On the FoH’s forum you can find a thread with the links to the scans of the 10-pages expansion preview further confirming what has been leaked all around, in the case you were fooled by the awful coverage of the mainstream gaming news sites.
No need to squint over the scans. Those articles are long but say nothing over what I already summarized a week ago.
What was interesting to read, instead, is some lore informations about the Blood Elves. The way Chris Metzen describes this race and its relationship with the Horde is in fact near to the thoughts I wrote back at release:
For example I didn’t know that the actual “normal” servers are excused in the lore, while the PvP servers are more ‘off’. The two factions aren’t at war from the lore point of view. Yes, they don’t coexist easily but the positive direction is about trying to find the peace. In this scenario, right into the lore, there’s NO distinct line between good and evil as alliance/horde. The horde isn’t evil at all, in particular the Taurens and the Forsaken (undead). To the point that the Night Elves could even be considered more evil than those (same for the Gnomes that aren’t portrayed as a good race *at all*).
From the lore point of view the gank squads on the PvP servers aren’t anymore patrols “to defend” a realm, they are instead attempts at breaking the alliance between the two factions, disrupting all the progress that was being made. Like terrorist acts to destabilize the situation. Something that I’m not sure the players are actually seeing.
Not only we have solid gameplay with each class working into its own special way, but even the races have back stories with a lot of depth that shape their role into the world and they are also not superficial at all.
They go right into the heart. Trying to reply the true essence of our myths. Civil wars, terrorist acts, heroism, peace, alliances, truces: the Taurens/native americans, the gnomes and their faith into tech that made them nuke their own population (Gnomeragon), the Dwarves and their nature to preserve and stay away from the battles, with a nostalgic attitude about the past, the Night Elves and their troubles with a world changing and destroying the “magic/nature” that they need to preserve so they can survive, the Orcs and their attempts at searching tranquility, in a dichotomy between a simple but rude attitude that makes them trying to go close to the peace they are searching and then ruin it…
WoW tries to shape and reproduce a long, long list of myths and archetypic situations. Even from the lore point of view it’s a masterpiece and does a lot more of any other game at trying to capture the essence of a fantasy world or also ‘why’ so many peoples love it.
When we firstly heard about the Blood Elves many players started to rant because they wouldn’t fit with the lore, but, in the light of some more details that were revealed, I believe that not only they fit perfectly, but they will also add a lot of appeal and justified controversy to the Horde. Metzen speaks of a “cultural trauma” that forced the Blood Elves to ally with the Horde just as a desperate act to survive, along with an ill-fated path with Illidian in order to draw their life source from demons. Their curruption isn’t blindly tied to a superficial dichotomy of good/evil. Instead it delves deeper in out cultural myths and how we perceive them.
The separation between good and evil is never so blatant and definite, “evil” is often the result of a compromise that just cannot be avoided. The most interesting evil characters are those that are felt “trapped” in a situation where they have no choice and where they need to accept the corruption only as a way to survive or even try to save who they love. “Corrupted good” is always more interesting than just straight evil and simply because it goes near to the real life and the situations we see each day. After all we love these fantasy worlds not because they are far from the reality, but mainly because they abstact and shape concretely (even visibly) those true cultural myths that strongly influence our life. Squeezing out the essence of the “cultural world” we perceive and within which we live.
Not only the Horde gains a graphically appealing race, but it also benefits from a further blur between good and evil. This faction acquires some more depth, becoming even more believable and solid than how it is already. From the perspective of the players more interesting to impersonate and feeling involved with.