World of Warcraft is finally getting cross-faction dungeons, raids, and rated PvP

    
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So hey, if you’re one of the bajillions of World of Warcraft players who’ve been agitating for Blizzard to nuke the faction divide for the last almost two decades, you’re finally getting your wish, now that Blizzard is running out of players and favor and must finally listen to you.

“I am pleased to announce that we are working on adding the ability for Alliance and Horde players to form premade parties together for dungeons, raids, and rated PvP,” Blizzard writes today (we assume it’s Ion Hazzikostas, but as we type this, the missive isn’t actually signed). “There have been two decades’ worth of code and content crafted with the assumption that parties can only have players of a single faction, and while we want to make this feature available as soon as possible, the extent of the change means that it couldn’t be ready in time for the upcoming Eternity’s End content update. Instead, we are planning to test and release it as part of a subsequent 9.2.5 update. We’re eager to hear your feedback about the details we’re sharing today and on the details of our implementation when this feature becomes available to the Public Test Realm following the release of Eternity’s End.”

Blizzard says it will focus on dungeons, raids, and PvP for these changes and make it an “opt-in” feature when possible, though there are some specific chunks of content that will be off-limits until their “extensive faction-specific components” are reworked. Essentially, you’ll be able to party with opposing faction players through cross-faction communities and friends lists, though guilds themselves – and random matchmade content – will also stay same-faction. “Upon entering a dungeon, raid, or rated PvP match, however, all members will be friendly and able to assist each other in combat, trade loot, earn shared achievements, and otherwise fully cooperate the same way members of the same faction have always been able to.”

Blizzard justifies this move by explaining to players what players have been explaining to Blizzard since 2004.

“There are likely those who have read this far with some unease, worried that this is chipping away at a foundational principle of Warcraft. At BlizzCon in 2019, when an attendee asked about cross-faction play, we responded at the time that ‘Alliance and Horde separation … is a pillar of what makes Warcraft, Warcraft.’ But upon reflection, that’s an oversimplification: Alliance and Horde identity is what is fundamental to Warcraft. And while at times that identity has been one of division and open conflict, we’ve seen Alliance and Horde finding common ground and working together ever since Warcraft III (notably including the last time a Warcraft chapter was named Eternity’s End…), and the instances of cooperation in World of Warcraft itself are too numerous to count.”

The changes will be in testing as part of the 9.2.5 PTR.

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees strike and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2022, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
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