Our first step in response to players\’e2\’80\’99 concerns was posted recently. Our new and updated Naming Policy (http://www.everquest.com/support/naming.jsp) should hopefully be clearer, more consistent, and bring us even closer to a healthy role-playing environment. Subsequently, we will be conducting a thorough review of all current character names on all servers, including surnames and guild names. Names not necessarily in line with the updated Naming Policy will be evaluated and handled accordingly.
A quick click of the link takes you to their new naming policy. From there you may want to go to the Naming FAQ. Item a) goes a little something like this:
Offensive names: This includes rude, profane (swear), or vile words. It also includes racial slurs, sexually offensive terms, and references to the anatomy. A name that sounds like an offensive word (homonym) when sounded out will also be considered unacceptable. Commonly known abbreviations for offensive words will not be allowed. Combinations of names that result in an offensive phrase or word are also off-limits. Repeated attempts to create a character with a name in this category can result in a warning or banning, so please be mature and don’t attempt to get these through the filter. If you do make a character with a name that violates this policy the character will be deleted, and your account may be subject to suspension or banning depending on the nature of the name.
Pretty harsh punishment for a name. Now instead of just facing a name change or a character deletion (which I also thought was a harsh punishment), you may find your account banned. I am curious as to who exactly is going to decide if a name is offensive or not? Offensive is a pretty subjective term. What is offensive to you might not be offensive to me. If one player claims a name is offensive to them will the Name Police immediately spring to action and start deleting characters and banning accounts? Verant could have been a bit more clear on this.
Another thing about this naming policy doesn’t quite sit right with me is that names won’t be Grandfathered. If you made a name over a year ago and Verant now deems it offensive, watch out…you are subject to instant deletion and account banning. Nevermind the fact that you paid to play their buggy game for over a year. If you had the audacity of making a character with a name that turns out to be improper you can kiss that year of your EQ life goodbye.
Verant does all this in the name of encouraging role-playing. Yet apart from the fantasy setting how much of a roleplaying game is this actually? Sure, you can do a quest and kill some uber MOB and get a nice item or something. And then you can do it again next week. And the week after that. Verant would do better to just say that they are going to control names the way they see fit, rather then hide behind the role-playing banner. It would at least be more honest.