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:
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
… 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?
- Bad Character Names
- Bad Guild Names
- Wrath Quickies
- Game Riding Shotgun
- Cooperative multiplayer overview