The Orcish Peoples - or, more commonly, Orcs - are a sentient species native to Draenor and a major power on Azeroth following their invasion of that planet in the First War. The Orcish Peoples have a predominantly clan-structured society, and as a consequence, are not politically united - though the majority on Azeroth are willing elements of the New Horde. Internecine conflict between Orcish clans is common, particularly between those clans loyal to the New Horde and those loyal to its competitors or to the Burning Legion.
The Orcish people are descended from their Ogre ancestors as the last in the line of the Breakers, powerful beings of earth and stone who ruled Draenor for thousands of years. As the smallest of the line of Grond, the Orcs learned to live in fear of their larger relatives, and were treated as slaves or even food by their cousins. Most Orcs in ancient days preferred to eke out a hard, but free existence in caves underground, safe from the towering giants on the surface. The orcs lived on Draenor as a noble, tribal society. They primarily inhabited the regions of Nagrand, Frostfire, Gorgrond, Tanaan and Shadowmoon Valley. The largest of these societies occupied a massive cave complex beneath Gorgrond. As the number of Breakers dwindled in the world, Orcish population exploded without the constant threat from their larger relatives. Overcrowding soon became an issue, and nearly came to violence. Many Orcs opted to leave their ancient caves for greener pastures before blows could be come to, however. By the hundreds, Orcs scattered across Draenor. Several clans formed in these areas, most notably the Frostwolf and Thunderlords in Frostfire, the Blackrock in Gorgrond, the Warsong in the plains of Nagrand, the Bleeding Hollow in the jungles of Tanaan, and the Shadowmoon in Shadowmoon Valley itself.
Before the first records of orcish history, the First Shaman arose from the early orcish people, the first of his kind to make contact with the Elements. Little is known about this First Shaman; What clan he came from, what beliefs he first spread, what his name was: All unknown to history. What is known is that, wherever the belief in reverence for the elements first came from, the ideas spread to every orcish clan and became ingrained in their culture.
Despite this unity of faith, the orcish clans lived separately from one another, with something of a rivalry between the clans. They were bitter enemies of the ogres, and neutral if not friendly neighbors of the Draenei. With a reverence for their ancestors, the orcs turned the mountain of Oshu'gun into the central location for their faith. This period of living as shamanistic tribes, defined almost all of recorded orcish history.
Contact with the Legion
The presence of the Draenei eventually drew the attention of the demon lord Kil'jaeden. Talgath, favored servant of the demon lord, detected the presence of Draenei magics on the planet. Upon further investigation, the demonic scout discovered the native residents of the world, and reported back to his master. Intrigued by the orc's potential, Kil'jaeden himself took command of the operation.
Appearing to the shamans of all the orcish clans, including the Elder Shaman Ner'zhul of the Shadowmoon, as one of their ancestors, Kil'jaeden tricked them into thinking that the Draenei were conspiring against them. Paranoid, Ner'zhul began raiding the Draenei with the hope of being the savior of his people, and the other clans followed suit. After a time, the elements stopped aiding the orcs in their war against the Draenei.
In confusion, the clans sought answers from Ner'zhul, who traveled to Oshu'gun to find them. There, he spoke directly to the spirits, and learned the truth about the one who had convinced him to carry out the raids. Refusing to follow along with the demon's schemes any longer, Ner'zhul was replaced by his power-hungry apprentice, Gul'dan, as the orc's spiritual leader. Caring little for his people, Gul'dan readily followed Kil'jaeden in exchange for power.
Under the tutelage of Kil'jaeden, Gul'dan was instructed in fel magic. The shamans turned to Gul'dan's new magics for guidance, establishing Warlock schools to fill the void in their culture left by the elements that had abandoned them. The orcish slaughter of the Draenei people continued, and the practice of warlock magics began to turn fertile landscapes to dusty plains as the years passed.
Rise of the Horde
The foundations for a united Horde were laid when Ner'zhul announced the treachery of the Draenei, and convinced the other clans to turn against their neighbors. Gul'dan, uncaring for his own people but caring greatly for promises of power, formed the Horde on these foundations. Blackhand was named as Warchief, but he was, in truth, a puppet to Gul'dan and his Shadow Council. It was a rough union, but the chieftains were willing to work together in their conquests.
Alongside the formation of the Horde came a ban on the practice of shamanism, under punishment of severe pain or exile. The skin of orcs, even those who did not practice warlock magic, began to turn dry and flaky like the land they now lived on, giving way to green skin. Close behind the ban came the order to march on the Draenei's sacred Temple of Karabor. It was here, too, that Kil'jaeden summoned Mannoroth to give demon blood to the orcs. It was here that Gul'dan turned his people over to the demons, knowing full well what the blood would do to them. Mannoroth's blood was spilled into a pool once used by Draenei priests, and offered to the clans in a chalice that was called 'The Cup of Unity'.
Grommash Hellscream was the first to drink the blood, ever eager to prove himself above all other orcs. His clan followed him, and soon almost every orc present partook of the demon blood, with the exception of Durotan and his Frostwolves. Filled with the fires of demonic bloodlust, Blackhand gave the order to attack Shattrath, capital of the Draenei, that night. Their new demonic strength allowed the orcs to easily overcome to defenders, butchering them with reckless abandon. Blood flowed like water in the streets of the Lower City, and only a select few escaped the slaughter.
Kil'jaeden abandoned the orcs following the siege of Shattrath, believing them to have fulfilled their purpose. Without new enemies to fight and hearts filled with bloodlust, the orcish clans began to fight each other. Petty rivalries turned into bloodbaths, and chaos descended upon orcish society. Pockets of Draenei resistance that had survived the siege took this opportunity to strike back against their oppressors with guerrilla tactics.
During this period of time, Medivh contacted Gul'dan through a dream. Identifying himself as Kil'jaeden's master, he gave Gul'dan tantalizing promises and visions of a fresh world, ripe for conquer under the Horde's heel... As well as unimaginable power in a place known as Sargeras' Tomb. Though the Shadow Council debated Medivh's true intentions, they distracted the warring clans of the Horde with the construction of the Dark Portal.
With promises of a fertile lands to live off of, and new people to sate their bloodlust, the Orcish clans arrayed themselves before the massive portal. Several members of the Shadow Council were slain near the stone construct, their blood acting as a primer for dark magics. A single Draenei child was slaughtered in the same place, igniting the magics and opening the portal.
Under Blackhand's iron fist, order was restored. It was then that Medivh once again made contact with Gul'dan. Medivh seemed even more powerful, but less sane. Medivh ordered Gul'dan to have the Horde destroy the Kingdom of Stormwind, and make Medivh the new ruler of the humans. Gul'dan initially refused to do Medivh's bidding; after all, the Horde had a new target and Medivh's usefulness, in Gul'dan's eyes, had run out. Desperate to see his plans succeed, Medivh tempted Gul'dan by promising to reveal the location of the Tomb of Sargeras, the lord of the Burning Legion and Kil'jaeden's master. And so the First War between the Horde and the humans of Azeroth occurred, ending with the destruction of the Kingdom of Stormwind.
Near the beginning of that conflict the Frostwolf Clan, one of the very few clans of orcs that had rejected the demonic gifts of Kil'jaeden, was exiled to Azeroth and its leader Durotan was murdered by Gul'dan's forces as a warning. His infant son was left for dead but was taken in by a nobleman from Lordaeron fleeing the carnage of Stormwind. The Frostwolves, leaderless, fled to the far northern mountains. Toward the end of the war, a surgical strike was launched by the humans to kill the treacherous Medivh. As Medivh was assaulted, Gul'dan felt the psychic trauma waves that Medivh emanated and realized that his chance to obtain the power of Sargeras was about to slip out of his grasp. He entered Medivh's mind and attempted to steal the location of the Tomb of Sargeras while Medivh was weakened and distracted. It was at this moment that Medivh died, and Gul'dan, having been in his mind at the time of death, was thrown into a coma.
When he awoke, Gul'dan learned of a major power shift within the horde. Blackhand the Destroyer had been overthrown by Orgrim Doomhammer after he had learned of Blackhand's role in corrupting the Horde. Doomhammer was not as gullible or easily swayed as Blackhand had been, and quickly discovered the Shadow Council's presence in orcish affairs. He completely eradicated the Council through accusations of treason. Gul'dan survived only by 'swearing' allegiance to Doomhammer, and by promising to provide a vast undead army for the Horde's use. He formed the Stormreaver Clan and began the process of re-animating the corpses of fallen knights with the spirits of the fallen members of the Shadow Council.
These new Death Knights, along with other fel projects(such as the capture of the Alexstrasza), gave the Horde enough strength to advance steadily north despite facing the might of the unprecedented Alliance of all the human nations (Lordaeron, Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, Gilneas, Alterac and the magical forces of Dalaran). The elven nation of Quel'Thalas sent support to the Alliance, and after the Horde took their beloved lands of Khaz Modan, the dwarves and gnomes gladly joined the ranks of the Alliance. When the Kingdom of Alterac betrayed the Alliance, the victory of the Horde seemed inevitable, but the Horde was to suffer a betrayal of their own.
Gul'dan's Folly and Thrall's Rise
With victory in sight, Gul'dan convinced Cho'gall of the Twilight's Hammer clan that he knew the location of the Tomb of Sargeras. Together, along with the Stormreaver clan, they abandoned their posts and set out to claim the demonic power for their own. This loss of nearly a third of the Horde brought their campaign to a standstill at the doorstep of Lordaeron. Doomhammer, furious with the insubordination at such a critical time, deployed a large portion of his own forces to attack the deserting clans and their leaders. This allowed the Alliance forces to rally and crush the Horde while they were divided. With the destruction of the Dark Portal the Second War ended. Although a number of powerful men in the kingdom of Lordaeron wanted the orcs rounded up and executed, King Terenas ignored them and had the orcs placed in internment camps with hopes that they would one day lose their bloodlust. There, cut off from their demonic rulers and with no way to replenish their fel stamina, the orcs languished and eventually slipped into lethargy.
Several years after the Second War, Thrall, the son of Durotan, escaped from his cruel human master Aedelas Blackmoore at the Durnholde internment camp and set out to find the rest of his people. In his travels he encountered Grommsh Hellscream, who along with his Warsong Clan had been hiding out in the wastelands of Azeroth in hopes of another chance at conquest. Thrall became friends with Grom, and eventually met Orgrim Doomhammer, who had escaped from the humans' prison several years before. From Doomhammer he learned about his father and the Frostwolf Clan, and the betrayal of his father by the Shadow Council. After learning this, Thrall made his way to the exiled Frostwolf clan stronghold, where the shaman Drek'Thar taught him about the orcs' noble heritage and how they had been corrupted by demons. Thrall swore to free his people from the chains that bound them, and as Drek'Thar's new student, embarked upon the path of the shaman. Together with Grom and Doomhammer, Thrall successfully launched attacks against the internment camps to free the captive orcs. It was difficult to rouse the orcs from their lethargy, but Thrall was able to prove to them that their destiny was not yet at its end, and the clans rallied behind the new Horde.
Unfortunately, during the attack on the last internment camp, Doomhammer was struck down. In tribute to the fierce and proud orc, Thrall donned Doomhammer's black armor and the hammer which bore his name to lead his people from their captivity. This internment camp was later captured by the Horde, renamed in honor of Doomhammer, and is now the Horde outpost of Hammerfall in the Arathi Highlands. Thrall knew the human nations would not stand idly by and let the Horde regroup or settle down. Fortunately for Thrall, a prophet appeared in the form of a raven and advised him to leave Azeroth for the distant land of Kalimdor. Thrall, having no better alternatives, captured some human ships and set sail for the new land, taking all of his orcs out of Lordaeron. During the journey, the orcs helped a tribe of trolls escape from their sinking island. The Darkspear Trolls were immensely grateful for Thrall's assistance and swore allegiance to his new Horde. When they arrived in Kalimdor, they were greeted by Cairne Bloodhoof and his tauren. The orcs helped Cairne fend off the centaurs, and in return, he told the orcs the location of the Oracle. The Warsong clan however, was sent to Ashenvale to cut lumber as punishment for attacking the humans without permission. There they battled the Night elves. The Pit lord Mannoroth took advantage or the fact that the orcs were losing to empower them with his blood, and thus bring them back under his control. Thrall allied with the human sorceress Jaina Proudmoore at the indication of the Prophet (who was actually Medivh). They captured Hellscream and turned him back to normal. Thrall then went with him to confront Mannoroth. Mannoroth quickly subdued Thrall, but Grom was able to kill the demon, though it cost him his life, and free the orcs from their demonic master.
Founding of Orgrimmar
With the Battle of Mount Hyjal over, and with it the immediate threat to the world, Thrall set out to found the new orcish homeland in Kalimdor. He named the land Durotar in honor of his father, and founded the city of Orgrimmar in honor of Orgrim Doomhammer. With the orcs' new allies, the tauren, becoming part of the Horde and with the support of the Lordaeronian survivors led by Jaina Proudmoore, Thrall was able to build quickly. However, this was not to last. Grand Admiral Daelin Proudmoore, Jaina's father, arrived in Kalimdor (having left before the war was over to look for any surviving forces) and launched an attack against the fledgling orc nation. During the initial assault the Darkspear trolls lost their new home on the Echo Isles and with the help of the Mok'Nathal half-orc Rexxar, came to live with the orcs in Durotar. The witch doctor Vol'jin pledged the tribe's eternal allegiance to the Horde in return. Thrall, not knowing what humans had attacked him, initially suspected Jaina's forces, but her loyalty was proven when she helped the orcs stop the invading forces of her father Admiral Proudmoore.
Reopening of the Portal
- See main article: Burning Crusade
When word reached Warchief Thrall that the Dark Portal had reopened, he immediately gathered his advisors to plan an expedition through it, eager to find new insights into the history of his people on the other side. After the forces of the Horde, alongside the Alliance, repelled a invasion through the Dark Portal from the Burning Legion, their combined forces pressed through it into the shattered world Outland, the remnants of the homeworld of the orcs, Draenor. There, the Horde expedition, led by Thralls loyal advisor Nazgrel, founded the outpost of Thrallmar.
On Hellfire Peninsula, the Horde came into contact with the Fel Horde - orcs corrupted by the blood of a pitlord and the servants of the ruler of Outland, Illidan. The Fel Horde was lead by none other than Kargath Bladefist, chieftain of the Shattered Hand Clan and one of the greatest orc heroes of the younger history. The Horde forces stormed the stronghold of the Fel Horde, the Hellfire Citadel, conquered it and killed Kargath Bladefist. His fall to corruption and death was a heavy blow to the orcs, but they nonetheless honor the memory of the orc Kargath once was, as well as the lesson learned from his downfall.
However, the fel orcs weren't the only orcs on Outland. The Horde also met The Mag'har - a group of brown-skinned orcs who completely escaped the demonic corruption that affected the rest of their race. Among these orcs were individuals like Jorin Deadeye, son of the legendary Kilrogg Deadeye; Dranosh Saurfang, son of Varok Saurfang and the son of Grom Hellscream, Garrosh Hellscream. The Horde allied with the Mag'har and Thrall himself convinced Garrosh to return to Azeroth as an advisor to the Warchief.
During the second Scourge Invasion, Orgrimmar was targeted as well. This lead Thrall to convene a council of important Horde figures, including Varok Saurfang, Garrosh Hellscream, Sylvanas Windrunner and Grand Apothecary Putress, to discuss the matter. While Thrall advocated sending scouts and cooperating with the Alliance, Garrosh Hellscream instead wanted to bring the armies of the Horde directly to Northrend before the Lich King could react. Arguments escalated and Garrosh challenged Thrall to a Mak'Gora after he felt that the Warchief had spoken disrespectfully about his father. The duel was interrupted when the Scourge attacked the city.
After the undead had been driven from the orcish capital, Thrall issued orders to contact the Horde's goblin shipwrights and marshal their forces to meet the Lich King in Northrend itself. Garrosh Hellscream was to lead the first attack, with Saurfang as his advisor. Hellscream's Warsong Offensive established Warsong Hold in the Borean Tundra, where the Horde advanced despite setbacks to Angrathar, the Wrathgate. Dranosh Saurfang lead the Horde army that combined its forces with that of the Alliance under Bolvar Fordragon to breach Arthas' defenses. Both armies were betrayed by Putress, who unleashed his new plague on both the Scourge and the living. Dranosh Saurfang was killed by the Lich King and reanimated as a death knight.
Learning of Putress' betrayal and of an insurgency in the Undercity led by Varimathras, Thrall lead an army together with Sylvanas to deal with the treacherous dreadlord. While the Horde's forces were victorious, new hostilities with the Alliance followed after Varian Wrynn had led his own strike force into the Undercity and witnessed the experiments of the Royal Apothecary Society. Kor'kron forces were dispatched to watch over the experiments of the society from then on.
As the conflict in Northrend stretched on, Garrosh became increasingly hostile to the Alliance, with special enmity to Varian Wrynn, who had similar sentiments against the Horde. Both nearly came to blows in Dalaran, after being briefed about an ancient threat contained in Ulduar, and continued exchange insults during the Trial of the Crusader. Nonetheless, Garrosh proved himself to be a competent military leader, who earned the admiration of his orcish followers through his dedication to martial prowess and frowning of dishonorable tactics like poison.
- See main article: Cataclysm
In addition to his commitments as leader of the Horde, Thrall was a dedicated shaman with close ties to the elements. When he noticed severe disturbances in the elemental spirits, Thrall knew that he had to step down as warchief in order to investigate the situation lest all of Azeroth fall into chaos. Given his options, Thrall believed that Garrosh was the clear choice for warchief. But the impulsive young Hellscream is much more aggressive than his diplomatic predecessor. With the equally tempestuous King Varian Wrynn back on the throne of Stormwind, it seems likely that the orcs will need their famed strength now more than ever.
Garrosh sought more land and resources for his Horde. Under his leadership, Horde soldiers thundered across the realm in the wake of the devastation of the Cataclysm. The Alliance meanwhile, under Varian Wrynn, didn't use the disaster to gain a military advantage.
After Theramore's Fall, all out war erupted between the Alliance and Horde in every corner of the world. Since then, heroes of the Alliance and the Horde have tested their mettle against the might of the sha, the Thunder King, and each other, but neither side could have predicted the boundless atrocities the Horde's warchief would commit.
Garrosh Hellscream's reckless thirst for power has led him to do the unthinkable: from beneath the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, he has seized the desiccated heart of an Old God to use as a tool of war, unleashing horrors upon the sacred valley. The brazen warchief has also turned against other members of the Horde to create a purely orcish force of his own. Now this "true Horde", composing of Garrosh's most loyal and fanatical followers, is amassing strength within Orgrimmar's iron ramparts. With Garrosh bent on total victory, he plans to demonstrate the potency of the true Horde by conquering not just the Alliance but the whole of Azeroth. His machinations were stopped in the Siege of Orgrimmar and Garrosh was arrested as a war criminal by the forces of Azeroth.
While some orcs have stood by Garrosh's side, the majority of orcs stood with the rebellion against Garrosh's vision of a "pure" Horde.
With the aid of the renegade bronze dragon Kairozdormu and the Black Prince Wrathion, Garrosh managed to escape from his trial at the Temple of the White Tiger. Using the [Vision of Time], Kairozdormu transported himself and the former Warchief to an alternate Draenor's past — a version of reality where Garrosh was never born — with the hope of constructing a new Horde. After murdering Kairoz with the Vision, Garrosh traveled to the nearby Warsong village to seek the alternate self of his father, Grommash.
Garrosh managed to convince Grommash to rally the orc clans of this alternate world into an Iron Horde, an army free from demonic influences who would ravage Azeroth with the iron star technology Garrosh had brought with him.
When Gul'dan summoned the clans to the Throne of Kil'jaeden to drink the blood of Mannoroth, Grom refused and slew the pit lord. Gul'dan and his Shadow Council agents were shackled beneath the Dark Portal to power the gateway between worlds. The invasion of Azeroth was pushed back by the combined forces of the Alliance and Horde adventurers, and led by the Archmage Khadgar the heroes of Azeroth ventured to Draenor in a suicide mission to stop the Iron Horde.
The Frostwolf clan led by Durotan and Draka, the Laughing Skull clan led by Kaz the Shrieker, and the draenei led by Yrel and the Council of Exarchs also joined forces with the outsiders against the Iron Horde, leading to a series of crushing defeats for the orc army.
Following the deaths of most of the orc warlords, Gul'dan approached Warchief Grommash with his offer once more. Grommash refused, but Kilrogg, Warlord of the Bleeding Hollow, accepted, delivering the Iron Horde into the hands of the Legion. Gul'dan used his fel magic to twist and corrupt the Iron Horde's stronghold of Hellfire Citadel, and within he successfully summoned Archimonde the Defiler. When Archimonde was once again defeated by the combined might of the Alliance and Horde, and with Draenor once again free from the Legion's influence, Durotan, Yrel and the now-freed Grommash vowed to rebuild their world together.
- See main article: Third Burning Legion Invasion of Azeroth
The orcs, now officially led by Varok Saurfang, defended Northern Barrens during the Legion Invasions. The Horde participated in the Battle for the Broken Shore which resulted in the death of Warchief Vol'jin and the appointment of Sylvanas Windrunner as his successor. The orcs then joined various class orders and fought against the Burning Legion on the Broken Isles.
Orcish society has always been characterized by hardy and rugged living. As a result they are staunch pragmatists, and never shy from killing if it will protect the future of the orc or his or her clan. All orcs, regardless of gender or station, are expected to pull their own weight and weakness is considered a grave liability. The weakness of one contaminates the strength of all, and it is punishable by the greatest humiliation an orc can receive: exile. Different orc clans however have different personalities; Thrall and the Frostwolves are notable for having brought a measure of mercy and compassion to the Horde, typically seen in Thrall's kinder treatment towards peons, who were once viewed as a despicable sub-race. On the other hand, clans such as the Warsong remain who still cling to the rigid, spartan beliefs valued in the first Horde as it was first established on Draenor. An orc family.
Yet regardless of their clan affiliations, orcs prize honor over all other things in life — first to bring honor to their clan (and by extension, the Horde) and secondly bringing honor to the self and to their sense of self-worth as an individual. Likewise, hospitality is considered one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed. The orcs and tauren have become fast and unswerving allies because the tauren gladly offered the orcs shelter in a strange new land as well as their assistance regardless of the cost to themselves.
Since Thrall took leadership of the Horde there is no discrimination between genders in orcish society. Women are able to pursue the same career choices as men, rise to positions of power and are even expected to answer to the call for battle just as men are. Strength (both physical and mental), courage, initiative and independence are prized traits in all orcs. Traditionally, children are seen as children of the parents, but are raised as children of the clan. However, because of the newly unified Horde and the current diaspora of individual orc families creating homes and settling down in various areas around Durotar, the Barrens and beyond, this typical clan scheme has been changing, and life is beginning to become more centered around the nuclear family rather than the greater clan.
One tradition of the orcs on Draenor was a ceremony for newborns of the clan. The infant's parents would stand in a body of water near the encampment with the entire clan observing from shore. The mother would hand the baby to the father, who would then raise the child to the sky and proclaim the child as his, through himself and his father, and present the baby for the clan's blessings. The clan chieftain would then hold the baby and declare the infant under their protection, with the hope that they bring honor and glory to the clan. The chieftain's heir would then give a blessing. Finally the Elder Shaman would ask for the blessing of the elemental and wild spirits, and the hope that the ancestors would watch over the newborn.
In some clans, if the child appears sickly or frail, they will instead be drowned, likely by the father. A common expression of scorn is that an orc "should have been drowned at birth". This is likely the reason that the parents would stand in the water when presenting a newborn. The Blackrock clan and Bonechewer clan were noted for doing this without any qualms. The Frostwolf clan however, were known to have rejected such cruel practices.
Orcs begin weapons training at age 6, when they are nearly the size of an adult human. When they reach 12, they are considered strong enough to fight and allowed to participate in hunting parties. This is also the age they become eligible for the om'riggor rite of adulthood and for the courting hunt, making them full-grown adults.
There is an old orc saying that goes "Don't pull a wyvern's tail". The ancient tribes of Draenor were known to harvest the Bloodbeaks' sharp beaks for crude tools and weapons.
Orcish children have a tradition where they sneak up on a mud jumper and whisper a secret they wish to come true. If the mud jumper doesn't jump, the wish will come true.
To an orc, blood was the ultimate tie. It bound oaths, commanded allegiances, and marked the true warrior in combat. To taint a blood bond was one of the worst crimes imaginable.
Prior to the Second War, the orcs were not seafarers and most of the superstitious clans feared the open sea. Despite this, Fleet Master Seahorn claims that aboard any vessel on Azeroth that's manned by at least one orc, one will hear sea shanties sung about a device capable of navigating the broad, rough ocean of Draenor, which the orcs used to keep their heading true in the choppiest of storms. Nowadays this fear seems to have been overcome.
The Dying Time was a period during the reign of Gul'dan and right after the genocide of the draenei.
Some orcs are still resentful for the humans putting them into internment camps.
As far back as orcish history has been recorded, shaman have been mentioned, and learning to speak with the elemental spirits of Draenor was a pivotal achievement in destiny for the orc clans. The first orcs to learn the ways of shamanism hailed from the Shadowmoon clan, but many clans claim the mythical "First Shaman" arose from their ranks, even though the truth is that no one is sure of his or her allegiance. While excavating in Outland, adventurers may discover a cowl fashioned out of a wolf's head. Despite its simplicity, the item gives off the impression of being old, important, and powerful, and seems ancient beyond time, its creator and original wearer having been lost to history.
On Draenor, young orcs were raised from birth to be stalwart, steadfast allies of the elemental spirits. When they came of age, fledgling shaman from around Draenor embarked on a pilgrimage to the Throne of the Elements to seek the blessings of the spirits and entered trances to attune their minds to the elements. The entire journey was filled with risk, but the ceremony itself was the most dangerous time of an orc's life. Those orcs who were welcomed by the elements returned to their clans as respected spiritual leaders whose counsel was highly valued, second only to the words of the clan chieftain. The bond between shaman crossed clan boundaries, allowing them peacefully mediate arguments and solve conflicts. However, not all orcs were found worthy during the ceremony. A few poor souls who were not strong or worthy enough accidentally glimpsed the realm of the Void and succumbed to terrible visions and unearthly whispers during what should have been the triumph of their young life, driving them insane. The ones who survived fled or were exiled from their clans and were forced to live in seclusion in the caves beneath Nagrand, becoming pale orcs. White skulls were tattooed on their faces, marking them as "dead" to their people. Orcish shaman long used this tattoo practice to similarly mark certain failed apprentices as "dead". When Ner'zhul fell into despair on the dying Draenor, his mind plagued by visions of death, he had such a skull tattoed on his own face.
Orcs instinctively revere the rugged forces of the natural elements, and as such, shaman are held in high regard. They generally have a close relationship with the nature elements and angering them is considered a grave offense. Over the ages, shaman like Thrall have communed with these spirits and, through patience and dedication, learned to soothe roaring infernos, bring rain to sun-scorched lands, and otherwise temper the elementals' ruinous influence on the world of Azeroth. Since Durotar is a barren place with little water or plant life, orcs are reliant on shamans to negotiate with the elementals to provide necessities such as drinking water from fallen rain or fire to warm their hearths.
Several orc shaman worship or at least acknowledge the Earth Mother, the benevolent creator deity primarily worshipped by the tauren.
In orcish culture, any shaman that has been spoken to by the spirits is given equal respect and honor regardless of age or experience.
The staple diet of the orcs - as well as trolls and ogres - is fresh meat. To satisfy this hunger for flesh, wild boars are trapped and bred for food. There are several pig farms in the areas south of Orgrimmar, and swine meat is commonly sliced up and and used to make bacon. During the First War, the orcs were also known to slaughter groks, some kind of livestock, while during the Second War, boar meat coupled with a tankard of bloodmead became a bonfire favorite among the hardened troops engaged in a long war march. The prickly fruits that grow on cacti in Durotar are also commonly eaten. Orcs eat various types of fish, including pike, golden stonefish, and sandy carp, as well as other types of aquatic life like clams and crawfish. Orgrimmar Nougat is a traditional Orgrimmar Hallow's End treat.
Adapted from Wowpedia