January 22, 2009

Warhammer Character Naming Policy

Recently a guild mate of mine came in contact with the CSR and the Warhammer Character Naming Policy: His char was named Smutpeddler, which IMO only is a funny word play for a greenskin and means dirt dealer. The urbandictionary.com also lists the meaning of "smut peddler" as a porn dealer. Apparently that was why someone felt disturbed by it and the CSR renamed his char, leaving him with the option to appeal for a name change later on. Beside the fact that the CSRs take their time to get back to him about his suggested name changes, i started wondering about the naming policy. The CSR told him "smut" would not be allowed in a name... huh. There are tons of really bad names running around on the servers, some with nasty offensive RL references and greenskins can't use smut?!? If i look in my dictionary, the synonyms that head into direction of dirt & mud outweight the other double meanings by far. Are you offended by a name like Smutpeddler?

Character Naming Policies are always tricky to handle and involve some very emotional discussion by players & guilds if they used the name since years. I know that after server transfers some guilds had the problem they could not re-create their guild name again as the naming policy changed in between. The GOA Community Team stepped in and was able to clear it up for them. Then there is often the trademark issue with players/guilds using names related to already existing brands. As this is a tricky issue and involves legal implications for GOA/Mythic, i can understand they simply avoid those legal problems and are not really willing to discuss the approach on this and be rather safe then sorry.

So how exactly does the policy enforcement work, i was wondering. Magnus (GOA) answered my question and told me its a reactive approach, meaning someone needs to report you (or your guild) first. This goes both ways of course, should you see someone with an offensive name, you need to report them first for actions to be taken. Then it's up to the judgement of the CSR working your case if the name is deemed improper or not. Because of the human factor involved the results will most likely vary. As with every job, there are good and bad service reps (some really have no clue, like the CSR that told another player that fading (on a timer) talismans would start to tick once crafted, wtf?) and you can only hope you get to deal with a good one. It's basicly like when you call your ISPs service callcenter. ;)

In the end all CSRs seem to be highly trained ninjas.

But where to gather information about the naming policy? Usually most players just accept the Code of Conduct and have trouble finding the info again on the web. Your best bet is to check the EU Warhammer FAQ (did you know this FAQ existed?). While the Category "Naming Policy" does not have a link towards the WAR Naming Policy, you'll find it as part of the Code of Conduct under Character and Guild Naming Policy.

Despite the emotions involved when your name is "attacked", I'd advice you to stay calm (those guys are only doing their job and not on a personal crusade against you) and try to reason with the CSR, explaining why the name should be allowed. If you think you can support your claim for your name and the CSR does not seem to get it, you can always ask polite & nicely for him to escalate the issue to a "senior CSR" (Customer Service Supervisor). Of course this will only yield results when its not an obvious violation. As a last resort, should you feel mistreated by the CSR, you can always complain about them directly. There is no use to do so just to "try again" to have someone else look at your case, but only if you really feel treated bad by the CSRs. Contact adresses are:
EU: Help Form here (choose Sanction Appeal and correct language)
US: disputes@warhammeronline.com

Overall I've to say I'm quite happy with the names on Karak-Azgal, while there are always stupid names that break your immersion, i think many players chose good & funny names on our server. One reason i often played on role-play servers are the names, which are usually enforced by special (harder) policies on those servers.

Maybe this post will help you, should you search for pointers when in need for them.


Anonymous said...

My dream to have a Sorc named DouchebagDPS might go unfulfilled?

Ryan said...

Practically any person in the US associates Smut with porn. Until reading this post i didnt even know smut has other denotations / connotations than porn. I can def see why the issue occurred, if he said sloppeddler, gunkpeddler, dirtpeddler there wouldnt have been an issue.

Nice post Thulf :)