Even after nearly 20 years of being on the market, an age-old question is still asked and debated by World of Warcraft players to this day: which faction should you play in WoW?
Once again, this question has been raised with the release of WoW Classic: Season of Discovery, so to help you make this decision, we’ve put together this guide with details and tips to help you decide what faction you should play in WoW Classic: Season of Discovery.
Each race has a series of additional benefits they get, regardless of class, and will provide extra spells or passive effects for player characters. We have listed these below for you to check out.
|Reputation gains increased by 10%.
|Skill with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 5.
|Dramatically increases stealth detection for 20 sec.
|Skill with Swords and Two-Handed Swords increased by 5.
|The Human Spirit
|Spirit increased by 5%.
|Allows the dwarf to sense nearby treasure, making it appear on the minimap
|Increases Frost Resistance by 10.
|Guns skill increased by 5.
|While active, grants immunity to Bleed, Poison, and Disease effects. In addition, Armor increased by 10%. Lasts 8 sec.
|Nature Resistance increased by 10.
|Transform into a wisp upon death, increasing movement speed by 50%.
|Dodge chance increased by 1%.
|Activate to slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Night Elf Rogues and Druids with Shadowmeld are more difficult to detect while stealthed or prowling.
|Arcane Resistance increased by 10.
|Intelligence increased by 5%.
|Engineering skill increased by 15.
|Escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
|Skill with Axes and Two-Handed Axes increased by 5.
|Increases base melee attack power by 25% for 15 sec and reduces healing effects on you by 50% for 25 sec.
|Damage dealt by Hunter and Warlock pets increased by 5%.
|Chance to resist Stun effects increased by an additional 25%.
|When activated, regenerates 7% of total health every 2 sec for 10 sec. Only works on Humanoid or Undead corpses within 5 yds. Any movement, action, or damage taken while Cannibalizing will cancel the effect.
|Shadow Resistance increased by 10.
|Underwater breath lasts 300% longer than normal.
|Will of the Forsaken
|Provides immunity to Charm, Fear and Sleep while active. May also be used while already afflicted by Charm, Fear or Sleep. Lasts 5 sec.
|Herbalism skill increased by 15.
|Total Health increased by 5%.
|Nature Resistance increased by 10.
|Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec.
|Damage dealt versus Beasts increased by 5%.
|Increases your casting and attack speed by 10% to 30%. At full health the speed increase is 10% with a greater effect up to 30% if you are badly hurt when you activate Berserking. Lasts 10 sec.
|Skill with Bow Weapons increased by 5.
|Health regeneration rate increased by 10%. 10% of total Health regeneration may continue during combat.
|Skill with Throwing Weapons increased by 5.
In some cases, these racial abilities can be quite significant boons depending on the content you plan to play and what class takes your fancy. For example, a Gnome is a great option for spellcasters thanks to the Expansive Mind racial, since Intellect is the primary stat they will want. Likewise, an Orc Warrior is an excellent fit, thanks to Blood Fury and its increased damage.
In that same vein, some are just helpful passive effects, with the Humans Diplomacy race being a particular favorite since reputation grinds can be killers in WoW Classic.
Disclaimer: Unlike Modern WoW, it isn’t possible to change your race once you have created your character, so be sure to think about what you want to play!
With all this said, Racial abilities are pretty well split between the two factions, of course, with a few that make one side more appealing. For Season of Discovery, this isn’t too much of an issue, though that depends on your class, and given the Season of Discovery has new roles for certain classes, like Mage healers, there could be some new favorites. As a general rule of thumb, Alliance tends to skew a little more to PvE, while Horde can skew a little towards PvP.
We recommend considering what class you plan to play and which of these abilities aligns with your preferred class and playstyle. That way, even if only by a little, you can get a few boons to help along the way. If you want to be a tanky class like a Warrior, Human or Tauren are good options; if you fancy more spellcasting or healing, Gnome or Troll, it is all about seeing what works best and appeals to you.
WoW Classic offers fewer options in terms of race and class combination than its retail counterpart, so getting to play exactly what you want might not be possible. That said, there is a good variety of options, and nearly every class can be played by at least one race on both factions, usually with two options, meaning what class you want to play shouldn’t have too much bearing on faction or race. Well, almost shouldn’t.
You’ll notice I said nearly every class; that’s because in WoW Classic, and therefore Season of Discovery, there are two classes, one for each faction, exclusive to that faction. These are the Paladin for the Alliance and the Shaman for the Horde. This means you cannot play a Paladin or Shaman of the opposing faction.
Along with this, the Rune Engraving system that is heavily featured in Season of Discovery plays a big role in how certain classes can be played, thanks to the new abilities they provide.
For the Paladin, this involves having a proper taunt spell, something they didn’t have in vanilla WoW Classic, making them even more popular choices than they were already. For Shamans, thanks to Runes like Shield Mastery and Way of Earth, they can be full-fledged tanks in Season of Discovery, albeit with a little more elemental flavor. In that regard, they make up for the lack of Paladin on the Horde side.
Moving away from those faction exclusives, you have some combinations that could be fruitful. Orc Hunters have a chance to be more melee-focused with some worthwhile Runes like Flanking and Carve, and their racial works well with melee damage. A Human Mage could be a good option thanks to their Spirit increase and work well for their new healer, Runes. The combinations and possibilities are vast, so like with Racial abilities, see what’s available and let that inform your decision.
If we compare these two factions, we have to discuss what it’s like to play them and, more importantly, their leveling experience. You will be with these characters for a long time, and having a good experience leveling up your character is vital to your enjoyment of WoW Classic and Season of Discovery.
While the Alliance may have a skew with Racial abilities and class combinations, the Horde certainly has a leg up regarding the leveling expereince. Horde areas in WoW Classic tend to be much more compact in terms of quests and finding where you need to go, and in that same vein, their dungeons and zones tend to be stacked next to each other, so it’s less busy work to get to new areas. Meanwhile, in the Alliance, you will have to do a lot more legwork to get to places, which can be a more tedious expereince because of that.
As for quality, that’s a bit of a toss in my opinion. I would rather be looking at the Alliance areas since they feel a little more interesting aesthetically, but at the cost of a smoother expereince in gameplay, it’s probably not worth it, at least for me.
In this case, it looks like a Horde win, but I use the term win loosely. Both are and can be fun; it’s just down to if you fancy the Alliance’s more classic-style fantasy setting or the rougher, more barren grit of the Horde.
Runes and Season of Discovery Content
Season of Discovery’s new content, namely the Runes and Discoveries, have both been worthwhile and great additions to the game, and regardless of faction, both are pretty fun to complete and unlock.
In most cases, the general throughline to unlock these is the same, for example, with the Rune of Flanking, which requires using specific items to tame critters and take them to an NPC. The critters, items, and NPC differ, but the basic tasks remain the same. The areas might not be as fun to traverse, but the developers have done an excellent job making whatever zone or faction you choose; you should have no real issue getting the Runes, at least the ones that don’t require some help or other players.
Which Faction Should You Choose in WoW Classic: Season of Discovery?
In truth, there is and has never been a definite answer to this question because it’s based mostly on player preference.
Yes, it’s a bit of a copout, but we think you should always pick and play whatever side you find more appealing and feel more attached to, whether that’s through story, lore, aesthetics, or gameplay. By doing so, you will always find what you enjoy and get the most fun out of the game.
Take into consideration what we’ve said about Racials, classes, the starting areas, and everything else, but play what you want how you want to; that is the best way to play WoW!