Friday, September 18, 2009

What’s in a Name?

Earlier this week I finally cleared up a recurring problem. A search on Google for my name as an exact phrase returns 11,100 results. (I am pleased at the roundness of that number)

Gmail has a feature whereby if your email is and someone sends a message to it still gets to you. Your name is more or less your own.

Sadly either through penmanship or a slip of the finger another guys emails were coming to me. The difference between us? One initial. Suffice to say I received things I likely shouldn’t have from businesses. No harm done, I rang Atlanta and myself and himself got it sorted. Hey how often do you get to dial a number and say “<Name>? My name is <exact same name>”?

However I found the whole situation mildly annoying for a while, I cast around trying to find the right guy to fix the issue. What’s this to do with anything MMO? Well Champions, here’s where you come in.

Sure the @Global name that you started in CoH is handy, it really is. I remember being confused by my brother telling me in WoW he has no global chat channels whereas I’ve recently had to cut some. In the serverless blender that is CO, your @name is the unique part of your identity. No longer is your character name how people will identify you. Sure this helps cut down on some things. Ignore an idiot and you ignore every possible alt of him. At the same time, especially when you ignore the @ name (I am told it can be turned off in the chat box) you are no longer unique. Yes there are 11,100 returns for my name on Google, but there’s only one me and the only similar named chap I’ve met lives some thousands of miles away.

Your powers can be retconned every which way, at a cost. Your outfit can be changed up, down and sideways. The last part of a permanent identity is now immersion breaking. You could have a zone full of Bob The Builders thanks to the @ name making them all different, but do you really want to run into that guy with your name every time you turn a corner? Even if it’s initials in the difference.


Jayedub said...

BoB the Builder, why didn't I think of that name?!? I see where you are coming from on this, but I believe it has more to do with only having one server, that's the reason for the non-unique name policy.

Blue Kae said...

I was pretty unsure about the whole @name thing when I first heard about it, but overall I'm happy with how it's turned out.

I used to have a problem in CoX where I'd come up with a cool hero name which would suggest a power/costume concept, and 9 out of 10 times after I created the costume and got the the naming part the original name I had in mind was taken. Then I'd have to spend 30 minutes coming up with alternates. In Champions I don't have to worry about it.

Also, I've yet to run into anyone with the same hero names that I'm using.