World of Warcraft’s new Night Elf capital allows Horde tourists, and boy is it ruffling some feathers

In World of Warcraft: Dragonflight, the Night Elves have ended its latest story patch with a new home: Bel’ameth. In case you’ve been out of the loop for a while and don’t know why Teldrassil is gone: Sylvanas blew it up. Former PC Gamer writer Steven Messner documented The Burning of Teldrassil back when it happened in 2018, writing that it was “easily the most controversial moment in World of Warcraft’s history.”

Well, now the night elves have a new tree and a new home in the Dragon Isles, and they’re even willing to let bygones be bygones. Bel’ameth is currently a neutral city on the PTR, meaning both Horde and Alliance players can visit.

Now in fairness, the Horde did have a hand in fixing things. Dragonflight’s done away with the faction conflict altogether. Instead, the Horde and Alliance were very reasonably focused on the possibility that the fledgeling world tree might get set on fire, but in the Emerald Dream this time—which would (because of magic) set everything else on fire, too.

So it makes sense that they’d be welcome as visitors. Unless you’re still deep in the faction conflict of years past, of course. In which case, this whole thing might just make you angry enough to take it personally.

“Thanks for NOTHING, Blizzard,” writes a player in a thread decrying the change to the status quo. When it’s pointed out that the Horde helped, they argue that the whole thing was done out of self-interest. “They didn’t help the Night Elves, they fought for themselves. They have no right to be there.” In a separate thread, another player says: “this will become the single largest piece of evidence that the story in WoW clearly has no teeth anymore.”

In a slightly more reasonably-worded thread that has some pretty well-laid out criticisms, another player is a voice of calmer disagreement: “I do not foresee faction neutrality having a place here.” 

It should be pointed out that Horde aren’t welcome unconditionally. Any Horde visitors to Bel’ameth receive a debuff called “Eyes of the Sentinels”, which reads: “Seen and unseen eyes alike are watching your every move.” So not every scar’s been healed.

On the other side of this digital fence, Taliesin of YouTube channel Taliesin & Evitel covers the controversy, saying: “having a city that is welcoming to everyone by default shows confidence … much more so than walling yourselves in, scared of the outside world.” Pointing out that, in terms of the Night Elves going all isolationist, “they’ve done that before.”

If we look back on WoW’s 19-year history, the faction conflicts of its past have been fully left behind. The trailer for The War Within features Thrall (former Warchief of the Horde) walking towards the pointed blade of Anduin Wrynn (the current King of Stormwind) and saying “I trust you.” Like it or not, I think we’re done with the whole ‘blood and thunder’ stuff for good.

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