Since the announcement of BfA, a lot of people have been wishing factions would go away, to let everyone play as one happy horde. Or should that be alliance?
There are arguments for merging that are strong – playing with friends no matter what race they’ve chosen, less conflict with other players to allow more with fictional enemies, and a sense of cooperation instead of conflict.
It would mean the end of mass PVP, as it’s hard to see how you’d create two predictably opposing forces without the prop of factions. PVP may be a minority activity, but it adds flavour and drama for those that seek it out.
Despite the arguments, I think Factions should stay. Removing them would remove some of the soul of the game.
I like that there is a different feel and personality to each side. That you can have cities that are distinctly one side or the other, with the colours and personalities that go with that.
There is a sense of tension and curiosity created by having zones that you can’t safely venture into, forcing you to skirt around or tentatively work your way through. Having to sneak into Ironforge in order to fish up Old Ironjaw was excellent fun that wouldn’t be possible without Factions.
It doesn’t always have to be red vs blue, as shown by Legion. Blizzard could do some cool things like having a raid with both factions inside, meeting at a final boss that they combine to defeat. To allow friends to play together, similar mechanics could be introduced for dungeons or even raids, easily explained in lore as temporary truces in order to defeat a greater foe.
A grudging respect and sense of accomplishment created by working with the other side is sometimes more rewarding than having everything as one happy family.
If nothing else, Factions should stay for the stories they generate, the current uproar being a great example. And also for the sense of belonging they create. As Saurfang’s Troll recruit Zekhan expressed so well, “The Horde… it’s all we have”.