Since 2004, World of Warcraft Players were asked to choose a faction and race with it. If you were Horde and your best friend Alliance, your options for doing things in the game were virtually nil, making for a thematically strong experience, but also one that might kind of suck if family and friends were on the other side .
As Blizzard says:
For years, many players have wondered if the rules restricting communication and cooperation between Alliance and Horde need to be so absolute. Faction segregation could discourage close friends from playing together, or make players feel like their faction is giving them far fewer opportunities to pursue their favorite group content. But those downsides have long been justified in preserving a central element of the Warcraft universe – it all started with a game called Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, right?
That’s going to change. As part of the game’s future 9.2.5 update, Blizzard will be testing the systems “for both Alliance and Horde players to create pre-built groups together for dungeons, raids, and ranked PvP.” That’s cool! It’s also a big change to the game for those who have invested heavily in the story, so it will be entirely optional and dependent on people using invites and being on friends lists:
– Players can directly invite members of the opposing faction to a party if you have a BattleTag or Real ID friendship, or if you’re a member of a cross-faction WoW community.
– Premade groups in the Mythic Dungeons, Raids, or Ranked Arenas/RBGs group finder lists are open to applicants from either faction, although the group leader can limit the listing to applicants from the same faction if they wish.
– Guilds remain single factions, and random matchmade activities such as heroic dungeons, skirmishes, or random battlegrounds all remain of the same faction (both because there is less faction-driven pressure around random groups, and to not compromise the opt-in nature of the feature with random Placing a pending Orc in a party with a Night Elf).
When cross-faction players end up in a group, they’re still technically “unfriendly” when outside, but once inside a raid/dungeon, “all members are friendly and able to support each other in combat, Trading loot and earning common achievements and otherwise fully cooperating as members of the same faction have always been able to.”
Players can read more about the details of the announcement here.