Allied Races in 9.0.: A Huge Spoiler of Its Own?

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.

And so:

  • 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?

4 thoughts on “Allied Races in 9.0.: A Huge Spoiler of Its Own?

  1. I think you have some races wrongly paired: Void Elves are based on Blood Elves, and Nightborne on Night Elves, they just changed factions from their template races.

    In a way, Pandaren themselves were the first allied race (albeit the term was not invented at the time). They ally with the Horde or Alliance at Wandering Isle, in the result of questline that could be seen as equivalent to current recruiting questlines for allied races. So Pandaren-based allied race is not actually needed: they can be just renamed to allied race and starting questline could be modified to bring them to level 20.

    However, Pandaria holds another two races that also did ally with Horde and Alliance and potentially could be added to the roster: Jinyu and Hozen. (So when the hype over Vulperas dies out, Blizzar can appease its mature and sophisticated audience with the ability to play monkey characters!)

    Your appraisal on possible Undead and Worgen allied races seem to be most logical. At WotLK times, the cure for Worgen curse was not yet known, but these days a small alchemical factory in Grizzly Hills can solve the problem. There is a possibility for another cross-faction change (light-infused undead under Callia join alliance, but Grizzly Hills Worgen are liberated by the Horde).

    There are also Northrend quasi-allied races (Taunka and Frostborn Dwarves). They may seem superfluous, but what could Blizzard not do to prolong play time… Besides, those factions have their reputation bars, so the base for allyization is there.

    On Tuskarr, I’m quite sceptical.

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    • Hozen/Jinyu won’t work. Level of general annoyance from players exceeds level of amusement from hozen, and jinyu are just plain boring. Both are very ugly in stance, movements and faces, hence little attraction to players. Lack of sexual dimorphism (Hunter Akana looks the very same as Bladesman Inowari, for example – and Nazjatar was a chance to re-introduce Jinyu). Lack of contemporary story. Lack of corresponding race.

      Undead/Worgen faction swap cannot be done: I’ve pointed out that faction should be immediately identified by its frame in the field, especially when a character is fully clad in armor: only by the way it moves. Elves are an exception as they don’t differ much, being, well, elves. But you can’t assign any tauren or orc or undead to the Alliance, same as any gnome or dwarf or worgen to the Horde.

      Besides (spoiler), Lilian Voss approaches Calia about Forsaken in 8.3., and Derek also leaves with her. The overall sentiment of Forsaken lore, including Thomas Zelling, is about finding a new way to live among the likes, finding a new self rather than trying to live among humans.

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  2. I hope they go back to regular races. New models and new rigs with their own starting zones and questlines. Allied races are ok, but they are mostly just reskins that they lock behind a repgate for some reason. I do think they’ll finish out the pattern with at least a worgen and a undead allied race pair.

    I feel like its a bit of a stretch, but so were void elves I guess, so perhaps light undead will happen. As for worgen, I still believe that sethrak will come from that. They use a modified female worgen model from what I remember.

    If we are going back to northrend, playable tuskarr (Preferably a normal race and not an allied race) would be amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

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