Tobold writes today about race changes in WoW, based on the news that faction changes will likely be allowed at some point in the future, as reported yesterday.
Due respect to Tobold, but that’s not neccessarily going to be the way it works. From reading the announcement you might think that, but I’ll maintain that an EQ2-style betrayal mechanic is also a possibility; the tone of the announcement from Blizzard implies that it’s just starting to get looked at.
Yesterday I made the statement that changing your faction would likely be a paid option like appearance respecs, but an in-game betrayal system would eliminate the need for that, as well as making more sense in the context of the game itself, and probably alleviating the need to create a rather complicated system.
The sticking point is that no race in WoW can be every single class. Say you have a Human Paladin whose player decides they’d rather play Horde. Can you just choose a race to move to? Or is that limited by your class? Can our hypothetical HUman Paladin only change to Blood Elf on the Horde side because that’s the only Horde race that can play Paladins? Or can you change your class as well? And can you freely choose that? How do things like gear translate if you change to a different class that might not use the same stuff? If you have a level 35 Paladin, can you move him over to a level 35 Death Knight?
This becomes awfully complicated, as you see. From this perspective – and possibly this is wishful thinking on my part – it becomes a great deal easier to simply alow Gnome Hordies and Alliance Orcs. Following the EQ2 model, there’d be a quest chain to complete to do this, betraying your own faction and demonstrating your allegiance with the other.
Obviously there’d be some questions to answer and structural changes to make with this approach as well, but it seems cleaner and less problematic to me. Either way you can surely see why Blizzard’s announcement sounded so tenative.