World of Warcraft is ditching the fee players have to pay to change the gender of their characters when the game’s big Shadowlands update releases. The current system charges players $15 if they want to swap genders, but considering how other aspects of players’ characters can be changed through free features, World of Warcraft executive producer John Hight said “that’s not the right message” any longer. Hight spoke to Eurogamer about the plans to drop the fee and confirmed it would happen when the Shadowlands expansion releases and that players will be able to change their characters’ genders without paying.
Discussing the option to switch genders and the plans to remove the fee, Hight recalled how players could previously change their characters as part of a paid system. Many of those customization features are now housed under the in-game barber shop. In line with that reasoning, the fee for the gender change option is being removed.
“A long time ago, we had the ability for players to go in - it was actually a paid service - and change their character,” Much of that is now in the barber shop in the game," he said. "And as we were adding things up in Shadowlands, we realised, 'Gosh the only way you can change your gender in World of Warcraft is to go through this paid service.' And we felt like that's not the right message.”
The fee can’t be removed right now, but the plan is to have it gone when Shadowlands releases. It’ll then be included as an option within the barber shop and will be free for all players to use.
“Unfortunately we can't fix that right now but it is our intent with Shadowlands to take that out of being a paid service thing and [put it] in the barber shop. But that's not something we can easily hotfix - unfortunately we can't do that right now. It is something that we're going to have in Shadowlands itself.”
On the topic of gender identities and sexual relationships, Hight said the team doesn’t try to put a big focus on the latter in World of Warcraft. He said the team has always thought of characters as having different gender identities in the game and indicated trans characters existed in World of Warcraft, but he didn’t name who those characters might be.
World of Warcraft’s Shadowlands expansion is scheduled to release in Fall 2020.
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