The Great Horde Bias Rant

Prepare yourselves: It’s epic nerd rant time, and what I’m about to say will be very controversial in some circles.

Art of the Horde warring with the AllianceFor a long time now, there’s been a recurring complaint among the Warcraft fanbase – or part of it, anyway. “Horde bias!” they cry, talking about how Blizzard is in love with the Horde and secretly conspiring to make life miserable for the Alliance.

I’m tired of it. If you look at the facts, there’s little or no evidence that Blizzard has shown any special favouritism to the Horde. All these complaints of Horde bias serve no purpose but to make Alliance fans look bad, and they show a deep and fundamental misunderstanding of the art of storytelling.

The Alliance’s strong foundation:

Here’s something a lot of people ignore when talking about Horde favouritism: The few times where there has actually been a measurable imbalance in the gameplay, it’s almost always favoured the Alliance.

In the early days of World of Warcraft, it was simply better to be Alliance. They had far more content, and arguably far better content. No one in their right mind would ever claim it was more fun to level through the Barrens than through Duskwood.

“Guys, anyone know where Mankrik’s wife is?”

Or you could look up the attunement chain for Onyxia’s Lair. The Alliance’s version was vastly superior in both story and gameplay to the hideous grind the Horde got stuck with.

My rogue and her long lost twin, Amber KearnenA lot of people also argue that the Alliance’s base in Alterac Valley was – and still is – much easier to defend than its Horde equivalent.

Then there’s the fact that the majority of tie-in media for Warcraft has centered on the Alliance. Books tend to have a lot more depth than the in-game story, so that’s a big mark in the Alliance’s favour.

The upcoming Warcraft movie’s original script was also stated to be heavily focused on the Alliance. It was Duncan Jones that convinced Blizzard to give the Horde a bigger role.

The expansions:

I’ll freely grant that many of the expansions to WoW have favoured one faction over another, but it’s not as one-sided as some like to claim.

Burning Crusade was definitely a Horde expansion. Outland is the home of the Orcs and the Promised Land of the Blood Elves, so it only makes sense that it would focus on the Horde.

Wrath of the Lich King, on the other hand, was the Alliance’s story through and through. Every major story arc in that expansion put the Alliance front and center.

A screenshot from the Fall of the Lich King trailerThe war against the Lich King was led by Tirion Fordring and Darion Mograine, both former knights of Lordaeron. I’ve heard it argued that since they were neutral, they no longer count as Alliance, but they were certainly far closer to the Alliance than they ever were to the Horde. They fought to avenge Lordaeron, and in the case of the Argent Crusade, they were essentially a continuation of the Knights of the Silver Hand – an Alliance military organization that had fought the Horde in the past.

There’s also the fact that the Lich King’s Horde connections were completely ignored. I’m hard-pressed to remember any mention that the original Lich King was an Orc. Everything was about Arthas, even though he formed only fifty percent of the Lich King.

Then there was the storyline around Ulduar. The main character of this arc was Brann Bronzebeard, an Alliance hero. We got major insights into the origins of the Dwarves and the Gnomes, while learning nothing about the history of any Horde races despite there being plenty of opportunity to do so.

The Vrykul also provided insight into the backstory of humanity in the Warcraft universe, so that’s again an Alliance-centric story.

Finally, there’s the Nexus War storyline, which focused on Dalaran – an Alliance city. Yes, they may have chosen to accept the Horde’s assistance in battling a greater threat, but they’re still an Alliance city. All of the NPCs belong to Alliance’s races, its leaders are Alliance war heroes, the Horde’s representation is confined to one small corner of the city, and recent events clearly illustrate where Dalaran’s loyalties lie when forced to pick a side.

My rogue assists Jaina Proudmoore in purging Dalaran of the SunreaversIt is true that there were some good Horde storylines in Wrath: The Forsaken’s perfection of the New Plague and subsequent civil war, the introduction of the Taunka, Garrosh’s rise.

But it’s also true that all these storylines were essentially over by the time the player hit level 74, while the Alliance’s storylines continued through to the end.

My point here is not that Blizzard really favours the Alliance, but that they’ve been given their fair shake.

That brings us to Cataclysm, universally hailed as the epitome of Horde bias.

Yes, Thrall was the main character, but he’d left the Horde at the time. I’d be willing to accept that he still counted as a Horde character, but if you wish to put forward that argument, you can’t deny that Dalaran, Tirion, et al. were Alliance. There’s also the bizarre and utterly baseless belief that Thrall was rammed down our throats much more than any character had been in the past, but that’s a rant for another time.

The other complaints about Cataclysm are that the Alliance was always losing, and the Horde was always winning.

Neither is true.

Art of King Varian WrynnThe Alliance defeated the Horde numerous times throughout Cataclysm. They won in Ashenvale, and the only reason the Horde wasn’t driven from the forest completely was because they made a pact with a Demon. The Night Elves curbstomped the Trolls in Darkshore. Stormwind conquered Stonard in the Swamp of Sorrows — the oldest surviving Orcish settlement on Azeroth.

The forces from Theramore succeeded in conquering a good chunk of the Southern Barrens and razing Camp Taurajo — a strike at the very heart of Horde territory. The only reason the Siege of Orgrimmar didn’t happen then and there is that the Cataclysm split the Barrens and cut off the Alliance’s line of advance.

The Alliance may not have won in Gilneas, but they didn’t exactly lose, either. Despite being initially outnumbered and outgunned, they forced the Forsaken into a costly and humiliating quagmire war that is still raging.

Yes, the Horde won a lot. Maybe more than the Alliance. But this wasn’t a lore decision. It was to correct the original imbalance that existed in leveling content. All the Horde’s gains did was bring them even with the Alliance.

Meanwhile, the Alliance was constantly being presented as noble heroes who could no wrong, while the Horde suddenly devolved into their pre-Warcraft III Saturday morning cartoon villain status. There’s a reason why I switched to focusing on the Alliance in Cataclysm.

Mists of Pandaria:

My warlock rides to war on Orgrimmar with Vol'jinNow we come to the present day, where Horde bias cries are as loud as ever. I’ll grant that the Alliance got the shaft in Battlefield: Barrens, but otherwise, this was a very well-balanced expansion for both factions. Neither was shown as being perfectly good or perfectly bad, and each side got some great story moments.

I could go through all the examples, but I think it’s more worth talking about Siege of Orgrimmar and how it sums up the absurdity of this whole debate. Because as soon as it was announced, people were complaining that SoO was the latest example of Horde favouritism.

Yes, the Alliance invading the Horde capitol, smashing its military, and killing its leader is yet another example that Blizzard hates the Alliance.

I just can’t take this “Horde bias” talk seriously when people make arguments like this. There are even now plenty of people complaining that the Alliance never got its promised “fist pump moment.”

What part of ransacking the enemy capitol doesn’t qualify as a “fist pump moment”?

Honestly, what more could Blizzard have possibly done? Destroyed Orgrimmar and left the Horde without its main hub city? Spend weeks redoing all the quests and game mechanics associated with it? Removed the Horde from Ashenvale or another leveling zone, once again ensuring the world favours the Alliance?

My rogue plants the banner of Theramore in OrgrimmarAll things like that would do is punish the players. And I don’t remember having a say in whether Garrosh would become warchief, so that’s nothing but petty.

I’m really starting to think that most of the people complaining about Horde bias would not be satisfied by anything short of the complete removal of the Horde from the game.

Not that there weren’t missed opportunities for Alliance story. I’m pissed we never got that “Trials of the High King” questline. It sounded awesome. But the same is true for the Horde. There was massive build-up of both Saurfang and Sylvanas’s enmity for Garrosh, but they were all but ignored in the final climax of the story. Garrosh murdered Baine’s father, but Baine never got to play a major role in the warchief’s downfall.

The same is true of the game’s past history. The Alliance has some very legitimate cause for complaint that some of its races and leaders have been ignored — Tyrande comes to mind — but so do the Horde. Hell, Gallywix is the only racial leader who isn’t actually in the game. Lor’themar was the poster child for ignored characters up until recently. It took until MoP for Blizzard to even figure out how many eyes he has and get him a voice actor that can pronounce “Quel’thalas” correctly.

Warlords of Draenor:

Of course, there is one more part to this story. For once, I am inclined to agree that the Alliance has a right to complain about being ignored when it comes to Warlords of Draenor. I really can’t see them getting a lot of interesting story out of WoD, and if they do, it’ll just be more Draenei stuff.

Concept art of Shadowmoon Valley for World of Warcraft: Warlords of DraenorBut then again, it’s not looking too good for the Horde, either. There seems little or no opportunity for development of any Horde races other than the Orcs, who have already had plenty of time in the sun. I’m a big fan of Orcs, and even I’m not thrilled with an entire expansion of the Orcy McOrc Show, with Special Guest Star Orcs.

There’s also the fact that all of the Horde’s iconic heroes are being brought back from the dead to be loot pinatas. It’s hard to imagine an outcome for WoD that doesn’t crap all over the Horde’s history and past heroes. And it’s yet another thing to add fuel to the arguments that Orcs really are evil after all, as all of the iconic chieftains are being presented as villains even without Demonic corruption.

It’s not so much that WoD is looking bad for Alliance lore as it is that WoD is looking bad for lore period.

And this brings me to my final point.

Stories aren’t fair:

There is no Horde story and Alliance story. There’s just the story. Sometimes, it will favour one faction. Sometimes, the other. Perfect balance will never be achieved, nor should it be.

Can you imagine how boring the lore would be if each faction experienced joy and suffering in exactly the same proportion? There’s nothing Blizzard could do that would suck the fun out of the story worse than that.

A first person view of tanking the Sha of Pride in World of WarcraftStories aren’t fair. Sometimes, your favourite characters have bad things happen to them. Sometimes, the characters you hate triumph. That’s the nature of story-telling. The essence of drama is conflict, and you can’t have conflict without a little injustice.

Everyone would enjoy themselves a lot more if they just stopped getting so invested in the fates of fictional factions. Stop counting up each victory and defeat, looking for any perceived slight to your chosen team. Just enjoy the story for what it is.

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16 thoughts on “The Great Horde Bias Rant

  1. Maybe so but one of the major complaints is that to “get” the entire Alliance story, one should read the books. That’s fine, but it should also be in the game – somewhere in the game even if it’s just a little quest text or one of the annoying cut scenes.

    There would probably be less angst about it if the Alliance weren’t promised grandiose “fist-pumping” moments that never were delivered. Blizzcon didn’t help much either with the devs yapping about Alliance “taking the lead” in WoD after the “fist-pumping” moment never materialized. I can already interpret “taking the lead” is Alliance goes through the portal first…

    I play both factions – mostly Alliance I admit – and I’m really tired of Thrall, Orcs and especially trolls. Trolls in every flipping corner of an expansion. For the love of Elune could we wipe out the trolls once and for all?

    I remember the first time I did that Cata dungeon with Thrall and my first thought was “Hell Yes! We get to kill Thrall!!” only to find out it was an escort quest…then we have to help Aggra “rescue” him (the most boring, annoying quest chain in history) and finish up with a wedding.

    Yay Alliance?

    We definitely have a few moments, the problem is they never seem to go anywhere and appear to drop off the face of Azeroth never to be seen again.

    Now we get to look forward to going to an Orc planet with a bunch of retro-Orcs and probably escort Thrall again while he searches for his roots or whatever. The only thing that could save this is finally getting some Draenei lore/story but if we do, it will be in the Orc story. Since it’s not part of the “official” timeline, anything Alliance will do won’t matter one bit – it’s a “lost” expansion.

    It’s no coincidence that the WoD Horde hub will be in daylight, and the Alliance hub is in perpetual night.

    It’s just so damn predictable and boring…I think that’s the real complaint.

    • As far as the books go, I’ve never understood the “it should be in the game” complaint. If you really care about the lore, more story should be something you welcome. And if you don’t really care about the lore… why are you complaining?

      And again I have to ask, what part of ransacking the enemy capitol, crippling their military, and killing their leader doesn’t count as a “fist pump” moment? What more could Blizzard have possibly done, short of actively punishing Horde players for having the temerity to choose a faction that isn’t Alliance?

      I can understand being tired of Trolls, but that ain’t got nothing to do with the Horde. All the Trolls we’ve been killing don’t have anything to do with them.

      No offense, but complaining about Elemental Bonds just comes off as petty. It’s okay if you didn’t like the quest chain — I thought it was stellar, but these things are subjective — but making it out to be some slight to the Alliance is just silly. There are countless examples of Alliance-centric quest lines as well.

      It’s arguments like this that make me unable to take these complaints seriously. It comes across not as wanting more for the Alliance, but as wanting less for the Horde.

      I do agree with you in regards to WoD, but again, it’s bad for the Horde, too. It’s not a “lost” expansion for the Alliance; it’s a “lost” expansion, period.

      • Nah, Elemental Bonds is a legit complaint 😉
        Maybe Alliance has got a fair shake – it just doesn’t *feel* that way. Read books? Sure – I love reading when I want *passive* entertainment. When I want *active* entertainment I’ll play a game. With a massive world like WoW, directing one to *passive* entertainment to find out the endings doesn’t make any sense any more than reading a murder mystery book and then telling the reader they have to play a game to find out “who done it.”
        If I’m *actively playing* the story, then I want to *actively play* the endings and results. If I want more details about the stories in the game, that’s the stuff for *passive* reading entertainment.

      • “Nah, Elemental Bonds is a legit complaint”

        Again, it’s fine if you didn’t like it, but framing it as something specifically bad for the Alliance is just ridiculous. Especially since everything else in that patch was about the Alliance.

        This is where it starts to come off as petty. A patch contains a raid and an entire zone with accompanying epic storyline focused on the Alliance story, but because it also continues a brief quest chain about the Horde, Blizzard hates the Alliance apparently. These arguments seem to be less about wanting the Alliance built up and more about wanting the Horde torn down.

        “If I’m *actively playing* the story, then I want to *actively play* the endings and results. If I want more details about the stories in the game, that’s the stuff for *passive* reading entertainment.”

        That’s… exactly how things work now. When you want climactic events and conclusions to arcs, you play the game. If you want more details on character backgrounds, history, and the like, that’s what the books are for.

    • All the focus gotten by both Trolls, and Orcs is ENTIRELY negative. Whenever we learn about troll culture, its for a troll raid, where we kill them in droves, even the Zandalar.

      Whenever an orc character is introduced, they’re an evil villain.

      Would you like it if Draenei got focus in the expansions, but it was the evil Draenei(not eredar), and established Draenei characters turning into loot pinatas?

  2. Good post. To be honest, being a colossal wowlore nerd myself, I feel as though both Alliance and Horde have gotten screwed over storywise to some extent, but also gotten some cool storylines to some extent. The lore is still some of the best In the mmo world, to me, the cases of poor continuity checking notwithstanding. As a player I was loving both sides of the story, and never understood the argument that Alliance lore was terrible.

    I think the argument that Alliance is worse than Horde, among players I have known, was that their racial stats just suck a lot more. I’d go into more specifics, like blood elf buffs for mana use vs human, BE pallys vs draenei, alliance warlocks vs horde, etc etc, but they’d be outdated since I haven’t played the game in almost a year. And to be honest…I didn’t raid much, just dungeoned…and I used every different type of race and class and found them all fine in terms of playability vs other characters, in pve especially.

    For the argument that Horde is always better than Alliance in PVP, I would tend to argue that initially the horde community may have been smaller than Alliance initially due to lack of pretty characters (pre-Blood Elf). Therefore, it may have been that they formed more tightly-knit guilds and groups that focused on raiding and pvp because they had to stick together a lot more pre-dungeon finder, in vanilla and Burning Crusade, and thus honed their playing skills to work in concert with each other. Every time I played vs the Horde, I noticed that they always worked in concert, as opposed to how scattered the Alliance players always were. I heard many other players speculate that there were less players hordeside, but the good guilds were tougher to get into and more community-based.

    A lot of Horde players I knew at the time really enjoyed playing with each other so they could stick it to the Alliance because they felt Alliance players were all n00bs who just played cuz the characters were pretty, and that the Horde had a raw deal.
    In fact, they would regularly organize raids against Allied cities, send their rogues to troll the inns in Goldshire, etc etc…it was a funny war and I was on both sides of it.

    But all this goes to show it was the players, not the game, who made a difference to each factions experience…at least that’s what I witnessed. I’m not speaking for everyone 🙂

    As a final note…I know Trolls have gotten a lot of play time…too much, probably, but to me it just adds to their awesome backstory. I actually love the trolls…please don’t wipe them out? :p

    • “Good post. To be honest, being a colossal wowlore nerd myself, I feel as though both Alliance and Horde have gotten screwed over storywise to some extent, but also gotten some cool storylines to some extent.”

      That’s pretty much the argument I’m trying to make, yeah. There are definitely some very legitimate complaints to be made about the handling of Alliance lore (the Night Elves come to mind, and I don’t even know WTF they’re doing with Jaina anymore), but the same is true of the Horde, as well, and when you start to make it into a contest about who has the better lore, you’ve lost sight of what good story-telling really is, and it comes across as petty jealousy more than anything.

      …Using “you” as in “people in general” not you specifically, for clarification.

    • Nah, here is a perspective of someone who played paladin in vanilla and tbc:

      Vanilla paladins were awful.. aside from the buffs, they couldnt tank, they couldnt dps and were subpar healers.. horde didnt have paladins, they had shamans…. shamans on the other hand had insane dps and were quite decent healers on top of it

      Then tbc came around, pallys got fixed… and horde got them… BUT THEY GOT THE BETTER PALADINS.. Blood Elf paladins out-dps any ally paladin purely due to abilities that were horde exclusive.. not to mention AoE silence… ally got draenei.. and 1 shitty heal over time that has a 5 min cooldown

      This had nothing to do with community, Alliance were simply getting a big “FUCK YOU” from blizzard, who even admitted that they always favored horde

  3. Someone linked your post on the WoW forums… this was my reply:

    I skimmed the post and it seems interesting and pretty accurate (will read it fully later when I have time) Of course “accurate” for many on the blue side means “downplaying horde involvements”.
    I really like how he mentioned the well known fact that being alliance during vanilla was just better, however he missed the fact that The war of the shifting sands was a night elf thing… but hey, Saurfang the old was involved… ONLY him.

    Also I don’t agree much with his view about TBC. Saying BC was a horde centered xpac it’s basically denying any sort of of development the draenei got past their addition to their alliance… and they already complain about that being the last time they had development to make this clear. Also he forgot the fact that without an alliance leader, the culmination for that xpac wouldn’t have happened.

    And as for wrath, I think it was the most balanced xpac EVEN, is the one faction that wanted to be there when Arthas dropped for good (the forsaken) got the short end of the stick in the end while a HUMAN magically breaks out of the ice at the very end and finishes him.
    And yes I do agree about Ulduar and the nexus war.

    Also I really like how this person actually sees Thrall’s neutrality during cata. And also:

    “Yes, the Alliance invading the Horde capitol, smashing its military, and killing its leader is yet another example that Blizzard hates the Alliance.”

    Yes my friend… they won’t be happy because the city is not a smoking crater after the raid. Because they want revenge for Theramore… because comparing a town that was way to close to an enemy city as it was and that was a military objective, to the capitol city of a entire faction makes perfect sense.

    But anyway, I don’t know if he’s not mentioning something because he’s polite or because he honestly didn’t notice… but the only, ONLY way to make those that whine over favoritism happy, is to either:

    – Go back to the vanilla days when horde had no development, terrible questing experience and were basically less than background noise and only were there to slap something around in pvp.

    – Destroy the horde completely and absorb those races they tend to like a little more but usually are too uptight to play because “playing horde is for evil people”.

    • I do actually agree with you about TBC, to an extent. The Draenei did get a lot of attention, and it is definitely true that the conclusion was basically the Alliance swooping in and saving the Horde from itself. There does seem to be this underlying message through much of WoW that the Horde can only not be murderous lunatics with the Alliance’s guidance.

      But I do think that overall BC gave the Horde much more attention than the Alliance. Which is exactly as it should have been. Outland is the home of the Orcs and the Promised Land of the Blood Elves; it makes sense for the Horde to get plenty of attention there.

      Which gets back to my central point: It’s not about being perfectly fair to everyone all the time. It’s about telling the best story, and that will sometimes favour one faction over the other. Which is fine — it’s not a competition.

      • I’d disagree, only the final part of TBC in the Sunwell was Horde focused.

        Before then, all players went into draenei cities, quested for Alliance characters, did quests for the Holy Light, killed Horde related heroes, and then teamed up with the fanatically orc hating Akama, and the Night Elf affiliated Maiev Shadowsong.

  4. The thing is however, even if you want to view the Siege of Orgrimmar as a pro-Alliance moment, it is still inherently a Horde storyline. A Horde bad guy leaves the Horde, and does bad things in a Horde city, and you have to fight through a bunch of Horde themed enemies to beat him. Whether or not Garrosh is a villain, he’s still yet another Horde-race main character. Alliance players by and large aren’t don’t care whether or not the Alliance is winning or losing, or whether it’s viewed as the good guys or the bad guys… We just want SOME parts of the story to be Alliance-centric.

    Players of the Horde went to the shattered homeworld of the orcs in TBC, and a large portion of that expansions end-game was dedicated to the blood elves. The Horde also drove the story forward in Cataclysm, with Thrall (who let’s face it, was NEVER going to be viewed as a neutral character, no matter the intention) being the hero that led the charge against Deathwing. In Mists of Pandaria, Garrosh was the big bad, and a large portion of the expansion led up to taking him down. Now, in Warlords, the focal point of the story is once again Horde themed; it’s all orcish. Whether or not the Horde is portrayed as heroes or villains in each of those instances is irrelevant; the story is still all about them. Being good or evil does not influence how effective a character is at telling a story, and Blizzard so far, seem pre-disposed to use the Horde.

    Apart from Wrath of the Lich King, which WAS undeniably Alliance focussed, almost every storyline could have happened without the Alliance being present. We’re simply tacked on, with no iconic characters save for Varian. Where was Tyrande in Mists…? A single scenario, and a brief cameo in SoO. Where were the dwarves? The dranei, the worgen…? What about the gnomes…? Heck, since goblins, the gnomes don’t even fill the comic-relief role anymore, because, well… Goblins are also small, mechanically gifted, and prone to eccentric behaviour. As someone who plays Alliance, my personal experience when playing through the storylines of WoW, is that the Horde DOES, and the Alliance kinda shows up afterwards, and shakes their fist a bit. As a faction, they do not instigate, and Blizzard shows no interest in MAKING them instigate. The story of WoW is driven by the Horde. Winners or losers, heroes or villains, Horde characters are involved in the lion’s share of WoW story.

    To me personally, the Horde bias isn’t shown in the fact that the Horde seem to be ‘winning’ the faction war at the moment. That’s irrelevant, you don’t have to win to get a good story. It just seems to be more and more common-place that the Alliance, win or lose, don’t really seem to influence the story in any direction. We simply exist, and occasionally send in Varian to let people know we’re still a thing.

    • “Alliance players by and large aren’t don’t care whether or not the Alliance is winning or losing, or whether it’s viewed as the good guys or the bad guys… We just want SOME parts of the story to be Alliance-centric.”

      Maybe that’s true in your case, but that’s not representative of the vast majority of complaints I’ve seen. It’s usually people litanizing Horde victories while studiously ignoring Alliance victories.

      And I’m sorry, but I cannot take complaints about SoO being Horde favouritism seriously. I do not believe for one second that if MoP had ended in the Siege of Stormwind, people would have been cheering, “Yay! Alliance story!”

      “Players of the Horde went to the shattered homeworld of the orcs in TBC, and a large portion of that expansions end-game was dedicated to the blood elves. The Horde also drove the story forward in Cataclysm, with Thrall (who let’s face it, was NEVER going to be viewed as a neutral character, no matter the intention) being the hero that led the charge against Deathwing. In Mists of Pandaria, Garrosh was the big bad, and a large portion of the expansion led up to taking him down. Now, in Warlords, the focal point of the story is once again Horde themed; it’s all orcish. Whether or not the Horde is portrayed as heroes or villains in each of those instances is irrelevant; the story is still all about them. Being good or evil does not influence how effective a character is at telling a story, and Blizzard so far, seem pre-disposed to use the Horde.”

      You’re cherry-picking an awful lot here. The Alliance has had plenty of opportunities to take center stage in the story. Most of vanilla and pretty much all of Wrath were Alliance-driven stories. Cataclysm had plenty of strong Alliance arcs — for instance, with the exception of Elemental Bonds, 4.2 was entirely about the Night Elves. Mists of Pandaria’s entire storyline started as a search for Anduin Wrynn by both factions, and he was the one who convinced them to open the Vale — that’s certainly not the Horde driving the story.

      While I will definitely grant that BC was a Horde-centric expansion on the whole, ultimately the conclusion was driven by the Alliance. The Draenei were there to redeem the Blood Elves; everything was about Velen’s prophecy and the Draenei and Naaru guiding them back to the Light. It ended up being a story about how awesome the Draenei are as much as it was about the Blood Elves, and it sent the general message that the Horde can only be not evil when the Alliance shows them how — something that comes up far too often.

      “Where was Tyrande in Mists…? A single scenario, and a brief cameo in SoO. Where were the dwarves? The dranei, the worgen…?”

      Again, cherry-picking. I can come up with a similar list for the Horde. Who even knew who Lor’themar was before 5.1? It took Blizzard nearly six years just to figure out how many eyes he has and get him a voice actor that can actually pronounce the name of his own nation correctly.

      Baine could have been a huge player in Garrosh’s downfall. By rights, he should have been — Garrosh murdered his father. But he became a footnote at best compared to Vol’jin, who had less history with Garrosh to begin with.

      Where was Sylvanas in MoP? Where is she in WoD?

      Gallywix isn’t even in the game at all past an instanced starting zone you can never return to.

      The Alliance has a lot of legitimate complaints regarding neglect and mishandling of many of its races and storylines. But so does the Horde.

      It’s a natural bias of the human thought process to see patterns where none exist. You remember the hits, but the not the misses. You notice when things confirm your beliefs, but not when they don’t. You remember every time your faction has had the short end of the stick, but you unconsciously gloss over every time they’ve gotten their time in the sun, and every time the other faction has been disadvantaged.

      I’m no less inclined to these kind of errors than anyone, but I’ve sidestepped them in this case because I’ve never thought in terms of factions. To me, there’s just the story.

      “Heck, since goblins, the gnomes don’t even fill the comic-relief role anymore, because, well… Goblins are also small, mechanically gifted, and prone to eccentric behaviour.”

      Gnomes have always been a footnote, but they got probably their biggest moment to date (except maybe Operation: Gnomeregan) in SoO.

      “As a faction, they do not instigate, and Blizzard shows no interest in MAKING them instigate.”

      Comments like this make me think some people just picked the wrong faction for what they want.

      Of course the Alliance doesn’t instigate. That would go against their entire faction identity. The Horde is the chaotic, dynamic force. The Alliance is the law and order faction that stands firm to defend their homes and their ideals. They’re about stability and measured responses.

      If that’s not what you want, the Horde is the faction for you.

      • “I do not believe for one second that if MoP had ended in the Siege of Stormwind, people would have been cheering, “Yay! Alliance story!””

        I would’ve, and I doubt I would be the only one. A story that actually takes place in an Alliance city…? That would be awesome! If the Alliance managed to defend Stormwind, that could become a rallying point for the Alliance, proof that their reputation as steadfast defenders is well earned, and it would certainly help to ease concerns that Blizz is simply happy to let Alliance remain ineffective. (Case in point, Tarujo and Stonard. They both supposedly get assaulted by the Alliance, yet there’s very little visible change, and the actual Alliance quests surrounding them are… lacklustre.) Even is the Alliance DID lose, it would still provide potential for new storylines. Maybe the Alliance realise they’ve become too soft, that they need to begin arming up again. Faction leaders could band together to plan new strategies… Win or lose, the scenario would be good for the Alliance. Because it would give them a story beyond, “Oh, the Horde are doing something… guess we’d better just tag-along.” Whether or not you take those comments “seriously” or not is entirely on you.

        As for WotLK, yes, it was an Alliance expansion. I admitted that. Cataclym was NOT. Thrall was the protagonist against Deathwing, he was to Cataclysm what Tirion was to WotLK. 4.2 was not all about the Night Elves, it was about the Cenarion Circle, which, to my knowledge contains just as many Tauren as it did Night Elves. Remember that big ol’ questline about Hamuul, and how we had to heal him and whatnot? It would appear that I’m not the only one doing a bit of ‘cherry-picking’. I’m not saying that the Night Elves didn’t play a part, of course they did. But 4.2 was about the Cenarion Circle, and, surprise surprise, Thrall.

        As for BC’s conclusion being driven by the Alliance… was it? You say it was all about how awesome the Dranei were. I could just as easily say that the ending was a redemption story for the blood elves as they finally killed their one time leader, and retook the Sunwell. Whether or not the Alliance was ‘teaching the Horde to be good’ is irrelevant, because it once again puts the Alliance in a support role to the Horde. “Alright, we’ve helped you out. Now go, be pro-active and do things! We’ll just stand at a safe distance and let you get on with it!” I exaggerate of course, but you get the idea. The Dranei in that scenario didn’t DO anything themselves. They simply enabled the Horde.

        As for the Horde list of neglected leaders, let’s review… Baine and Cairne were instrumental in Garrosh becoming the new Warchief, and to my knowledge, Baine himself played a decent role in the Horde-side interaction with Anduin at the beginning of MoP. Sylvannas, whilst not playing a big part in MoP was absolutely huge in Cataclysm. The attack on Undercity, her use of the Val’kyr, the suspicion that she might not have completely gotten rid of all of Putress’ weapons… There’s a LOT that can be done with Sylvannas, and even if she’s becoming increasingly villainous, that’s still a story that she’ll be involved in. She’s a strong character with interesting motivations. Lor’themar recently headed up the Isle of Thunder campaign Horde-side, and I suspect he’ll be involved in WoD, given that Draenor is considered by the elves to be the promised land. That is of course speculation, so… feel free to disregard it. Gallywix, that’s fair enough. But the goblins as a whole have been involved in a LOT, whilst their counterpart, the gnomes remain, as you put it, a footnote, despite having been a race since Vanilla. What does it say about a faction when one of their races can effectively be called a footnote…?

        “The Alliance is the law and order faction that stands firm to defend their homes and their ideals. They’re about stability and measured responses.

        If that’s not what you want, the Horde is the faction for you.”

        No, the Horde faction is NOT for me. I prefer Alliance architecture, their races, and their general look. I simply want them to have a story beyond “get beaten up by the Horde, but are the ‘good guys’ so do nothing.” Take for example, the film 300. The Spartan 300 were only acting in the defence of their lands, and they ultimately ended up losing. But EVERYONE considers the Spartans badass, because they gave as good as they got, and even acting defensively, they were a force to be reckoned with. The Alliance on the other hand, are simply pushed around, with panel members of Blizzcon openly joking that the Alliance war-cry should be “Not in the face…!” Perhaps instigate was the wrong word, so I apologise for that. I simply meant that whilst there CAN be honour and badassery in defeat, Blizzard doesn’t feel compelled to write that into the Alliance.

        I get what you’re saying, really, I do. But when the excuse for the Alliance having no gumption, or desire to stop the Horde is “Well, the Alliance are just like that,” then maybe Blizzard should devote a bit of time to discussing how to make them a little LESS like that. Get writers in who are passionate about Alliance races and lore, and have THEM write some Alliance stuff, instead of Metzen who still seems stuck on how awesome orcs are because they’re muscly and have tusks.

      • “Baine and Cairne were instrumental in Garrosh becoming the new Warchief”

        What? That never happened. Nothing even remotely like that happened. Cairne was the biggest opponent of Garrosh’s rise to power, and he died for it. A very weak, out-of-game death that was entirely undeserved for a character with such a rich history, I might add.

        “Baine himself played a decent role in the Horde-side interaction with Anduin at the beginning of MoP.”

        No… He and Anduin sort of became buddies in the books, but they’ve never appeared together in the game as far as I can recall.

        Baine’s only appearances in MoP that I can recall were in Battlefield Barrens and SoO — in both cases he was just talking strategy with Vol’jin.

        “I suspect he’ll be involved in WoD”

        I’m not in beta, but from what I’ve heard, this is not the case. Liadrin has a significant role, but I’m not aware of any Blood Elf involvement in the story outside of the Blood Knights.

        “Draenor is considered by the elves to be the promised land.”

        No, it isn’t. Outland was because it was bathed in the power of the Twisting Nether, but even that turned out to not be worth it, what with all the demons and devastation. Pretty sure the Blood Elves don’t care about it anymore. And they certainly never had any reason to care about Draenor.

        There’s more I could respond to, but reading this, it’s clear to me you know very little about Horde lore. You probably haven’t played a Horde character. And that’s fine; it’s your game time, so you spend it how you want. But it does leave you supremely unqualified to determine whether Blizzard favours one faction over the other.

        You’re welcome to be dissatisfied with how the Alliance story has been handled — I agree there are many legitimate complaints to be made on that front — but do not attempt to claim that the Horde have it so much better, because that is definitely not the case.

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