In what might be the most welcome -- or disturbing, depends on how you want to look at it -- news to World of Warcraft players looking forward to more character customization, Blizzard dropped hints at possible gender and race changes as a paid service feature. About a month back, some folks dug up a paid character customization button hidden away in the Wrath of the Lich King files, hinting at the possibility of a new service. Lead Producer J. Allan Brack explained that it was in the plans for the future but Blizzard hadn't set a price or extent of the customization at the time.
WoW Insider's resident RP maestro David Bowers was thrilled at the possibility of more character customization than just hairstyles, but it seems that there might even be more than that. Eurogamer's interview with Blizzard's Paul Sams and Lee Sparks revealed that the technology to do such changes is taking some time and energy to put into place. They point out that the monetary barrier is merely in place to prevent players from abusively changing their characters' features constantly. Sams said that Blizzard "think(s) that it's important to have some consistency in the game, we don't want people changing their look and feel every day."
If this feature pushes through, it will add to an extensive menu of character customization options, from paid name changes to in-game barbershops, as well as realm transfers (even the once-unthinkable PvE-to-PvP transfers). The feature would allow players to undo some decisions they later grew to regret. According to Sams, "when you create your character, often times you wish you'd done things differently. You wish you were on a different realm, you wish you'd had a different name or you wish you'd chosen a different look and feel to your character." This hints at the possibility of race and even gender changes, which should pretty much open up every available customization option for players.