A faction, within Wow Classic, is a group of racial or ideological allies. World of Warcraft introduced new factions and the concept of quantitatively tracking factions whereas other Warcraft games simply use the term for general grouping purposes. The tracking of factions is done by setting up a reputation system for every player character and determining the relation that player has with a certain faction. In most cases, the term faction is used to refer to the Alliance or the Horde; the two playable factions within World of Warcraft. Every playable race is purposed for one faction or the other, meaning that all player characters of a certain race belong to a certain faction. The exception being Pandaren characters, humanoid pandas who have to choose their faction in order to leave the Wandering isle. After choosing a faction there is no in-game way to change it other than paying for the Faction Change service. Then, players, except Pandaren race, have to change their character to a new race, aligned to the new faction.
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Choosing a certain character, connected to either of the two factions, carries its own consequences. Characters can only talk, group, and create guilds with players from their faction. Additionally, certain zones and cities are friendly to one faction but hostile to another. The levelling experience is determined by the character’s faction with different quests, NPCs, and faction areas. Most importantly, the faction determines a great amount of gameplay; characters have to fight opposing sides in battlegrounds and world PvP, work to raise their reputation and earn the blessing of the heroes of their faction, further aid their faction through quests, and spend the majority of time within their cities and among faction members. Interestingly enough, some players develop a strong sense of faction pride whereas others choose to play characters of each faction, often resulting rivalries between the two. Finally, certain organizations or NPCs do not share the ideologies of either factions and are described as neutral.
The Alliance, also referred to the Grand Alliance, is one of the two major factions of mortal races in Azeroth. This Alliance is an evolved version of the original Alliance of Lordaeron. The memories of allegiances and idealism served as inspiration for the new Alliance of today. The Alliance is driven by tradition and it is shaped around abstract concepts such as nobility, honor, faith, justice, and sacrifice. The main goal of the Alliance is to preserve order on Azeroth and create a peaceful and just world, by taking advantage of their technical, arcane, and spiritual wisdom. The modern version of the Alliance has the majority of their forces on Northern Kalimdor and the south-eastern continents of Khaz Modan and Azeroth. Since Warcraft, the Alliance remained as the only worthy opponent that can match the forces of the Horde. Since the days of the Old Horde and the Alliance of Lordaeron, these factions warred several times and even participated in clashes of the First, Second and Third War. During the Fourth War, the rebellion emerged within the Horde once Warchief Sylvanas Windrunner acted in a way not satisfactory for the soon-to-be rebellion leader Varok Saurfang. The latter asked for help from the Alliance, but once Varok died to Sylvanas in a Mak’Gora, a prearranged duel, the Horde was left in pieces and the Forth War ended with “uneasy armistice”. The Stormwind City, home of High King Anduin Wrynn, is considered to be the heart and unofficial capital of the Alliance. It serves as a meeting point for leaders of the member states to discuss world issues and mutual defense. Additionally, the great forces of the Alliance are considered to be orchestrated by the Alliance High Command, however these forces are commonly under leadership of the Alliance Vanguard and the Alliance Navy; led by the Alliance Naval Command Grand Admiral Jes-Tereth.
The Horde, also called the New Horde, is the other of the two major factions of mortals in Azeroth. The Horde exists as a coalition of different and outcast races and cultures joined into an alliance against the world that wants to destroy them. Even though the Horde is a rabble of diverse outcasts they have countless powerful allies and smaller factions who support them such as the Revantusk forest trolls, the Hinterlands, Stonemaul ogres, etc. By bonding together and fighting as family or comrades, the Horde, managed to survive the misfortunes of Azeroth. Unlike, the Alliance, the Horde values ferocity and monstrosity as well as strength and honor, all in order to achieve their ideals; freedom and hope. Throughout history, the Horde faced a civil war between the True Horde and the Darkspear Rebellion. After the defeat of the True Horde, Vol’jin, the shadow hunter, was chosen as the new warchief. This marks the first time that the warchief was not an orc. During the Battle of Broken Shore, Vol’jin with his last breath named Sylvanas Windrunner the new warchief. As mentioned in the Alliance paragraph, the Horde is the only true enemy worthy of fighting the Alliance and they have fought numerous times throughout the history. However, the second civil war crippled the Horde forcing them to a truce with the Alliance. Orgrimmar is the capital of the Horde from where the warchief holds dominion over the entire Horde, ensures stability and security of the Horde’s member states and has the final say in the initiation of new Horde members. New members have to swear a blood oath and are obliged to follow the warchief’s commands and support the warchief in war if called upon for aid.