First: People of color actually existed in medieval Europe. The Moors of Spain were an active part of Europe from 711 until 1492 (right in the middle of the Wurm "time and place") After they were expelled from Spain, many stayed in neighboring parts of Europe. Hundreds lived in Tudor England. These moorish europeans were prominent subjects of Munich sculptor Erasmus Grasser, whose work graced castles throughout northern europe. Date: 1480. Much of this was stamped out of later historical records, in some cases even later painting over the skin tones in paintings! Jesus was white! The three wise man were white!
'But this is Northern Europe! By which we mean, Swedish (except anytime we want something in the game that is not Swedish!') There were no black Swedes back then!'
In other words, the Moors may have been a major part of historical medieval europe, but we're not counting them! It's not THAT europe!
There are many many many things in the game that are not "homegrown northern european", and especially not "Swedish". Some are more than a little out of place for a "medieval northern Europe" theme. A few are items brought to northern europe by global traders, many of whom were also of a wide ethnic diversity, but these items were NOT common to the time and place:
Basil is native to central Africa through Southeast Asia.
Corn is from Mexico.
Potatoes are from Peru.
Rice is from China.
Tomatoes are from central and south america.
Cabbage is native to the Mediterranean (as are those moors!).
Cucumbers are from India.
Garlic is from Middle Asia.
Carrots are from Persia.
Rosemary is from the Mediterranean.
And of course, as all Game of Thrones book readers know, there are no lemon trees in the North. Yet there are lemon and orange trees growing wild throughout northern Swedish-style Wurm?
I could make this list REALLY REALLY long. But we put these items in the game anyway because it makes the game more interesting and enjoyable for the players. In those cases, we don't argue whether each and every one of these are "historically accurate" because it is, after all, "just a game." Like it or not, Wurm is already diversified. Not everything in the game is 100 percent historically accurate, even for a completely made up world and place. Even if a few wealthy European nobility had access to some of these via traders, they were very rare and very expensive and not obtainable by the common folk, and certainly not growing in their backyard gardens. The commonfolk of europe did not find these foraging through the grass in front of their cottage. The wealthy did not get them that way either. We won't even get into the issues of dragons and trolls.
We gave up arguing years ago (thankfully) whether female characters "historically" wore armor and wielded swords. After all, Joan of Arc! Queen Boudica of Britain! Brynhild the Valkyrie! All them totally badass Viking Women! The fact that a huge part of the Wurm player base are in fact female, probably played a major part in that. "Fine. Ok, whatever, woman can have swords and wear armor and be 'equal', sigh."
Now the developers say they are trying to open Wurm to a broad new market of gamers. Almost every other "fantasy roleplaying game" based on medieval life, allows a broad ethnic diversity so that all players can feel they have a place in that game. Neverwinter Nights from 2002 allows very dark skintones, and player avatars that are obviously african or arabic or oriental. Dark Ages of Camelot from 2001, which like Wurm also is supposedly based on "northern european medieval settings," you can play a Saracen, who have darker arabic/moorish coloration. You can play a Erudite in Everquest (1999), a Redguard in Daggerfall, Morrowind and Skyrim, a Gharu'ndim or a Sho in Asheron's Call. It doesn't matter whether you call those "races" or simply allow a wider range of skin colors for generic humans. Almost every "medieval" roleplaying game except Wurm, embraces a wide diversity of skintones for its playerbase. It doesn't even need to be explained in "the lore". We are way past that stage, we have been for some time.
Yes, there are a certain subset of gamers who hate abhor detest any sort of "diversification" in their games, books, movies, comics (as well as in their schools, places of employment, and general society). I do not believe they represent the majority of Wurm players, and I am not going to waste time arguing with them.
But for the rest of us ... do we really want to tell this "new generation of Wurm players" that we are trying to promote the game to, that this game is only representing people with the most absolute pale skin colors possible? Or do we want the game to fail just so we can keep up this "fantasy" of only having pure milk white skin tones? Is that also the message that the new owners of the game, Gamechest Group, want to be promoting? Do we as the playerbase, want this to be -our- message?
Is this really who we want to be?
It's not too late, even now. Just change the current skin tones to a wider range than "pale to somewhat less pale", and give every preexisting one free silver mirror so they can adjust themselves if they ended up, horrors, being too dark. If we can easily do this with gods and priests, why can't we do this with skintones?