The problem with looking at the cultures of the various factions, however, is that no culture is truly monolithic. A culture may prize honor and the earth, but there will always be individuals who fall in different places on the various spectrums of these cultural priorities, and that's where the fun of actually playing a character can come in. What if you're playing an orc who is (for his people) a pacifist who wants to bring peace to the Horde and Alliance? A tauren who only cares about money? A forsaken who isn't particularly aggrieved about her undead state and just goes with the flow? The interesting thing when dealing with lore like we have in Mists of Pandaria
is it gives you the tools to set yourself apart from the cultural baggage. Your
blood elf might not give two hoots in a handcart about arcane magic or the Sunwell. Or perhaps you're a courageous, military minded goblin whose only interest in money is collecting enough to start your own merc band.
It goes both ways. Sure, the Alliance tries to spin its presence on Pandaria as one of encirclement, of containing the Horde threat. But is that why you're there? Did your worgen get tired of fighting for Gilneas, seeing it as hopeless, and run away to a new land to start over only to get dragged into another war? Are you a night elf sick to death of hearing about nature, more comfortable with dispatching others dispassionately than thinking about big issues? Maybe you've come to Pandaria to get rich collecting and selling artifacts and could care less
about the war, considering there's been three before this one and the fighting never seems to stop. Sure, the pandaren themselves seem nice enough, but it's been ten thousand years since they sealed themselves off from the world and all their greatest monuments and accomplishments seem to date back to before that, what have they been doing
all this time? It's not that hard to imagine a justification (one you don't have to share in real life, by the way) for taking control of what could definitely seem to an outsider to be a stagnant land helpless to defend itself.
That's what interests me most about Pandaria and the storylines that have unfolded as the patches have dropped -- we've gotten to see how the Horde and Alliance change Pandaria as much as how it changes them. But the Horde and Alliance, as monolithic as they may seem, are in fact made up of individuals like your characters, and in a way however you choose to interact with these storylines is the microcosm for how
they're changing, respectively. Don't close yourself off from experiencing that, like I almost did. Even a loyal orc warrior can start to have doubts, given enough cause.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.