This post was inspired both by an email conversation turned post at Crits and Giggles, as well as a very excellent post this morning by Arioch over at Clearcasting. If any readers would like to respond with their own posts, feel free to do so. I’d be interested in reading about others’ feelings.
How did you end up in whichever faction you play the most? Do you have a sense of loyalty or feeling of belonging to a certain faction, and if so, why?
When I first came to WoW, the friend who talked me into trying it was playing Horde. No-brainer here, if I’m starting the game to play with Fiak, I’m rolling Horde on his server, right? So I read all the racial descriptions and choose Tauren for their peaceful nature and connection to the Earthmother. I read the class descriptions and choose hunter because … well, duh, because I get to have a pet.
I must say, my buddy allowed my first leveling experience to flow at its own pace. He leveled with me some, but I spent a lot of time solo … reading quest text, fishing, exploring, getting to know the game at my own pace. He had me take time out at 19 for a few Warsong Gulch, and again at 59 we stopped and ground honor for a couple days straight so I could get a neat crossbow to take with me into Outlands. I ran through STV and Desolace, and had a major celebration when I hit 40 and he loaned me gold to get my very own fat kodo. I arrived at 70 as a complete noob huntard, and don’t regret it for a minute. Plenty of time to learn endgame once I got there.
Our guild was small … we had enough people to run heroics if everyone was on. So, for awhile, we had a regular little group and we got to do dungeons and I started reading about my class and learning to trap and I was having a great time. Then Warhammer came out. Even today, more than a year later, I get sad thinking about it. The tank and the other two dps left. Even my buddy tried it for a bit. I followed a lower level friend to another server for about a month, but when the achievements patch hit, I came back to my hunter.
Fiak and I ran around, me doing achievements, he leveling the priest through the 60’s (the druid Fiaks was his main at the time). Enter Wrath. I roll a DK, leveling Juna on the side as well. I come back from Christmas with Juna at 76 or 77, and the DK around 72. Fiak, in the meantime, has made friends with two DKs and a hunter who want to chain instance and hit endgame together. Ok, fine, back to Juna it is, we don’t need three DKs in one group. Things go great for awhile, we hit 80, gear up (man, remember the excitement of getting iLevel 200 upgrades that you had been farming for in heroics?), and start a regular PuG Naxx on Friday nights. Our new friends have joined the guild and I feel like I have a wow family to belong to again. By this time I’m reading WoW.com (wowinsider back then), learning the art of huntery from BRK, reading tons of other blogs, and have even started this blog. I’ve upgraded to a new computer built for gaming, gotten vent, am up on the latest hunter builds/gear/gemming/etc., and am doing the same content that ‘real raiders’ are doing (although I still haven’t seen Maly, dammit!). And then the drama hits. And our new friends all leave the guild. And my new world of endgame progression happiness tumbles to the ground at my feet. And Fiak and I are alone … again.
One of the blogs I read, For The Horde, puts up a recruitment post. They want to start raiding soon. Cool, they have lots of crazy antics and sound like fun people. I roll a lowbie over there and hang out. Then I roll a DK and we do some Hellfire instancing and such. So I talk to Fiak. I’m not leaving Earthen Ring without him. He agrees, and Rozjin and Fiak move to Dawnbringer. (Juna eventually followed as well, but Roz had become my main) For awhile we have fun running dungeons, but because of several unrelated real life things, there are often not enough people on at the same time to do anything.
In my wanderings through the blogosphere, I discover Crits and Giggles, and leave a comment that if I ever went loco and decided to reroll Alliance, I would do it on his server. It was a complete joke, I had zero intention of ever playing Alliance. I was Horde! Junahu of Sen’jin, mon! I had an army of trolls! Then our battlegroup was down … and I remembered. So I made a DK on Winterhoof. And it was fun. And the guild was awesome. So I talked others from Dawnbringer into rolling alts over there ‘just to goof around on’ once in awhile. And I made a mage. And a priest. And a paladin (or two). And my DK got the Flame Warden title.
By this time I had read most of the Warcraft novels and learned more of the lore. I know of the Sons of Lothar so now, the statues lining the bridge coming into Stormwind had meaning. They were not just some heroes of the Alliance that I had never heard of. They were MY heroes. Every time my baby mage flew over those statues on his way to the city, and the music changed, I felt like I was coming home. I fell madly in love with Stormwind, and still am. You other dorks can go do your AH business in dark, cavernous Ironforge all you want. Stormwind is my city, my capital, my homeland.
I played both sides for awhile, but by the time Karius made it to 40, the decision had been made. Fiak already had leveled a shaman to 80 and was raiding with Crits. I knew that if I wanted to see endgame content other than pvp, Crits was where I needed to be. And then faction transfers were enabled. I loaded a level 12 druid with heirlooms for Karius and sent her to Darnassus. Soon after, my long-abandoned priest and warrior (not played since the launch of Wrath) transferred from ER to join the Alliance. Karius hit 80. Crits cleared Naxx for the first time as a guild a few days later. Eventually, Fiak followed, with Fiaks also transferring after my DK hit 80.
I logged onto Juna during Pilgrim’s Bounty when Winterhoof was down. It felt … wrong. Orgrimmar felt like a foreign country. All the red and black decor, and the dreary landscape, and the wide, ugly orcs and their perpetually-itchy Tauren allies. I longed for the canals and cathedral of Stormwind, the trees and lakes of Elwynn…the hot human men in their plate armor, paladins on their white chargers, the sun glinting off the horses’ trappings.
Sorry Arioch. Sorry, my friends at For The Horde. I can pretend to still care about the other side. I can be friends with players on the other side. But I can never go back.
FOR THE ALLIANCE