Are faction conflicts in lore just shoehorned in? They feel that way in modern WoW imo

Ive slowly been getting into the lore of Warcraft and WoW, one thing that sticks with me is how in WoW, specifically after WoTLK, most faction conflicts seem very…artificial.

Back to back expansions in WoD and Legion had mostly the playerbases either not minding each other and working together in pursue of a common greater evil. For all this to get either ignored or brushed under the rug for the sake of another faction war in BfA is something i dont really understand much at all. I have only read some of SL story but i cant be bothered, and once again, both Horde and Alliance help the dragons without bickering against each other.

The more i read, the more i feel the only reason why there is any conflict between the factions is because the writers decide they want someone important to get corrupted by some evil old god/magic and then start a crazy ahh crusade to kill everything that is alive…for reasons. That, or just old Warcraft lore that usually gets retconned regardless.

With the 3 new expansions all focusing on the ancients, the old gods, and all that, whats the point of keeping the factions other than arbitrary reasons? For that matter, why couldnt a third faction exist, that is made up by people who are done with Alliance or Horde for their own reasons?

To me its not like you cannot think of some. Why not use the disaster of BfA plot as a reason? Teldrassil gets burned down, and they just wave it off like nothing? I could see plenty of nelfs, let alone any Alliance, that would just turn its back because of this inaction. Horde still has done nothing about it too, and worse, perpetrated it? Not that anyone in the Horde is lacking of reasons to just up and leave.

tl;dr: Basically title. Getting into the lore, in modern WoW, most conflicts between Horde and Alliance feel shoehorned in, with dumb reasons. Am i missing something?

No Blizzard just keeps forgetting some characters should have grudges to hold.


Theoretically, faction conflict is intrinsic to the setting and a fantastic way to drum up player investment. Nothing less is expected when players are made to choose between two rival conglomerates of thematically, culturally, historically opposed fantasy races at character creation.

I say theoretically, because as you rightly observed, WoW’s faction war A plots have varied from deeply flawed to unutterably disastrous, and the second attempt was so bad it forced the entire concept into retirement. I’d argue there was a place for faction conflict in modern WoW, and that it could have been done well, but forget it now.


Really could’ve taken advantage of that timeskip between Shadowlands and Dragonflight for a vague conflict. :memo::robot:

…although the Twilight Hammer and Legion spies affecting communication and fabricating attacks were a great excuse. :robot::+1:

Considering that the original name of this game was essentially Orcs Vs. Humans, the factions and their ongoing relationship of acrimony have always been THE core concept of the game.

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Blizzard just bad at writing convincing reasons to for the continuation of animosity between the horde and alliance. Coupled with most players not understanding having a common foe doesn’t make you friends, stuff like trade does that.


I get that, part of my opinion on it so far is due to this. Warcraft 3 lore was the setup for much of early wow, and a big part of it was the opposing factions, where if we consider Blizzard to write based on gameplay, the faction war was at the center point of it all.

I guess it fell off because in that same note, the gameplay the majority of players enjoyed even in the early days was pve. But regardless, its still why i have that opinion, because of what panda said tbh

I agree with all of what youve said, its just that it really feels like theyre not even trying at having a faction conflict, they just do it because “reasons”. Thats why i think they should choose one or the other, and fully commit to one side, instead of halfassing both things; trying to have player factions wars and a greater evil that will destroy the universe at the same time.

I would say that from Vanilla until the end of MoP, the faction conflict slowly ramped up until reaching a crescendo with the Siege of Ogrimmar. That was a faction war that, while it had its problems, was relatively well executed and felt earned.

After that… well, the tensions were starting to boil up again, it looked like the animosity between Sylvanas and Genn was becoming a good thread to pull on, over a few expansions it could have exploded into another big faction war, maybe one a little more morally ambiguous than the “Orc supremacism Garrosh” one we got the first time around.

But right when the tensions were starting to build up, we suddenly have Sylvanas burning down trees and instigating a massive war, three expansions earlier than she was scheduled to based on the old pacing. And now nobody likes faction wars because we had two of them close to each other and one was done very poorly.


The villain-batting of Sylvanas lead to the Shadowlands plot. But it is hard to tell how much of that was Blizzard climbing out of the hole that was the burning of Teldrassil.

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Hot wars are a horrific idea in a game like this. No one can win, as both sides must remain balanced or the game will collapse. So there can never be stakes. A quietly simmering cold war is where it should of remained at most.

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Blizz tried too hard to make everyone happy, which just makes no one happy. Faction parity also makes everything uneventful and just stale.

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There is no parity. All Horde leaders are gone all alliance leaders are doing fine. This story is one sided and Blizzard never tried to hide it.

Do you think they should just move away from it, or keep trying to find a way to make it work?

As things stand, with the stories they want to tell, id rather they just move away from it, or just make it “cold war-like”, like someone mentioned earlier.

The burning of Teldrassil was not the hole. It could have been the dramatic opening to a nuanced meaningful conflict along with the reduction of the Undercity.

We could have had a nuanced war with good reasons for participants on both sides to be fighting it… a “Great War”. Instead they blew it… just how like Marvel blew the original comic book version of the superhero Civil War.

Everything that came after (or in this case, what little happened about it) definitely feels like a self made hole the writing team has never really gone out of.

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Teldrassil was the hole. I think the point is that it didn’t have to be. But that would require better writing that I’m not sure Bliz is capable of. Esp given why it was done


Lets be honest they only did the burning since they wanted a red wedding shock moment not thinking of the consequences that it would have. the fact that the burning will likely forever be a shadow over WoW especially the fact none of the horde leaders seem to have cared that they did it until after they started losing.

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Yeah. That’s the biggest reason it wasn’t ever going to be more than a dumpster fire.

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I think the burning is the perfect example of why “Faction conflicts” (in the way Warcraft does them) do not work. Because everything has to boil down to who is on which team, it leaves essentially no room for nuance. For there to be a total war between the alliance and horde, all parties must be engaged. For all parties to be engaged, the individual identity of all these myriad races and leaders must be thrown aside.

Factions and faction conflict dilutes the flavor of every playable race and every character into watered down red or blue flavor. For Teldrassil to burn and the Horde to remain a cohesive playable entity the characterization of everyone in that faction cannot be considered. The Tauren are the prime example of this, I’d say. Obviously the Horde’s Tauren and Baine would find the actions taken in War of Thorns mortifying, but Tauren need to remain in the Horde for gameplay purposes.

The two faction system is too rigid, it cannot be subject to the waxing and waning of alliances that we would expect from a global conflict. It can’t tell that story. Even in Warcraft 3 we had 4 factions, and by the end of the game the primary characters from 3 of those factions realize they must put aside their quarreling and defend Azeroth. This franchise should have been distanced away from red vs. blue right there, and never looked back.

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it does not help that everything they did just made the dumper fire bigger and worst. on top of the fact that every single horde player character helped the burning in lore.