(Or, I really wanted to blather about why they're important to me)
This is likely going to be a long stream of thought journal entry that came to me. So, onwards to this mess.
First, I like orcs, as is obvious from the name and all. And anyone who's met me in chat. I like them from the big evil and chaotic ones like Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka and his Boyz of 40k fame to Ashnek and his marines in Grunts and Trollocs and Gamoreans. Then the Blizzard and Elder Scrolls orcs along with Eberron orcs and Shadowrun orcs and Nutt. Then the in-betweeners like Arkail from of Orcs and Men (heroically smashing those in the way of freedom) and the orcs of Orcs: First Blood, Super Mutants of Fallout and the Galra of Voltron.
As such I do like their cousins of sorts too, trolls and goblins and as they tend to be among the trio of general swarm and horde antagonists (when it's not giant bugs). Though they've certainly changed over the years, though they've always been a part of one of the realm where they vary quite greatly. This is still mainly about orcs and how they're being perceived. And how I like to perceive them, which will bring the obvious mentions of my own takes on them (Which comes to the ironic in my writing, as I tend to use elves, usually taking on orc practices).
A lot of why I like them seems to stem from the Always Chaotic Evil thing and not seeing things that way. That and always wanting to look at the other side and the outcasts. As I've said in a post or two, it's 'Why does it have to be this way?'. True, fantasy tends to be very traditional and doesn't seem to bend. So, it seems to start with bending, then eventually breaking to get the likes of what we have today. Tolkien may have helped push it and didn't seem to sure of them himself and D&D came along and codified and then Warhammer came and turned them into the big green maniacs and Warcraft took from that, to go with a common line. They've gone beyond it and I like it. As I figure Fantasy can do with some changes.
Though there is always at least a fairly main thread with all orcs. Even if they are semi-peaceful by nature, it's still a very bad idea to fight them. They will kick ass for the most part. Even if they eventually lose it will be at a heavy cost to those against them. They are tenacious and sometimes fungal and plant like and never go away. That may be another thing that draws me to them, as they tend to endure. They can be both nature savvy and tech savvy of the smoking and belching type sometimes with the Junkyard Wars thrown in for good measure. And made alongside their kin. I tend to be not so great at the mechanical and my building has more in common with that then anything else. I also do like their warrior aspect, insane or honorable, due to having a respect for soldiers and that they seem to be incredibly badass in a lot of settings.
My own orcs on Eld come with many variants, though primarily created to be an agrarian race to supply food to the trolls, they've been enslaved (as is also common in fiction) and eventually picked up on the warrior, soldier and knightly aspects. They are big, some growing as tall as ten feet, with Matrons topping out over Chief's. They have the ability to change gender/sex at will (same as other troll-kin, which yeah, they are an offshoot of trolls) and so can come in a one gender or no gender at all army, thus playing into the stories that have that. They come in hordes, have a respect for the forge and smithies and most would like to farm, thank you very much. This will not stop them from killing someone who tries to kill them. They also at the current time hold the bulk of the main army of their horde as they populate fast enough (litters of up to seven or more) to keep up and mature fast enough that they can be battle ready and blooded by fourteen. Though they can also live for hundreds of years if they survive, making the likes of Matron Fisheater not only a deadly combatant but rather smart and capable or wreaking untold havoc if pushed to it.
I also have the Urik for another setting of mine, which are basically orcs in space. Until they themselves were conquered, they ruled a portion of the known galaxy under their sway and even thousands of years later they are usually found as soldiers and bodyguards. The main character is an Urik and shows all of the skills they originally had. From overtaking entire planets through cunning and application of smarts and the elites to gaining favor in the Empress Court and eventually becoming the bodyguard to her and the general of several entire armies of Urik.
Both of mine do have the general thread obviously, as I am a fan of them therefore will happily use them. Also to note, it's really hard to find a good orc romance. Rambling done for now. May continue on with this topic later.