Tobold's Blog
Monday, April 05, 2010
Special characters

Klepsacovic, which by the way is an east European name, hates all Europeans because apparently we are responsible for Blizzard allowing special characters in names. Well, for obvious reasons I kind of like Europe. But I *do* agree with Klepsacovic that it wasn't a good idea for Blizzard to allow special characters in names.

The World of Warcraft user interface is still not completely mouse-driven, so sometimes you need to type character names. Thus it gets rather annoying if the character name you want to type is Çðäòß, and none of these letters even appear on your keyboard. Also annoying is when people use special characters to circumvent rules that forbid certain too well known names, and you end up with elven hunters called Légoläs.

So, European or not, I'd be in favor of Blizzard changing their naming rules and allowing only standard 26 alphabet characters for names, and force everyone who used something else to change their name.
gets my vote.
rightly or wrongly my opinion of someone who has had to resort to those characters is always lowered.

could they not think of an original name that isn't already used on the server? of course, i'm assuming that nobody intends to use then until they can't get the name they wanted but i can't think of a good reason to have a name that is difficult to use otherwise.
But in trade, I'd include surnames as a customisable part of your character, allowing players to retain some level of uniqueness when sensible character names run out.
yeah they suck to deal with. However I think some server are running out of names that didn't really suck. Once your over 50k toons on a server I suspect available names pool is pretty small.
I'm a 'merican dammit, ain't no eastern Europe here.
I would never use anything as crass as Legolas (or variations thereof), but my gnome names on a high population server fit the characters well, in my opinion, even if I do have to use the other 'i' (hardware limitations prevent me from using the actual character (iPhone!))
I would not mind accented characters in names in situations where they are used correctly. For example, if a name is based on words or sounds from a particular language, it would be fair to use "proper" spelling from that language, including accents as appropriate.

However, I do dislike accented characters when clueless players pick them based on their resemblance standard English letters, ignoring the true usage of the accents.

ß is not an acceptable substitute for "b".
Ð is not an acceptable substitute for "d".
Æ is just darn hard to type, if your name is truly Æsop then cheers, but don't expect many group invitations from me when I can't type your name.
"Klepsacovic" does look like an Eastern European name, but a Google search on it only found one instance, the blogger in question. I gave up looking after the first dozen pages of results were all posts by or references to him.

If it isn't an actual Eastern European name though, surely it's supposed to pass for one? If not, just what is it supposed to evoke?
Running out of names? With the extremely open-ended nature of naming in a fantasy setting I find that difficult to fathom.

I think the problem is more like, if your first choice is gone, then most people are too lazy to think up another.

With a little creativity its not hard at all to think up countless names for use in the WoW setting, without resorting to copying someone else's. (Essentially what using special characters is)

Klep, I think its safe to say Tobold had no intention of disputing your US citizenship or that it is your birthplace. However, there is also absolutely no question that your name is of Eastern European origin.

So your racist panderings and generalizations are in fact an ironic stab at your own people and heritage.
I so agree with this post. Special characters are an annoyance and there is no place for them in game!!!
The term "special characters" always cracks me up. American English is about the only language that can be written correctly with just the 26x2 characters in ASCII. There's nothing "special" about ä or þ except crappy US-only software doesn't deal with it well.

I agree the proliferation of names like Légoläs are obnoxious. But are they any worse than all the Laygolas, Legolaas, and Leggolas already on your server?

Cryptic has the right idea on character names. Your character can be named whatever you want, no uniqueness required. The account last name provides the uniqueness and persistent identity.
There's nothing "special" about ä or þ except crappy US-only software doesn't deal with it well.

I seem to recall that one of the challenges the Chinese had from a usability standpoint is that the language would require thousands of keys.

Fixing that type of problem isn't as simple as just creating another keyboard because a keyboard with thousands of characters is impractical.

The solution is that they basically have to type in such a way that they 'sound out' the word in order to get the Chinese character. In effect, they have to learn a whole new way of how to write in order to use a computer.

Point being, that due to usability concerns, the more simple the language is -- the better.
I do agree with Nelson.

Tobold, basically you are asking to have everybodies diversity of choice lowered just because some minority misuses that kind of freedom. I think it would be rather sensible to just avoid the "légölas" crowd.

Let me draw an analogy:
"Every day i ride a train eating an apple and drinking water on my way to work. Some day a few hooligans decide its a good idea to get drunk on the train, harass some people and damage some seats. The next day, ALL eating and drinking on the train is forbidden. Bye bye apple."

It's not about what you theoretically are allowed to do, the question is how to use your freedom.

Some alternatives to your suggestion:
-Blizz could change the UI so it gets easier to find/use/insert weird names. (There is a partial search function already - know how to use it)
-American keyboards could have more ´`^ on them :)
-Just don't interact with töböld at all. If he annoys you, you can rightclick -> ignore him
I'm european (switzerland) and i agree. BUT this should have been implemented from the start, doing it now would seem unfair.
I *so* agree with Jacob. Especially on the scharfes s. I see that A LOT on my server and it makes me want to smack said players everytime. Hard.

Perhaps Blizz needs to revise their name holding/parking/releasing policy, so that there are more names available and people are less likely to use alt-code letters.
Still won't stop some idiocy, though.
It would be nice if there was a decent interface for adding the dots and whatnot; something in the /who box that after a vowel you can click the ' or .. button and add those to the previous vowel.

@Bhagpuss: I have dozens of pages? I'm famous!

@J. DangerouS: Perhaps you are too quick to take offense.
Klep, I think its safe to say Tobold had no intention of disputing your US citizenship or that it is your birthplace. However, there is also absolutely no question that your name is of Eastern European origin.

So your racist panderings and generalizations are in fact an ironic stab at your own people and heritage.

I think it's sad that you immediately jump to the conclusion that he's a racist instead of considering the possibility that he's being over-the-top to make a point.

I certainly got a chuckle out of his "I'm a 'merican" comment, precisely because it is taken too far. Now, I haven't gone back and read his blog archive to get a feel for him, but I think that it's more of a tongue-in-cheek statement than an ignorant prejudice.
I completely agree. I mean, maybe keep some of the more commonly-used ones like é, but take out those ridiculous Æs and ßs. I mean, Đ doesn't even HAVE an alt code! I have to look up some of these on the character map! That's when it starts getting ridiculous.

Of course, for me, they're only allowed to do this if they also start allowing apostrophes in guild names. I can think of a half dozen awesome guild names that I can't make because I'd need an apostrophe, and I'm sick of other people doing it anyway WITHOUT the apostrophe.
there was one occurence where I can see people using special characters. Former GM of one of the top raiding guilds on my server had all his characters named the same thing. his main had regular spelling and alts names looked the same, but had special characters to allow him to keep using the name. it definitely made it easier to recognize him, but it was still mildly annoying, mostly when it came to group invites.

then again, it also opens you up to harassment as there were several trolls using the same name, but that weren't him.

Surnames would actually be a wonderful idea, I think as it would allow you to relate your alts to each other and still keep their names personalized. possibly make surnames unique and allow for first names to be reusable, sort of like in real life (yes, we have people using the same surnames as well, but bear with me :) )
Then you have the flipside, where LotRO doesn't allow any special characters in names even though a lot of the names in the lore use diacritical marks.
I concur. At the very least they should ban these special characters on US realms. It drives me nuts when I can't add a random pugger to my ignore list after I've left the group because I can't type his name.
I used to have a few Sigur Rós songs as toon names I never really thought or cared at the time that it was difficult to type my name. Now I understand the frustration, but I still remember being VERY mad when I got a tell from an admin telling me I violated some term by using illegal characters in my name. So at one time this was not allowed I think around BC they allow the use of them again without needing to fear admin wrath.
The problem is less with american keyboards and more with Windows. The way it understands the key inputs on a keyboard versus a mac for example... ñ on windows is alt+0241, while on a mac it's option+n, then n. Actually option+n puts the ~ on top of various letters on a mac, while on the PC the tilde button does nothing for me except ~.
@Pangoria Fallstar:
I used to be a mac gamer, and that ability to just use the option commands to type common special characters is one of the main things I miss about that operating system.

I keep hoping to find some way to use this on my W7 machine, but I know it's never gonna happen. I don't see why I have to memorize all of these arbitrary numerical codes when it was so much simpler to just option-e+e for é.
Windows has many fine ways to type non-ASCII characters, often called an "IME". The US - International keyboard is a good option for Americans who occasionally want to be able to correctly spell some language other than their own. Works great in Warcraft, at least in Vista in Windowed mode. Type 'a to get á, for instance.
Heh I can't even type my OWN NAME easily on this US keyboard...

I'm all for not allowing anything but the 26 letters in character names in any online game. You can't expect people to have an easy access to umlauts on their keyboard.
Such a restriction might make sense on English-speaking servers, but not for various localised versions.

And they are not "special characters", they are national characters, if any.

The better approach than to restrict characters in names would be to have the global ID/character name separation that current and former Cryptic games has. The restrictions would then be put on the global ID, but full freedom for the actual character name.
I agree with Nelson. Using dialectic marks just to get a name that visually approximates a well-known or already taken name can be really annoying, just like using weird spelling without dialectic marks (except for when it's fun, of course: the other day I met Hearthas!).

But most people I know who use these marks actually do it intentionally, with the sole intention of making their names hard to spell. It's a very basic and surprisingly efficient way of avoiding being pestered by people around you.

Having said that, there also is a very simple workaround. I appreciate that you use the keyboard most of the time, Tobold. I do too. But if you really want to whisper an offer to that Bılbo offering to sell Gandalf's epic slippers at a cutrate price, then right-click his name and choose "Whisper" in the menu that appears. Works like a charm.
It boggles me why someone would want to name himself Lëgolàs.

How many whispers do you get with a name like that?

Besides that there's nothing wrong with accent. There's a Michèle sitting next to me. Why shouldn't she be able to use her own name?
Why would we wish to make appease the yanks any more than we have to? We already have to put up with their inability to spell words like 'Color' and 'Honor'. Do we have to 'dumb it down' any more for them?

I agree that over use of special characters is stupid, but ban them?

I like the fact we have the intelligence, culture and history to preserve such things.
I would love BANNING of silly characters and ALLOWING of the simple,

Your argument is hypocritical. You say allowing special characters is preserving "intelligence, culture, and history" yet you complain about American spelling of words, which is part of American "intelligence, culture, and history".

Congratulations on your superior culture and intelligence.
@GG: Good point. I am now in favor of banning the letter U.

@Bru: Have you learned nothing from this thread?

I'm not complaining about American spellings per-se but reacting to a silly post from someone who wishes to see Blizzard drop the use vernacualar and language specific characters. America is welcome to its' language... but to argue that players should not use their native language in their native country is a little childish and pathetic.

The use of the word 'Freedom' is sooooo Palin and Bush! That gets my back-up... like Klepsacovic has some patriotic duty to rid the world of those squiggles.

With the exception of (nearly all of) British english, I am fairly sure nearly every other country in Europe uses special characters.

Chinese also has an equivalent type of alphabet with all sorts of relatable accents.

So, an American (I'm guessing) is in a minority asking for a fix to suit himself.

Hey why not, let's homogeni"Z"e our cultures even more!
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