WoW Classic factions are pretty straight forward - there's only two of them, after all, and they haven't changed even years later in the current version of the game. With that said, however, factions in WoW Classic are absolutely one of the most crucial elements any player will encounter, and will influence virtually everything they do - from questing content to class choices, WoW Classic factions dictate the shape the game will take for players as they grind through vanilla content.
The concept of WoW Classic Alliance and Horde groups is relatively simple in its design, but elaborate in execution. For those entirely unfamiliar with the game, the Alliance are the more "traditional" fantasy good guys, a collection of like-minded races that want to defend themselves from perceived threats and generally eliminate evil from Azeroth. The Horde are more anti-hero-types, especially with both the Orcs and Undead, two races who come from backgrounds explicitly linked to violence and war. Naturally, WoW Classic is much deeper than that, and both sides explore their roles in the on-going conflicts around Azeroth with nuance and depth, but the essentials of the factions are pretty broad strokes of archetypal fantasy tropes.
Choosing between WoW Classic factions goes beyond just storyline implications or general alignment charts, though. Some classes, like Paladin, are restricted to one faction only; likewise, races affiliated with one side can't join the other, so players who want to roll Undead are forced to join the Horde. These decisions have wide-reaching applications, so Screen Rant has put together a comprehensive starter's guide to choosing a WoW Classic faction. Will players join the Alliance or embody the fury of the Horde?
WoW Classic - Best Faction for PvE & PvP
Generally speaking, it's broadly considered better to be sided with the Alliance for players who are interested in clearing end-game content or beating up on fellow players with regularity. That doesn't mean that Horde members can't complete dungeons or win Battlegrounds just as well - there's just one specific class that makes it a little easier for Alliance.
That class is the Paladin, with its wide range of Blessings considered to be extremely helpful in both PvE and PvP content. Blessing of Kings, in particular, was a crucial element in a lot of group compositions that enabled some of the better damage output numbers alongside valuable stability. By contrast, the Horde has access to the Shaman class exclusively, but totems were widely accepted to be significantly worse than Blessings. As a caveat, however, Windfury did help ratchet up Horde DPS numbers, so players' mileage will vary based on group skill and composition.
It's also worth nothing that WoW Classic Alliance members who roll Human will also enjoy a 10% reputation earn bonus while grinding reputation with neutral factions. For a lot of returning players who want the ability to churn through some of the more tedious elements of WoW Classic, that could be a major time saver.
The differences are largely pretty minute, but it seems pretty clear that when it comes to WoW Classic factions, the Alliance is just slightly ahead of the Horde in both PvE and PvP, though there will certainly be some who disagree with that sentiment.
WoW Classic - Best Faction for Leveling
Sadly for Horde fans, this category also belongs to the Alliance. The numbers don't lie - statistically speaking, Alliance Night Elf or Dwarf Hunters can level the fastest in WoW Classic. That's due to a combination of quest plotting, which zones they're guided through early, racials, and other factors. It's difficult to break down without getting too deep into the science behind MMORPG grinding but, nevertheless, some of the greatest mathematical minds playing WoW Classic have come together to agree Alliance probably has an advantage.
After around level 42, though, players will gain access to more or less the same questlines regardless of their factions, which means the grinding experience evens out for the most part, and then comes down to class choice and other factors outside of WoW Classic factions. While the edge certainly seems to go to the Alliance, it's important to stress that it's only for people who heavily optimize their leveling. For anyone not willing to commit that hard to the fastest possible experience, that advantage is much less pronounced.
For a purely entertainment-based experience, Horde seems to generally have players' vote. Despite being a bit slower, a lot of the Horde-specific questlines, especially those early on, feel more impactful or meaningful than the ones on the Alliance side. Again, that's a subjective takeaway, but WoW Classic faction discussion has seemed to favor Horde for just the overall questing experience - even if it involves the legendary Barrens, a Horde-only questing zone that is infamous for being so spread out it drags out the questing experience for far too long.
WoW Classic - Alliance Exclusives
In terms of exclusives, the most prominent one is the Paladin class for WoW Classic Alliance members. Paladins are a very balanced class that are also extremely desirable as party members thanks to their powerful Blessings.
The Alliance also has access to two major hubs that Horde players can only attempt to invade via PvP: Stormwind, the Human capital and one of the most popular cities in WoW Classic; and Ironforge, the Dwarven capital. They're purely aesthetic choices, but players looking for a more refined or industrial look will likely favor the Alliance choices.
WoW Classic - Horde Exclusives
The Horde, on the other hand, have exclusive access to the Shaman class. WoW Classic Horde members can enjoy a similarly balanced class in Shaman that offers buffs to parties and can do quite well on its own, though, as stated above, it's likely a step behind Paladin thanks to not having Bloodlust yet, which was added in The Burning Crusade expansion.
The Horde has two major hubs that Alliance players can only infiltrate and cause chaos in via PvP: Orgrimmar, the Orc capital that also serves as a Troll bastion; and the Undercity, the looming and grim capital of the Undead. Those looking for a more serious and brooding aesthetic, or one that uses a lot more tribalism imagery, will likely enjoy being Horde.
Ultimately, though, which WoW Classic faction to choose is a decision that's a very personal one for players. Outside of the criteria outlined above, the most important factor will inevitably be which faction has more of a given person's friends playing in it. Because communication between factions is restricted in WoW Classic, it's important to co-ordinate with friends to ensure everyone can play together. While using this guide to help convince stubborn friends to switch over to a specific side is certainly recommended, the end goal of WoW Classic should be to enjoy it whichever way a player sees fit.