THE NAME GAME [Author: Lum the Mad]

Fresh from showing off “The Version Of Our Game That Doesn’t Suck” at E3, Tommy Strand posts on a rumor that Anarchy Online actually won’t let you choose your own name. (Gee, Ultima Online 2 just joked about not letting you choose your own gender, and EA cancelled them to death!)

When you select another character or your own the call-sign/nick will show up over the characters head together with a health bar. The nick is automatically formatted for easy viewing with a capitalized first letter and the rest lowercase. No numbers or special symbols are accepted in the nick.

The debate here seems to be around the First and Last name of the character. The only way you will see the first and the last name is by left clicking (examining) the character. The name will then show up in the following form: Tommy \’e2\’80\’9cChac\’e2\’80\’9d Strand.

The \’e2\’80\’9cChac\’e2\’80\’9d part is globally unique, while anyone can call them selves Tommy Strand. In character creation a random name based on the 6000 most common first names and the 13000 most common last names in the US. Why you ask would we add such a feature? For convenience! We want the players to quickly get through character creation and enter the game-world to enjoy the world. Once settled down and feel like focusing more on customizing the character, the player can take his or her character to the name registration office in a city. Here you can choose to manually enter a first and a last name or to select between the 78000000 different names that can be generated for you. The cost of changing the name is now set to be symbolic but might increase in the future as we see how the game progress and how people use the service. That means there is no level restrictions to name change, only a mild cash drain.

Some people might feel that we are forcing three names upon them, but since the First and Last name is non-intrusive and for role-playing purposes it will be required.

So… yes, you can’t actually choose your full name (as opposed to your nick – say… Dr. Nathaniel “Lum” Twister) but you can pay money to actually choose your own name. I wonder if we’ll see an eBay traffic in names. Or maybe the AO players will just post more elf splatter pr0n.