Why Can’t We Be Friends?

I have been away for a week for work – and the inevitable happened. I ran into an old friend, conversation ensues, and WoW comes up. He plays it too. We chat about raiding, levelling, guilds, etc and the topic shifts to gaming together on the ultimate cruise ship.

Things are starting to sound fun, when he pulls ultra geek on me and proudly shows me his WoW tshirt underneath his sweatshirt.

For the Horde!

Damn, I play Alliance. Dreams are shattered. Mood turns negative. I secretly envy the shirt.

Then I think – why not?

In the facebookesque MMO, which discourages meaningful choice, insists on bringing the player and not the class , encourages most classes to have two role options, allows name, sex, appearance and server customizatiom, AND trounces it’s own lore in the name of fun and convenience (all the while producing a pretty fun game) – are we really that far away from bringing the player and not the race?

Horde and Alliance notables already work together in cutscenes. Main cities can still be off limits as there is an “uneasy” truce – battlegrounds are explained as efforts for the most ardent of same side supporters and opposite race haters.

The sympathizers from each faction can form guilds and defeat enemies side by side, while political figures and notable npc’s can choose to support the merge or rally against it.

A little programming to ensure cross faction chat doesn’t work in Arenas and Battlegrounds will do the trick.

Really, why not?

8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. They already did a sort of cross-faction bit of work with the Zombie Apocalypse. I’m all for expanding the game to allow people to “go rogue” and join a neutral “faction”, allowing Horde and Alliance “races” to intermingle.

    I’ve planned my potential WoW career more than once, and I always settle on one “main” Alliance, one “main” Horde, just so I can get around and see everything. I’ve always been a bit miffed that I’d have to grind up two separate characters.

    I don’t mind needing to handwave some sort of “disguise” or something to wander around the other faction’s capital cities (complete with restricted access to town shoppes, if you absolutely must) and other territory.

    Then again, I’ve always seen WoW’s split to be rather silly. Yes, it fits with the whole ‘Orcs vs. Humans’ Warcraft history, but mechanically, it’s always annoyed me. It feels like a cheap trick to extend replay value (sub time).

  2. …insists on bringing the player and not the class…

    You say that like it’s a bad thing? WoW gameplay always promoted a very elitist attitude and when I did play it was “bring the class as long as he had X build and Y gear.” It’s been awhile since I’ve played so excuse my skepticism that players are more valued than the class and their gear; at least full-scale within WoW’s community.

    Otherwise, I’ve always agreed with the overall sentiment. For all its basis in the Warcraft RTS series, World of Warcraft had no war. Just some instanced skirmishes for points; sort of a bloody football game where afterwards both teams pat themselves on the back and queue up for the next one.

    Nearly every instance and raid was against a common enemy, so why not allow players from both factions to put aside their lore differences to join forces in those situations?

  3. @Scott: I didn’t necessarily mean it as a bad thing – I just started playing WOTLK for the first time and my two main characters are hybrids – so I love it! I do feel bad for single serving purpose classes as the homogenization offers them less grouping and playing options. I presented it above in the tongue and cheek way to counter any incoming arguments that “bring the player, not the race” would hurt lore or gameplay in anyway. WoW is setup for fun between friends and this move would knock down the last barrier to that.

    In vanilla wow I played a Druid as my raiding main and HAD to spec for innervate for the same elitist intentions you mentioned 🙂

    I think with the way wow is going – which as a more casual player I really like – this is the next logical step.

  4. @Tesh: EQ2 does this, and had it available at launch. You can do a series of quests to “switch sides” to the other major city (one good, one bad). It has implications on your characters as you are labelled as a traitor to your old city, and your new city denizens won’t trust you right away. While I love the implications of it (your decision having some sort of impactful meaning) in typical WoW fashion I’d suspect if they would allow you to change “sides”, they would just charge you a 1000 gold and be done with it.

  5. Oh Capn’n – jaded much? (of course, I thought of that too, LOL) – I was actually giving them the benefit of the doubt =)

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