The Daily Grind: Are MMO developers obligated to give new stuff to all factions at the same rate?

    
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she's got the look

So World of Warcraft is bringing us another allied race in the form of the Mag’har (uncorrupted Orcs, don’t you know). We haven’t had this confirmed just yet, of course, but we’ve had enough stuff get mined out by this point that it’s only a mystery in the broadest sense of the term. We don’t know when, but we can rest assured that it’s happening. But nothing has been mined out about another allied race joining the Alliance as well, and really, the options for the Horde feel a little bit more populated than the Alliance ones.

It seems unlikely that the Alliance wouldn’t get something as well, based on the history of the game, but at this point nothing has yet been made evident. So here’s the question: Is that so unacceptable? There’s nothing contractually obligating the developers to give allied races to both factions at the same rate, after all, and really Mag’har have been part of the Horde since they first were introduced. At the same time, it also doesn’t exactly feel fair to players on one faction who get a big fat nothing while the other side gets a shiny new toy. So what do you think, readers? Are MMO developers obligated to give new stuff to all factions at the same rate?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Developers are not obligated to give new stuff to all factions at the same rate, but, I believe they should strongly consider doing what’s necessary so that they don’t bias the user base toward one faction or the other.

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Jack Pipsam

If anything they should try to put a bit more attention on the faction with the smaller population.

Loyheta
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Loyheta

Tired of two-faction system… so lazy.

I think they’d be foolish to not add allied races in pairs, one of each faction. Now if they just haven’t added it to the alpha… well that is not the same as saying alliance won’t get one. Here’s hoping we get Vulpera.

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Dug From The Earth

They arent obligated to do anything.

Is it wise for them to? Yes. Since the point of games is keeping players happy, so they buy your game and expansions. Upset the players, they stop spending money.

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Factions is so old-hat. ESO got away with it because it had very little meaning originally and now with One Tamriel it has none.

But, back to WoW. Factions were never balanced. All the same, Blizzard’s preference for the Horde is pretty obvious. The main driver of the WoW story arc is the horde, in all its permutations. I suppose Horde is meant to be BAAAD and that means Alliance must be GOOOD. And we all know how boring Goody Two Shoes is. Writing compelling characters that are good is much more difficult than writing compelling characters that are bad, primarily because good characters don’t have any where to go, whereas bad characters tend to be troubled, which means they are dynamic.

The problem Blizz has now is that they haven’t really developed any good secondary Alliance races. They’ll have to get them from somewhere if they keep giving more allied races to Horde.

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Armsbend

“I suppose Horde is meant to be BAAAD and that means Alliance must be GOOOD.”

You’d be wrong then. The Legion was Bad. The Horde fought against the Legion – same as the Alliance. They just go about things differently.

Most people associate the Tolkien books with the Orcs of Warcraft, and then subsequently blanket the entirety of the Horde, when it really isn’t the case. For one Horde example take the Tauren. The Tauren are modeled after the American Indian and are anything but evil. They are as much in touch with Azeroth’s nature as the Malfurion’s elven homies.

That’s my take on the basic light vs. dark lore. At least currently.

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johnwillo

I take your point, but I think that the Forsaken have proven themselves to be BAD every chance that they had. Those guys would really prefer for everybody else to be dead. On both factions.

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Armsbend

Kinda one of the reasons I prefer Horde over alliance is each of the factions really has their own thing going on.

I just started a forsaken character tbh I’m still delving into that one. The beginning of the story is really cool.

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Sally Bowls

The Legion was Bad.

Although that is more pre-Chronicles. After Chronicles, one could argue that the Void Lords are bad. The Legion is, if not good then at least doing good by battling them. The problem is their treatment plan to the Void Lord problem, destroying all life in the universe, is deemed too aggressive by those getting destroyed. At least it is more nuanced than just destroy everything.

:-) One sees the same thing IRL here: for many, destroying gaming companies is not the direct goal; merely a consequence of trying to purify the world of the heresy of lockboxes.

——

American Indian and are anything but evil.

If New World comes out and is something MMOish that I follow, I wonder if they can get through that political correctness minefield.

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Armsbend

You’d think when they chose the setting in New World they’d have brought that up at some point. It will be a minefield. If it is released as the game in my mind (it won’t) I plan on being the embodiment of evil – to the settlers. I shall right the wrongs of those early braves. The fields will be soaked in the white hair’s blood and I will send their women screaming – back to the land whence they came. The streets of London-town will know my name as a demon – that walks free in a land in which they are not welcomed.

Or a homely cobbler that trades horseshoes for corn.

I haven’t decided.

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Schmidt.Capela

The thing about the Horde being bad is that it isn’t, or at least not all of it. Most of the Horde think of themselves as doing the right thing, when judged by their own values (which does differ from race to race, sometimes creating internal conflict in the Horde).

Writing a compelling character that is purely bad (as in evil) is just as hard as writing a compelling “Goody Two Shoes”, and making it relatable to the audience can be even harder as the typical person thinks of himself as more good than evil. Interesting characters rarely come from those extremes.

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Daniel Reasor

WoW’s last three expansions were Invade Orgrimmar and Topple the Warchief, Go Back In Time and Kill the Horde’s Parents and Grandparents, and Sylvanas Gets Thwarted While Human, Draenei, and Night Elf Heroes Defeat the Legion.

If this is Blizz favoring Horde, then please stop favoring us, Blizz. Uncle.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

They’re about as obligated to do that as a player is to give them money. So, literally “no” but if a player feels slighted they might just return the favor and unsub.

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Bruno Brito

If it creates imbalance between these factions and their conflict isn’t fixable by any means? Yes.

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Anstalt

I think if you’re going to have hardlined factions like WoW then yes, you have an obligation to deliver at the same rate. It’s not contractual, but it’s in the interest of fairness. If players start to feel like they’re being treated unfairly, or that they are getting less value for money, they’re going to start quitting.

I peronsally prefer the SWG method – everyone’s neutral until they specifically decide to join a faction, after which it’s still basically just a pvp flag.

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Zora

They only are obligated when it’s about the faction I play getting the short straw!

But jokes asides, that’s usually more about marketing than anything and there’s always the chance that they want to push something because they think the other “side” doesn’t need to be encouraged to buy… taking your audience for granted is not unheard of in blizzland, specifically.

Abolish factions and half your problems are solved. Yes, for that to happen you have to imagine your world as a virtual world populated by people with actual agency on their allegiances, not a facade for lobby-based games. Like many, I consider segregating the players into hardlined factions an utter idiocy and no, I don’t care how “commercially succesful” that may or may not have proved to be: stupid things can sell, fidget spinners say hi. :P

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Zen Dadaist

While I doubt there’s anything written into contracts, EULAs or other obligation-specifying locations, factions getting ignored or overly-focused on feels unfair to those on the other sides. If players feel neglected, forgotten, skipped or missed out then they are going to be dissatisfied. It’s a good way to lose support in the customer base.