We all remember our firsts. Our first win, our first loss, our first console, our first PC, and the games that we played. Not often does the memory of the second out shadow the memory of the first. Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness is definitely one of those memories.
It was my 13th birthday and I was ripping into my gifts. Apparently I was supposed to open them in a certain order, but I didn’t, so when the first gift was a keyboard I was a bit confused. The confusion was over quickly though as it clicked “why would I get a keyboard if I don’t have a comp..OH MAN A COMPUTER” I opened the rest, and I had my first PC. Windows 3.1 with MS-DOS already pre-loaded with games, 750 MB of storage, and a CD-ROM drive. Man I was pumped.
When I was done playing random games that were already on the system I looked at this CD that came with it. The CD said Sound Blaster on it, but had demos for three games: DOOM, Heretic, and Warcraft Orcs & Humans. Like every kid back then I tried DOOM and loved it and Heretic was also fun. Finally I tried Warcraft and as I loaded up the game I was shocked because I had never seen a game like it before.
The first thing that really drew my attention was that I could choose the Orc Campaign. I was still used to games forcing me into the role of the Knight or the Elvish Hero. When I started playing I was having so much fun building the bases, creating units, I loved the Necrolytes and how they could turn dead enemies (or your own dead units) into skeletons. It was such a fun demo that I went out and bought the full game and I didn’t think it could get better, and then another year went by.
I didn’t have much money when Warcraft II came out, but I knew I had to try it so I bought the demo disc at Software ETC. and I took it home. When I started playing I was amazed at how everything felt ten times better than the first game. I started saving money and eventually bought Warcraft II: The Tides of Darkness
I could not get enough of this game. I played it every day after School, I played it on the weekends, and I would even take the manual with me when the family went out to eat dinner at the local pizza place so I could read the stories and just marvel at the cool artwork in the book. To be honest I never understood why they switched up the art style in Warcraft III as I felt Warcraft II looked a lot better.
A friend of mine and I would played quite a few battles over the phone line and have constant back and forth battles which was great. I would always play as the Horde and he would always play as the Alliance. The final score was 10 to 6 my lead. I remember one time we were playing on one map that was all islands. I made some goblin sappers and ended up blowing up a path through the trees. Once I had a clear path I rushed to build Ogre Juggernaut ships, found out what island he was on, and surrounded it. He never stood a chance.
I thought this game couldn’t get any better, until….
The addition of Hero Units that were unique (at least more unique than the ones in Warcraft II) was really cool to me. I loved Grom Hellscream, Korgath Bladefist, and Teron Gorefiend were by far my favorite characters. In art class I ended up doing a painting of Teron Gorefiend. I was rather proud of myself. The maps were cool as well and I got a kick out of the mushroom trees.
While I started with the first Warcraft game it was truly Warcraft II that made me fall in love with the Warcraft series and my first trip beyond the dark portal into Draenor made me love it even more. Sadly another return to Draenor, in WoW’s expansion Warlords of Draenor would be the point where I no longer had interest in the franchise or its future. I’ll still always fondly remember my past and to this day Warcraft II is still one of my favorite games.