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Dev Watercooler - Faction Favoritism
Originally Posted by Blizzard (Blue Tracker / Official Forums)
One of our earliest design goals with World of Warcraft was to ensure a healthy rivalry between the Alliance and the Horde. Cross-faction communication was banned outright, even where it made little or no sense in the lore. Entire realms are dedicated to PvP. Battlegrounds and quest hubs feature prominent Alliance and Horde iconography. We want to foster a sense of factional pride, a real identity with your brothers and sisters in arms.

We want players to be proud of their faction, even at the expense of personal dignity. One time I was driving my wife home from dinner. She leaned out of the car window, threw the horns, and screamed “FOR THE HORDE!” at some dude who was standing outside the restaurant in his Horde hockey jersey. Poor guy probably forgot he was wearing it. We peeled off in a thick cloud of blue tire smoke, and I think we made him pee.

That’s what I’m talking about.

So when it comes to the game’s ongoing story developments, it’s no surprise that Alliance and Horde fans are “keeping score.” Maps and charts of territory gained and lost started showing up around the time the Cataclysm shook the world to its foundations. Southshore plagued? Taurajo burned? Oh no they didn’t!

Implicit amidst most of the grumbling from either side is the assumption that Blizzard should be fairly treating both factions. Then there’s the more explicit assumption: if one faction is losing ground, then Blizzard must be biased.

Are we?

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. Of Warcraft.

Maybe we are. A quick survey of Azeroth’s history reveals that we’ve been punishing the Alliance for generations. Stormwind was razed by orcs back in Warcraft I. Then Lordaeron fell to the plague in Warcraft III, its inhabitants turned into a mindless mob of undead. High-elven allies were besieged by the scourge and had their city sacked and their source of power corrupted. (The survivors of both these atrocities found solace in the Horde.) The gnomish capital was irradiated. The dwarven kingdoms were shattered by a terrible civil war. I’m surprised there’s an Alliance left at all.

On the other hand, those humans got off easy -- at least they still have a planet. The orc homeworld was overrun with demons and obliterated. Almost the entire race was poisoned by demonic blood. By the end of Warcraft II, what little remained of the orc race was stranded on an alien world, defeated, sullen, weak, and locked away in human-controlled internment camps.

I’m sure glad we didn’t have orc forums back then! Imagine the outrage.

In truth, a historical account of the Warcraft universe reads like a war crimes trial. Empires topple, leaders are corrupted, populations are massacred, entire civilizations fall to ruin (often at their peak of power)… Warcraft is a dark place. Just ask the Draenei: We trashed their homeworld and tortured its last uncorrupted children for tens of thousands of years. We’re downright cruel. I’ve never met a more sadistic team of story folk.

Suffering is the gasoline that drives our story engine. Why is that?

The Hero Factory

Here at Blizzard, we often talk about what we’re trying to build with the fiction of the Warcraft universe. The phrase “Hero Factory” frequently comes up across all of our franchises. We want the players to feel like heroes.

The primordial soup that creates heroes never tastes of rainbows -- it’s a lumpy gumbo of suffering and evil. Heroes are born from darkness, because we desperately need someone to light the way.

It’s an unfair world that cries out for heroes. To bring order out of chaos and justice to the downtrodden is the hero’s call. Is it any wonder that Azeroth is an unfair place? It’s monstrously unfair. And it’s going to stay that way.

Of Story Arcs and Storied Orcs

We can guarantee an unfair and inequitable treatment of both factions for now and in the foreseeable future. This allows us to have richer long-term story arcs, another idea that we’ve been experimenting with since the build-up to Cataclysm. To see the factions ebb and flow as their leaders get embroiled in all manner of heroism or skullduggery is like a reward for long-time players.

Speaking of faction leaders, that’s one area where I think we can do better: Giving everyone a chance to interact with their heroes throughout the story. In creating this universe, I’ll admit that we at Blizzard often fall into a trap of thinking of our main characters as “world” characters and not individual faction characters.

For example, the events of the cataclysm put in motion some major story developments for Thrall, who’d been sitting relatively idle in Orgrimmar since the events of Warcraft III. He was forced to choose between his role as warchief and as a shaman who could potentially save the world. He set aside the warchief’s mantle and, with your help, he’ll play an instrumental role in bringing an end to Deathwing.

But there’s a price to pay. Thrall sacrificed something.

The Horde has gone through a story arc of its own, since the days when the ragged refugee orcs first stumbled onto the beaches of Kalimdor and decided to found a new capital. The Horde races have united and consolidated. The Forsaken, no longer tormented by the Lich King, have secured their borders. The tauren have settled a homeland. The Darkspear trolls, once on the brink of extinction thanks to murlocs (murlocs!), have rallied together and founded a capital. The blood elves have survived the destruction of their home, moved beyond the defection of their leader, and reclaimed the Sunwell. The Horde is absolutely ascendant.

And in this moment, as one of the most powerful groups of mortals on Azeroth seeks to define itself, Thrall is out of the picture. The Horde’s mission is being defined by Garrosh Hellscream. Thrall’s decision to leave him in charge is coming back to haunt him.

If you’re a die-hard Alliance player, I can understand if you feel left out of Thrall’s story arc. Thrall feels like “their guy,” and Thrall’s journey over the last couple of years may not feel like “your” story, even if his mistakes are about to send the whole world into a potential death spiral. Fair enough. Stick with Thrall as he fulfills his destiny at the end of Cataclysm, and I promise we’ll catch up with other characters -- from both factions -- as we pick up the pieces in the aftermath.

Garrosh Hellscream has a vision for the Horde, a vision of a united Kalimdor that can only be realized over the ashes of the Alliance. He’s craftier than any of his foes realize, and his grim determination to win at all costs -- even at the expense of his own people -- is plunging the world into chaos.

In the midst of this crisis, the Alliance is going to need to pull together like never before. At the BlizzCon lore panel we promised that key Alliance characters are going to get more time in the spotlight throughout Mists and the subsequent patches, and I wanted to reiterate that here. They’re going to come out of this stronger than ever, but the road ahead won’t be easy.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better. A lot worse. But that’s a good thing. It means we’re going to need a lot more heroes to bring justice to an unjust world. We’re going to need you to step up and reshape the world.

Just don’t expect a Happily Ever After. We just don’t do those here.

Dave “Fargo” Kosak is the lead quest designer for World of Warcraft. His job is to maintain the integrity of the Warcraft world and storyline through gameplay, while simultaneously chucking bear cubs onto trampolines. It’s a fine line, but he walks it with the unwavering deftness of a quarterback on one of those old vibrating Electric Football games.
This article was originally published in forum thread: Dev Watercooler - Faction Favoritism started by chaud View original post
Comments 317 Comments
  1. Astalnar's Avatar
    Well, I for one think this was funny and insigtful post from devs. Also, I can see where they are coming from.
  1. Selkhet's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    No I instead read internet forums seeing people calling anyone else a moron for no reason other then an obvious attitude towards people playing the opposing faction.
    Well, dear, if the cap fits...
  1. Rouskavich's Avatar
    I truly believe that Blizz no longer favors one faction over the other. However, if they did i'ts NOT THE HORDE. That's what bothers me about their "apologies to the alliance". why are they not apologizing to the horde? How many horde wow commercials Vs. Alliance wow commercials have there been? I counted only 2 horde. William Shatner and Ozzy Osbourne!
  1. French Hipster's Avatar
    I would like for them to make racials equal :|
  1. N30's Avatar
    Experiment 12-b is a rare drop from ultraxion
  1. Darth-Piekus's Avatar
    On second thought I am not really gonna bother with their Faction Favoring at all. I am tired of it really. I will just wait to see if time confirms what I think or not.
  1. Noah37's Avatar
    Tomorrow seems like it will be a great day! Going to really enjoy checking out all of the new stuff, messing around with Transmogrification, doing new Heroics, deciding between playing my Rogue or Mage, seeing everything else that is going on, and of course, dying a ton in the new raids. It sucks this is happening right at the same time as my College Finals, going to have to try to get my work done, instead of playing.
  1. Mantrhax's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Trassk View Post
    On the server I play on, I play both horde and alliance, and I can say without fault, that the alliance are far, far more immature then the horde. Its an rp server, and you can tell right off the mark how mature a server is by the level of how players rp, if they take it seriously enough, and horde on my server do take it serious, well alliance.. they tend to bounce around like kids with A.D.D on a sugerrush.

    Claiming all horde as morons because you don't have a good comparison doesn't make it sound clever
    humm let me understand it, alliance is immature because they dont take wow seriously , and horde are matures because they take the game serious ?

    Amazing !!! ill buy u a mirror !! ur not very smart are u ?
  1. keLston's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ecwfrk View Post
    Imagine someone giving up on The Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones series 100 pages/30 minutes into the first book/movie/show because they don't like how the story is going for their favored characters.

    That's what people complaining about now are doing. Worse, some people are looking at scoreboard numbers which have no place in a story.

    WoW isn't a blockbuster movie based on a book. It's a game based on a vast and intricate storyline which has been developed in various different forms of media. People refer people to the books as, no matter how you gauge their quality, they give a much more expansive and comprehensive means to absorb some of the storylines that WoW is building upon. They also give a good reference for how story lines flow in the Warcraft universe and expand on the backstory which gives a better indication of how the story might unfold in the future.

    WoW was a game built upon a storyline that was formed within one medium: the Warcraft strategy game. They had some sparse lore stories in the manuals. Maybe you bought collector's editions and got a little extra developer commentary in the artbooks but the Warcraft story... the World of Warcraft story was from the video game.

    The garbage filler? That's the books. The reach for some extra licensing money doled out to hack fantasy writers that couldn't even pass themselves off pretending to make a fake Forgotten Realms story.

    The issue is entirely with the devs and not the players. I don't know what fantasy mall you went to where people wore World of Warcraft wristbands and Uther shirts but i'm pretty sure you're inventing that fact just to make some bullshit point. When the devs forced upon you that you lost the iconic Southshore/Tarren Mill battle regardless of what happened on your server? That's the devs. When the devs forced upon you that you lost Alterac Valley? That's the devs. When the devs forced upon you that you lost Warsong Gulch? That's the devs.

    Where did Alliance player pride come into all of this? The devs forced that. Someone not wearing an Uther shirt didn't make the devs change the game world where Horde won every iconic Vanilla battle.

    So stop making up facts.

    It was the devs. Don't blame the players.
  1. iceberg265's Avatar
    To me, this comes off reading like "We aren't biased towards the horde, REALLY WE AREN'T GUYS! Here remember all this cool stuff we did for the horde? And don't worry Alliance, its only going to get worse for you!"
  1. Grumar's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Mantrhax View Post
    humm let me understand it, alliance is immature because they dont take wow seriously , and horde are matures because they take the game serious ?

    Amazing !!! ill buy u a mirror !! ur not very smart are u ?
    because we all wanna play WoW with a bunch of kids who don't take any of their actions seriously verbal or in-game, it's a good thing to want to play with these people and not the serious players. on an RP realm especially you should be taking the game seriously, if you play it to RP chances are you play seriously.
  1. Divineknight13's Avatar
    wewt ret buffs then the nerf bat to zee balls ....
  1. Trollhamaren's Avatar
    For real blizz, for real? This is your endgame cinematic trailer? I know trailers where worst in vanilla, but you are looking to a future not to a further past, and if you see past, look to your last expansion wrath or even the last trailer patch.Not even voice acting. I'm not going to troll wow like other people talking about other games, cause this is about wow, not about any other game. And even what I'm going to say now, I'm still gonna play it, and play the next expansion (not so excited btw). This is just a claim from a former player.Did you realize that 4.2 cinematic was so much better? or even that recycled thing zandalari have a decent good cinematic for just two old dungeons.So deathwing for real, this is the destructor deathwing? I don't even feel one time deathwing "Epicness" in the entire expansion.At first it was difficult for me to believe no new models to raid bosses. None have new model, besides madness, And remember it's the final raid, is this last look that people is going to get of the expansion. Not only models, some of the fights mechanics are just LAME, at least it has some kinda interesting fights, like hagara, spine and madness.After a time i realize that the work missing here was the art team work. They seems to be on vacation or something.Seven possible theories.1 - As blizz said before, they were working on abissal maw, until realize it wasn't good enough, wasting alot of time, and then have to start from the begining, so it wasn't enough time to give a decent work for this patch.2 - Want to rush the end of cataclysm, even without having all done, since more than half base of players don't like the entire feel of the expansion.3 - The art team was very bussy working on mist of pandaria, they want it earlier than original expected, so bussy workers to a new release date.4 - Diablo 3 delayed to an early 2012, but don't still end it, have to borrow some of the wow art team to rush it, need to end it since no one want it delay it one more time.5 - Deatwing don't worth it, so why to worry. Deep inside blizz know you will always need LK.Do you remember his trailer? yep that was a good one.6 - Blizz don't care anymore, so whatever.7 - All previous ones.I always defend wow from trolls, I've been playing for 5 years now, And I'm still gonna play it for the upcoming years, but I really feel some lazynes from them.
  1. Janettie's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by iceberg265 View Post
    To me, this comes off reading like "We aren't biased towards the horde, REALLY WE AREN'T GUYS! Here remember all this cool stuff we did for the horde? And don't worry Alliance, its only going to get worse for you!"
    I felt the same way. Fortunately I'm not going to be here to see it happen, I'm sick of this. It's not what's causing me to quit the game, but it's a big part of it, and Blizzard's overbearing, bad attitude definitely doesn't help.
  1. pikezeppelin's Avatar
    For all disappointed with the 4.3 trailer, here is the fan revision with voices from PTR encounters(sorry if it has been posted already): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLqxJlGZXXA
  1. Blur4stuff's Avatar
    how do you identify yourself as a horde or alliance? it's just a game. you aren't really part of the horde or alliance. it's not real. if something happens to the horde/alliance it doesn't happen to you. you aren't on a side because sides don't exist.
  1. deplorable's Avatar
    lump of coal - new year.Scottish tradition is it brings in good luck, and if you "first foot" the lump of coal is traditionalthen again christmas short story as well

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