Blizzard announces WOW faction-class crossovers

Expansion to wildly popular MMORPG will add Horde Blood Elf paladins and Alliance Draenei shamans to mix--with potentially revolutionary results.

Blizzard Entertainment has revealed a very significant development that will accompany its upcoming World of Warcraft expansion pack, The Burning Crusade. Blizzard has also outlined the reasoning for the changes, which are founded in the game's fantasy lore.

As announced previously, the expansion will add two new playable races, the Alliance's pale-skinned Draenai and the Horde's Blood Elves, who originally appeared in Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. The additional lore that Blizzard has released explains how key characters from each race's past have affected their societies--and these effects will translate into a considerable shift in gameplay.

Specifically, a key figure from the Draenei's past, the priest Nobundo, apparently drew inspiration from the vision of one of his race's noble leaders. According to the Warcraft universe's lore, the Draenei suffered attacks by the orcs. Some, like Nobundo, fled, and abandoned their priesthood to study the primal forces of nature in Outland, the new otherworldly realm that is part of the expansion pack.

Likewise, the cruel Blood Elves will find new opportunities, thanks to their forebears, including the fanatical Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider and the wizard Astalor Bloodsworn. These key figures used a captured Naaru, one of the ethereal beings that infused the Draenei with "the Light"--the Warcraft universe's version of priestly power that infuses priests and paladins--and conducted various magical experiments on it. As a result, the Blood Elves were able to manipulate the creature's essence so that the fanatical warriors of their own ranks, known as the Blood Knights, were able to wield the same sort of holy power.

So what does all this background mean in terms of gameplay? Simply put: In The Burning Crusade, Alliance players can play as Draenei shamans, while Horde players can play as Blood Elf paladins. Previously, players on either side weren't able to access those character classes; paladins were exclusive to the Alliance, while shamans were exclusive to the Horde. According to Blizzard, Horde paladins and Alliance shamans will have many of the same talents of their traditional counterparts, though they "will also enjoy some unique abilities to themselves, similar to the priest class' racial specialties." Since this new feature will fundamentally change the asymmetry between the game's two factions, it will presumably have a significant impact on the way the game is played, especially in competitive player-versus-player combat.

The Burning Crusade is the highly anticipated expansion pack for Blizzard Entertainment's critically acclaimed 2004 massively multiplayer role-playing game, World of Warcraft. Blizzard hasn't confirmed a final release date for the expansion, though representatives have suggested that the studio is aiming to release it this year. For more information, consult GameSpot's previous coverage.

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230 comments
SSJ_Tenx
SSJ_Tenx

over_18, thats the first thing when i started playing. and the blood elfs were with the alliance way back in the day so im sure they were pallys then and still are now.... but i do think they should of added a new class and maybe one more profession, like tree chopping...

over_18
over_18

ok listen im reading the first page of comments and some person whinning (yes i no AGAIN *yawn*) about the bloodelf pallies......well let me tell u somthing....WTF is with them undead preists? huh yea i thoughgt so

HOWELL721
HOWELL721

I can honestly say I understand why anyone would be upset with having more variety on either faction... wait, no... I lied. I don't get it. With the exception of those that want to freak out about it for their "fifteen minutes of fame" not very many players have a problem with it. WoW is a game, and furthermore an MMO. These games are fluid, things constantly change or they stagnate and die. Have a problem with the new classes? Don't roll one. Have a problem grouping with the new classes? Well, at some point whoever rolls one will hit the endgame levels and you'll likely be partying willingly or grudgingly, but you will indeed group with them or you won't be doing a whole hell of a lot of grouping at all. The lore behind it? Yeah, it's a stretch, but not a huge one. You'll likely see further explanation to fill in the gaps via quest-lines or blatant explanation, I'm guessing at the explaination due to the impatience of the "forum heroes." Blood Knights? Well, if blood elves are more or less "magic-vampires" then it makes sense. Capture a Naru (embodiment of the light) and forcefully use it's power. Fits the blood elf persona (no longer a willing participant in the light AND an enslaver of those that can give them power) quite well if you think about it. Draenei shaman? That makes sense, especially if anyone remembers the "forum heroes" freaking out about how the draenei we saw in WC3 were shamanistic. You can accept it, you can reject it... but it's going to happen.

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

*ahem* . . . . _> I mean -*Death Knight*- . . . . . . . My Mistake.

Pilch_R_eD
Pilch_R_eD

Honestly, wtf. Bloodelfs are a faction that split off from the high elves that follow demonic magic. Paladins worship the holy light, their power is holy. How logic is a demon worshipping holy power using elf. WTF!!! The morons shoulda just stuck to their own story. If they wanted a paladin class in horde, they shoulda created a Death Lord class for the undead. It makes perfect pure sence, and doesnt look **** Honestly blizzard, what? you had so many 8 year olds playin alliance you decided to hire some of them ? In the words of our god and master Napolian Dynamite . . . "FREAKIN IDIOTS"

gothicman
gothicman

I wonder how much more there gonna milk this game.

zrocknrollerz
zrocknrollerz

Just i cant even put how much idiocy you put in that paragraph of filth and garbage

zrocknrollerz
zrocknrollerz

Also, if paladins bubble and heal. Cant shamans just stand there and heal as well? Quit WoW now.

zrocknrollerz
zrocknrollerz

Replying to Darkdays comment: Paladins cant do massive damage are you on coke?

Coreander_IX
Coreander_IX

Im quoting m02roman "how the fk. evil suppose to use holy power lol....... so lame..." Since when is the horde evil? Its not cut and dry good evil in the world and thats how the game is supposed to be, okay, so undead wanting to make everything dead is not very nice, but the Horde is not evil, I want to know where that conclusion came from. I do believe this person most likely plays alliance, if not ok, but usually both sides see the other as the evil ones, so saying the horde is evil is kind of stupid. with the exception of the undead, no race is necessarily evil. Anyway, this class crossing is kind of stupid but you realize they didn't just decide one day to just screw with things, they probably decided to do this for the plain simple fact that they wanted to shut up people who wanted shaman but didnt want to play horde or paladin but didnt want alliance.

spitinthacoola
spitinthacoola

Heh, I shouldn't be as suprised as I am, I guess Blizz just got sick of trying to balance everything. But on the bright side, this just pushed me enough over the edge to stop payment and pick up Huxley. W00T!

4saken4liFe
4saken4liFe

stupid blizz -.-" adding stupid stuff like BG and what they call "World PVP" which are all **** and distroyed the game ! i think its a right move to add paladins 2 horde and shamans to alliance... i can finally hate this game enough to quit it !

xatman911
xatman911

I want to play WOW BC not just WOW. Cant i play the expansion with out WOW.

darkdays2286
darkdays2286

seriously its impossible to say this in a mature manner but **** the goddamn palladins, they deal out massive dmg and on a whim they can not only make themselves tempararoly INVINCEABLE but they can restore most of their life at the same time now to any of you alliance out there, have you even been neck and neck in a fight with a shaman only to have him put a bubble around himself and restore his full ammount of health then come back and kick the **** out of you, didnt think so. blizzard loves their little ****ing pallys, ive only been playing a year and with every patch i see paladins do nothing but get stronger while they nerf other races. so in order to stop the massive ganking on pvp servers they didnt dumb down an extremely overpowered class, no theyll just make an extremly overpowered class available to both sides, it just seems to defy alot of logic there. and ally out there correct me if im wrong at any point durring this because i only play horde so yes i am biased, im just going off of what ive observed

StillWingless
StillWingless

while i initially went "cool elf paladins", i eventually got stuck on "WHOA HORDE PALADINS". that's awesome. i might just have to join the crowd that is inevitably going to reroll to be a blood elf.

GodCoffee-HM-
GodCoffee-HM-

I think the deal with Blood Elves is that they figured out how many freakin 8-year-olds were on Alliance, and wanted to stay FAAAAR away from that crowd... I know I do, but sadly can't leave my 60 all alone.

XsTaTicA
XsTaTicA

K, here's the thing. ITS A GAME. Blizzard, um, owns the game the last I checked. I believe they also own the "Lore", which, I could give 2 **** about considering ITS A GAME. And since they own the "Lore" and everything in it's history, THEY CAN DO WHATEVER THEY WANT. K.

SmallPower
SmallPower

The only thing more ridiculous than spending valuable time and a little bit of money on this game is the game's inane "lore." Dazzling new features like these cheesy Elf Horde paladins, added to the way Blizzard habitually mistreats and disrespects its customers, have led me to see my way to the WofWC exit. Thanks for that at least.

cowboy-jesus
cowboy-jesus

All u guys that cant grasp why the blood elves joined horde instead of alliance are juvenile idiots, its so simple: Blood elves were already facing persecution from prejuidiced human generals and when they enlisted the help of the naga the alliance locked them up and were goign ot kill them, but the elves escaped, plus they blame the alliance for the loss of their home land i guess. Do you really think the blood elves would join up with that crowd again?

Bwoulf
Bwoulf

OK, first of all, Blizzard was heavily pressured to do this by over half of their fanbase, with people saying **** bubble hearth Paladin" or "god damn totems to hell". Seriously, it was the fan base that decided this whether you like it or not. Then people start saying that they won't have enough content and crying cause of the lack of new classes. Well, i agree with you, i mean, it's not as if they are increasing the level cap to 70 (which will take as long from 60-70 as from 1-60 and will be harder, thats a fact) thus more than doubling the leveling experience. In fact, they aren't even dding two entirely new tiers of talents in EVERY talent tree, which amounts to 54 NEW TALENT tiers, each with 1-3 talents each. They shouldn't have trouble balancing 54-162 new talents that are each supposed to be the most powerful in the game and think up new racial/class based ailities for blood elves and for draenai (all blatent sarcasm). Okay, time to cut the **** They are also adding many new dungeons and items from level 60-70. they have to add new grey, white, green, blue, pruple, and orange weapons for every one of those levels. They are doing the caverns of time which will be 4 instances as well as possibly faction specific ones (1 for each faction, and 2 others as well...1+1+2=3). The flying mount mechanic with some areas you wont even be able to get to without flying mounts making them needed for some things. 2 NEW CAPITAL CITIES, an entirely new profession which will affect many many items and ad fr many more weapon upgrades and ways to make money. My head is spinning with all this new content and some people think there isn't enough, still i think im forgetting something...o yeah...THE ENTIRELY NEW **** CONTINENT THAT ALONE WILL INCREASE GAMEPLAY BY 150% plus all the bonuses ou get from it. Serously, there will be so much new crap and you guys say they are trying to disguise it as an expansion instead of a new big patch...since when was and entirely new area released in a patch, in ur map screen now ull see Kalimdor, Eastern Kingdoms, and Outland. So stop **** about pally/shammy switch, stop **** about the lore u RPers, and stop **** about not enough content to keep you occupied...thanx fr reading :)

LocalZombie
LocalZombie

Blizzard doing good job and we should apriciate that! Let's just trust those guys in Blizz, I give 100% they know what they're doing... But there's 1 reason I don't like this idea: there won't be much place for shammys in raids and that makes me hope that Blizz won't gonna make Horde pallys and Ally shammys completely similar to Ally pallys and Horde shammys... Anyway trust Blizzard, they're doing good job and we should show them some respect!

muuguu
muuguu

you guys complaining talk to much

saris340
saris340

for all of you who complain about the holy power healing undead. priests do it too. they actually have a spell called HOLY nova...and it heals the hell out of my undead. find new issues to complain about plz.

FrostElf
FrostElf

Meh, it's not too bad, as is explained, the Horde Paladins will be different from the Alliance Paladins, and the Alliance Shaman will be different from the Horde Shamans... So don't get mad and complain that Alliance and Horde will be almost the same, because I'm sure they will actually be quite different. >.>

CyberSkull
CyberSkull

Finally, I can hear alliance complaining about blood knight's cheap "shield" ability!

m02roman
m02roman

the only way this will ever work is to make some pallys going evil..... priest vs shadow priest..... good example but if there wont be no story to it just a class switch ...lol...

m02roman
m02roman

and to people that said below that pally doesnt have real deff in wwc just a undead killer with inner power lol... pholders of the Holy Light and defenders of the Alliance, the Paladins can be found from the northern forests of the Tirisfal Glades, fighting back the advance of the Forsaken, to the southern reaches of the Blasted Lands, ceaselessly upholding their vigil against demonic forces from beyond the Dark Portal. Wielding their mighty hammers and the strength of the Light, these holy warriors command forces in battle, continuously throwing themselves into the fray wherever the fighting is the thickest. here from official web site....try not to miss part saying few times ''holy warrior" ...i dont see unholy anywhere or evil...

m02roman
m02roman

and to people from below ---v saying ooo this will finally balance out pvp because everyone will have same class etc...well whats the point to play same strategy against same???? u had to think to win because u had diff units goings against each other and now u will have bunch same sht running after each other......making this even more boring??? scks

m02roman
m02roman

what a complete b.s. ....... first blood elfs to hordes? when they were with allience in wc3 and expansion..... and now pallys???? how the fk. evil suppose to use holy power lol....... so lame.....and armors???/ sorry but everything that looked cool cuz it was unique gets a total fk up in this expansion......so u got bunch of space shts almost as from starcraft lol....some stuff from diablo as well...........so nice mix why not if to forget about logic ....... f+ cant wait for warhammer to come out and save me from this nonesense

Kumatarou
Kumatarou

I don't understand why some people whine about this either. Of course the reason was the game-play, the lore part was added to fill in the holes created by the fact that there are draenei shamans and blood elf paladins. And healing undead with holy light? It's the same thing, undead players are considered "humanoid", different from the scourge that is considered "undead". I'm sure there is (or will be) another lore explaining why undead players can be healed with holy stuff. Although the bad thing is... I foresee there will be a LOT of draenei shamans and blood elf paladins when the expansion launches. Both with jewel crafting skill.

Joeygogo
Joeygogo

still what horde blood knight would wanna wear stupid alliance armor?!

ultrazone
ultrazone

why do people whine about this? this is finally going to balance out PvP. think about it...no side has an advantage over the other...they now have the same classes w/ the same skills...plus, who doesn't loathe running Blackrock Spire and finding pally gear in a Horde raid? I think this should ease a number of woes in this game.

skylerpwns
skylerpwns

Stupid idea, Blizzard. Good luck trying to heal undead with the paladin's holy light spell.

kfogleman
kfogleman

Why do people think it'll kill the game? Only a small amount of people will leave because of this, even if 1 million stop their subscriptions, the game will be the most played MMO.

schmootzig
schmootzig

I would hardly call taking away the only thing that made one faction different than the other class-wise "revolutionary". All they've really done is give in to the hundreds of thousands of 'requests' on their forums to balance those two classes for PvP. But rather than balancing anything , or expanding the game via new classes, they've just recycled old content with a new skin. And for a game you can max level a character in 2 months or less of casual play, it's going to take a LOT of new content to make the 2 years+ wait on Burning Crusade seem worth it for a majority of their player base.

spongebob53186
spongebob53186

i see they finally gave into all the whining about how paladins and shaman weren't balanced properly..."all hell well just give them both of them"

SqueekyC1ean
SqueekyC1ean

their not paladins their blood knights with similar powers to paladins their probably gona change the name of the spells to suit the change to the horde.

Lone_Warrior_66
Lone_Warrior_66

Blizz didn't feel like adding new classes because doeing that would make them have to change and add a huge amount of stuff, so whats the best solution... right make the faction specific classes playable on both sides. Just change the lore abit (again -_- ) and voila. I definately don't like the idea, as soon as i saw the message i actually checked the date hoping it was a 1 april joke.

Pyramid_Swim
Pyramid_Swim

"prfff i would like to see a undead character being healed with "holly light" that doesnt make sense !!! " This is a good point. If Blizzard is so worried about "lore" then explain why Holy Light is a damage spell vs Undead in WC3, but not WoW. What a lame inconcistency. Not that I wanna be hurt by Holy Light. Man that would suck.

Pyramid_Swim
Pyramid_Swim

This is really retarded. One of my first thoughts when I got this game was that Alliance and Horde didn't have enough gameplay differences. Now they take away the only gameplay factor that was unique about the factions. 'Cept OOO, 4 racial skills per race,most of which are passive and have little or no effect at all on the outcome of things. Stuff like, 5% pet dmg, or 1% dodge. Not to mention, I do not give a crap about Paladins. I hate Paladins. My combat log is called "Me owning pallies." Of course since I'm a Warlock, I really do own them, like no other.

weeedin
weeedin

so whever i go am i going to have to check everysingle character to make sure they arent enemies?

vegedus
vegedus

This I simly don't get: "Blizzard has also outlined the reasoning for the changes, which are founded in the game's fantasy lore." What? You're telling me the lore writers made up the story and then the rest of the team just had to go along with it? As a rule, gameplay is considered before lore. It should be obvious by now that Blizzard are trying to balance certain issues and are just trying to wrap it's lore around it. However, I don't think balancing was in their minds when they decided this. I say money were the reason. Blizzard was running out of ideas for making the expansion look like more than a big patch (no new classes?) so they did this. There will be alot of alliance players that will buy the expansion just so they can be "Imba" shamans without having to be a "stupid cow" (tauren). Way to go Blizzard.

Capelus
Capelus

prfff i would like to see a undead character being healed with "holly light" that doesnt make sense !!!

Sabotage666
Sabotage666

It was mainly just for evening out the buffs...

DuaneDog
DuaneDog

Great game and it will certainly will not 'ruin' it... but I'm from the old school where Palidians were lawful good and to put them in the horde just seems a bit bizzare. I also kind of liked that the different factions had a class to themselves. If anything I would have liked to see Blizzard go in the direction of creating more unique classes in each faction, not less. Balancing is tough but that is why they get the big bucks. Ironically Blizzard could have had a 'palidian' like class in the horde and a 'shaman' like class in the allience but named them something entirely different. That to me would help with the lore part of the game and at least let people role play the fractions with different classes.

Knighty
Knighty

I hate the change IMO, won't be picking the expansion up.

rydenHS
rydenHS

I would have liked to see new classes come out and I believe blizzard was a bit lazy with this but...this crossover has many advantages to it such as having shaman and pali buffs in your raid. People no longer have to create a character on a whole different server just cause they want to play as a shaman on the horde or a palidin on the alliance and they can stick where their friends. Can't wait to see what my alliance friends have to say when their going against palidins. Its their time to deal with the bubble.

BBRyder
BBRyder

imagine the flood of newbs playin alli shams and horde palis, it will be incredible. ppl dont seem to realize its gonna take a long while to have a proportionate amount of new shams and palis with good equip to make BG even. so dont worry bout it and play!

Tordinn
Tordinn

I find it positive, after a day of two. I think they should give people some time to understand the changes. I hope it'll lead only to the good in future.