The ex-Race Team finished couple of races that were added to the Combine. We (I was part of it) have decided that it was better and more fair for everyone to allow a race chance, since many vet players might have like to be one of the new races but it wouldn't worth loosing everything over it. I can't recall all the races that were added, someone else might, but couple of them were also added as Hidden and when discovered everyone will have a chance to switch to that race (and only to that race) should they want to.
It was only allowed with the new races release, you still have to respawn if you want to be someone else. The meta-something plague was used again to give it some galaxy wide IC reason. There is a Holocon article about it.
Edited By: Lilith Delcroix on Year 14 Day 304 16:01 ____________
The race change was for: Ryn, Bosph, Caamasi, Squib, and Sluissi. There was also the option at the time to change to any other race already existing in SWC. For example, you could change from Corellian to Nikto.
A race change was also available for Diathim, which was a newly discovered race from finding a new system.
Race change is allowed for all newly discovered races as well, but only to that new race and not to any other existing races.
There were around 10-20 new races added, although not all of them were made visible or selectable. In addition all the races were tweaked somewhat so that they were all roughly comparable in the number of skill points, race modifier and force chance. Because of this, it was felt that letting all the players decide to switch races was the easiest way to deal with the resulting issues with changing skills etc. There was also a skill point reset as well to account for the changing skills as well.
Of the hidden races, once another one is found, people will have 30 days to switch to that new race, and only that race. After which you have to die and respawn to become that race.
The change was implemented due to concerns with a recent skills change across all Races. When the race skills were alterred, before we even decided on any new hidden races, I had been pushing for an option to change races due to the grumblings.
The hidden races bit is a continued code that allows for any new race found, to be spawnable for a short period of time. Rather than force a player to kill themself to play a race that didn't exist at the time of their current spawn, they're allowed to populate that race.