I was thinking about the story imbalance between the Horde and the Alliance, and started wondering. What happened to all the Alliance paladins?
In a lot of ways, the story of the Alliance in Warcraft is the story of their paladins. Uther, Turalyon, Arthas, Bolvar Fordragon. But all the major Alliance paladins are gone. The last one is Tirion Fordring, and he is now neutral.
Back in Vanilla, paladins were unique to the Alliance, while shaman were unique to the Horde. I think that class distinction added a great deal of character to the two factions. The paladins symbolized the civilization and law of the Alliance, while the shaman symbolized the wildness and more natural state of the Horde.
But when the two classes were opened up to both sides, I think the Alliance lost more of its identity than the Horde did. For example, the Order of the Silver Hand went neutral, and became the Argent Crusade. However, the Horde gained two paladin orders: the Blood Knights and the Sunwalkers. It seems odd to me that there is no Alliance paladin order, but two different Horde ones. A Horde paladin, Sunwalker Dezco, is playing a major role in the Horde storyline.
I don't think the parallel case of the shaman matches. Alliance shamans are pretty marginal in the lore. There are some in the Earthen Ring. But shamans, especially with Thrall, are still central to the Horde.
Personally, I think the classes should stayed faction-specific. In my mind, the balance issues were not that bad, aside from Blessing of Salvation. Had Blizzard just axed that one ability, I think the imbalance would have been easier to fix.
It's interesting to ponder an alternate timeline where the classes had remained faction-specific, and the mechanical divisions between the factions had been deepened instead of lessened.
For example, in Wrath, Tirion Fordring and the Argent Crusade might have remained Alliance. And this could have been balanced by making Death Knights a Horde-only class. Death Knights were always classic Horde units, and the theme of outcasts banding together fits in well with the Horde. Not to mention the natural relation with the Forsaken.
Then in Mists of Pandaria, Monks could have been an Alliance-only class. In my mind, the quiet, contemplative nature of the monks and pandaren fit in better with the lawful Alliance than the rough-and-tumble Horde.
So in this alternate timeline, we'd have a Horde with Death Knights and Shamans, and an Alliance with Paladins and Monks. The differences between the factions would have been more pronounced. I think this would have made it easier for the writers to craft stories that were unique to each faction.
Of course, I don't think this plan would have been okay with the players though. If the Death Knights had been revealed as a Horde-only class, with no Alliance class in Wrath, the howls of outrage would have been deafening.