The new World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth has managed to do exactly what Blizzard hoped it would do. Begin faction based discussions and create a healthy rivalry in the community.
However, Battle for Azeroth has spawned one new war in the community, and it is not between the Alliance and Horde but within the Horde player base itself.
Spoiler Warning! This article contains references to events that take place in the Battle for Azeroth
The factions in World of Warcraft was never meant to be black and white, good or evil, but two factions with righteous and malicious individuals on both sides. But due to the newly anointed Warchief of the Horde, Sylvanas, the factions are starting to look more and more black and white to many players.
In short, Sylvanas use questionable means in the form of chemical warfare and raising dead to fight for her. This behavior has split the Horde player base into two. Fans and followers of the Banshee Queen, Sylvanas and the classic Horde player that enjoy the honorable ways of the Orcs, Tauren, and Trolls.
So the question is. Is it time to split the Horde in two?
Let me be clear: I realize this is a crazy idea with very little to no chance of happening. However, I do think the discussion is fun and worth having.
I realize this might seem crazy at first, seeing as the two factions have been one of the only constants throughout World of Warcraft’s almost 15-year-old life. But hear me out.
Why – Sylvanas is almost as popular as Arthas and Illidan
The Sylvanas as Warcheif debate is not as simple as some people make it out to be. Most common responses to her actions are along the lines of: ”Just kill her off”, ”She will be the main antagonist of the next expansion”, and ”Horde is evil now”.
What some people forget is that Sylvanas merely is too valuable as a character and is among the most popular in all of the Warcraft universe. So if you can’t kill her off without pissing off a large number of people, and you can’t have her in charge of the Horde for much longer without seeing a revolution from the Horde player base, what do you do?
Why – Undead Elves, Tauren, Orcs, Dwarves and more.
This would probably be one of the most exciting aspects of adding a brand new Forsaken faction to the game. Having all or almost all races have an undead counterpart. I mean, who doesn’t want to play as a Forsaken Gnome?
The way Sylvanas’ character arc is going in Battle for Azeroth it is not far-fetched to assume that she will ”provide” the Horde with risen dead from all races. The question is, will the rest of the Horde stand for it?
How – Max level faction or a new questing overhaul
This would not be an easy thing to implement. Blizzard would either have to do another Cataclysm with a total revamp of low-level zones or make the Forsaken a max level faction.
Joining the Forsaken could be an optional max level questline that kills off your character and see it risen as a Forsaken undead. So if you are a Gnome Warrior, you will be turned into an undead Gnome Warrior, and the original Alliance Gnome character would be gone. One of the issues with this could be that some races and classes might feel weird as a Forsaken, such as a Night Elf Druid.
Blizzard has 3 Options with the Sylvanas Character Arc
- The first and most likely choice Blizzard could make. Make Sylvanas into a full-on antagonist and basically do a Mist of Pandaria 2.0. However, as great as Mist of Pandaria was in many ways it might be a tad too soon to rehash it.
2. Ignore the fact that Sylvanas has crossed as much of a line as Garrosh crossed back in Mist of Pandaria. And continue with a more black and white approach to the factions morale.
3. Depict the civil war we see in the community in the actual game. Split the Horde into two and give the Forsaken a ton of new dead races to play with. Dead Taurens, Elves, Dwarves and so on.
5 Reasons its a Good Idea
Let us go over some of the main reasons this could work.
- Avoiding another Mist of Pandaria type situation. If you take a look at the wow forums, official wow Reddit or MMO-champion it is pretty clear that Horde players DO NOT want another Garrosh situation. However, a lot of Horde players also want to see Sylvanas removed as Warchief, one way or another.
- Let The Horde be Horde. The days of ”Lok’tar ogar” and ”blood and honor” seems like a distant memory and is not representative of the Horde as it is right now. Let us have Saurfang or Baine take the reins of Warchief and have the Horde lore focus on the classic Orc, Tauren and Troll trinity. Obviously, Blood elves would have to stay as well. The Horde needs a player base after all.
- Possibility for Darker storytelling. The addition of a shadier and morally questionable faction would give Blizzard the opportunity for a lot more dark and exciting storytelling.
- Some people enjoy playing ”Blackhat”. This would allow the players to play with total moral ambiguity and finally be the villain for once.
- Excellent opportunity for allied races. I mean, undead high elves, Tauren, Draenei, Gnomes, Dwarves, need I say more?
5 Reasons It Might Not Work
No idea is without cons, so let us take a look at 5 significant reasons it might not work.
- Questing zones. Most zones in World of Warcraft are built with the fact that the Forsaken is a part of the Horde in mind. However, there would be a way around. Either a new world overhaul as we saw in Cataclysm or make it so that the Forsaken is a max level faction only, which you can join with your character through a quest chain that effectively kills off your character.
- Incredibly Risky. I won’t lie, this could backfire, badly. After all, the Horde versus the Alliance is a fundamental part of the Warcraft universe.
- The Forsaken are homeless. With the Undercity lost in the opening stages of Battle for Azeroth, the Forsaken would have to claim a new home for themselves.
- The Forsaken faction would be hard to team up with. While we might be at each other’s throat right now, we all know that it won’t be long before a new world-ending threat comes knocking and then it’s usually time to settle our dispute and team up. However, the tensions between the Forsaken and the Horde and Alliance might be so severe that a team up would be hard to justify, lore-wise.
- Too much work. This would at the very least require a LOT of new races for the Forsaken, overhaul of a lot of quests and maybe some new zones. It likely wouldn’t be worth it. Although, let’s not forget that the Cataclysm happened and that was with a smaller development team.
The Horde, The Alliance, and The Forsaken
Making the Forsaken their very own faction opens up so many possibilities and allow the Horde players to choose what type of faction they wish to belong to. It would also give Blizzard a chance to add some of the most requested allied races without making it so that the Horde is ‘okay’ with bringing the dead back to life.
We could finally see undead Elves, Dwarves, Tauren, Draenei and so on and so forth. When you take a look at the newly added Dark Iron Dwarves and Mag’har Orc’s it is not hard to imagine what a fantastic job Blizzard would do with these new undead races.
It would also allow Sylvanas’ character to focus on what she actually cares about finally. Which is the survival of herself and her people.
While this was mostly just a fun thought that I wanted to translate into an article form, I would love to hear thoughts on how it could and should work.