If you haven’t played World of Warcraft in a while and you have plans to do so in the future, you may want to log in before June 24. According to a report from Kotaku, Blizzard is planning to reclaim old Warcraft character names as of the next patch — the same patch paving the way for the return of flying mounts to the World of Warcraft, as previously reported by the Inquisitr.
Wait, what? How is that going to work?
Basically, if you haven’t logged in to World of Warcraft with a given character since December 7, 2010 (the official release date of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, if that date seems a tad arbitrary) that character’s name will be released back to the general pool, and you will have to rename them when next you do log in to World of Warcraft. Yes, that’s on a per-character basis; if you only logged into some of your characters for Cataclysm, only those characters are safe. Yes, you can still reclaim your old name after June 24 if it’s still available, but you will still have to rename the character.
As Gamespresso notes, Blizzard is indicating that this will be standard practice with World of Warcraft going forward, likely coinciding with new expansions. The news post on the launcher detailing the name reclamations explicitly states that Blizzard will be holding them on a regular basis.
“With the upcoming Warlords of Draenor patch (6.2), we will be releasing sidelined characters’ names back into the wild. Any characters that have not logged into the game since December 7, 2010 will have their names freed up, making them available to anyone creating a new character or using the paid Character Name Change service.
“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 6.2 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 to preserve your unused characters’ names for your ongoing journey through Draenor.”
Of course, seen from one angle, this tactic is somewhat suspect; Blizzard promised, long ago, not to touch anyone’s World of Warcraft characters regardless of how long they were gone from the game, and this sudden change in policy may be a scheme to bring old World of Warcraft players back into the fold; if you pay for a month to log in, you’re likely to play for that whole month that you paid for, after all.
On the other hand, a character name change in World of Warcraft is normally $10 USD and it’s doubtful that any of us were quite as clever as we thought we were five years ago. So there’s an opportunity there as well.
Former and present World of Warcraft players, what do you think? Dirty trick? Long overdue? Something in-between?