So you have been plodding along playing WoW. You’re over the group that you have been playing with or your guild disintegrates. One of your friends (or a blog writer) convinces you to restart on another server and on the opposite faction. You level that character up, all the way to max or near-max level. You fall in love with the new class you are playing. Then that deal falls apart too.
You get talked into going back to your original faction, but you miss your high-level (insert class here.) Oh, that character also has a few thousand gold. What do you do?
Fret not my friends. Blizzard has sensed your malaise and has offered a solution. According to an article on WoW.com Blizzard will soon be offering a new Faction Switching Service, for a reasonable fee I’m sure, that will allow you to turn your gnome into an Orc or your Tauren into a Space Goat. This wow.com article was derived from this post on the WoW forums, which now has over a hundred pages of responses. People definitely have an opinion on this service.
I opined earlier that a lot of the catering to the user base is bad for the game. I’ve reconsidered. Exploiting a title for all it’s worth is management’s job. So in spite of all the altruistic qualities we gamers would like to see our fearless leaders espouse, at the end of the day they report to their stakeholders. How well they deliver what we want is what is going to drive the revenue to satisfy those stakeholders, so it’s a blade’s edge they walk. This is something at which Blizzard has become expert.
As soon as I brought this up in guild chat, people started thinking and every one of our core players mentioned not one but two high or max-level characters that they would bring over to the guild from the other faction. Myself, I have a Lock and a DK over on Rexxar that I wouldn’t mind playing more. I loved my DK but I haven’t had time to start leveling a new one over on Jaedenar where I play now.
Now what I’d really like to see is for it to be a quest where you have to betray your old faction. Maybe at the end of the quest you are killed by an important character from your faction and your new “friendly” faction finds a way to resurrect your spirit in the body of a fallen member of that faction, completing the changeover. Adding story to the process would make it feel like less of a transaction and more like what you are really doing, which is damning your old faction to the benefit of your new one.
I also wonder what this would do for realm balance. We all know that on most servers Alliance dominates on numbers. You would have to think that more of those players would like to try some different flavor and swap to Horde than vice-versa. It has the potential to even up the numbers a bit. In my judgment, that would just be a bonus side effect should it occur though.
So once again, Blizzard has found a way for us to pay them to make us want to continue to pay them for a longer time. And for that I applaud them. I don’t know how much it’s going to cost yet, and I’m not going to volunteer what I would pay. This blue post might be a run up the flagpole to see if everyone salutes or not. But I definitely see value in it. And that is what I’m looking for in a game. And if it gives me reasons to stay and play longer with friends then so be it.