The Alliance and the Horde, two major factions of World of Warcraft, have been a major part of the MMO since the very beginning. Either in competitive Battlegrounds or Arenas or the open world, Alliance and Horde players gain experience of the different side of Azeroth.
The game director Ion Hazzikostas said during a Q/A panel of World of Warcraft while preserving the rivalry of the two sides is a vital ingredient in WoW’s appeal. Some statements came after Hazzikostas faced some important questions from players about the imbalanced player population between factions.
“This is something we talk about a tremendous amount,” Hazzikostas said. “We know there’s a very real problem, particularly at the high end of the raiding and Mythic+ scene.”
Hazzikostas said that the Mists of Pandaria expansion, Horde races like orcs and trolls had a great racial ability compared to the other Alliance races. Because competitive raiding guilds always want an extra advantage, few players already started to switch over to the Horde.
“The thing that keeps people in one faction or makes them tempted to move is the social dynamics,” Hazzikostas said. “It’s the feeling that if you’re a raider looking to join a top-end guild, there are simply more options [on the Horde side] and if your first choice doesn’t work out there are others to explore and fall back on. If you’re looking to run high-end Mythic+ dungeons, there are more people looking to do that content [on the Horde side]. That’s a challenging problem to solve because, really. We can’t undo this movement that’s happened over time. It would take something tremendous to make people who had switched from Alliance to Horde want to suddenly switch back.”
The interview then turned to another large issue: the server population. Hazzikostas here discussed Blizzard’s ongoing works to merge servers to help counter faction imbalances and issues where servers didn’t have the required players to sustain a healthy culture.
“I honestly would not say never,” Hazzikostas responded. “That’s kind of what I was getting at with my answer earlier. There are a ton of reasons why it is essential to retain faction identity … In an ideal world all of these priorities would coexist, but at the end of the day an MMO like World of Warcraft is about being able to play with your friends, being able to play where you want to be, and arguably there’s greater strength to the faction identity if you feel like you can truly choose the faction you identify with, that you feel like most apart of, and not have to sacrifice that because you need to be with your group or you want to join a higher rated guild. I have coworkers who are lifelong Alliance players who now play Horde and really wish they could be Alliance and they’re doing it for guild reasons. I know there are tens of thousands, maybe more, in that exact same boat around the world. We’d love to do something for them.”
One day it might happen that, the World of Warcraft player can group together regardless of faction. As Hazzikostas said that it is a huge problem with a lot of considerations, so we can’t expect to see together the Horde and Alliance players in near future.