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What happens when you faction change in World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth?

In an expansion all about the Horde and Alliance, sometimes you just have to switch sides

King Anduin Wrynn in the opening cinematic of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth Blizzard Entertainment
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is all about the faction war at the moment: Horde versus Alliance, red versus blue. But sometimes, being practical is more important than being sentimental. You may be an Alliance player, like I am, but having friends on Horde dictates that you have a Horde character ready to play as well. So while I left my main character on Alliance, I tested what would happen if you bought a faction change in Battle for Azeroth, switching another to the competing side.

After hitting level 120 with my third character, an Alliance Shaman, I decided that I would rather have this character on the Horde side, so that I could heal dungeons with some pals. I then purchased a faction change out of both necessity and curiosity. At the time of faction change, I had not only reached the max level, but I’d also completed the storylines of each Alliance zone.

Although I was eager to make the switch, I had some holdups before going through with my faction change. Preserving my reputation was my biggest concern, since reputation to various groups on Azeroth is important for gearing up and unlocking content in Battle for Azeroth. Thankfully, reputation remains in tact after a faction change — and it’s one of the only things that does.

After the faction change was complete, and I re-made my character as a Highmountain Tauren, I found that my reputation had all transferred to a faction-appropriate variation. The 7th Legion became the Honorbound, and the Order of Embers from Drustvar became the Voldunai from Vol’dun.

The rest of the changes were not nearly as player-friendly. Since Horde and Alliance level on completely different continents, my Tauren had to make their way through the opening of the expansion again just to reach Zandalar. Despite having decent reputation with many of the groups found in Zandalar, I otherwise felt like I’d never even been to Zandalar before. No story quests had been completed, no flight points unlocked; the fog of war still covered most of the map.

These are inconveniences, but not game-breaking ones. As my reputation stayed the same, my character wasn’t particularly behind in terms of late-game activities. In fact, the reset of my story missions on Horde could play to my advantage: By completing story quests, I could increase my reputation further. It seems possible to double-dip leveling reputation by faction-swapping, which could be useful in Battle for Azeroth’s early days.

For those looking to faction change, know that there are annoying problems ahead of you. But the good news is that jumping ship to the Horde or the Alliance isn’t as much of a setback as you might think it would be.

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