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MMOWTF - What's in a Name?

Posted Dec 07, 2007 by Jon Wood

MMOWTF  - What's in a Name?

Weekly MMORPG Columnist Dan Fortier uses his time this week to gripe about naming policies in MMOs.

Among all the possible topics lined up in my weekly smorgasbord, this one is perhaps the least likely to get me fired. Why use it right before the holidays you ask? Well unlike some of you hopeless cases out there, I’m hoping Santa will grade me on the curve and cut me some slack if I behave at the end of the year. While it might not be the most radical idea, I do have some serious baggage to sort out on the subject and once again I’m dragging you poor readers along for the ride. This week I focus on the merits of a strong naming policy and the folks who bypass them.

Most MMOs share a pretty similar policy regarding what names players can use for their characters. They typically ban names that are sexually explicit or anything that could be offensive to any breathing human on the planet. While some of them are clever enough to counter some of the obvious alternate spellings or phonetic versions, a good portion of ‘inappropriate’ ones slip through the cracks to be sorted out by GMs and player petitions. In fact, most players consider the activity of bypassing the parser some kind of extra mini-game. This shouldn’t be misinterpreted as an attempt to keep the game free of ridiculous names, but simply as a buffer between the company and possible lawsuits.

Read the whole column here.