Allegiance

My troll: no matter what else may be said about her, she has impeccable fashion sense. For a circus clown.

My predilection for draenei characters probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise here. Of the Alliance characters I have that are above level twenty, eight out of nine are draenei. I know. But I do have three Horde characters – two Tauren, and a troll. At some point I’d even faction changed my shaman and made her a troll, but I ended up reversing the change and transferring her back to my “home” server. (Blizzard makes a lot of money from people like me). Why did I end up reversing the change? I wasn’t playing her where she was… and I’d started leveling another draenei shaman because it felt strange not to have one.

The fire festival has proven to be a great opportunity to level alts, though, and due to a summer cold I’ve had plenty of time to commit to the mindless grind.  I chose to use the time to work at leveling my troll mage, taking her from level 63 to 69 in a few days. The bonus XP was fantastic, and I’ve been leveling through a combination of judicious questing and LFD. The queue times have been a bit longish – I’d say a half hour, on average – which was just enough to break up the monotony.

So having experienced the “pug scene” in Outland recently on both Alliance and Horde characters, what’s the difference? I’d say there really isn’t one. People of either faction are equal parts friendly or business-like or jerkish in approximately equal proportions. It has been refreshing to both revisit my mage roots and relax a bit. There isn’t much pressure on a mage in pugs, apart from “Water please” and “Can I have another stack of water?” I’m absolutely fine with playing vending machine and pumping out some DPS. I’ve been leveling as Frost because it’s a blast.

When I hit level 68 I was so excited – Northrend, finally! Not to mention, this is my first Horde character who has ever “leveled” this far. (Faction transfers don’t count). I remembered that Horde take a Zeppelin to Northrend rather than a boat. Alliance-side, I really enjoy Borean Tundra, so I went to Orgrimmar to catch the Zeppelin that goes there.

My first realization: I didn’t buy a Tome of Cold Weather Flight for this character back when I had an 80 on the same server and could have. Oops – it looks like she’ll be trekking her way across Northrend. But no matter, that was how the game was meant to be experienced, right? Something like that. Within a few minutes I was hopelessly lost in the area around Warsong Hold. Getting lost isn’t really new for me, but it’s something I suffer from particularly when I’m trying to play Horde. I’ve spent long minutes circling in Orgrimmar or traveling around the spokes of the wheel of Undercity… or just plain running into dead ends in Silvermoon. Horde architecture feels so aggressive and alien to me. Warsong Hold is definitely imposing, though, don’t get me wrong. It’s very grand. I don’t recall feeling that way when I went to Valiance Keep. Then again, I didn’t get lost there either!

So I thought, maybe you’re coming at this from the wrong angle. What’s Howling Fjord like from a Horde perspective? A quick portal to Undercity and another Zeppelin trip later and I was about to find out. Here’s where I hit my second stumbling block. Now, I’d had an inkling of this before. My mage was previously resting at level 63, and there’s a reason. I’d been happily questing through Hellfire when I got to Falcon Watch and encountered this quest, Source of the Corruption. Okay, an Apothecary planning something heinous isn’t really news, but the quest text stopped me in my tracks.

Uncorrupted draenei, like this unlucky fellow here, are virtuous champions of the Light. What corruption caused their great race to devolve into the Broken and Lost Ones?

I’ve heard a theory that exposure to fel energies is what caused the mutation. I would like to put that theory to the test.

He’s got a draenei prisoner next to him. Needless to say, it doesn’t take much of a leap of logic to figure out what he’s planning. I didn’t do the quest, although I hear that the draenei dies at the end of it, and I stopped leveling my mage then too. I know it sounds extreme, but the quest and its inevitable outcome really turned me off, and I dropped the mage cold. I know it’s silly, but I felt like a traitor.

Vid, who to the best of my knowledge has never force-fed something fatal to someone else. Just sayin'. Except a sword/axe/pointy object. Does that count?

It took me a few months before I felt like picking up my mage again. This time through Outland, I was really doing mostly instances. I didn’t do very many quests, and I was a happy troll, killing naga and whathaveyou.

Until Howling Fjord, and this quest: The New Plague. With this one, the Apothecary tells you that he needs you to retrieve samples of the plague that the Alliance had gotten ahold of. Okay, I think, remembering the Wrathgate sequence I’ve seen from the other side – well, you’re going to be using it any way so I may as well help you. That is, until I get to the boats where I can find the plague samples. The place is just swarming with Alliance soldiers, and by some perverse decision I don’t understand – most of them are draenei. You can all stop and have a laugh now at the notion of a Troll mage ducking and weaving her way in-between hostile Alliance mobs in a vain effort not to aggro and have to kill any of them. Lucky for me, the follow-up quest is even better – go and test the plague out by throwing it at their fleet! I kept questing here for a little while, and so I did have to kill them and hear that particular death sound that usually means, “You just let someone in your party die.” And I know that it’s bizarre, but I had a really hard time with it.

In fact, I sort of hated it. Other folks lately have been talking about quest morality, and yes, I know it’s virtual, it’s not real. But you start to identify with the characters, races, and yes, even particular factions. Anea wrote about how she didn’t want to kill Thersa Windsong. Rades responded with a post about why Thersa Windsong must die. (Both really interesting posts, incidentally, I recommend them wholeheartedly). But I’m not talking about the morality of a specific quest here, or metagaming – it’s more a general aversion to many quests because of what is probably by now a deeply rooted Alliance loyalty of my own. I know my troll character doesn’t give a hoot about killing draenei or not killing them. She probably likes it, and probably hates the Alliance. This isn’t about her, it’s about me. I don’t think the Alliance are the “heroes” and above reproach, or that everything they do is good. I just think that they are my people. I loved doing the Mag’har related quests as a troll, and I intend to go back and finish out the chain that has Thrall coming to Garadar. I like Thrall. But I’ll always be only masquerading as Horde, even though I can connect with the people who play it. I think I may be ruined forever.

So here’s my question to you (and an excuse to use the poll image I made forever ago)! First of all, the poll.

For the record, my answer would be one of the last ones. I’ll post the results after a week or so, I’m actually quite curious to know the “demographics” of people who stop by. Now for the actual questions we can discuss in comments: Why did you choose the faction you did? Have you changed factions at all throughout your time playing WoW, or would you change if you could (disregarding guild allegiance, if your friends played a different faction, etc.)

And when you play the “other” faction, what do you notice? What’s strange? I still flinch when I see Horde flags and expect guards to come running at me, but I’m getting used to running instances with blood elves and Forsaken. I know that at least one member of our guild has said he wishes we were a Horde guild, and an old friend of mine cautioned me when I first made a Horde character, “You won’t play Alliance again, Horde is a better faction.” What do you think? If you have more to say about this than a comment can hold, feel free to write about it on your own blog and I’ll link any related posts here!

p.s. – Please keep it polite and respectful, since I do expect both Horde and Alliance folks read here. No bashing from either side! I know sometimes these Faction discussions can get heated, and then before you know it you’ve got some kind of Varian Wrynn-Wrathgate situation on your hands, and we don’t want anything like that.

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74 responses to “Allegiance

  1. I’ve played Alliance ever since I started the game about five years ago. The highest I’ve ever gotten a horde character is level 6. I have no idea why I can’t play horde, or for that matter why I chose alliance. I suppose I had an image of a character in my mind at the very beginning and that character was human. It was a long time later when I began to accept the idea of dwarf and night elf characters — orcs and trolls were the enemies. I had the idea that I would level a blood elf mage at the beginning of Burning Crusade so that I would have a complement on either faction — that got to about level four.

    The Forsaken do some pretty nasty stuff, and I know a few people who have problems playing horde because of what the Forsaken do, have done, and hope to do. I suppose I’m one of those people myself. I find myself a bit sympathetic with Wrynn after the Wrathgate, and a little frustrated with Jaina Proudmoore,

    One thing I looked back on was the one alliance-side quest that gave me pause: The Art of Persuasion. I recall there being quite a bit of hoopla having to do with this quest, which essentially put you in the role of torturing a bad guy for the Kirin Tor. It surprised me that, given the violence inherent in the game, Blizzard could make such a quest stand out like that. Of course, it seems like horde-side is rife with questionable quests like that, though I wouldn’t know firsthand.

    The other thing I thought about was how the Arugal questline in Grizzly Hills would change, if at all, with the addition of the worgen race. Could you imagine a worgen character chopping down the wolfsbane or riding a horse fleeing from angry worgen? I hope they don’t get rid of the questline, because it includes my favorite quest ever (Anatoly Will Talk), but it would seem extremely awkward to do it as a worgen.

    • The addition of the Worgen to the Alliance should definitely prove interesting in its implications (and would make that quest rather awkward, I agree). I’m definitely in the “frustrated with Jaina Proudmoore” camp at the moment. I think she’s somewhat fallen as an interesting lore character and often seems more in place as a shill for the “Arthas you MONSTER” camp of hand-wringing and tears. Listening to her has started to become cringeworthy to me, when I used to enjoy that she was a woman in a position of power who didn’t seem prone to the “weak female” stereotypes.

  2. I voted for “I have characters of both factions but consider myself Horde.” This is because I caved and rolled a night elf rogue, the subtlety spec just cried out to me and screamed “only suitable for night elves”. You can call me crazy but sometimes that’s how I make choices. Anyway, I feel strong ties with the Horde, and quite enjoy killing members of the Alliance faction. However when I switch over to my night elf (this is rare, might I add) I have no problem killing players or NPCs alike of the Horde faction, in fact it’s a rather nice little break from killing the “good” races. Just my two cents :)

    • Spoken like a true rogue. ;) Honestly though, that’s why I put those options in there! I know that most people have dabbled on either side, but still know pretty clearly which one they “are” when it comes right down to it.

      • Yes! My main is a blood elf priest, Telmaria, in fact I think Vidyala follows her Twitter account. It’s amazing how us Azerothians find the time to tweet ;)
        I always found the blood elf lore fascinating and tragic, and the architecture beautiful. I have four blood elf toons, and they all have individual personalities and backstories which I created for them. Maybe it’s just me being weird, but I feel like it gives my characters depth, and I therefore enjoy playing them more.

  3. I played for 2 years as Alliance and switched to Horde at the start of this year. Generally speaking, I like the Alliance cities better than the Horde ones, but I don’t really identify with either faction. I like Thrall better as a leader than the various Alliance leaders.

    At first I used to panic when I saw orcs around the place, until I remembered that they were now friendly.

    I always used to have a problem with running into the Horde side of Dalaran before and now I still have a problem with the Alliance side >.<

    I would really recommend everyone try leveling up in each faction at least once. There are areas where the experience is quite different, especially in Northrend.

    • Haha, I do that with the Alliance/Horde sides of Dalaran all the time… well, when I had a Horde character in Dalaran, I kept running into the Alliance side like a doofus. It has been an experience, I don’t mean to imply it’s all negative either. The Horde definitely gives a real sense of struggling to survive and hold onto what they can, and there’s a proud clannishness about them. I just really run into trouble when it comes to the “us versus them” quests when “them” is who I more strongly identify with.

      I agree it’s definitely worthwhile for people to try “the other side” if they have the chance.

  4. I just faction changed my DK to see the Horde side – with the recommendations coming from twitter that the horde quests to see are in outlands and northrend (and the starting zones – which I have done in the past). I was going to faction change my druid… but I’ve become attached to his green elven self (my next post covers this a bit… must finish the screenshots).

    However I was tanking The Underbog last night and suddenly went – that’s odd the priest is running around with the stoop of a troll. Which of course was true because it was a troll priest, I ‘m just not used to running dungeons with horde. I can probably count the number of dungeons I’ve run as Horde on one hand.

    I remember when I played my Draenei that I felt strange killing the blood elves in the starting area. Killing orcs I haven’t had issues with… Tolkein has trained me well?

    • Hah, there is definitely that, and Shintar mentions it later on. Most of us don’t have trouble killing trolls, and the world provides us with ample opportunity. I had those panicky moments when I first started dungeon running as a troll – the first time a blood elf came running towards me I almost ran the other way! You get used to it, but it still provides odd moments of vertigo. I’ll look forward to reading about your green elf. :)

  5. I played Alliance simply because my brother wanted to play a Human Paladin (his love of Paladins is from other games) and so the rest of us just picked different classes. My sister started a Human Warrior, her partner a Human Mage and I rolled a Human Rogue.

    I like having a character this a projection/reflection of me. I don’t try and identity switch or roleplay a different personality through my avatars. My Human Rogue actually looks a lot like me. When I rerolled as a Human Priest I wanted her to look a bit more evil but I never thought twice about choosing Human again. And this was when our racials were terrible!

    I’ve played Horde characters and love some of the Horde races. I find the factions are pretty much the same. But I don’t ever identify with my Troll or Blood Elf the same way that I do with my Alliance characters (Humans and Gnomes).

    I don’t think I could bring myself to faction change. My Priest will always be a Human Priest who grew up in Stormwind. It wouldn’t be right to change that.

    If all my friends decided to swap to Horde I think I’d have to reroll a new Priest. I just don’t know… don’t think I could do it at all.

    • I know exactly what you mean, the characters do take on a life of their own. The few times I’ve considered faction switching one of my “main” characters I just couldn’t do it… it would seem like killing them. Re-rolling is a different matter, which is why I’m okay with having a troll mage who really isn’t all that different from my draenei mage. I didn’t have to kill anyone to create her!

  6. Oooh and Draenei! Can’t believe I forgot my Shaman!

  7. I’m all for the alliance. I’ve rolled belfs and taurens and trolls to try the lore from the other side, but couldn’t stick at it past the starting zones.

    3 mains reasons:
    - I hate orcs and forsaken and would rather not be anywhere near them (nothing to do with the people who play them, just can’t stand the sight of them)
    - I dislike most of the horde architecture (belf and tauren buildings are ok)
    - I dislike horde cities (mainly due to layout/ambience)

    I think I’d find it quite hard to have to harm alliance races for quests too.

    I’ll have to learn about horde lore from articles ‘coz I just can’t connect with their characters enough to see it for myself.

    • I quite like the Tauren, myself, but I don’t think anyone could gainsay me when I state that their starting area is truly abysmal. It’s such a scattered collection of random, far apart quests with poor flow. It took me twice as long as most other starting zones and was an exercise in frustration.

      Fortunately, you can learn quite a bit from articles without ever having to really play there. Do you think the addition of goblins will change anything for you?

      • I forget where I read this, but someone once very aptly compared Mulgore to a doughnut: Pretty to look at, and with some sweet decoration around the edges, but a big, empty hole in the middle. That really sums it up for me.

        I love how Mulgore looks, and I really enjoy the lore of the Tauren, and I enjoy flying over their lands, but questing there—before you have a mount, when you have to trot the whole way in that ponderously slow gait the Tauren have—is just too much.

        I realize Tauren run at the same base speed as everyone else, but because they’re bigger, they feel slower. It matters! As soon as Riversong was out of the starting area, I ran her straight up to Eversong Woods, and only came back for training…apparently Druids can train in Silvermoon City, but Shaman can’t!

  8. Hi,

    I just recently discovered your blog and have to say I love it – the adventures of the pugging pally while levelling up were hilarious!

    When I initially started WoW the first two toons I rolled were a Night Elf and a Human, however as I became more serious I discovered that my brother has all his characters Horde-side. Since he could help me out with levelling and a good amount of gold, I transferred to the Horde.

    I always thought the Night Elf and Human starting areas were great and I would love to see more, but it just seems all too hard now to reroll Alliance or start a new toon from scratch without any help. I am limited to a very casual play schedule anyway, only a few hours a week, but if I had more I would love to spend time revisiting the Alliance areas of Azeroth.

    Having said that, I love the Horde cities of Thunder Bluff (so peaceful!), Undercity and Orgrimmar (both so foreboding!)

    • Thanks! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes I miss the pugging/leveling, and sometimes I really don’t. ;)

      I think many of us make our first decision about which faction based on the one that the person introducing us to the game is playing. The friend who recruited me played Alliance – I wonder where I’d be if he’d been a die-hard Hordie?

  9. I chose “I have Alliance characters, but I’m Horde.” I started as Horde – even though I’d have preferred Alliance – because I a friend convinced me to make a trial account (I didn’t want to play at all) and he wanted a Tauren druid. So I rolled a Troll rogue and off I went. To level 13 where my computer died.

    When I got a new computer and came back to the game, I rolled Alliance, Rhii the Draenei Mage to be precise. She was my first real main and my first 80.

    But I missed Horde. It was like that first Troll rogue had imprinted on me or something. My very first RPG experiences were all in Durotar and that has always felt like home.

    So when Aurdon’s wife got back into the game, I rerolled on her server (Myrhani the Blood Elf Pally) and since then I have faction transferred Rhii as well. My newest 80 is a Troll shaman, and I don’t know why I hadn’t rolled another troll before. They are hands down my favorite race in the game.

    • Trolls really are quite great. I like trolls and Tauren. Although I’m sure you’ll understand why I say I’m a bit sad to hear of Rhii the Draenei mage’s untimely demise and rebirth as Rhii the Horde Mage. :D One less draenei in the world is a sadness.

  10. My first two characters, created on the same day, were an Orc hunter and a Night Elf warrior. As time went by, the Alliance drew me closer, not least because I am so creeped out by the Undead and their shocking amorality. But, even today, I have and love my Horde characters, and I like Thrall a LOT better than Varian Wrynn.

    At the end of the battle for Undercity, which I did for the first time as Alliance, I found myself shouting out loud with indignant frustration at Wrynn’s insufferable arrogance. Sure, he had it hard as a prisoner of war, but so did Thrall, whose entire race was poisoned by demonic blood. After that, I spent some more time as Horde.

    The Alliance is my home, though in a lot of ways I feel similarly about Alliance in game, as I do in life outside the game about my home country the U.S. — lots of good things about it, but also a lot of arrogance and intolerance too. I’m not sure what the Horde represents in this analogy, but I think of it as a group of radical individualists; you can’t imagine the Horde levying taxes, right? Still, they’re ready to fight for their independence, and even if the Orcs and the Tauren don’t like what the Royal Apothecary Society gets up to, they’re not going to interfere till it’s a matter of real Horde honor (like after the Wrathgate).

    It’s easy to feel comfortable with the Alliance’s well-ordered authoritarianism, but it doesn’t take many outbursts like Wrynn’s to move the gnomon of my heart firmly into Thrall’s camp. Now that he’s out of a job, can’t we replace Wrynn with him, please? :)

    • I agree, I’d take Thrall over Wrynn in a heart-beat. I also pretty well identify with your reasoning on both sides. The Horde can be both attractive and repulsive, and the Alliance can be both comforting and ethnocentric!

  11. Also, Vid, I can’t see the results, and I’m interested… :(

  12. This may be shocking :P but I am strongly pro-Horde. I just find their races, backstories and personalities WAY more interesting than Alliance. Orcs, Forsaken and Blood Elves have GREAT dark, complex histories full of betrayal, tragedy, and great heroes/villains. These races change, evolve, and DO things. (Trolls/Tauren don’t do much of note, sadly.)

    In comparison…well, gnome history is Gnomeregan and that’s it. They’re funny but have no real hooks. Like Trolls I guess, except trolls have a dozen cities/temples/civilizations scattered about Azeroth. Funny but unexciting.

    Draenei are great, but I also find them bland from a growth perspective. They’re righteous, pure and wholesome…and never anything else. How have the draenei changed since they first showed up in BC? They haven’t. At all. Not much depth.

    Dwarves are like every dwarf in any fantasy story ever.

    And the humans and night elves…well, they just constantly screw things up. Blowing up the world through their own arrogance, not paying their workers and mishandling the situation badly enough to create a huge rogue organization, harboring dragons in their midst…they’re just so incompetent.

    I give night elves some points for at least changing their ways slightly (it’s hard not to when you just split the world in half), but they’re so, so arrogant and stubborn – Tyrande, for example.

    I realize the game needs to have people who react in “traditional” ways, and the Alliance races (Humans, dwarves and Draenei in particular) fill this need fine. But I like getting my hands dirty. I like exploring the shadows and breaking some rules.

    The Alliance is Cyclops. The Horde is Wolverine. Both achieve the same goals, one just has a lot more fun and excitement getting there. ;D

    • Haha, fair enough, Rades. And yeah, no surprises from you there. I suppose my opinion about the Draenei, well… Here’s the thing! A few things actually. Most of the interesting Draenei stuff happens in Outland, after the starting zone. And it’s regrettably true that they haven’t progressed very much, lore-wise, since BC. I’m hoping this will change with Cataclysm, but who’s to say? My perspective might be a little different because although the game itself hasn’t necessarily progressed the Draenei, I’ve been playing on roleplaying servers and so my draenei personally have been growing and changing along with the world and the current politics. Some of them are good and noble, some of them are more self-interested; many of them are tired of the constant conflict. A new crop of evils visited against the living in the form of draenei Death Knights added some flavour too… it’s not enough that there’s so few of them left, but to be made into such an abberation… new evils to fight, and all that. I guess, in short, they still interest me. But the point of this was to see what interests and draws people. It’s been really enlightening!

  13. Pingback: Vidyala’s Allegiance « Altaholic's Diary

  14. I had to take up your challenge and post an article (http://altaholicsdiary.wordpress.com/2010/07/05/vidyalas-allegiance/) simply because I recently made a total switch to Horde, moving my Night Elf Priest “main” to another realm and switching to a Blood Elf Priest.

    I won’t go into detail why I switched to Horde, its all in my post, but I couldn’t be happier. Having a blast dealing with Sylvanas’ cruelty instead of Jaina’s unending river of tears :)

  15. I kept questing here for a little while, and so I did have to kill them and hear that particular death sound that usually means, “You just let someone in your party die.” And I know that it’s bizarre, but I had a really hard time with it.

    That made me smile. My main is a troll and the sound of female trolls dying always makes me twitch a little as well, but I had to get over it or I wouldn’t get to do much, considering that there are whole instances and raids dedicated to killing nothing but trolls. In fact, Draenei are one of the few races that never have you encounter evil versions of them in the game who you have to kill, so you might be a bit spoiled in that department. :)

    As for the poll, I voted for the last option. I started out as Alliance in vanilla but switched to Horde when my friends list dried up and the two people that had started out with me switched to Horde. I’ve been loyal to my Horde guild ever since but still go back to Alliance side for fun to level up characters there sometimes.

    Horde is my home because of the people there, but I’m still quite comfortable slipping back into “Alliance mode”, provided it hasn’t been too long since I last played. (For example I didn’t touch my Allies at all for the better portion of this expansion, and when I finally went back even things as simple as the changes to boat routes played havoc with my attempts to get things done.) As it is, I just forget who’s friend or foe on occasion and run into the wrong camp.

    • Not entirely true, as Outland is littered with zones/quests where you’re killing draenei ghosts or eredar or what-have-you, just the other day I ran Auchenai Crypts and murdered scores of ‘em. I’ll grant you though, I’m sure you have to kill many more female trolls than I do draenei. :( I don’t like the feign death sounds for the same reason, haha. I always go, “Oh gosh who DIED…oh it’s you.”

      I think it’s pretty interesting to meet people who really don’t feel strongly about it either way, but happen to play one Faction and will just as happily play the other. I think they each have strong draws and drawbacks, really.

  16. Horde all the way.

    I do have some drenai girls (three to be exact, none played more than 10 levels), but they’re just around because friends of mine wanted to see the other side and I tagged along. And well, drenai have the cutest gals in game, even if I like the strong orc ladies much better. (there’s only so much cute you can do.)

    But these days I’m not comfortable with Alliance, not all. I leveled on a PvP-server and after getting ganked a few times by gnomes and co, all friendly feelings are gone. Alliance, first and foremost, poses a danger to me. And it feels so odd if the pvp seal next to my character plate is blue instead of red.

    Not sure why I’m so much pro-horde, but I take a tauren over a human every time. Humans just feel arrogant and stuffy, so wrapped up in their own past and little unimportant petty spats (kill the price boar princess, she eating my flowers! Oh no, I want an invisibility pot ‘coz I’d rather meet my lover in secret instead of talking things – seriously, the human quests had me facepalm). Nightelfs, well… they’re nightelves. I like the dwarves, but their starter area’s kind of boring too, although the gnomes with “oops, we broke our city” were kind of funny..

    But on horde-side, no matter which race you pick, there’s one thing hammered home from the very beginning: The sheer will to survive and thrive despite the fact that nearly everything wants to see you dead. There’s much more at stake for the horde than for the alliance (at least in the beginning). Failure doesn’t mean that a woman can’t see her lover, no, failure will mean horrible death for you and the others.

    In the end my personal experience with both sides can be summarized like this: The alliance fights to preserve what they have (even the draenei with the myst-isles wildlife), while the horde fight for a friggin chance to survive in an hostile world.

    I like later better and that’s why I am horde.

    It might change in cata, but who knows? By now I’m used to run around with orcs and undead and trolls (and waaaaaaaay too many belfs), so having dorfs and nelfs as companions would just feel odd.

    • I agree that the starting zones for Horde are often much more engaging from an immersive point of view. The human zone in particular left me feeling pretty cold, although I’m of the opinion that the draenei starting zone is one of the best. We aren’t just pretty faces, you know, we can kick some serious ass too! ;)

      Being Horde definitely feels like more of a struggle for survival, and less the “life of privilege” side of the Alliance folks. Well, privilege is all relative I suppose, my personal favourite race (duh) hasn’t exactly had it all roses either. Perhaps that’s why I like them so much. :)

  17. Back in ’08, I got the trial and rolled my first ever WoW character, a lady troll, but met a group of twelve year-olds (like, 15 of them) who decided to follow me around, trying to piss me off. I logged off, deleted the toon, and rolled a little gnome. I never rolled a hordie since. FOR THE ALLIANCE!

    • Aw. That’s a shame that you had an experience like that – I have noticed that female characters (excepting blood elves) seem much rarer Horde-side. I can never find female trolls/orcs/Forsaken for the various holiday quests. I’m not sure why, female trolls are pretty awesome.

  18. I am glad that I decided to write and post first and read later – how odd that we would both touch on the same subject matter and the same quests!

    I find the Horde difficult in several respects. Like many others, I dislike the look of the Orcs and Undead – and their architecture. The other three I can deal with, but they just don’t call to me in the same way that most of the Alliance races do.

    As I said in my post, I also think that the Horde have a lot more quests that strike me as distasteful. On the flip side of that, I do expect it. The quest lines for the DK class didn’t affect me at all on the Horde side because of course this character wouldn’t mind killing someone they used to know. Even playing through the starting area again on the Alliance side, I hated that quest, so it wasn’t just that I knew what to expect the second time around.

    It is interesting to see both sides though. To those who enjoy the Horde more, good for them. If everyone felt like me, who would be around to kick my ass in BG’s? :P

    • It is pretty funny that we both wrote about this, we must be sharing a brain-space! I’m glad you wrote what was on your mind before reading too (and vice versa, naturally; I would have felt I was taking away from what you were trying to say otherwise). Perhaps I should just go reply there as well. :D

  19. Pingback: Update on the Horde side « Kiss My Alas

  20. Blame the old Elfquest comics but I always roll an elf as a first toon in a game if I can. In fact almost all of my characters are Nelves solely because the racial ability Shadowmeld is just so handy while leveling (I get interrupted a lot.). I do have one female Draenei shammy though ( and it irritates me that she can’t shadowmeld)

    As far as faction allegiances go I’ll probably only play Alliance. Just never cared to play Horde. Not even in the original Warcraft games. Plus I have pvped a lot which means I keep having to resist the urge to smite my fellow players when I try rolling a toon horde side. Plus having so many undead around imbues me with a certain paranoia (because they’ve always been out to get me in the past).

    • I can definitely relate to finding it difficult to switch once you have a faction pretty well “engrained” in you. It’d be neat if Night Elves could be shaman… but then again, I’d be as happy if draenei could be druids! ;)

  21. “The quest lines for the DK class didn’t affect me at all on the Horde side because of course this character wouldn’t mind killing someone they used to know. ”

    Ouch, Alas. I think Blizz has done a good job conveying that the Horde are NOT bloodthirsty monsters… no matter what the apothecaries get up to. With the possible (and not certain) exception of the Forsaken, the Horde races are fighting just as hard for the preservation of their homes/way of life as the Alliance races are.

    Look at Varian Wrynn and Thrall and tell me again who is more likely to kill first and ask questions later?

    • Err, well, I honestly didn’t intend to imply the Horde are bloodthirsty monsters as a whole. But at the same time, I stand by what I wrote. My belf DK? Yes, she would absolutely kill someone she used to know, no questions asked. She’s just colder somehow than my fluffy Draenei DK or even my fugly human dude DK.

      As a side note, even though I really dislike playing the DK class, they have more immediate personalities in my mind than any of my other toons. I don’t have strong feelings about whether my Horde paladin is more or less bloodthirsty than my Alliance paladin.

      As to the example of Thrall versus Wyrnn, yeah, Wrynn is a hotheaded jerkface and I wish we had a better leader. I think Blizzard does try to give a lot of the moral ambiguity on both sides and it’s very obvious when it comes to major lore figures that neither side is either completely “good” or “bad.”

      But when it comes to Horde quests overall, I think there are many more that make me cringe back on that side than there are on the Alliance. I also feel the Horde are less likely to focus on the big picture and are more apt to attack the Alliance even if it means losing ground to a common enemy.

      I guess the bottom line for me on this is that I am not really willing to label the Horde as being “evil” – but I do definitely see them as being much darker than their Alliance counterparts.

      • I’m reminded by what Tam wrote recently about his Night Elf DK encountering the figure from their past – I fed you milk and honey in the temple, etc. It’s wrenching. Although I’ll admit I felt the same thing when I made a Tauren DK (none of my DKs tend to survive for very long) and it was something like “we knew each other on the rolling plains of Mulgore…” I’m just pulling from memory, here. Something about these two big, gentle nomadic plains people meeting in these horrific circumstances was crushing to me; there was no Horde or Alliance bent to it.

        I’m pretty interested to see the Wrathgate from the Horde side… I definitely wasn’t impressed with Wrynn on the Alliance side.

      • I think this particular example would depend much more on the race. Orcs, Tauren, Night Elves, Draenei and Dwarves would be horrified at killing someone they know because of their very close racial tendencies towards kinship and family. Honor and respect would also be a huge reason they wouldn’t want to.

        Trolls, Blood Elves, Gnomes and Humans would probably be as put off by it as any regular person would. But those races don’t strike me as being particularly…deep or emotional.

        And of course the Forsaken are the Forsaken.

  22. I live in a divided household. I play Alliance while the SO prefers Horde. After experiencing fallout in my Alliance guild, I let him convince me to go Horde for a bit. When I reached 80 on my belf pally, I finally looked at him and said, “Okay, I tried Horde. Can I go back to Alliance now?” There was nothing specific that I disliked about Horde (although I refused to do some of the quests too), but it was like a second skin that was too small. The fit felt wrong to me the whole time I was leveling up.

    Now I’m back to Alliance and love my draenei shaman dearly. He faction transferred his DK to raid with me, and our guild is successful and full of great people. I can tell, though, that he often wishes to he had stayed Horde. For him, Alliance is that too-small second skin, and so he copes by having a Horde hunter. It’s a compromise that lets us live in both worlds as best we can.

    • It’s definitely unfortunate when two people who love each other just don’t happen to love the same faction. :( Fortunately for me, Voss and I are both pretty Alliance-focused, but I’ve had friends in the past who tried to play Alliance when they were Horde and it just didn’t work for them. Oh, they’d play, and try, but like you said – you could always tell that it just didn’t feel natural for them. It’s funny just how much it can define us and be “wrong” to be on the other side.

  23. My first character was Alliance because that’s what the person who introduced me to the game played, but I think I would have chosen that faction anyway. I was initially repulsed by the looks and apparent ‘evilness’ of the Horde races (in my defense, this was before I knew anything about the game at all). Now that I’ve played longer and have more knowledge of the lore I like the Horde better than I used to and don’t mind playing them, but my true allegiance will always be with the Alliance. I just identify more with their stories and motivations.

    And as a side note: anyone who says Alliance lore is boring hasn’t been paying attention!

    • I agree! The Alliance has many interesting things going for it, just as the Horde does. That’s why I wanted to play both, to see what was happening on either side. It’s like an entirely different game, and if you only ever play one faction you miss 50% of it!

  24. I had to think long and hard how to comment on this post. My views on the Horde vs Alliance debate being as clear cut as my view on my warrior’s eternal nemesis, the pally.

    I started playing two years ago and started on Alliance. Why? Vid liked the draeneis from the start, I liked the elves. I looked long and hard at the Tauren too then, but finally picked one.

    I have since played fairly exclusively Alliance (Actually, apart from my 80 DK, exclusively the warrior who became a draenei a few months ago).

    I have tried many horde characters and helped Vid level her troll mage with RaF at some point. I also have a DK somewhere in there. I must admit, I have a very strong dislike of the Horde.

    I have been thinking about it quite a bit since last night when I read this post. Why do I dislike them so much? Is it the stereotype used for the races? I don’t think so. The way a race speaks does not matter to me, I play with no sound. As for the look, again, I don’t really care. I would even play a human, that says it all. :)

    Then it hit me this morning. The Alliance is arrogant, yes. It’s orderly. It’s a rule of law. They try to assimilate people into behaving their ways, as upstanding citizens. The Horde define themselves as against the Alliance. Things are less organized but there’s a very strong sense of group, of us against them. To them, the ends justify the means. There’s a very strong feeling of rebelling against the world’s authority represented by the humans and nelves especially.

    To me, it feels akin to the conflict between a parental figure and a teenager. I started playing the game when I was 35. I have never felt any kinship with the Horde whatsoever. Their cities make no sense while it took me 5 minutes to know my way around Darnassus. The quests are often bloodthirsty where they don’t need to be. I already am not one who likes levelling. What little I’ve seen of the Horde side of the game makes me think I would quit before getting a character to 80 on their side.

    The Horde does have the best leaders. Sylvanas and Thrall are far superior to Varian and the crying idiot that Blizz has turned Jaina into. They simply cannot compensate for the rest. Especially since we have the beer garden. :)

    • I grudgingly admit that the beer garden is one thing the Alliance will always have over the Horde. ;)

      • Hate to break it to you but there are actually numerous things the Alliance have over the Horde, admittedly in Vanilla WoW mostly. Things such as more instances with Alliance only quests (Deadmines being one), the Alliance only mount in that frozen snow zone in northern Kalimdor (forgot its name), and a few others.

        I only picked up on these after actually levelling a Hordie once I had an Ally levelled as well.

  25. Alliance. Have not, despite my best intentions, managed to get a Horde character past 35 or so. The lore, the quests – they just don’t work for me. And I just can’t roll an orc or troll; I can’t find a combo that works for me. Tauren, maybe, in small batches. Looking forward to goblins for just this reason.

    Of course I started playing as alliance because my husband did; if he’d been horde things might have been different. Still, my screen is full of gnomes, draeni, and night elves, and I like it that way.

  26. I chose that I have characters of both factions, but consider myself Alliance.

    The person who got me interested in the game was Alliance, so I went with that faction to start. In retrospect I kind of wish I had played Horde from the beginning. While, I haven’t gotten a Horde toon to 80 yet, I more strongly associate with the races and quest lines there.

    Most of my characters remain Alliance because that is where my friends are, and sadly I am unable to convince them to change factions with me.

  27. Boy, I go away for the weekend and you come out of hibernation! (Summer cold, ha! You’re allergic to us, aren’t you? ;-)

    Gee, I have no idea where I end up on the scale…. :-D

    Yeah, I play both races but identify as Horde. A lot of that is what others have said: what you start with is where you end up. I like Blood Elves, not because they are the “Pretty Horde” or “Butt Elves”, but because of their backstory and the betrayal they faced in Outland. They also tend to have some of the funniest lines when you run into their “representatives” in the various Horde outposts.

    The Tauren have that wonderful Native American motif going on, and while the starting zone sucks for speed leveling, you get this sense of vastness and space and reverence for the land. It’s easy to see them as the Horde Druids. There are times when I find myself wandering over to the Barrens just so I can ride through that pass into Mulgore and see the great rolling plains stretched out before you.

    The Orcs and Trolls were the races nobody trusted. The Trolls were thrown out from their own kind –for not being nasty enough, I guess– and the Orcs threw off their Fel yoke and regained their sense of honor and pride. Their leaders, Thrall especially, I’m quite fond of. Thrall is the sort of leader that Varian Wrynn ought to be.

    All the more tragic what’s going to happen to Thrall and Bloodhoof in Cataclysm, and that Hellscream continues to demonstrate that he learned nothing from his Greatmother in Nagrand. Even though the Worgen and Goblins will get the notice, I can’t help but think that the new realities of Cataclysm will make some races -Tauren especially- really reconsider what being part of the Horde means. (The same thing goes for the Alliance -I can’t see Velen being so gung ho on extermination that Wrynn is, for example.)

    On the Alliance side, I really do like the Draenei. Yeah yeah yeah, all sweetness and light and all that, but then how do you explain the Draenei saying “we don’t want your kind here?” to the Broken? They aren’t as perfect as they all seem, and Auchendoun has plenty of not-so-pure Draenei running around too.

    Hmm… Lessee… Oh yeah, the Apothecary quests. Yeah, I hate them. With a passion. But that said, with a few exceptions I do run them. I need to revile them by the time it’s done, and I need to see the result of Sylvanas ignoring what’s going on under her nose in her pursuit of killing Arthas. The Alliance looks at it as “all Horde are bad and need to be destroyed,” but to Thrall and Sylvanas, it’s a betrayal of the worst kind and Sylvanas barely escaped her own city. The Wrathgate from the Horde side is very different: when you return to Orgrimmar, you ride through the gates to see Forsaken refugees having fled the Undercity.

    The Hellfire Apothecary quest I avoided like the… well, you know… until it became obvious that I needed it for the quest achievement. The Thersa one I haven’t done since on any other toon, and I will refuse to do it.

    BTW, if you want some tragedy of the non-Apothecary kind, to to Borean Tundra and/or Howling Fjord and go to the Taunka areas. The quests there all center around the loss of their old ways, and their flight from the Scourge.

    • “Thrall is the sort of leader that Varian Wrynn ought to be.”

      Given the fact that Thrall seems to have issues controlling various factions of the Horde (ie Wrathgate, Warsong Expedition, Multiple assassination attempts on Wrynn at or in route to peace talks etc etc) if Wrynn were just like Thraal the Horde and Alliance would be at open war now.

      • We are at open war right now. Multiple questlines in Icecrown (not ICC itself) beat you over the head with that, not the least being the daily where you’re supposed to go out and kill a certain number of the opposing faction.

        Wrynn stated at the end of the Wrathgate that he was going to wipe out all the green skinned aberrations (orcs) and the rest of the Horde. Sounds like a genocidal war to me.

        Thrall is far more willing to compromise than Hellscream, who is Wrynn’s counterpart.

  28. While the character I’m playing the most at the moment is a Tauren druid, I am still Alliance at heart. The problem is my night elf druid is stuck at level 80 and there’s nothing interesting for her to do. So until the Cataclysm hits, I’m a Hordie.

    When levelling up the Tauren, I stuck to Kalimdor most of the time, and thus avoided the Forsaken and Apothecary quests. Later I heard what those quests were like, and wasn’t particularly fussed by the fact I’d missed them. Though I still got my fair share of upsetting quests in Kalimdor. There’s one questline from the Crossroads where you’re tasked with killing some uppity harpies. Like a dutiful soldier I went off to do this. And then at the end of the questline you get told the following: “The harpies are upset because we killed their leader. Go kill her sister for us.” Dude, what? You created the problem with violence and now you’re solving it with more violence? It’s true, the orcs *are* the cause of all the wars in the world of warcraft!

    Later still I finally made it Outlands and Falconwing Point, and was going through the place and getting quests, and then came to a Forsaken, who had a draenei captive. It was just so *obvious* what that undead bastard was planning that I ignored him.

    I did *just* enough in Dragonblight to get the Wrathgate event and the fight for the Undercity. I otherwise left Venomspite alone.

    I haven’t ever done the ICC quests with my Tauren because by the time he got there he had far too much ill feeling towards the orcs and the Forsaken.

    I still play as my tauren druid, I just wish there was a ‘faction change to the Cenarion Circle’ option, or something like it.

  29. I marked myself as “have some Alliance characters, but Horde at heart”.

    Or perhaps I should say “I love the Horde… except for the Forsaken, whom I despise.”

    My first character was Tauren; I loved her zones, her lore, her city.
    My second character was Forsaken; I hated her zones, her lore, her city, and I ultimately deleted her. It took me a long time to roll another Forsaken, and even then it was really only because I’m a Collector and was getting twitchy because I didn’t have “one of everything”.

    I had to play through Durotar about a dozen times before I finally got an Orc character and a Troll character to “stick”. It wasn’t that I particularly disliked the zones or the lore or the city or even the appearances of the characters — they just weren’t as appealing to me as Tauren and Blood Elves.

    I’m currently working on a project to level a character of each of the Alliance races at least to twenty. I haven’t found a “favorite” Alliance race yet. I’d also like to take one of these characters all the way to 80, but again, I haven’t yet decided which one it will be. So far, I’m finding things that I like about the Alliance side of the world, but nothing that really grabs me as much as the Horde side where I began.

    As far as cities go, I love Thunder Bluff and Silvermoon. I like Orgrimmar well enough, now that I’ve learned it. I’ve learned my way around Undercity, but I hate the aesthetics of the place. Alliance-side, I’m a little surprised at how much I’m coming to love Stormwind. Ironforge is okay. I still get lost in the Exodar, and the aesthetics don’t do much for me. I haven’t had enough experience with Darnassus yet to know more than how to run from the portal glade to the entrance, and vaguely how to get to the Cenarion Enclave and the Temple of the Moon. I don’t even know where the Darnassus AH is! It’s a pretty city, but I don’t know where anything is.

    Quest-wise, yes, there are Horde quests (mostly involving the Forsaken) that bother me. If they bother me enough, I try to avoid doing them again. Most of the quests in Tarren Mill, for example, or the quest in Hellfire Peninsula discussed in previous comments, or all of the quests in the Forsaken quest hubs in Howling Fjord, which I will not be doing again as my lower level characters make it to Northrend. I’ve seen the Wrathgate twice; I don’t need to see it again (except from the Alliance perspective).

    I’m having more thoughts about the Horde experience versus the Alliance experience (or what I know of it from the low-level Alliance zones I’ve played through so far), but I think they might be better suited for a full post on my own blog!

    • …or not. I was thinking about what types of enemies of your own race, allied races, and opposite faction races a character of each race meets during early leveling (1-20) and how that would shape your view of the world, but I can’t get my thoughts to coalesce in any way that makes much sense — or at any rate, is worth posting. I think I don’t have quite enough Alliance questing experience yet to make the post I’m wanting to make.

  30. I have lots of Horde and Alliance toons, but my heart always belongs with the Horde. (I really really really like Tauren!)

    Though while I play on Alliance toons, I don’t feel bad when I kill horde. Ok, maybe a little, but not enough to stop me from getting XP or an honor kill. Sometimes in battlegrounds I get a bit confused when I see a hordie running to me… only to attack me, but I’ve mostly weened myself from running the wrong way on maps, and getting lost in cities.

    The nicest thing is that when I play BGs on my ally toons and they lose? I don’t feel too bad ’cause the horde won. :)

  31. haha captions are win!

  32. I play both, but none of my Alliance alts have made it to Outland. My heart is just Horde. I see Horde outposts and run by them like it’s nothing and get shot at on my Alliance warlock (it usually ends badly). Otherwise I do want to see the quests on both sides, especially before Cataclysm changes it all. I don’t have an issue with killing Horde NPCs while questing, probably because even as Horde we’ve killed our share of orcs (UBRS, LBRS, RFC, etc), trolls (ZA, ZF, ZG, Gundrak, etc, etc), undead (so many Scourge), and even tauren (Grimtotems).

    The one thing I don’t do is PvP on my Alliance. I can’t stand the thought of doing BGs against the Horde. Partially because all the maps would be upside down for me, and partially just because I want the Horde to win. I mean, you can totally get away with screaming “For the HORDE!” in a battleground, and you don’t get that same viceral feeling yelling “For the Alliance!”

    • “…you don’t get that same viceral feeling yelling “For the Alliance!””

      I’ve found that it works better if you yell,”For the Alliance and free pie!”.

  33. I don’t identify with either faction. The whole factional conflict just strikes me as too artificial. I’d rather see gnomes raiding Stormwind than Thunder Bluff.

    My SO and I started on the horde side because that’s where our friend played. But then we rolled on the alliance to have our own space and just kept going all the way to 80. My horde toons languished until I rolled an orc rogue who just seemed to level herself. Go figure.

  34. Personally, identify more with races than factions. Am quite partial to Orcs and Night Elves, both being some of my first characters (started out as a Orc Warlock, rolled a Night Elf priest to talk to a friend playing on antoher realm, and started leveling).

    Both factions have other races to of a lesser appeal (trolls, dwarves, tauren at the very least). So I’m rather mixed, safe to say.

  35. Alliance only. It stems largely from my love of the Night Elves and my druid (that opening cinematic with the druid shifting into a panther is largely why my main is feral for life. Plus the human racials are just too sexy to pass up.

    On a more trivial note though, I can’t stand the Horde capital cities. You’ve got sewers in a ruin, roughly constructed refugee camp in the middle of a boring orange desert, plains travlers living in the sky (huh?), and a metro-sexual city of addicts. I just can’t get past it. Every time I try a Horde alt and I get to a capital city…/delete.

    Plus I love being able to self-provision my alts with my various professions.

  36. Pingback: Ode to Orgrimmar « Kamalia et alia

    • Nice counter opinion and write up.

      “Complaining”? Kinda harsh but I’d expect that from the Horde. I kid, I kid. :D

      Always a matter of perspective, and I found yours intresting despite not agreeing with it.

  37. The only time I’ve ever refused to do a quest on moral grounds was the one in Grizzly hills where you have to go and knock out a bunch of trolls and put them in cages.

    The idea of going out and capturing a bunch of people who, while members of a fantasy race are *kind of ethnically marked as black* and dragging them off to be slaves for a bunch of humans really didn’t sit right with me.

    • That sits right up there with the “saving” the Wolvar pups for the Tuskar daily. Killing the den mothers and then taking their younglings was bad enough. But when I did them on my rogue I could sap them and get it done. So instead of killing them, they got to watch helplessly as I bagged up a dozen of their babies and flew off into the distance. It never felt right…but never felt wrong enough not to do it. Hey, rep is rep and I needed a good fishin’ pole. :D

  38. I have some horde alts, but I’m for the alliance mostly.

    The horde alts I do have are either blood elves or tauren, I can’t stand the undead, and just don’t care about orcs/trolls. (tho just for laughs did start an orc so i could experience the starting zone quests. loved waking up the peons.) Oddly, my favorite quest in the game is the booterang for netherdrake rep.

    I have not gotten any of my hordies into outland (except a DK or two to act as ATM machines for my real toons)

    of the horde questlines, the earthmother line in the tauren starting area is good, the tribute quest for finding the dog is always good. just keeps me away from the undead and i be happy..

  39. It’s quite interesting really; I share your line of thinking in some of these things – there is definately a line of thought that leads to this other than “in character”.

    My take on it? Perhaps, even if you know turning in the quest or not makes no “real” difference, doing so makes you guilty of having done it. “It” being “turning in the quest”, nothing more, but guilty nevertheless.

    As for factions, I am Alliance 90% of the time, but I harbor no ill will towards the Horde. I picked Alliance because I am defensive-minded, I do not want to be the aggressor. Alliance had the pallies, not the shammies, and while it may not be the Horde we are defending against all the time, most of the time, the Alliance is Defending(tm).

    I mean, quests are about defending this and defending that, about not dying. On the other hand, Horde is about being the aggressor. Again, not necessarily against the Alliance, but it’s about vanquishing enemies, destroying threats.

    I don’t know if I’m the only one to get that vibe, though?

    • Just to put my “For the Horde” hat on for a second, I don’t think it’s entirely true to say that the Horde are always the aggressors, in fact I think Blizzard was fairly careful to make it pretty much 50/50.

      Okay, maybe 65/35…

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