I’m going to assume that every single person reading this has at least heard of World of Warcraft, or is proficient enough in google-fu to get the cliffnotes on it. If you haven’t and/or can’t, what rock have you been living under?!
I’m not going to beat around the bush with this: The Horde is just more bloody interesting than the Alliance. Until recently though, I had no idea why. Sure, the Horde’s got interesting backstories for each of its factions, a (mostly) unique flavor for each of them, they were (mostly) the villians in the original Warcrafts, and they have a very devoted playerbase. But the thing I never understood was why the Alliance felt so boring in comparison.
Now, I can understand it starting out that way – the Horde was more interesting to me when I started playing WoW because they had the Tauren and the Tauren are awesome (yeah, entirely subjective there, go figure) but when I left, I found myself with a lingering affection for the Horde and a resounding ‘meh’ for the Alliance, despite the fact that I’d been playing Alliance almost exclusively for years. Don’t get me wrong – I didn’t hate the Alliance, they have some good characters, good questlines and some great moments. The Horde was just more fun to me, and until recently I couldn’t figure out why.
Nerfnow posted a comic expressing the author’s frustration with the lack of an Alliance/Horde conflict within WoW, a conflict that was supposed to be at the core of Warcraft. I was intrigued by the idea, but that was a reason for the game’s (alleged) decline, not for the Alliance boring me. So I thought back to all of my favorite moments in WoW and Warcraft 3 (sadly, the only two I’ve played 😦 ), and I think I know why the Alliance is so boring: There is so little wrong with the Alliance compared to the Horde that it is almost staggering.
Hear me out.
The Alliance has it’s share of problems, true, but how many of them deal with how the outside world treats them? How many of their problems have to do with how the factions relate to one another? The Dwarves, Humans and Gnomes have been friends basically forever, the Night Elves and Worgen are bound by their link to the Worgen curse, the Dranei worship the Light just like most of the rest of the Alliance… this is a worldwide union of races with little problem with each other. Sure, the Dwarves had to form a council of three hammers after their king was frozen, the dranei are refugees, Night elves have to deal with mages, etc etc… But between the factions themselves, what kind of conflict do we really see? I can’t think of anything, and certainly nothing that takes center stage for half an expansion.
Compare that to the Horde. The side that (in WoW) has always been about separate, disparate races banding together because the world hates them. Garrosh killed the leader of the Tauren through treachery at the hands of the Grimtotem, Vol’jin told Garrosh TO HIS FACE that he was going to assassinate him one day. The Forsaken are becoming more and more monstrous by the day, to the point that even the Horde doesn’t trust them any more despite their alliance.
The problem Nerfnow noted was that the Alliance and Horde rarely conflict in major ways anymore: the Alliance and Horde are working together to take down Hellscream, when the Alliance should be siezeing the opportunity to destroy the Forsaken and push away the Horde’s foothold in Lordaeron. And ya know what? I find it hard to disagree. The conflict has become Garrosh vs the World in Mists of Pandaria, and the Horde/Alliance conflict feels like it is almost gone. This wouldn’t be a problem if the Alliance had major problems other than the Horde… but (discounting problems the Horde also has) it really doesn’t.
Hell, even in the Alliance’s own stories, the Horde is more interesting than they are. Look at the Worgen origin quests – specifically, when Sylvanas lies to the orc sent to oversee her. I was more interested in what the Forsaken were doing at that point than I was the Worgen – they were LIEING to the people they pay lip service to. Meanwhile the Alliance instantly trusts the savage half-wolf things… for almost no reason. I can see the Night Elves doing it, but come on, at least give us a sidequest where a human in Stormwind is like ‘waaah wolf people suck, ima kill ’em’ or something!! Is there a quest like that that I just missed or something?! Come on, Blizzard…
The Horde is more interesting not only because is it still trying to destroy the Alliance, its own factions are in conflict too. Conflict makes the story, my friends, and the Alliance has lacked inner conflict for a long time. (To be clear, I mean faction-to-faction, like humans vs dwarves vs night elves, etc.)
That’s my theory, anyway. What do you think?
- Know Your Lore: The future of the Horde (wow.joystiq.com)
- World of Warcraft reveals the next Warchief of the Horde (massively.joystiq.com)
- What is frustrating is constant horde victory (rsshopforyour.wordpress.com)
- World of Warcraft Beginner’s Guide (gaming.answers.com)