The night elven civilization has thrived in central Kalimdor, a supercontinent in the world Azeroth. The Highborne Empire, a magnificent nation ruled by the beautiful Queen Azshara, was the peak of the world's greatness. Their seat of power was at the Well of Eternity, a massive pool of arcane waters. South of the Highborne Empire sat Pandaria, a land of mysteries ruled by Emperor Shaohao. The Highborne night elves of the Highborne Empire were exceptionally well talented in the arts of arcane magic, thus allowing them to harness the powers of the Well of Eternity to use at their disposal.
A certain night elf mage, Xavius, became aware of an ancient lord of darkness, namely Sargeras, who was thought to be a god by some of the night elf magi. Xavius, however, was not convinced, and warned Queen Azshara of Sargeras. As Xavius was the queen's High Councilor, she took his word and ordered that the Well of Eternity be closed off to all. Immediately, Xavius took action, and saw to it that the deed was completed. However, he was not aware of several of his mages committing mutiny by devising a plan to open a rift in the Well of Eternity to allow for Sargeras, their god, to pass through and enter Azeroth. They worked in secrecy, and eventually opened a portal to the Twisting Nether, allowing for the first waves of demons to enter Azeroth. Led by Mannoroth and Hakkar the Houndmaster, the Burning Legion quickly took the night elven capital Zin-Azshari. During their attack, Xavius, Queen Azshara, and those loyal escaped to Suramar.
Meanwhile, as the night elves allied with the Burning Legion worked to open a portal for Sargeras, a summit was held in Suramar. Many night elven lords were invited to attend, including Kur'talos Ravencrest of Black Rook Hold. After being informed of what happened in Zin-Azshari, many of the lords went to ally themselves with the Burning Legion, having seen their might, but those loyal remained in Suramar to devise a plan to stop Xavius' magi. Lord Ravencrest volunteered to lead the charge against the demons, should the time come. He made for Black Rook Hold immediately, in order to plan their defenses. As Queen Azshara and Grand Magistrix Elisande remained in Suramar, Xavius left with Ravencrest on his way to Val'sharah to hunt down a certain young night elf he had heard of: Illidan.
Illidan Stormrage was a druid-in-training, whose lack of interest in learning the arts of druidism left him as an outcast. He preferred to practice arcane magics than that of nature. His brother, Malfurion, was a student under Cenarius with great potential who, unlike his brother, had a great love for the wild. Illidan had been born with amber eyes, which signified a great destiny among the night elves as it was extremely rare. One day, he was met by a night elf mage called Xavius while in Lorlathil, and after a brief talk, Illidan became his student after learning that he was a mage for Queen Azshara. Meanwhile, word reached Malfurion and his lover, Tyrande Whisperwind - a childhood friend of the two brothers - that Zin-Azshari had fallen to an unknown demonic force known as the Burning Legion. After consulting with Cenarius, Malfurion set out for Black Rook Hold as Tyrande took her leave for the Temple of Elune.
At Black Rook Hold, Malfurion was welcomed by Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest himself. The young druid informed Ravencrest that he had been directed by Cenarius himself to aid him in his endeavors. Meanwhile, Illidan and Xavius arrived at Black Rook. Illidan, being arrogant, was displeased to see his brother present, but set aside his complaints in order to aid in any way he could. That day, the Resistance was formed in Black Rook Hold, led by Lord Kur'talos Ravencrest. His second-in-command would be Desdel Stareye, a soldier under Ravencrest, and Malfurion would act as Ravencrest's advisor during this war. The night elves began launching campaigns across the Highborne Empire, pushing back the invading Legion forces toward Zin-Azshari.
Not long after the Resistance was formed, Suramar came under attack by the Burning Legion. Night elves loyal to the Burning Legion conjured portals to the Twisting Nether, allowing for battle-ready demons to pour through and lay siege to the great city. The Resistance rode southeast to aid Suramar, who were on the brink of being overrun. While they made it to Suramar, they were forced to garrison at Tel'anor and slowly make their way to Suramar City. Slowly they made their way toward the city, albeit it was too slow, and soon enough Suramar would be overrun before they could even make it. Through the battle, Illidan Stormrage began to see the power of the Burning Legion, and that they were not facing an easy target, but rather a formidable one that could prove to be too strong for even the might of the Highborne Empire. When the demons were about to break through the night elf defenses in Suramar City, night elf warriors from Azsuna arrived in Suramar's bay, and began to push back the demons toward Tel'anor. The two night elf fronts surrounded the demons from both sides, and eventually forced them to retreat south.
The Resistance met with the Faronaar night elves, led by Prince Farondis himself. Ravencrest thanked him for his actions, and following this Farondis requested that the Azsuna night elves be able to join the Resistance. After the request was accepted, the night elf forces moved in Suramar, and saw to it that Queen Azshara and the Grand Magistrix were safe. The two were moved to a safe location, and the Resistance withdrew and traveled west for Val'sharah. During their journey, Illidan and Xavius spoke about the Burning Legion, noting their great power. It had only been thanks to Farondis' surprise appearance that Suramar had been saved - had they not arrived they would have failed their mission, and both Elisande and Azshara would have been doomed to die. Soon, Illidan found himself rethinking his choice in not only joining the Resistance, but also becoming a student under Xavius as a wielder of the arcane.
Once the Resistance returned to Black Rook, they found that it was under attack by the Burning Legion. Suramar had merely been a diversion while the demons took this advantage to attack the Resistance's base of operations during their absence. The weary soldiers of the Resistance rushed to defend the keep, and were seemingly able to quickly repel their attack. Desdel Stareye reported that the attack came suddenly, but under his leadership they had managed to hold them back until the Resistance forces returned. Once their recovery began, a night elf warrior by the name of Jarod Shadowsong informed Kur'talos Ravencrest that he witnessed Stareye die in combat to a demon known as Azzinoth. Shadowsong was then questioned, and asked how Stareye spoke to Ravencrest. Jarod believed that they had a traitor among them, but he was swiftly denounced and thrown into a dungeon; Ravencrest believed Jarod was the traitor he himself had mentioned. While in prison, Illidan visited Jarod and questioned him about Stareye's death. It seemed that he had believed the young night elf warrior, and so Shadowsong proceeded to explain in full detail how the event had occurred. He had also said that after the battle, the body had disappeared. After thanking Jarod, Illidan returned to his quarters and began to prepare for a journey to Zin-Azshari.
Days later, Desdel Stareye approached Lord Ravencrest in his chambers, and reported that the Burning Legion was preparing for another attack on Black Rook Hold, according to their scouts. Ravencrest went to see this for himself. From his balcony, Stareye revealed his true colors as he impaled Ravencrest with his elven blade, and proceeded to transform into a massive nathrezim. The night elf commander fell from the tower as the sky turned green; indeed, the Legion was coming. Those that saw what happened above from below were able to catch Ravencrest, and found that he yet lived, although without treatment he would die. As he was taken to safety, Legion infernals attacked the Black Rook courtyard below. Legion forces began marching on the gates of Black Rook Hold, and soldiers of the Resistance rushed to defend the keep. Amidst the combat, Malfurion freed Jarod from the dungeons below, admitting that he had been right, as Desdel Stareye had betrayed Ravencrest. The two rushed to aid their companions in battle.
Meanwhile, Illidan arrived in Zin-Azshari, and with a plan in hand. He would feign allying himself with the Burning Legion's forces in Zin-Azshari, and work to destroy the Well of Eternity in order to stop the invasion. Soon, the portal being produced by the night elf mages would be complete, and Sargeras would be able to enter Azeroth and annihilate it. After meeting with Commander Varo'then, who had been promoted since Azshara escaped, Illidan was allowed to commune with Sargeras. The Dark Titan bestowed upon Illidan demonic powers that enhanced his abilities in combat. His eyes were now burnt out, and tattoos now ran on his torso, and he decided to use these powers to destroy the Legion. He began by covertly assassinating Azzinoth, a doomguard commander, and taking his glaives. He began devising a plan while in Zin-Azshari to destroy the Well of Eternity, in order to save Azeroth.
At Black Rook Hold, the Resistance forces began pushing back the demons with all their might when arrived the Suramar elves. Among the chaos that ensued, the nathrezim responsible for wounding Ravencrest joined the battle in the Black Rook Hold courtyard, and it was to Jarod Shadowsong's blade that he fell. The greatest elven alliance ever created was what repelled the attack on Black Rook Hold, and allowed the Resistance to gain a chance against the Legion. Elisande and Azshara themselves had traveled to Black Rook to meet the Resistance leaders, and plot to lay siege to Zin-Azshari in an attempt to take it back, and hopefully repel the entire invasion of Azeroth. During their quick recovery time, scouts reported sighting Illidan Stormrage in Zin-Azshari, appearing different and almost more demonic. Malfurion Stormrage was especially intrigued, and demanded to know what his brother had done - he only hoped for the best for Illidan.
A single week later, a summit was to be held at the palace of Prince Farondis. There, several elven forces - including but not limited to the elves of Black Rook, Suramar, Azsuna, and Vashj'ir - began to devise a plan to lay siege to Zin-Azshari, in one final attempt to liberate it from the demons, and close the portal being formed in the Well of Eternity before it was too late. This was their last chance before their doom. Just prior to the summit, the Sisterhood of Elune arrived, led by the priestess Dejahna, and Tyrande Whisperwind. In the meeting that ensued, it was finalized that the Resistance would split into two groups, one led by Malfurion and Kur'talos, the other by Farondis and Jarod, two assault Zin-Azshari from either side. They would work their way into the city center, and a handful of their more elite would venture into the palace to stop the summoning of Sargeras before it was too late.