For a LONG time, I’ve complained at a general disenchantment with the two faction system in Warcraft. In that time even Starcraft’s makers have conceded that there is only so much one can do pitting one side against the other, and introduced variety (via the Protoss) to outer space. With less than two weeks to go until Gamescon kicks off, and the reliable certainty that we’ll have 7.3 live to capitalize on all the hype for Germany, I find myself wondering if there will be an Expansion announcement on the cards… and if there is, where do we go next. I don’t think it is time for a new race so soon after the Demon Hunters turned up.
What I think we could support however is a third party at the table.
Until Legion, I would have presumed that we’d get a third neutral faction, because of the Horde/Alliance disparity. However, what this Expansion has achieved is to unite both sides as an effective unit against a single, almost unstoppable enemy. It makes the petty disputes on Azeroth that you encounter whilst levelling pale into insignificance by comparison. Therefore, I’d like to propose a hypothetical situation which now relies on Jaina Proudmoore, her hatred of the Horde, and Sylvanas’ almost non-participation in anything past the Cinematic and the 100-110 levelling experience. There is already laid out the possibility at present for a three ‘faction’ system, which would make Anduin’s position as King very interesting indeed.
Anduin’s leadership of the Alliance is ripe for a coup: he’s an inexperienced leader, not simply in his own opinion, and the last thing anybody would be expecting at this point is a hostile challenge to leadership… but that is what Jaina Proudmoore will offer. She is so anti-Horde now, set up and foreshadowed with some force, that it would make perfect sense that she could set up an attack on the Alliance throne. With Anduin more closely allied with neutral forces such as Velen… would anyone attempt to challenge her if she took control? Remember, Stormwind doesn’t have to be the Alliance capital, as is also the case with Orgrimmar.
Similarly, Sylvanas has done little or nothing with the Horde since taking command, except single-handedly pursue her own agenda for power and immortality. It is fair to assume this will have angered the more moderate Horde forces, happy to help repel the Legion with Khadgar. In fact, there’s a lot of factional politics that have been highlighted via the establishment of Class Order halls, where both factions have happily co-existed for months. Is it possible that if both Horde and Alliance force their troops to pick a side that many of them will profess they simply wish to exist together in peace?
So, what if the levelling experience from 110-120 this time around was the establishment of the three faction state in ‘modern’ Azeroth, whilst at the same time exploring the new worlds accessible via Argus? You’d level and then, at cap, be asked to pick a side from three: Hardcore Alliance, Hardcore Horde or the neutral, combined forces of the two. Based in three new capital cities, there’d be no need to change anything significantly in ‘old’ content either. Plus, most importantly, it would allow players who have begged to quest and raid bi-factionally on traditional lines to do just that, without angering or really damaging the status quo.
It would also allow for a three way end game: the process of each player helping build and fortify their new capital not simply against threats from outside Azeroth, but from those within as well. Once you’d picked your faction allegiance, there’d also be the chance to change it too, but at a price: a complex rep-based grind which would reveal a complicated and lore rich fourth storyline for endgame, quite apart from that involved in dungeons and raids. Okay, this paragraph is probably 100% wish fulfilment on my part, but I really cannot see a new race being thrown into the mix so soon. What I can imagine however is more story-based content outside of raids and dungeons, especially with the run up to a new Expansion.
There would need to be some changes, of course: Guilds would need a redesign to allow Horde and Alliance to exist together. Class Order halls could allow friends from either faction who were ‘bifactional’ to communicate within them. PvP would get quite funky too, and that would be no bad thing, but ActiBlizz have already sorted out the colour coding for that (which exists already in Legion) so really, no excuses anywhere. It is perfectly doable. The question is, would it happen?
Of course, I have absolutely no evidence to back up this could be possible or even probable, but it’s an idea I’ve been throwing about in my head ever since it became apparent Jaina was the figure on Warcraft’s Blizzcon publicity. I don’t believe she’s a Dreadlord (sorry believers) but I do think that if ActiBlizz wanted to make things interesting, bringing her in to take over the Alliance would certainly make for an interesting development, as would pitting her directly against Sylvanas… effectively making the Horde an oppressed force yet again.
In Good News, with Gamescon not far off, it shouldn’t take long before we find out at least some of what’s coming next…