It's the rivalry that has defined Warcraft
for decades -- the Alliance versus Horde. And it has been a staple of the long-running MMO for years. With Blizzard lifting the lid on the big 9.1 Patch for World of Warcraft Shadowlands
during BlizzConline this past weekend -- during the Q&A panel, the team acknowledged something some players have been looking for.
Even with different zones and quests and stories to discover game director Ion Hazzikostas noted that even though Alliance v Horde will always be a core thing in the universe, there could come a day when players across factions could team up for high-level group content like Raids and Mythic+ dungeons. Which comes down to abilities and synergies, which traditionally fall in favour of the Horde (sorry Alliance).
"The thing that keeps people in one faction or makes them tempted to move is the social dynamics," Ion Hazzikostas explained. "If you're a raider looking to join a top-end guild, there are more options [on the Horde] and if your first choice doesn't work out there are others to explore and fall back on."
Blizzard also noted that Mythic+ runners fall more on the Horde side too, even though the overall player distribution between the two factions is pretty even. And that players that love to raid and run dungeons have made the switch to horde simply because of the ease of finding groups or guilds. "That's a challenging problem to solve because, really we can't undo this movement that's happened over time," Hazzikostas continued. "It would take something tremendous to make people who had switched from Alliance to Horde want to suddenly switch back."
So then, what about letting Alliance and Horde, you know, raid together?
"I honestly would not say never," Hazzikostas responded the question, adding that the importance of faction identity is key to World of Warcraft. "At the end of the day an MMO like WoW is about being able to play with your friends, being able to play where you want to be, and arguably there's greater strength to the faction identity if you feel like you can truly choose the faction you identify with, that you feel like most apart of, and not have to sacrifice that because you need to be with your group or you want to join a higher rated guild. I have coworkers who are lifelong Alliance players who now play Horde and really wish they could be Alliance and they're doing it for guild reasons. I know there are tens of thousands, maybe more, in that exact same boat around the world. We'd love to do something for them."
Heresy? Maybe. But it's cool that the team is taking the prospect seriously as opposed to simply outright rejecting the idea.