Well, I wanted to address all of the players and ask them how they feel about the recent announcement of cross-faction play in World of Warcraft? Would you be backing up this idea and team with your opposing horde faction in doing some Mythic+ dungeons or raids, or would you give up thinking it would ruin the gameplay experience?
Well, let’s talk about it more because there’s a lot more to pay attention to than to jump on the crucifying list and expel Blizzard for their effort. Cross-faction could be a game-changer. Why exactly? For years back, people were somewhat pushed to join the horde faction because their friends were already there. But how exactly did they get there in the first place?
Horde vs. Alliance
Well, horde players from all around the globe have recently established a stable game economy, boosting opportunities for end-game content and other things that are quite beneficial for most players. Years back, people have been favoring the Horde faction, not just because of the game story itself or racials, but simply because of the majority of players. Most of them joining the Horde side made the Alliance player base cripple, with every newcomer likely influenced by his friends to join the red team.
I have been there seen the boosting opportunities on both sides. While Horde notification messages were popping by the second, Alliance barely requested a boost, even on some of the most populated Alliance realms. In contrast, the raids and raid teams and their success can also be accounted as another confirmation for Alliance’s failure and lack of players, leading the developers to only one option. That is, of course, making the cross-faction play possible.
I have already been talking about this before, hoping to see the restoration of the Alliance and the rise of its workforce. Sadly, it did not happen. Instead, it just flowed in the same linear direction. Well, that’s precisely why this is the only option to retain World of Warcraft’s popularity and balance between the two opposing factions, who have not always been treacherous of each other, instead helped themselves in difficult times.
In the recent development preview regarding the upcoming Cross-Faction feature, Ion Hazzikostas, Game Director of World of Warcraft, stated the following:
For years now, many players have questioned whether the rules restricting communication and cooperation between Alliance and Horde need to be so absolute. The faction divide could keep close friends from playing together, or cause players to feel that their faction leaves them with far fewer opportunities to pursue their favorite group content. But these downsides have long been justified in order to preserve a central element of the Warcraft universe—it all began with a game titled, “Warcraft: Orcs & Humans,” right?
Exactly. Players have always wanted to understand what their opposing faction is saying in chat. But, how many friends dislike each other for not playing their favorite race?
I am pleased to announce that we are working on adding the ability for Alliance and Horde players to form premade parties together for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP. There have been two decades’ worth of code and content crafted with the assumption that parties can only have players of a single faction, and while we want to make this feature available as soon as possible, the extent of the change means that it couldn’t be ready in time for the upcoming Eternity’s End content update. Instead, we are planning to test and release it as part of a subsequent 9.2.5 update. We’re eager to hear your feedback about the details we’re sharing today and on the details of our implementation when this feature becomes available to the Public Test Realm following the release of Eternity’s End.
The update will arrive in 9.2.5 because the developers want to take their time and make sure the decades of code and content are available for exchange for both factions. What exactly will be available to play when the cross-faction play comes out?
- Focus on organized instanced gameplay. Dungeons, raids, and rated PvP have been at the center of the most compelling arguments for relaxing the faction divide. This is content that by definition requires a premade group, and thus social barriers will have the greatest negative impact on people’s ability to access these experiences on their preferred terms.
- Make this an opt-in feature as much as possible. In terms of in-world fiction and player preferences, there are decades of animosity to overcome. While we are excited to offer players the choice to reach across the faction divide and cooperate to overcome common foes, we know that there are many who will react warily to this change, and we don’t want to override those preferences. This is about increasing options for players.
These guidelines led us to the following system:
- Players will be able to directly invite members of the opposite faction to a party if you have a BattleTag or Real ID friendship, or if you are members of a cross-faction WoW Community.
- Premade Groups in the Group Finder listings for Mythic dungeons, raids, or rated arena/RBGs will be open to applicants of both factions, though the group leader may choose to restrict the listing to same-faction applicants if they so choose.
- Guilds will remain single-faction, and random matchmade activities like Heroic dungeons, Skirmishes, or Random Battlegrounds will all remain same-faction (both because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups, and to avoid compromising the opt-in nature of the feature by randomly placing a queuing orc in a group with a night elf).
So, would you do Mythic+ keys with your friends, or maybe chase high PvP ratings? Imagine the best guild being a mix of Alliance and Horde? Such diversities working together.
Furthermore Ion continued:
Once in a party together, members of the opposite faction will remain unfriendly while in the “outdoor” world (and fully hostile in War Mode!), as they do today, though they will be able to communicate through party chat. Upon entering a dungeon, raid, or rated PvP match, however, all members will be friendly and able to assist each other in combat, trade loot, earn shared achievements, and otherwise fully cooperate the same way members of the same faction have always been able to. A major goal in announcing this feature in advance is to make sure we’re capturing all the expectations and requirements for this to be a smooth experience. A group raiding, doing Mythic+ keys, or chasing higher PvP ratings should be able to operate seamlessly whether they’re a same-faction or cross-faction group.
This functionality will also apply to legacy instances, and is available at all levels, though there will be several older instances that cross-faction parties cannot enter, at least for now: Battle of Dazar’alor, Trial of the Crusader, Icecrown Citadel (remember that Gunship Battle?), and a handful of others that similarly have extensive faction-specific components that will have to be reworked to support cross-faction parties.
There are likely those who have read this far with some unease, worried that this is chipping away at a foundational principle of Warcraft. At BlizzCon in 2019, when an attendee asked about cross-faction play, we responded at the time that “Alliance and Horde separation … is a pillar of what makes Warcraft, Warcraft.” But upon reflection, that’s an oversimplification: Alliance and Horde identity is what is fundamental to Warcraft. And while at times that identity has been one of division and open conflict, we’ve seen Alliance and Horde finding common ground and working together ever since Warcraft III (notably including the last time a Warcraft chapter was named “Eternity’s End” …), and the instances of cooperation in World of Warcraft itself are too numerous to count.
We’re personally excited about this up-and-coming feature promised to arrive with patch 9.2.5. And I personally would love to see cross-faction instances a reality. So, what do you think about it? Let us know in the comments below!