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Nature vs. Nurture

April 25, 2010

For anyone who has ever alted before with more than a character or two, perhaps you’ve thought about “where your allegiance lies”and why it happens that way.  By and large the majority of character that I’ve played have been Alliance.  That isn’t to say that there haven’t been Horde alts (in fact, there was a Horde main for a time) but if you measured time played per faction, Alliance would win out by more than a small margin.

I wonder if this is something that is determined by our early playing habits?

The first time that I had a character that I actually played past a small level and “knew” what I was doing and truly experienced the game was my Human priest.  She was followed closely by a Human paladin and those are the characters I spent all my time on pre-BC.  This is when I learned that the game was a social game, where I read questlines, where I had my first guild… in essence, when I bonded with the game.  When I found it was more than just a stupid thing people did on a computer when they could have been reading historical fiction.

And so, the alts that I rolled after that were Alliance.  I spent a lot of time there.  There really wasn’t “progress” per se, but wallowing and immersing.  However, when BC hit, I wanted to check out what the Blood Elves were about and rolled several – one of which was Sin, my Blood Elf rogue who was my first ever 70.  However, even before Sin was 70, I had rolled Anea Allianceside.  And then Anea gained “main” status pretty soon after – Sin was never raided on.  And after Anea was my main, I spent ALL my time playing her and staying on the Allianceside – Lus rolled his namesake pally and we leveled to 70, raided, then when Wrath hit we leveled to 80 and raided. Even now, I try a Horde alt but after about 30 levels, I come back to what’s familiar.

If you got bored of that last paragraph, it means that I may have had flings with the Horde but Alliance seems to be where it feels comfortable to me – certainly familiar.  It puzzles me that I can’t seem to go back to the Horde – the stories are certainly different and I do have a burning desire to have a Troll but at some point… they’re abandoned and I need to roll an Alliance character.

So at any rate, I wonder if how you play early on in your WoW career dictates what faction you may align with – perhaps by a lot, perhaps only slightly.  If you played Alliance only or a lot early on, do you find yourself coming back to the Alliance?  Do you have more Alliance characters?  Was the Horde the majority of your beginning time and now you don’t like playing Alliance that much?

There could be any number of factors here, I know – and they will all play into any answer you might give.  Nature vs. nuture could be a ridiculous idea with the game since there ARE so many variables.  However, it “made sense” with me and my particular situation (in a way).

And if it IS a feasible idea, is it possible for me to overcome the “Alliance nuturing” that I had as a young player?

(I apologize if that post was slightly incoherent)

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22 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2010 8:15 PM

    I really feel no loyalty for or familiarity with either faction– I rolled Alliance cause that’s where my friends were (although I REALLY wanted to be a tauren), and up til the end most of my mains were Alliance and most of my playtime was Alliance simply because it’s where my guild/friends were, and that whole social element was there.I did level a Horde alt to 80 and two Horde alts into their 60s, which probably roughly evens out to my two Alliance 80s and one Alliance 40. Most of my playtime was Allianceside because it’s where I was raiding and where my friends were (as I mentioned). But had my guild and/or friends faction-switched, I would have too, with no qualms. I enjoyed the storylines for both factions equally and felt comfortable on either. *nod*

  2. April 25, 2010 9:13 PM

    Hmm, I first started out as horde – since it’s what my brother was playing and he’s the one who originally introduced me to the game. I levelled to 60 and I joined a guild and raided with them. They were nice people, but I didn’t get enough time to properly bond with them when my brother suddenly decided to re-roll alliance on a server where a lot of his friends were. Not wanting to be left behind I followed suit.Oh I hated alliance at first. Especially gnomes. I think this stems back to my first ever venture into a PvP flagged zone (Ashenvale) on my undead.. I think I got about 10 ft into the zone when I ran into a level 60 gnome (did I mention I was like 18?) who promptly dismounted his mechanical chicken and one-shotted me. I’ve hated them ever since…However, now that I’ve played alliance for such a long time – I really enjoy alliance. I occassionally miss horde, but on alliance side is where I have my guild and friends – and multitude of alts. Whenever I want to roll a horde I never get far since I miss having my 80s to back me up with gold and virtually every profession in the game (except Leatherworking for some reason..) I’m probably too spoilt, but I just feel lost without my backup group :)I do have an 80 horde, and my original horde is 70 – but I never seem to be able to play them much. Cause I miss my guildies and my stuff. Maybe I’m lazy, but oh well.. :)

  3. April 25, 2010 9:16 PM

    I’m similar to you, I started off with my NE druid, and have stuck mainly to the alliance side ever since. Over 5 years later and I still have yet to experience the full horde-side experience! I do have a tauren druid who’s at 52 now, but she’s stuck at that level cause I’m so sick of the 50-60 grind, regardless of what side!

  4. Shiizin permalink
    April 25, 2010 9:43 PM

    Hello, I’ve been stalking your blog because it’s awesome and for this post I just HAD to post a comment… so I hope you don’t mind :)I started playing WoW about two years ago and it was just for the 10 free trial period. I rolled Alliance right off the bat. My first toon was a Gnome Warrior that I just couldn’t get into playing. Then I switched to a Human Priest but found myself not liking the interactions with other players and their need to constantly whisper me to be their in-game girl, and then the last toon I tried as Alliance was a Dwarf Hunter. I loved being a hunter but I just couldn’t get into playing the game at all. I was on the verge of quitting the game altogether when I found myself on the login page just randomly selecting races. For some reason I rolled a Troll Hunter and I was hooked. When my 10 trial period was over I NEEDED to get the game I just couldn’t imagine NOT playing this Troll Hunter I created. She wasn’t my first toon made but she’s been my main ever since. Since that time my heart has always belonged to the Horde and to the Trolls. I try time and again to roll an Alliance toon but I, personally, feel as if I’m betraying all my Horde toons. Plus I love how the world is seen from the Horde side. There’s just something in me that is drawn to the Horde races and their struggles. The more I get into the game and the more lore I discover my love for the Horde deepens. I guess there’s just something in me that connects better with them. All I know is if it weren’t for my Troll Hunter I would have never continued to play WoW and wouldn’t have understood the passion that lies in the hearts of the gamers that play it. So to each their own :) But for me and myself, "FOR THE HORDE!"

  5. April 26, 2010 6:43 AM

    I have always always been Horde. This started because I came into WoW knowing I wanted to play an Orc (i had a man-crush on Thrall from WC3, he’s just so freaking aweomse!), but also developed quickly into outright Horde-love. Well, at least love for what I call the ‘core Horde’, meaning Orcs, Trolls and Tauren, I just love their simpler, living-off-the-land, warrior culture feel. Then I also developed quite a love for the Forsaken, as their tragic nature is very evocative and led to some great backstories.By contrast, Alliance characters have repeatedly failed to interest me. I levelled a Dwarf up to level 10 once and thats as far as it went. And Dwarves are the Allly race I like the *most*. They just don’t possess as much of a strong identity as Horde races, and also (with the exception of Draenei, perhaps) don’t feel have much going on with their racial identities. Humans are just so bloody *nice* in their starting area, it made me want to kill things.

  6. April 26, 2010 11:13 AM

    You may be on to something. I first started playing a Night Elf druid but I reached the dreaded bear form quest and I quit the game (I was testing out WoW on someone elses account). I came back to WoW and played a Tauren Shaman till I got my own account where I rolled a Dwarf Priest and leveled him to 70 then to 80. Many times have I tried to level a horde character but it just wasn’t working for me. The highest level horde I have would be level 21. I’m a social creature I require people to talk to, so leveling solo just isn’t my thing-Anslym

  7. April 26, 2010 7:22 PM

    I love the Tauren models but Alliance is my home. Mostly because I got into the game via a coworker and her husband who also played Alliance. After my long-time Alliance Guild exploded (& I considered myself partly to blame) I rerolled on the Horde side where I played out the remainder of my subscription before quitting. Now I’ve resubscribed, and I’m still Alliance, mostly because my sister & her husband play Ally and I want to spend time with them when I can (we live in separate countries, hence the need for electronic communication).

  8. April 26, 2010 8:45 PM

    My first toon was a dwarven paladin. I think I leveled her to about 20 and stopped. I then made a human warlock, and got her to 58 and realised DPS was not my cup o’ tea. My main is a night elf priest, and I love her. I love the Alliance, and I too have struggled with horde toons. I think the highest level Horde toon I’ve ever had is level 20. With the coming of Cataclysm, I desperately want to have a goblin, and so I am beginning now to search out Horde toons and to discover, after all these years of Alliance indoctrination, if I can be a Hordie. I think I can, it’s just a matter of making new friends and being stubborn enough to stick with the leveling. If I can do it, you can too (if you really want to).

  9. April 26, 2010 10:21 PM

    I played Alliance from the trial, a month before WotLK, till a year ago. Some friends of mine and I started a guild and the vote went Horde.Because of my limited playtime, I can’t go back and forth so I’ve been Horde since. But I feel no real faction allegiance, and if they all decided to faction change to Ally tomorrow it wouldn’t bother me a bit.

  10. April 26, 2010 10:21 PM

    I played Alliance from the trial, a month before WotLK, till a year ago. Some friends of mine and I started a guild and the vote went Horde.Because of my limited playtime, I can’t go back and forth so I’ve been Horde since. But I feel no real faction allegiance, and if they all decided to faction change to Ally tomorrow it wouldn’t bother me a bit.

  11. April 27, 2010 1:32 AM

    I’ve talked about this on occasion in my posts — long story short, I started out Horde because my husband & his RL friends were Horde, and have been For The Horde! ever since. As much as I want to experience as much of the game as I can, I still have to make a Project out of leveling one character of every Alliance race just enough to get to Level 20 and their first mount. I have to "make time" within my game playing time to spend time with my Alliance characters, because I have so many other things I could be doing instead with my Horde toons.Left to my own devices — if I had for some reason decided to start playing the game on my own initiative (which might never have happened) — I’m not sure what would have happened. I suspect I might have started out as a Human (probably a Mage), but beyond that, who knows? I think I’d probably still have had the desire to play a character of every race and class, but I don’t know which race would have captured my heart if I’d been playing solo when I started out.

  12. Jack permalink
    April 27, 2010 4:27 PM

    I’ve been a D&D geek since my cousin showed me his red-box basic set back in middle school. I’m talking, like, 1981. Geez I’m an old geezer, right? My favorite character class was elf (yep, it was class in basic D&D) until I started buying the AD&D books. My favorite then became, and through every expansion of the game has stayed, druids. I like the versatility and the lore and had visions of being like Shannara’s Allanon. So, of course, when I started playing WoW, the first character I made was a druid. A Night Elf druid. And I absolutely fell in love with Teldrassil. Standing on a branch, watching the sunset off the edge of the world is where my sense of wonder about this marvelous game was born and Teldrassil remains my in-game "home".I have since made a ton of alts to see how classes and races played out at least in their starting zones and because I really enjoy the levelling. I have played every race and every class through at least 10 levels and almost all through 20-30 or more. Every race and class has things going for them that can be fun. I understand how they can be appealing. "For the Horde!" gets my blood pumping every time. And the Alliance just doesn’t have an inspiring battle cry like that.But I always come back to the Alliance. And not just the Alliance, but to Teldrassil. Of my 4 level 80s, three are Night Elf druids. It feels right. I don’t feel like I’m trying to justify all the wrongs "my people" have done because we were taken advantage of or were trying to throw off the yokes of some oppressor or were just defending ourselves. I mean, sure, Night Elves have done wrong . . . but recognized, "Hey, that was wrong. We’d better deal with it. Figure out how to fix it. Or do whatever we can to right it. At least, as much as it’s possible to make right."Plus they flip. That is, by far, the coolest racial in the game. I don’t care how useful war stomp or every man for himself is. Only Night Elves flip.What really drives what I play more than anything, though, is playing with people I like and know. My second level 80 was a resto druid I made to heal for a group of IRL friends. Because I was playing with buddies, I levelled her to 80 even before my main, that first druid I ever made, who ended up my third level 80. My fourth (and most recent) was a balance druid I made to sit in chat with my brother and his wife on their server. My first level 80, though, was an Undead death knight that I made pretty early after the WotLK release because my brother was playing a Tauren druid that was just heading to Outland at that time. So we levelled to 80 together as a tank/healer team.As fun as that was, though, I personally can’t get into playing Forsaken (even less after doing Wrathgate and after seeing Sylvanas’ interaction in the ICC 5 mans). It seemed to fit the whole frosty DK thing, but I never really got into the character. Know what I mean? He was just a social thing to play with my brother. And now that my brother and his wife are raiding with a good group on Alliance side, yay! I’m having a blast playing my druids. I’ve just started levelling a character, a warrior this time, that I really think will be my 5th level 80 . . . in part because she’s a Night Elf, so I feel like I’m playing on my home turf, and in part because she’s on the same server where my brother and his wife play. So I can hang out in chat with them. Even run instances or quest with their low level alts sometimes. I even went out and got all the heirloom gear because I feel enough of a connection with this warrior to make the emblem investment worthwhile.Only level 25 so far, though. We’ll see if I can make it past the Gnomeregan phase of LFD. I may end up skipping the whole "random" element until Gnomer turns green. Unless the "reclaiming Gnomeregan" thing turns out cool enough to play along with.

  13. April 28, 2010 3:27 AM

    I started on Alliance side. It was an NE warrior and I got her to level 54 before I re-rolled (at the whim of my boyfriend) on Horde side to play with him. Ever since then I definitely feel more Horde-orientated and all my highest level characters are on Horde. We recently rolled Alliance characters, and though it doesn’t feel *foreign* on that side, I do feel more familiar with the Horde.

  14. April 28, 2010 7:42 AM

    I was coerced into the game by one of my gal pals, whose boyfriend had dragged her in. I was so far along the train, that I actually don’t know who decided to be Alliance, which subsequently meant everyone else had to be Alliance in order to play together. There was a large group of us, some returning, some new, so we all wanted to be able to play together at end-game. The game is so important to me from a social aspect that I can’t play anything but Alliance on my main’s server. I have Horde characters on a bunch of other servers, but I get lonely on them :(

  15. April 28, 2010 7:42 AM

    I was coerced into the game by one of my gal pals, whose boyfriend had dragged her in. I was so far along the train, that I actually don’t know who decided to be Alliance, which subsequently meant everyone else had to be Alliance in order to play together. There was a large group of us, some returning, some new, so we all wanted to be able to play together at end-game. The game is so important to me from a social aspect that I can’t play anything but Alliance on my main’s server. I have Horde characters on a bunch of other servers, but I get lonely on them :(

  16. April 28, 2010 1:53 PM

    I started off as Horde, played Horde for probably 3 years before I rerolled to Alliance, where a friend was, soon after going back to Horde where the other half was and my comfort zone. I’ve gone back to Alliance now, so that’s where my allegiance lies, I prefer their races, mounts, and the server I’m on, however, the Horde cities will always be home for me. It’s a strange affair :p

  17. Carrie permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:14 PM

    My first character (who is still my main and the one I love most) was a Night Elf hunter. I rolled her purely for her good looks, waaaay back in Vanilla. I loved the elf thing, the colors, the trees, everything about being a Night Elf. They had been my favorite in the RTS games, and that carried over to WoW. Since then almost all of my characters have been Alliance. It’s where I made my friends, it’s what I know, it’s where my stuff is. I do have a level 60 tauren druid, spawned from a stint with Recruit-A-Friend, and a 60-something Blood Elf mage, but I just can’t seem to get into a groove with them. I intend to get my mage to 80, because I really want to see Northrend from a Horde perspective, but it’s going to take a looong time. Especially since my hubby faction-changed his leveling partner from Undead to Dwarf. I’ll get there… someday.

  18. Carrie permalink
    April 28, 2010 4:14 PM

    My first character (who is still my main and the one I love most) was a Night Elf hunter. I rolled her purely for her good looks, waaaay back in Vanilla. I loved the elf thing, the colors, the trees, everything about being a Night Elf. They had been my favorite in the RTS games, and that carried over to WoW. Since then almost all of my characters have been Alliance. It’s where I made my friends, it’s what I know, it’s where my stuff is. I do have a level 60 tauren druid, spawned from a stint with Recruit-A-Friend, and a 60-something Blood Elf mage, but I just can’t seem to get into a groove with them. I intend to get my mage to 80, because I really want to see Northrend from a Horde perspective, but it’s going to take a looong time. Especially since my hubby faction-changed his leveling partner from Undead to Dwarf. I’ll get there… someday.

  19. April 28, 2010 8:24 PM

    My first toon was a Nelf huntress, she didn’t fare so well getting stuck in astranaar, I picked alliance because they looked better. (except the tauren)Since then, I’ve tried all of the races/classes, I found the backstories for the horde starter zones mildly interesting, (the earthmother questline in particular is great, and the noobzone for blood elves is a virtual paradise except for that huge trench in the middle.) The forsaken just creeped me out, and the orcs/trolls just never really interested me.I did manage to get a tauren druid up into his 30’s, but, all my friends are on alliance side on a different server.. the tauren is my escape toon. for when i need to get away from the people i hang out with when i get away from everything else. I guess technically my highest horde is a 62 belf deathknoob, but that doesn’t really count.. I never have managed to level a rogue past mid 20’s, i just hit a wall, get tired of them and delete them. Alliance side however, I have my 2x 80’s (a hunter and a druid), I have 3 more 70+ following them up the ranks, (a deathknoob, a hunter, and a mage) after that my warlock and pally are languishing in the 40’s, and below that are my project toons and bank alt. My 80 hunter (dwarf) is what really hooked me, and capturing ol’sooty the bear in dun morogh as a pet was a blast. It wasn’t till near the end of TBC when my druid came to become my main and rocketed up from 30’s to 70 and raiding status and has been my most attended to character ever since.

  20. Anea permalink
    April 29, 2010 8:41 PM

    @ Everyone: Thanks, all, for sharing your stories! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one and to hear how everyone started out in the game and where they are now. <3

  21. Anea permalink
    April 29, 2010 8:41 PM

    @ Everyone: Thanks, all, for sharing your stories! It’s nice to see I’m not the only one and to hear how everyone started out in the game and where they are now. <3

  22. May 1, 2010 12:04 PM

    I have to admit that since my two closest friends in WoW switched factions to Alliance to join a fellow friend’s guild, I’ve had to confront my Horde bias.In the months I’ve played WoW, I’ve never rolled an Alliance character. I’ve come close, but I couldn’t push the button. Now I have, and the innate strangeness of it all is very disorienting. I think I may eventually get used to playing Alliance, but my first love will probably always be on the Horde side.I suspect you’ve got it right, our early impressions of the game shape our biases later on, and it will take a lot of work to undo those biases.

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