I am aware that this same question has been asked here: What is the difference between “ändern” and “verändern”?, however the issue remains at large for me. Basically, from this post specifically, apparently "ändern" is used more for "casual" changes, in the sense of effecting a change onto something pre-existing, whereas "verändern" implies a more severe modification, even suggesting total replacement. HOWEVER, this seems to be a point of contention, as some posts on other forums suggest the complete opposite while even others back up the link's conclusion. So, my question is: what gives? What are their differences? Is this a regional thing? Are they really just interchangeable and some people grow fond of one more than the other? Thanks.
Links to the other posts:
http://www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de/austausch/forum/read.php?4,49568,49580,quote=1 (this one talks about active/on purpose vs. passive)
http://www.grammatikfragen.de/showthread.php?480-Gibt-es-einen-Unterschied-zwischen-quot-%E4ndern-quot-und-quot-ver%E4ndern-quot-und-wie-lie%DFe-sich-dieser-erkl%E4ren (somewhat opposite, does say "ändern" can be used for full on exchanges/replacements)
http://deutschhappen.com/wann-verwendet-man-das-verb-andern-wann-verandern (complete opposite)
https://www.italki.com/question/88674 (apparently doesn't make much of a distinction, simply states that "verändern" is used less frequently).