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View Poll Results: Free up the unused Character Names?

Voters
23. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes, this makes sense!

    17 73.91%
  • No, keep the names on unplayed toons forever.

    6 26.09%
Results 1 to 18 of 18
  1. #1

    Give us a Statute of Limitations on Character Names, please.

    How about a Decade? We hear all the time about how someone comes back after a few years hiatus, but if someone has been absent from the game for a full decade, they are not coming back. Their lack of interest in the game is either epic OR they are likely deceased (don't want to be blunt, but in the real world we gamers pass on daily). Allow us who still play the game loyally to claim the names that are unused, especially to get rid of that annoying "-1" after our toon's name. Please.

  2. #2
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    A decade is too long for sure.

    But, from my own experience, if you just approach a GM and ask for X name citing that this player has been offline since X (although you can't see / determine the year, the GM can), they more often than not will free it up for you if enough time has passed, as has happened for me in the past.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hephburz-2 View Post
    player has been offline since X (although you can't see / determine the year, the GM can)
    I really wish we could see the year someone was last online. Why can't we?

  4. #4
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    As long as the account is not active. For example, you might someone that plays all the time, but has a character that they haven't played in forever. They should still be able to keep that player's name because they log in on a regular basis.

    But for someone that hasn't logged in for 10 years? I agree with you.

  5. #5
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    /signed I agree with this 10 years is enough time, cause there are a lot of good names, but they are taken by players who not logged in a really long time, some may never return to lotro, also i wonder do any other MMOs do this, like have a limit that we know of?
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  6. #6
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    I don't think it needs ten years. Names are important to some people, granted, but if they haven't bothered to log in for a couple of years, then they cant be that important to them. Two years is enough IMO.
    Treat others as you do your best pictures, and place them in their best light.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pontin_Finnberry View Post
    /signed I agree with this 10 years is enough time, cause there are a lot of good names, but they are taken by players who not logged in a really long time, some may never return to lotro, also i wonder do any other MMOs do this, like have a limit that we know of?
    World of Warcraft now has an official policy that if a name (not account) hasn't been in use in two expansions and isn't linked to bans, it automatically gets flagged for rename, so that's approximately four years or so. However, they do it in a mass renaming at an unspecified time after the next eligible expansion, so people can't just crush the servers trying to angle for the right name. I've stumbled on several really good names for alts over the years since they made this policy official. Previously, people could quietly submit a ticket to CS to ask them to free up an old name, but since it was so clandestine and some GMs refused to do it, others did it often, Blizz shut all of that down and just made the policy and allocated resources to make it an automatic process.

    It should be noted that SSG's other game DDO has absolutely no provisions for taking old names, even during server transfers. If y'all think it's hard to find a cool name here, you have no idea.

    The key point to inertia on this matter is simply that it's more work to code up a mechanism to allow taking someone else's character name, and that might take away from something else that would be more needed or useful to the game. There's also the social aspect of things. There's rarely a consensus as to what is fair or right as to the timeframe before names should become available, because life is so unpredictable. There was a big to-do here on the forums last year when a returning player lost an extremely good name during the 2015 server consolidations because he had been away taking care of his ailing wife and dealing with her passing, and there were many very kind responses to his sorrow and constructive suggestions on what to do about it. There's no way of telling why someone is away or predicting their return, and companies tend to elect to avoid antagonizing a potentially long-term returning player versus the common wisdom that if you're joining a service or site late, all the good usernames are taken.
    Insert some kind of witty or clever saying here, I guess, I dunno.

  8. #8
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    That's an interesting wrinkle I hadn't thought about, names connected with bans. Obviously you can't be allowed to assume a name that was deemed inappropriate but what about a "cool" name that was lost due to a player's actions getting them banned? Sometimes these names stick in peoples memory and I don't think I'd want to assume control over that name, especially if I didn't know the history behind it.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pontin_Finnberry View Post
    /signed I agree with this 10 years is enough time, cause there are a lot of good names, but they are taken by players who not logged in a really long time, some may never return to lotro, also i wonder do any other MMOs do this, like have a limit that we know of?
    IIRC some MMOs don't even have this problem because they have an internal unique code addressed to each character, e. g. ESO referring to char name as a sub-name of player name which I think is really cool. I mean, in real life people also share their names with others, c'mon ...
    There's some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Those options should be limited to no or yes, "unplayed" will vary significantly depending on the player.

    I think any implementation of this idea needs to be considered carefully:
    Logged in / played versus a character simply created and never logged in (probably as a name placeholder).
    An active account, but a character that hasn't logged in in years.
    If an active account is determined to be one of the criteria that keeps a name from being flagged, does this mean lifetimers can hold a name indefinitely without logging in?

    Generally, I see all inactive (one year +) F2P accounts with no purchases as automatically fair game, and I would support judicious (TBD) reclamation of names at specific times (i.e. during merges). Personally, if I found out any of my character names were taken, even after taking a few years break, it would be a massive disincentive to return, because my characters are interconnected in my head canon (and in $$$ terms for SSG, this quite possibly trumps active players who continue to pay/play despite their -1). Technically the (defunct) transfer system, and related policy (re: naming priorities), includes a workaround that may help some players obtain their name on another server: https://www.lotro.com/en/game/articl...transfer-guide.

    I voted no in the absence of agreed upon details, but in reality it's a "maybe".
    Last edited by Sovereign50; Jan 22 2020 at 05:59 AM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gildoriel View Post
    IIRC some MMOs don't even have this problem because they have an internal unique code addressed to each character, e. g. ESO referring to char name as a sub-name of player name which I think is really cool. I mean, in real life people also share their names with others, c'mon ...
    It works when it's built into the game as a fundamental mechanic.

    The original Guild Wars increased the amount of viable names by forcing a player to adopt multiple names (therefore you could have two Gildoriels, but each would have a different surname). Not ideal if you don't want a surname, but at least it increases the naming possibilities. IIRC Ultima Online (at original launch) also allowed multiple characters with the same name. I don't recall any unique codes (at least, visible for players to share), but it wasn't much of an issue because there was no mail and most communication were based on proximity (you didn't /tell Gildoriel, instead you would /whisper to players nearby, so no need for such a code).
    Last edited by Sovereign50; Jan 22 2020 at 06:01 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovereign50 View Post
    It works when it's built into the game as a fundamental mechanic.

    The original Guild Wars increased the amount of viable names by forcing a player to adopt multiple names (therefore you could have two Gildoriels, but each would have a different surname). Not ideal if you don't want a surname, but at least it increases the naming possibilities. IIRC Ultima Online (at original launch) also allowed multiple characters with the same name. I don't recall any unique codes (at least, visible for players to share), but it wasn't much of an issue because there was no mail and most communication were based on proximity (you didn't /tell Gildoriel, instead you would /whisper to players nearby, so no need for such a code).
    Well, that's why I wrote "internal" unique code - I meant like you can assign a serial number to a database item by which it can be identified uniquely. It hasn't to be seen for the user, though now that I think of it, it's not in an MMO, but Discord uses this kind of user ID where you have a number after your name.
    There's some good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gildoriel View Post
    Well, that's why I wrote "internal" unique code - I meant like you can assign a serial number to a database item by which it can be identified uniquely. It hasn't to be seen for the user, though now that I think of it, it's not in an MMO, but Discord uses this kind of user ID where you have a number after your name.
    I think I understand what you mean. Internal codes akin to IDs in a database which allow duplicate names to exist. Since i'm not privvy to exactly how any specific MMO organises their data internally (there are many ways the following can be accomplished), I can only go off how emulators utilise such IDs to allow duplicate names to exist, even where the client enforces unique naming rules. It's most obvious in a situation where a character is deleted, but the information in situ is retained in the database. The deleted character is flagged so that a new character can be made with the deleted name, resulting in a naming duplication (one is active, one isn't). Using this simple example a restoration would unflag the deleted/inactive status of the character, check for any conflicts in fields concerning 'name' and 'status', and sequentially append text to the restored name until no conflict exists). For simplicity's sake (forgetting the security aspect) this ID can be utilised similarly as an identifier in games where multiple characters can and do share the same name ingame.

    Battle.net's BattleTag is basically a unique proxy identifier (it doesn't overtly connect to anything compromising), but still allows players to find and communicate with a specific "Legolas" when there are probably thousands of them. Similar to Discord, it appends a number after your name.
    https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/75767
    Last edited by Sovereign50; Jan 22 2020 at 07:54 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sovereign50 View Post
    I think I understand what you mean. Internal codes akin to IDs in a database which allow duplicate names to exist. Since i'm not privvy to exactly how any specific MMO organises their data internally (there are many ways the following can be accomplished), I can only go off how emulators utilise such IDs to allow duplicate names to exist, even where the client enforces unique naming rules. It's most obvious in a situation where a character is deleted, but the information in situ is retained in the database. The deleted character is flagged so that a new character can be made with the deleted name, resulting in a naming duplication (one is active, one isn't). Using this simple example a restoration would unflag the deleted/inactive status of the character, check for any conflicts in fields concerning 'name' and 'status', and sequentially append text to the restored name until no conflict exists). For simplicity's sake (forgetting the security aspect) this ID can be utilised similarly as an identifier in games where multiple characters can and do share the same name ingame.

    Battle.net's BattleTag is basically a unique proxy identifier (it doesn't overtly connect to anything compromising), but still allows players to find and communicate with a specific "Legolas" when there are probably thousands of them. Similar to Discord, it appends a number after your name.
    https://us.battle.net/support/en/article/75767
    Exactly that was what I meant though you described it much better than I was able to.
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  15. #15
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    As to unique numeric identifiers, LotrRO already has unique identifiers for characters - this used to be easily seen on the mylotro data feeds as well as in signatures and is even visible today via chat logging plugins that show the raw text (player id is built into the link that you can hover over when a player says something in chat). Each id is displayed in hexadecimal with the first four digits being a server ID and the next 12 digits being a unique ID on that server. For instance, my main, Garan is 0x020B00000026029F. The "0x" just signifies that what follows is a hexadecimal number. The "020B" refers to Landroval and the "00000026029F" is the unique character ID on Landroval. Unfortunately, it may be far, far too late to make use of that unique ID to allow for multiple characters with the same name as I've seen posts by devs indicating that player names are used as unique identifiers in the code, not just at the database level and tracking down and altering every such reference in the code would be a daunting task - not to mention the potential disaster if even one such reference were to sneak past. So, the whole unique identifier discussion is moot as far as Lotro goes (fun to discuss but not really useful). Unique player names are likely here to stay.

    As to taking over inactive names, I kind of lean toward the camp of an "active" account rather than just an active character. That is, if an account has been logged in (not just VIP status) in the last couple of years (four or five should be sufficient to reasonably cover things like military service etc.), all of the associated characters should be protected from renaming. There's no value in frustrating players that are actively playing (and likely paying, even if just for fluff).

  16. #16
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    Dec 2016
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    Why not send a message to the account-holder, saying

    "The following character(s) have not been logged in for 5 years and will need to be re-named if they are not logged in within 30 days. This is to ensure that all our players have greater freedom in choosing names."

    or some such?

    That way, inactive accounts remain inactive, and active accounts have the choice to either save their characters' names for future use or to decide 'yeah I don't really plan on using this character any time soon' and let the name go.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halphast View Post
    Why not send a message to the account-holder, saying

    "The following character(s) have not been logged in for 5 years and will need to be re-named if they are not logged in within 30 days. This is to ensure that all our players have greater freedom in choosing names."

    or some such?

    That way, inactive accounts remain inactive, and active accounts have the choice to either save their characters' names for future use or to decide 'yeah I don't really plan on using this character any time soon' and let the name go.
    I could go for that, it would take me all of 5 minutes to log on any forgotten characters that I'm saving for a rainy day.

    And any characters that I haven't logged on for that long, if I can't bothered to log him in doesn't have that special a name anyway.

  18. #18
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    I think it makes sense to clean up old names. For starters, I would not expect any major changes to the back-end system that changes it to something used in other games.... the way names were done was decided 13 years ago, and it has been implemented in every bit of the code, including thousands of quests that call you by name, etc....

    So with that said: I think 3 years is a good time. I would suggest something like a "limbo" server, just like where all old toons from consolidated servers are currently located.... After 3 years, an inactive character is moved to the "limbo" server automatically, and you, the account holder, will get notified. You then have a 48 hour "grace" period to log in and put your toon with name back on the server it belongs, should you as an active player have forgotten about an old alt on a server you never log on to..... After that, the name is freed up and up for grabs for anyone to take.
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