Orc stories was first known to in Old English writing as well as Norse mythology and they are of which prompt characters in fantasy that we know today.
According to J.R.R. Tolkien he described the Orc as a race of savage barbaric warriors but still shared some qualities of a human like its humanoid appearance and height. However much did they differ, as they had big pointy ears, a snout like nose, sharp canine teeth and piercing eyes. Their personality wasn't much different from their appearance as they were hardy warriors that didn't mind death, they were loyal to their masters, competitive to others of their race, ambitious but yet barbaric and occasionally like to have a lunch of human flesh.
Their origins are a mystery to most but only those few know of their upbringing. Orcs were once Elves but tortured by Morgoth and shaped into his image, though the origin does change from different story this is the classical origin.
Lord of the Rings
In the Lord of the rings universe Orcs appearer as how Tolkien described them. It took 587 years for breading the Orcs for their first battle but they were weak and unexperienced, but when Sauron took over he saw potential for his personal gain and were breed again but this time there were no mistakes. Over the years they become respected and feared warriors carrying out their master's plans to gain the one ring and caused countless wars and many deaths among man. All went well for them and soon even better, they took over Isengard, Moria and Mordor nearly most of Middle Earth; a new race of the Orc was breed with the first successes of Lurtz a superior to his brothers and a first to the Uruk-Hai. Nothing could stop them, until the day of the Fellowship and the backbone of men, the Orcs plans were foiled and the final battle at the gates of Mordor ended it all as with the destruction of the one ring. This caused the near extinction of the Orcs as without a master they fled ending their regime and starting peace in Middle Earth.
The prequel to Lord of the Rings showed the tales of a young Bilbo Baggins on adventure with Gandalf and the company of Dwarves. The Orcs had a main part as the villains of the story as they were involved both past and present, they were the ones responsible for the death of the dwarf king in the battle of Moria in which started the rivalry between the dwarf prince Thorin Oakenshield and the one responsible for the death of his Grandfather and father the pale Orc, Azog the Defiler. Driven by anger Thorin attacked Azog which led to the Orc breaking his shield leaving Thorin with only a oak branch and a axe, the dwarf striked and cut off Azog's arm. With their leader to near death the rest of the Orcs fled back to whence they came.
When Bilbo is with the Dwarves and Gandalf on their journey to reclaim their home land, they are spotted by Orc scouts who report to their master. Whilst Gandalf guides the Dwarves to their location, the Orcs make a surprise attack on them leading to a fight in which the Orcs fail by the coming help of elves. Reaming Orcs report to their master whom is revealed to be none other than Azog (who from his last encounter with Thorin is left scared all over his face and body as well as a hook for a arm.) He does not take their failure well and proceeds to feed the survivors to their Wargs and places a bounty on the Dwarves.
With this action it causes others to find the Dwarves for the bounty. When Bilbo and the others are sleeping they are taken down a trap door to a underground Goblin civilization. They are apprehend by the Goblin King who tells Thorin how glad he is to get the bounty and that a old enemy of his is still alive, though Thorin denies him he is true and tells him how he survived. But that doesn't stop a massive fight between the Goblins and Dwarves in which they live to tell the tale.
After their encounter with the Goblins, nightfall approaches and they therefore set up camp. However, shrieks of Wargs are heard leading up to Azog and his fellow Orcs to battle for another time against his arch enemy. However his plans yet again foiled yet has not stopped him from seeking his goal, to kill the Dwarven prince.
In the Elder Scrolls we see a much different type of Orc, the Orsimer. They originated from the province of Orsinium located within Tamerial being under the guide of the Empire but yet they did not accept each other as their own. Yet in the Third Era Emperor Uriel IV Septim improved this and Orcs and Humans accepted each other as they now share their home land with the Bretons in High Rock.
Their skin is varied from light green to dark brown and have a muscular stature in both men and women. They are the only race in which display tusks and bone ridges. Yet this race is born without the gift of magic like their Mer relatives they instead are some of the toughest warriors in Tamerial that exceed in combat. However they are in some ways outcasts especially with their elven brothers as they see them as cursed elves ,an abomination.
Their religion and culture resembles a Samurai as they follow the code of Malacath and as of religion must die honorably in battle. In Skyrim they live in Strongholds which are governed by Chieftains, each Orc has a specific job to carry out. From birth every Man, Woman and child are trained to fight and defend. When a crime is committed the criminal must pay a blood price where they are bleed until the victim is satisfied.
Overall these Orcs are accepted into society but yet are warriors whom fight together with the Legion side by side. They are not like Tolkien's and are more peaceful, wiser and respectable to others, yet they are fighters and political advisors for the Emperor.
World of Warcraft
These Greenskins are the race from Azeroth, a civilization of tribes built in the desert. However from their homeland they were mysteriously transported through a gateway and introduced to man. Since then have they felt the desire to kill them and take what is rightfully theirs. Before this though they were peaceful and were very cultured people, but the tribes were corrupted by the Burning Legion as soldiers for their army. The Orcs were able to overcome this though by their young war hero Thrall and moved to their new home in the Kalimdor where they started a new nation, the Durotar. But from these events the Orcs were dramatically changed as they sought not for conquest but of survival in this new world, the only way to do this was to become a part of the horde, a diverse alliance of evil races including the likes of: Trolls, Undead, Blood Elves, Goblins, Mag'har, Stonemaul and much more to overcome the forces of good. Once they were saw as peaceful creatures but now savage and barbaric.
In this reality there are two types of Orc, one the classical version and the other a sci-fi futuristic version.