If the gnomes of like 130 000 players look silly after the change (minding the silly facial expression of the gnome female shown recently) I expect a huge outcry.
Considering even my (I can for example safely say I big reason I still subscribe are Gnomes) gut reaction to the overly Disneyesque Gnome Female Gnome was
kill it with fire
that is certainly a possibility.
Especially because they ARE significantly changing the models, going by those pics - they are the new version of Anvarra's face, which is the 'tough power woman Gnome'-look w/ heavy make-up, something that befits Anvarra's personality to a T.
Now look at what that face becomes with the (apparently) mandatory change:
an entirely different face, some soft-boiled simpleton's face that doesn't correlate one bit to
a) the original model
b) Anvarra's persona.
They really ought to take a leaf from EverQuest (2) and allow people to chose wether they like the new models or their original one, and at the very least a free curstomisation/character (which btw EQ offers as World Event rewards in-game, just saying).
As a side-note, this may just be the final nail in the coffin for me, as, looking at the latest expansions, more and more things are taken from my characters, which are the primary reason I even play WoW
- Cataclysm destroyed the world my characters lived in and the thinsg they busied themselves with , and diminshed their 'life accomplishments' (nerfs to Ambassador and other reps, removal of Keys Red Quests etc.);
- MoP outright removed their 'life accomplishments' (Accountwide Achievement Rewards and Mounts, Heirlooms outclassing all their on-character acquired gear thanks to 5.4 etc.)
- and now, now with WoD even their last bit identity - their form, the face in the mirror they see - will be taken away as well.
Now of course those are primarily my own feelings but I doubt I am the only one who feels very uncomfortable by having even the last shred of your current charater's identity being taken away, and it may very well remove the point of even bothering to play anymore.
If WoD means essentially a new game with new characters, one might as well just play an actual new game instead.