The whole idea of Allied Races has been one of the best Blizzard ideas. They take little development time, ramp up MAU, and benefit players in terms of character customization – a definite win-win for both sides.
I’d like to point out the keyword here: customization. With very few exceptions, they are a recolor of basic races and models with some perks. Also it is quite important not to forget which faction are you playing for.
So far we’ve got these pairs:
- Humans – Kul Tirans
- Dwarves – Dark Irons
- Gnomes – Mechagnomes
- Night Elves – Void Elves
- Draenei – Lightforged
- Orcs – Mag’har
- Tauren – Highmountain
- Trolls – Zandalari
- Goblins – Vulpera
- Blood Elves – Nightborne
The pattern is quite clear, and what is left are Undead and Worgen – and Pandaren.
Important note: Blizzard is unlikely going to boost race numbers after that. Further enhancement by brand new races will turn the cities into a zoo, and lead to ultimate confusion. At the same time, the existing ones don’t do that. It doesn’t matter if a tauren has moose or cow horns – he or she is still easily identified as a tauren, while Lightforged, Maghar, or Zandalari are mostly about skin tones.
Let’s settle with the thought that Allied Races will be limited to Undead/Worgen counterparts and probably Pandaren, and this is where the line will be drawn.
So what could they be?
As we all bet that the next expansion is going to be death theme, the place where we will dwell would be Northrend. And this justifies the new race options, because they never pop up out of nowhere: you have to earn their trust, gain reputation, and finish a leveling or campaign questline to learn about them.
Undead Allied Race
For the Undead allied race we will most likely see Lightborn Undead. This is gonna be one of the central expansion themes in my opinion: about free will, about liberating undead from Lich King’s (or Lich Queen’s!) grasp forever, about hope. We would probably work to collect the mindless Scourge and lead them to a sort of redemption camps where they could be reborn!
Calia will show the way, and – wow, she may even have to become the new race leader! Which leaves the proper undeads’ throne vacant! Do you see how a simple thought about an allied race outlines the story? It’s pure magic!
Worgen Allied Race
As for Worgen, they are bound to get a counterpart, because the Undead do. My best guess is that we will be questing in Grizzly Hills and sort of reminisce the Arugal questline from WotLK. It’s the strongest Worgen community presence in all WoW, and in search of an allied race it’s only logical we would turn there. Funny enough, the idea seems the only option, and it also binds us to Northrend!
Pandaren Allied Race
Finally, Pandaren. And they DO have their Northrend counterpart: Tuskarr. They share animations, vibe, and frames. They are neutral, so they could easily pick either Alliance or Horde. And they will have their presence in Northrend. Could be played out as a Tortollan-like faction: small fishing duties/puzzles/little games for world quests.
Several problems to be solved here though. First, Pandaren had a strong build-up for different philosophies which resulted in picking sides. Tuskarr should have the same questline, or else. Second, sexual dimorphism. All Tuskarr we’ve previously met were male, so they have to develop their women – and adorable/cute ones. These two points don’t seem like something unimaginable, I just wonder if Blizzard is willing to go all this way. Yet again, if Northrend 2.0. is really in development, they will turn their attention to the natives in any case, so little extra work could be required.
- Undead – Lightborn (white skin tones, light tattoos and all)
- Worgen – Grizzly Worgen (light-grey and snowy pelts, like Greymane himself)
- Pandaren – Tuskarr
I think the theory is great because logic :) What do you think?