•   Thursday, May 23, 2024
World of Warcraft

WoW: Cross Faction Play - just a (first) step in the right direction!

There's been a new wind at Blizzard for a few months now. You could almost say that the sexism scandal last summer has set some positive things in motion for WoW, even aside from the treatment of female employees. Old developers had to leave and a whole series of firmly anchored principles were thrown overboard. This included listening more to the community, which resulted in many adjustments around patch 9.1.5, for example. But also in 9.2 there are some things that were changed at the insistence of the players - among other things, how to get your second Legendary. And with patch 9.2.5, it continues mercilessly. This time Blizzard is tackling one of the most dangerous and controversial topics in WoW ever: faction borders!

Already a problem for a long time

Many years ago, the division of players into two camps was perhaps in keeping with the times and certainly worked well with twelve million players. But today we are miles away from that. WoW hasn't had that many players in a long time, and other games like New World show that you can have different factions and still have fun together in PvE.

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The rigid faction boundaries cause a whole series of problems in WoW. From the unequal distribution

to the impossible interaction of people who have met outside the game. Sure, you could buy a faction switch, which makes Blizzard a ton of money, but is that the solution? Because then again I can't play together with others. Either way, I have to decide which part of the WoW players I want to play together with, and who stays out for me.

And I'm not even talking about unnecessarily long waiting times in the automatic group search tool. If the system can only access half of the players, it will of course take longer.

Outdated system

The division into two factions that can't interact with each other is, in my opinion, not only outdated in the world of MMOs, but also in WoW (buy now ) itself. Sure, the beginnings of Warcraft revolved around the battle of orcs versus humans. But since that time, a lot of water has flowed down the maelstrom. Time and again, factions have allied to face greater threats. Our leaders are in it together half the time anyway, and Thrall and Jaina are kind of BFFs anyway.
Jaina and Thrall are close friends. But for my mage, every orc shaman is a mortal enemy? Source: buffed The last war between the factions, which was thematized in BfA, didn't bring so many players out from behind the stove in terms of story that you could say that the Horde and the Alliance have to keep beating each other up for the good of WoW. Okay, the failure of BfA was also due to other things, but the story was still not good. By the way, I on Hazzikostas is of the same opinion, who talked in an interview

about the fact that the conflict between the factions will rather move into the background in the future.

Blizzard's first foray

So patch 9.2.5 now brings a first rapprochement of the two factions, in that Blizzard allows us to join group content together with followers of the other faction. We are allowed to run M+ or complete raids together. At least that solves one big problem. I'm allowed, if I want to, to play together with friends who don't belong to my faction - even in PvP. Automated group search tools do not access both factions for the time being. However, it should only be a matter of time before you too get to choose to meet members of both factions.

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In my eyes, this can actually only be the first step towards the complete elimination of faction boundaries. It doesn't make much sense if I allow players to play together but still maintain the remaining boundaries like trade, open world or story quests. Blizzard apparently sees it similarly. At least one can gather from Hazzikostas' interview that the developers are thinking in a similar direction. However, they want to introduce such drastic adjustments slowly and step by step - and always keep an eye on the feedback from the players, which has been rather positive so far. In my eyes, this is the right way to go, and I now expect more firmly than ever that we will see the dissolution of all boundaries with the upcoming expansion.

Horde and Alliance become one!

I've already expressed my opinion on this topic in detail in various columns on buffed.de

. I'm a big fan of letting all WoW players play their favorite MMO together without artificial boundaries. From a gameplay point of view, there are no relevant disadvantages in my eyes. The story, of course, is another matter. But here, too, I can only agree with Blizzard. The war against the Horde was always just a side issue for me. I have defeated the Lich King, killed Old Gods, stopped Titans and saved the afterlife. Did I also actively fight the Horde? Sure, but that was never the appeal of the game for me. And in PvP, groups of the same faction already regularly compete against each other when there's a lack of players. 07:35
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For me and my feeling within WoW, this changes nothing at all. Except that I gain a lot of potential new players. Although, admittedly, it will seem strange the first time I see an Orc in the Stormwind Auction House that isn't being attacked by guards.

No Way Back

You can already tell what a big fan I would be of the complete fall of faction boundaries. Another reason makes me positive that it will come to that. According to Hazzikostas, there is no way back. Once the system of cross-faction group play is in place, it won't go away. That's not something they want to do to groups that have formed in it, he said.
I wonder if we'll eventually see World First Kills with both factions represented. Source: Buffed

On the other hand, the upcoming system is very half-hearted and probably not designed for eternity. When I make friends, I might want to join a guild with them, which is not possible for now. Once the new feature has been active for a while, many players will realize that it is not the downfall of the Azerothian West and brings more advantages than disadvantages. It's already obvious that many players are excited about it. So the next step, which according to Ion can't be backwards, has to be forwards - towards the complete elimination of all faction boundaries.

And while they're at it, they're welcome to abolish the server borders as well. These are also a relic of times gone by and no longer make sense, either technically or in terms of gameplay.

Do you agree with me that further steps have to follow after patch 9.2.5 or is that enough for you for now? Or do you agree with me that this feature should not be added to the live servers and that Horde and Alliance should remain separated? Tell me in the comments!

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