More creative and consistent names

Update: As this was published I noticed that the patch 4.3 name rules have changed too:

North American realms (excluding Brazilian, Latin American, and Oceanic realms) no longer permit letters with accents in character or guild names. Existing character and guild names with special characters will be unaffected by this change.

How many times have you seen these type of names?

Ãrthás, Ægigbird, ìcemage, lololas, undeaddeath, or ikillsunow. Iamatank (who is dps), pvpggodd, or any darn name which uses a keyboard crushing special character. It is a short step to bigtool7 as a character name, and most of the examples above are from actual toons.

Moons ago I wrote a small blogpost about naming a Death Knight, as at the time the Wrath expansion was announced but not released, and players were creating and reserving names left and right. It was done as a PSA type post so that (I hoped) the wow population would have less silly and unpronounceable names.

How’d that go? I saw no direct affect; but then didn’t really expect to see a major shift. I was more just standing on my soapbox yelling at the world (now we have twitter for that, and bloggers have multiple avenues to shout about the things that frustrate them)…and shitty names still frustrate me.

The characters like “Bloodelfdk” are still happily jumping around in WoW, and it seems that players are keen to use every special keyboard character they can when re-using names. I guess that won’t change much either.

It would be interesting to see an MMO which prohibited these type of names more, and if that rule had a significant affect on the player base. Would a restriction such as that hinder the growth of the game?

Take the SW-ToR game coming in December – can I create a character called DarthVedar? Hanssolo? Chewiebacka? Aaanakin?

These names are just as silly as Arthaaas and all the rest based on the Warcraft lore, and as ToR is based on story arcs and events, it seems something they might wish to consider – especially if the NPCs will be using the character names in some way:

Npc: The elderly noble rises from his ornate throne and says “We hail PrincisLayher, you efforts to force back the Imperial troops were a boon to my people. What would you ask of me as reward?”

Player: “dude epix, lol”

Npc: …{shakes head}

It breaks the story, and makes me a little sick just thinking of it.

OK what to do:

  1. Valid Random Names – The random name generator in the character creation screen should not show you names that are in use. It frustrates me that a name is shown, might actually be useful, but is not available. As an armchair programmer this does not seem to be a huge issue, the list could be updated on batch, and then re-checked every day to ensure the error rate would be low.
  2. Prohibit special characters – I know this affects some legit European names, but then you’re not playing yourself in Second Life, you’re playing Warcraft. Names like Redhand are far more lore worthy than Phîlll. And yup, it would wreck a huge amount of current character names, but hey – I hate those names so on this point I’m going to be inconsiderate of those players.

6 thoughts on “More creative and consistent names

  1. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed and agree with this! Terrible names just irritate me to no end, and I know that is silly, why should I care, right? But to see someone who puts absolutely no thought into naming their toons always screams lack-of-personality to me! I’ll admit I am a sucker for food names or musician/song based names or just favorite things (like Gladiola being a favorite flower), and I don’t understand how it is so hard to dredge up something from way down deep, something that is important or has meaning to you! (Food is yummy…)

    I also hate to see people name all their alts very similar to their main toon. I think I see it most commonly in the “hardcore” progression guild on our server and the reasoning behind that I think lies more in them wanting the rest of the server to know that “oooh this is the alt of XX-godlike player gaze upon me oooh” (jerks), and so also just knowing that irritates me.

    I have a RL friend named Kevin who also named his toons every variation of his own name he could possibly think of: Kevhan, Kevvin, Kevinn, etc. Stupid.

    Maybe I just lack a certain amount of tolerance when it comes to character names, and maybe that is a fault, but that’s okay, right? RIGHT??

  2. I really glad you liked and agree with the view – we need more folks like us out there. To be honest though I’ve recycled a few core names now and then, so while most of my toons have totally different names sometimes I’ll copy them, especially if moving between servers.
    eg. Mortigen became Mortissa, so if you were looking for me and saw a death Knight with “Mort” at the start there is a change its me. Although perhaps Mort is a dangerously common name for a DK. opps.
    One of my friends and guildmates uses the core name Ram, and we’ve got other guildies who also have those characters in their toon names, and it confuses the hell out of me sometimes. I think its Ram because the toon name is Ramiliy, but it can’t be because Ramfell is online. *brain shutdown*.

  3. Once upon a time Blizzard actually did enforce sensible naming conventions. I know a few people who had what was basically part of a sentence for a toon name who had their characters names forcibly changed.
    Then WoW got massive and they no longer had the resources to worry about little things like silly names. People complain enough now about the wait for a GM, imagine how long that wait would be if they also were actioning bad name requests.

    Maybe they should take it more seriously on RP realms where names should be relatively sensible or perhaps the naming conventions for characters be mechanically enforced on those realms at creation or transfer.

    Another solution is to disallow name parking.

    If after a period of X time a particular toon is still under a particular level threshold then the toon gets forcibly renamed.
    Also Blizzard should automatically free up names of toons on accounts that gave not been active for at least a month.

  4. I like the idea of making names expire in inactive accounts, 3 months seems a time limit. Perhaps those toon names are marked as available, it could lead to some interesting events when somebody thinks an old player has returned though.

  5. Names… ugh, I hate accented names when they’re used to bypass the filters, but I will point out that many fantasy conventions feature the accents as a valid part of the naming grammar. I wish that we’d someday be allowed to use the simple dash (-) and glottal stop (‘) for these reasons.

    My first thought, sadly enough, was that it might be an effort to prevent scammers using whispers from characters named “Blìzzàdmin” and the like to catch out the unwary.

  6. I’d be a fan of letting us have surnames too. Maybe make then non-unique and not count toward the name lock. That way we could have a dynasty of toons or RP reasons.
    Even better make the Surname able to be altered, via paid if needed.

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