Wednesday, July 30, 2014

What If: The Faction Divide Without Orcs

It is a relatively known fact that the coming of the Orcs is what created the faction divide.  Not saying there were not some opposition between races before that point because there surely was but it was the coming of the orcs that inspired the rise of the horde and created the azeroth we know it which an orc vs human world with each representing their respective faction.

What if the orcs never came to azeroth?  What do you believe the world would look like and do you believe there still would have been a faction divide?

We hear a lot of hate with the story telling of blizzard being so orc centric now for the third expansion in a row and who can blame them, it is getting tired now, really tired.  But to call it horde favoritism, while correct at face value, is not to look back at the full picture as if this was a world without orcs.  At least in my vision of this what if world would look like without them.

If you think things show horde favoritism now just want until you see what my vision of the world would be without orcs.

Everything said here has absolutely no basis in lore and is just me voicing opinions or making guesses on what I believe might have, or could have, happened if the world never had orcs enter the picture.

The alliance, and particularly their human leadership was pretty much divided before the time of orcs.  It was the invasion that made them combine the seven kingdoms into one under the banner of a human alliance.  It is also that invasion that made them seek out an alliance, if you will, that saw them joining forced with other non human kingdoms.

Without the orcs and by association without the invasion there would have been no reason for the kingdoms of humans to join together and most defiantly no reason for them to join ranks with non humans.

However conflict has a way of happening and it would happen sooner or later.  I could see all the human kingdoms joining together because of it and I could see the dwarves and gnomes joining with the human, it just seems like a natural fit.   So I could see at least that part of the alliance as we know it banding together.  Where I see the difference coming is with the night elves.  I do not see them joining with the humans, dwarves and gnomes.  Not only are the predominantly on another continent but they really do not seem to fit as well with them.

Not to mention that the night elves seem to be more in tune with the tauren and troll races on their own continent.  When push came to shove, in my vision of a world without orcs I could see the alliance being the humans, dwarves and gnomes and the horde being the night elves, tauren and troll.  The tag line would need to be changed to Night Elves vs. Humans.

As time went by and more races were "introduced" that is where we would begin to see a major faction imbalance.  People might say horde favoritism now but do not kid yourself, if we were in a world without orcs it might seem even more so like horde favoritism.

Without the orcs we would not have original faction balance, or would we?  The last race that had not chosen a side are the forsaken.  I can not believe that the human would side with them, even if they were losing a war and I can not believe the night elves would side with them because they would go against their feelings for nature and what is natural and comes from the earth that is embraced by all members of the horde faction, night elf, tauren and troll alike.

So the beginning factions are now broken up as three on each side and the forsaken being left on the outside looking in.  They would just grow to be the main antagonist of the series.  This would allow the game to move forward with a central bad guy "faction" instead of having to label either the alliance (good guys) or the horde (bad guys) as such as it stands currently.

When BC came about the races would have joined different sides, or so I would be lead to believe.  Blood elves might have issue with both the humans and the night elves but I can see them looking to join with someone and as such they would get the padnaren treatment of being allowed to choose which side they want to be with.  Being blood elves held some animosity against their brothers the night elves and some had contempt for the humans it would be a case of them choosing the lesser of two evils.  So blood elves would be allowed to choose the side they wish to fight for.

The draenei however would side with the horde.  It was the night elves that helped them, it was the night elves that became their friends, shares somewhat similar beliefs and made them feel welcome so as such it would be the night elves that they join with.  It would also allow them to be with the tauren which they share more in common with than they do any of the humans, dwarves or gnomes.

Orcs, while we meet them in outland would not be joining any faction as a playable race and if they did they would join one it would be the non playable forsaken as part of the bad guys, which is really where they belong, even more so the outland orcs.

So this basically would now put the horde up one faction as they get the draenei and both factions split the blood elves.

Come wrath it might be best to talk a little bit about classes.  Even if both the tauren and the tolls were shamanistic there would have been no shamans in the original game.  With no orcs in the game that means no shaman even if lore shows that shamanism was almost dead in the orc culture and did exist in both in the tauren and troll culture but because they would not want to give the horde 2 classes that the alliance did not have there would be no shaman in game at all, at least at the start.  That does not mean that there would be no faction specific classes however.  As it stands only the horde would have druids and only the alliance would have paladins.

With the BC expansion horde ended up getting a paladin class in the draenei so for that entire expansion would see the horde with one more class than the alliance had as well as one more race.  And people complain about horde favoritism now, what do you think they would have said then?

Well, something apparently because in my what if vision when wrath came blizzard tried to balance out the class imbalance.  Death knights would be introduced as an alliance only class and not a hero class.  It would start at level 1 like all others and only humans would be able to be death knights.  Now there is balance again.  Alliance had lost their class when they had to share the paladin with the horde through the draenei and now have their class back in the form of the death knight.

With no new races this expansion and blizzard balancing out the class imbalance we move to cataclysm where they introduced worgen and goblin as races and we get to see a hell of a lot more horde favoritism.  Worgen would end up joining the horde instead of the alliance because, once again, it was the night elves that convinced them to join their efforts and not the humans.  The night elves had always been the diplomats among the alliance races and without them they are not really expanding.

In regards to the goblins I doubt human arrogance or prejudices would allow those tiny green devils to beak bread with their people so when they sought out a faction to join it would only make sense they would join the faction that had a diplomatic leadership that would see the advantage of having another race within their fold, even more so one with great inventions like the goblins.

This would now place the horde a whole 3 factions ahead of the alliance and balance between races would be a long forgotten thing.  It was just not going to happen.  The opening up of more races being able to play more classes helped the alliance some as all three of their races could now be death knights, their special class but now 4 races could be druids, the hordes special class.  More races could be the hordes special class than there were alliance races to begin with, if you do not count the blood elves which they both had.

In cataclysm we would also see the introduction of the shaman class because it would be needed for story telling purposes and both sides would get it.

When mists came and the pandaren entered the picture it is hard to say or even guess which way they could go.  I would guess they might end up the same way they did now and be a split faction just like the blood elves were in my what if scenario.  Both sides would gain the monk class, just as they do now.

So all things being said and done, at least in my mind, this is how the factions would look if the orcs never existed as a playable race in warcraft.

Alliance :  Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Pandaren and Blood Elf
Horde : Night Elf, Tauren, Troll, Draenei, Worgen, Goblin, Pandaran and Blood Elf

Alliance Only Class : Death Knight
Horde Only Class : Druid

As you can see, horde would be better off without the orcs.  The perceived favoritism would be much more warranted.  As annoying as it might be to be entering a third orc-centric expansion we have to think, at least in my mind, that it is the orcs that actually keep things balanced.

How do you see the faction divide splitting up the races if not for the orcs?  Or do you think there would be no factions at all and everyone would be one in the same?

Personally the most interesting thing of this what if scenario in my mind is not the absence of the orcs and how the alliance and horde divide would be leaning toward the horde, but the fact that the forsaken would become a non player "bad guy" throughout the entire series.  Now that is a what if story for another day and that could be fun to wonder what would happen if they unleashed their might on all the races.


  1. interesting. But you don't have to worry about this not being "official" lore, as Blizzard has changed the "lore" to suit them thru-out all the expansions anyway. :-)


    PS - I really don't believe "Blood Elves" would be part of the Alliance due to BE's being arrogant and pretentious. But it is very possible Taurens would be.
    No one wants goat people... They look evil.

    1. I don't think blizzard would remove orcs, so no worries about anything like this happening. lol

      If blood elves are arrogant and pretentious then they would be the perfect match for humans because humans are too. ;)

    2. nah, we're not! Some blood elf started that rumor.

  2. If we're eliminating all orcs from azeroth (not just dark portal orcs) then there would be no Lich King, and with that removal, the Forsaken and Death Knights (if not from LK removal, removal of the original orc who created them) would follow.

    IIRC the breakdown of the High Elf - Human alliance was due to the Scourge attack on Silvermoon -- either not offering reinforcements,not helping to rebuild, or due to Arthas leading the charge -- so those elves would be solidly with the Alliance, as long as it benefits them. They wouldn't call themselves Blood Elves either, that was only after the attack.

    Thrall united the races of the Horde, without him they would have never come together. The Alliance formed to fight against the orc horde that swept across the Eastern Kingdoms. Humans had no reason to cross the ocean to Kalimdor, so they never would have encountered the night elves. Without the united front of both Alliance and Horde, Archimonde would have destroyed the world tree and ushered the invasion of the Burning Legion.

    Without orc involvement, WoW would have no reason for faction splits, only racial splits that can be overcome by players. Amani Trolls may hate humans and high elves for their attack on Zul'Aman, but there's no reason a Darkspear troll wouldn't be able to prove himself to either race, or even raid with other mercenaries (players) of those races outside the sight of the racial leaders. The focus would shift from faction activities (Garrosh bombed Theramore!), to player actions (Grumpy helped the Tauren fight off centaurs!), putting the player at the center of the story rather than the player discovering the story.

    It appears that this is the direction (without the faction removal) that the story will be moving in WoD. You (the player) are the most important person to the draenei or frostwolves as you work your way through their zones helping them. The danger with this is that it shifts the questing portion of the game further toward a single player focus, though that isn't necessarily a bad thing at that stage.

    1. Very true. Did not think about the LK needing the orcs to even be who he was.

      I knew about the other things you mentioned that are because of orcs but I am also "imagining" a reason for factions to become factions. Not sure what the problem would be but lets say if there were one, which sides would they belong to. Good point with the blood elves which also would just be high elves.

    2. I knew you were up to no good, helping the Taurens GE!

      Now think on this - what if there was no alliance or horde. One would play what ever race, and then deciding - to go horde or alliance, but, be able to switch alliances later or go back to neutral. Now what does this mean - who knows (I don't for my thinking process just left), but think of it....

  3. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Hmm, no Orcs...

    That means the Burning Legion never made a second attempt on Azeroth. Which in turn leads to Medivh never having been corrupted, and from there the history of Azeroth is so wildly different that speculation is almost worthless. Of course, that fact won't stop me speculating.

    The human kingdoms and the High Elves alliance originated if my memory serves, as a result of the troll wars in ages past. Without the undead scourge ever having a Lich King, which without the orcs, they would not, there would be no Blood Elves. The Human/High Elf alliance would never have become as strong as it did but on the other hand, war between the two races would have been unlikely with an always existing Troll menace.

    Without the Orcs, the Tauren would have likely never have founded their kingdom in Mulgore and indeed, the Centaur tribes might well have pushed the Tauren into extinction. The Centaurs were certainly threatening to do that when the Tauren and Orcs first encountered each other.

    Without the Orcs and the threat of the Burning Legion re-emerging, Night Elfs would have had very little reason to come out of seclusion and ending their policy of isolation. The thing likeliest to bring them forth would be the reopening of the Gates of An'Quraj, one of the few events that the Burning Legion did not have a hand in bringing about (or at least one that I recall).

    For much the same reasoning, neither Dwarfs nor Gnomes would have reason to become that involved beyond trade and the occasional border war. Certainly much the same reasoning applies to the Goblins. Also the fact is likely that the Draenie would not have crash landed on Azeroth, never having the chance to escape as all the Orcs that originally came to Azeroth would instead be concentrating on destroying them.

    The Worgen of Gilneas would not have lost their kingdom to the undead of Lorderan as there would not be any such undead kingdom due to the lack of a Lich King and therefore a lack of Sylvanas as their founder. Indeed, by this time, Arthas is likely sitting on the throne of Lorderan, having replaced his aging father due to natural succession and not murder most foul.

    The Silithid menace would have likely replace the Scourge as the main bad guys of the game in my opinion. Undead would still be around but in much more limited quantities and under much less powerful leadership. Also the very terms Alliance and Horde would not have any meaning in such a world beyond the literal meaning itself and not as a political tool of identification.

    Yes, the world of Azeroth would still be a violent, bloody World of Warcraft but things would be oh so very different as to the why of it without the Orcs.

    1. You, like everyone else it seems, missed the entire concept of the post.

      Every seems to think "remove orcs" and what would happen and then reflect on how the world we have now would be different without them.

      Sorry, that does not work, not in fantasy, not for a what if.

      If there were no orcs things would be different but not necessarily different in the way you and others describe.

      For example people say without orcs there would be no faction divide at all because there would have been no reason to create factions.

      Yes, in the history as we know it. But if there were no orcs that history means nothing because it never happened. A different history would happen, and that is called fantasy, a what if scenario.

      Factions could still be made. The undead could still become. Lich king could still exist. The burning legion could still attack. Azeroth could be stronger, could be weaker, could be wiped off the map of the universe.

      Can't just say that without orcs none of this would happen because without orcs the history you know does not happen. So have fun with it, enjoy the fantasy of it, make up a story, and make a decision on what might happen in a world without orcs.

      I don't think anyone understood what I was going for here. More creative writing than anything else.

      An old god coming from the ground could very well mobilize people. A fight for resources to defend their land could create conflict between sides. Anything can happen. Things would just develop differently without orcs.

    2. I didn't say remove the orcs (go back and read - you will not find any reference to orc removal), so there :Þ

      "Fiery the angels rose, and as they rose deep thunder roll'd. Around their shores: indignant burning with the fires of Orc."
      William Blake's "America: A Prophecy"

      -roo (no kidding here!)

  4. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    Well I am pretty sure I know what a "what if" or counter-factual story is. The idea is that one thing is changed and then all subsequent events that flow from that one event are affected to varying degrees. The fun lies in the changes that flow from that one particular moment being altered. Of course, the events are fictional in the case of Warcraft, but that has only a minimal amount of influence on how a counter-factual works. The fact that this is a game history, setting up a game to be played by real (or mostly so, I have my doubts about some players) people also has a lot of influence on how the history goes.

    A case in point is how gently the Alliance treated the Horde despite having a chance to utterly crush them during the Siege of Oggrimar. That was a game decision, one not based on any degree of realism of the actions available nor on any real history available to the characters involved. For what reason, other than it is a game that is not ending, would the Alliance finally have given up the chance to utterly demolish the Horde when the chance came?

    Now in my case, my chosen point of the what if would be through the character of Medivh. He, while under the heavy influence of the Burning Legion's Sargeras, opened the portal on the Azeroth side. I would start it at what if Sargeras never thought to turn his attention to Azeroth at that moment while he was still working on conquering Draenor. So what if Sargeras ignored Azeroth and Medivh, then what would the history of Azeroth be like, allowing that Blizzard published Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm instead of Warcraft: Orcs vs Humans?

    In that game, each of several fantasy races are presented with their own story of life in a fantasy realm and the conflicts with other races. Instead of a mere two races, such as Orcs and Humans, the game originally includes Humans, Elfs, Dwarfs, and Trolls, each with several subsets of independent city-states or clans or tribes. Each race has its' own storyline of several scenarios length and ultimately each race faces each of the other three at one point or another in open conflict.

    to be continued

    1. I disagreed with the way that was handled completely. Alliance should have laid a heavy hand on the horde even with new leadership. Even with the past history of working with Vol'jin. Alliance has lost so much since garrosh took control not even counting the big bomb of theramore.

      It is bad writing, bad story telling, and bad form for blizzard to have handled it so poorly. There should have been a serious win for alliance here and should have even been more if they were to let the horde continue to exist.

      It goes to show you the lack of skill the writers of the game have. I understand what you say about things needing to be done from a game play point of view but a much more satisfying ending could have been written by a third grader for a creative writing project than the "well okay, you might have killed towns and slaughtered women and children for no reason but its all okay now because you said you will not do it again" horrible writing example we were given.

  5. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader: (continued)

    Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm II comes along with the Silithid non-player race (very similar to the Zerg--which is understandable) as the central villainous race. As part of the overall story, the various humanoid races of Azeroth expanded to include Gnomes and Goblins as well as Hobgoblins (in place of Orcs, which Blizzard fears to use for threat of a lawsuit from the Tolkien family).

    Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm II: On to Northrend shows the end of the threat of the Silithids as the war shifts from the realms established by the various races to the frozen northern lair of the Silithids. The Silithids Necromancers in particular are of great concern for the seemingly endless armies of undead they can raise. This results in a final grand battle that ends in a mana explosion that ends the threat forever...or until Blizzard realizes that a MMORPG is the next step for them to take.

    World of Warcraft is released with Humans, Elfs, Dwarfs, Gnomes, Trolls, Goblins and Hobgoblins as playable races, each of the six as their own independent faction and reputation. In an innovative decision, Blizzard gives each player a chance to determine his or her relations with other race factions on an individual basis, determined by the quests that are chosen by the individual player. The game world consists of the lands of the Eastern Kingdoms only, there is no hint of Kalimdor anywhere to be found yet, much less Northrend or Pandaria. Each part of the Eastern Kingdoms map is about twice the size of its' current configuration, with the transition point being the bridge at the mid-point of the two halves of the Eastern Kingdoms. All of the nations, tribes and clans of playable races are loosely associated in a Grand Alliance (think League of Nations or United Nations or even a very weakly organized NATO).

    Onyxia and Nefarion provide the villainous backdrop for this version of WoW much like in the original vanilla WoW. At the end of the cycle, in preparation for the first expansion, a mysterious ship arrives at Menethil Harbor with two new races asking for help. In the first WoW expansion, "The New World", Kalimdor is added to the game with Night Elfs and Tauren becoming the two new races.

    The Silithid menace again rears its' head and the whole expansion is a desperate war pushing back towards Silithus and the final confrontation. The control of undead by the Silithids leads in turn to the creation of the first Death Knights, a fearsome NPC whose presence on a battlefield is a cause for great concern. But even with these terrible troops added to the mix, the Grand Alliance finally manages to eke out a win, preventing the Old Gods from escaping back into Azeroth.

    to be continued

    1. I like your story thus far and find it interesting how each race is its own faction. Would suck for PvP design but would be interesting from a play point.

      I would try to be friendly with all of course.

  6. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader: (continued)

    The next WoW expansion, "War in the North" returns the story to Northrend, the continent of which is added into the playable world. The Grand Alliance of all the playable races works to defeat the menace of the Silithids in Northrend and their undead armies. Players get the Death Knight class as a playable Hero class as the first new class added to the game. The expansion ends with the death of the Silithid Necromancer King, the shattering of his undead armies and the seeming victory of the Grand Alliance. Again the Old Gods are prevented from re-establishing control of Azeroth.

    "The Dragon War" is the next expansion and stars Deathwing as its' central villain. Flight is added to the game for players and the whole game world is redesigned to handle that capability. Deathwing's defeat ends the expansion. Other than flight being added, the expansion is generally rated a failed experiment as only five levels were provided and no new territory was gained. Instead some portions of the existing map were redrawn to account for flight and the effort that took caused all other efforts to be more limited.

    It did bring us to the next expansion, the Mists of Pandaria, in which the mysterious continent of Pandaria was revealed for the first time and thereby completing the reveal of the North/South and East/West geography of Azeroth. Again only five levels were included and again, ultimately, the Old Gods were behind the conflict as the reason for it occurring. Flight was included from the beginning of the expansion for anyone with the skill learned. Pandarians become the newest race, and Monks are added as a class. The Pandas are laughed at and generally scorned by all the "cool kids" but prove to be popular as a playable race.

    And that brings us to World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor, the newest expansion in which some mysterious force from beyond has opened a portal in the Swamp of Sorrows. Fear of a lawsuit over the use of Orcs having diminished over time, Blizzard decides Orcs will be the featured story. Dominated by the evil nihilistic Burning Legion the Orcs of Draenor make their first appearance in game, pouring through the Dark Portal and opening a whole new chapter in the history of Azeroth and the Grand Alliance. Controversy sweeps the fan base as it is announced that flight will not be available at the beginning of the expansion and may well be disallowed in the world beyond the Dark Portal all together.

    No one yet realizes that the Burning Legion even exists as the expansion opens, but it does and it is coming to Azeroth.

    There, does that adequately provide a literary exercise in what if?

    1. That is very good, liked the old god influence and the change of the factions (which is what I was aiming at). I more so liked how the development went along moving a lot slower in the story telling mode and it ends before even the BC expansion as we know it.

      You know how to make a story last. Too bad blizzard rushed like a mad dog through everything they had an ran out of ideas so soon because they have no one else capable of creating something new.

  7. Anon, Grumpy's former Guild Leader:

    This is the timeline for the above counter-factual.

    Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm November 1994
    Humans, Elfs, Dwarfs, Trolls
    Blizzards first Real Time Strategy wargame

    Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm II December 1995
    plus Gnomes, Goblins, Hobgoblins
    first expansion for RTS game

    Warcraft of the Fantasy Realm II: On to Northrend April, 1996
    Silithids overthrown
    second expansion for RTS game

    NOTE: there is no equivalent to Warcraft III or it's expansion and instead, Blizzard goes straight on to producing WoW, ending up with a much more polished version for release in 2004.

    World of Warcraft November 2004
    Humans, Elfs, Dwarfs, Trolls, Gnomes, Goblins, Hobgoblins
    MMORPG, Onyxia/Nefarian plotline

    World of Warcraft: The New World January, 2007
    plus Night Elfs, Tauren, Kalimdor included
    MMORPG; Silithid plotline begins

    World of Warcraft: War in the North November, 2008
    Death Knight added, Northrend included
    MMORPG; Silithid plotline ends

    World of Warcraft: The Dragon War December 2010
    Flight added
    MMORPG; Deathwing/Old Gods plotline begins

    World of Warcraft: The Mists of Pandaria September, 2012
    Monk added, Pandaria included
    MMORPG; Old God plotline ends

    World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor December 2014
    Orcs introduced, Burning Legion at the back of it all
    MMORPG; Orc/Burning Legion plotline begins

    1. Much better designed, and still would have arthas (possible) for a future date which to this day proves to be the highlight of the MMORPG days.

      Blizzard should have done it your way.