“Watching over your shoulder” is an MMORPG.com blog by user wan7830, dealing with many MMO topics in a humorous, train-of-thought manner. Starting in late September, wan7830’s blog has covered topics such as character costumes, character naming conventions, what gamers want in our MMOs, and pets in games. In the future, I’m sure we’ll continue to see interesting posts by wan7830!
“Most players don’t give two cents for costumes.” On a website where forum and blog posters are constantly clamoring for more character customization, this is a bold statement to make. Don’t get up in arms yet, though – wan7830 has a point.
Wan7830 poses the following situation: “At the end of a dungeon, you defeat a dragon and get a reward. You have two choices, both are really rare items: a shiny two handed silver sword with an elegant shape, embedded with red runes that glow when you swing, or a wooden stick. The trick is that the wooden stick can do three times more damage than the shiny sword. Which one would you pick?” Without a moment’s thought, I would say the wooden stick. It’s the kind of gamer I am, and the kind of gamer most MMOers are. We care about our stats more than our looks; sure, we think it’s awesome when our uber powerful weapon looks great, too, but that’s secondary. “[The players] prefer to be a badass instead of look like a badass.”
That being said, I do appreciate games that make the great weapons look…well…great. Again, Wan7830 says it perfectly. “I picked the stick,” he says, “but with pity: too bad that great looking sword isn’t as useful as this rotten stick....to sum it up, players don’t think that their look is as important as their ‘hidden’ qualities (like damage or strength) but the fact is, they want to have a good character costume.”
Wan7830’s follow-up post was previously featured as a Community article here, so I’ll not go into further detail. Moving on…
“You can change your hairstyle. You can change your class or equipments. Your name, however, sticks with you FOREVER.” After conquering costumes, wan7830 talks about the importance of character naming, one of the few permanent decisions that exists in every MMO.
In a 2 part series of posts on his blog “Watching over your shoulder,” wan7830 discusses the dos and don’ts of character naming, from popular naming conventions to the names you should absolutely avoid.
Wan7830 makes suggestions of popular naming conventions, giving the pros and cons of each mode. For example, the “Native American naming method” involves pairing an adjective with a noun, as in SleepingWind or CalmSky. I have also seen this convention used with two nouns, such as SeaWarder or DarknessWarrior. “Many players choose this method because it’s simple and easy to recognize,” wan7830 gives as a pro. “A good combination of two words can result in a very interesting name.” The bad side, though, is that these names can end up very wrong. “If my name is BleedingLance, my guild and teammates are going to call me BL or Bleed for short.” What’s the point in having a cool name if no one uses it?
Another naming convention example is “The backwards method”, where a player spells a word backwards to make their name. These names are cool, says wan7830, because “if one day your friends decide to flip your name over, they might be surprised by the hidden word. In every game, on every server, there is a ‘Nogard’ running around just waiting for someone to discover the true meaning of his name.” Again, there’s another variation of this: anagrams! Many of my alts are some variation of Taera – Ataer, Raate, etc. This convention works well enough that some developers have used it…EverQuest god Tunare’s name is an anagram for “Nature!”
Wan7830 also gives some examples of bad names. Comically enough, his first “bad” naming convention is no “random letters and numbers.” For an example, he gives his own name! Another bad naming idea is using a prefix+suffix. Names like xxxBloodyMagexxx or >(BodyGuard)< are, to wan7830, really annoying.
For his most recent entry, wan7830 talks about pets in MMOs. “I think I read a poll somewhere before, the poster who started the poll made the conclusion that only girls are interested in pets. But I say, deep down, we all want some pets in our mmos.” Funny enough, I’m a girl and I really don’t like pet classes – but I know many pet-wielding gentlemen who love the soloability and versatility of most pet classes. Pet users are sort of like the beginnings of boxers, in my opinion – you have your pet playing one role, while your main character plays another.
Wan7830 lists a few reasons that MMOers love pets; for example, companionship! “We all get bored when we grind to level 55; we all get bored when making the 679th pair of leather boots. We need some kind of companionship when our friends are busy raiding or killing.”
Check out more of wan7830’s blog here (http://mmorpg.com/blogs/wan7830)