What would a post-faction World of Warcraft look like?
It’s been a defining characteristic of the game since it launched in 2004, and it’s the driving conflict that provides the narrative engine for Battle for Azeroth, the game’s latest expansion. But I feel compelled to ask if it’s even possible to abandon the Horde vs. Alliance dynamic that lays at the heart of the hugely successful MMO all these years later, and if so, what would the game become without it? What would World of Warcraft even be without the Horde and Alliance at war?
We’ve come close a few times. The original launch state for WoW was, at best, a cold war between two factions that didn’t really want to return to the days of the First and Second War, since they’d only just lived through the Third and barely survived the attack of the Burning Legion by all standing together during the battle atop Mount Hyjal. The events of Warcraft 3 made us think that maybe, just maybe, the cycle of hatred between the various mortal races making their homes on Azeroth could at last end. Clearly, the last fifteen years has seen those intra-factional hostilities heat up until we’re at the place we are now, where both factions see no other path but open warfare.
But between the hints of a sinister plan from N’Zoth and his allies and the impending death of Azeroth if things continue as they have, there’s at least some narrative impetus for a cessation of hostilities. Even Klingons always said Only a fool fights in a burning house and even the most militant Horde or Alliance supporters have to be aware that if the planet dies, they die with it — fighting this battle over and over again hasn’t brought us any closer to a victory, why keep rehashing it? Perhaps the time has come to try something new, like an actual negotiated peace and a world where Orcs and Humans may not like one another but have at least decided to try and leave each other alone for a while.
So what do you think? What kind of world would an Azeroth without Horde/Alliance conflict be? Would we see a total abandoning of factions, or just a cooling off period? Which would you prefer? What’s your idea for a post-BFA world?
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