The Adventures of Piratejoe (Part 2): Faction Change

factionchangeYou have probably all seen Blizzard’s Faction Change Service by now, for $30 you can change your character from alliance to horde or vice-versa.  Your $30 also includes customizing your character, so if you wish you can change your name and sex too.  You will of course be changing your race and physical features.  If you want to change more than one character, you must pay $30 per toon.

The Faction Change service does not include a class change.  If you are currently an alliance paladin you will convert to a horde paladin.  You can select any race that is open to your class.  In the case of the Paladin (prior to the Cataclysm expansion anyway) you have limited options on the horde side.  As a Dwarf Paladin I had to become a Blood Elf Paladin.  However, if I were transferring from a Blood Elf Paladin to the alliance I could have chosen between a Human, Dwarf or Draenai.  Similarly, as a warrior making a faction change from alliance to horde I could have chosen any race but the Blood Elves; and from Horde to alliance I could have chosen any race, as all can be warriors.

To start the faction change click on the advert on the WOW logon page or go to the official website.  Your character must not have any mail in his or her mail box (or on the way to his or her mail box), and must have been logged out for at least 20 minutes.  It is a one-way switch only.  You can only make the character switch every 60 days.  If you decide you made a mistake and want to change back, you must wait 60 days and then pay another $30.

Your character must be over level 10.  I thought this was strange.  Who would want to pay $30 to transfer a character under level 10, except for a very involved role play scenario maybe?  It only takes a couple of hours to get to level 10.  With the speed of leveling now, I wouldn’t consider this for a character under level 60 or 70.

Because the service is so popular at the moment, I got a lot of “Server Busy” messages when trying to do my transfer and had to keep trying.  You obviously need a credit card, but the process on the website is quite simple.  Error messages may occur for things like mail in the characters mail box.  If this happens you have to log back on to the character, clear it up and then wait at least 20 minutes before trying again.

It says the service takes several hours (although there is a note when going through the transfer to say it will currently take several days).  It took just over a day to transfer my character.  I’d read elsewhere that you could play the character during that time, but in the transfer information it stated that you could not.  I didn’t try as I didn’t want to disrupt the process.  When the transfer is complete you get an email, and an icon appears next to the character on the log in screen.  This little square has the red/blue horde/alliance logos.  You click it to complete the selection of your new race and customization.

Tips – things to do before you transfer:

  • Make sure you character does not have anything in their bags or bank that you want to stay with another toon in your current faction.  E.g.  I had some cloth I mailed to my tailor.  I also had some bind on account shoulders, I have no idea what would have happened to them if I had tried to take them across, so I decided to leave them with my main faction.
  • Make sure you give your character anything you do want them to carry across with them.  This includes money, supplies from your other trade skills you won’t have access to anymore, and maybe stuff for new alts on your new faction.  I sent Hollie with some bags, and a couple of blue items for the hunter alt I might create over there.  I also gave her some potions from my alchemist, and food from my chef.  I made sure her armor was enchanted.
  • Think about taking some extra faction stuff with you that you won’t have access to on the other side.  This may be for yourself, or to sell on the AH for a profit.  Things like cooking recipes, non-combat pets, etc.  I didn’t do this, and wish I had.
  • If you are into achievements make sure you have the achievements for completing Stockades or Ragefire Chasm before you transfer.  Both are required for the classic dungeon master achievement.  I forgot to do this, so Piratejoe will have to try and get into Stormwind if he wants the achievement.
  • Similarly, catch a fish in Stormwind or Orgrimmar if you don’t want the hassle/excitement of running into an enemy city just to fish for an achievement.

Can you think of any others?

Transfer Complete – things to note

When your character is transferred many things will stay the same, you won’t lose the items in your bags, bank or money for instance, or most of your achievements or titles.  But a few faction-specific items/achievements will change.

  • Any faction specific mounts will change.  On the official site it shows how they have mapped factions – Stormwind –> Orgrimmar etc.  My goats changed into chicken mounts (yes, I know they have a proper name).
  • All my non-combat pets stayed the same except for my argent tournament squire who changed into a gruntling.
  • Important!  Your Argent Tournament achievements and rankings get completely reset and you have to do it all again from scratch.  Hollie was exalted with one faction and working on her second, but had to start from the beginning.  She lost her “Of Ironforge” title and didn’t get an equivalent horde title until I had worked through the dailies.  However, I kept my squire/gruntling pet, my axe (although it got converted to the horde equivalent), and any spare currency I had.  This latter item was useful, I had some of each type of tournament seal, meaning it was quicker for me to work my way through the ranks again.
  • I power leveled Hollie pretty quickly to 80, so she didn’t have masses of achievements, a couple that I did have around the fire festivals switched from the alliance to the horde equivalents.
  • The FAQs on the official site tell you about some of the other stuff like flight paths (depending on your level it calculated how many you should have and gives you the appropriate ones for your new faction).
  • If you are a real achievement/questing junkie, you will be pleased that you get to do all the quests for your new faction from the beginning.


All in all the process was pretty smooth, and I’m glad I went ahead and did it.  The only negative, was the resetting of my argent tournament ranking, which I didn’t realize would happen at the time.  Some people may think it a bit expensive, and maybe it is, but for me it has opened up new aspect of the game, now that my chosen play-style has changed for a while.  You may have many reasons why you want to change, as long as you are sure about it, go for it and have fun 🙂 .


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