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How World of Warcraft Cross-Faction instances work

Blizzard has revealed the first details of an upcoming World of Warcraft cross-factions instances system. Here's how it will work.
How World of Warcraft Cross-Faction instances work

Despite a lot of backlash from the World of Warcraft community, due to several factors including the lawsuit that needs no introduction, renaming of one of Azeroth's NPCs, and much more, Blizzard continues to improve their storied MMORPG. While Microsoft purchasing Activision Blizzard might have alleviated some concerns, we can't help but wonder how players will feel about WoW cross-faction instances.

Yes, the Horde and Alliance will be able to team up in pre-made groups for Mythic dungeons, raids and even Rated PvP in the future. 

How WoW's cross-faction instances work

Since Warcraft: Orcs and Humans, it has always been a battle between the Horde and the Alliance. Soon, this will change, as Horde and Alliance players will be able to create premade groups together with WoW's upcoming cross-faction instances system.

World of Warcraft wow cross-faction instances premade group system how it works release date
Horde and Alliance, fighting against a common foe! (Picture: Blizzard)

In a recent post, Blizzard explained their two goals when creating the ruleset for this upcoming feature:

  • Focus on organized instanced gameplay - Dungeons, raids, and rated PvP have been at the centre of the most compelling arguments for relaxing the faction divide. This is content that by definition requires a premade group, and thus social barriers will have the greatest negative impact on people’s ability to access these experiences on their preferred terms.
  • Make this an opt-in feature as much as possible - In terms of in-world fiction and player preferences, there are decades of animosity to overcome. While we are excited to offer players the choice to reach across the faction divide and cooperate to overcome common foes, we know that there are many who will react warily to this change, and we don’t want to override those preferences. This is about increasing options for players.
World of Warcraft wow cross-faction instances premade group system how it works release date
We can't help but wonder what the Jailer would say about cross-faction play in WoW. (Picture: Blizzard)

So how exactly will the upcoming cross-faction instances feature work in WoW? Well, the ruleset below explains the initial details quite well.

  • Players will be able to directly invite members of the opposite faction to a party if you have a BattleTag or Real ID friendship, or if you are members of a cross-faction WoW Community.
  • Premade Groups in the Group Finder listings for Mythic dungeons, raids, or rated arena/RBGs will be open to applicants of both factions, though the group leader may choose to restrict the listing to same-faction applicants if they so choose.
  • Guilds will remain single-faction, and random matchmade activities like Heroic dungeons, Skirmishes, or Random Battlegrounds will all remain same-faction (both because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups, and to avoid compromising the opt-in nature of the feature by randomly placing a queuing orc in a group with a night elf).
World of Warcraft wow cross-faction instances premade group system how it works release date
Some encounters, such as the Gunship Battle in Icecrown, will need to be reworked. (Picture: Blizzard)

Importantly, Blizzard explains the limitations of creating cross-faction premade groups: "Once in a party together, members of the opposite faction will remain unfriendly while in the 'outdoor' world (and fully hostile in War Mode!), as they do today, though they will be able to communicate through party chat.

"Upon entering a dungeon, raid, or rated PvP match, however, all members will be friendly and able to assist each other in combat, trade loot, earn shared achievements, and otherwise fully cooperate the same way members of the same faction have always been able to."

To be clear, guilds will remain single-faction. Further, this functionality will also apply to legacy instances, and is available at all levels, with a few exceptions such as Icecrown Citadel due to the Gunship Battle and a few others. Blizzard, however, notes that these dungeons will be reworked in the future to make them work with cross-faction instancing. 

It remains to be seen how the community will react to World of Warcraft's upcoming cross-faction instances system. We expect the WoW community to be divided, as the players usually are, following the announcement of such a big change.

At the time of writing, there is no clear indication of a release date for this system. We only know that WoW's cross-faction instances system will release on the PTR following the Eternity's End update, which should arrive later in February or early March.


Featured image courtesy of Blizzard.


Check out our video below, where we dive deep into the lore of the Dragon Aspects in World of Warcraft, discussing all the leaders, their history, and some family drama!

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Featured image courtesy of Blizzard.