Why Alliance dissatisfaction is turning into Occupy Azeroth

Honestly, there’s lots of good stuff out there in WoW-land at the moment. The new 5-mans are receiving pretty good reviews, Transmogrification is going great guns, and the Darkmoon Faire’s about to open up on a new island.

But it has to be said, there’s more than one big storm whipping up in Azeroth at the moment, and this one looks set to run unless the developers step in fast. Since Theramore’s fate in 5.0 was announced, the forums have been increasingly abuzz with incensed Alliance players. The buzz became loud enough, in fact, that Dave “Fargo” Kossak stepped in from the Blizzard side to do a Dev Watercooler on the topic –

And that attracted over 3,000 comments, more than twice the average for the Watercoolers.

People are angry. And for a while now, The Renaissance Man at Children of Man has been our very own Jon Stewart, reporting on the increasing disatisfaction in what he calls “Occupy Azeroth” and where it’s coming from, first in a great piece last month , before the Dev Watercooler, and today in an even more punchy article

“This is essentially “Occupy Azeroth”. It’s a disgruntled and disenfranchised mass of players attempting to make their concerns known. There’s one problem. Like the Occupy Wall Street movements, they’re complaining about a host of concerns, many of them legitimate, some of them not so legitimate, and it comes out in a dissonant cacophony that, while great for snaring attention, does a poor job of actually conveying what they’re upset about. So I’m going to attempt to enumerate some of the more significant issues that people are taking up arms about. At a later date I’ll explain each issue in a more in depth post for that issue.

1) Content for Alliance players is not as compelling as it is for Horde players.: Horde players get far more face time with their leaders in the new leveling experiences. Garrosh and Sylvannas in particular are all over the place, and their characterization is pushed along by the content. Baine is decently involved in the Tauren starting zone, and Vol’jin got a heavy spot with both sides in 4.1. The Alliance, not so much. Varian never leaves his throne room, the Council of Three Hammers takes one quest, Velen shows up for 12 seconds in Swamp of Sorrows, Geblin never never leaves the starting area, and Tyrande got a cameo in one instance which is designed to show people how badass she used to be. Alliance players spend more time questing for Vol’jin and Thrall in Cataclysm than they do questing for their own faction leaders.”

TRM’s a compelling writer, and he’s extremely good at dissecting the issues that seem to have crept up on Blizzard and WoW both. I’d strongly recommend having a read, whether you’re planning to set up a tent in the forums yourself, or are standing bemusedly wondering what the fuss is about.

Do you think the problem’s as bad as all that? What’s the solution?

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Is it time to have less factions in MMOs?

I must admit, I like the two-factions element in WoW. But I partially like it because of all the choices it theoretically offers – the peace movement for those who want to join the two sides, the rogue Night Elf who secretly learns Orcish from his lover, the mercenary who’ll work for whichever side pays the most.

In reality, of course, it doesn’t offer any of those choices – just a stark “you’re on this side and on this side you’ll stay” mentality. It’s so endemic to many MMOs – WoW, SWTOR, RIFT – that we mostly don’t even consider the possibility of being outside the box. But today, Ferrel of Epic Slant has been thinking outside just that, and he’s got some very interesting ideas:

We cannot be who we want to be, only who Big Brother tells us to be. Rift’s elves will kill defiant. That is it and any other view is inappropriate. Of course it doesn’t help that this is a PvE game and the rule set generally makes it impossible to kill the “enemy” (not that I even want to)! We can only kill them if they flag or if we are whisked away to a magical battleground in the sky to play capture the flag or open a special rift. What breaks immersion more? Battlegrounds in the sky or a defiant and guardian hanging out as friends.

Ferrel goes on to talk about the factions system in Everquest, which I must admit sounds like an extremely interesting idea. Essentially, it’s broadly similar to reputations in WoW, but also replaces all factionality – so, if you wanted to be the only elf welcome in the Undercity, you could aim to do that.

As a writer and roleplayer (albeit not in WoW at the moment), this sounds like a great idea – a great opportunity to make meaningful choices and distinguish your character. And yet, with the exception of the ever-promising Guild Wars 2, the really big MMOs still stick to the simplistic two-sides idea. Why?

Do you like the simplicity of the two sides? Or would you prefer a more shades-of-grey game world?

_Quote taken directly from Ferrel’s article.

Find Epic Slant’s homepage at http://www.epicslant.com/_

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Variant Avatar: What Should The Alliance Battle Cry Be?

STABBY STABBY! That’s my battlecry when I’m playing a DPS warrior. Yep, original, but warriors aren’t known for their brains. But that’s just for my warriors. I don’t have something to yell in character when I’m on my alliance characters epscifically, and that’s something that Cerephus over at Variant Avatar is looking into today.

Cerephus points out that the horde have a decent battlecry that they can rally to and share a common identity in. He says that even in real life hordies can show their solidarity when they get together just by shouting “For The Horde!” It’s almost a greeting, an affirmation. But he says the Alliance don’t have anything like that, and they really need a battle cry – soon.

Of course many have suggested what about using “For the Alliance”.  While it would be easy to do that as this saying has been around in many of the Warcraft games, its a bit long syllable wise.  Also its too close to “For the Horde”.  The Alliance need something short yet distinctive that Alliance players would want to say.

According to Cerephus this is something that Blizzard have said they know need addressing, it just needs to be got right. He’s found some discussions about an Alliance battle cry on the official forums and links them, citing some examples of cries that people have suggested. Either way, he’s right – if the battlelines are going to get more entrenched in Cataclysm, the Alliance needs something to make our hearts lift and our steel steady.

What do you think – do you have any good ideas for Alliance battle cries? Let Cerephus know, and us too!

_Quote taken directly from Cerephus’ post_

_You can find Variant Avatar’s homepage here_

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Acadia’s Gold: Ways To Quick Gold For Lowbie Characters

Gold! We all want it in WoW. And strangely, a lot of us are going to be levelling new or lil’ characters at some point in the not too distant future. Hrmble, some of us might even be doing that already to stop ourselves catching flies in the pre-Cataclysm wait. But how to combine the gold rush and your lowbie characters? Well, Acadia’s got a tip for you. Yes, you. ‘Cos she’s got one for Alliance and one for Horde.

Both of them are very quick tips highlighting something you can only get in your faction. Both of them are things that you can resell for, she says, a tidy profit on your own AH. Or, you know, a minor fortune by selling it to the other faction who can’t get hold of it, via the neutral AH.

If you are frequenting the wow Gold blogs you’ve probably read about selling low level meats in the AH, Buying fishing poles, Coper rods and Other vendor items that have a good markup and can net you a couple gold. These are great little money makers and will help you to slowly build up some gold to work with.

But did you know that there is a…

Both these tips seems like good tidbits for anyone, veteran or new player, to get our lowbie characters a new shiny lining in their purse. You can find the Alliance one linked above; the horde one is here. I actually quite like checking in Acadia fairly regularly as she posts quite a few tips like this one, and another one recently netted me a quick profit too… nice work, Acadia.

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What about you – have you found any gold tips you’d like to share with lowbies, or are you keeping them to yourself for fear of market competition?**

_Quote taken directly from Acadia’s horde tip post

You can find Acadia’s Gold’s homepage here_

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Epic Slant: Factions Are Bad, Mkay?

Ferrel over at Epic slant has a bone to pick with the Horde. And the alliance, too. He’s saying that forcing players to pick between segregated factions in a PvE game is a Bad Idea, plain and simple.

Good and evil have been a hallmark of fantasy literature and games for quite some time now. Someone is always the hero and someone else is the villain. In more complex stories you’re not always sure who fits what mold and you often see it as an issue of perspective. Such is the case with the Horde vs Alliance. Is it really fair to say that the Horde is evil? What is the true evil here? I’ll tell you: the true evil is splitting players into two factions. This is a mechanic we simply do not need in a PvE focused MMORPG.

He makes a point of how little horde and alliance can interact and suggests that forcibly dividing the community doesn’t help the community grow.

After all, Ferrel says, that’s half the population (give or take) on your server that you can’t have a laugh with after a wipe, or make friends with. And that’s twice the content the developers need to make.

I’ve always thought that the factions having different languages has been a good call for immersion. But some way to communicate wouldn’t go amiss. Ferrel’s looking back, minus the rose tinted glasses, at a game that did it well …

I missed those good old days, but maybe you can tell me if he’s got the right idea, and if WoW’s faction developers could learn from other games?

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_Quote taken directly from Ferrel’s post_

_Epic Slant’s homepage is here_

Edit: Syl from Raging Monkeys has posted a response to Ferrel’s post. Syl’s post is a great read, and has some interesting ideas on how Blizzard’s gone wrong with the factions and what could make them work better.

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