Have you ever wanted to play a Horde Night Elf or an Alliance Goblin? Then you would be one of the many World of Warcraft players who are tired of being stuck in a certain faction just because of the race they want to play. Even worse, the Horde are always the bad guys and the Alliance are always the good guys, no exceptions. In World of Warcraft we are always stuck walking this line.
Many MMOs have a similar setup and, for the most part, it works. However, as pointed out recently by fellow Ten Ton Hammer writer, Gunky, this status quo is really the easy (and less fun) way out. Not to mention, less interesting and engaging. With Warlords of Draenor on the horizon and a new dawn of changes that seem to allow players to freely choose what race they play and what profession they choose, without negative consequences, it may be time for the same to be said of faction.
The Gray Area
As mentioned above, when it comes to factions in World of Warcraft, there is very little gray area. The race you choose locks you firmly into the faction that race belongs to, no exceptions. However, this is not very true to life and can lead to a feeling of monotony.
In the real world, people are rarely totally good or evil. Instead, they fall somewhere in between. This does not happen in the game world. Instead, we are forced to assume that every Draenei is good and adheres to the principles of the Alliance and that every Orc will likely rip your throat out at the smallest provocation. This is both unfair and rather boring, especially with a long lasting game like World of Warcraft.
Keeping Things Interesting
Boring is not a word Blizzard wants to be associated with their game. While subscription numbers are still around 7.6 million, they have fallen. While we may never see the numbers of the glory days of WoW, making things a bit more interesting could stop the outbound flow.
Allowing players to choose which
faction they wish to belong to, regardless of race, could be the
perfect solution to sparking interest in the game. At this moment, if
you see a certain race, you instantly know if they are a friend or an
enemy. If you pick a certain race, you are assigned a faction and
you are stuck with it for that character's entire career. Imagine if
things weren't so black and white and how much more interesting the
world would be.
Blurring the Faction Lines
If Blizzard were to blur the lines between factions, a whole new world would open to us. We could choose which faction we wanted to belong to, regardless of race. Letting the lines blur may also mean that players would be able to change from one faction to another, without paying a hefty fee like race or server changes. Instead, we could earn reputation with another faction by completing quests, deeds, or other means.
Why shouldn't players be allowed to choose a Human who feels an affinity for the ideals of the Horde or a Goblin who would rather make a profit under the banner of the Alliance? With Warlords of Draenor boasting new opportunities for players to play the game the way they want, it seems that this is the next logical step in the process. A revolutionary move in the world of MMOs, this move could easily draw player interest back to World of Warcraft.
Implementing the Plan
This all looks great on paper, however, putting it into the game would certainly be a much harder process. I won't deny that. However, considering that Paladins (once Alliance only) were introduced to the Horde when they were once only available to Alliance, I have high hopes that it could be done. In fact, despite any set backs, I really feel like this is something that should be heavily considered to be put into the game in the near future.
Adding the ability of players to change between Horde and Alliance, regardless of race, would not only add an interesting new dynamic to a once black and white area of the game, but would also bust open a whole new world for roleplayers. Not to mention the new game play content that would come along if faction switching was also allowed. In this authors opinion, faction swapping could be a key factor in revitalizing the game.
Do you think you should be able to choose whichever faction you want, regardless of race? Would you do quests, earn reputation, or do other in game tasks to swap factions? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!