WoW Classic Horde or Alliance - Choose your Side
World of Warcraft is a vast game. Every player should be able to find something for themselves in the land of Azeroth. Some will choose to practice their Blacksmithing skills. Some will grind their way to the top to compete with the best of the best in PvP. Some will form up powerful guilds that may hold the largest player-base of all time one day. But before these days come - there is one significant obstacle that every one of us will have to go through as a priority.
The abundance of choice that will determine our newly created character, breathtaking locations, monsters to kill, friends to be made, and enemies to pummel into the ground. And the biggest choice, and first choice of all - on which side will you stand when the choice between good and evil becomes not that clear?
In this guide, we will show you the differences between the two factions. So when the time comes to create your character and choose your side - you will know what you want to stand for. We will talk about lore, races, classes, some major and minor differences in convenience, leveling or presentation, that might be actually important for a large group of players that expect something deep from this game. And there's lots to be discovered in this wonderful game.
Picking the right faction is one of the most important things if you really want to immerse yourself into World of Warcraft. There are lots of variables that will determine your future in this game. Both sides have better access to different parts of the content. Each faction has four playable races that are completely unique for each side. One will not be able to play as an Orc on Alliance side or play a Night Elf on Horde's side. You have a choice, and they are many factors.
Almost every race has a unique starting location. Players will complete different quests based on their race and class. There's a huge difference when it comes to leveling zones, dungeons, or raids. Each faction has its ups and downs. Alliance has access to great PvE Racials, and they have an easier time on Battlegrounds. Horde on the other hand - lots of PvP-heavy Racials, easier early leveling zones that will immensely increase the leveling speed, and absolutely amazing Late Game Raid access.
In the end - this first choice might shape the entire experience and feel of this game, so you will have to choose wisely.
Hardened Veterans of this game already know this, that portraying Alliance and Horde as a case of Good versus Evil clashing once again - is completely wrong. It's just like right and left-wing from a political standpoint. Each faction stands on different foundations, values, and principles, that are morally in that perfect grey area, that can't really be defined as moral or immoral per se.
Alliance fights for order, representing wisdom, and noble spirits, with high focus on tradition, honor, and sacrifice. Which can be seen when entering Stormwind for the first time, with monuments representing Heroes that guarded the realms of men in the darkest times, to guard the capital of those sworn under blue banners even after their death.
On the other side - Horde consists of societies bound by one purpose - to reclaim what was taken from them, banding up races for the sole purpose of survival against those, who would like to see their foundations destroyed or replaced. Strong and proud, these races fight to build a world, in which their people can be truly free and safe.
Noble causes different ways. Two different standpoints that have the exact same purpose - to create a world that is worth fighting for. And even though the Alliance might seem like the best thing that could happen to Azeroth, Horde tends to display more honor, courage, or empathy than members of the Alliance.
Both are very distinctive, depsite fighting for a similar cause. Which view would you like to represent? Or maybe which one you would love to see fall to their demise? It can be one of your major factors for choosing one faction over the other. Each one of us will be able to fight, as long as each one of us believes in what we are fighting for. It's an important aspect of character creation.
Each faction has four playable races in Classic World of Warcraft. Characters start in different places, have different racial abilities, looks, and they represent certain ideas and values. While min-maxing might be the right direction for some players, with the highest potential of being the best of the best, with the best numbers possible - some players just want to immerse themselves into a certain character. You can become really powerful, and find a race that will be pleasing for your eyes and mind at the same time. Liking the aesthetics and presentation of your character might be the most important thing that will make you enjoy this game. Some will like playing as a noble-looking Gnome, Dwarf, Night Elf or a Human, some - a rampaging and ruthless Orc. towering Tauren, creepy Forsaken or trolly Trolls.
Of course every race has unique animations for all activities, attack animations can be an eye candy for some races, for some - not. It can legitimately speaking be a deciding factor when it comes to picking a Faction, and a Race. Forget about stats, quest paths, mount available for each race or racials how will they tell you on tryhard min-max WoW Classic forums in way too many posts - fashion is the key.
Alliance consists of four races bound together by the sense of duty, order, and justice. Each player will be able to play as either Humans, Dwarves, Night Elves or Gnomes.
Every race is anthropomorphic, clean, and somewhat proud. Kind-spirited, deeply committed to abstract values like nobility, honor, justice, faith, and sacrifice. These high ideals are represented mainly by dedicating their technical, arcane, and spiritual wisdom, in the name of creating a just and peaceful world. When it comes to gameplay-side Humans will make great Warriors and Mages due to their increased Spirit and Sword Specialization, Dwarven Stoneform will work wonders against rogues, Night Elves look cool, and Gnomes have Escape Artist racial.
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Horde players will be able to play as Orc, Forsaken (Undead), Tauren, and Troll.
Races bound together not for their ideals (Taurens are peaceful, valuing being one with nature, unlike Orcs, for example) but for their goal of creating a world in which their people can live freely. Somewhat brutal, ruthless, and beastly, yet honorable and courageous. Orcs will make wonderful DPS Warriors, Taurens will be great as tanks due to their health increase, Undead can heal themselves out of combat reliably and resist fears, and Trolls can increase their haste, therefore - DPS by a huge amount for 10 seconds.
You should pick a race that looks good for you, so you don't have to look at something you don't like through the entire playtime. And if you want to focus on min-maxing the game, you should absolutely check our WoW Classic Races Guide to see every little detail about the race to help you decide.
There are nine classes in the game: Warrior, Rogue, Hunter, Mage, Warlock, Priest, Druid, and two extra classes that are quite special. Both Alliance and Horde have access to one unique class that will be available for one faction and for one faction only. Alliance has Paladins, and Horde has Shamans.
Paladins - Warriors imbued with the power of light. They can fulfill DPS, Tank, or Healing roles, with Healing role being the most demanded Paladin talent tree in PvE. Their heals are very mana-efficient, and their Blessings can really improve the combat capabilities of teammates. Their other playstyles are less common just because they are weaker that other classes in these aspects. Retribution Paladin which is supposed to be a DPS, is quite lacking in comparison to DPS Warriors or Rogues, and Tanks are much weaker than top-tier Warrior tanks. The best thing about Paladins is that they are versatile and they can do solo content without much trouble, as they can deal decent damage while keeping themselves alive. Humans and Dwarves will be able to access this class, so if you want to be a noble spirit, or a sturdy-yet-short son of a hammer - rolling them could be a good idea.
Shamans - arguably the most unique class available in the game. Shamans are primarily healers, and buffers, that will aid teammates with Area of Effect heals and totems that will boost fighting proficiency of every ally in the area. While their healing capabilities are one of the most demanded on the PvE battlefield (just slightly outclassed by a Priest class), they can also be played as DPS or Tanks. They are as well very versatile in their playstyles and possibilities, using various totems of four elements to get different buffs and enhancements (for example Windfury Totem, which greatly boosts DPS). Every race but Forsaken will be able to access this class, so it's worth to try.
Leveling & Convenience
As from someone who managed to level up characters on both sides of Azeroth - Horde is far better when it comes both to Leveling and Convenience hands down. There are roughly 11% more quests for the Horde, and these quests are more conveniently placed, more condensed around the Barrens (which is the best location for efficient leveling). The Barrens area has multiple quests, that will quickly get you through early levels. There are lots of zeppelins around that will allow you to transport to the most important locations quickly. And objectives are often very close to them.
If the same player hops on two sides - Alliance and Horde, with the same class, RNG, the most optimal questing + grinding path, it will be considerably faster on Horde's side. And it will be especially fast when playing as Undead since their racials and starting locations and the main city are great for grinding and leveling. Forsaken can just save a lot of time through their Cannibalize.
The Alliance is slightly less convenient and more time-consuming. Fly-paths are less common and lead to locations that are not really as valuable as those on the Horde's side. The good thing about Alliance when it comes to leveling is that it's more linear and smooth. You got to the one location, do the quests, grind a little, and then you proceed further and further into more interesting locations. As for the Horde - leveling is quite patchy, you go into one location, proceed to the next, then come back to the previous one. There's lots of going back and forth, and some players might not like that, but it's much more efficient, since you don't have to fish for quests, as they are already on your plate.
Feeling & Presentation
Alliance and Horde are not entirely black-and-white in their nature, but they are quite distinctive. Both Factions look and feel different for those who play in it, and those who play against it. Alliance has some wonderful locations and main cities, seeing Darnassus or entering Stormwind for the first time - every player that has been there already knows what we're talking about.
Locations feel unique, and they are absolutely breathtaking. Magical forests and lands, with bright, lively colors or magical blue+purple tint, especially in locations familiar to Night Elves. Large cities are built mainly of stone, and they are much more diverse than one would think. There are also lots of very cozy inns, placed in many locations. Small wooden buildings, firewood crackling in the Fireplace, bard's songs playing for those inside - it's a wonderful experience. And there's always a place close to your leveling and grinding zone to resupply or repair your gear. As a member of the Alliance, you can feel somewhat proud and noble. Horde players will be like mindless savages to you, mindless beasts that have to be put down.
As for Horde - they have a unique look as well, that is very diverse depending on where you go. Early on, especially when leveling in The Barrens - everything will seem somewhat stale, but as you go further and further into the game's content that becomes available at higher levels - it will get more epic and unique. However, starting locations are quite distinctive from the very beginning.
Orcs start at a desert Nevada-looking terrains, dominated by the color orange. Trolls start out their journey on similar land, but it's more tropical. Tauren's Starting Location is all green and natural, being a symbol of being the one with nature. As for Forsaken - Their Land is as Undead as its inhabitants. Dark, secluded, tattered, and clearly forgotten by the gods. Every location has that unique feeling, and it properly represents the relations between all available races. Races that had to band together, despite their clear differences, for the sole purpose of survival and preservation. And who wouldn't want to crush those pansy-looking warriors from the Alliance?
Available Content & Focus
Close to every piece of content can be experienced by the other faction without issues just by traveling to the opposite continent (outside of quests, etc.). But there are some things in which one faction has a clear advantage over the other, and there are differences that are bound both to PvP, and PvE, which can be quite disappointing for this community. But that's the thing that makes your choice have a bigger meaning. Both factions can focus on different things with some things being more efficient, and some simply less convenient.
The Alliance will have it much easier and convenient when it comes to PvE, outside of grinding and quests. Racials are very useful even outside of combat (especially Humans with their bonus reputation gains, and bonus Spirit). Paladin Healers are a great asset for any Dungeon or Raid, as their heals are very cost-efficient, and Blessings are just amazing in any area of the game.
Paladins are also kind of overpowered in organized Group PvP area. The buffs that they can dish out to their allies are invaluable if everyone has a good sense of team play, and they know what they are doing. An organized team of good players with a smart paladin can beat almost anyone. Ironforge is also very conveniently connected with Stormwind with a tram.
Alliance will shine when it comes to early dungeons. They are very close to most important hubs, meaning that players will spend more time on dungeons, and less time on actually traveling there. But it only happens in the beginning, as the higher you get in levels - the more convenient it will be for the Horde, especially on WoW Classic, as Horde has better buff paths in preparation for dungeons. It will be also easier for the Alliance to coordinate during dungeons and raids thanks to the presence of Paladins, that can just set off Blessings, and everyone is already doing better stuff. As for Horde - Shaman totem aura is relatively small and to support everyone - you need a few good Shaman players who can coordinate and rotate properly.
With that being said - Racials on Horde's side are way more powerful when it comes strictly to the PvP side of Classic WoW. Orcs will be wonderful against Rogues thanks to their natural resistance to Stuns, which will be invaluable in any PvP scenario (for the bursty nature of Classic WoW). They also have increased proficiency in Axes, which is the best kind of weapons for Warriors, due to more frequent critical hits. Tauren will make amazing tanks due to their natural sturdiness granting them bonus 5% Max Health, and many many more things that will make Horde far better in PvP scenarios.
Horde will most likely have a larger player base, just because WoW Classic players will keep getting more and more vicious, with Horde representing the best values to be these unstoppable killing machines on the Battlegrounds. With some early disadvantages after Barrens and dungeons that are placed not so conveniently for this faction, top-end PvE is absolutely gorgeous for Horde, it will be slightly harder than for Alliance (as Paladins make everything a little bit easier), but with a good group of players Horde can deal with bosses just fine with Windfury Totems placed around most important members of the party.
As you can see, there are way too many variables to condense everything into one good answer, which faction - Alliance or Horde - is the best for you. As for the community, there are a few certainties in this. It's very likely that new players will choose the Alliance just because avatars tend to look pretty, and everyone can create someone who looks like a hero of a great story. Veterans of the game and people coming back to experience Vanilla WoW Classic will most likely roll a Horde character, some for convenience, some for pure brutish looks.
As for those variables - there are just too many to list. Some consist of personal feelings, judging who is right, and what could be best for the universe in Classic WoW. What values do we represent, who do we want to be, what are our goals? Do we want to be strong, sturdy, and ruthless, or noble, just, and faithful?
Finally, some will purely ignore the meta-information about the game, and just pick a side that has a race that will be best for a certain class. Some will choose Horde or Alliance depending on how many of their real-life friends play on one side or the other. Some will just want to follow their favorite streamer and try to join their guild. And some will just want to min-max the best race with the best class on the best side to make a name for themselves on Classic WoW servers. Share our guide to your friends who have just started our, and struggle in finding their own way in WoW Classic. We shall meet someday during our grand quest, and may the battle be legendary if we end up on the same server, but on different sides! Don't keep us waiting, sign up, read some additional guides about choosing a faction, race, and melee or ranged class, professions, and just jump in the game, choose the most fun side