Set in the fantasy kingdom of Azeroth, players command one of two warring factions as they fight for supremacy: the Human inhabitants (led by King Llane of Stormwind) and the invading Orcish horde (led by Warchief Blackhand of the Blackrock clan).
As one of the earliest games in the traditional RTS genre, Warcraft has players controlling units from overhead to build encampments, gather resources, and tactfully maneuver warriors to conquer the enemy's force. The game includes two single-player campaigns (one for each faction) and a "custom scenario mode" (a simple skirmish option for either player-vs-AI or one-on-one networked multiplayer games). The game's mechanics and lore would be significantly improved in its sequels Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness and Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, as well as the MMORPG World of Warcraft.
The game was later re-released twice in CD format (once in 1995 and once in 1996), the latter version adding Macintosh support, new cinematics, bonus voice acting, and redbook audio support (used in the Mac version only), while removing manual-based copy protection. Initial European versions were published by Interplay and a later budget European release (of the original CD version) was published by Sold-Out.
In Warcraft, players must lead their armies to victory against a single computer-controlled or human-controlled opponent.
The standard mode of play follows the modern real-time strategy rhythm of resource gathering and base building, as players must have to constantly collect lumber and gold (through their worker units) to both maintain their bases and train soldiers for combat. While some missions in the single-player campaign have a unique objective to complete, usually the objective is to completely wipe out the enemy forces.
- Peasant (Human) / Peon (Orc) - A vulnerable worker unit with no offensive capabilities. They harvest resources and build structures for their faction. When buildings are damaged, they can repair it (at the cost of resources).
- Footman (Human) / Grunt (Orc) - The basic melee unit of each faction. Cheap and efficient in numbers, they make good early-game scouts and front-line units. Their weapon and shield strengths can be improved with upgrades from their respective Blacksmiths.
- Archer (Human) / Spearman (Orc) - The basic ranged unit of each faction. Unlike other units, they require lumber to train. Multiple archers are key to locking down locations. Their weapon strength can be improved from their respective Lumber Mills while their shield strength can be improved from their respective Blacksmiths.
- Cleric (Human) / Necrolyte (Orc) - The basic spell-casting unit of each faction. While they are unarmored and vulnerable, they have a ranged magic attack and unique spells that must be learned from their Church/Temple beforehand. All attacks and spells require Mana, which is regenerated over time. Clerics can heal friendly units and make them invisible until they attack, while Necrolytes can raise dead bodies (before they decompose) to a short-lived and weak skeleton warrior and make friendly units invincible (until they attack, sacrificing half of their current HP while doing so). Both of these spellcasters have a spell that reveals the location of any part of the map.
- Knight (Human) / Raider (Orc) - The advanced melee unit of each faction. Expensive to train, they are heavily armored and efficient in riding their trusted mount (horse for Knight, wolf for Raider), making them both the toughest fighters and the fastest scouts. Their weapon and shield strengths can be improved with upgrades from their respective Blacksmiths while the speed of their mounts can be improved from their Stable/Kennel.
- Catapult (Both) - The advanced ranged unit of each faction. Requires a lot of resources (both gold and lumber) to construct, but can destroy most units and structures instantly. However, they are slow, useless at close range, and are prone to friendly fire.
- Conjurer (Human) / Warlock (Orc) - The advanced spell-casting unit of each faction. Like the basic spellcasters, they are unarmored and vulnerable, and must research spells beforehand (from their respective Towers). Both of these spellcasters have the ability to summon both expendable creatures (Scorpions for the Conjurer and Spiders for the Warlock) and powerful monstrosities (Water Elementals for the Conjurer and Daemons for the Warlock) to temporarily fight for them, as well as the ability to summon a devastating area-of-effect attack (a fierce firestorm for the Conjurer and a poisonous cloud for the Warlock).
Both the single-player campaigns and the single-player Dungeon maps include neutral units to defeat, including ogres, brigands, fire elementals, and slime creatures. While the campaigns do not include special Hero units like its successors, each faction must rescue an important unique unit at some point (the hero Lothar for the humans, the assassin Garona for the orcs) and must defeat a unique unit at some point (the powerful warlock Medivh for the humans, and the traitorous Griselda for the orcs).
- 386 - 20 Mhz or higher;
- 4 MB RAM;
- VGA Graphics Card;
- 100% compatible Soundblaster sound card;
- Mouse and Keyboard.