Which goes against everything we've heard from Blizzard
for quite sometime. But yeah, as per the headline World of Warcraft
is going to add the ability for Alliance and Horde to play together in cross-faction instances.
As per the update from WoW Game Director Ion Hazzikostas, "I am pleased to announce that we are working on adding the ability for Alliance and Horde players to form premade parties together for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP."
Confirming that this is a change of thinking for the team, "At BlizzCon in 2019, when an attendee asked about cross-faction play, we responded at the time that “Alliance and Horde separation … is a pillar of what makes Warcraft, Warcraft.” But upon reflection, that’s an oversimplification: Alliance and Horde identity is what is fundamental to Warcraft. And while at times that identity has been one of division and open conflict, we’ve seen Alliance and Horde finding common ground and working together ever since Warcraft III (notably including the last time a Warcraft chapter was named “Eternity’s End” …), and the instances of cooperation in World of Warcraft itself are too numerous to count."
The update is coming after the next big drop - Eternity's End - as part of Patch 9.2.5. It will hit the Public Test Realm first, before going live with Blizzard looking to hear from players what their thoughts are on the change.
In terms of how it will work, Ion Hazzikostas has outlined the goals as follows:
Focus on organized instanced gameplay. Dungeons, raids, and rated PvP have been at the center of the most compelling arguments for relaxing the faction divide. This is content that by definition requires a premade group, and thus social barriers will have the greatest negative impact on people’s ability to access these experiences on their preferred terms.
Make this an opt-in feature as much as possible. In terms of in-world fiction and player preferences, there are decades of animosity to overcome. While we are excited to offer players the choice to reach across the faction divide and cooperate to overcome common foes, we know that there are many who will react warily to this change, and we don’t want to override those preferences. This is about increasing options for players.
Players will be able to directly invite members of the opposite faction to a party if you have a BattleTag or Real ID friendship, or if you are members of a cross-faction WoW Community.
Premade Groups in the Group Finder listings for Mythic dungeons, raids, or rated arena/RBGs will be open to applicants of both factions, though the group leader may choose to restrict the listing to same-faction applicants if they so choose.
Guilds will remain single-faction, and random matchmade activities like Heroic dungeons, Skirmishes, or Random Battlegrounds will all remain same-faction (both because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups, and to avoid compromising the opt-in nature of the feature by randomly placing a queuing orc in a group with a night elf).
For more info - head here