Timeline

We’ve been wanting a timeline for roleplaying in the World of Warcraft game. Unfortunately, the official material is lacking minor things like “consistency.” You know, tiny things like that.

I finally gave in and started studying the published lore itself, a little at a time, reading up on it while traveling or waiting at the doctor’s office or just as I relax before bed. This is the result.

Unfortunately, while I tried to match it as closely to official times as possible, it is very much non-canon. I gave up trying to get a truly inclusive timeline and instead based dates on certain milestones and filled in the rest. The goal was not to provide a timeline that covers everything; just something that gives a strong basis for roleplaying with friends.

That said, this matches much of the official timeline. An explanation of the methodology is found at the end, if you’re really interested.

~ Matthew

NOTE: A notation of (NC) indicates non-canon RP information. This specifically refers to our characters and their backstories, rather than attempts to explain discrepancies.

 

-7Y
* Prince Varian Wrynn is born.

-4Y
* Prince Arthas is born.

1Y
* The Dark Portal is opened by the possessed mage Mediv.
* The Horde begins spreading out, encountering human resistance.

2Y
* Grand Hamlet (what will one day be Darkshire) is razed.
* Lothar is rescued from the Deadmines.
* The Horde establishes massive bases in the Swamp of Sorrows, and outposts in Redridge.
* Sunnyglade is destroyed and magical secrets are plundered.

3Y
* Doomhammer moves against Blackhand. Blackhand dies, and Doomhammer becomes Warchief.
* Medivh is killed by humans.
* Elwynn Forest is assaulted.
* King Llane Wrynn is assassinated.
* Goldshire is razed.
* Stormwind is razed.
* Stormwind forces give time for a mass evacuation. Most of them die in the attempt.
* The First War ends.

4Y
* The dwarves of Ironforge make overtures of alliance toward the high elves of Silvermoon as the Horde draws nearer.
* The humans of Stormwind are welcomed by King Terenas of Lordaeron.
* King Terenas forms the Alliance of Lordaeron from the seven human nations (including the displaced Stormwinders), as well as the Bronzebeard and Wildhammer dwarves.
* The Horde captures Alexstrasza, Queen of the Red Dragonflight and Aspect of Life, and force her brood into fighting for them.

5Y
* The Second War begins as Horde forces invade Khaz Modan and Hillsbrad. In part because of the actions of Alleria Wildrunner, Silvermoon reluctantly joins the Alliance.
* (NC) A Stormwind refugee named Gaiman Reilly is among a few humans to receive training from high elven rangers. His brother’s family settles in Gilneas instead.
* Horde forces advance as far as the dwarven citadel of Dun Modr. They also seize Tol Barad, an island citadel belonging to Stromgarde, one of the seven human kingdoms of the Alliance.
* The Alliance navy, with the assistance of high elven artisans, successfully complete construction on their naval forces in time to thwart a larger Horde naval invasion. The Alliance proceed to completely destroy the Horde base in Zul’Dare as well as the surrounding troll tribes. No trolls returned to this region even after the Third War.
* Alliance forces liberate Tol Barad. The Kul Tirans and Stromgarders begin constructing a prison on the island.
* Alliance forces liberate the ruins of Dun Modr. The surviving Horde forces retreat to Dun Algaz.
* Horde forces at Dun Algaz are defeated; the knights of Lordaeron play a significant role in this battle.

6Y
* The Horde base and refinery at Grim Batol is destroyed. Horde forces in the north are effectively cut off.
* A minor rebellion in the Alliance township of Tyr’s Hand is put down. A training site for paladins is set up there.
* The high elven runestone at Caer Darrow is captured and corrupted. The orc warlock Gul’dan and the ogre chieftain Cho’gall uses its magic to warp many ogres into two-headed ogre magi. While the site is retaken, Cho’gall learned all he needed from it to continue his efforts elsewhere.
* Gul’dan learns to create the first death knights, raising them from the corpses of Lordaeron’s finest warriors.
* The Horde forces in the northlands nearly reach the high elven city of Silvermoon, and succeed in burning down much of the enchanted forest before they are narrowly driven back.
* Dalaran is sacked, but not completely razed as Alliance forces manage to defeat the last major Horde force in the northlands.
* Alterac soldiers and sailors are caught aiding the Horde, and more evidence comes to light. King Perenolde of Alterac has been aiding the Horde since before the Second War started. His spies ensured the capture of elven forces and the rebellion at Tyr’s Hand, and provided the information needed to strike at both Silvermoon and Dalaran while Alliance forces were out of position. In response, Alterac is deemed an enemy of the Alliance and attacked accordingly.

7Y
* A civil war in the Horde, as Gul’dan and his followers search for the Tomb of Sargaras, gives the Alliance the advantage they need after regrouping their own forces. Horde forces are soon pushed back out of Khaz Modan.
* As the Horde gains reinforcements through the Dark Portal, Lord Anduin Lothar attempts to negotiate with Warchief Orgrim Doomhammer. With no word from Lothar, Alliance forces proceed to attack the heavily-fortified Horde stronghold at Blackrock Mountain. After a costly victory, they learn that Lothar was killed by Horde forces, apparently by Doomhammer himself. No further negotiation is attempted.
* Seeking to cut off all orc reinforcements, the Alliance sweeps past Horde encampments in the Burning Steppes. In a daring and risky move, they lay seige to the Dark Portal itself, eventually managing to destroy it — though the rift in reality remains.
* The Second War ends as the remnants of the Horde splinter and retreat. The Alliance builds the fortress of Nethergarde to watch over the Dark Portal.

8Y
* Though the remaining Horde clans are unable to provide a significant threat to the Alliance, they continue raiding human and dwarven lands. However, one band, under Warchief Ner’zhul, begins strategic attacks to gain items necessary for the creation of new portals. This includes a magic-aided lightning attack on the rebuilt Stormwind Keep to steal the Book of Mediv.
* After leading Alliance forces on a chase around the kingdoms, Ner’zhul orders a massive strike on Nethergarde and uses the battle to sneak past through the rift, returning to Draenor.
* (NC) Ranger Captain Gaiman Reilly, a hero of the Second War, is wounded at the battle of Nethergarde. He declines full honors as he is mustered out, but accepts a sizeable plot on the eastern edge of Elwynn Forest to begin his own farm.

9Y
* An Alliance Expedition follows Ner’zhul and his troops through the rift into Draenor. The full extent of their campaign is unknown for nearly two decades.

10Y
* The Expedition is unable to prevent Ner’zhul from opening dozens of new portals, which tear Draenor apart. However, they are successful in temporarily closing the first portal to Azeroth, preventing the destruction from spreading there.
* All that the Alliance on Azeroth knows is that the Dark Portal has closed once more. Monuments to the heroes who went through are erected at the entrance to Stormwind.

11Y
* Prince Varian Wrynn is crowned king of Stormwind.
* (NC) Gaiman Reilly marries Siben Mason.

13Y
* King Varian Wrynn marries Lady Tiffin Ellerian.

14Y
* Anduin Llane Wrynn is born to King Varian and Queen Tiffin.
* (NC) Maene Reilly is born to Gaiman and Siben Reilly.

16Y
* The high elves withdraw from the Alliance, followed by Gilneas and others. Gilneas begins construction on the Greymane Wall.
* King Varian pledges to remain in recognition of the debt Stormwind owes to Lordaeron and the Alliance.
* The Stonemasons riot as the nobles refuse to pay them. King Varian and his wife support honoring the contract, but Queen Tiffin is killed in a tragic accident by a stone thrown by a rioter.
* VanCleef, leader of the Stonemasons, is forced to flee Stormwind. He founds the Defias Brotherhood, a gang of bandits that proceed to prey on Stormwind trade for revenge.

18Y
* A large group of Horde prisoners, as well as free Horde clans, escape captivity and flee to Kalimdor. They are lead by Thrall, born into the Frostwolf Clan but raised in human captivity by a brutal soldier who nonetheless gave the young orc the training he needed to lead his people to freedom.

19Y
* The Third War begins as the Scourge attacks Lordaeron.
* Thrall’s orcs begin exploring Kalimdor. They make alliances with the Darkspear trolls and the Mulgore tauren.
* Lordaeron requests aid from Gilneas; King Greymane refuses. Lord Darius Crowley, a Gilnean nobleman, sends some of his own men to aid Lordaeron. They are dubbed the Gilnean Brigade. King Greymane considers this treason. The disagreement soon turns into a civil war, known as the Northgate Rebellion as Crowley’s lands included that section of the Greymane Wall.
* Arthas is corrupted and betrays his people. Lordaeron falls.

20Y
* Silvermoon falls to the Scourge.
* The Northgate Rebellion ends in defeat. King Graymane imprisons Lord Crowley and his followers for treason, but does not have them executed because of the friendship they once shared.
* Dalaran is destroyed.
* Grom Hellscream, a champion of the original Horde, defeats the Pit Lord Mannoroth, freeing his people from the influence of demon blood.
* The Battle of Mount Hyjal.

21Y
* The blood elves (the majority of the remaining high elves) join forces with the naga, Illidan, and eventually Kil’jaeden.
* (NC) On the second anniversary of King Terenas’ death, King Varian Wrynn — recognized as High King of the Alliance by Kul Tiras, Ironforge, and Gnomeregan, the only remaining member states — founds the Order of King Terenas. Knights of this order have been recognized as stalwart defenders of the Alliance as a whole, rather than any individual kingdom.

22Y
* As the Lich King’s power wanes, the Forsaken break off from the Scourge.
* Arthas becomes the new Lich King.
* The Lich King and the Scourge are contained, and the Third War ends . . . mostly.

24Y
* Requiring allies, the Forsaken petition to join the Horde. Thrall accepts only on the urging of the Earthen Ring. However, he refuses to accept the Blackrock orcs, who still cling to the ideas of the old Fel Horde.
* Dalaran is rebuilt.
* The growing Horde and the rebuilding Alliance settle into an uneasy and strained equillibrium, marked by outbreaks of conflict.
* King Varian travels to Theramore to discuss Alliance-Horde relations, but is kidnapped en route. His whereabouts are unknown for years.
* {Start of World of Warcraft; dates from here match real-world expansion and patch dates.}

25Y July
* The Darkmoon Faire begins traveling the world.

25Y September
* The Blood Plague sweeps across Azeroth due to Gurubashi dark voodoo.

26Y January
* The Gates of Ahn’Qiraj are opened.
* The Qiraji are defeated in a series of massive battles involving both the Horde and the Alliance.

26Y June
* Naxxramas appears over the Plaguelands.

26Y December
* The blood elves in Outland storm Tempest Keep, one of the last remaining draenei strongholds.
* The remaining draenei evacuate by turning part of the fortress, the Exodar, into a nether ship; the makeshift vessel is damaged, however, and loses control as it speeds through the Twisting Nether.

27Y January
* The Dark Portal is reopened.
* The Exodar crashes on the Azuremist Isles. Unable to leave Azeroth, they join the Alliance.
* The blood elves in Azeroth join the Horde, leading the Alliance (and particularly the remaining high elves) to view them as traitors rather than simply deserters.
* In a truce that amounts to a polite fiction, the Alliance and the Horde both use the Dark Portal to send troops and adventurers to the shattered Outland, once known as Draenor.

27Y March
* The Horde finds Garrosh Hellscream, son of Grom Hellscream, in Nagrand on Outland. Unlike his father (who was the first to drink the demon’s blood), he remains untainted by fel powers.
* (NC) The draenei priest Idath leaves the Exodar as part of the delegation to Stormwind, with the mission of merging draenei worship practices with the Alliance Church of the Light.

27Y May
* Both the Horde and the Alliance storm the Black Temple.
* (NC) After some negotiation, the Church of the Light finds no doctrinal difference between the Alliance and draenei beliefs. The draenei are welcomed as a separate rite, known as the Exodar Rite.
* (NC) Idath is assigned to Stormwind to aid the church and provide services for traveling draenei.

27Y November
* The Horde and the Alliance deal with a rising threat from the Amani trolls.

28Y March
* Prince Kael’thas, ruler of the blood elves, attempts to ensure his people’s survival by creating a new Sunwell and summoning Kil’Jaeden to Azeroth. He is narrowly defeated and Kil’jaeden is pushed back through the opened portal.
* Prophet Velen of the draenei, in a notable act of charity, aids the blood elves in finishing the task of creating a purified Sunwell. His example does much to cool the ire of both his people and the greater Alliance toward the blood elves, though a great deal of tension still remains.

28Y April
* Some high elves begin pilgrimages to the Sunwell, but they do not rejoin their breathren; and the blood elves remain with the Horde.

28Y August
* (NC) A draenei warrior named Nadath enlists in the Alliance forces, now that she is old enough to ignore her elder brother Idath’s wishes. She does not tell him she is assigned to the Plaguelands, as she doesn’t want him to worry.

28Y October
* Construction is finally finished on the Stormwind Harbor.
* The mages of the Kirin Tor successfully remove their entire city from Lordaeron and relocate it above Northrend.
* King Varian is restored to his throne.
* (NC) Craulnober, a disgraced scion of a night elf noble family, moves to Stormwind and starts hiring himself off as a mercenary.

28Y November
* A renewed Scourge offensive causes both the Alliance and the Horde to devote their forces to Northrend to combat the Lich King once more.
* Garrosh Hellscream is promoted to Overlord of the Warsong Offensive (the Horde expedition to Northrend) by Warchief Thrall. Garrosh exhibits contempt for the Alliance and encourages brutality; but he wins battles, and his popularity grows.
* A large group of death knights defect from the Scourge and rejoin the nations they had served in life. This is not without difficulty.
* (NC) One of the death knights is the warrior Nadath. Her memories of her former life are vague, but she avoids other draenei for now. She believes herself to be irredeemably cursed, and only her sense of honor and duty keeps her moving forward.
* (NC) A belligerent dwarven shaman named Mjothvitnir is among the Alliance forces sent to the Borean Tundra.

28Y December to 29Y March
* The Forsaken seize some intact plague wagons from the Scourge and begin reverse-engineering it. It is eventually used as an indiscriminate weapon against the Lich King, infecting a large number of Alliance and Horde forces. The Alliance hero Bolvar Fordragon dies in the attack.
* Sylvanas disavows all knowledge of her subordinates’ experiments, but later continues them in secret.

29Y April
* The titan city of Ulduar is explored for the first time.

29Y December
* Despite the weather and season, the siege of Icecrown Citadel begins.

30Y February
* The siege of Icecrown ends with the death of the Lich King.
* The Scourge, without their leader, are relatively aimless but still very dangerous in both Northrend and the Plaguelands.
* Only a handful of Alliance and Horde members know that the Scourge are still controlled by a replacement Lich King, Bolvar Fordragon, who has been twisted by the modified Plague and dragonfire but still retains his sanity. Bolvar’s will is the only thing keeping the Scourge from overwhelming the remaining Alliance and Horde forces in Northrend. His final request was to be forgotten, so that others would know peace.

30Y March
* Many of the Lich King’s val’kyr pledge their loyalty to Sylvanas Windrunner, the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken. They provide a reliable way of converting corpses into new Forsaken, allowing the undead to (in effect) reproduce. This is kept a secret from the Warchief for several months as Sylvanas builds up her forces.

30Y April
* Increasing earthquakes rumble across Azeroth. The cause is unknown.
* Thrall takes a leave of absence from his position as Warchief of the Horde, feeling his abilities as a shaman are needed with the Earthen ring to investigate a growing unbalance in the elements. He appoints Garrosh Hellscream, due to the warlord’s popularity and because of Garrosh’s father, to take up the mantle of Warchief in his place.

30Y June
* In the isolationist kingdom of Gilneas, the worgen curse gets out of hand. Many citizens must flee the capitol.

30Y July
* A Gilnean alchemist develops a partial cure for the worgen curse, allowing some to retain their sanity despite their transformation.
* (NC) Over the next few months, worgen such as Finnegon Reilly and Wadsworth are rescued from their cuse.
* (NC) During this time, Idath discovers evidence that his sister is alive; after tracking her down, however, he discovers Nadath is one of the death knights. She avoids him, not wanting to see his reaction to her curse.

30Y October
* A strong earthquake shatters part of the barrier reefs that protect Gilneas from invasion by sea.
* The Horde soon discovers this; as Gilneas is not a member of the Alliance, Garrosh feels it is within his rights as Warchief to invade without reprisal from Stormwind. The Forsaken are instructed to begin landing troops immediately.
* (NC) Maene Reilly, daughter of former Ranger Captain Gaiman Reilly, leaves home to enlist in the Alliance military.

30Y November
* Assaults from elementals begin on Stormwind, Ironforge, Orgrimmar, and Thunder Bluff.
* (NC) During an assault on Stormwind, Maene distinguishes herself despite her obvious inexperience. She is told to report to a special training facility at Northshire Abbey instead of a standard boot camp.
* (NC) In the same battle, Idath finds himself drawing on shadow powers far more than normal. Disturbed, he returns to the Exodar to determine what to do.
* The Shattering begins.
* Deathwing begins his flight, increasing the damage of the Shattering and ensuring that all know he has returned.
* The night elves help the worgen regain their human form, though it does not remove the curse.
* King Magni Bronzebeard uses a ritual uncovered in Ulduar in Northrend to become “one with the mountain” in an attempt to discover the reason for the elemental unrest. This unfortunately turns out to be a literal translation, as instead of communing with the mountain spirits he is transformed into a statue of pure diamond.
* The Forsaken deploy the Plague against Gilneas, rendering it uninhabitable at present. Most of the surviving Gilneans — many of them worgen now — evacuate to Darnassus.
* A funeral is held for King Magni, attended even by two representatives of the Horde. However, Magni’s estranged daughter also shows up. Moira Thaurissan (now reclaiming her birth-name of Bronzebeard) is the former king’s only child, and the widow of the previous king of the Dark Iron Clan. Moira announces her claim to her father’s throne for her half-Dark Iron son.

30Y December
* The near-civil war between the various dwarven clans is halted by a strike team lead by King Varian. Prince Anduin, however, argues on behalf of Moira, and urges clemency. King Varian and the dwarven clan leaders eventually agree on a compromise: the three larges clans (Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, and Dark Iron) will rule as joint regents, fulfilling the duties of the king before the people and the Senate.
* The Bilgewater goblins, driven from their home by the Shattering, throw their full support behind the Horde. They sever all trade ties with the Alliance, and are attempting to get other goblins to do the same.
* The Gilneans agree to rejoin the Alliance, in recognition of their debt.
* Alliance and Horde forces clash over the evacuated Gilnean homeland. The Horde maintains that the Gilneans gave up their claim on their homeland by evacuating, and since they only joined the Alliance afterward, Gilneas is not Alliance territory. The Alliance maintains that Gilneas belongs to Gilneans, and as they are now Alliance citizens that means Gilneas is Alliance as well. The skirmishes result in a stalemate that continues for years. The Alliance cannot restore Gilneas from the Plague under fire from the Forsaken, and the Forsaken cannot claim Gilneas as their own without reprisal from the Alliance.
* A new fascination with the past starts an archaeology craze sweeps across both the Alliance and Horde.
* (NC) A Dark Iron dwarf named Vindalf, a champion bar-brawler, finds himself easily defeated by a pandaren visitor named Liu in the Stonefire Inn inside Ironforge. Deciding that anyone who can defeat him one-handed while drinking dwarven ale must have genuine skill, he sets about learning the ways of a pandaren monk.

31Y January
* Alliance and Horde forces are (mostly) occupied with the effects of the Shattering, and the coming all-out war between the two coalitions continues to be postponed. Both groups deal with threats from the sea and the Twilight Highlands, explore the lost empire of Uldum, and even journey into Deepholm, the elemental plane of earth.
* Sylvannas reveals her ability to create new Forsaken to Garrosh.
* A small group of Horde and Alliance crash on the Wandering Isle, setting off a chain of events that lead to groups of pandaren joining both coalitions.
* (NC) Idath takes a leave of absence and begins traveling the world, seeking to help others — and find his sister, death knight or no.

31Y April
* The Amani and Gurubashi trolls attempt to expand their holdings and create a new troll empire under the leadership of the Zandalari.
* The Darkspear trolls secretly send messengers to the Alliance, warning them of the Zandalari threat to both Alliance and Horde interests.

31Y June
* The plane of fire begins to intrude upon Mount Hyjal.

31Y November
* In the wake of the Shattering, and recognizing that even if Deathwing is defeated war is still inevitable, the Darkmoon Faire ends its normal travel patterns. Instead, it sets up on a distant island in the middle of the Great Sea, preferring to expend effort on maintaining portal access rather than expose themselves to further danger. Events will later show this to be a wise (and profitable) choice.
* Deathwing is defeated in the Maelstrom.
* Alexstrasza, queen of the Red Dragonflight and Aspect of Life, declares that the Age of Mortals has dawned.

32Y September
* A new craze for training animals, small elementals, and other creatures to battle each other has DEHTA concerned. (Partly NC.)
* In a sudden escalation and without provocation, the Horde attacks the city-state of Theramore using an experimental mana-bomb, completely leveling it and killing most inhabitants instantly.
* The Archmage Jaina Proudmoore, though she has lost her homeland, succeeds to the leadership of the Kirin Tor after Archmage died in the destruction of Theramore. While Jaina has stopped urging for peace between the Alliance and the Horde as a result of Theramore’s destruction, she is committed to maintaining Dalaran’s neutrality.
* Soon after, the Horde attacks an Alliance naval squadron escorting Prince Anduin Wrynn on a tour of Alliance holdings. The other Alliance forces sacrifice themselves to give Anduin’s ship a chance to escape, but the flagship is forced south into an uncharted area shrouded by enchanted mists that few ships penetrate. They discover a vast new continent, the legendary Pandaria, that had been secure from the outside world until the Shattering.
* Both the Horde and the Alliance send forces to secure bases on Pandaria — with the Alliance fast-response team also tasked with locating and rescuing Prince Anduin. Anduin, however, deliberately evades his own forces in order to learn more about the new land on his own.
* Shortly after, a battle between Alliance and Horde forces allows a being of elemental emotion — the Sha of Doubt — to escape its bonds, which were already weakened by the Shattering.

32Y October
* In addition to the Jade Forest, Alliance and Horde forces also secure bases in the mountainous Kun-Lai.
* They convince the Celestials — four powerful spirits that have protected and guided the continent since before the Sundering — to open the mysterious Vale of Eternal Blossoms, the magical heart of Pandaria. All are welcome, whether Horde, Alliance, or neutral. Prince Anduin is instrumental in the negotiations.
* As the sha break free all over Pandaria, the Sha of Fear takes hold in the lands of the insectoid race known as the mantid — once servants of the Old Gods, and related to the qiraji and the nerubians. The mantid begin to swarm ahead of schedule.
* A force of Zandalari trolls steals the body of the Thunder King and successfully resurrect him.

32Y November
* Rumors of no-holds-barred fighting “guilds” begin circulating in both Stormwind and Orgrimmar.
* The main fleets of both the Alliance and the Horde reach the southern coast of Pandaria. Conflict immediately erupts.

32Y December
* The Alliance and the Horde both attempt to track down ancient artifacts before the Thunder King finds them first.
* Garrosh is able to lay claim to the most powerful of these, and Anduin is severely wounded in the process.
* Garrosh appears to have become infected by a sha, though not actually possessed.
* Discovering that the Sunreavers had violated Dalaran’s neutrality, the Archmage Jaina Proudmore purges them from the floating city and pledges Dalaran to the Alliance cause. This brings six out of the original Seven Kingdoms back under the banner of the Alliance (albeit some only as fragments of their former glories), leaving only the traitorous remnants of Alterac outside the fold.

33Y March
* The Thunder King, along with his mogu and troll servants, has successfully fortified his ancient palace island, the Isle of Thunder.
* The Shado-Pan enlist the aid of both Horde and Alliance forces to assault him before he builds up his strength.

33Y April
* The Thunder King is defeated.

33Y May
* Taking advantage of how both the mantid and the Thunder King’s have occupied the Shado-Pan, Garrosh has ordered his most loyal followers to dig beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, creating a scar on the landscape. They uncover a Titan prison, and what turns out to be the source of the sha: the heart of the Old God, Y’Shaarj.
* Fierce naval battles break out between the Alliance and the Horde.
* The Zandalari attempt to incite the Frostmane trolls against Ironforge, narrowly defeated by a joint force of Alliance special troops and Dark Iron soldiers. Bronzebeard and Wildhammer forces did not participate due to fears of Dark Iron treachery.
* The Darkspear trolls lead a rebellion against Garrosh, who has finally gone too far.

33Y September
* The Timeless Isle has appeared off the southeast coast of Pandaria.
* Garrosh places the Heart of Y’Shaarj in the central spring of the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, instantly corrupting the waters, releasing a swarm of sha, and partially rejuvenating the Old God itself. As a consequence, several mantid ally with Garrosh as followers of their ancient deity.
* The final assault against Garrosh begins, and Garrosh is defeated by a joint Alliance and Horde army. He is taken away to be tried in Pandaria by the Shado-Pan.
* Vol’jin is named Warchief by Thrall, and is accepted by the other Horde nations.
* Jaina Proudmoore urges High King Varian to press the advantage and “dismantle the Horde.” Varian instead chooses to withdraw . . . for now.


 

METHODOLOGY

As stated above, this is a non-canon timeline, embellished with bits of roleplaying here and there (though only specific character backstories are denoted by an NC, as marking every deviation would be counterproductive). You can feel free to use this timeline in your own way (just please give credit back here, as it took a lot of work!), but keep in mind that incidental things in the games and other lore-sources still contradict it.

Here is Matthew’s explanation of how he created the timeline:

 

The published lore of the Warcraft universe — as found on the official website, four separate games, a tabletop RPG and sourcebooks, several novels, and comic books and manga — is ultimately contradictory and confusing. This is compounded by the fact that even a single type of source is self-contradictory, even just focusing on the World of Warcraft MMO. It gets even worse when the official line from Blizzard is that all official sources are canon, but some are more canon than others. I did not make that up. Really, how do you work with that?

I decided that there needed to be a single common thread, and because of the nature of the game-history that winds up being Stormwind and King Varian. Matching things to Varian’s life seemed like a good choice — and an even better one than I thought when I first attempted it. I had tried several other routes before this one, but it truly fit the best.

  •  As far as I can find, Varian’s age is never given directly; however, Arthas’ age is locked down, since he is described as four years old when the Dark Portal first opens. Arthas is then described as “a few years” younger than Varian. Because of that, I placed Varian’s age at seven when the Dark Portal opens.
  • Varian is not crowned king until Stormwind is officially rebuilt, which doesn’t take place completely until after the events of Beyond the Dark Portal.
  • He does not marry Tiffin until after he’s spent some time in the far reaches of his kingdom, helping to fight back the remnants of the first Horde.
  • His son Anduin is not born until shortly before the high elves withdraw from the Alliance.
  • Finally, Anduin is supposed to be ten at the start of World of Warcraft, and appears to be just entering adulthood (at least 17) by the Mists of Pandaria expansion. (Granted, he seems about 12-14 during a Cataclysm questline, but remember what I said about inaccuracies? I’m putting that one down to not hitting a growth spurt just yet.)

The official timeline has Warcraft I lasting for four years, Warcraft II following immediately for two years, and Warcraft III taking place twelve years later and lasting another two. Having played the original two games and read the storylines for the third, I thought those times seemed a bit uneven considering the relative complexities of each overall story (mainly having to do with the travel time involved between locations). I decided to do the following.

  • Warcraft I: Each mission takes approximately 2 months, and there are twelve missions. I assume the Dark Portal did not open on January 1st, so I have it vaguely mid-year.
  • Warcraft II: According to lore, rather than the official timeline, there was a period of time between the First and Second Wars. How much is uncertain, but I’m putting it at about a year. Again, each mission takes approximately 2 months, and there are fourteen missions.
  • Warcraft II Beyond the Dark Portal: Both the Horde and Alliance campaigns are pretty much canon, and do not take place concurrently. While the Alliance missions feel like you’re rushing against a clock and the Horde missions feel like they take their time, I decided to average them out and do one month per mission.
  • Warcraft III: This game is very difficult to figure out a pace for, since some things take place at different times and I couldn’t find a lot of cross-referencing. I eventually settled on four years from Thrall’s breakout to Arthas becoming the Lich King.

Putting all this together, we have Varian being crowned at 18, marrying at 20, and gaining his firstborn at 21. The First War ends two years sooner than Blizzard says (but hey, they originally had the First War starting twenty freaking years after the Dark Portal opened, so they don’t have much of a leg to stand on other than “we own the franchise”). The Second War takes longer, but only ends one year later than the official timeline. Warcraft III starts two years earlier, but ends at the same time.

World of Warcraft starts, technically, one year earlier than officially stated; but since I then match up the dates with the real-world patch release dates, that means the MMO started the clock in November. I think I can be forgiven the fudge. (Besides, now the last digit on the timeline matches the last digit of the real-world year. That helps the mental math while roleplaying.) The date of the Burning Crusade expansion contradicts the pre-Cataclysm blood elf introduction, but nothing’s perfect.

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