The original Warcraft game first came out in 1994. Since that time, the game has had two Real-time strategy game sequels and one MMORPG spin-off, World of Warcraft. Over the course of its life, the Warcraft universe has changed in many ways, often changing the story (or "lore" in Warcraft terminology) for the sake of game mechanics. Some of these issues have been rather minor, some have been complete "retcons."
The age of Grom Hellscream
The Warcraft III manual states that Grom Hellscream is 45. According to the official timeline released by Chris Metzen , Mannoroth offers the Blood Pact to key leaders of the Orcish Horde on Draenor 40 years before the events of Warcraft I. 20 years after the beginning of Warcraft I, the Third War starts and ends within the span of a year. Even if Grom was a newborn infant at the time of the Blood Pact, he would have had to have been at least 60 years old, and the game's dialogue strongly suggests that Grom was at an age where he consciously and deliberately made the choice to partake in the Pact.
Reign of Chaos depicts the Night Elves as a female-led and run society. The most powerful and influential males were druids and spent millenia at a time in a hibernative slumber. The military (the Sentinels) and administration of the Kal'dorei was then nearly entirely female. There were no female druids and no male Sentinels.
This is totally different to World of Warcraft wherein gender roles are very ambigious. And we see males and females in all walks and practices. Yet there is little explicit explanation or exposition on this massive cultural upheaval.
There are certainly many possible explanations as to why this would have occurred as the devastation that followed in the wake of the Third War ended the Kal'dorei civilization and way of life as they knew it, including their very immortality. However, there is nothing in the way of official lore, story, canon, etc. given to explain it - World of Warcraft is simply presented as it is.
- The reader should keep in mind that nothing in the written lore specifically states that ALL Druids were male and that ALL Night Elven females were not. It is implied, however, and that is where the true inconsistency lies. What is quite evident now is that gender roles within the Night Elven society are changing. Females can walk the path of the Druid now and the priesthood is open to males where it once was not. But there are currently no males amongst the Sentinels. The Night Elves are still a matriarchial society as Tyrande Whisperwind is their recognized leader. War changes everything, including the Night Elves.
It should be noted that these changes were reportedly much resisted by Metzen and others on the creative staff during Beta,Template:Fact but they went through anyway (accusations of political correctness are speculative).
In Warcraft I and Warcraft II, Azeroth denoted the human kingdom the Orcs invaded through the Dark Portal and were fighting. By the time Warcraft III debuted, Azeroth seemed to denote the entire continent. In World of Warcraft, this has come to denote both the name of the human kingdom that fell in the First War as well as this whole world (though, after WoW's release, these references seem to have disappeared). An example of the characteristically retroactive nature of this retcon to the "Kingdom of Stormwind" can be seen in new histories that refer to the events of the old Warcraft games as having happened to "the Kingdom of Stormwind" rather than the "Kingdom of Azeroth." Se Chapter 4, section 22 of the Official Warcraft history.
Arguably, it can be said this was already alluded to, as many trailers for WarCraft II begin with the phrase "Welcome to the World of Azeroth" and "Return to the World of Azeroth". However, it is strange that one of the youngest races in the WarCraft universe (humans) came to name their kingdom after the ancient Titan name for the planet.
Currently, the planet is known as Azeroth. The southern portion of the Eastern Continent (or Eastern Kingdoms) is called Azeroth where the Kingdom of Stormwind is found. Lordaeron is the northern half. The sections are divided by the sea.
In the Warcraft III game manual and official Warcraft history. See the official Warcraft history and "Who is Sargeras?", Sargeras is said to have gone mad from fighting the evil Eredar. When the Draenei were revealed to be one of the two playable races in World of Warcraft: the Burning Crusade, the story was reversed so that Sargeras instead corrupted the Eredar through Archimonde and Kil'Jaeden.
While the Draenei themselves (prior to their Eredar tie-in) were not often mentioned in Warcraft lore, a small bit of the Warcraft history does contain two references that seem to contradict their new backstory. From Chapter 3 of the official Warcraft history.
- "It was at this time that Kil'jaeden discovered the lush world of Draenor floating peacefully within the Great Dark Beyond. Home to the shamanistic, clan-based orcs and the peaceful draenei, Draenor was as idyllic as it was vast. The noble orc clans roamed the open prairies and hunted for sport, while the inquisitive draenei built crude cities within the world's towering cliffs and peaks. Kil'jaeden knew that Draenor's denizens had great potential to serve the Burning Legion if they could be cultivated properly. Of the two races, Kil'jaeden saw that the warrior orcs were more susceptible to the Legion's corruption."
- "Over the course of a few months, the Horde eradicated nearly every draenei living on Draenor. Only a scattered handful of survivors managed to evade the orcs' awesome wrath."
By contrast, the official site for the Burning Crusade expansion suggests that Kil'Jaeden knew the Draenei quite well:
- "In spite of the draenei's caution, Kil'jaeden discovered their secret refuge on Draenor. He learned more of the world and its inhabitants, and he grew intrigued by the mighty orc race. A plan unfolded in his mind, and the demon lord began to laugh. He could see precisely how to mold the orcs into the instrument of his wrath. It was merely a matter of time and pressure. And so Kil'jaeden began to corrupt the orcs..." From The Official Burning Crusade Draenei page.
While some would argue that the former quote does not explicitly say that Kil'jaeden had no prior knowledge of the Draenei and thus doesn't technically contradict itself, the fact that it says Kil'jaeden chose between the two races shows that he saw corrupting the Draenei as a potential (though inferior) option. The new story, on the other hand, explicitly states that Kil'jaeden corrupted the orcs to attack the Draenei, Kil'jaeden's own people.
Chris Metzen has acknowledged this error and his response is archived on the Blizzard forums. Metzen, however, declined to make a retraction and instead stated that the company was going to stick with the change in the lore for the upcoming expansion. Metzen said he appreciated that the player base was as interested in the game's lore as he was and would make it his goal to not make such mistakes again.
The death of Sir Anduin Lothar
In the Blackrock Spire map in the Human Campaign of WarCraft II, which is the canonically correct campaign (since the Alliance ultimately triumphs over the Horde), Sir Anduin Lothar is killed in the beginning of the mission. He and a small group of knights were invited to a parlay offered by the then Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer. Doomhammer betrayed Lothar and ambushed him and his knights, and the slaughter is seen as the opening fight of the map.
By the time of WarCraft III this was retconned as a large, conventional battle between Alliance and Horde armies at the foot of Blackrock Spire and Lothar died honorably in open combat.Template:Fact
Either way, the death of Anduin Lothar spurred the Alliance into defeating the Horde during the Second War.
The race of Garona Halforcen
Garona was described as half-human and half-orc during the events of Warcraft I. See the Warcraft I game manual or this copy of it. While this is not directly contradicted anywhere in the Warcraft canon, according to a post in the WoW General forums by CM Caydiem, Garona was actually of orc and draenei heritage. This was stated in a thread on the validity of certain racial-class restrictions and decisions (How can a Gnome play a tanking Warrior? How can a 500 pound Orc be a stealthy Rogue? Etc.) Garona was cited as an example of an Orcish rogue, and mentioned as being half-Draenei. At the time this statement was made, it was assumed that the uncorrupted Draenei were human-like in appearance; they have since been shown to be descendants of the Eredar, casting some doubt on the validity of the claim.
In the Tides of Darkness story, Doomhammer was outlined as a ruthless warlord and power hungry despot. This was retconned with the coming of Warcraft III and the addition of new Orcish lore, which revealed them to be an honorable, shamanistic race who sold their souls to the Burning Legion. Doomhammer's motives of killing Blackhand changed from lust for power to more honorable intentions, such as to weed out the demonic practices in the Horde. This is made inconsistent by the fact that nearly all the Horde leaders openly accepted and agreed to the Blood Pact, the first of whom was Kilrogg Deadeye, a Doomhammer loyalist. It is questionable that Doomhammer would have not known who his enemies were. Also, Doomhammer was not adverse to the use of necromantic and demonic powers if they served well on the battlefield.
However, unlike many of the other incontravertible changes, there is certainly room for this to work - Doomhammer was himself a victim of the demonic Bloodlust, and was afterall the leader of a people now wholly committed to the invasion of Azeroth; but was yet conflicted enough to eradicate the Shadow Council, and had small trust of the Twilight's Hammer and Stormreaver clans. This can be argued as putting Doomhammer in a less noble light again from inference in WarCraft II. The original mission description of the Tomb of Sargeras map, where Doomhammer wiped out Gul'Dan and the Stormreaver Clan, was that Doomhammer was eliminating them to firmly establish his leadership once and for all. It was well-known that the previous Warchief Blackhand was simply a puppet stringed by the whims of Gul'Dan and Gul'Dan himself hungered for his own right to lead the Horde. Gul'dan admits this in the form of a journal entry in the Warcraft II manual.
The current story in the lore states that Gul'dan abandoned the Horde after discovering the location of the Tomb of Sargeras. This forced Doomhammer to halt his advance north into Lordearon and address Gul'dan's betrayal. This allowed the Alliance to regroup and attack. The Horde was never able to recover from this. Gul'dan himself was revealed to have been torn apart by the crazed demons he unleashed from within the Tomb.
High Elven druids
The Runestone at Caer Darrow was described in the Warcraft II manual as being crafted by Elven druids. As the background of the High Elves was further developed (some would say changed) for Warcraft III, they were depicted as a race dedicated to the free use of arcane magic. The principles of druidism would be antithetical to the majority of High Elves, and there was no indication of any renegade sects that opposed the prevailing philosophy. (The current lore for the Blood Elves, which can be found on the Burning Crusade's webpage. The Burning Crusade Official Website states that "Elven Magi" created the Runestones at Caer Darrow.)
Further, the High Elves of Tides of Darkness were depicted as in harmony with nature and their forest homes and took great offense at Orcish pillaging of the forest. This is a somewhat different outlook to the world view of the magic addicted Blood Elves, although their perspective on the world may have changed significantly with the destruction of their homeland. This is, in fact, the case as the Blood Elves were feeling lost and without purpose without the energies of the Sunwell. The lore explains this one. There are two groups of Blood Elves. The first group is in Outland with the Betrayer Illidan and becoming warped by the Fel energies that permiate there. The second group is still on Azeroth. They too are suffering the pains of their magical addiction but still feel a connection to nature.
Furthermore, the More Magic & Mayhem RPG book implies that at the time the book takes place (not long after the events of Lands of Conflict), runic magic is usually practiced by the Tauren and the Dwarves, and only rarely by other races in the world. Gnomes and humans, are cited as somewhat likely to use rune magic, usually taught to them by dwarves, and some Forsaken learned the art of runic inscription through Tauren runemasters. It is possible that High Elves would have learned runic magic from the Wildhammer Dwarves. The book does imply that runic magic has some ties to druidic magic which makes sense as there are Druids in Tauren society. It should be noted however that runic magic is not part of the "World of Warcraft" computer game and only the RPG books. The books are considered canonical as Chris Metzen contributed greatly to their content.
Additionally, 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. This explains the existence of High Elven priests in Warcraft III.
According to the books, it wasn't until after the Third War that most began to leave the other religions, as they began to lose focus because of withdrawal symptoms from their magic addiction. It is possible that some High Elves may have been open to druidic or runic magic in the ancient past when the Runestones were created, as a means of tapping into natural energy sources of arcane magic, much like how some High Elves dabbled with divine magic before the Third War. Directly from WoWWiki