Red Shirt Guy… you remember the Red Shirt Guy from BlizzCon, right… he got his own NPC in game… has an editorial up about the perception in World of Warcraft that the Horde is the favored faction and the the dev team prefers to work on things for the Horde to the detriment of the Alliance side of the coin.
Since he is a well established lore hound in addition to being a dedicated player, it was interesting to see his take on what has been a controversial topic from time to time.
Of course, the bias hasn’t always been that perceived the same way. I recall a time when it was felt that the Horde was neglected because they did not have a “pretty” race. And so they got blood elves. And the Alliance got blue space goats. Making things right or evidence of bias?
Anyway, this got me thinking about other games, and there are certainly times when I felt a faction was being neglected.
For example, when I started off in EverQuest back in 1999, I chose Qeynos as my starting place. That was a mistake in some respects. The city was somewhat neglected, was not the place to be if you wanted to craft, and was on the opposite side of a hostile continent from most of the player base. They were all in Freeport where all the cool stuff happened. So while I loved the Karanas, I still had to travel to Freeport time and again to by things or meet up with friends.
On the flip side of all of that, when it comes to nostalgia, being from Qeynos is now superior. Freeport continued to be lavished with attention, getting a graphics revamp a while back. Meanwhile, Qeynos remains in pretty much its original state, which is fine with me.
And the Freeport bias continued in EverQuest II, where at launch Freeport was a giant, over-wrought city or intricate detail. And Qeynos was a nice place to live, but not very memorable.
In EVE Online there used to be some irregularities in the factions. And I am not talking about the ships, which seem to favor one faction or another with each revision. Long was the rule of the Drake and Hurricane battlecruisers before their nerfing. But back when I was starting, there was a clear advantage to picking the Caldari faction and specific bloodlines and background, as you ended up with more, and more useful, skill points to start with. That has since been fixed, but for quite a stretch there was a “right” choice when creating a new character.
And, to beat a nearly dead horse, there was Warhammer Online, where it sure felt like destruction had been given some better options when it came to character classes back when a lot of people actually played it.
You could go on. the Guardians in Rift clearly got the better character models. The dwarves and elves in Lord of the Rings Online get kind of crap starting zones in my opinion, while the hobbits just get a version of the human starter zone, then get jumped from Archet to the Shire, breaking the story line.
But you start to get to nit picking and things that are really opinion. Some people might like the Defiant character models in Rift.
The question comes down to whether or not it really matters. I think in a lot of cases, it really does not. I got over the character models, you don’t spend much time in the starter zone, I’ve moved on to flying other ships, and once in a while it works out, as in the case of Qeynos. Not that I let anybody forget the slight.
Of course, I am in favor of there being a more difficult faction available, something that makes the game more challenging for those willing to accept the assignment.
What about you? Is there a faction getting a raw deal in your game?