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 Eventually the game (originally made for Dos and Mac) was re-released for Windows with multi-player functionality, it was known as Warcraft II Battle.Net edition.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.
Upgraded version of the Ogre. Produced at the barracks.
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.
Horde spellcaster unit. Produced at the Temple of the Damned.
Death Knight spells:
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.
Warcraft II: Battle.net EditionA special edition of Warcraft II: Tides of War plus its expansion pack Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal was re-released in 2000.
Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition featured enhanced sound samples, better online play and smaller features as improved fog of war.
The expansion adds two new campaigns and several multi-player maps.
The campaign included 10 new heroes 5 to Human 5 to Orcs. The heroes were much stronger than normal units.
Warcraft II: The Dark SagaWarcraft II: Tides of War plus its expansion pack Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal in a combined release for the PlayStation and SEGA Saturn.