I had one of those moments the other day where an almost loss taught me how valuable something was to me. The ‘thing’ in question, was the name of one of my oldest toons.
I had transferred my gnome mage to a new realm a couple of months ago. She had been flagged for a name change, despite the fact that no character on the new realm had the name that she did. I submitted a ticket about it then, and was told I needed to wait 30 days. The GM I spoke with believed that someone might have recently deleted a toon with the same name, which would keep the name reserved for 30 days.
So I bided my time. I waited with the character flagged for two months, unable to play her at all. Finally, the 30 days had past. As soon as I was free to, I submitted another ticket about the name.
But apparently, Blizzard had changed their policies in the meanwhile. I was invited to chat with a GM and was told that they can no longer unlock names. In the name of fairness, Blizzard now releases names in waves every expansion, and will no longer free up name upon request. I would not be able to keep the name of my first toon.
In that moment, I realized how important the name had become to me. You might think it’s a silly thing; to become to attached to a couple of pixels worth of character name. But I was. It was important to me. The name might not have seemed like much, but it carried with it my history. That gnome mage had to be called by that name, or else it would be someone elses’ toon.
Not willing to give up so easily, I asked (probably more like pestered) the GM for a little while more. The name itself had some peculiarities to it (it was being reserved for no apparent reason and should have been freed up since the beginning) but there was nothing the GM could do. I finally asked if there was some sort of temporary name I could put on the toon so that I could access her stuff, but still wait till the next expansion to snap up the name when it became available.
At this point, the GM told me to wait a moment. I was in a pug at the time of the chat so I sat with baited breath, waiting on his response (It was probably the worst healing I’ve done all expansion).
About five minutes later, the GM was back. S/he had made an exception for my case and had released the name. I was ecstatic and logged off as quickly as the boss fight ended.
The GM was true to their word. As I entered in the new named for my flagged mage, it was accepted and I was logged into the game world. My gnome mage kept her identity. I showered praise and thanks to the GM and we both went on our merry way.
First things first, I want to express my extreme gratitude to that GM (I’ve withheld the name so I don’t get them in trouble). They went out on a limb to help me, a person they don’t even know. I meant it when I said they were my favorite GM ever. Their act of kindness made my week. Whoever you are, wherever you are GM, you have my enormous thanks.
Secondly, EEEEEEK! I GOT THE NAME! After spending 2 months and $25 on that toon, I’m glad she’s finally back to her usual self. I hadn’t realized how important this was to me, but now that it’s finally finished I feel complete. While my gnome mage may no longer be my main, she is still one of my original characters, and the toon I invariably go back to. And the fact that she gets to keep that name, I feel like I get to keep all the history and personality associated with it.
I think that’s what’s to a name. It’s more than just the consonants, vowels, and capitalization. It’s more than just the syllables and the sounds to it. It’s the history and the personality that has become associated with it. Its the memories of things past that you have achieved on the toon. It’s the Heralds of the Titans on my monk Yogapants. It’s the Ahead of the Curve Garrosh kill on my priest Elfster. It’s the countless raids and dungeons on my paladin Fussypants. The names carry with them what the toons have done. They define them. They expand them.
My paladin is Fussypants because of all that she has done and achieved. Sure, entering the name in the character creation screen assigned the name. But the character owns the name by their actions. The toon, the name, and the history become one.
So what’s to a name? A character, and all their achievements are what is to a name.
Note: Fussypants is again going out of town next week, so there will be no blog post. Apologies in advance!