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Back in the old days, when someone wanted to play on a different World of Warcraft server or use a different name, they had to start a brand new character. Those days are gone. Now, players can change their name or sex, even switch factions or servers, all for a small fee. Blizzard's continually expanding lineup of account services is so extensive, it can be difficult to keep all the prices and restrictions straight. That's where we come in.
All of the following services can be ordered by logging into your account management page on worldofwarcraft.com.
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World of Warcraft Character Name Change
Perhaps the most basic service Blizzard offers is the ability to change your character's name. For a ten dollar fee, you can finally switch from that obscure joke of a name you originally selected to something more appropriately medieval.
Players are (obviously) unable to change their name to one that is already in use on the server, so make sure that your desired name is available before attempting the change.
After the change, your old name will be locked for use on your realm for 90 days, but then will become available to anyone creating a new character, so don't be surprised if you run into yourself somewhere down the line. Players can only change names once every 30 days, so you're stuck with your new moniker for at least a month, so make sure it's one you really like.
Your new name will be automatically added to any friends lists you might be on, and your friends list will not change. You will need to let everyone know who you are, though, as there is no notification process. Those who prefer to play WoW solo need not be concerned.
Unfortunately for those attempting to escape some past indiscretion, changing your name will not remove you from any ignore lists you might happen to be on, as they will be updated automatically.
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World of Warcraft Character Re-Customization
Are you tired of looking at the same old male Tauren backside? Perhaps a character re-customization is in order. For a 15 dollar fee, you can change your character's gender, face, skin color, and "other cosmetic features determined by his or her race and gender combination." You are also able to change your character's hairstyle and color, as well as choose a new name, if you like.
Character re-customization does not allow you to change your class or race, so you'll still be the same old Human paladin, just with a new appearance.
Just like the name change service, friends and ignore lists will be updated automatically if you change your name as part of a re-customization.
After you've paid for the service and been logged out for at least 30 minutes, a new button will appear when you log in that will allow you to begin the re-customization process. Simply click it and you're on your way to a brand new you.
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World of Warcraft Paid Character Transfer
One of the most frequently-used account services is the paid character transfer. Utilizing this service, players can move characters from account to account or realm to realm (or both at the same time) for a 25 dollar fee. Some restrictions apply to transfers: you'll be unable to transfer to certain high-population realms, realms that were recently created, or realms to which a free character transfer is currently available.
Characters cannot be transferred to or from trial accounts, from banned accounts, from an expansion account to a non-expansion account, or between accounts that are not owned by the same person. Transferred characters need to be at least level 10 and there are certain restrictions, based on level, on how much gold you can transfer along with your character.
All of your character's gold and items (including bank items) will be transferred, but you will need to make sure that you have no incoming mail or unopened mail in your box, as this will invalidate the transfer. If your character's name is already taken on the destination realm, you will be prompted to rename it.
Blizzard's official line is that the transfer can take up to several days, but in my experience it has never taken more than a few hours.
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World of Warcraft Paid Faction Change
The newest addition to Blizzard's account services is the faction transfer. Now, players can see how the other half lives without having to level up an entirely new character. The faction transfer service carries a 30 dollar price tag and is available for all characters level 10 and up.
Each faction transfer also includes an optional re-customization and name change. Characters will change to an entirely new race, but only those available to their current class will be allowed, so your Human paladin is stuck becoming a Blood Elf when you switch factions, as they're the only Horde race that can become paladins.
All items will transfer along with your character, but faction-specific items will be exchanged for their cross-faction equivalent. Faction-specific mounts will also be exchanged for their opposite equivalent. Faction-specific non-combat pets will not be affected.
One important note about cross-faction transfers: all Argent Tournament faction, quest progress, and achievements will be completely reset, so you will lose any progress you've made out in Northern Icecrown. Get ready to start grinding those jousting dailies once again.
For a full overview of the faction transfer service, be sure to check out Bright Hub's Guide to WoW Faction Transfers.
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Coming Soon: Paid Race Changes
Blizzard is currently working on implementing the ability to change your character's race. I have to assume they will only allow changes to other races that have your class available to them, but with the upcoming class changes in the Cataclysm expansion, your options will be greatly expanded.
These services are just another great example of the ways that Blizzard offers freedom to their World of Warcraft customers. You're no longer stuck with a character you don't want to keep playing, now you make a change with a new name, look, server, or faction and have your interest in the game renewed.