A Naming Policy Malfunction
Published on May 3, 2005 By MrBadAxe In WoW
When World of Warcraft was released, players were quick to note that its naming policy was stricter than most. While obvious provisions were made such as no racial, sexual, ethnic, violent, religious, obscene, or vulgar names, certain things were more nitpicking: names must be one word, all letters (other MMOs allow numbers or underscores), no real world references (e.g. Georgewbush, Parishilton), no partial sentences (e.g. Iwillkillall, Youreanoob), and no titles before your name (Lordjim, Kingarthur). This last one makes more sense now that the PvP system has added military ranks before the names of everyone skilled (or perhaps devoted) enough to earn one.

Yesterday, My roommate informed me that the Smolderthorn server had gone live the day before. The highest level Alliance character on that server was only level 22, and there would be quite an opportunity to be in the top rankings for PvP. Naturally, I was bored with running endless runs through Blackrock Depths to make Omni reach level 56, so I thought, What the hell? and logged on.

Now here is where it starts getting sticky. I had always wanted to use all those funny little international characters you only find in Character Map. And I wanted to get a cheap laugh from my friends. I created a human mage and named it Püñçtüåtør. (for those who care, to type it: p, alt+0252, alt+0241, alt+0231, t, alt+0252, alt+0229, t, alt+0248, r.)

Naturally, people who looked at my name cringed. "I have to type that? I'm not typing that!"

In the general chat channel, the players were razzing someone who named himself Zäck. (note the umlaut over the A.) He kept saying it wasn't that bad. At that point, I jumped in and said, "My name is much worse." The responses ranged from exasperated concession to total shock. Altogether, I thought it a success: it did exactly what the name was intended to do, that being shock some people and make others laugh.

Now, I had reached level 11 on this character when someone decided to be a narc. I was informed, by a character named Cardinal, that my name had been reported to Blizzard for being against the naming policy. For a while, I believed him, but didn't exactly care. The name had certain advantages and disadvantages; on the one hand, no one could put me on their ignore list, because they would be unable or unwillling to type my enigmatic name. But by the same tick, they couldn't invite me to groups either, for the same reason. So at the very worst, my name would be changed to something typable, and I'd get in groups regularly, which is kind of necessary for a cloth-wearer.

Then, I decided to check Blizzard's naming policy. It's at http://www.blizzard.com/support/wowgm/?id=agm01723p , for those who also want to read it. I didn't see anything on there about restrictions on international characters. Perhaps he had misconstrued my name as being against one of the other criterion, such as:

ETHNIC. Just for example, does having a name with an ñ in it mean that I'm making fun of Spanish speaking people? I should hope not!

NATIONAL. Same reason as before.

GIBBERISH. This is the part of which Cardinal probably thought my name was in contravention. Here is the wording on this policy:

"Pure Gibberish -- This category includes names which...consist of a string of letters which do not produce a pronounceable name (i.e. Asdfasdf, Jjxccm, Hvlldrm)"

If you ignore the various markings over the letters, which people likely did subcounsciously, It's perfectly readable and perfectly pronounceable.

In short, nothing was wrong with this name, according to the Blizzard naming policy. And yet Cardinal decides to report me. There was no provocation; our characters never met, I never insulted him or even talked to him specifically (until he reported me). He just saw my name in the General chat channel and decided, "He's gonna get it."

Well, Cardinal, I COULD make the argument that your name is against the Blizzard policy too:

"Major Religions or Major Religious Figures -- This category includes both clear and masked names which: Is based on or alludes to major religions or religious figures (i.e. Jesus, Christianity, Buddha) "

Your name MAY have been referring to those delightful red birds I sometimes see, but due to the class you chose (priest) it could be construed to mean the position in the Catholic hierarchy just below the Pope, which could be considered a "religious figure." That would have been against the Blizzard naming policy. But it would have also been nitpicking. So I wouldn't have reported you for it; I would have just gone, "Cardinal? He's probably thinking about the bird. Heh heh, those birds are cool."

Well, wherever you are, Cardinal, I wish the best of luck to you. Leveling a priest on a PvP server will be hard, take it from someone who's been there.

Comments
on May 05, 2005
This story is missing an ENDING!

WHAT HAPPENED!?!

Did they make you change your name?

People don't "need" to type your name for group invites... they can just right click on it in a chat window... or your portrait. Same goes for "ignore" I think.

In any event, that guy is a jerk, and is totally on weak groud. Religious figure, yes.... also, like you said, no titles... and that's a title.

*hands Cardinal idiot of the year award*
on May 05, 2005
Missing an ending? Well, excuuuuuuse me.

The ending is unhappy, unfortunately; Blizzard did side with Cardinal on this, and now "Püñçtüåtør" is now just "Punctuator."

But turnabout is fair play. Cardinal won't get to keep his name for long...
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