Thursday, February 7, 2008

For the... well, nobody says Alliance, do they?

One of the things that has always intrigued me about the World of Warcraft faction division, is that most of the people who play Horde are very, very firmly and patriotically "For the Horde!" Whereas a lot of Alliance are rather less enthusiastic about it-- they like Alliance, yes, but they don't go around posting "FOR THE ALLIANCE" as every other comment in a WoW YouTube movie or proudly proclaiming it on their website, whereas a lot of Hordies, well, do. (Note: I know this isn't everybody... just the majority, in my experience.)

As somebody who really, truly, honestly enjoys playing both factions equally and is actually fond of *gasp* all of the races (even gnomes... actually I have a secret here: I adore gnomes. If gnomes could be hunters I'd never play another race), I've always found it interesting that there is that distinct difference there, and that Horde players get so much more excited about simply being Horde than most Alliance players ever do about being Alliance.

Now, I've heard all the out-of-character and out-of-lore reasons. I've heard people say that they simply like the aesthetics of one over the other, whether it be the look of the races or the look of the places. (Somebody once gave me "Elwynn Forest is a lot prettier than Durotar" as their main reason.)

And yes, I've heard the ever popular "People are more mature/friendly on [insert faction here]." Honestly my views on that last one is that it really comes down to what server you are on, what server type you are playing on, and the people that you encounter, as I have had both very positive and very negative social experiences on both sides of the faction fence. When I worked at a video game store for a few months this past summer, one of my coworkers told me "Alliance has the immature little kids, and Horde has the immature adults, it's just a matter of which ones you'd rather put up with." Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I agree with him (I tend to assume the positive about people anyway), but I am saying that he sort of has a point in that you are going to find immaturity and negativity anywhere in the game-- just as you are going to find some very amazing and friendly people anywhere in the game.

So as you can see, my views have long been very neutral and unbiased regarding this issue. So it sort of took me by surprise when I realized over the past few days playing a lot of Horde alts, that Horde does indeed seem to have a homier, cozier feel to it. And I think I may have pinned it down (for me anyway):

I think it's the NPCs and how they react to you, and the things that they say. The Horde NPCs have a very "fatherly" sort of quality to them. Taurens will tell you "be careful" when they put you on a windrider, and they sound so genuine when they say it. Same with the orcs when they tell you to "be safe". Even trolls, when they say "You relax, mon"... yeah, it sounds so funny, but it also really is strangely relaxing. The Horde sounds like they are concerned for you.

The Alliance NPCs are more distant. Friendly, yes, but in a very formal way, especially with the humans and night elves. Dwarves are up-front and happy and tell you to "Keep your feet on the ground!" but it seems more... like a "best buddy" type of thing instead of a warmer familial thing. Really I think the closest the Alliance comes is with the Draenei, which is fitting since an unusually high amount of die-hard Horde players that I've come across admit that they quite like the Draenei. I think that maybe it's because the Draenei has that same caring "aura" that you get with the Horde.

When it comes down to it, it just seems to me that the Horde is really about being "a family" and as this is sort of subconsciously represented throughout the game, it rubs off on the players and the players become a family as well, and this leads to a healthy amount of hometown pride. Alliance isn't so much a family, it's much more independent. I'm not saying that's bad... I'm just saying, the Alliance's faction allegiance is not going to manifest itself quite the same way the Horde's does.

I think I am always going to be a Stormwind girl at heart; it's where I was raised on the game, it's where I've met my best in-game friends, and I simply love the aesthetics of the Alliance locations. And I know it's seeped into my blood, whether I like it or not, because the other day when I saw some guy at work wearing a big Horde emblem on his coat, the very first thought that came into my mind was not "Oh cool, a fellow WoW player", but "Oh crap, it's the enemy!"

But I'll be darned if it doesn't feel good sometimes to log into my hordies and come "home" to the family in Thunder Bluff.*

* I have never really liked Orgrimmar for some reason. When I play Horde, I hang out in Thunder Bluff.


Tazbutane said...

Pike, very timely post for me. I just started an Orc hunter (just reached my 11th season) after wondering why a lot of horde players always end posts with 'For the Horde'. I agree with much of your reasoning. The NPC's are always saying 'For the Horde' or 'Strength and Honor'. Both make you proud to be part of that faction. I think the fact that the horde is considered the de-facto bad guys in the game give those that play them more reason to co-operate and play nicely together. Because everyone knows that the good guys are supposed to win. It gives hordies (is that a even a word)even more reason to stick together. just my .02 cents

Boozsha said...

I play Horde because when my guild moved from EQ the first ones chose Horde. I've always liked playing the smallest races. Especially gnomes. Don't care for halfings much, gnomes first then dwarves have always been my race of choice. My main in EQ was a gnome mage, which was a pet class. When I first started I tried several different classes and naturally settled on the hunter. If the Horde had a small race that could be a hunter I would start all over again. If gnomes could be hunters, I would delete everything without even thinking twice and create Boozsha the gnome hunter!

Daniel said...

For me it's just camaraderie. Horde bands together as the downtrodden and misunderstood Other.

Alliance was the default choice of roleplay neophytes for years due to the dearth of pretty humanoid races and its similarity to the Tolkein pantheon of Aragorn the human, Legolas the elf, Gimli the dwarf, and Bilbo the gnome. That's great for roleplay but it doesn't necessarily inspire feelings of brotherhood.

Boozsha said...

Oh I forgot to add, that I still get dwarf envy every time I run across a dwarf hunter in game.

Trollin' said...

The part about a caring attitude is exactly what draws me to the Horde. The NPCs make the Horde seem like it actually cares about *you*, whereas from what I've seen of the Alliance, they only care that you are fighting for them.

For the Horde!

Capn John said...

I like the Tauren...but I'm still a Dwarven Hunter through & through. For me the Horde cities were far too chaotic, with paths meandering all over the place, especially The Undercity. Far too easy to get lost in the Undercity with paths crisscrossing under & over each other.

While the Horde has the infamous Barrens Chat, Alliance are not much better themselves. To be honest, I'd say you've got immature people on both sides; it all comes down to who you roll with.

Horde-side does seem to inspire that "For The Horde!" mentality though :)

Trollypollie said...

I love the horde. I've tried to make ally characters because some of my friends play ally but its just not the same. Im for the horde all the way. Plus, really, whos better than Thrall? No one thats who! FOR THE HORDE!

Viktel said...

Nice post!


Moonglo said...

I think the title of your post has a lot to say. The alliance just doesn't have a call to arms phrase like the horde does. No one says anything that could inspire camaraderie.

Face it,the alliance needs a better marketing team. Keep your feet on the ground just doesn't cut it.

lienna said...

The alliance has the old phrase form one of the Warcraft games "Grab your sword and fight the Horde!"

Which is probably the problem its not as catchy as "For the Horde" its a recruitment slogan rather than a battle cry!

Now Until Lienna I was an Alliance fan girl, I'd made a few horde characters before, but never got far on them, this was largely due to the RP reasons, all of the alliance races are old, and have a lot of story behind them, even the night elves were given a wealth of back story, as were the Draenei, regardless of how much sense it made ;-P

But the horde, well Tauren's back story seems rather glued onto the world, and is rather simplistic, Undead, again, are a very new race and Darkspear trolls, although they do have some great lore, don't have their history readily shown to you, you have to find it in places like Zul-gurub. But then the blood elves came along, with their long history stretching back to the highborne, their time in the alliance, their tutoring of the guardians, battling against forest trolls, barely surviving an undead invasion and being betrayed by their allies, all of this is given to you lore wise quite readily which makes them easy to pick up a role play direction for.

Oh Also the blood elves are pretty!

"For the well-manicured Horde!"

Ralowae said...

"Alliance has the immature little kids, and Horde has the immature adults, it's just a matter of which ones you'd rather put up with."
Very, very true. You will find immature people everywhere.

As for why I play Horde... well you basically hit it dead on. Horde feels more like you're part of a group. And its a group I am proud to fight for.
As for Horde being the "evil" race... I don't feel we're evil, we're simply more capable of pragmatism. Every horde race has been or is in threat of extinction. We do what we must to survive.
Ralowae and BlackTooth

Fanthis ( Kargath ) said...

I can tell you why the alliance has a lot of the younger people.

"i wan be legolas pew pew!!!!!111111one"

If horde had gotten night elves instead, this all would of been reversed. All these teenie boppers who want to see 'hot night elf' ladies and be the typical huntard night elf hunter join alliance.

Personally I loved my Tauren Hunter, Obsidiana. She had tribal designs, was all black like a true anthromorph ( through and through, if you get me. ~.^ ) and I should of rolled her on a RP, RP/PvP server.

It all came down to aesthetics at first, and what most young teens want to be. They want to be sexy and attractive, or a huntard elf. 99% of the people I can think of that I personally know who are below the age of 15 are night elves.

Pablo said...

Capn John: I guess it all comes down to what you're used to. I've tried to get around the cavernous hell that is Stormwind, been through the blacked out maze of Ironforge. And you wanna talk about over-under passages, ever been to the Draeni city? Yikes!

Yes, Horde has the much better battlecry. I hadn't thought of it before, but they do seem to have friendlier NPC's. Odd how Blizz made the traditional bad guys the friendlier faction, and made the traditional good guys more egotistical and aloof.

Still, the Horde players have kind of the 'repressed peoples' syndrome, so it's easier to band together and be one.

Besides, everyone knows Horde just kicks so mush ass.


Chris said...

The Horde just want to be themselves, be at home in their cultures. They desire to protect the lands they feel ties too. The Tauren, Orcs and Trolls all have similar rich tribal cultures. They tolerate the Undead and Blood Elves as allies. 1.) Because we need their help and 2.) Because we kind of feel for them a little. Sure the undead are A-Holes but look what they've gone through, breaking from the scourge only to be hated by the alliance as an abomination and the scourge as traitors. Thrall understands this, having escaped the burning legion to find his people hated by the inhabitaants of the land his people escaped to. The Blood Elves have basically become drug addicts with Paladins, Gods know the Horde needed Paladins, and If the Blood Elves want to borrow our VCR's every now and then to feed their habit then so be it. I mean really we should give the addicts a chance. The fact is Tribes are families, we have tribes and tend to be more familial. On many occasions I have stopped to aid alliance in a difficult PVE battle because I have no animosity towards them even if their leaders tend to be imperial at times. When we say for the Horde it means if you try to take something that is ours we will stand together to defend it. If you occuppy lands we feel are rightfully ours we will stand together and take it, but if you are attempting to take on the minions of the burning legion or Arthas we will stand with you in destruction of the common enemy. We are in general helpful to everyone, unless you cross us.

For the Horde!

Stroglin & Cinnamon

Sade said...

The horde really do get some piss-poor starting areas. Durotar is barren and aesthetically uniform, Mulgore is no fun at all to level in, and Tirisfal is depressing. Eversong is the exception, but the blood elves aren't my thing from a lore standpoint, an aesthetic standpoint, and even a philosophical standpoint. (seriously, the blood elves are a culture of addicts, not to mention broom-skinny. Why would I wanna be the Warcraft version of Paris Hilton?)

From my admittedly limited experience, the horde just seems to have it rougher in a lot of ways. Their leveling environments are much more likely to be drab and depressing, they frequently get much more difficult quests and quest chains, and God help you if you start Horde on most PVP servers, where the Alliance tends to have an advantage in population. All these things seem to add up to a sense of simulated hardship that brings the Horde races closer together, fostering a sort of loose companionship in the process. That's why you hear "For the Horde!" so often from die-hard Hordies, I think.

... Of course, the fact that every Orc NPC's hello and goodbye happens to be "For the Horde!" doesn't help either. I'm sure that by the time you hit 70, the phrase has been so thoroughly pounded into your brain, you can't help but shout it at inappropriate times.

yunk said...

Also the npcs in the orc/troll starting area, as well as the undead one, are very militant, shouting "strength and honor!" and "for the horde!" at you. No one alliance side goes on about honor. Secondly as the above poster said they are tribal. Orcs and trolls make sure you know you are under siege and must depend on each other for your very survival. And the undead are hated and feared and tell you not to trust the living. Its really drilled into you: trust your own, they're all you have.

I really hate the blood elf starting zone, maybe for the same reasons. For me it doesn't jive. They're just .. evil. Like Forsaken but x100.

I still remember my very first WSG on horde, it was so amazing, and such a sense of camaraderie... back then often when the match started everyone would be /cheering and /charging and shouting "For the horde!" you don't see that with cross server battlegroups anymore. Even the lvl 10 player was welcomed. After that experience I knew I could never go back to alliance. (I did a little but eventually stayed horde permanently).

Ansawa said...

See, I'm a diehard...

Well, not a diehard Ally, really. But I really do like being Alliance. I HAVE Horde characters, and I do enjoy leveling my undead priest-y Barhah, but for whatever reason, the Alliance is where my heart is. At the very least, the draenei are where my heart is, because I adore the feel of the race to pieces.

What I think I like about being Alliance, though, is that never once have I had people go "you're helping the HORDE?" when I tell them I'm escorting a lowbie blood elf through Felwood, or that I'm gathering materials to send to a Horde warlock via the neutral AH. I get "you're helping ALLIANCE?" all the time on my Horde toons, which makes me...I dunno.

Don't get me wrong. I've seen all kinds of cross-faction misbehavior from Alliance when I'm on Barhah. /spit, /taunt, flagged ??'s jumping in front of me while I'm killing mobs (I guess they think I'll accidentally target them and flag myself, IDK), ridiculously imbalanced /duels, corpse-camping (sometimes so bad I've created a throwaway toon on the other side so I can ask the offender to just let me go)... etc. And I know that I can get ridiculously aggressive and vindictive in PvP. But once the flags are down and everyone's back to doing their thing, I have a "we're all in this together" approach to PvE--and that's not really fostered much on the Horde side. I mean, sure, for other Horde there's a strong feeling of family, but there's a lot of animosity toward anyone else who happens to be playing the game.

I 'unno. If they ever made servers where they ditched the language barrier and allowed cross-faction partying, I'd be one of the first to transfer.

Pike said...

Ansawa - exactly what you said there, was among my first "negative" impressions of the Horde. That is to say, when I played Horde all I ever seemed to hear was "I hate the Alliance, Alliance is all a bunch of [insert nasty name here], etc." while I never seemed to hear Alliance talking much about Horde. It really put a bad taste in my mouth and for a long time I didn't play much Horde.

But then I realized a few things: 1.) it's sort of a server thing, it's not nearly as bad as some other servers I've played on, and 2.) There is a negative to every positive, and as such there will be a few negative attributes to the positiveness of the whole family atmosphere. Horde is so tightknit that Outsiders really truly are Outsiders.

I still maintain that Alliance is very individualistic as opposed to the much more clan-like Horde-- not saying one is better than the other-- just saying that they really manifest themselves in different ways and this is a good example.

GHOSTKID said...

I think the Horde has a comradery because we're the 'bad guys'. There is a primal instinct to mesh and trust your own kind, especially when you are an outcast.

BTW, I hate Org! Confusing place in a desolate land. Thunderbluff is mucho better.

Ansawa said...

Oh, I agree! And I do like leveling my Horde toons--the atmosphere over there is different, but not bad. But I always seem to keep coming back to Alliance by preference, and I finally pinned it on the fact I feel a little less pressure about my habit of fraternizing with the enemy. :) So really, I like both equally well, but my OOC style of play meshes better with the more laissez-faire attitude of a lot of Alliance players vs. "FOR THE HORDE!".

Incubis said...

I chose the alliance originally due to the fact that my RL friends all had ally characters and I wanted some buddies from the get go to play with. I leveled a male Draenei hunter named Incubis, because they stand out to me more than the other races and everyone and their mother has rolled a NE hunter. Also the fact that they have horns and tails appeals to me, like the way Nightcrawler is a demon looking good guy in my favorite comics as a kid. So after I hit 70 and started getting into battlegrounds and arenas, I rolled horde because of the fact that they always seem to win at every match in our battlegroup. A lot of alliance people tend to just go afk or have no sense of team-ship and just go “solo” in the battles which are really chaotic, whereas I see the horde actually moving with organization and efficiently killing us.
Plus Barrens chat is so hilarious. I play around on my tauren hunter when I get sick of all the alliance playing for themselves rather than the fun of grouping and interacting with each other.