Despite the dozens of World of Warcraft servers available, it is pretty unlikely that new players logging in to the game will be able to roll a character with their first name of choice. After 10 years and over 12 million unique subscribers, it's pretty tough to come up with a name that hasn't already been used. Unfortunately, many awesome handles are doing nothing more than collecting digital dust if they are owned by an account that is no longer active. Just in time for the Warlords of Draenor expansion, Blizzard is taking action to reclaim those character names.
Despite some growth last winter, subscribers to WoW are still down overall (as Blizzard expected) and many accounts have been inactive for the majority of the last few years. Although Blizzard likes to keep inactive accounts intact, to help encourage players to revisit Azeroth and start spending money again, the company is ready to reclaim some unused names from those accounts, so that current subscribers don't have to rely on the random name generator.
An upcoming patch, 6.0.2, will prepare WoW for the Warlords of Draenor content. Part of that patch will also be releasing sidelined character names back into the pool of options. Characters that have been inactive since November 13, 2008 will lose control of their current names. Blizzard released the follow instructions on preserving your favorite names before the patch is implemented...
"You will need to log in to World of Warcraft and enter the game using each character whose name you wish to retain before patch 6.0.2 goes live. While it is possible no one will claim your recently released name and you might be able to snag it again, it is probably not worth the risk if you want to keep your names intact long-term.
Our goal with this great name liberation is to make sure new and returning players have a large and varied pool of names available to choose from-so log in now if you wish preserve your unused characters' names for your journey intro Draenor."
Anyone who has rolled a character in WoW recently is probably aware just how short the servers are on names. Even using the random name generator usually takes five or ten tries before you find one of those options that isn't taken. If you have long-dreamed of controling a LeeroyJenkins, a Legolas, or a Maximus; Warlords of Draenor patch day may be your best chance.
The names will be available not only to new characters, but also to characters using the Paid Name Change service. Combined with the new character models available for all of the original WoW races, it should help enhance a pretty cool makeover option for players who are looking to change things up.
Although some members of the community may be upset that their old characters will be losing their names, it isn't that uncommon of a practice. Blizzard is giving fans a fair warning here and, chances are, if you haven't played the character since winter 2008, then you may be finished with them. MMO fans may have also experienced a similar name reclamation last year in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Are you upset that some names will be reclaimed or do you think it's a fair change after so many years of inactivity? Let us know in the comments.
Warlords of Draenor releases November 13, 2014 for PC.
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