With all of the World of Warcraft announcements of late, it would seem that Blizzard is really giving a lot of options to the player. Now, in addition to realm transfers, character re-customization, and name changes, you can also change faction and race. The question is, is this being done for the players own good, or is Blizzard playing off human nature.
Although each of these services seem great, each come with a rather exorbitant fee attached, most likely to keep players from constantly changing there name, look, realm, faction or race. Also, where there used to be a three month period between transfers, there is now only a three day restriction. Some people may see this as a wonderful idea, since an expansion is in the works and no one wants to have to level a Worgen or Goblin to 80, so now, they can just change their race, most likely a few months after expansion, and BAM.
Even though this will help the player, this works wonderfully for Blizzard. After years, when the MMO is getting older, introduce the features that people have wanted for years and keep their loyalties. In some extreme cases a player may Transfer realm with their 80, then they realize their buddy is horde, so they switch faction, upon switching faction, they realize their name is stupid and change it, then they change their look to fit the name. Many players will want to change their race, but with Cataclysm coming, Blizzard is going to be reworking racials and then players will end up changing race again to whatever race has the best racials. Hell, they may even change faction to get a better race as well. This is further helped with the fact that there will be more classes available for the different races, which gives players an even greater choice.
Let’s do some math here to figure costs for a worst case scenario:
Server Transfer = $25
Name Change = $10
Faction Change = $30
Character Re-Customization = $15
Account Fee = $15
Just think, in one month a player could spend $95.00. Although this seems outlandish, I think it will happen after the new expansion quite a bit. With a good chunk of players doing arena and trying to reach the top spot, these features all help in the strategy of getting the best teams. Also, it affects the casual player, although not at the magnitude of a WoW die hard. Casual players may change name or race on a whim, it really is a beautiful thing for Blizzard.
When Cataclysm is released, I think that these customization features will definitely drive large profits for Blizzard. This seems like a perfect storm because the expansion will not only make players come back to WoW, but it will bring in new subscriptions. Also with so many features that make re-customization of a toon so easy, people will not protest the cost of the features. In the end, all that can be said is, no one is twisting anyone’s arm to make them play WoW, if you don’t agree with Blizzards decisions, then don’t play, or at least don’t partake in re-customization.