Horde or Alliance?

When you create your World of Warcraft character you must pick which of the major factions you want to belong to: the Horde or the Alliance. Or rather, the choice is implicitly made by picking the race of your character. Humans, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes and Darnei races form the Alliance. The horde on the other hand consists of the Orc, Troll, Undead, Tauren and Blood Elf nations.

If you decide to create an Alliance character you pretty much are playing the traditional RPG game story wise. Everything is pretty much cannon here – Elves live in great forests, Dwarves live in the hills, Gnomes are the crazy inventors and Darnei… Ok, so these dudes are new, and actually sort of weird but whatever. You get the point.

I was instantly drawn to the Horde for one reason: it allows you to play one of the traditional RPG antagonists. This is something different – something new. Few other games actually allow you to become an Orc, and visit Orc settlements, talk to Orc elders and visit places sacred to them. This is a bold new territory WoW is exploring here. In most games Orcs and Troll’s don’t even have towns and settlements – they are usually depicted as marauders or nomads or bestial barbarians who exist solely to raid human towns and be a nuisance.

So when you roll up a Orc, Troll, Tauren or Undead character you can experience a whole new kind of world. Orcs are no longer savage barbarians but honorable, trustworthy and reliable warriors – but rather poor craftsmen and bit lazy when not fighting. Tauren are not towering snarling beasts, but rather gentle, nature loving and peaceful giants. Undead are not mindless shambling corpses but makeshift nation of people who succumbed to a terrible curse and are trying to come to terms with their fate, and search for a new meaning and purpose in their life.

The art direction in the fame is quite amazing, and each race has a unique architectural look and feel. You can instantly spot which buildings were built by which race. Tauren for example are heavily inspired by Native American influences. They either live in leather tents or build sturdy wooden structures decorated with tribal carvings. They also are very fond of various totem poles. Their starting area is just beautiful, and if you have a chance visit the Tauren capital city of Thunderbluf. It is possibly one of the prettiest low level accessible locations in the game so far.

Trolls apparently all come from Haiti and dabble in Voodo. There is so few of them they don’t actually seem to have a city of their own – there is however a very neat Troll village in Durotar (Sen’jin Village) which is having a pesky problem with a rouge Witch Doctor living on a nearby island.

Orc architecture is rather crude, often lopsided and built so that it could be easily defended. You can clearly see that they are warlike people, but they do have more depth than that. Their capitol city of Origmar is an impressive, impenetrable fortress from the outside. The city seems to have a vaguely organic, haphazard layout. It almost seems as if it slowly grew into the current state as Orcs built their shacks and houses in every available position inside of the walls – creating impressive multi-level, convoluted and disordered and claustrophobic fortress. It is in stark contrast to well designed, ordered Thunderbluf overlooking impressive scenic vistas.

I have yet to visit the Undead and Blood Elf areas but I’m sure they are equally impressive. As I explore the game world I keep discovering the little pieces of fluff that make this world more alive. For example the coastal town of Ratchet is governed by neutral goblins and has sort of a “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme to it. The pirates in the area are a motley crew of humans, trolls, dwarfs, undead and other minor species. The goblin owned Venture Company active in the Barrens and Mugolore has equally diverse employee base.

And all of this is set in areas that are usually not that well explored in RPG games. The Barrens for example are a spanning savanna populated by lions, zebras, giraffes and various lizards. Durotar area is a rocky desert. Mugolore is a vast prairie land. The island near the Sen’jin Village are lush tropical jungle.

Exploring that rich and detailed landscape is both rewarding and interesting. This is why I’m drawn to the Horde more than anything. Some people I talked too have a different opinion. Some say they don’t like playing a Troll or an Orc character because they would have a hard time identifying with a such character. You can sort of figure out what are the goals and aspirations of a human, dwarf or an elf. Horde characters are much more alien to us. But if you play them you will see that identifying with them is not so difficult. When you play Horde you are not playing a “bad guy” – you are playing a good guy living in an ordered (even if somewhat troubled) world. The only Humans and Dwarfs NPC’s you see are pirates, riders, colonialists taking over your territory and disrupting the life of your people. And alliance are the assholes who constantly ride Crossroads town killing all the guards and quest givers for fun. You begin to look at them as barbaric monsters, and Orcs, Trolls and Undead as inherently peaceful people with rich cultures who for the most part just want to live their life away from strife and war. It’s an interesting role reversal, and yet another example of the unexpected depth of WoW.

I mean let’s face it – most of the quests you will do in this game are really of the type “Kill X of Y” or “Fetch quantity X of Y” – but most of the time, it does feel like there is more to it.

So here is a question to any WoW players who read this blog. Do you usually play Horde or Alliance? Which one do you prefer and why?

[tags]wow, world of warcraft, the horde, the alliance[/tags]

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18 Responses to Horde or Alliance?

  1. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Horde, of course. I mean, people buy this game, can choose some kickass races, and then create a HUMAN! I mean, come on! Humans do get more exp or rep or something…but jesus.

    I roll, almost exclusively, undead…cannibalism and Dispel Fear as class traits…fantastic. I always roll a female though, the male undead look terrible. I rolled a Blood Elf male once, but he was way too Freddie Mercury for me (as in demonstratively gay).

    The only thing I truly hate is the constant running around, especially at the lower levels when you cannot get a mount…they lowered the level requirement from 40 to 30 (or so I heard…can’t always trust Barrens chat).

    I might have missed it, but what server are you on?

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  2. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Yeah, the new patch dropped allows you to get a mount at level 30. It was like the 1st line in patch note thing yesterday and it was in big bold letters and i was like NO WAI. lol My Troll is then only 6 levels and 30 gold away from having one.

    But yeah, I have not even a remote interest in playing a human character. Why the hell would I do that? I rolled a Tauren warrior once and it was great to be so huge. :) My current character is a lv 24 Troll Hunter – I picked a troll because I read somewhere that it is the least played race in the game so I figured it would make my character stand out more. There are plenty of Troll’s running around though – at least from what I’ve seen.

    I also rolled a Gnome Warlock just for shits and giggles. Precisely because Gnomes are so tiny – I wanted to check out how is it to play at that scale – and also to have an alt on the alliance side so maybe I can run into Shamus at some point and say hi.

    I haven’t tried playing Undead yet but I’m itching to check out something like an Undead Rogue though. :)

    Oh, and I’m on Kirin Tor. RP server, but I have yet to see anyone do any kind of role playing there. It does cut down on the idiot quotient though. I don’t get quite that many duel challenges when I visit crossroads.

    And I actually had this whole long, eloquent conversation with some dude about fishing and feeding hunter pets while hanging around and fishing in that little pond in Thunderbluff.

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  3. Matt` UNITED KINGDOM Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Never played WoW, likely never will.

    But if I did, I’d go Horde.
    Gotta love being the bad guys :mrgreen: (even if you later end up thinking of yourself as the good guys…)

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  4. Aaron UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux says:

    [quote post="2578"]It does cut down on the idiot quotient though. [/quote]

    The idiot ladder that I have witnessed goes:

    PVP Alliance
    PVP Horde
    Normal Alliance
    RP Alliance
    Normal Horde
    RP Horde

    I’m on a RP server which also doesn’t RP very much and am horde, so most of the people I meet are pretty sane and the type that you would actually be willing to talk to in real life. The trade chat can be a little ridiculous at times, but it is all in good fun.

    During my original trial I rolled a Tauren warrior then I hit the cap and rolled an Orc BM Hunter. The hunter was so much easier to level, so after I upgraded a few months ago, he shot up to 70 without much effort.

    If you hadn’t decided on a spec for your Troll yet, I totally suggest Beast mastery for leveling with a boar as a tank. You will be able to take on elites your level and breeze through a lot of group quests.

    I’m kinda rolling an undead rouge now so that eventually I will be able to kill all the rogues and warlocks that kill my hunter in the battle grounds, but she is lingering around level 10.

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  5. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    @Aaron – Heh. Before I started playing I seriously thought that Horde would be more populated by immature munchkins who play to “pwn for the Horde” it is the opposite. Go figure.

    Maybe it’s because stripping to underpants and humping each others avatars is just not as “aesthetically pleasing” or something…

    I agree – hunter is much easier to level than Warrior. I actually pumped a lot of talent points into marksmanship tree which may or may not be a good thing. Maybe I’ll respec at some point when I reach a point when I won’t be spending all my cash on training skills, and pet skills.

    I’m currently running around with a Wind Serpent pet cause it was just cool looking. It is actually pretty decent pet but can die quickly if it pulls more than one mob at a time.

    I was fighting Sons of Centarion in Stonetalon Peak the other day and they walk around with some silly Ent like familiars (both are level 23-24). My pet would usually be on it’s last legs after holding both of them. So I figured I’ll Ice-trap one of them, quickly finish the second to stretch the pets HP. :)

    I have a boar parked in the stable but it is 4-5 levels behind me. Any good places to hunt higher level boars (I’m level 24 right now)?

    As for soloing instances – I tried doing Wailing Caverns alone when I was level 19 but it was brutal. I might try it again now or maybe once I gain few more levels. :)

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  6. Russell Nix-Buckner UNITED STATES Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Luke, you had asked about a good place to tame boars for your level. If you are level 24, you should consider making the run to Redridge Mountains. This can be a bit of a pain as a Horde character (I haven’t gotten up the nerve to try it yet either) but you should go there to tame Bellygrub. He will teach you Gore Rank 4 which appears to be the highest rank of Gore you will see before you are in your mid-40’s. Bellygrub is supposed to spawn as a level 24 mob so he should be perfect for you. Try pulling his stats and info on Petopia. Unfortunately, it looks like if you want to go boar, most of the good trainable pets at lower levels are in Alliance controlled areas. Hopefully you’re not on a PvP server!

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  7. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Wow, thanks. I’m not on a PvP server but I’d have to look at the map for a bit to figure out how to get there. It may be a long way from my usual stomping grounds. I’m still not done with Barrens.

    My hearthstone is bonded to Crossroads because it is strategically in between Thunderbluff, Origmar and Ratchet and flying out to most places from there is relatively inexpensive.

    I usually go to Thunderbluff to trade and train my Huntard skills because everything there is close together and easy to find. Getting to the hunter trainer in Origmar is like a 5 minute run from the landing tower.

    I did few missions in the Silverpine and Hilsbrad but ended right back in the Barrens after a short stint there.

    How about this – what would be a good pet for a Horde character around level 25-26 that is best suited for solo play?

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  8. Alphast NETHERLANDS Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Well, I played very little, and quite a long while ago. I tried both side, beginning with the Horde (for all the obvious reasons you gave). I created an Undead first, a Warlock type, if I am not mistaken. The Undead lands are pretty but creepy (as it should) and their capital city is simply the former human capital (which appeared in Warcraft II and III, if I am correct). So its architecture is med-fan human, somewhat modified with tombs and tapestries. Of course, playing Undead, you see Humans (and Alliance) as annoying people who keep raiding your territory and desecrating the holy ruins and crypts where you belong. Also, there is a civil war running within Undeads, so that’s another thing they have to deal with.

    After that, I played a dwarf, and it was ok, though their area is very mountainous and as such quite hard to roam in. I didn’t go as far with that character and quickly became bored with the game as well as the lack of interaction with players with an IQ superior to the anal temperature (in Celsius, otherwise it is not funny).

    My Undead traveled quite a lot, though, led to the Barrens (via Zeppelin) and even the Sea by various missions. I even fought the Alliance at the Crossroads village once.

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  9. Steve CANADA Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @Luke:
    Once you are done with Crossroads, it might be handy to change your hearthstone to the inn in the Lower City of Shattrath (Outlands). You will need to get a higher level “friend” to open a port to Shat for you. Shat has free ports to all four major Horde cities – UC, Org, TB, and Silvermoon. That way, you can port from place to place without running or using a Flight Path.

    I would recommend waiting until after XR since most of your current quests will be there.

    Talking about classes in general…the forums on http://www.worldofwarcraft for each class have varying degrees of usefulness. The lock forum has a couple of great guides – one even goes into detail about which talents you should pick and why or why not. However, the rogue forum sucks. I have never checked out the hunter forum, but it could be helpful.

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  10. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Ubuntu Linux Terminalist says:

    Yeah, Barrens is always “interesting”. That’s what I call home btw. Both my Tauren and my Troll chill out in these parts. Undead area is cool, but when I’m there I feel like I’m far, far away from home. :P

    Oh, and I have yet to see Blood Elf starting area. I’m not even sure if one can get there without the Burning Crusade extension.

    Btw, is anyone here on Kirin Tor? Lets team up, or guild up or something.

    Once again I play Redmanetusk Horde side and Mizumat Alliance side (no armory link since it that character is like level 7 or something).

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  11. Redstorm UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    I’m a big fan of the Alliance many because of the night elves. their just fun to play.

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  12. John UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Dude it mite be my server but horde raided our towns I got ganked by them like a 1.000 times lol but I ben to horde terrortory taming anmails ans stuff but as long their a highter lvl or a pally they will gank you this if from my expirence of a lvl 63 hunter so dont talk about the alince cuz i think the same way about ur blog but it is talkin about alince

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  13. John UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    not to be meen about than maby that was just in my server (Jedear) but if u have any tips about being a horde write

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  14. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    @ John:

    John, that’s what I meant. When you play Alliance then Horde obviously seems like the bad guys. When you play Horde, your people seem to be the good guys and Alliance seems evil. In other words, there is no inherently good or inherently evil side in the game. It’s all about perspective.

    I was really commenting on the way Blizzard made the setting to reflect this. Ganking is a fact of life on both sides – there will always be groups of high level players running into starting towns of the opposing faction killing NPC’s and causing trouble. It’s an MMO, no? That’s sort of what happens in these types of games. WoW sort of puts it in the context of two opposing factions, neither of which is inherently evil.

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  15. Knewl UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Very good blog, however there now will be a chance to play the Alliance, the Worgen have a mysterious lore opened up now with the upcoming expansion. I think this is very interesting to experience now that the Alliance has a “savage” or “monstrous” looking like race and would bring a lot of attention. I guess that’s just not too bad it about it because like you said, the “bad side” has their own lore and even if they do, the Alliance faction also has their story up on their own races. Not to aside, there could be other traits as to what each faction has, for example Horde sides to be more fierce and honorable and competitive in such while the Alliance temps to be more of an loyal and or something like luxurious with its races and more like Role Playing faction which there also are people who go along with that type of game play.

    So, in overall, the sides have their differences and balances. Mainly it depends on what you think its best and what suits you. (basically Horde for me because of my friends want to be fierce and the colors and Alliance too because of other friends and i want to be on a good side haha).

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  16. dan UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    jesus h christ. you guys are harsh on alliance/humans.

    i actually play horde, 53 undead rogue and a 23 orc warrior; however, when i first started i made a human and that was simply because of paladin. before blood elf the only way to get paladin was human. and face it, paladins kick major ass.

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  17. TrueProdigy Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Wow, I love my baby murloc! He makes this super weird sund like ullulululul or somethin… FOR THE ALLIANCE!!! I often like to play as a warlock or a hunter becuz i have a pet to save my butt. I’m a level 47 paladin! They kick ass!

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  18. Liam Venables UNITED KINGDOM Opera Windows says:

    Well, in my opinion, I believe the Alliance to be better, it’s simply a matter of reading into the fluff, the Human kingdoms have so much lore, the Night Elves fluff is simply outstanding, and the Dwarfs have the kind of lore that makes you wonder when you’ve read it, how they were actually brought to be. I must say though, the Horde lore is simply amazing as well, and I have played the horde since I started playing the game 5 years ago and all my characters are on the horde, however, for me the Horde lacks something in the way that it is run and the architecture, there’s just something about the Alliance that appeals more to me than the horde

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