Friday, 16 August 2013

The One Sided Story

Lot of folk on all kinds of media have been posting about this ever since the trailer for 5.4 hit the net.

While it looks epic and mind blowing, where is the Alliance representation in this? Just what will the Alliance get out of this at the end and why does it feel like Blizzard has forgotten that the game has a second faction, except as an after thought?

When Mists launched, I had one high level horde character that I had levelled solely so that I could experience the lore on the "other side".

Prior to that my entire gaming experience had been as a proud member of the Alliance, marching to Northrend with my fellows to defeat the Lich King and then uniting again to bring down the menace that was Deathwing (the only raids I actually did at the times they were relevant ^^).

I ran two accounts to enable me to have enough space for all the characters on the same server and in the same guild (I still do this!) and a major part of the joy of the game for me was the lore and the story lines you experience as a player. I have done my Loremaster achievement, I have done almost the entire Loremaster again on multiple characters to see the story and the "why" behind certain in game decisions.

Look back to the beginning of Mists, if you had told me then that I would be finishing the expansion only playing as Horde, I would have laughed at you! All my friends and guildies were (for the most part) Alliance, I was an Officer in my guild, we had been through many things together and that wasn't likely to change!

So I headed to Pandaria with my druid (my usual main, apart from raiding on my hunter), ate up all the quests (and I do mean all!) and reached level 90. I then cried at the amount of dailies I was faced with (because despite loving quests and storylines, I have always had a massive dislike of dailies and having to put myself into a routine of doing the same thing every day in game).But I worked through it as Alliance, got my self exalted with a few of the factions, and even found time to beat all the bosses in Mogu'shan Vaults on normal with the guild. The Will of the Emperor fight is still one of my favourites (for the pure reason that I could actually do "the dance"!).

It was on Alliance that I got most of my rep rewards and mounts, including my Yak!

I was a proud member of the Alliance (and particularly liked Night Elves!)

However, as the content moved on, and the guild started raiding Heart of Fear (which I quickly got bored of) I started being less impressed by the story line. I was looking for some more meaning in my game play and I wasn't finding it.

This is when I decided to dust off my horde Druid and see what the Horde storyline was like. 

I've spoken before about the guilds I've been in and why the Horde guild I'm in was as much a home as my old Alliance guild. So when they decided to change server in the hope of a better experience on a busier server, I sent my druid wit them, as I wouldn't have wanted to play on Horde alone.

Now, the experience of playing on a busy server compared to the low population of SWC played a large part in my decision to move, but I wonder if my Alliance characters had been on a busier server and able to participate more in the story (from a quality of life perspective - my horde characters can head to the Isle and always find groups for rares, Nalak etc. my Alliance characters have not been able to) whether it would have taken longer for me to switch my allegiance.

As it was, I switched and haven't looked back. I went back and did the opening quests of the Isle of Thunder on my druid to see how they were on Alliance and they felt thin and lacking.

However, I can go even further back and pinpoint the first time I was disappointed with the story the Alliance got (and even partially the Horde one as well!).

This was when we were asked to accept that Theramore was gone, with little more than a shoddy scenario to explain it. By shoddy, I don't mean the scenario itself, I quite like it as a stand alone scenario, just the story it was meant to convey and the meanings behind the actions were not explained well if at all. Luckily, I had actually read the book, and I understand that not all lore can be conveyed properly in game, but this was a major loss for Alliance, and all we got was a scenario and then asked to carry on as if nothing had happened. (Yes this is still a raw point with me, despite my switch in allegiances). I rarely criticise the decisions made for gameplay reasons and am quite happy to amble along and play whatever Blizzard throws at me but that was the start of the slippery slope I feel of why a lot of Alliance players are feeling disenfranchised.

As the expansion has progressed I've gotten to see a lot of brilliant story telling and scenarios to push things along. I understand that as it is the Horde leader that is the pivotal point of the the goings on that the story is going to be skewed towards the Horde playerbase.

I wouldn't have such a problem with this if there was a better interaction for Alliance players. Since opening up the Isle of Thunder quests I haven't logged back on Alliance because I know I will be disappointed in the storyline on that side.

The Alliance are lacking a reason for what they are doing. Their faction leaders seem to be M.I.A. and there is still a part of me wondering if the devs remember that the Alliance has more races than humans and dwarves.

As a member of the Horde, I understand exactly what has brought me to this point, I know who the faction leaders are, they all pretty much have had a hand in our story in Pandaria (except Sylvanas who is no where to be seen and Gallywix, who I don't think I've seen since the Goblin start area). The Alliance leaders are seen once or twice (with the exception of Mekkatorque, Greymane and Velen I think) but there's no substance to their stories.

Cause and effect has seemed non existent for Alliance players, lose a major Alliance port, Crown Prince grievously injured, doesn't matter. Prince is apparently OK. 

What reason have the Alliance been given for the collecting of supplies in the Barrens? We Horde are helping our Troll brothers and sisters. 

The Alliance will assist with removing Garrosh from Orgrimmar, but what do they actually get out of it?

As a Horde player, even I don't think that the satisfaction of "killing" the Horde leader will be sufficient and neither should Blizzard in my opinion. The Alliance should be able to get something tangible out of this, at the least some of the lands back that Garrosh took in Kalimdor (I feel that Sylvanas is too entrenched now to give back anything in Eastern Kingdoms!).

Here's hoping to a balancing patch after all this, and that the Alliance get something out of it and not just asked to forget. Again.

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