What’s In A Name?

5 Mar

The other day, I was doing some research for my recent post about zone heals and I realized that I needed to verify some information about the druid talent trees.  I proceeded to log on to my druid and was surprised to find this:

I know that I haven’t paid for a name change so that led me to believe that one was being imposed upon me by Blizzard.  The question is “Why?”  For those who don’t know, my druid’s name is “Oestrus” and I have proudly had that name since late Burning Crusade.  I have traveled across various realms since then and I have never encountered any issues with that name or anyone that was offended by it.  The Free Dictionary lists the definition of “Oestrus,” as follows:

a regularly occurring period of sexual receptivity in most female mammals, except humans, during which ovulation occurs and copulation can take place; heat

How is this offensive?

Immediately, I opened a ticket and was told that I could expect a response in a little over 2 days.  When I logged in this morning the ticket was no longer showing on the top right hand corner of my screen and I hadn’t received any e-mails about a resolution or that the issue was even acknowledged.  I did some research on the Battlenet site and found an e-mail address where I can send my dispute to.  I threw together a brief e-mail to the Powers That Be behind that address and this is what I had to say:

Good afternoon,

I attempted to log on to my druid yesterday afternoon and was surprised to find that the character had been flagged for a name change.  My druid’s name is “Oestrus” currently on the Eldre’thalas realm and this is a name that I have had for a couple of years, across various servers and have never received any negative attention because of it.  “Oestrus” is the definition for the mating cycle that mammals go through, also known as going into heat.  It is a scientific term for a natural biological process and I do not feel that it has any obscene or negative connotations.  With that said, my main’s name is actually “Obscene” and that name appears to be fine.  I’m curious how I can have a toon named “Obscene” and that is acceptable and yet a toon named “Oestrus” has become a cause for alarm.

I wish to dispute my name being flagged for a name change and would like to encourage whomever decided this to re-think their decision.  You can find a more lengthy definition of the Oestrus cycle here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oestrus

Hopefully this assists you in finding a positive resolution to all of this.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Within hours, I received a response from the Administrators and they replied with:

Greetings,

We have conducted an additional review of the action taken against the World of Warcraft account ****** and have arrived at the same conclusion. We have determined that an in-game name is in violation of the World of Warcraft Terms of Use (http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/legal/wow_tou.html). As such, the action will not be removed or changed.

The Terms of Use define Rules of Conduct that must be followed when playing World of Warcraft, including guidelines for character, guild, pet, and team names. Any breach of these terms can result in an account penalty ranging from a warning to closure of the account, based on the severity of the infraction and how often a player has violated our policies in the past.

Only the Account Administration department can address disputes or questions about this account action. To learn more about how we are able to assist you, please visit us at http://us.blizzard.com/support/article/21505.

We once again apologize for any inconvenience caused by this matter.

You have got to be kidding me.

I’m not opposed to trying to see where the other side is coming from and so I clicked on the Terms of Use link, scrolled down to the “Rules Related to Usernames and Guild Designations” portion and imagine the hypocrisy I found there.

In particular, you may not use any name:

(i) Belonging to another person with the intent to impersonate that person, including without limitation a “Game Master” or any other employee or agent of Blizzard;

(ii) That incorporates vulgar language or which are otherwise offensive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

(iii) Subject to the rights of any other person or entity without written authorization from that person or entity;

(iv) That belongs to a popular culture figure, celebrity, or media personality;

(v) That is, contains, or is substantially similar to a trademark or service mark, whether registered or not;

(vi) Belonging to any religious figure or deity;

(vii) Taken from Blizzard’s Warcraft products, including character names from the Warcraft series of novels;

(viii) Related to drugs, sex, alcohol, or criminal activity;

(ix) Comprised of partial or complete sentence (e.g., “Inyourface”, “Welovebeef”, etc);

(x) Comprised of gibberish (e.g., “Asdfasdf”, “Jjxccm”, “Hvlldrm”);

(xi) Referring to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. ” “Britneyspears”, “Austinpowers”, “Batman”)

(xii) That utilizes “Leet” or “Dudespeak” (e.g., “Roflcopter”, “xxnewbxx”, “Roxxoryou”)

(xiii) That incorporates titles. For purposes of this subsection, “titles” shall include without limitation ‘rank’ titles (e.g. , “CorporalTed,” or “GeneralVlad”), monarchistic or fantasy titles (e.g., “KingMike”, “LordSanchez”), and religious titles (e.g., “ThePope,” or “Reverend Al”). You may not use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the name restrictions listed above, nor can you have a “first” and “last” name that, when combined, violate the above name restrictions.

How many examples do we see on a daily, even hourly basis that violate one or more of these rules?  How many of those people are allowed to run around with their defunct names and titles and they are never asked to change them?  Tell me how my name falls into any of these categories that are listed above.  Tell me how my priest’s name, which is “Obscene” is more acceptable than having a toon named “Oestrus.”  I am furious about this and I can’t believe whatever flimsy reason they have to insist on changing my name is enough to see them through any dispute I could possibly bring to the table.  There has to be someone else.  There has to be someone above the Administrators that I can take this to.  The question is “Who?”

This toon is a part of me, as ridiculous as that sounds and I literally wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I had to change her name.  I have been Oestrus for so long and I have been through so much on this toon.  I would rather never play that toon again and let that window prompting me for a name change remain then to log in with a name that I don’t want and a name that doesn’t begin to speak for me.  That’s where I’m at right now.  I won’t do it.  I flat out refuse.

(i) Belonging to another person with the intent to impersonate that person, including without limitation a “Game Master” or any other employee or agent of Blizzard; 

(ii) That incorporates vulgar language or which are otherwise offensive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;

(iii) Subject to the rights of any other person or entity without written authorization from that person or entity;

(iv) That belongs to a popular culture figure, celebrity, or media personality;

(v) That is, contains, or is substantially similar to a trademark or service mark, whether registered or not;

(vi) Belonging to any religious figure or deity;

(vii) Taken from Blizzard’s Warcraft products, including character names from the Warcraft series of novels;

(viii) Related to drugs, sex, alcohol, or criminal activity;

(ix) Comprised of partial or complete sentence (e.g., “Inyourface”, “Welovebeef”, etc);

(x) Comprised of gibberish (e.g., “Asdfasdf”, “Jjxccm”, “Hvlldrm”);

(xi) Referring to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. ” “Britneyspears”, “Austinpowers”, “Batman”)

(xii) That utilizes “Leet” or “Dudespeak” (e.g., “Roflcopter”, “xxnewbxx”, “Roxxoryou”)

(xiii) That incorporates titles. For purposes of this subsection, “titles” shall include without limitation ‘rank’ titles (e.g. , “CorporalTed,” or “GeneralVlad”), monarchistic or fantasy titles (e.g., “KingMike”, “LordSanchez”), and religious titles (e.g., “ThePope,” or “Reverend Al”). You may not use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the name restrictions listed above, nor can you have a “first” and “last” name that, when combined, violate the above name restrictions.

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29 Responses to “What’s In A Name?”

  1. Ceraphus March 5, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

    I know how you feel, I had my paladin’s name changed in vanilla from “AmishMafia” of course mine fell into the (ii) as it was “offensive to a religious group”, namely the Amish, I had used that name in Starcraft online, Diablo II, and many other online games. Getting my name changed sucked. It forced me to become someone else. It took me a long time to embrace my new name, my pally being named Ceraph, later I named my DK to Ceraphus.

    Changing my name really stung, so I know how you feel. Hell per their rules, all those people running around with “Worgenfreeman” or slight changes to that are in violation but they are not forced to change it, hell I have someone in my guild with that name.

    Can you try to name your char as a derivative of your original, maybe with a special character? Might be a way to keep your identity but also while changing your name.

    • Oestrus March 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

      Hullo Ceraphus,

      I’m sure I could change it to something similar to it, but that’s not the point. I shouldn’t have to. More importantly, I’m really OCD and misspelled names like that would make me really twitchy and nervous. I know it sounds like something humorous, but I mentally would not be able to get around having my name with that one stray character or something like that. It would distract me to no end.

  2. Zinn March 5, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    I think the name changing that Blizzard sometimes puts people through, greatly examplifies that not only do some GMs do exactly what they feel like without any foundatiion in actually rules, they don’t discuss it with anyone else. Here are some things that have happened to me;

    My Dk Walpurgis was flagged for name change. It is hardly offensive.
    My bfs druid Crescentic was flagged for name change. Then unflagged. He never got an explanation (but in the end he didn’t have to change his name).
    My brothers rogue Luzifer was flagged for name change, at first we thought that it was reasonable (I can understand that some people might find that offensive or non-rp), until -they- proposed Lucifer as an option. Ehmm… what?

    Few things have made me wonder if Blizzard have any education for their staff at all than the name changing…

    • Oestrus March 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

      Hey there Zinn,

      Believe me, I could see if I had it coming. I can admit when I’ve done wrong or I could have handled something better. I don’t see anything in the Terms of Use that my name would fall under. Maybe the sexual reference – but it’s not sex as in “nasty butt sex.” It’s intercourse between animals (note, humans cannot go into Oestrus) for the sake of procreation. It’s a bit of a reach, if you ask me.

      Someone on Twitter mentioned calling Customer Service and perhaps it can be worked out that way. I’ll give that a go and see what happens.

  3. Askevar March 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    You actually can rename it the same thing. Some dude named lolpally was bragging about doing that on trade chat the other day.

    However, if you get caught, I’m told they can choose to rename your character for you.

    Sorry though, this completely sucks.

    • Oestrus March 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm #

      Hello Askevar,

      Thanks for stopping by and showing your support. Yes, I did read if an issue becomes too persistent that they can change the name for you and God knows what they would come up for me. I’m not done fighting, though. Let’s see if I can make something happen that’s more in my favor.

      🙂

  4. Ophelie March 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    Gah, that’s so stupid. I suppose “Oestrus” falls under “related to sex” but then so do all the “Testorogue”s.

    You can email Account Administration directly – they’re above the GMs when it comes to name issues.

    GMs don’t usually do anything about names unless someone complains, which is why you see so many “Ihateurface”s and “Katieholmes” running around. So you probably ran into a snotty goodie-two-shoes who was looking for someone to piss off.

    • Oestrus March 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      I actually did. The e-mail response that I got was from wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com Is there someone higher than that on the food chain that I can talk to?

      I’m totally making a Blood Elf warlock named “Katieholmes” now.

      • Ophelie March 6, 2011 at 9:55 am #

        The email said “Account Administration Department”, but if that’s who you were already talking too… I guess there’s the option of writing back and asking how to contact a higher up.

        This is so stupid. I could understand them flagging a name like “Vagina” but “Oestrus”? Really?

        Totally agree with Darista about a lot of in-game elements being way more obviously sexual (or worse) than the name “Oestrus”.

  5. Windsoar March 5, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

    That is ridiculous. If they flagged half the names that are against their ToS we’d all be running around with gobbly-gook for our names. I imagine someone got a bug up their butt and decided to turn in your name as punishment.

    Good luck reaching the higher-ups!

  6. Darista March 5, 2011 at 8:48 pm #

    I love how they can flag a name for being even REMOTELY related to something sexual, yet how many quest names and in-game items are FAR more blatant about having a sexual connotation? IMO, Blizz is being fucking retarded, hypocritical, and that’s some serious bullshit. Maybe we should petition every single thing in game that relates in any way, shape, or form to sex. ‘Cause if they’re enforcing this name thing, then they need to be held accountable for all the shit they have in the game that’s much more offensive. Oh, how I could list off so many …..

  7. Awryt March 6, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    My husband named his paladin Applehiney because I teased him that he had an apple of a hiney. At level 80 he had someone from a 5-man pug group who apparently couldn’t think of another way to deal with losing a roll report him after dropping group in a snit and he was forced to change his name.

    Similarly, a friend who had been Hoochie from level 1 to 70 was randomly reported in the middle of a Karazhan run delaying our raid while he was forced to log in and out until he found an “acceptable” name.

    Now, my brother getting reported for naming his gnome warlock Midgetporn I can totally understand. 😀

    • Oestrus March 6, 2011 at 11:19 am #

      I used to run with a warlock named “Midgethands.”

      What’s with warlocks and “midget” names?

  8. Reuben March 6, 2011 at 6:49 am #

    Talk about Blizzard generating a RIFT in their customer service.

    I have a pally who is now named Colerejuste. It used to have an accented e in there, since that was the appropriate French spelling. After pointing out a bug with arakkoa floating hast during TBC, my thanks from the attending GM was a name change. I don’t bother logging bugs anymore, and toons called “Porkhunt” can dance the fandango up and down the Orgrimmar Strip, for all I care.

    • Oestrus March 6, 2011 at 11:20 am #

      Wow. I could see if someone reported YOU, but you were being kind enough to report an issue or a bug and that’s how they repay you?

      That’s mighty crummy. Heh, I would be lying if I said this incident didn’t get generate a RIFT in me, too.

      😛

  9. Jasyla March 6, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    Sorry to hear about this situation, Oestrus. I hope customer service eventually sees reason and reverses their decision, it would really suck to have to change a name you’ve had for so long.

    I had never read the naming ToS before. It’s quite ridiculous. If they actually followed this thousands of characters would be flagged for renames.

    • Oestrus March 6, 2011 at 11:21 am #

      Thanks Jasyla!

      I’m definitely a fighter, so they have not heard the last of me.

  10. Shadowspawnd March 6, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

    If they force you top change your name, spend at least a few minutes everyday, reporting names from trade chat. If everyone did that, they might assign more people who actually know what they are doing and not flag inoffensive name and flag the truly offensive ones.

    • Oestrus March 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

      Hullo Shadowspand,

      Hey, that’s not a bad idea! I’m definitely open to anything I can really add to arsenal right now. I’ll be sure to keep that in mind and give you full credit if I do!

      Thanks for the tip.

  11. Rhii March 6, 2011 at 5:07 pm #

    An old guildie of mine had a toon called Facialraep. Needless to say, good old Facial got reported (by me, that’s just vile) and had to change his name. So he chose Raepingfaces for his new name, a vast improvement. Surprise surprise, he got reported again (by me) and change his name… back to Facialraep. At which point I gave up.

    If your name wasn’t related to a primarily feminine process (human or animal) nobody would have batted an eye. Actually, someone should make a big male cow and name him Musth and see what happens.

    • Oestrus March 6, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

      Hey there!

      I can’t say for sure if it’s a feminist issue. I just know that what I feel I’m up against has nothing to do with human sexuality. I feel that mating between animals, which is what being in Oestrus implies is different than two people bumping uglies for the sake of getting off. It’s different.

  12. Krayton March 7, 2011 at 2:20 am #

    That really sucks! I too have a druid named Krayton that I have had since vanilla. After not playing for a few years, I named my new Warrior Krayton on another server because I liked the name so much and it ment to much to let it go. I felt more attached to the name than I did the toon lol. I recently started a new Priest on another server but someone already had the name so I was forced into a new one. After 66 lvls on this priest I still don’t like the new name. I miss it so much and still feel a deep attachement to Krayton for being the first real toon I worked hard on, spent sleepless nights on, made good friends on. I would be crushed if this ever happens to me. I hope you win your fight.

  13. Gurky March 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    I’ve been using the name “Gurky” for gnomish characters of mine when I played pen-and-paper RPGs and games such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Neverwinter Nights. When I eventually decided to try out WoW, I continued using the same name for my first character.

    I haven’t been told to name change, but since I’ve read this, I’m surprised I haven’t been reported:

    “(vii) Taken from Blizzard’s Warcraft products, including character names from the Warcraft series of novels;”

  14. Loltha March 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm #

    I have a problem with people with toons named things like “Fisting”. I do not have a problem with the vast majority of names that Blizz has listed under their no no policy. I love the toons I occasionally cross paths with that are named things like OprahWindfury. I think it’s totally creative.

    And why should Blizz get a burr up their saddle for a toon named Gnome Depot when they themselves created an NPC named HarisPilton or have taken a TV character’s name and placed it on an NPC (Endora).

    • Meerkat March 21, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      If a name is in violation it’s in violation. Blizzard doesn’t police names. They allow the community to do so. Alls that happens is the Blizzard rep who receives the complaint applies the rules set in a place and makes a decision. If you believe your name isn’t a violation you can appeal the name change and if you’re right, the name change will not have to happen.

      There is no malice on Blizzards part concerning anyones names, just people doing their jobs to the best of their ability.

  15. matt March 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm #

    i saw a toon named pewpsterbate… and they flag you?!?

    • Oestrus March 22, 2011 at 12:20 am #

      Frightening, isn’t it?

  16. Ratshag December 27, 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Me friends all told me on me second day of WoW I’d get slapped down by the man fer “Ratshag”. Five years later is still me name. Arbitrary Blizz is arbitrary, I guess…..

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. What’s In A Name? – Part 2 « The Stories Of O - March 7, 2011

    […] who was bold enough to shoot Blizzard a nasty Tweet or two on my behalf for their part in the whole name changing debacle or for stopping by and leaving a comment about their experiences with name changes or people in […]

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