December 7, 2009 § 3 Comments
Larisa over at the Pink Pigtail Inn posted yesterday about Alliance faction pride–or the lack thereof. She talks about Blizzard’s 5th anniversary Battlecry event, and how most of the pictures are Horde related. At the end of the post she asks:
Where is our faction pride? Where’s our heart? Do we care at all about our Alliance? Why aren’t we posting our pictures at the Battlecry Event?
The short version is this: The Horde is a group of outcast, downtrodden, recently freed from evil, and orphaned races joined together in a common goal. They need each other more to survive. The Alliance is more a loose confederation of independent city states (kind of like how Italy started). They are grouped up mainly because there is strength in numbers, making it easier to stand up to the Horde and fight off enemies like the Burning Legion and the Scourge. So it’s a lot easier to get behind the Horde as a whole, where as with the Alliance people tend to get behind their own race more than the Alliance as a whole.
I have played both Alliance and Horde (all the way to 80 and into endgame) so I’ve been able to see the faction pride on both sides. My completely unscientific, based-only-on-my-own-experiences-opinion is that the Horde, as a whole, has more pride regarding their faction, as a whole, than the Alliance. The Horde has one powerful, clear leader (Thrall), while the leadership of the Alliance is separated. Players of Orcs, Tauren, and Trolls are fiercely loyal to Thrall. Blood Elves lack a clear leader (go on, who is it? Off the top of your head, who is the leader of the Blood Elves? You have no idea do you?), and so it’s a lot easier to fall in line under Thrall’s strong leadership. The Forsaken are the only ones who don’t have that hard and fast connection with the Horde as a whole. Their membership is more a matter of convenience. Lady Sylvanas is their leader, not Thrall. Although, those Forsaken that have spent extended amounts of time with the other races in Orgrimmar may find themselves zealously defending the throne room from Alliance attack simply because the Horde loyalty is infectious.
Horde pride is strong and loud. And I think the reason is that the idea behind the Horde is that it’s a group of outcasts and underdogs As the Orcs moved across the land they gathered the other races into the fold, absorbing them to form a larger, single group. The races are bound together not only by a common threat, but a common experience and heritage, by being outcasts, or previously evil but having now been freed (e.g. Orcs freed from bloodlust/Burning Legion, Forsaken being freed from the Scourge).
The Alliance don’t share the same camaraderie. The original Alliance was among the human kingdoms of Gilneas, Lordearon, Kul Tiras and Stormwind. They bore the brunt of the first Orcish invasion. During the second invasion, the humans enlisted the help of the Gnomes, the Wildhammer Dwarves, and the High Elves (later Blood Elves). But these were only temporary Alliances lasting only the length of each war. During peace time everyone went back to their own kingdom, to their own business. During the third war, the Gnomes had retreated into Gnomeregan to deal with their own troubles (note how they didn’t involve anyone else, even the Dwarves), the High Elves were busy becoming the Blood Elves, the Dwarves were busy exploring Northrend, and the Humans of Lordearon and Stormwind were fighting the Scourge and the Burning Legion. Gilneas closed up it’s borders. And aside from a small contingent led by Jaina Proudmoore, the nation of Kul Tiras was decidedly absent as well. The Night Elves eventually joined up with Proudmoore’s group and the Horde to fight off the Burning Legion, but they didn’t seem particularly excited about it. And the Draenei were till tootling about in their space ship.
When we finally come to the point where vanilla WoW started, the Horde (Orcs, Trolls, Tauren, Forsaken) were united in common purpose and goal: build themselves up and stop being the downtrodden outcasts. The Alliance (Humans, Dwarves, Gnomes, Night Elves) was simply a loose confederation of independent nations left over from past wars. In the Burning Crusade, the Draenei joined up with the Alliance because they ‘seemed nicer’ and the Blood Elves join the Horde because they hate the Night Elves.
So the lore sets us up as Alliance to be predisposed to being more independent, and as Horde to be more communal.
It got me thinking about my own level of faction pride. I find that as Thistlefizz my pride is limited to Gnomeregan, and maybe, if the circumstances are just right, Ironforge. But as to the Alliance as a whole, I’m not interested. In fact, I don’t like the implication that because the Gnomes are part of the Alliance, somehow that makes me subject to King Varian Wrynn. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not part of the “let’s hate Varian because it’s the cool thing to do” club. No, I just don’t like feeling like I’m being subjugated against my will. The Gnomes agreed to assist the Alliance in their war efforts. We didn’t agree to become citizens of Stormwind and subjects of the king.
And while we’re on the subject, I’m really bothered by the fact that Varian is the only Alliance representative up at the Trial of the Crusader. Logistically I get that Blizzard can’t put one of every race in that tiny Arena. I also get that even though the Alliance isn’t all that united, we need to present a united front. Nevertheless, sometimes I get the feeling that it’s not so much that Varian is the leader we decided to put forth to represent us, as he is the guy with the biggest sword(s) and we all need to fall in line behind him, or go to hell.
Anyway, I’m rambling now so I think I’ll just end this post with this: While we may be lukewarm about our allegiance to the Alliance, almost all Gnomes I know are fiercely loyal to Gnomeregan and would do anything for it. Gnome pride runs deep.
“[Insert clever sign off phrase here]”
(PS: astute Loremasters will notice I left out Dalaran, Stromgarde and Alterac. Mostly that’s because by the end of the 3rd war two of those nations didn’t exist anymore and the third was behind a giant purple bubble).
I really enjoyed this post.
While I easily came to the conclusion about the Horde and why they’re so strongly factional, I had a harder time explaining to myself why the Alliance wasn’t and you did that rather well. (Of course, knowing lore behind everything helped a lot – I didn’t know much of it besides vague generalizations.)
I’ve also only read Larisa’s post, so I don’t know if this was linked in any of the other posts regarding faction pride, but I had to link it ’cause I love the comic: Battle-Cries
I’ve been an alliance player since day 1, and the friendships I have made as such mean there’s very little chance of spending any real time horde side… the lore in your post is very interesting and makes a lot of sense!
From my experience Alliance races don’t have much of a bond with each other. In terms of my characters, my human mage refuses to champion any city but Stormwind to my frustration as an achievement monkey… damn this RP server!. Although, my draenei feels some warmth towards Ironforge as she spent a lot of time there and my paladin will whore herself out to the highest bidder. A tad ‘unpaladinlike’ but I can’t control her. I don’t mind being independent, and for sure Alliance races are more than willing to bandy together against the Horde even if they aren’t that bothered the rest of the time.
I’ll be suspicious of gnome priests forever though 😉