Shadowlands continues to be a time of change for Blizzard Entertainment. Currently, players can change their facial features and hairstyles in the game's Barber Shop, but race and gender changes were relegated to paid items on the cash shop. For $15 a pop, you're able to take your character back to the character creation screen and do everything over.
In an interview with Eurogamer, executive producer John Hight revealed that the studio will soon allow players to change gender in the Barber Shop for free. "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."
Hight said that it's not something the team will be able to fix immediately, but "it is our intent with Shadowlands to take that out of being a paid service thing and [put it] in the Barber Shop." That means it could come at launch, or perhaps be a feature added during the Shadowlands patch cycle down the line.
The change is somewhat related to Blizzard's evolving views. During the Shadowlands campaign, there's a storyline character in the Bastion zone called Pelagos. Pelagos is a Kyrian Aspirant, and as part of that Covenant's path, Aspirants are able to choose the form that best suits them, regardless of how they looked in life.
"Pelagos, who presented as a woman in his mortal life, chose to be a man in the Shadowlands. The team had originally written him to use they/them pronouns, but received feedback that he/him would be more respectful of the character's wishes to be identified as a man. This change is simply the result of us listening and responding to that feedback," said community manager Randy 'Kaivax' Jordan in a post on the official forums.
Blizzard is focusing more on character creation for this expansion, with the addition of new features like Black and Asian faces for human characters, and further skin tone and tattoo options for other races. I took a look at the recently-revealed endgame content for the expansion, including Covenant sanctums, The Maw, and the improved character creation options. I also delved into Torghast, the new roguelike dungeon Blizzard has crafted for all you Legendary loot hunters. World of Warcraft: Shadowlands will be releasing this fall on PC and Mac, and it is heading into beta next week.