I have noticed in the many, many discussions about future allied races there are a lot of misconceptions. As somebody who LOVES the Kyrians, Venthyr, Sylvar, and Maldraxxi (whether bulky, skeleton, or slimy) I feel our community would be served by getting rid of some of these faulty ideas. Everyone is, of course, entitled to their opinion. You don’t have to like any of the races. You could just not be a fan of allied races in general. This post is not about whether you personally enjoy specific races. Here I would like to focus on whether these races are possible from a practical game perspective and from a lore perspective.
First: Practical implementation
Many people claim that Blizzard has confirmed there will be no allied races in shadowlands. I could not find a source for this claim, but there is a source for the opposite: in an interview they say they will consider something for an AR depending on the feedback they get from the community. They know AR were a popular feature and will expand on it in the future. Given there are already numerous posts asking for venthyr, sylvar, and kyrian I can see it happening! In other words if you want to play vampires, angels, fauns, and/or some kind of new undead: keep making noise!!
Here is the interview (the relevant question occurs at 25:30): https://youtu.be/NlOwrv8YKEg?t=1529
There is also some data-mined evidence that shows four new allied race entries were added to the files in 9.0. When this code is loaded it shows the embassy allied race screen and npc models of the Venthyr, Kyrians, Sylvar, and Maldraxxi. This does not confirm anything officially, as a dev could have just been experimenting or something, but it does mean it’s something they are considering. I wish I could show a link to the info, but it’s against forum policy.
To the people saying “I’d rather have more customization for existing races” that is fine, and to a point I agree, but we could just have both. This is not an either-or-scenario. Please don’t make enemies out of people who would like to see another AR. It’s not helpful. If you’re asking for more customization, I’ll happily support you and not shout “I’d rather have a new AR!”.
To the people saying “I don’t like race X so it shouldn’t be an AR”: I don’t mean this the wrong way, but quit being so selfish! I don’t personally like some of the existing races, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be there for people who do love them. Nobody is forcing you to play or even unlock them.
First, it’s already been established that races from the Shadowlands can physically manifest in the material world. We fight one of the Mawsworn on Azeroth at the end of the prepatch event. We see several of them kidnapping our faction leaders. So the people saying they are just “soul beings” are wrong. If they have a gateway to the material plane, they can manifest there.
But why would these races from the Shadowlands care about our mortal affairs?
It’s possible they show gratitude for the aid they receive in the Shadowlands. They would not be the first races to do so. In fact, it’s the reason for pretty much every AR released so far. And almost all of the AR joined one of the factions despite not being otherwise involved in the war. The Nightborne and Highmountain had no personal reasons to join the war against the alliance, for example. They still joined, though, out of gratitude.
You could argue they are “above mortal affairs” and you would be right to a point, but you’re forgetting one thing: the Jailer has seriously upset the relationship between life and death. We do not know how this conflict will be resolved, but it could be in a way that permanently changes how life and death works, even if the jailer is defeated. Throughout the story we get hints that the Shadowlands did not always function as they do now. There was a time when the Maw was something different (which is why it’s dotted by what looks like ruined reinforced concrete constructions) and the jailer was not trapped there. It’s perfectly feasible that we don’t just restore things to the way they were. Plus, the threat after the Jailer could be a threat to the shadowlands as well (like the Lich King was). This would give them a reason to join forces.
Some of the Shadowlands races are already recognizing the value of mortals and mortality. The Kyrian are possibly the most “above mortal affairs” out of all the covenants to the point they wish to wipe away all memories of their mortal life. Yet, at the end of the Spires of Ascension dungeon the Archon admits that the path may indeed be flawed as the Forsworn have said, but that is something they will have to deal with later (when the Jailer has been dealt with). They could come to the realization that some mortal affairs/threats do require them to band together with mortals.
While I personally feel it would make more sense for each of them to be a neutral AR, like pandaren, it would certainly not be the first time a race has been helped by both factions, but joins only one: Highmountain tauren, Nightborne, Mechagnomes, and Lightforged Draenei all screwed over one of the factions that helped them.
Finally, some people may think these AR are “too powerful” to be a playable race, but I don’t think that’s the case at all. First of all, we are wiping the floor with absolute tons of them. Kyrians, Venthyr, Fauns, and Maldraxxi are dying all the time throughout the story. But, let’s say they are more powerful than average. This already has a precedent among the allied races: Void Elves. These are all elves who chose to study the void for power and in doing so transformed themselves into something more powerful, even if only a little. In fact, I would say the Shadowlands races are probably less power-focused than the Void Elves, since they seem to have actual civilians (except the Maldraxxi, perhaps).