||This article contains too many or too-lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (June 2015)|
Illidan Stormrage in Heroes of the Storm
|First appearance||Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos|
|Created by||Blizzard Entertainment|
|Voiced by||Liam O'Brien
Matthew Yang King
Illidan Stormrage is a fictional character who appears in the Warcraft series of video games by Blizzard Entertainment. Born a night elf and a former Demon Hunter, his pursuit of power led him to commit several horrific acts against his own people, which earned him the nickname "the Betrayer". Self-proclaimed the Lord of Outland, he also defected to the Burning Legion and became a partial demon himself. The character is one of the most notable and popular in the Warcraft franchise and has received positive critical reception from gamers. Illidan is voiced by Liam O'Brien in World of Warcraft, and by Matthew Yang King in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne.
In an interview with Warcraft developers Scott Mercer and Greg Street, Mercer mentioned that "we realized [...] Illidan had appeared many times in the concept art and the other material surrounding the expansion, but very few players ever actually saw him in the game itself. To most heroes, Illidan was a bit like Sauron from The Lord of the Rings; he was an omnipresent evil that they would hear about, but never actually meet in a face-to-face confrontation." This resulted in the developers putting in more effort to ensure that players experience "more personal connection[s]" with characters such as Illidan.
Role in Warcraft
Illidan Stormrage was the first Demon Hunter. The night elf was born before the War of the Ancients, a conflict that erupted over 10,000 years prior to the Third War, when the chaotic Burning Legion reinvaded Azeroth. Driven by his thirst for power (and his desire to impress Tyrande Whisperwind), Illidan made a pact with the Legion to secure the entrance of its leader, Sargeras, into Azeroth through the might of an artifact called the Demon Soul and the energy of the Well of Eternity. The efforts of Malfurion Stormrage, Illidan's twin brother, disrupted the Legion's plot, with Illidan himself turning to his side and assisting; the demons were defeated. After recreating the now destroyed Well of Eternity, the reason for the demonic invasion, Illidan was imprisoned. Illidan earned the title of Betrayer during the War of the Ancients as throughout the millennia of his life he has deceived friends and foes alike for power.
During the Third War, Tyrande released Illidan from millennia of imprisonment, hoping that the Betrayer would redeem himself by battling a returned Burning Legion. Though Illidan fought to defend his people, he soon slipped into darkness: after absorbing the energies of the demonic Skull of Gul'dan, Illidan became a demon, an act for which he was banished by Malfurion. Fleeing the wrath of the night elves, the twice-condemned Illidan allied himself once again with the only entity that would accept him—the Legion. Illidan's demonic masters sent him to destroy the Lich King, who had broken free of their influence, but Illidan failed to do so. To protect himself from the Legion's vengeance, Illidan hid on Outland, a destroyed world that he would eventually seek to rule with the help of Lady Vashj, Kargath Bladefist, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, and Akama. Illidan is a raid boss and the primary antagonist to the World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade. He was slain by Maiev Shadowsong, his former jailer-turned-prisoner, in a coup d'état initiated by Akama and adventurers. Illidan will make a return in Legion, the sixth expansion to World of Warcraft.
Illidan appears as a playable character in the crossover video game Heroes of the Storm. In the game, he can use his abilities to mark his targets; attacks against marked targets reduce his cooldowns and he also moves quickly to pursue his foes.
Like many other prominent Warcraft characters, Illidan also appears as a collectible card in the game Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. Additionally, he also appears as an opponent the player must defeat in the tutorial phase of the game.
The character has received mostly positive critical reception. Empire listed Illidan #17 on their list of "the 50 greatest video game characters", writing "Illidan was a force to be reckoned with. By the time you and 24 eager guildies had trekked to the heart of Shadowmoon Valley and stood (attuned) at the gates of the Black Temple, ready to face him, it was all the average warrior could do not to soil his chainmail pants." He was also listed #5 on Matthew Rossi of Engadget's "Top 10 magnificent bastards of Warcraft", since "his actions during and after the war were instrumental in the defeat of the Legion and the preservation of magic. If not for Illidan, there would have been no Nordrassil and no Well atop Hyjal, and Hyjal itself would simply be a very tall mountain. Even after enduring a 10,000-year imprisonment for his actions, Illidan managed to take out a key presence in the Legion by himself and claimed the power of the Skull of Gul'dan in the process." Rossi further wrote that "He is one of the greatest manipulators of arcane power ever to live, the first to ever seek to stalk and kill demons, a prodigy and a madman. He betrayed his own people in order to save them and the entire world, but he always served himself first. Selfish, mercurial, brilliant, resentful and tormented by himself, Illidan Stormrage helped make Azeroth everything it is today." The encounter with Illidan at the Black Temple raid made the list in Digital Spy's "The 10 best moments from World of Warcraft's first decade", with Andy Joannou writing "Before then came Illidan, the final boss encounter for the Black Temple raid. A fan favourite, Black Temple is hailed as one of the raids to define World of Warcraft."
While criticising the constant killing off of villains in Warcraft, Rossi also thought that Illidan's death was unfortunate, as "touted and hyped as the major threat of The Burning Crusade, Illidan's death atop the Black Temple is a waste of a major lore figure not because the fight isn't worthy of him or the culmination of an entire tier of raiding, but because with the release of Sunwell Plateau we find that Illidan wasn't actually the major threat—in fact, he was a stewing, impotently insane figure obsessing over his defeat at the end of Warcraft III and it was Kil'Jaeden who posed the true threat all along." Darren Brown of Engadget mentioned the character as one of the "ultimate boss encounter[s]" in Warcraft. Yannick Lejacq of Kotaku listed the references to the relationship between Tyrande and Illidan as one of the positive aspects of Heroes of the Storm, saying "Tyrande Whisperwind and Illidan Stormrage have a tenuous romantic past from their days together in World of Warcraft [...] It’s a little nod to the World of Warcraft fans playing Heroes."
A popular character, Illidan has also often been featured in various merchandise related to the Warcraft franchise. This includes figurines of the character, as well as Halloween costumes. Illidan is also a popular character to cosplay as.
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- Illidan Stormrage at Wowpedia, World of Warcraft wiki