Monday, December 7, 2009

Why aren’t we proud to be Alliance?

“For the Alliance!”

This was the ending of a recent post at The Pink Pigtail Inn. I suppose I was making an effort to encourage and strengthen my fellow Alliance players. It was rather lame and I got several readers commenting on this. Spiff made a summary:

“Alliance members just don't have good battlecries.”

Looking at the Battlecry feature at Blizzard’s 5 year anniversary website, I can’t but give Spiff right. We’re just not good at it.

The Battlecry event
If you haven’t seen it yet, the idea about this event is that you can download either an Alliance or a Horde symbol, take a picture of yourself and post it. All the pictures are composed into a huge mosaic, which eventually will become a piece of art, when they’ve reached the limit of 20 000 pictures.

There are already over 1 000 pictures, and I find it quite fascinating to study them. This is the picture of our community. Those people are us. (Well, not literally – I for one am too shy and keen on my privacy to send in a picture.)

There are the insecure teenagers, posing as if to impress on their friends. There are the stereotypic gamers, overweight and with an obvious geek appearance. There are students, professional, kids, bureaucrats, rich, poor, boys, girls, chicks and lads, you name it. Warcraft enthusiasts are found in all sorts of environments. Even dogs and cats are apparently vivid video gamers, which I must admit came a little bit as a surprise.

What strikes me most in images however is how dominating the Horde side is. Very few of the portrayed people are holding the Alliance symbol in their hands (which by the way is rather ugly, why do we have to be represented by a childish lion, while the horde are blessed with a much cooler iconic image?)

According to the statistics of Warcraftrealms, 55 percent of the characters are Alliance, but this doesn’t show at all in the Blizzard mosaic. If all those pictures were transferred into an audio file, I’m afraid that the tiny Alliance voices would drown (especially considering that a gnome voice is more designed for delightful giggles than to put fear into the enemies.)

A random choice
My own choice of playing Alliance was never anything I thought about. It was rather random, a decision based on the advice from my sister, who introduced me into the game. “Of course you must go Alliance. There are only annoying kids playing Horde. And besides you have to, or else we won’t be able to play together”. So I obeyed. Now it turned out that we never were online at the same time and my sister quit playing shortly after, but that’s another story.

Whenever I hear and read about horde players on the other side, I get the impression that there’s much more behind their pick of path. They’ve chosen horde because they can identify with those supposedly ugly, “evil” and misunderstood creatures. They’ve got a strong sense of belonging to a community, which I’ve never been close to.

After almost three years of WoW playing, I still haven’t cried out once in game, except for possibly something along the lines “Let’s do it!” I suppose I’m just not the shouting kind of person. But if the day will ever come when I feel like giving out a battlcry, it definitely won’t be any “For the Alliance”. It will be “For Gnomeregan!”

So here’s my question to you: Where is our faction pride? Where’s our heart? Do we care at all about our Alliance? Why aren’t we posting our pictures at the Battlecry Event?


Arceopteryx said...

I have been playing both Alliance and Horde, but I feel more "at home" when I am playing with Orcs and Taurens. So my battlecry would always be: "For The Horde".

And sadly, I do agree with you, there is nor really a good Alliance battlecry.

Elnia said...

How can you take a battle cry like "For the Bored!" seriously. And Thrall is so stupid; Warchief my ass. The only reason anyone pays any attention to Thrall at all is because they want to see if he's every gonna get Jaina in bed. The Horde is simply hunched backed trolls going "Where's de white wymens at?"

We Alliance have the only battle cry that's worth having, "Buttkicking for Goodness."

Klepsacovic said...

The Alliance may have been the default; the pretty race that you naturally drift to rather than really choosing. In contrast people chose to be Horde and when people make choices they work very hard to rationalize them. Over time this turned into a sense of superiority and pride.

But in all seriousness, we're just plain better.

Jormundgard said...

What's funny to me is that they're using the same pictures multiple times in that current tile. I wonder if they're even going to get 20k pictures.

Bri said...

Historically Alliance have always been way more popular, but I see a shift in the last little while with far more people playing Horde. Heck, some servers are now over 90% Horde! Where the Alliance is where the pretty lies, the Horde is definitely cooler.

I play both Horde and Alliance, with faction ambivalence, however rather than "For the Alliance", I would say..

"For Lordaeron!"

kaozz said...

I play both sides, currently I'm playing alliance more for a break from the horde. I love the Alliance cities the most I think, I always miss the UC though. All in all it's the same to me other than that.

What we need is Bolvar back to lead us to victory! For the Alliance!

Shiloh said...

I find it a bit funny, no matter which faction you choose, there's always someone that says that line "All the kids play (Alliance/Horde) so they can be the (Good/Bad) guys."
I'm not sure about the togetherness of Alliance though, or lack thereof. On my server if you kill an Alliance its not unreasonable to expect to be camped by 2 or 3 80's for the next half an hour. But when we ask our own faction for help they laugh, "PvP on a PvP server!?" Though I'm sure that varies from server to server.

*Ahem* For Da Horde!

Azryu said...

It is maddening to see how the Alliance disrespect THEMSELVES in our own battleground and wintergrasp chats. "The Alliance suck" "When will the alliance learn?" "Allys are just a bunch of kids"

I cannot understand why such idiocy still remains to stay at large. There is no difference in the people who play between Alliance or Horde, except in that it seems our faction has been tainted in a lot of self hate. This is laregly in part to us being what people love to token as the "pretty races".

I rolled Alliance because I have a natural bias towards Humans. It's not as exciting for me to see a night elf, draenei, orc, or whatever casting spells and defeating impossible foes. To me, seeing Humanity rise to challenge the assertion of death and to conquer evil in spite of all odds really drives it home.

I wrote about this quite some time ago in a post-

I think anyone and everyone who is apart of the alliance and thinks thier faction is any worse then the horde, I gladly invite them to remove themself from our ranks and join up with the awe-inspiring horde, all to find that the people are the very same.

With all this said, I scoff at those who think we have little to be proud of, little reason to stand proud behind our king...

"I was away for too long. My absence cost us the lives of some of our greatest heroes. Trash like you and this evil witch were allowed to roam free -- unchecked.

The time has come to make things right. To disband your treacherous kingdom of murderers and thieves. Putress was the first strike. Many more will come.

I've waited a long time for this, Thrall. For every time I was thrown into one of your damned arenas... for every time I killed a green-skinned aberration like you... I could only think of one thing.

What our world could be without you and your twisted Horde... It ends now, Warchief.


- King Varian Wrynn

Glory to the Alliance!

Kevan Smith said...

Childish lion? Hmmmpf. I think it looks cool, plus it's kind of a symbol of England, which endured then won in WWII. I have total respect for the lion, and I think the Alliance lion is ace!

I wasn't going to do the battlecry pic, but this post has spurred me to do it! FOR IRONFORGE AND ALE!

Kiseran said...

I played Horde first and switched over to Alliance later because I could no longer take the look of a green bodybuilder in badass-armor who still didn't look badass. However I still harbor some fond memories so no faction hate from me.

There is one thing I was never able to understand: Why "For the Alliance"? The Horde-Battlecry simply was there first and just putting a dirty rag with "Alliance" written on it over their "Horde"-Tag is just lame. I played Alliance for three and a half years now, much longer than Horde. But if you want to see me yell an Alliance-Battlcry you have to invent a good one first.

The best catchphrase I ever heard in this regard is "Grab a sword and fight the Horde". But thats too long for a Battlecry ;)

Anabella said...

I would say that roaring "FOR THE HORDE" or "LOK'TAR" at the top of your lungs does sound much better than "for the alliance". Try it :)

I have tried playing Alliance, never could get past level 20 on anything. Im not even sure where the supposed pretty is - belf's certainly look very beautiful. Also, if you are going for powerful look, does anyone remember enhancement shaman pvp gear on lvl 70? On taurens? Now, if that wasn't the most badass thing you ever saw...

I think most of my feelings of "pride" and my connection to the horde comes from - Thrall, actually. Or, to be precise - from the voice of the actor who plays Thrall. Cool dude.

Gevlon said...

Horde is more authentic. The game is about killing everything that has red letters above them without questions. Why do we have to mess with the vrycul? Why do we have to kill 10000 boars/bears? Why can't be just nice?

A SAVAGE ORC doesn't ask such questions. A human should.

Larísa said...

: Well, tbh, the little I’ve been on the horde side, I haven’t felt at home at all. It just feels weird. I don’t know if it’s about habit or a natural belonging for me.

@Elnia: lol!

: “But in all seriousness, we’re just better”. Ah, that explains it! Thanks for pointing it out 

: I noticed that too. I thought it might have to do with that they need certain colours to make the picture they’re creating pretty. Rather than it’s a lack of images. But you may be right… I hope they can finish this project. Maybe people are more reluctant to give away their RL looks than they had imagined.

@Bri: Yeah, ”For Lordaeron!” definitely sounds better.

@Kaozz: Now I have a confession to make: I can’t tell those horde cities one from each other. Yeah, Silvermoon I can, because it’s so different and far off. But the other ones… I just mix them up. /cover

@Shiloh: Come to think of it, I think you’re right. I’ve heard the “those are just kids” statement about both sides.

@Azryu: wow! That was well put. And inspiring too! I feel a bit ashamed for even questioning our faction pride. GLORY TO THE ALLIANCE!

@Kevan Smith: Please go ahead! We need more of those lion carriers!

@Kiseran: Think harder! We surely should be able to come up with something!

: Hm.. belfs look so pretty that they aren’t pretty anymore. More like Barbie dolls. Artificial and plastic imho. On the other hand I must admit that I don’t find humans pretty at all. They lack character. For instance undead look better.

@Gevlon: but are really the horde “the bad guys” and alliance “the good”? Where did this idea come from in the first place?

Dw-redux said...

For Khaz Modan!

Same thing.

Klepsacovic said...

@Larisa: Before WC3, the orcs were undeniably the bad guys: alien invaders driven by bloodlust who had already committed genocide and were on their way to do it again. Then Thrall came and worked to bring back the shamanistic tradition and has turned the orcs into 'noble savages.'

The perception persists since we're not quite as pretty by human standards. We're more savage: former cannibals, nomads, breakaways from the most evil being on the planet. The Forsaken are definitely morally grey at best. Modern orcs aren't mindless savages, but their history persists.

Renald said...

I love diversity on these pictures. Horde or Alliance, there are people of all races, ages and occupations.

I won't post my battlecry picture because I like to keep my privacy, but it would be definitely "For Lordareon!". Horde may be more passionate about their allegiation, but its just Horde - always noisy, bragging, pushing to win. Not my faction! (for the record, at the moment I have more Hordies (3) than Allies (2) but I don't play them, just level them when I want time alone in game:) )

Stabs said...

Loktar ogar!

For the Horde!

Carra said...

Mmm, how does one pronounce "For Gnomeregan"?

I always thought it was the other way around, that the horde had more mature players. Most people tend to go to the alliance side and choosing horde is a conscientious choice.

Anonymous said...

On my battlerealm, Horde tends to beat out Alliance in the BGs. I always assumed it was because the Horde racials (pre-wrath), were vastly superior to Alliance, so the min-maxers tended to go Horde.

Anonymous said...

The truth is that the faction does not matter. If someone is so proud to be alliance/horde it probably means that person has very few other things to be proud of. This is very like real-world racism.

Firespirit said...

I am happy to say that my guild is actually full up in faction pride. Whenever a hordie walks by that is flagged (PvE server) we jump him/her. Even if it means that we will be horribly slaughtered.

This very topic came up in gchat a little while ago. Where is the faction pride?

I am alliance, and I am proud of it.

Someone said, above, horde is where the "cool" is at. I would disagree, if only on my server, Horde is where the "I want to be cool" people are. The actual cool people are on the alliance side (trust me, I rolled a horde to see what it was like)

Ephemeron said...

1. When it comes to battlecries, the rule of thumb is simple: Shorter is Better.

The fewer letters and syllables your warcry has, the better it sounds (for extreme examples, compare Warhammer Orks' "WAAAAAAAGH!" and a typical Kael'thas speech). And Horde, with its "Lok-Tar!" and "For the Horde" has an obvious advantage in this area.

Solution: The next time you're trying to rally your fellow Allies, get the to yell "For Bolvar!" instead.

2. Of course, it's not only what you say that matters, but also how you say it. And, as you point out yourself, Gnomish voices are made for giggling, not for growling.

However, if you listen to a typical chorus yelling "For the Horde", you'll notice that is primarily composed of orcish voices, rather than, say, Blood Elves or Forsaken.

Solution: Take a page from the Horde's book, and ensure that your designated warcry-shouters sound like Wrynn or Muradin, rather than like Jaina or Chromie.

3. As for the greater question of Alliance pride, I think that the answer may be connected to the fact that, unlike the Horde, Alliance hasn't scored any major non-Pyrrhic victories in a very, very long time.

Busket said...

I think there is no appreciable difference between Horde and Alliance players, but there is a real perception gap between the two. Horde players are going to be more insecure about their faction; if you have to pick a good and bad side in the conflict, the Horde is the most natural choice for the bad side both in aesthetics and identity. Thus Horde players have more of a need to display pride in their faction, to combat this perception gap.

I'm not someone who would post a picture of myself alongside WoW paraphernalia either, but even if I was I don't expect I would feel much need to as an Alliance player. I'm comfortable letting my affiliation speak for itself.

Hirvox said...

On my first server, the faction balance was at 85-15 in favor of the Alliance, so naturally the Horde developed a strong feeling of unity, of being the underdogs who prevail against the odds. The lore supported this view, with the Horde being two parts unnatural abominations, one part savages and one part misunderstood and persecuted gentle giants, all trying to survive in a hostile world.

And then Blizzard announced the formation of RP-PvP servers, where we, to our surprise, found ourselves staring at 51-49 realm balance. We were still the underdogs (by definition alone), but now we could put up a real fight. The feeling of succeeding against the odds prevailed until the faction became a cosmetic choice with the dawn of TBC.

Curiously enough, someone has been paying attention, and the latest GW2 trailer showcases the playable factions with their unique perspectives. Even though they're all on the same side, there is a very strong "Our way is the right way" vibe with every section.

Kromus said...

lorewise allaince are horrible but its not entirely their fault. All attempts of peace have been disrupting in some way by member sof both factions.

I love allaince, just prefer it- seems to have more energy. And I like playing human!

I love Undead too, though. I like the horde because their not as predictable as the allaince.

Kayeri said...

When I first got the game, I was going to my a Nelf Hunter, because the friend who gifted it to me had one and went on and on about how awesome the pets were...

Well, I was sitting there on my first character creation screen, carefully reading through every race and class description and I was hooked on druid immediately.. only two choices for druid... Nelfs and Tauren... and I couldnt play with my friend as a Tauren.

But that first opened up all the wonderful LORE about all the races, their histories, their attitudes... And I've tried them all, but I am most at home with the Nelfs. I love the Tauren, Orcs are pretty awesome... Belfs can be quite annoying, I went through 4-5 before I landed one that stuck... and I do apologize to the Forsaken, ya'll are just too dark and twisted for me, believe me, I've tried several times. Trolls? I jus cant do da ganja, mon... :) Gnomes are too perky and I just cant sustain that perkiness all the time and dwarves are just too stolid and I havent found a Draenei who stuck, either.

Besides that, I'm 5 foot tall in real life... I like being tall in game... :)

Anonymous said...

Both factions and all races pale into insignificance to the awesomeness of all know it deep down...

Cacknoob (High priest of satan...but my duties are mainly ceremonial)

Tesh said...

"For pony!"

I'm faction neutral. Even if I did strongly identify with one or the other, my battle cry wouldn't be for the group. I'm mean and selfish that way.

"For fun!"

River said...

Alliance Above All!

Prelimar said...

my personal one is "HEALZ ON DA MAGE!"

Bristal said...

There's too much "cute" in the Alliance. Elves, Dwarves, Humans, Gnomes and Spacegoats. Dull. No controversy. If the spacegoats were (formerly savage) centaurs, and the elves were neutral-ish wood elves with a darker past, there might be a bit more interest.

There is inherent conflict in the Horde races, which increases interest, and makes it more "cool" and of course playing "evil" can be construed as edgy.

A more interesting battle cry for the Alliance might be "For the good of all!", or "Our bond will hold!", or "A league for all!" which would emphasize the tenuous nature of our Alliance, and that we must strive to keep it. And the word "all" is contained in the word "alliance" and has a similar ring to "For the Horde!".

Larísa said...

: you're saying that the horde can't be trusted? Their nobleness is just a temporary thing?

@Renald: hm... noisy and bragging? That's a way to express it... And yeah, "For Lordareon" has an appeal, although I don't quite know how to pronounce it.

@Carra: I don't think Gnomeregan is that hard.... Hm... how to explain it? I would say "gnome just as you say it (same sound as "home") and the ending has emphasis on the last syllable, just as in "Oregon". But I may be wrong :)

: racials superior? What could be better than intelligence and the get-out-of-trap thing for a mage? (Although I admit that I never saw the charm in improved engineering...)

: well... I hope people don't take this so seriously that it turns into some sort of racism.

: really? I'm on a PvE server too and I would never dream of attacking a horde player who happened to be flagged. It's probably just by accident, not because they want to actually duel or something.

: A good lecture in the art of battle-cry construction imo. Thanks!

@Busket: The horde players more insecure? That's quite a turn in the discussion!

@Hirvox: I tend to miss the history behind it, only starting to play in TBC and never playing any of the previous warcraft games. Thanks for some lore clarification.

@Kromus: My dear guildie,I like you a lot, but I just can't understand your devotion to humans! I think you've got a very gnomish personality. You just don't realize it.

@Kayeri: and I'm short in real life... Might explain my love for gnomes and why I feel so strange with the tauren (although a part of me would like to try it - who knows, I may start growing a bit?)

: High priest of satan??? I've been wondering why I don't see you online anymore these days. So you're busy somewhere else... And yeah, I've rolled a little female dwarf hunter and I like her much better than I had imageined.

@Tesh: "For fun!" Indeed. I could sign on that!

@Bristal: hm... I don't quite agree that "all" would make you think of Alliance, since the pronounciation is so different. But then I'm really crap at coming up with something better myself. But yeah, a battle cry needs to be short. "Alliance" has two syllables too many in it. It doesn't want to come out of your mouth, it gets stuck somehow.

J Huggard said...

How about "For Twilight!" or perhaps "For New Moon!"? What else are tween girls interested in these days?

Shizukera said...

I'm Alliance and I have plenty of faction pride - I just don't feel the need to shove it down the other side's throat. ;)

Also, I'm not trying to be 'edgy' or prove anything or make any big statements. I'm playing the game for fun, and for me, Alliance is more fun than Horde. And I don't need to scream a battlecry to show my faction pride; the proof is on my character select screen.

But yeah. I obviously don't speak for the entire Alliance player population, but I'd guess that a lot of players feel the way I do (I'm playing for enjoyment, not to make a statement), and that's why we're quieter than the Horde.

There are plenty of proud Allies. Horde are just louder. :P

Terethall said...

While I almost never RP, I do enjoy creating a personality and backstory for my characters, in whom I invest most of my enjoyment of WoW. My main is a male human warlock, and I have a female draenei shaman at 80 as well.

I also tend to let my own sense of ethics run wild in fantasy worlds like Azeroth, and the combination of my characters' backstory and my own views on politics has resulted in my own rabid pro-alliance viewpoint.

My human is a veteran of the Third War and was a child living in Stormwind when it was first sacked. He has had roughly the same experience with the Horde as Varian (whom he of course admires), excepting a brief period of collaboration with the Horde at the end of the Third War. After the war, he was promoted to Lieutenant and served under Jaina Proudmoore until she ordered her troops to stand down as the Horde assaulted Theramore (and Daelin's forces). He felt that Jaina's loyalty to the Alliance and to righteousness had all but dissolved at that point, and he broke rank from her soldiers and fought in defense of Theramore. Although the battle was ultimately lost, he managed to escape through the Dustwallow Marsh and eventually to Ratchet. His being a warlock is the result of separate incidents and does not conflict with his belief that only the races of the alliance should have a home on Azeroth, and that the alliance has a moral obligation to drive out the evil and invading races of the Horde.

My draenei shaman was a civilian at the First Battle of Shattrath where she watched the orcs murder and desecrate her friends, family, and infant son. Consequently, she sees almost no difference between orcs and eredar, both having been races initially respectable but now completely corrupted by the taint of the legion.

I personally also believe that the Alliance are by far the more righteous and just faction.

As far as my characters go, my human would probably shout something along the lines of "For Justice!" or "For Stormwind!" and my draenei would likely shout "For Shattrath!"

Cole said...

It just doesnt feel the same playing an alliance toon i did roll a gnome once but it just wasnt the same :D

John said...

I like your article! And you seem to be right. I played Alliance back in the Pre-BC era because of the exact same thing you heard... "horde are annoying kids." As I got older, more and more of my friends started playing Horde, so I rolled Horde side. I think when the lack of faction pride struck me was at AnimeUSA, where some dudes were drunkenly yelling FOR THE HORDE from the third floor at all the people on the first. At this time I was still playing Alliance so I went up to give them a piece of my mind. We had our little arguments that obviously weren't resolved and I yelled FOR THE ALLIANCE at some point. I felt dirty. It felt wrong. After Wrath, when I rolled my first Horde character, I completed the Taunka chain and listened to the speech given to the Taunka. I felt something that I had never felt before in WoW, which was pure, unadulterated and joyful pride in exactly what I was; which was Horde. Ever since that day I've been screaming lok'tar ogar with all the fury I can muster for my beloved faction. I had a lot of fun as a Night Elf, but quite frankly I've never felt more at home than now.

And as I'm sure you all know, both sides are full of obnoxious kids. The choice should be based on which faction's philosophy resonates best with you.

-Dranosh Saurfang; May we put him to rest comfortably.

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