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4-01-2012 @ 6:35PM
Frankly, losing Hawthorne isn't even the worst part of South Barrens questing for the Alliance.It's the end, where you watch Bael Modan get bombed, attempt a momentary revenge by collapsing a Horde mine, and then this is the last quest you're given:"Hawthorne dead... my own son murdered... the situation in the Barrens is out of control, .I'm going to take charge of Fort Triumph and try to lock things down. To do that, I'm going to need reinforcements. Reinforcements that were promised from Theramore weeks ago!Travel to Theramore in Dustwallow Marsh and give Captain Garran Vimes an earful. What good is that blasted road through the swamp if the men and materiel aren't rolling in?"No matter which side you play, Southern Barrens ends with the Alliance struggling to avoid destruction.THIS is the problem with the Alliance: Blizzard constantly writes them as being mired in ignominous failures, pyrrhic victories, and overall wallowing in a doldrums that they've been stuck in since before WoW even started.What the Alliance needs is VICTORIES, not some fairy-dust "lighthearted moments." The Alliance already has plenty of "lighthearted moments" and frankly, players hate most of them because they feel like they've been written as a distraction from the story and not actually part of the narrative.It feels like Blizzard saying, "The people of Westfall are suffering and Sentinel Hill is on fire, and you can't do a thing to prevent either, but, um... OOO LOOK AT HORATIO LANE, LOOK AT THE PUNS, ISN'T HE FUNNY GUYS, ISN'T HE? GUYS?"As I wrote recently on the story forum-(hang on, I'll just reprint the entire post. It'll be long, so TL;DR folks can just scroll down.)
4-01-2012 @ 6:38PM
In Cata more than ever before, playing an Alliance character makes one feel like they're casting rocks into a hurricane. You never really feel like you're making a difference as an Alliance player - at most it feels like you're slowing or stopping the rot. And the victories you do get are either pyrrhic or else mirrored for the Horde.I think the biggest problem is that the Alliance frankly hasn't had a big, triumphant win (in the sense of a victory that makes one want to fling their hands up in the air and shout 'For the Alliance) since Warcraft II. Really. Warcraft II.Think about it. Warcraft III and TFT were all about stomping on the Alliance's face, with the sole bright point being the victory at Hyjal...but that's more a victory for the world as a whole, for the combined Alliance/Horde/night elf forces over the Legion, not something for the Alliance as a faction.This trend continues in WoW. In vanilla wow the biggest in-game event was the opening of Ahn'Qiraj, but that was bi-factional and Saurfang was the guy who got the Big Damn Speech when the gates opened....In BC, the Alliance and the Horde were each given two major story lines - the Horde had the reunification with the mag'har and the plight of the blood elves, while the Alliance had the story of recovering the lost expedition and the return of the draenei to their lost world.Both of the Horde storylines came to a definitive conclusion - Garrosh was empowered by the news of his father's legacy, while the traitor Kael'thas was deposed and the Sunwell was reignited, providing a new beginning for the elves. Both of these storyliens also had ramifications in Wrath.On the other hand, neither of the Alliance's stories came to a definitive conclusion - finding and questing with Danath was a major win, but Khadgar did almost nothing besides act as A'dal's spokesman, and Kurdran did nothing at all. Turalyon and Alleria (largely considered the most important of the five heroes) were teased at through their son, but never found. The draenei, meanwhile, showed almost no storyline at all in regards to their lost cousins - the Aldor, the Kurenai, the Ashtongue, there was no resolution, or even much acknowledgement between them and those on the Exodar....Moving on to Wrath, which a lot of players point to as the Alliance-flavored of the expansions. The expansion started out with a major, major piece of Alliance lore, the Knights of the Silver Hand, getting ripped out wholesale and presented as a neutral anti-Scourge group friendly to both factions, without so much as a hint of antipathy for the Horde. Dalaran, a former Alliance city-state, likewise went neutral and invited the Horde (including the Forsaken who had quests to kill their citizens in vanilla) into their streets.Some players scoff at the importance of this, but this kind of act (and that of the defenders of Hyjal in Cata) drastically undercuts the Alliance as a faction. By tearing out these major, major themes, it makes the Alliance feel less flavorful, because the Horde gets to enjoy their own factional themes, and the Alliance's as well. To be fair, some of it goes the other way (Earthen Ring, for example) but the importance of the effective loss of these themes just can't be understated.But moreover, look at Alliance questing in Wrath (I largely ignored questing in BC because so much of it was mirrored). What does the Alliance gain in Wrath? Okay, they get Muradin Bronzebeard back, that's one. But what else? The humans, gnomes and dwarves learn their origins...but what meaning does that have for them? What effects do we see from these revelations?Despite the Alliance 'flavor' of the expansion, the major story between the factions was Horde-driven - Garrosh's story progressed and the Wrathgate and Battle for the Undercity revealed the depths of depravity to which some of the Forsaken had sunk, firing on their own allies and turning on Sylvanas to serve the Burning Legion. The resulting Horde story? The Horde truimphantly returns to Undercity, bulldozes the apothecarium traitors and the Legion forces and kills Varimathras. The Alliance story? The Alliance attacks Undercity through the sewers in an attempt to retake the place, kills Putress, Varian has his big "what have they done" moment...then Alliance players all get kicked out of the place because Jaina flinches. Net result? Horde story progresses, Saurfang gets facetime with the pathos over his lost son, while the Alliance have nothing to show for it aside from a lost faction leader (and a fairly major character) and the somber ending note of "we'll see what war brings."This is followed up with the Broken Front story, where Alliance players learn about how the Horde rushed an Alliance army engaged with the Scourge from behind, resulting in both armies getting wiped out. Then they have to go through the ordeal of mercy-killing Alliance soldiers (while Horde players get to mercy-kill...Alliance soldiers)....And finally we come to Cataclysm. Cataclysm, where Gilneas ends with your character being evacuated in the face of a Horde invasion, Westfall ends with Sentinel Hill on fire from the Defias, Redridge ends with the deaths of Bravo Company, Darkshore ends with the night elves' major character getting tricked by the bad guys, Stonetalon makes you watch a school get nuked, Andorhal ends in retreat, Swamp of Sorrows ends with no change...and the major character of the expansion is the guy formerly in charge of your enemy faction. And you're expected to like him.Here's what it all comes to-Allaince questing rarely, if ever, makes you feel empowered. I know a lot of Horde players hate the things you end up doing in some zones (Hillsbrad, Stonetalon) but those zones make you feel powerful. You're walking all over the bad guys. In Alliance questing, this just never pulls together. Zones with an overarching story end with ignominous retreats or pyrrhic victories, and the few wins players do get (Wetlands, early Darkshore) are largely against non-player factions. Never the Horde itself.Meanwhile the Alliance's overall story spins its wheels, going nowhere at top speed. Faction leaders seem to do nothing, your major characters are takeoffs of pop culture (John J. Keeshan and Horatio Lane) or downright silly (Flintlocke...oh god Flintlocke), and most importantly Cataclysm never gives you reason to make you feel like you've accomplished anything - at most you've held the line.
4-01-2012 @ 7:30PM
I can't agree more with your thoughts. I don't want more silliness, jokes or light-heartedness. I actually think too much of the Alliance is given that treatment (Gnomes and Dwarves are rarely taken seriously, if ever, movie parodies, etc). What I want is to stomp greenskins and plant the blue and gold Lion on their corpse. (And not retreat 5 minutes later to let them rebuild like nothing ever happened)
4-01-2012 @ 7:44PM
We didn't even win in Warcraft 2. We had to be handed the entire war twice--first by Gul'dan when he turned the siege of Capital City into a civil war within the Horde, then by Ner'zhul when he helpfully blew up Draenor.
4-01-2012 @ 7:45PM
So if something perceived as Alliance based (Like Dalaran or Malfurion) goes neutral it favors the Horde because it is deluting the Alliance experience.But if something perceived as Horde goes Neutral (Like Thrall) if favors the Horde as it progresses their story line.The alliance attack undercity, horde progression. The horde attack Thermadore, horde progression.This is why people make fun of alliance qq.
4-01-2012 @ 8:26PM
The difference there is that post-neutral Thrall was always Horde first. He didn't suddenly sit on his thumbs staring at the Forsaken blighting everything outside his door like Tirion is. Thrall talks about Garrosh, about Cairne--say what you will about the content and handling of the Elemental Bonds questchain (Especially the list of guests and Fandral completely ignoring everyone present he hates in favour of prioritising a person who would only become a figure dangerous enough to be targeted due to a short story set after the event)--but Thrall goes neutral in the correct way. He's even going back Horde again; we know this for a fact.When, pray tell me, is Tirion going to stop doing more than writing a strongly-worded letter to Sylvanas?
4-01-2012 @ 8:30PM
Er... going to do more, I should say.
4-01-2012 @ 8:43PM
@TransitThrall never really went neutral. Even before Cataclysm came out Blizzard was saying he's taking a sabbatical and he will return to the Horde! For the rest of it, there's no follow through. Dalaran went neutral and....that's it. There's nothing else. Same with Malfurion. There's also the points to where they shouldn't be neutral in the first place. Horde players were slaughtering (and still are) Dalaran wizards in Hillsbrad and the Horde is burning, pillaging, and slaughtering Night Elves in Ashenvale while Malfurion and the Ancients completely ignore that fact and embrace the Horde with open arms.
4-01-2012 @ 10:24PM
Well, this is just the way the story works. The trouble stems from the fact that many players expect the two factions to be more or less equal in all ways... But they're not. This is simply because of how the factions are written.All of the races of the horde have a common thread to unify them. They are all victims of some sort. Maybe not [i]innocent[/i] victims, but still victims. The orcs were betrayed by their leaders, enslaved by demons, then imprisoned by humans. The Tauren were nearly rendered extinct by their neighbors. The Darkspear trolls too, faced extinction at the hands of other troll tribes, and the Naga. The Forsaken and Blood elves were both abandoned and left to die in a diseased wasteland by their "allies" in the Alliance. For all their differences and divisions, the core of the Horde is that every member of the Horde can look at any other member of the Horde and say "I've been there, I know what that's like, that is my brother."The Alliance, on the other hand, doesn't have that "bond of brotherhood" thing going. The Alliance is [i]purely military[/i] in nature. The Humans of Stormwind, the Worgen, the Night Elves, and the Draenei really have nothing to tie them together aside from having a grudge against one group or another in the Horde. The Dwarves are only in there because of their sense of honor and old relations with humans, while the Gnomes are tagging along in respect for the dwarves. Look at the story behind Gilneas. Look at how Alterac betrayed the Alliance. The Alliance is just that - a temporary agreement between different nations to provide aid to one another. An agreement that can be, and has been broken in the past.Frankly hte only thing preventing the Alliance from breaking apart into just being a handful of separate nations, has been Garros Hellscream's constant antagonism against their holdings. Without that, the whole shebang would probably crumble under its own weight.However, I think this WILL change in MoP - It's sounding as though the events of Cataclysm were a prelude to the Alliance factions finally finding some sort of "common cause," in hte manner that the Horde has. After the destruction of Theramore, maybe a human can look at a Night elf, and rather than seeing a nine-foot, blue, pointy-eared freak, he sees someone who suffered the same when the Horde blew up that place in Stonetalon, or when they leveled Astranaar.
4-02-2012 @ 3:05AM
I think that the Alliance quests were written the way they were in order for the alliance to rise from the mud and muck that they wallow through 1-60 and at 85, they show up and really start to shine. I don't know that for a fact, he'll I never played an alliance past lvl 15, but you have to almost imagine a big white board with major plot points for both factions written down as a timeline: Blizz knows what they are doing: they know that it's rough going, and in order to find the steel that they have inside, the Alliance have to hit almost rock bottom to climb back up to the top and push the Horde off the top of the Mountain. I have to agree with the article about Southern Barrens: as a Horde I felt right when I was told to go take out that Commander, and when a friend told me about the alliance side, I felt partially shocked, partially guilty.What drives me nuts as a Horde is the blind eye that is given to the Forsaken. I always played, and thought of the Horde as an Honor driven culture, that wasn't afraid of getting dirty to get the job done, and was constantly trying to rise up from their past, and at times hovered above what they once were, but never resorted to falling below that line. But some of those forsaken quests make me feel dirty: deploying plague, scavenging body parts for aboms, and raising more humans from the dead to fight, bound to Sylvans' will... And I know that stuff isn't really tolerated by the Horde b/c look at Stonetalon: an Orc went to far, an he got dropped off a cliff. So the way the Forsaken are allowed to run around unchecked bothers me.
4-02-2012 @ 7:16AM
I dont think I love a commenter's post more than yours. I want to marry it.You hit something that bugs me to no end about the lore. They keep making alliance heroes neutral, or taking away powerful alliance allied fractions that can help to make the alliance feel stronger and making them neutral too.The argent crusade's done its job, lets get the silver hand back, with no hordies that is. My pally feels like a freelance mercenary aimlessly wandering around with no brotherhood to belong to.The lich king is gone, so phase Dalaran and kick the horde out.Deathwing is dead, stop offering the horde hugs and candy, and go orc hunting with your wife, Malfurion.
4-02-2012 @ 8:03AM
@Omegan01Very well written. This should be a Must Read for all players who tries to find a (logical) reason to a faction change.One could hope that all the things you said is part of the framework, a "this is the Alliance darkest hour"-kind of thing. If it is, given the medium Blizzard use to tell their story, I think a lot of resent (and hate) could be neutralised just by giving a few pointers to where we, as Alliance, actually are going.I've been stumbling through darkness ever since I rolled my first Alliance (in WotLK, I can only rely on yours and others descriptions of Alliance in Vanilla and earlier). From time to time I fell more like a medic on the front lines - Alliance players are giving triage to the worst wounded right during a Horde artillery barrage. We're not winning a war, we're not losing it.We're just trying to keep alive.(And ... when you think it's over, kaboom! There goes Theramore. I'm running out of bandages here!)
4-02-2012 @ 1:48PM
"The Alliance already has plenty of "lighthearted moments" and frankly, players hate most of them because they feel like they've been written as a distraction from the story and not actually part of the narrative."they've been written as a distraction from the story and not actually part of the narrative." NAIL: "Oh hello there Hammer!"HAMMER: "Hey there Nail how's it going?"NAIL: "...what..what are you doing..?"HAMMER: "Nothing pal, just relax!"*WHAM!*NAIL: "OW! My head!"
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