Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness is the sequel to the popular real-time strategy game Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, developed by Blizzard Entertainment and released in December of 1995. Users play as either orcs or humans in a fantasy medieval world full of swords and sorcery.
The game was originally written for MS-DOS; there was also a Mac OS version of the game. Blizzard also released an expansion pack, developed by Cyberlore Studios, known as Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal on April 30, 1996. Blizzard released Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness for Microsoft Windows, combined with its expansion, in 1999, under the name Warcraft II: Battle.net Edition. Changes made for this release included multiplayer support via Blizzard's online gaming service, Battle.net. There is also a sequel to this, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, released in July 2002. The game has a linear single-player campaign for each side, and a multiplayer option via a LAN or the Internet, using existing or user-created maps. According to the README.TXT file included alongside the Warcraft II demo version, the graphics are pre-rendered 3D models.
The game is set six years after the fall of Azeroth (the orc campaign ending from Warcraft: Orcs & Humans) in the First War in Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. The Orcs have decided to conquer the lands to the north and acquire Lordaeron for their empire, and the battles to follow would later be known as the Second War.
The Orcish Horde staged a renewed invasion against the Humans. The survivors of Azeroth had fled to Lordaeron and the remaining Human nations banded together into the Alliance to withstand the Horde. They were joined by the High Elves of Quel'thalas and the Dwarves of Khaz Modan. The Alliance repelled assault on the southern shores of Lordaeron but came under siege in Quel'thalas and Khaz Modan. Gradually, the Alliance armies repelled the Horde. They faced treachery from the Nation of Alterac, which had started working with the Horde when the invasion began.
The Horde itself had become divided when Gul'dan split off his Stormreaver clan. Together with Cho'gall and his Twilight's Hammer clan, he searched for the Tomb of Sargeras. Orgrim Doomhammer, Warchief of the Horde, needed to dispatch some of his forces to deal with Gul'dan, weakening the Horde's front.
Eventually, the armies of the Alliance pressed into Azeroth and laid waste to the Orcish main base at Blackrock Spire, a battle in which the Alliance lost Lord Anduin Lothar, their military commander. The final battle was fought at the Dark Portal, the gateway between Azeroth and the Orcish homeworld Draenor. The Archmage Khadgar destroyed the portal but did not seal the rift between the two worlds. This would enable Ner'zhul to stage a new invasion in the expansion pack Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal. The Orcs that had not fled to Draenor through the portal before its destruction were either killed or rounded up in internment camps. Orgrim Doomhammer, the leader of the Orcish Horde, was taken prisoner and escorted to Lordaeron.