Swâpped Letters in Namês

In these wonderful online games, the longer one single namespace exists, the fewer the names available in that namespace. At some point, all the good names are going to be taken. What then?


Now, let me say this first: I've had enough experience with foreign language to appreciate that everyone doesn't use the character set used by American English. I speak Spanish and a little German and Japanese. Many fine and wonderful languages use other characters. Mi hija es pequeña. I'm not talking about other languages at all, or the names that derive from the culture or history of other languages.

I'm talking about:

  • Örion
  • Vâlor
  • Stêve

I groan every time I see one of these names. Is it just me?

It's like everyone's forgotten that these MMOs are basically text-muds with a fantastic graphics engine. Text is the heart of the mutliplayer experience! Your communication with every other player happens over guild chat, party chat, general chat, whispers. All text.

In a world where people sitting at a full keyboard still type for maximum efficiency:

  • c u l8r
  • o i c
  • lol

… how does this extra typing work get in under radar?

Does everyone go out and memorize that ascii-code-136 is ê, that ascii-code-135 is ç, and so on? No! From the people I've talked to, they just don't think that far ahead. They learn the codes for their name alone… to type when they're making their character.

"Hey, I've got a friend who'd like to join us."

"Cool, what's the name?"

"Um… he's gonna whisper you in a second."

Because they can't type the name.

"But how do you invite your husband to your group?"

"I never have to type it! He's on my friends list."

That sound is my brain popping.

I've talked to people who had to look up how to type the letters in their own name because they didn't know how to type them.

Your character is a collection of experience you've had: stats, doodads, gear, whatever. Your character has a text name which people have to type in order to interact with you. Why are you going to increase the difficulty?

Request for Comments: I'm making a "global hierarchy of bad names" reference article, so please comment with some examples of bad names you've seen, and I'll try to organize them. Not just swapped characters, but whatever gets under your skin in a name. Chucknorris, anyone?

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8 thoughts on “Swâpped Letters in Namês”

  1. Oh, and I wrote this article while not forgetting the existence of Larísa, whose writing I greatly enjoy. All the same, I'm glad I'm not typing her name into my chat. To her credit, when you copy and paste Larísa into google, that's her internet footprint you're looking at.

    Is it weird to be the first to comment on my own article? Feels that way. Oh, well. Still learning this blogging thing.

  2. Your future post could probably contain an entire Legolas section, but in truth it's probably just a sub-family of "bad ripoffs of fantasy staples".

    Ghandalf and Drizzit come to mind.

  3. I was just about to say that I'm sorry to have that strange little ' thing in my name when I saw you had already read my mind… :)

    If I had known of any other solution I wouldn't have picked it up. But transfering and finding another Larisa on my new server, wanting to keep my name, what else could I have done?

    It's good though that the Larisa on my server without a ' is a horde character. If not there would have been a risk that guildies and myself would have sent stuff to the wrong person. Now it's impossible.

    However I agree about what you write. I can't really understand why people are so obsessed with having some well known fantasy names like Gandalf, making them finding up stupid ways to spell it just to get it… Silly, really. Shows an incredible lack of imagination. Even randomly scrabbling letters would make better names.

  4. I hate names like these and I report them anytime I see them. They're against the ToU. I'm sorry that some names are taken that people would really like to have, but that happens to everyone; you just have to suck it up and move on.

    Also, dunno if you know this, but if you shift-click a name when you have a text box (or GM ticket!) open, the name will be pasted into your text box. Makes this sort of thing, or those people who go for impossibly long and convoluted names, a bit easier to deal with.

  5. Names with the special symbols never get a /tell unless I can shift-click or left-click them.
    Others that get under my skin? As people have said… ripoffs of fantasy or science fiction works. Legalos, Gandalf, Sephiroth, Drizzt. Some make it through and are cool, like Seyonne, Ysanne, Artemis, etc, because they're not 'main stream' and are spelled correctly.
    Then there are the statement names: Ikillu, Stabsudead, etc, etc.

  6. If I need a group invite for a name like this, I can use their PM to me to do it, or if their friend says to invite them, I'll have them whisper me, so I can right-click and invite.

    I don't like the names, but for the moment I have to deal with them. I don't report them. I save that for the truly over-the-top stupid/offensive names.

  7. Being on an RP server I really hate names that aren't real names like "killuded" and such previously mentioned, or names that are words stuck together trying to sound fantasy-ish such as "Starbreath" (not an actual name I've seen). These can only work for Night Elves. There's one in my guild who has a name similar to that, and funny thing is he's probably one of the best RP-ers we have. He plays his character very well, but I still hate his name!

  8. Swapped letters are a pain in the ass. I actually had a guildie once who'se name was ßö. He'd even criticize if somebody in guild chat wrote his name as Bo. At which point I started addressing him in vent the way those letters are supposed to be pronounced(s-sound and the u-sound of words like turn)

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