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The Big Reasons to Be Excited About Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth

World of Warcraft Columns - By Suzie Ford on November 28, 2017

The Big Reasons to Be Excited About Allied Races in Battle for Azeroth

When World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth launches at some indistinct point in the future, it will come packed with six brand new races. While it can arguably be said that all are “reskins” of existing races, this is actually purposeful design as it allows for the addition of even more over time and that also provides players with familiar, yet expanded, ways to create their characters.

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If you haven’t been following the Battle for Azeroth news, the six races are Highmountain Tauren, Nightborne Elves and Zandalari Trolls for Horde with the Alliance getting Void Elves, Dark Iron Dwarves and Lightforged Draenei.

While there is still a lot of speculation about why these race groups would join one faction or the other lore-wise, there are some pretty compelling reasons to be excited to see them from a purely gameplay perspective. Let’s take a look.

They are brand new to us

Even if physically resembling current races in World of Warcraft, each of these new groups represents something completely new to players, in terms of architecture, art and lore. Dark Iron Dwarves and, hopefully, Void Elves bring a darker tinge to the Alliance’s squeaky clean “for the Light” characterization. Nightborne bring an aesthetic to the Horde that is unlike any other in the game. Perhaps their decorators can spruce up Orgrimmar’s spikes and iron a bit.

While players have journeyed through Legion alongside the Highmountain Tauren, Lightforged Draenei and Nighborne, each group will have additional lore going into Battle for Azeroth reflecting their decision to choose one side over the other. The other new Allied Races will have new story to introduce them to their faction and to provide background information about “what they’ve been up to” (hello Dark Iron!) since last heard from.

They are familiar to us

Most negative reactions to the addition of the Void Elves have been rooted in them being largely unknown, while the Lightforged Draenei, Highmountain Tauren and Nightborne Elves remain closely tied to the well-established lore while bringing their unique spin to it that we learned about during Legion questing experience. Dark Iron Dwarves and Zandalari Trolls have been around since Vanilla both as enemies and associates and in hopefully not-too distant future will get to a new status of actual allies.

They offer new customization options

One of the things that players have complained about in more recent years is the lack of character customization outside of the transmog / armor system. Each new group brings a number of customization options including tattoos, hairstyles, fur patterns, antlers and more. Most cannot be used outside of the new races, with the notable exception of straight spines for Zandalari Trolls that are also being made available for male Orcs at the barbershop.

This is a hopeful first step. Ion Hazzikostas and Chris Robinson (Senior Art Director) recently added that more customization might be on the way:

Q: So, what do you guys plan doing about a character creation system that feels so archaic and lackluster in comparison to other RPGs?

A: We knew we would be doing Allied Races at some point so before we changed the stuff with character creation we wanted to know what we would need to add. We're going to take a look at that now.

We wanted to take a look at what we were going to do with Allied Races before we decided to add a bunch of things to the existing races. Having said that, we are at a point now where we have a good grip on that. I think we are going to take a really strong look at what we need to do to improve that system, and make some change in that area.

These will not fade into the distant past and they set the stage for the future

Do you remember recruiting the Jinyu or the Hozen for your faction during the early stages of Mists of Pandaria? Apparently, the game does not: those races have become outdated together with the content they belong to. The addition of Highmountain Tauren, Nightborne, Void Elves (currently represented by Alleria Windrunner) and Lightforged Draenei means they will not fade into obscurity like so many others before them (hello, Kurenai, Mag’har, Taunka!), and will continue getting development both for themselves, their related race and chosen faction.

Since Blizzard has indicated that these are just the first races to be added, perhaps we still might have a chance of seeing the aforementioned groups become playable. Perhaps we can even get something shiny for Gnomes and Goblins at a later point. As long as Blizzard manages to find the balance between adding new allies and their respective lore and ensuring that the original races remain well supplied with stories (some, like Gnomes, are in a dire need a heavy dosage of new racial lore), Allied Races seem like a good addition to the game. 

If you're interested in some additional thoughts on possible future races, "Red Shirt Guy" over at BlizzPlanet.com has some interesting ideas!

Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. An avid gamer, Suzie lives in the desert Southwestern US with her own personal minion.