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World of Warcraft cross-faction raids are coming, uniting Horde and Alliance

World of Warcraft cross-faction raids are coming

Blizzard Entertainment has announced World of Warcraft cross-faction raids are coming, a first for the long-running MMORPG since its launch back in 2004.

Since the beginning of the Warcraft franchise, Humans and Orcs have been essentially mortal enemies, which culminated in the formation of two opposing factions in World of Warcraft, the Human-led Alliance and the Orc-led Horde.

If you started playing World of Warcraft and your friends ended up choosing an opposing faction, you basically had nothing you could do with them aside from killing them in player-versus-player scenarios, or my favorite – trolling them in world regions with annoying trinkets and doodads.

Here’s the word from Blizzard:

For years now, many players have questioned whether the rules restricting communication and cooperation between Alliance and Horde need to be so absolute. The faction divide could keep close friends from playing together, or cause players to feel that their faction leaves them with far fewer opportunities to pursue their favorite group content. But these downsides have long been justified in order to preserve a central element of the Warcraft universe—it all began with a game titled, “Warcraft: Orcs & Humans,” right?

But, to quote a one-time Warchief of the Horde, “Times change.”

Here’s the new system in detail:

  • Players will be able to directly invite members of the opposite faction to a party if you have a BattleTag or Real ID friendship, or if you are members of a cross-faction WoW Community.
  • Premade Groups in the Group Finder listings for Mythic dungeons, raids, or rated arena/RBGs will be open to applicants of both factions, though the group leader may choose to restrict the listing to same-faction applicants if they so choose.
  • Guilds will remain single-faction, and random matchmade activities like Heroic dungeons, Skirmishes, or Random Battlegrounds will all remain same-faction (both because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups, and to avoid compromising the opt-in nature of the feature by randomly placing a queuing orc in a group with a night elf).

While World of Warcraft cross-faction raids are coming in the big 9.2.5 update, Blizzard is currently testing the new system “for Alliance and Horde players to form premade parties together for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP.”

Despite the push for a confusing unity between bitter enemy factions, you’ll still need to have opposing faction players on your friends list and/or make use of invites. Once rival faction players are in a party, they’re still technically “unfriendly” when

When cross-faction players end up in a party, they’ll still technically be “unfriendly” while outdoors, but once inside a raid/dungeon, “all members will be friendly and able to assist each other in combat, trade loot, earn shared achievements, and otherwise fully cooperate the same way members of the same faction have always been able to.”

Many are speculating that the addition of cross-faction raids becoming a thing nearly two decades after the original launch is the latest attempt from Blizzard to fight its dwindling playerbase – as lots have switched to playing Final Fantasy XIV or other MMORPGs.

World of Warcraft is available on Windows PC, and Mac (via Battle.net). The games latest expansion, Shadowlands, has been available since November 2020.

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