World Of Warcraft Finally Adding Cross-Faction Play For Raids, Dungeons, And More
Horde and Alliance players will soon have some options for grouping up.
Blizzard has announced that World of Warcraft will finally allow cross-faction play between the Horde and the Alliance, albeit with some notable caveats.
In a development preview, it was revealed that Horde and Alliance players will soon be able to form cross-faction premade parties for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP as part of the upcoming 9.2.5. update. But Blizzard isn't loosening its faction-specific reigns more than that--at least for now--due to its insistence that the two warring factions remain a fundamental component of the popular MMO.
After all, the company has previously been known for standing firmly against friendly cross-faction interactions like grouping and communication, stating in a response to a question at BlizzCon 2019 that opposing factions are "a pillar of what makes Warcraft, Warcraft." It seems that this new outlook is a sign that the team is finally relaxing just a bit on the matter, though.
"We’re hopeful that these changes will serve to actually strengthen faction identity by allowing more players to play the faction whose values, aesthetic, and characters they find more compelling, rather than feeling forced to choose between their personal preference and the ability to play with friends," the preview reads.
When the big update hits, those with cross-faction friends will be able to use their BattleTag or Real ID to invite them to a premade group. It's worth noting, however, that they'll remain unfriendly in general play, though they'll be able to talk in party chat and will become fully friendly once engaged in an instance. Furthermore, premade groups in the Group Finder for higher-end content will be open to applicants across both factions, but party leaders will have the option to keep things faction-specific if they prefer.
Guilds will remain same-faction only, and random matchmade experiences like Heroic dungeons, skirmishes, and so forth will not be open to mixing factions, either. Blizzard makes it clear that this is "because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups."
There will be a variety of instances with far too much faction-specific content to be available for cross-faction play, including memorable raids like Icecrown Citadel and Trial of the Crusader. Blizzard plans to rectify this by reworking these instances in the future, but there is currently no timeframe listed, so it could be months or years before that undertaking is completed.
You'll be able to test out World of Warcraft's new cross-faction features when they arrive for testing on the 9.2.5 Public Test Realm (PTR).
In other news, Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard has raised the age-old question of whether we'll ever see World of Warcraft on consoles. Meanwhile, Blizzard is working double-time to put an end to boosting communities in the game.