have tiny, squashed noses and angry, slanted eyes. Female orcs have very shapely bodies and very exotic hairstyles with either messy hair poking out in every direction or thick braids—or no hair at all. All orcs have some variation of green skin.
The great Cataclysm has shattered more than just the world. Warchief Thrall, arguably the most powerful living shaman, has left his people behind so that he might stop the Cataclysm at its source. Yet in his absence, the orc champion Garrosh Hellscream has become the Horde's new warchief. Though popular amongst the orcs for his victories against the Lich King, Garrosh's reckless leadership has begun to cause a rift between himself and the other leaders of the Horde. With Durotar's natural resources nearly depleted, Garrosh seeks to take whatever his people need to survive, regardless of who stands in his way.
A dangerous new era for the Horde has dawned and it falls to brave new orcs like you to uphold the will of the new warchief and assure the dominance of your people.
- in-game voice-over
This is the pre- Cataclysm intro.
Long ago the Orcish Horde was corrupted by the Burning Legion and lured to the world of Azeroth. For generations the Orcs made war upon the Human kingdoms of Stormwind and Lordaeron. Though the Horde was ultimately defeated, a visionary young warchief named Thrall rose to lead his people in their darkest hour. Under Thrall's rule, the Orcs freed themselves from the chains of demonic corruption and embraced their Shamanistic heritage. After years of wandering, the Orcs founded their own kingdom in the harsh wastelands of Durotar. Based in the warrior city of Orgrimmar, they stand ready to destroy all who would challenge their supremacy. As a proud defender of Durotar, it is your duty to crush your enemies both seen and unseen, for the nefarious agents of the Burning Legion still wander the land.
The Blood of Mannoroth caused them to enter a form of demon fury which was the cause of their viciousness in the First War. Orcs can work themselves up into a natural berserker frenzy called Blood Fury.
Orcs are also notoriously tough — a young teenage orc will already dwarf a robust human adult, and their skeletal structure is far more suited for battle, mostly due to the harsh environment that orcs live in. This has led to a Hardiness which makes them resilient to being knocked out.
For reasons unknown, orcs also share a great natural affinity with animals. Many animal-orc friendships are made as soon as they look into one another's eyes and find the same primal soul within each other. Their close mental connection to these beasts has led them to be able to Command beasts with ease, or when faced with enslaving a demonic entity.
Their culture has long relied on the Axe as the weapon of choice, from infantry to generals. This instrument of war is valued so highly that it is taught to all orcs, resulting in them being skilled in Axe Specialization.
Hunter - Orcs have a bond with animals, specifically wolves, and their original culture on Draenor included many hunting rituals. Most Frostwolves have wolf companions. With the hunter using Blood Fury, and their animal companion being augmented by Command, both hunter and pet make a formidable team even the strongest opponent have trouble dealing with.
Rogue - Orcish rogues are not as subtle as other rogues, but they can almost always assure a quick, hard blow which is very certain to kill the target, and they are the toughest, most hardhitting rogues. They are somewhat rare due to some orcs viewing their style of combat as dishonorable, but they do believe that it is an effective art. (LotC 12) The most famous orc rogue is Garona though she is only half-orc. Other orc rogues are Rokaro and Jediga.
Shaman - After the orcs have freed themselves of demonic corruption they have returned to their original shamanistic roots. The shamanic path is not for everyone, and therefore all shamans are highly revered in the orcish society. Famous orc shamans include Thrall (who is as renowed for his Shaman abilities as he is for his skills as a Warrior), Drek'Thar, Mother Kashur, and Greatmother Geyah.
Warlock - Though there was a time when they were common, orc warlocks are now rare. Most are enemies to the Horde, like the Burning Blade. But a small number work for the Horde. They were illegal at one time in the Horde and are barely tolerated now. The few orc warlocks residing in the Cleft of Shadow are under the watchful eye of the Horde. The most famous warlock in the orcish history is Gul'dan, the founder of the Shadow Council.
Death Knight - The original death knights of the Second War were created by orcish warlocks. More recently, as orcish soldiers in the Plaguelands are killed, they are resurected as maleveolent soldiers of the Scourge--Death Knights
Mage - Orcs have taken the teachings of the arcane as a new way to push back their enemies. The powers of the arcane provided a new source of power, without the need for axes or daggers. With the forces of fire, frost and magic now at their disposal, the orcs pose an even greater threat to all who would oppose them.
Orcs tend to be a very strong-willed race. It is very rare to find a timid orc, male or female. Orcs will almost always follow their leader, no matter who the leader is or the choices that leader makes. Orc speech is like one of a Human, so you do not need to do anything fancy to sound like an orc. If you would like your orc to have an accent, then go ahead.
Patch 6.0.2 (14-October-2014): Character models for races from the original game Dwarf, Gnome, Human, Night Elf, Orc, Tauren, Troll, Undead, and Draenei have been overhauled with an increase to fidelity and texture resolution; while retaining the core look and feel of the originals.