In the past, the Horde referred to the orcs and their battle thralls from both Draenor and Azeroth, such as trolls and ogres (see more about the old Horde). Following its utter defeat at the end of the Second War, the old Horde's power was forever broken, allowing Thrall to awaken the dormant spirituality of his people and free them from the Burning Legion's control.
The Horde may be viewed as a more centralized body than the Alliance, as Orgimmar is the obvious center, with Thrall the undisputed leader. Like the old Alliance of Lordaeron, Thrall accepts ambassadors and advisors from all the different tribes and members of the Horde and makes sure their voice is heard in the running of the fledgling empire. Although unavoidably posessing the characteristic militarism of the orcs, Thrall has also proven himself to be a compassionate, idealistic, and enlightened individual, and commands a great deal of respect within the Horde. Though the Horde could quickly become a formidable war machine once again, they are a very peaceful nation deciding to try for peace and help the world rather than savage rampaging like the Old Horde.
The fact is that, though equal in size, the horde is actually more complex than the Alliance, the main four races of the Tauren, Forsaken, Trolls and orcs having countless friends among the Revantusk forest trolls, the Stonemaul Ogres and Various individuals like Rexxar and Chen Stormstout. Their recent alliance with the Blood Elves has led them to have friends among the Naga, Broken and Lost Ones as well.
In the Third War, and before the liberation of the Forsaken from the Scourge, the Horde allied themselves with the Alliance to rid Azeroth of the Burning Legion. Since then old animosity has risen again, resulting in open conflict on several battlefields.
Despite their somewhat monstrous appearance, the majority of the Horde is not evil; much like the Alliance, it is comprised of diverse factions and individuals who possess a wide range of values and virtues.
It should be noted that above all else, the members of the horde value honor.
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.
The Alliance is not a uniform governmental body, but is an coalition of mutual military and economic aid. In fact, with the destruction of Lordaeron and the ambassador council to the king, there is no unifying body of the Alliance itself, and no single voice or leader. There are not even any official, regulated, steady diplomatic ties - even though all members of the Alliance keep ambassadors with the other races.
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. However, the diplomatic ties are strong and in many ways, the alliance is a rather uniform body in purpose, culture and goals. 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 and Lands of Conflict), about 300,000 souls belong to the allied races, across two continents. 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 four races. Stormwind is the military, trade, and cultural center of the Alliance. However, one must not be confused -- the Stormwind boy-king is not the kind of leader to the Alliance as Terenas was in the old Alliance of Lordaeron.
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