The issue people have with Alliance vs Horde and who is winning is just stupid I think.
I know that people trot this out as some kind of an attack, and I know that people have been trying to assert some sort of argumentative purity by saying "but we weren't saying that we should be any more effective than a comic-relief villain!", but I don't see why it's stupid, and you haven't really explained it.
Why is winning once in a while such an unreasonable demand? Why is it bad that the Alliance should be able to hold its own rather than being a pity object for the Horde rebellion in what is really the Horde's story? What exactly is interesting about one side just absolutely curbstomping another?
I can see why Horde players and Horde fans would love to see the Alliance as a bunch of cardboard cutouts to knock down, but that's not the case. We have two playable factions, both filled with duespaying customers, and it's perfectly understandable that people are upset about being torn down in the way that the Alliance - particularly the Night Elves - has been. Yes, winning once in a while would not be a bad thing, and while you're at it, Blizzard, put in some work on BOTH factions, rather than giving one side a multifaceted story involving multiple characters and personalities while you centralize the other around one "perfect" man.
Bear with me, I am medicated at the moment for reasons that are not fun or recreational, so my thinking is a bit slippery. Firstly, I must address the notion that paying dues entitles you to benefiting or being inconvenienced through events that exist solely in the story line of the game outside of the basic game play experience, and I think that issue is a distraction we should just ignore at this point, there is always someone out there who favors a specific race or character over the other, and to try and please them just because they pay to play Warcraft should have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of the lore and story line in this game. Feel free to return to that topic if you feel it really is relevant.
I've personally seen the issue continually boiled down to nothing more than score keeping too many times to count, all the while as they ignore the events in WOW prior to CATA as if things were balanced in some artificial memory of fairness and neutrality on Blizzard's part once upon a time. All the while ignoring the context of the victories or defeats only concerned with who has won or lost what.
They forget for years how so many Horde players complained about how much more effort they perceived went into polishing the Night Elf and other Alliance capitols and starting zones as compared to those of the Horde. They complained about the aesthetic attractions of the visual designs them self, missing the point of what each faction represents. They complained about the major lore behind each patch being tied into Alliance heroes and their races for so long compared to those of the other.
But for what it's worth, I feel what you say is worth examination and I don't mean to downplay that or suggest that I've only
seen score keeping on this superficial of a level as a basis for faction bias complaints, I do not ignore how much more emotionally jarring and devastating the losses were at first glance for the Alliance over the Horde's as of Cata's events when you look at it purely though military and territorial losses and victories as the major indication of that imbalance.
I see this this perceived imbalance in the lore concerning the Alliance and it's defeats creating the perception that Blizzard is unfairly and intentionally putting one faction through unnecessarily harsh hardships, akin to some devious and childish equivalence to a child burning ants with a magnifying lens in the sunlight just because they can do so without fear of reprisal. Just because it's their game and they can do what they want. At least this is how I often see it presented.
I feel this is a harsh and unfair criticism for people who truly DO
have a lot of love and passion for each side that I feel is unfairly dismissed, twisted, distorted and spun into such a petty portrayal of the situation. Corpsegrinder and Samwise's butt rocker "football rivalry" attitudes brought into the context and environment of a fantasy role playing game convention didn't help.
I think this harsh criticism is just unfair to Blizzard's story team and it does a disservice to the art of storytelling in the first place, because unfairness and tragic loss is necessary in a good story I feel. If it was due to nothing more than the biased people being given the driver's wheel, it would have merit, but I feel that's just a knee jerk reaction to people who are both overly sensitive and cannot handle loss or who are just fanatically attached to one specific race and who are automatically prone to assuming the worst concerning their story treatment.
I personally relished and savored my initial return to Auberdine to find a place which held so much meaning for me, demonlished. All the while the pride I felt guarding the borders of Ashenvale was being trampled on by Orcish boots as my ancient forests burned. And I loved it, as a neutral observer, for how it inspired me and made the story I'd grown complacent with for several years alive once more. I also loved it for the feeling of pride I had for the Kaldorei and the inspiration it gave me to get out there and do my part to have a role in the situation.l
To risk hyperbole, I think it's a sin,... an unnatural creative abomination,....to claim that these kinds of dramatic and powerfully emotional defeats should be in some way balanced procedurally to satisfy the fans who have truly follow this game through the eyes of their favored faction, I feel it would come off as stilted and contrived ultimately to balance these tragedies.
And to avoid these kinds of controversial shake ups in the lore at all comes off as timid storytell and threatens stagnation in the story in my opinion. And I've frequently seen plenty of people I've gotten the impression from that they feel these events should either never happen or that they should follow some kind of 1 for 1 balance. I suspect this objection and this outrage over imbalance in a storyline is born of a very real projection of their own opinions toward the other faction or races or characters that they fear lives in Blizzard's decisions, or from a very inflated attachment to any one race in the game Blizzard's developers simply do not share in intensity.
In the end, I think people need to keep in mind that the faction war is a fun and harmless workplace rivalry for Blizzard's team, and the accusations I see of company favoritism depress me when I see how just much passion and creativity and effort that Blizzard puts into this game's story line only to be accused of these petty things.
To address the objections I feel are at the heart of your post:---Why is winning once in a while such an unreasonable demand?
It's not an unreasonable demand. But WOW's story takes a long time to move. Blizzard's tunnel vision and the rate at which they advance the story is inconsistent in it's momentum, and it's as slow as molasses in the winter to get somewhere interesting at times when at other times it changes in the blink of an eye. This idea that the Alliance is never winning is false and I think it was born of the events of Cataclysm only. I feel it's also born of a reluctance to accept the victories of the neutral heroes of our world and their deeds as in any way tied into the factions they came from. When a hero goes neutral, the faction loyalists seem to brand them as selfish or traitors. I find that unreasonable and often just a chance to focus and inject previously held qualms with those characters. ---Why is it bad that the Alliance should be able to hold its own rather than being a pity object for the Horde rebellion in what is really the Horde's story?
I don't think it really is the Horde's story, which is why it is NOT bad.
The story for the Cataclysm is about shaking up stagnant foundations we take for granted in the story line.
You ask why is it bad that the Alliance should be able to hold it's own? Well I would ask you why is it bad that the Alliance should not be able to constantly hold it's own and to be used as an object of pity in some manner when it is tied into a story that transcends both factions, which I feel it is?
Why is it bad to feel loss and defeat once in a while, sometimes even overwhelmingly more so than only once and a while? What is wrong with an era of ever building bleakness and hopelessness in a story if it's working towards something?
One must remember the Horde is much newer in it's current incarnation than the Alliance, it required more attention to be brought into it's own force as a truly global power on par with the Alliance in it's strength and size. Which brings me to your next question, and why I would posit that that this is not just the Horde's story, and why it is bad
that the Alliance should once again be able to hold it's own in the face of cosmic danger. --- What exactly is interesting about one side just absolutely curbstomping another?
I don't think they have curbstomped the other completely, but as a reply to that I would ask what is interesting about perpetually fair outcomes regardless of context? Because avoiding unfairness for the sake of not being unfair can easily lead to artificially contrived developments in a story. I think many of the defeats for the Alliance were trade offs with just enough of an edge for the Horde to bring them up to par with the Alliance as a truly global power while also using these events as an opportunity to show the aggressive shift in the character and philosophy of the Horde, foreshadowing the darker times ahead we were warned of.
And more importantly, mirrored in that reflection for the Horde's own character development, what unfairness for the Alliance in their "curb stomping" was actually there I feel in order to shake up long held assumptions over the reliability of the Alliance as a permanent source of noble justice, order, and stability that so many of it's fans see exemplified within the Gold and Blue. That sense of Alliance stability needed to be challenged
. Challenging that assumed stability of the Alliance presented a crisis of identity for the faction and it's heroes.
It is that challenged reliability and stability of the Alliance which mirrors the same challenge to the identity of the Horde and what it has stood for under the spiritual guidance and noble leadership of Thrall. It then follows, that you are wrong to say the Alliance was subjected to defeat and humilation only to further the story of the Horde, when the Alliance benefited just as much regarding overall development in their own character and theme. It is only the superficial preoccupation with one's development concerning the growth of their power while the other's development was concerning the loss of their established power.
I think the Alliance has been due for this kind of tragedy. Despite the defeats and losses the Alliance endured in WC1 and WC2 and WC3, the brunt of tragedy endured by both Horde and Alliance species has still favored the Alliance and left their stability intact, along with their territorial holdings for the most part, while the Horde was left a traveling army of vagabonds and mercenaries seeking a home of their own, drawing to them new members who were also seen as outcasts or underdogs. Granted, the Horde were the aggressors which led to the shattering of their clans and the losses of the Alliance, but it is, what is is, and fairness should not trump interesting plot development.
A shake up was necessary and seemed a fun way to take the story after so many years of the status quo. The Horde needed to be given an increased threat to pose towards the Alliance in that they needed to come into their own as an appropriate global super power rather than a rag tag horde of nomads and outcasts united by codes of feudalistic honor and a Darwinian respect for strength. But what remains to be seen now is if they can be that global power while not being an aggressive and warlike Horde as we see under Garrosh.
I think in the end, what Metzen said to us at Blizzcon boils all of this down rather well and people are just impatient at the speed of development as well as with the imprecise and sometimes ham-fisted approach to realizing that vision Metzen outlined . Dark times are coming, dark times are ahead, but dark times are necessary as a vacuum which gives rise to the greatest of heroes.
We are still seeing these dark times play out, and you must, I urge you as a respected member of this community, divorce your penchant for one race or another in particular, as I feel it is clouding your judgment on this issue.
While the Alliance has taken humiliations and losses and had their pride wounded in light of some of these grand defeats, the Horde has had it's ethics and it's values of honor and loyalty compromised and perverted and stepped on in ways one could equivocate morally with the territorial and martial losses of the Alliance.
Granted, not 1 for 1, but in a fairly steady equivalence.
For one thing, in this community I think a major issue with people objecting to that equivocation as being valid is that they never felt the Horde had any ethical strengths or values concerning honor or loyalty with a authenticity and consistency that could compare to the stability and enduring strength that the Alliance was known for.
Ultimately I feel Blizzard's plan to take both Alliance and Horde together into a time of dark loss has worked, and it's just caused those preoccupied with the idea of unfair faction bias to have much food for thought while worrying those without faith in Blizzard that they can pull this off.
I think this bleak era in the story is meant to give rise to a time of great and noble heroes on coming forth on both Horde and Alliance, with great villains as well on both factions, all tied toward the moment in the tapestry of Warcraft when the greatest threat we've faced yet rises forth and demands these petty land wars are put to a stop.
These newly empowered heroes will put aside their earthly and political concerns for resources and grudges, and these newly born villains of the Factions will find a welcome home for their abilities to be put to optimal use, and all the squabbles over Ashenvale, Pandaria, and Northrend will seem as pale memories, as the Battle for Mount Hyjal will become a time looked back on as a petty skirmish in the face of this malevolence.