WoW Interfaction Evolution Is Finally A Chance To Love, Not Warcraft

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The story of Warcraft is a story of, well, war. Orcs vs. Humans, Horde vs. Alliance, time and again the story of Blizzard’s fantasy saga – told through classic strategy games and, over the past 18 years, groundbreaking MMORPGs World of Warcraft – has returned to fueling the conflict between its two largest factions. That could finally be about to change.

As if there wasn’t enough gaming news to rock fans today, Blizzard took advantage of a tumultuous news cycle to reveal something of a wild upheaval all its own (separate, though). sure, of a separate tumultuous news cycle involving and the long history of its parent company Activision perpetuating a culture of sexual harassment at the studio). As part of a future update of World of Warcraftthe studio is beginning to test matchmaking between factions, allowing players to team up for Player-vs-Player dungeons, raids, and arenas whether they are part of the Horde or the Alliance.

Because World of Warcraft First launched in 2004, its player base was defined by a singular and fundamental choice made during character creation: the choice between these two aforementioned factions. Choose your faction in wow was one of the most important decisions you could make, deciding which races you could choose from – even classes in the original version of the game, with paladins limited to the Alliance and shamans to the Horde – which areas you would visit, what characters you would interact with, and what perspective you would see of the larger overall story of the game. These communities were fundamentally divided, unable to play together or fully interact in-game outside of attacking each other in PvP . You couldn’t talk to them thanks to an in-game language barrier, and their towns were off-limits unless you imagined waking up a garrison of in-game guards to hunt you down. Horde and Alliance were two sides of the same coin which is the wow fandom, and its community is largely driven by players feeling close to their faction of choice.

That might be about to change, but it’s not entirely changing. In announcing the testBlizzard pointed out that there will be limitations on cross-faction play – player communities, called Guilds, will still have their memberships restricted by faction, and players who use the in-game Random Group Finder tools to run content will still only be matched with players of their own faction. WarcraftThe developers of clarified that, as important as a change breaking down the fundamental barriers between Alliance and Horde might be, they see the new system as a strictly opt-in choice for players. That it is, and for the moment at least, a strictly mechanical choice, with no impact on World of WarcraftThe story of 18 years. But perhaps that last element should no longer be the case.

As long as World of WarcraftThe story of was necessarily driven by conflict, time and time again it nurtured the potential for members of the Horde and Alliance to put aside their differences to face greater threats – than those threats. weigh on their peoples or on the entire planet of Azeroth itself. wowThe power creep of in terms of threats naturally makes its greatest narrative foes massive, incomprehensible god-like beings who don’t really care what banner their foes fly under, pushing the Horde and Alliance into an uneasy cooperation yet. and again, allowing some major characters to develop a desire for diplomacy and peace between the two factions as important parts of their arcs. But for all the times the Horde and Alliance have buried the hatchet to deal with these threats, each time they’ve quickly dug it up as well, the game inevitably boils down to this fundamental inner conflict – even if doesn’t pay much. meaning to.

Chains of Horde vs. Alliance conflict locked Warcraftstorytelling potential for years at this point. The game feels stuck in a kind of narrative rut, repeating the same patterns: a new threat bigger than all the old threats arises, dangerous enough that the Horde and Alliance agree to work together to defeat them, and then they start stabbing and shouting at each other again until next time. This prevents characters like Thrall or Jaina Proudmoore, who have long been at the forefront of attempts at peace between their respective factions (and sometimes wavering between wanting that peace and wanting endless war, especially in the case of this last), to feel like they are able to grow beyond that basic need, unable to thrive as they are locked into the inevitable of seeing their hopeful alliances crumble into the same old hatreds. For as long as Warcraft has been around, and now World of Warcraft moreover, it feels like the series has barely grown and evolved, still committed to telling that same cycle of stories, turning what should be one of gaming’s most sprawling fantasy worlds into something a reheated saga left on repeat.

So maybe to really evolve and grow, Warcraft needs to take this step beyond making these faction crossovers a mere mechanical advantage. There would be resistance, of course – players have been tied to these divisions for almost two decades. But if Warcraft wants to keep its history alive for another two decades, it needs to do more than rehash the same old conflict it started with.

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