|Box art from WarCraft: Orcs and Humans|
Warcraft: Orcs & Humans is a real-time strategy game, developed and published by Blizzard Entertainment in 1994. The game is set in the Kingdom of Azeroth, part of the fictional Warcraft universe. The events that take place in this game are known in Warcraft lore as the First War or the Great War.
The human Mage Medivh, scion of a mortal human and one of the last guardians, comes under the influence of the dark Titan, Sargeras (although it is revealed that he was possessed). Mad with lust for power, he offers the world of Azeroth to the bloodthirsty Orcs in exchange for the Titan's powers and unwavering loyalty of the Orcish Horde.
The Orcs begin a very swift invasion of Azeroth but are, at first, beaten back and Medivh himself is slain, putting an end to his quest for power and domination. However, fortunes take a turn for the worse when the Orcs assassinate King Llane, sack Stormwind Keep (the capital of Azeroth), and drive the humans from Azeroth north into the Lordaeron subcontinent (setting the story for Tides of Darkness)
As with most real-time strategy computer games of the time, Warcraft features two opposing factions: the noble Humans and the savage Orcs. The goal of most scenarios is to destroy the enemy.
The working units are Human Peasants and Orc Peons; they harvest lumber, mine gold and build and repair buildings. Buildings enable creating more advanced units or researching technologies for improving weapons, shields or other abilities.
Various units serve different purposes in combat. Footmen (or faster and stronger Knights) are the basic fighting units; they are therefore effective in finishing damaged units. Catapults throw missiles that deal heavy damage to nine squares at the same time; as they cannot aim at an empty square, it is difficult for them to hit a moving unit.
Clerics and Conjurers are vulnerable spell casters that can heal damaged units, explore any segment of map, make a unit invisible, cast a rain of fire or summon Scorpions (weak units useful for exploring) or a mighty Water elemental. Their Orc counterparts, Necrolytes and Warlocks, have partly different spells, they can summon Spiders (Scorpions counterpart), turn dead units into Skeletons, make a unit invulnerable and summon a Daemon, the most powerful unit in the game.
In the single Player campaign there are also several "neutral" units that appear in the dungeon maps. These include Brigands, Ogres, Fire elementals, Scorpion, spiders, slime and Skeletons (Not to be confused with the skeletons raised by the orcs. These have higher armor and deal less damage).
Finally, featured in the single campaigns are a small number of Special characters, that would evolve into heroes in further installments in the series, eventually leading to World of Warcraft. The only one of these characters to make a later appearances is Sir Anduin Lothar who is featured in Warcraft II. The character of Medivh would also later appear in a prominent role in Warcraft III: The Reign of Chaos, and later in World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade, where players must protect him from the Infinite Dragonflight in the Black Morass.
Each faction's units and buildings have a counterpart within the other faction. With the exception of some spells, each unit is basically the same as its counterpart, with only slight variations. For example, Orc Spearmen do slightly more damage than Human Archers while having a slightly reduced range.
The only units which are exclusive and have no counterpart in the game are the summoned units. While the Humans' scorpions and the Orcs' spiders are identical in hit points, attack power and speed, the Orcs can use a spell to summon skeletons from corpses, while the Humans' counterpart is a spell that heals units. In addition, the Demons (Summoned by Orcish Warlocks) and the Water Elementals (Summoned by Human Conjurers), both of which are the most powerful units for each faction, are notably different: the Demons are slow melee attackers with more HP and damage output, while the Water Elementals are ranged units. While subtle, the differences with these units provided something that would be kept in the series and give each race its flavor: the orcs could wreak havoc using invulnerable Demons enchanted with Unholy Armor, while humans could simply pass by heavy defenses using Invisible Water Elementals.
The primary structure for both factions is the town hall, which produces worker units. Other structures include the farm, which allows more units to be produced by supplying food to feed them, the barracks, which produces basic units, and the church/temple, stables/kennels, tower, blacksmith and lumber mill, each of which either produces or upgrades units. A patch added the griffin/dragon roosts in 1997.