I've Picked My Side For World Of Warcraft's Battle For Azeroth

It's a very short stand.

It's been years since I gave a damn which World of Warcraft faction I was playing. Horde? Alliance? Whichever. But now, as the Battle for Azeroth expansion rapidly approaches and substantial chunks of the world are getting set on fire and plagued beyond habitation, it's time I took a stand.

Now that we've gotten over all the banding together to save the world from demon invasion, it's time for the Horde and Alliance to get back to the business that started all of these shenanigans — crafting war. Battle for Azeroth, with its dramatic and polarising pre-launch events, is already ramping up the tension between opposing factions.

The World Tree burning, the Siege of Lordaeron, Alliance hero Jaina Proudmore's triumphant musical number (see below) — these events are inspiring an exquisite level of antagonism.

Blizzard's promised a grand revival of hostilities before. World of Warcraft's fourth expansion, Mists of Pandaria, started off with a ton of Horde/Alliance violence but soon devolved into a race to see which side's blood lust could screw up the pristine panda lands the fastest.

There's an underlying "war is bad" tone to Pandaria that doesn't quite feel right in a game called Warcraft.

But so far the events leading up to Monday's Battle for Azeroth launch feel like war. No, that's not good enough. WAR in all caps. Cities are burning, even if they are cities I'd not visited on my gnome Warlock. Thousands of Alliance citizens have been slaughtered, even if they are night elves.

Why, during the burning of the World Tree quest line, my character was ruthlessly murdered by Horde forces.

I temporarily forgot how to Warlock.

Normally what I would do when World of Warcraft presented a dramatic quest line from both the Horde and Alliance perspective is go through both to get the whole picture. That's been the main reason for me to swap factions since Horde got Paladins and Alliance got Shamans back in 2007's The Burning Crusade. I figured by playing both factions and experiencing all the quests, I'd get the most out of the game.

But Battle for Azeroth feels different. Now that I've gone through the Alliance side of the story, I have no desire to see how events played out for the Horde. Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner attempted to kill hope. Why? Because someone told her she couldn't.

Sure, there are extenuating circumstances and she may have had her soul ripped out by an Alliance icon at some point, but that's no excuse.

Bravely watching elves die.

No, I side with the Alliance, home of the brave little gnomes and a whole bunch of knees (gnomes are short, yo). I will play Battle for Azeroth exclusively as Alliance. My review and progress logs will be from an Alliance point of view.

I will PVP as Alliance. I will level as Alliance. I will, most likely, die as Alliance, over and over again.

This is by no means a condemnation of Horde players or the bad choices they make. Everyone is entitled to their thing, be it living pure and good or taking off your shoulder armour in order to appear pure and good. To each their own.

The King and I

Comments

    I have toons on both factions, but I've always been Horde. Regardless of which side people choose, I'm stoked to see faction pride alive and well. Fighting something 'bigger than the both of us' was fun, but it had definitely run it's course.

    Also, I always thought Pandaria was more than just 'war is bad', it really highlighted how selfish and destructive the conflict could be. We both arrived on Pandaria, unceremoniously laid waste to it, then pretty recruited them all for the conflict that arrived uninvited and destroyed their homeland. Both Alliance and Horde are equally guilty of that. (I know, Garrosh, etc - but he was against everyone)

    Wow... WoW is still really ugly. I thought they would have released texture packs and updates that improved the graphics while keeping the style

      I believe that screenshot is in Stormwind which hasn't seen any significant updates. If you head out into the new zones it looks a lot better.

      They did, back in Pandaland/Warlords with revised character models.

      No matter how you look at it.. yes its ugly.. but, people dont play WoW for its graphics...

      Doubt thats high in any WoW players priorities list since well.. Vanilla WoW

      Thats the whole point though. They dont want some ultra-realistic looking game. They want something that runs easily on as much hardware as possible.

        You can keep the style and improve the textures and poly counts... It doesn't have to look like a blurry fucking mess

          It doesn't. At least most of it doesn't. But that's dependant on a few things, firstly your graphics settings, if you've got them turned way down it looks pretty crap (but then so does any game).

          Secondly where you are and what you're looking at. A lot of the new landscapes look amazing. And the character models are much better than they used to be. It does mean that you occasionally bump into old models and they look like arse in comparison.

          Have you actually launched the game on max settings and had a look at the legion game area or the current models. Because frankly you are talking shit

            Why would I spend three days installing WoW now? It looked bad 10 years ago and it's aged even worse today if the above screenshots are anything to go by. Heroes of the Storm has some of the same characters and they look waaaaaaaay better while having the same style

              HoTS uses a completely different engine. Again, You are talking shit based on low-quality screenshots. I play on 1440p Monitor and the game looks great. 100x better than vanilla. If you think the graphics don't look different to vanilla you are frankly talking out your rectum.

                I can't comment on the gameplay by I can comment and say that based on these screenshots the game doesn't look good. Looked up some YouTube clips and they do look better, so why didn't the Author use those?

                Last edited 14/08/18 9:45 am

                  Let it never be said that the authors on Kotaku go uncriticised for whatever reason.
                  But I guess to answer the your question of "why not use better screenshots", probably because graphical fidelity was not the topic of discussion in the article.

                  For what it's worth, the newest content with Max graphics can be petty "beautiful" and I'm looking forward to exploring Zandalar and seeing all it has to offer.

    People thst need to die in BFA:

    1.Genn
    2.Saurfang

    And why you ask? Well it's simple.
    Genn Graymane is a revenge driven ass hat who only wants lordaeron(and to kill Sylvanas, that shit he did in Stormheim was just petty. But the burning of Teldrassil perfect unintentional revenge against him.

    And Saurfang....he is a traitor who hides behind 'Honor' only when he feels like it.

    And before you ask yes I do main Hoard.

    Even though I am Alliance, Just know Blizzard doesnt know how to write stories for the Alliance. The only memorable thing the Alliance main character does is get hurt (physically or emotionally), crys for a champion, or dies like a self sacrificing bitch.

    Seriously the Alliance has a space ship with a lazer cannon... we lost against savages with catapults.

    The BFA advertising around 'choosing your allegiance' is all bullshit. My Blood Elf doesn't get to choose her allegiance. It's fixed. Static. Meaningless. There is no choice for that character.

    Picking a side to play as a player is even more meaningless. It'll never affect the outcomes. Those have been determined by who's got plot armor, and who's holding the idiot ball for the moment to allow someone else to have a cool moment. The writing really has descended into the most contrived, wilful blindness to anything even resembling consistency in power levels, character traits, or abilities. The story they want to tell isn't defined by any fidelity to the world it operates in or the rules its established over time... only to what 'cool moments' they want to explore, what themes they want to pretend they explored.

    I'm pretty disgusted by the whole charade, and the glee with which they're so transparently pushing the obvious buttons, pretending it's clever or means something. I had preordered, several months ago, but I just got my refund back and sub cancelled.

      Re-roll void elf? Then you can play Alliance.

        Unfortunately, you can't do that without playing something ELSE in the Alliance and going through a tedious grind to unlock the pretty elves. Which defeats the entire purpose anyway - it's all still alternate universe/timeline different characters. Your character doesn't get a say, still, in declaring where their allegiance lies. It's done automatically for them at birth/creation.

          One question, have you played for a long time and only now a bit disappointed at how the Horde has turned out due to recent events, or did you just recently start? And yeah that completely sucks about the whole pay for extra services realistically after they pulled that shit with Teldrassil they should give Horde who don't like where it is leading the option to faction change free. But they would never do that cause account services = revenue for Blizzard.

            i Was horde about 8 years before i switched to alliance.. Until this expansion, i have regretted that decision. Not anymore.

          Unless you're a panda. But even then you make the decision once and it's locked.

          I wish you could faction change and carry your race/class with you. So if you love Tauren but hate what is happening with Horde you could be Alliance. And of course, they need to make the faction change cheaper. It's way to friggin expensive :(

          You know, thinking more about faction change, they could do it organically and make it part of the game. There's already a faction and reputation system in place why not leverage that, like with the Booty Bay goblins -v- pirates or the Oracles -v- Frenzyheart in Wrath.

          For example, they could make the criteria to faction change (horde to alliance) become hated with Orgrimmar (and possibly other major horde factions). Let you flag yourself and kill Org guards and horde players. Doing so gains you rep with Alliance while you ruin your Horde rep.

            "Prove yourself by murdering your former allies."
            "I was kinda just hoping to hang out in the capital and conscientiously object."
            "ARREST THE SPY."

      Literally the first time something interesting has happened in the story between the Horde and the Alliance in forever. BFA is already looking 10 times better than the lore snore-fest from the past few expansions. It's back to grass roots - Horde vs Alliance.

      For once, Alliance have a reason the hate the Horde. I can't wait to have strong reasons to hate them back.

      I mean, what do you think Battlegrounds are? We're supposed to be fighting to the death over resources / land etc. Obviously we cannot lose our characters each time we die... so the least the lore can do is remind us that we aren't out there with rubber swords.

      For years we have all been crammed together in some dull-as-doornails shared city, where we, as mega-ultimate-commander-heroes of the Horde/Alliance, join together to fight generic bad guy "X".

      BFA has the potential to be a truly impressive expansion.

        That's a fair take if you're into the PVP side. But a lot of us don't like it. For us it's about defeating whatever Evil threatens Azeroth. Unfortunately at the moment for horde that feels that way that Evil is our Warchief...

        And it's not even the first time *sigh*

          But... you joined the Horde. I'm still happy to slay monsters, on behalf of the Horde. But I'd much rather do so while chopping humans and elves up on the side.

          I mean surely, if you wanted to play it safe and be a "good" guy, you would have chosen a tree-hugging elf, grumpy dwarf or cheerful little gnome?

          Orcs and Trolls are somewhat savage races. And the forsaken have been ethically ambiguous from the beginning. The Tauren and Blood Elves ally with the rest out of duty and necessity.

          Obviously the Blood Elves were a ridiculous fit in the Horde from the beginning.. but zero sympathy for anyone who plays the "prettiest" race, then complains about the faction they're a part of.

            My main is a Tauren druid and has been since vanilla. So from a role-playing perspective a nature loving relatively peaceful race. I don't see the need to attack other players who aren't bothering me. And frankly I'd rather not have other players attacking me while I'm communing with nature (aka herbing and killing boars).

            Just to be clear if the game had only been PVP based (like Guildwars for example) when I first looked at it there's no way I'd have bought it.

              Surely you played Warcraft 2 + 3 though? You remember Tauren's beating the snot out of the Alliance?

              I mean, WoW is a faction-based MMO.. there are two opposing sides. Either at war with each other, or in a state of uneasy truce.
              So much blood has been spilt... they're never going to make-up and forget about it for long. Especially now that the big-bad of the universe (the Legion) has been krumped.

              Lastly, I do note that Tauren/Nelf Druids are the one possible exception to all of this.
              I suppose you guys could consiously object and just hide in Moonglade until it's all over?
              ;)

                Different game. The early WC games are overall strategy not individual heroes. As soon as you make an single in game character your avatar then it's reflecting your choices. Besides, most of time in the strategy games you're fighting soldier -v- soldier not slaughtering civilians (peons being the exception).

      It would definitely be appreciated if they would allow characters to faction change regardless of race.

      I mean, one of the Alliance's top spies is a Goblin so it's not without precedent.

    For the Horde.. even if I feel like I've been shoved into a conflict that FORCES me to play the role of a "bad guy" even if I'd rather not be.

    Poor writing Blizz.

    Still, For the Horde!

    Having played a fair portion of the beta on both factions, all I can say is that horde sympathisers are in for a rough time.

      We haven't had a decent Warchief since Thrall. Cairne should have taken over, whether it be as Thrall's successor, or defeating Garrosh. After his death, I've been rooting for Saurfang.. But I spose, they have to make one group inherently "bad".

        I haven't seen the entire storyline yet, but Saurfang gets some good moments in the parts I have seen in the beta.

    Since I've played from original release of WoW, and pretty much the entire time, it would be nice to play more of if they concentrated on solo play, but a story of some kind is good. It just the years that it takes to go from one story to another (expansion) that is the problem. The only issue I have with Blizzard is that they should offer at lease a set of free transfers per expansion, so you can put/split your characters (horde/alliance) to make room for new ones if you want.

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