And a cry went out across the world, wherefore can we not log on to the Wildstar site and claim our selfhood?Twitter and the blogosphere were abuzz yesterday with the collapse of the Carbine webserver(s?) as people rushed to get their character names reserved before the impending headstart and launch of Wildstar. Since Scooter and I are still on the fence about even buying and subbing to Wildstar, I only looked on with bemused detachment.
My Experience with name reservation @WildStar #WildStar pic.twitter.com/dy7V1WpIew
— Tom Fallone (@tomfallone) May 13, 2014
Syp can't believe Carbine was not prepared for this onslaught with servers capable of handling the inevitable traffic. Since "first come, first served" in an era of global communication seems a bit unfair, Tobold thinks a lottery would be a good way to go. While I agree with him about commodities like tickets to Blizzcon (something else I have little interest in going to), I am not sure how that would play out in distributing unique items—names in this case.
As I did on those blogs, I wonder yet again why more companies don’t go with some @handle-type route, like Cryptic and, more recently, Zenimax have done. At its heart, this is a database design issue, a decision to be made by the devs. A character name (along with all other aspects of a character) is simply a part of a database. If you're distributing your playerbase across separate servers (another relic of prior decades), unique character names might be OK for a while. But if you have a flexible server system, then to me it makes more sense to have unique user names and let the players create whatever character name they want.
Within reason, of course. No need to allow offensive terms or phrases in character names or player handles. But systems for determining whether a name may be inappropriate are fraught with problems, too. I once tried to create a name in Guild Wars 2 that included the word "Jewel." It was "not acceptable" and the only reason I can think of is that it included the letters j-e-w in sequence. The system was not capable of recognizing an innocuous iteration of those letters.
With Wildstar's launch barely weeks away, it's probably too late to implement a system of player handles the way Elder Scrolls Online and Star Trek Online have. But I would plea with any game developer to consider such a system if you really expect to have a massive number of people playing your game. Non-unique character names means no rush to reserve said names, and no crashing of an unprepared server suite.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. If you are reading this post through RSS or Atom feed—especially more than a couple hours after publication—I encourage you to visit the actual page, as I often make refinements after the fact. The mobile version also loses some of the original character of the piece due to simplified formatting.