I like the idea of having multiple skill specs for characters - similar to WoW - it would be a good compromise for those that refuse to roll an alt, just so they can do everything.
However, the comparisons you make to WoW, diverge below the surface …
- In WoW, you had specific class types, so respeccing was limited to predefined skills within that class - not an entire skill tree. Not all classes could heal other players for example.
- You also complimented different skill specs with specialised armours, which is something that we won’t have in Boundless (although the forge may cover some of that to a limited degree with tool/weapon statributes etc.).
So whilst I do think it’s a good idea, and having multiple specs per character would assuage some of the single character puritans, I personally think it offers little in return, beyond what alts already do, for whatever development time would be required to implement it.
Surely this would make it just the same as having an alt character, with the exception that you get to keep your original character name…?
… which leads me to …
I think this would be a more simple solution to cover all of what has been suggested (especially so if it were implemented with @Marrash 's suggestion regarding earning your skills in the normal way for each spec) … and … ok yes, you still have an alt, and yes you’re still filling a skill shortfall with that alt, but skill respecs would be doing exactly that as well. At least with a family name, you could add that family name to your beacon permissions, instead of all 3 of your friends characters, whilst still allowing you to pick and choose individual characters if you chose to as well.
Maybe have it so that the “family” name is displayed first … so I could have Stretchious Khan or Stretchious Jenkins.
Just in addition to that, you can already see all alts from steam friends, so being able to sort characters by steam account, or being able to add an actual steam account (thus all characters associated with that account) to permissions in one hit would be beneficial (but certainly not the only way to do so!).