The first choice any player makes in World of Warcraft is to fight for the Horde or the Alliance. From the original orc invasion of Azeroth known as “The First War” depicted in 1994 Warcraft: Orcs and Humansthe conflict persisted in various forms for much of World of Warcraft‘s story.
After the events of Shadowland, the conflict between these factions has seemingly never been less relevant. The Horde has grown from a mere collection of rampaging orcs corrupted by demonic influence to an organized and relatively modern society. It no longer has a single warchief at its head, opting instead for a ruling council made up of representatives from each of its member races. The Horde and Alliance have become increasingly cooperative over the years, fighting together against bigger threats that have shown there are more important things than petty turf disputes. Even the game mechanics stray away from faction identities, with cross-faction content introduced by Blizzard.
World of Warcraft factions have outgrown war
World of Warcraftthe expansion of Battle for Azeroth saw major fighting between the two factions, mostly instigated by Horde warlord Sylvanas Windrunner. Sylvanas had plotted to bring about a great war that would result in as many deaths as possible on both sides as part of her plan to feed the souls of the Jailer of the Maw. His genocide in Teldrassil was successful, leading Horde and Alliance forces to decimate each other afterwards. Both sides lost the majority of their marines and suffered countless casualties. The Horde replaced Sylvanas’ warchief position with a ruling council to prevent this kind of manipulation in the future, hoping to avoid another devastating war.
More World of Warcraft the expansions have a similar theme: the Horde and Alliance continue their conflict for a while before the next Big Bad arrives and forces them to face a greater threat. Whether it’s the Black Dragonflight, the Old Gods, the Scourge and its Lich King, the invading Burning Legion or the Sha in Pandaria, time and time again the two factions have had to put their differences in aside for the sake of Azeroth. A looming threat that will require the attention of both factions is the Void Lords, creators of the Old Gods, who have been influencing events behind the scenes. The Horde and Alliance are unlikely to deal with another war over lands like Ashenvale when they face such a serious threat as the Void.
Game mechanics in World of Warcraft put less emphasis on choosing factions
As World of Warcraft evolved over the years, one of its goals was to modernize and streamline the game’s systems. One of the most notable additions was the mercenary mode added in Warlords of Draenor. This system allows players to enter PvP battlegrounds as members of the opposing faction, but only as a solution to population imbalance. Still, it marked the beginning of the game, blurring the lines between the factions. Later, the identity of the faction was overshadowed by the Class Order Hall of Legionwhere players of both factions would gather according to their chosen class. Shadowlands’ Alliances are a secondary faction choice, housing both Horde and Alliance in their halls and playing a central role in player identity.
The latest change to come World of Warcraft Perhaps the biggest change to faction wars to date: the addition of faction raids. arrive with Shadowland‘ Patch 9.2.5, players can team up with members of the opposing faction to tackle dungeons, raids, and even Torghast. Players of all factions will be able to communicate and trade by participating in PvE activities together. A major step up from the problem-solving nature of Mercenary Mode, this cross-faction system will not allow players to magically take on the appearance of the opposing faction. This will definitely be considered an immersion break for many players, as part of the faction system includes the different languages that each race speaks and understands. A human player attempting to talk to an orc player would normally come across as complete gibberish.
However, as players have grown in power over nearly two decades, so have their enemies. While waging war over chunks of land might have been appropriate for the Horde and Alliance of old, both sides faced off against literal gods and the afterlife itself. With more dangerous enemies on the horizon and many lessons learned, cooperation between the Horde and the Alliance is likely to intensify as the story develops.
World of Warcraft is available on PC.
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