Normally, I've all for expanding opportunities and enhancing freedom; these changes do that. Yet I also understand why people who have invested a lot of time and energy creating an identity for their character are upset. Until recently I would even have said the complainers were correct. A recent experience has made me rethink my attitude.
I have a human mage alt that is now level 70. I didn't intend to create this character as a full fledged alt; initially he was my bank alt. When 3.0 rolled out last year I leveled him up to level 20 so I could take advantage of the new inscription profession released with Wrath. Then he sat for almost four months. When I learned about dual spec in 3.1 I decided to level him up again to level 52 so I could once again take advantage of the inscription profession on the Auction House. Then he sat for another three months. Over the summer I decided to level him to 65 so I could max both his inscription and enchanting profession. Now I want to get him to level 74 so he has all the portals.
What I have realized over time is that I actually don't like playing a mage. I didn't level him because I wanted to play a mage yet now he's so close to 80 I feel like I should just finish the job. I love playing a hybrid class and doing nothing but frostbolt spam and the occasional water elemental as my dps bores me. I want my cat rotation. I would love to try out the Paladin class and if Blizzard gave me the opportunity to pay to switch my class I would jump on it.
Of course, class changes are not a paid service Blizzard offers; maybe they never will. Yet my feelings about class changes has helped me to see why some people were dying to change their race or their faction. Frankly, race and faction don't mean as much to me as class. Yet I can see how having the wrong race or faction could cause as much angst for some people as being in the wrong class has for me.
I still won't say I'm tickled pink about the changes but I'm no longer an blustery red either. Even though I don't have any plans to utilize the paid services available, I now get why they were implemented.
I love freedom of choice as a principle. Maybe it’s an effect of growing up during the cold war in the relative neighbourhood of the socialist regimes, which not only oppressed their own citizens, but also filled the surrounding countries with fear. I suspect many of the readers of the PPI aren’t old enough to remember words like Glasnost and Perestroika. But believe me, if you lived in Europe in that period, they meant something. People literally tore down the wall dividing Berlin with their very hands, stone by stone, and I shiver this very moment when I think back at it.
Even though I’m quite far from the political standpoint of Gevlon, I’m basically a fan of giving as much freedom as possible to the individual - for good and for bad. Making our own choices isn’t always fun or anything we wish for, but it’s a part of being human.
The last few years we’ve seen a smaller revolution in Sweden, which has parallels to what’s going on in Blizzards account services. I’m no longer stuck with the government power supply, telephony service, school or healthcare. I’m free to pick whichever I want. This doesn’t mean that I’ll necessarily switch. In most cases, I stick to the government alternative, as I’ve always done. They’re doing their job well and I’m rather lazy about checking up the alternatives. But the possibility is there, if I want to.
For me, the new account services in WoW are exactly like this. I can switch server, I can switch faction and soon even race. New opportunities are opening up almost every month. The choice is mine, not some random rules set in stone when they first came up with the idea about WoW. But will I use this service? Not very likely!
I’m a main hugger you see. In a world of altoholics, I’m a mainaholic. I may play a little on some alts now and then to get an idea about other aspects of the game. It gives me variation and some giggles as I’m enjoying the druid shape shifting. But Larísa is and will remain my first love in Azeroth. She’s much more than just a vehicle through which I can consume content, questing and raiding. She’s an extension of the real me, and that’s why I can’t imagine waking up one morning, seeing Larísa turned into a blood elf or a human.
On the other hand – I can’t see any reason to deny other players to switch around as much as they want. After all, people make sex change operations in real life, why not in WoW? If someone who was unfortunate enough to pick a blood elf instead of a gnome at the creation screen, why would I demand that they re-roll and start their gnome career from level 1? Their choices don’t affect me.
Glasnost has arrived at Azeroth. And it was about time.