World of Warcraft’s next patch will introduce a new Alliance capital city at the base of Azeroth’s latest World Tree, one that will first and foremost serve as a new home for Night Elves. But unlike other Alliance capital cities, this one is open to the Horde as well.
The birth of the new tree, Amirdrassil, and the building of a new city amidst its roots, Bel’ameth, is the culmination of years of in-game storytelling. The Night Elves have been refugees ever since the events of 2018’s Battle for Azeroth expansion, which saw the Horde, led by Sylvanas Windrunner, burn down the Night Elves’ previous home.
Over the course of 2020’s Shadowlands expansion and now Dragonflight, the Night Elves have been working to grow a new World Tree to call home. That dream has now become reality following patch 10.2, which saw players defending the blossoming World Tree from the Primal Incarnate Fyrakk. Now that Fyrakk has been stopped, the Night Elves are free to settle into their new home. The game’s upcoming patch 10.2.5 will introduce Bel’ameth as a new city, albeit one members of the Horde are also welcome to visit.
That fact isn’t going over too well with some Alliance players, given it is the Horde who were responsible for razing Teldrassil–the World Tree that housed the Night Elves’ previous capital city, Darnassus. One look at the game’s forums or on fan sites like Wowhead show that some longtime Alliance players are having a hard time burying the hatchet when it comes to the Horde’s previous war crimes.
“Welcome Horde, our favorite genocidal maniacs,” user Shandral sarcastically writes in a comment on Wowhead. “You killed 80% of our people but no biggy. You are welcome in our town which you had nothing to do with.”
In a forum thread on the topic of the new city, players chimed in about how they felt Horde had no right to be in an Alliance city, even if they did help defend it.
“The tree is there to replace the one that the evil faction destroyed,” Schloof writes on the game’s official forums. “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There’s no shame to be had if we keep the villain faction out. Let’s not give them the chance to do it again.”
Dragonflight has done away with much of the faction conflict that defined much of WoW’s history, and as such Horde leaders and players have all played a role in defending the World Tree from Fyrakk’s assaults. The majority of patch 10.2’s story, regardless of faction, has focused on Amirdrassil and what it means for the Night Elf people. That could potentially make it odd, then, if Blizzard were to suddenly cut-off Horde players and make them unable to visit the World Tree they helped save.
Even if Horde players are allowed, Blizzard has added a few touches to show that while they can visit, Bel’ameth isn’t neutral ground like some previous dual-faction cities. On Dragonflight’s public test realm, where patch 10.2.5 is currency being tested, Horde players receive an aura that informs them that they are being watched closely and that “seen and unseen eyes alike are watching your every move.” A Tauren NPC in the city, Archdruid Hamuul Runetotem, also makes clear that Horde players are only allowed in because Night Elf leader Tyrande Whisperwind has “graciously” allowed them, and that players should not make her “regret her decision.” Unlike most faction neutral cities, Bel’ameth doesn’t have a portal to the Horde capital of Orgrimmar, and instead only features one to the Alliance capital city, Stormwind.
WoW: Dragonflight patch 10.2.5, Seeds of Renewal, doesn’t currently have a release date but is expected to arrive soon. In addition to furthering the story of the Night Elves and their new home, the update will introduce the ability to run dungeons with NPC companions and make it so Dragonflight’s fantastic dragonriding mounts will be usable throughout all of Azeroth. The next expansion for Blizzard’s longrunning MMO, The War Within, is slated to release in 2024, and will kick off the first part of a three-expansion long story Blizzard is calling The Worldsoul Saga.
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