Cross-faction gameplay is coming to World of Warcraft in patch 9.2.5
For the first time since World of Warcraft launched, players of the Horde and players of the Alliance will be able to work together to tackle raids, dungeons, and even rated PVP in cross-faction groups! This has been one of the most requested features for the game with many people tired of not being able to play the game with friends they made just because they were the wrong faction. This is a pretty big shakeup to a game that’s always held very close to the faction divide, and Blizzard doesn’t plan on releasing it in the upcoming patch 9.2 — but the developers plan to release it in patch 9.2.5, before the next expansion.
Let’s look at the details of cross-faction play:
In crafting the ruleset for this new feature, we were guided by two goals:
- 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).
Initially, most dungeons and raids will be available but there are a few that have Alliance and Horde conflict as part of them —Battle for Dazar’alor, Icecrown Citadel, Trial of the Crusader — that are going to require some extra work to get ready for the new system. There’s no ETA on when these additional raids might be available to cross-faction players.
For anyone worried about this feature ruining game immersion, Blizzard is being careful not to change things too radically. This cross-faction grouping will only apply to players who are inside of the raid or dungeon instance, as they will still be fully hostile to each other outside of them. Players in War Mode will even be able to kill each other while waiting for the dungeon run to start.
This is going to have gigantic implications for things like the world first race and top-end PVP as players will be able to create new strategies that take into account having both Alliance and Horde racial abilities present. While also just making it easier to find groups, since you’ll have roughly twice as many people to choose from when you’re forming your next Mythic+ dungeon or trip inside a raid.
I can’t wait to see how all of this plays out, and I also can’t wait to run my first dungeon with some of my friends from the Alliance side of the tracks.
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