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World of Warcraft‘s upcoming 9.1.5 patch is adding a lot of features that the community has long asked for, like more cosmetic options and the removal of the conduit energy system. However, it is not adding cross-faction raiding. According to the MMO’s director, Ion Hazzikostas, that feature may yet be on the way.
“I’d say that is a bit more on the radar, yes,” Hazzikostas told GamesBeat in a recent interview. “That’s one of those areas where [we have] a lot of things to solve, and a lot of things to figure out to make it happen. But at the end of the day, if Jaina and Thrall are working alongside each other in the raid, why can’t Alliance and Horde players also work alongside each other in that raid? Especially when we know it’s going to solve a lot of the social problems people are grappling with? Particularly trying to keep a high-end Alliance guild together in North America or a Horde one in Oceania.”
Players in World of Warcraft have to play in one of the two factions: the Horde or the Alliance. Often, these two groups are at odds with each other in the game’s story. So there’s a logical reason why they wouldn’t fight alongside each other.
Practically, however, it’s an inconvenience for many players. Some may want to play as a dwarf, which have to belong to the Alliance, but they’re stuck playing a Horde character because that’s what most of their friends want to do. Or, as Hazzikostas mentioned, an entire continent can favor one faction over the other. In North America, there’s been a perception for a long time that the most hardcore raiders play Horde. Because of this, it can be much more difficult finding Alliance raiding groups.
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Adding cross-faction raiding could fix those issues. In the past, the World of Warcraft team would quickly dismiss the idea. In my interview with Hazzikostas, however, it’s starting to sound like cross-faction raiding is an inevitability.
It would be a big change, though. If it does come, I wouldn’t expect the feature until the release of WoW’s next expansion.