I’m slowly returning to the Internet after the wonderful madness of the last few weeks. There’s plenty about those days to talk about, too, but I’m warming up with something especially trivial: WoW faction transfers.
When you make a World of Warcraft character, you choose one of two factions, and then one of five races within each. Once you’ve done that, you can’t talk to the people on the other side, help them very much with their adventuring – in fact, the main thing you can do is attack and kill them. There are various game design reasons for this setup, though I think some of them might have had alternate solutions.
But, of course, everyone who plays Alliance has some friends who signed up for the Horde, and vice-versa. So, Blizzard is now offering to let you switch your character from one side to the other for a fee: many restrictions will of course apply, to keep metagamers from abusing the ability. Whatever race you were in your faction will be changed to a race from the new one.
Frankly, I’d have liked to see them do it a little different: allow you to change faction while keeping your own race. Outcast gnomes in the mesa of Thunder Bluff! Acerbic Blood Elves in the forests of Darnassus! Humans attacked on sight should they dare to attempt to return to Stormwind! Now, that would be some fun.
I’m sure that Blizzard thought about that, and had what they consider very good reasons for doing it the way they have. But from a role-playing standpoint, at least, I think it would have been extremely cool.