pandas are coming! The
pandas are coming! This has been the cry heard throughout the World of
Warcraft community since the Pandarens were officially announced as
the  next playable race in the upcoming Mists of Pandaria
expansion. As the first race available to both Horde and Alliance
players, the Pandaren will not only blow the silhouette theory totally
out of the water, but also have the potential to swing wide the doors
for more neutral races to become playable in future expansion

The Pandaren and the

style="padding: 5px; float: right; width: 250px; text-align: center;"> href="" target="_blank"> src=""
Pandaren are the first race able to be played by both Horde and

The silhouette theory was an
idea put into place by Blizzard when that game was first launched with
the basic premise that players would be able to recognize friends and
enemies based solely on their aesthetic appearance. This is why up
until now no Tauren like creatures have made an appearance on the
Alliance side. Even in the case of the two playable Elvish races; the
Blood and Night Elves, Blizzard has managed to make them appear
different enough that players can easily discern which elf race they
are dealing with at a glance. This theory also has, until recently,
applied to gear as well, with players easily able to discern with the
naked eye who is a PvPer, who raids, and how successful that player is
at both. 

While a seemingly great idea,
the silhouette theory has been long outdated and has become the bane of
players, like  my wife, who love the look of one faction, but
whose heart lies with the other. Never one to stay behind the times for
long, Blizzard has come to terms with the fact that the silhouette
theory must go and recently introduced  Transmogrification,
the ability to transform a players gear into almost any piece of gear
in game, with certain limitations of course. However, if
Transmogrification is the first nail in the coffin of the silhouette
theory, the introduction of the Pandaren race is most assuredly the
final one. 

The Future of Playable Races
in WoW

style="padding: 5px; float: right; width: 250px; text-align: center;"> href="" target="_blank"> src=""
the mighty Furbolg be the next neutral playable race?

While each individual Pandaren
will ultimately need to decide which WoW faction to join, for the first
time ever Horde and Alliance will be able to experience the exact same
character model and simultaneously play in the Pandaren starting zone.
If all goes well, this new concept has the potential to unlock and
become the norm for many of the future playable races introduced into

Thanks to the wealth of races
in WoW affiliated with both the Horde and Alliance there are tons of
possibilities to be found here. As long as the Pandaren are successful,
this will turn out to be beneficial for both players and WoW
developers. When a new race is introduced into the game under the
banner of one faction, another race ultimately needs to be created,
complete with starting zone and fleshed out storyline, for the opposing
faction. Choosing future races that are playable by both factions will
allow developers to focus their attention on one race and hopefully
produce a playing experience superior to anything we have seen before,
as well as spend more time and energy producing more compelling end
game content which is sure to make more than a few WoW fans happy.

The best part of choosing from
neutral factions, however, is the potential to unlock playable races
that we WoW players have interacted with on a daily basis, and have
been longing to play. Having difficulty imagining just what these new
potential races may be? Player favorites based on forum discussions
tend to include races such as the Furbolgs, Naga, Murlocs, Ethereals,
and even High Elves. The probability of these races becoming the next
WoW playable race varies depending on their individual storylines, but
as seen with the Pandaren, no one can really predict what
Blizzard’s next move will be. In the future we may see all of
the above mentioned races come to life, or none at all, with developers
instead leading us down paths we haven’t even dreamed of yet.

In my opinion, being able to
choose your faction for your character will not only bring new interest
to the game but will also help inspire players to choose a faction
based on more than aesthetic values. I, for one, will be more than
thrilled to see more races like the Pandaren be introduced into the
game. Do you think neutral factions are the new face of the playable
races in World of Warcraft? Which race would you like to see be made
playable in future expansions? Share your thoughts in the comments
section below!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.