So there was an interesting announcement out of Blizzard yesterday, apparently they’re going to be releasing some names that have been parked with old characters. Specifically any characters that have not logged into the game since 13 November 2008 will have their names forfeited letting anyone snap them up once 6.0.2 hits live.
I know that reclaiming old names isn’t something new, you can already petition to have unused names released on a case by case basis. I’m not sure what the current requirements are, but I’m guessing the character in question will have to be thoroughly abandoned before a Game Master will give its name to you.
The date they chose is the release date for Wrath of the Lich King (yeah, that came out over six years ago now) so basically if a character hasn’t been played since The Burning Crusade, that name is now up for grabs. It’s a good date in my opinion, I mean if you haven’t played a character since then, it’s thoroughly been forgotten. Plus, the character isn’t being deleted, it’s just loosing it’s name. They’ve also given us plenty of warning, so if you are particularly attached to a name you haven’t used in six years, you can still save it.
Originally I didn’t think this would free up many names, but then I remembered that this game came out in 2004 (wow), and now I’ve had to revise that. This is going to free up a lot of names, especially the simpler and more generic names. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them get snatched up again though, I know several people are planning on swooping up as many names as they can when they’re released.
The Godmother over at Alt:ernative Chat speculated that this may be a draw for old players with lapsed subscriptions, but I don’t agree. People who haven’t played in six years aren’t very likely to care about character names, and I don’t think this will bring them back.
No, I think this is just a logistical issue, Blizzard is running out of names. Think about it, especially since we’re no longer allowed to use characters outside the Latin alphabet, there’s only so many possible names. I think this is simply so new characters can be added to old servers.
Still, good move by Blizzard, I’m sure there’s a lot of people excited about this.