Thursday, August 9, 2012

An Alliance Tauren? A Horde Dwarf?

This is a faction alignment tin foil hat addition suggesting that we might be able to play any race on either side some day, possibly soon.

Could we ever see an alliance tauren or a horde dwarf?  It might be possible if the pandas are a test to see how one race would work on both sides of the fence.  The idea that any race can choose the side they wish to fight for is something people have considered for a long time, probably as long as the game has existed to begin with.  But will it ever happen?

I can see it happening if the panda test goes well.  They will most likely look at feedback on the forums and see how people are adjusting to having the same race in both factions.  If it seems to cause little or no problems we might see more races moving to making a decision instead of just being assigned a faction.

But could all races do that?  Goblins are a race that you could easily see going to either side.  A large portion of them are neutral to begin with so it would not be really all that hard to believe.  So the alliance goblins are not bilgewater, easy to explain away right?  But outside of goblins no other races seem to be that easily integrated into the the opposite faction.

I would think that orcs and humans would never be able to choose sides.  After all, the game is orcs vs. humans so having orcs and humans being allowed to choose sides seems to be against the whole concept of the war.  The other races might be all up for grabs however.  As they are just aligning themselves with either the orc empire of the human kingdom.

There are a few sticky points however.  I can see Draenei never wanting to be with orcs, for obvious reasons.  Old prejudices die hard and what the orcs did to them is not about to be wiped from their minds any time soon.  Same goes for the worgen and the forsaken.  I can't rightfully see a worgen wanting to be part of any group that would align themselves with the forsaken.

But that is where you need to suspend belief if something like this would happen.  It would not be the worgen moving to the horde, it would be one single worgen moving there.  The worgen as a race would still be alliance aligned.  But single people from the race would choose to move to the other side.  Perhaps they believe in the hordes fight and can put aside their hatred of the forsaken enough to fight on the side of the fight they believe in most instead of blindly following their races leaders.

I can see blizzard doing something like this but not having it actually be done in game.  I can see them adding it as a cash shop offer.  Just like a normal faction change, but a faction change while keeping your race.  Perhaps they would charge 10 more to cross the race/faction lines.

It could of course be added in game as a quest line to denounce your faction and join the other.  If they ever decide to go that way at least.

From my point of view, some races should not be able to play both sides.  Humans and orcs, as mentioned.  Without a doubt, I can see them not being able to switch sides.  But all other races would be up for switching.  While there are some issues, like I mentioned, there is really nothing to bind people to their side any longer.  People play both sides.  I have max level characters on both sides myself and know many that do.

Somewhere along the line I think the game lost the feeling of real faction allegiance and with pandas playing both sides it could blur the line even more in the future. 

If blizzard sees the pandas going well do you think we might see other races playing both sides of the fence?


  1. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    On an individual basis, character by character, I could see it working for any race to be either faction. The language problem would be simplified to the faction language (orcish or common) with no ability to communicate in the original faction languages. There are NPC examples of cross-faction grouping already, such as the Argent Crusade among others. So the idea itself is not that big a jump as it might first seem.

    The real question is whether or not Blizzard would ever consider such. I personally suspect not, but I am hopeful that I am wrong. As the guild leader, I would be glad to welcome Tauren, Orcs, Trolls, Goblins, Blood Elfs, and even undead into the guild. But I doubt I will ever get that chance.

    1. If they ever do it I hope they keep some faction specific. Just for story sake. If everyone is jumping back and forth it makes for less of a world war and more of two leaders not liking each other and trying to see who they can get to side with them. So to speak of course.

  2. It's an interesting idea. In the novels, both sides regularly employ spies - Thrall learns of the Draenei's arrival on Azeroth from a human spy.

    Worgen/Forsaken - I think it's important to differentiate that Forsaken means a follower of Sylvanas, so it's impossible for a FORSAKEN to join the Alliance. But an undead could, like Leonid has joined the Argents. They'd get persecuted and discriminated against, sure, but like Leonid's position in the Argents, it's possible for them to be accepted.

    There's also the Blood Elf girl from the comics who is close friends with Broll and Varian, and doesn't trust the Horde.

    This is actually something I came across while writing the Traitors post way back - there are no FACTION traitors, just "world" traitors. Kael, Staghelm, Benedictus - they don't betray their faction, they betray "good" and go evil. We never see a Horde individual join the Alliance, or vice versa. I think there'd be a lot of potential to such a move, honestly.

    1. You are very right. They betray everyone, not their faction. It would make for some great story telling, and a lot of fan outrage of course, if there were some defections.

      Does blizzard have the guts to do so?

      A forsaken could not break ranks? I never knew that. I mean I knew they had to vow to her to become forsaken or leave and walk the life of undead, but never guessed they could not change their mind.

    2. What I meant is, Forsaken is not a race, but undead is. Forsaken is just an affiliation. It's like being an American. If you want, an American human could move to Canada and become a Canadian instead of an American, just like a Forsaken undead could switch from being a Forsaken to a member of the Argent Dawn (or whatever faction).

    3. Ah, I got you. So they can change and that is the reason we see undead in other things. We just call the ones connected to the horde forsaken.

  3. Blizzard goes Bananas in spades, adds third Faction!

    And then we'd get to watch the "War" end as massive numbers of players (and almost everyone on PVE servers) defect to the neutral faction so they can just play the game and leave Drama King and Drama Warchief and Emo Crazylady to their own devices...

    1. I actually wrote something about a third faction a while back.

      It would never work because as I designed it the trolls and taurens would leave the horde and the night elves and worgen would leave the alliance and make their own third faction.

      This will never happen for one reason. There would be no alliance or horde druids left as they are the only four druid races.

      Oddly enough, those are the I can see leaving their factions if some shake up were to ever happen.

  4. Anon, Grumpy's GL:

    A different look at reputations could have been implemented in the game from the start. Instead of being a matter predetermined by the game, it could have been a matter of individual choice. The neutral goblins v the bloodsails would be an example of how this could have been done.

    Say an orc warrior starts off with only the Oggrimar faction, starting at neutral. A number of quests could lead to gaining favor (reputation) with another race, including ones that lead to an orc swearing allegiance to King Varian. An undead who leaves the starting zone would have the option of not swearing to follow Sylvanas but instead another leader instead...say the Argent Crusade instead of the Forsaken.

    Using four colors to signify the hostility level of one faction to another would still make PvP easy enough. Red is outright hostile, Orange is ill-will and possible hostile action, yellow is neutral and generally ignored though hostile actions may occur out in the wild, while green would be friendly with only dueling allowed for combat.

    Warfare would be more likely in such a system, as guilds favoring a faction such as Stormwind would oppose those who follow Oggrimar or ones who supported the forces of the Lich King or the Twilight Cult. Having such a system would allow players to choose factions such as the Twilight Cultists or others such as the Defias, which in the current system is completely impossible.

    This would have provided a much more complex system of loyalties, as well as a more realistic style of representing the world of Azeroth. Guilds would be associated with one or more factions, attracting members of like reputations.

    Ah well, it would be an impossible system to ret-con into WoW as it stands, but it could have been done originally. Perhaps in Titan...

    1. That would be amazingly complex and I doubt there will ever be a game that would do something like that.

      While I think it would be great it would get too confusing for the vast majority of the people that play these types of games.

  5. Allowing alliance players to be High Elves would be a phenomenal way to get more depth on the Blood Elf/High Elf relationship. Something that would also allow for there to actually be some development in the currently rather shallow Blood Elf lore. Right now it's one of those "elephant in the room" lore issues that Blizzard has yet to do anything with. There are hundreds if not thousands of exiled High Elves wandering around. Lor'themar Theron only recently started allowing them to make pilgrimages to the Sunwell. No doubt High Elf leaders like Vereesa Windrunner are routinely petitioning Varian for assistance in retaking their homeland if not merely establishing a new one, and it would make for an interesting story arc regarding the fact that the throne of Quel'Thalas is, as yet, unclaimed.

    1. I should also add that it would open up the can of lore worms on the question of just how much free will Forsaken really have. Sure there are a few who clearly make their own choices, but there are also subtle implications that many if not most of them are little more than high functioning drones. I also recall a quest giver in pre-cata Brill who, in the midst of passionately ranting about how much she hates her new existence stops mid-sentence, takes on a vacant expression, and continues in an almost dreamy tone to tell you how much she loves Sylvanas.

    2. That would be tied to BC, as it contains blood elves, and as we well know blizzard has gone out of their way to totally ignore anything they made in that expansion. Instead of making the world one true flow, they abandoned every story from there.

      The high elf story would surely be something I would be interested in seeing fleshed out, but do not expect it to happen until the next expansion when we go back there.