The Alliance (a.k.a "The Grand Alliance") is one of the two major political factions of the mortal races in Azeroth, its counterpart being the Horde. The Alliance was once also known as the Alliance of Lordaeron (or Alliance of humans, elves and dwarves) when its leadership was centered in Lordaeron. However, the Alliance was forced to move the bulk of its forces to Kalimdor and to the southern Azerothian kingdoms of Stormwind and Khaz Modan after a plague of undeath ravaged the Kingdom of Lordaeron several years ago. It has since lost many members, as well as gained new allies.
The major partners in the Alliance are:
- The night elves
- Led by High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind, alongside Fandral Staghelm who fights for power over Tyrande. Shandris Feathermoon commands the Sentinels
- Capital is Darnassus, on the new (failed) World Tree of Teldrassil in northern Kalimdor.
- Larger outposts include Feathermoon Stronghold and Nighthaven.
- The humans (Primarily of Stormwind).
- Led by the child king Anduin Wrynn with Highlord Bolvar Fordragon serving as regent.
- Other leaders are Jaina Proudmoore, General Marcus Jonathan and Archbishop Benedictus
- Capital is Stormwind in Elwynn Forest, in the subcontinent of Azeroth.
- The Kingdom of Stormwind's influence also extends to Lakeshire in the Redridge Mountains, Darkshire in Duskwood, Southshore in Hillsbrad and Sentinel Hill in Westfall.
- Other major cities are Theramore, Dalaran, Kul Tiras and Stromgarde
- The dwarves of Ironforge in Khaz Modan.
- The gnomes of Gnomeregan.
- The draenei.
- Led by the Prophet Velen.
- Long-time capital was Shattrath City, in Terokkar Forest on Draenor, now Outland.
- Current capital is the Exodar, on Azuremyst Isle south of Teldrassil.
- The draenei still maintain several outposts on their former homeworld — the Temple of Telhamat and Telredor being among a few.
- Refugees of the Eredar who broke with Archimonde and Kil'jaeden when they were corrupted by Sargeras.
Other smaller powers are also part of the Grand Alliance:
- The forces at Theramore Isle, led by Lady Jaina Proudmoore.
- The Half-elves.
- Some Half-orcs. ()
- A few small pockets of surviving high elves, such as those led by Ranger Lord Hawkspear at Quel'Danil Lodge in the Hinterlands, those under Jalinde Summerdrake and her forces at Quel'Danil, and finally the ones in Theramore under Captain Darill.
- The children of Cenarius, working closely with the Night Elves throughout Kalimdor.
- The Broken draenei who call themselves the Kurenai, or "Redeemed", residing in Nagrand in Outland.
- Wildhammer dwarves who live in the kingdom of Ironforge, and those near Mount Hyjal who came to Kalimdor during the Third War () ( The Wildhammer Clan of the )Hinterlands are Alliance (They have rejoined since the events of the the Burning Crusade), led by High Thane Falstad Wildhammer. They operate out of Aerie Peak in the western Hinterlands. In World of Warcraft they now appear friendly to the Alliance (rather than neutral).
- The Sons of Lothar, survivors of the Alliance Expedition to Draenor. Stationed in Honor Hold under the leadership of Danath Trollbane. Also survivors of Kurdran Wildhammer's Gryphon Rider Division that have set up shop in Shadowmoon Valley.
- The Explorer's Guild led by Brann Bronzebeard searches for rare artifacts and digs in history.
- The human kingdoms of Stromgarde, Kul Tiras, and Dalaran, retaining their independency from Stormwind but still members of the Grand Alliance. These three were all important members of the Old Alliance, and they all saw heavy fighting and heavy losses — the city of Dalaran itsef was burned — during the Second War.
- The furbolgs of Stillpine Hold, led by High Chief Stillpine, have been cooperating with the draenei, an outgrowth of their good relations with the night elves.
- The Wintersaber Trainers in Winterspring provide their mounts to members of the Alliance who prove themselves worthy.
Alliance of Lordaeron
- Main article: Alliance of Lordaeron
The modern Alliance is the successor to the Alliance of Lordaeron, which was created at the behest of King Terenas Menethil II of Lordaeron and Lord Anduin Lothar of the kingdom of Stormwind following the First War, five years after the reckoning. The human, dwarf, gnome, and high elf races allied together to fight off the orcish Horde.
Aftermath of the Second Invasion
Events of the Second Invasion led to an alliance with both the night elves and the Horde. The former became permanent, while the latter did not.
Following the Second Invasion, several of the surviving high elves rebranded themselves as blood elves, and left the Alliance shortly after the invasion, following an attempted purge by Grand Marshall Garithos. The true high elves remain loyal to the new Alliance, most notably the ones dwelling in Theramore under Lady Jaina Proudmoore and in the Hinterlands at the Quel'Danil Lodge.
Few years later, the Draenei joined the Alliance. Stranded a world away from home, they are trying to establish a new base on Azeroth from the ruins of the Exodar as well as gain the trust and cooperation of the Alliance.
The Alliance is not a uniform governmental body, but is a coalition of mutual military and economic aid. Housing the Alliance Assembly, Theramore can be considered the official home of the new Alliance, but both the people and the leadership of Stormwind find it hard to accept. The inability of Stormwind to act forced both Theramore and the night elves to step in, resulting in a growing gap of cooperation between the two continents. Effectively, today's Alliance is in fact two Alliances not only working largely separately but also holding some kind of dislike against each other. Above all, where Jaina Proudmoore and Tyrande Whisperwind are good at coordinating their efforts on Kalimdor, Lady Katrana Prestor of Stormwind is doing a fine job of undoing the Alliance in the Eastern Kingdoms. ( )
In the past, certain rules, customs, and regulations were a constant hindrance to mutual actions across the entire Alliance. This made cooperation sluggish, and considerably slowed the rate at which the Alliance was able to reclaim its former lands and glory. Despite the problems and intrigues within their leadership, all parts of the Alliance are steadfast in their desire to reclaim and rebuild, and all members share a distrust of the Horde. According to the RPG books, (Lands of Mystery, Lands of Conflict, and Alliance Player's Guide), about 800,000 souls belong to the allied races spanning two continents (based on membership numbers of the Church of Light, as given in Alliance Player's Guide). The Alliance is a great and peaceful body overall, their might being legendary, but their desire for peace, even stronger.
Even now, as always, humans are the glue that hold the Alliance together, being the most numerous and diplomatic of the five races. However, the driving force of the Alliance is slowly but steadily shifting to the night elves, who today are a major aspect of the Alliance military forces — whereas the armies of Stormwind keep being held inactive within the city walls. ( )
The two Alliances
Although no official statements have been drafted, there are essentially two Alliances now, one on Kalimdor and one that operates out of Stormwind Keep on the continent of Azeroth. The alliance citizens in the east consider those who left to have abandoned them. They understand the war with the Burning Legion is over, and that there was a victory; but life is so treacherous with demons, necromancers, undead, warlocks, and rogue Horde bands attacking, it certainly does not feel like there was a victory. If those heroes who won the war were so powerful, why didn't they come home to help drive out the undead and take back their lands?
The newer Alliance, incidentally, is also upset with the older one, as it attacked Durotar without Theramore's approval, and the city was nearly razed because of Admiral Proudmoore's foolhardy actions. Although most in the city agree with the forces who attacked Durotar, they do not appreciate the newcomers goading the orcs into attacking their new home. ( )
Although the Alliance has built an impressive army in the past years, finding strength in its diversity and numbers, weak points still exist that the Alliance’s enemies can (and do) take advantage of when fighting. ( )
The Alliance is proud of itself. Their people are sophisticated and learned, and they excel in the intellectual pursuits such as arcane magic and engineering. Even after three bloody wars, they still view themselves as overall smarter than the Horde, and believe that greater brain power wins out over primal force. This is even after they fought alongside the Horde in the Third War and saw how they had changed. They underestimate the Horde, especially the new Horde under Thrall, and could easily be guilty of underestimating their enemies’ abilities. ( )
- See also: Alliance magic
Though their powerful command of the arcane is a point of strength in the Alliance’s arsenal, it also shows a weakness. The magi are weak and easy to kill, if an enemy can break through their protections. ( )
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The Humans in particular have proven themselves a surprisingly hardy race. Given near-extinction due to the double blows of the Scourge invasion and the earlier war with the Orcs, they have managed not only to survive, but to begin to repopulate.
The Gnomes were also able to survive the loss of Gnomeregan, and have even begun mounting attempts to retake the city.
Although they have also sustained severe blows in their history, (the loss of the earlier World Tree, the death of Valstann Staghelm, among others) the Night Elves have proven themselves resilient as well.
- Main article: Alliance technology
Technologically speaking, the Alliance is strong, with gnomish and dwarven inventions.
Heavily armored vehicles with massive guns often help take well-defended structures, or even serve to simply destroy an enemy’s morale. The appearance of three or four armored vehicles can often break an enemy’s morale without ever firing a shot.
However, they are well armed in case they do need to fire.
All too frequently, war is the primary driver of technological advancements. The Ironforge dwarves spearheaded this trend, developing gunpowder and firearms as a way to achieve an edge against their foes in combat. Flying machines, originally just curiosities or at best scouting tools, are now being outfitted with flak cannons and bombs. Who knows where these advancements will lead? Technology is the system by which an entire society provides for the wants and needs of its population.
Thus, the dwarves of Ironforge are said to be more technologically advanced than the tauren of Mulgore, who are themselves far more advanced than, say, kobolds or troggs. ( The Alliance views technology as an extension of a new way of thinking. Humans view technology as a powerful tool, as gnomes and dwarves invent new weapons, devices, and vehicles of war that the humans can benefit from. )
Dwarves and gnomes are the true masters of steam and brass; for them, forge and artifice has always been a way of life. The ability to craft magnificent weapons of destruction appeals to the dwarven sense of war, and firearms have become a respected aspect of their culture. Dwarven riflemen are feared, and their steam tank crews are also given tremendous respect for their skill in guiding their magnificent weapons of war.
It is clear to all of the Alliance races that the battlefields are changing thanks to technology. Firearms are a tremendous equalizer, and a trained sniper can be as deadly to a knight as a dragon’s breath. The machines of war provide protection and weapons that level the field even against the mightiest of monsters.
That the Alliance is aware of this bodes well for their future. ( Also, with the inclusion of the Draenei into the Alliance, the advanced technology of the Draenei is now available to the Alliance. )