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Posts with tag paid-name-change

Breakfast Topic: The high cost of playing

I support World of Warcraft's paid services. I think they're good for the game. I think a lot of the options that the services provide extend our interest in the game, allowing us to play when we might have otherwise lost interest. What I do worry about is how expensive everything is when you start to add them all up. I suspect I'm like the average player who has more than a few max level characters at this point, which means wanting to avail of paid services on all of them could get a little pricey.

Let's take character transfers, for instance. If I wanted to transfer all my characters to a server where my friends play (why would I want to move just one?) it would cost me a hefty sum. Add to that the fact that my wife plays wherever I play so we multiply that hefty sum by two. Imagine if I wanted to change my characters' races to those combinations that were previously unavailable come Cataclysm... how much would that add up to? It doesn't take an accountant to see that it could cost a small fortune.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Real life Character Re-Customization

I first changed my name in high school. From Sakay, I flipped it over to Hugo, my given name taken from my father (and his father, and his father's father). In college, I went by Kensai, a name that stuck for a while since most of my current friends were from that period in my life. For a brief time an ex-girlfriend's circle of friends called me Saint (both from the Kensai and the movie Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead). When I entered the workforce, I swapped that over for the Zach that's on my byline now. That little idiosyncrasy has actually allowed me to remember people from where I met them. If someone says hi and calls me Sakay, for example, I know I met them in elementary school. I'm sneaky that way.

It's character re-customization in real life. Or paid name change. Except I didn't actually have to fork $10 to get it done. We re-customize ourselves all the time, changing clothes more often (hopefully, anyway!) than our characters upgrade their gear. Some changes are more drastic -- losing or gaining weight, shaving our heads (it worked for Justin Timberlake), or even changing jobs or moving house. It's all part of how we continue to re-customize our lives.

If we could re-customize ourselves as easily as we could the way we change our characters, what would you change and why? Or maybe you've just gone through a makeover recently -- from a haircut to the whole shebang -- tell us about it on this drab weekend morning. Now if only we could get real life Gold just as easily...

Filed under: Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics

Blizzard's version of RMT

Real-money trading is one of the most debated aspects of MMO gaming at large -- some games don't actually charge a monthly fee, and instead what they do is sell ingame items for real world money. Want that hot sword for your character? Put in your credit card and pay up. Blizzard, obviously, has never really subscribed to the idea, since a lot of players think it's unfair to make how much money you have in the real world a part of the game you play. Nevertheless, there is a lot of money to be made in selling virtual items for real money, and Blizzard has come up with their own form of RMT in terms of server transfers, name changes, and now gender changes as well.

Blizzard has rules for their RMT, though, and Zarhym lays a few of them out: they won't charge for any item that means anything in game -- cosmetic items and looks are fair game, but actual gear or "integral services" (whatever that means exactly) is a no for them. They won't charge for anything that was free before, so creating up to 10 characters on a realm, for example, will always come with the subscription (though adding more may eventually be possible with an extra charge). And Blizzard's RMT comes as a game mechanic itself -- they choose to charge for things not just because there's a cost for them, but also to "curb their frequency," to keep all players from doing them all the time.

It's an interesting idea, and it's definitely a lot more player-friendly than charging for things like, say, horse armor. You could also argue, of course, that something like the WoW TCG is also a kind of RMT scheme, since you have to pay real money for real cards to get in-game items (even though Blizzard has made sure those items are cosmetic as well). But paying for transfers and changes is a little sneakier -- Blizzard is slowly wading into RMT, so far successfully dodging all the sharks in the water.

Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

Paid transfer and name change cooldowns reduced

European CM Thundgot announced today that the cooldown periods for both paid character transfer and paid character name changes have been reduced from three months to one month, effective immediately. The transfer cooldown was originally six months when the feature was introduced in June 2006, but was reduced to three in October 2006. In the intervening time, they've looked at server logs and so forth and come to the conclusion that moving it to one month would not have catastrophic consequences.

This change appears to be effective on the US realms as well, so wherever you are, you can hop servers and adopt new aliases every month if you want to pay for it. Also, Thundy clarifies that as long as your last transfer/name change was at least 30 days ago, you are immediately eligible for transfer/name change now. He also said that "moving forward" the price for paid transfer is going to be 20€/£15, but given his phrasing and the fact that I'm on the North American realms, I can't tell if that pricing is new or not. Do any of you know? Edit: Not new; thanks.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Name change fun from PvP Online...

PvP Online by Scott Kurtz, who is a World of Warcraft player -- he plays a troll Shaman named after his comic's resident troll -- and GM of the progressive Panda Attack guild on Dark Iron, had this interesting strip last Saturday (Those slippery strips got past us! Arr!). In it, Brent takes advantage of the recently introduced paid name change feature in WoW to, uh, fiddle with Francis' characters.

The paid name changes have been available for all realms for some time now, and although we haven't heard of anything really bad happening, PvP Online puts a different spin on the matter. Have you ever seen any player with a name you'd like to change? What if you had the power (or, *cough*, account access) to change a player's name, what would you do? Would it make for a great practical joke? Or better yet, would justice be served? I can think of a few names that could, um... benefit... from the service. The legions of Legolas (or Legolaas, Leggolas, etc.) Night Elf Hunters or all the Blood Elves named Sephiroth (or Sefiroth, Sephirot... you get the idea), for starters. Seems like a nice Winter Veil present, actually.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Features, Humor, Comics

Two weeks of paid name changes

It's been a couple weeks now since the paid name change service was initially offered and I've noticed a few people in my guild that have taken advantage of it. While it's certainly personal preference, a lot of the changed names seem worse to me than the old ones. Some of them were obviously chosen for comic value, since they're reminiscent of the guy in the picture over here.

Regardless of my opinions about the specific names, everyone I've talked to has said that the service was quick and easy. I also haven't heard any horror stories regarding sociopathic players changing their names to wreak more havoc upon unsuspecting victims under a new moniker. From my limited experience, it seems like an overall positive change to the game.

Have you paid to change your name? What was your old one and what's your new one? Was your experience with the service a good one?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Will name changes let ninjas run free?

While Robin and I think it's a great idea, some people are in an outcry about the upcoming name-change service that Blizzard is offering. As Monsoon tells Blizzard on the forums:

This is probably the worst ever decision ever made. How are we supposed to track ninjas and retards who may apply to our guild if there is no way to track their name changes?"

Nethaera calmly responds:

Perhaps putting them on an ignore list might help.

The ignore list will be automatically updated once that character's name change gets activated. Of course no system is fool proof, and there will always be someone looking to exploit things, but realistically, is it a terribly big problem if people you consider "ninjas" and "retards" yet are still unwilling to put on your ignore list can change their names once every 90 days?

In my experience, the kind of person who likes to call others "retards" generally isn't very nice themselves, and tends to find new "retards" all the time (with no offense meant to Monsoon here). I don't think it would be possible, even if the ignore list were extended to include a potential thousands of names, for some people to be satisfied that all the "ninjas" and "retards" were sufficiently dealt with and removed from the system

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

Finally! Paid Name Changes

Blizzard has announced that they will change your character's name to an available, allowable name for $10 and I say, "It's about time!". This is an administrative service that should have been available from the beginning, in my opinion. Regardless, it's available now (on selected servers) and here are the rules:
  • It's $10 per name change.
  • You can't change your name again for 90 days and your old name will be unavailable for 90 days as well.
  • It has to be available on your server. Captain Obvious says, "Duh!".
  • It will take a few hours while they approve your name change, since it must follow the Naming Policy.
  • While the name change process takes place, your character will be unavailable.
  • The name change is permanent unless you pay to change it again 90+ days later.
  • This function is being rolled out in phases, a few servers at a time.
  • Characters on your ignore list who have had their names changed will remain there with the new name. (Update: edited for clarity)
Blizzard has a FAQ page setup on their Support Site if you have more questions. If this is something that interests you, go to the Account Management page and select Paid Character Transfer (you will have to login).

I actually like my character names, but I reserve the right to change my mind at any time and I'm glad I now have the option.

The official forum announcement with the list of the first phase of servers is after the jump.

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Filed under: Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items

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