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?

More Words!

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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