Given that we have no server GM’s in WoW, I like to take time out of my busy play schedule to do unpaid volunteer customer service work for Blizzard. As paying subscribers, it’s the least we can do to help out a struggling company like Vivendi. Apparently Blizzard has decided to implement a stealth change to the official WoW naming policy. After petitioning a Blizzard Gamemaster last evening with a naming violation I was told that names with extended ascii codes are now allowed. I’ve been petitioning names like this for years now and this came as a shock. I guess I didn’t get the memo.
To illustrate the implications of this change to their naming policy, imagine you have created a name for yourself on your server through many years and many levels. Suddenly comes along and hijacks your identity by faking your name. Let’s say a player named Furor exists on your server. You can now create the name Fùrør or Furør in an effort to mock or degrade that Furor without any repercussions from Blizzard.
Other reasons for not allowing this is that it makes communication with players almost impossible as you can’t type their name or even see if they are online. How do you try to group with them if you can’t even invite them? As I mentioned above, it also allows players to infringe upon the reputation of existing players who have chosen an original legitimate name. There’s a reason you can’t start up a company called Äpplë or Mîçrosøft and get away with it. They will sue you and rightfully so.
Another reason why I think allowing this is a bad idea is that it allows players to draw attention to themselves by using a cheap and easy trick, instead of distinguishing themselves by actions and deeds. Unfortunately, some players are exhibitionists. They like to be your face and having a name with incomprehensible foreign characters is another part of their modus operandi. MMO’s are all about players achieving validation through earned status: status gained via level, gear, or association. This is just another example of the erosion of the importance of status in WoW.
What really bothers me is that this was done without any form of announcement on the part of Blizzard. Somehow players are supposed to find out these things by magic. Apparently a bean counter in upper management at Blizzard figured that too many GM’s were wasting valuable time addressing these types of naming violations. Or it could be that Blizzard doesn’t feel that establishing a consistent approach to player names is even worth enforcing any longer. Anything goes it seems (as long as it’s not my monthly subscription dollars). But in all honesty we must forgive them because we know that they are working on much more important things.
Allowing players to use extended ascii codes which are intended for languages other then English is a big mistake which Blizzard rightfully included as a violation in their official naming policy previous to now. For reasons that are obvious, the English alphabet is the official alphabet of the English version of WoW. It’s a sad day when that point has to be made. Standards exist for a reason. Blizzard as a MMO company should know better.
In the end, this change will not cause any waves in the player community. Most players will continue to log on, do their daily quests and get their epic gear unmoved and unaffected. Yet somehow the players that care about this community and the culture of this MMO are all diminished if ever so slightly by this change. The death of a thousand cuts starts with one cut.
I couldn’t agree more. The problem is that with a fixed income per subscriber, the only way to increase revenues is to broaden the subscriber base, which means lowering standards to accommodate them.
I wouldn’t mind paying extra for more value – a tighter community is a more interesting one. Sadly, I also know there are asshats with money too, so a game-server with higher fees is no haven.
Excellent points. A thousand cuts indeed….
This a great point that I didn’t directly contemplate. Although I’m very cynical about Blizzard’s behavior these days I need to realize that almost everything they do is done with the idea of expanding their subscriber base. We all know how much Blizzard seems to delight in releasing those self-congratulatory press releases about how many “millions” are currently playing their game. I think that the powers that be at Blizzard are addicted to this success and are always finding ways to keep pushing for more growth of their subscriber base.
This reminds me of how big companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks behave. At some point there will be a Starbucks on every street corner (visit Seattle or Vancouver B.C. for first hand evidence of this) and Starbucks coverage of the world will reach a saturation point. Blizzard needs to reevaluate their base much like how Starbucks recently started going back to basics such as *gasp* actually grinding coffee in their stores. Blizzard too needs to start worrying about retaining their current loyal subsribers instead of dumbing down the game in an effort to woo potential new subscribers.
I agree with you guys that this was a bad decision. But in defence I had an alt with the same name but it had a dash above the “A”. So it wasnt like i was making someone else look bad or stealing there image. I was just keeping my mains image on my alt.
Im glad they allow it but im pissed they didnt let every1 change their names back to what they had.
Lets say I want the name Kate but some1 already made a Bank alt named Kate and they quit wow 3yrs ago… they’ve reserved a name they are not using! So whats wrong with me making my name Katè? Nothing. Aside from prevent goldfarmers and immature brats from spamming PMs at me. Contacting ppl is easy. You can link their name, add them to friends, add them to ignore. Report them and link their name or /who them and link their name. Its not that difficult at all.
You say that companies cant copy the name Microsoft… but how many ppl in the RL world have the name Jessica and I’m a person in WoW not a company. By your logic/reasoning copy right laws should be similiar to blizzards naming policy. In RL MicroZoft would be copy right infringment. so if i were Kate nobody can choose the name cate, kaate, kait, katy and on and on. no that wouldnt make sense. Person names are not copy righted u do not buy names and u certainly dont own it.
Having your named Hijacked sux, no arguement there. But honestly is a little brat who wants to cause trouble going to spend his time leveling up an identical toon with a similar name to 70? No. Will he want to spend $25 to change his name to immitate you? Doubtful. There will always be a distinguishable difference to the semi-intelligent person between lvl 70 Mage Katè and lvl 1 Warrior Kate.
The most blatant problem I saw were GM’s just being plain assholes about it most of the time. The only time a GM would make an ASCII player change their name is if they were on a power trip or were just trying to get “even” with some1. GM’s can very in personality. You can have honest, well meaning GMs or immature little brats.