LOTRO and the glory of naming absolutely everything

The LOTRO devs understand that players like to name items in games. I agree, and I think this is a brilliant and utterly Middle Earth compatible mechanic which has the possibility to make a lot of player interactions both more immersive and more memorable.

Of course, like any player generated content, naming also has the possibility to throw up the craziest ‘wtf were they thinking’ moments. Fortunately on RP servers, the GMs are really good about dealing with complaints about names. I always wondered why companies claimed that a naming policy was too difficult or time consuming to implement. It really doesn’t take that long to scan through a list of names and bump any offensive ones. Free Realms, for example, impressed at launch by requiring all player generated names to be approved before they could be used, and they were dealing with huge numbers of players at the time. It’s such a simple thing that can make the game more vibrant, immersive, and RP friendly for all the player base, even the non-RPers.

So here’s a brief list of nameable entities in LOTRO — just to give a feel for how ubiquitous it has become.

  • Your character (first name and surname).
  • Your family tree. You can have “son or daughter of Y” as a title, where Y is another player. This does require the other player’s cooperation.
  • Your kinship (guild).
  • Social chat channels.
  • Your banner bearer pet if you are a captain. You can also name your banner.
  • Your pets if you are a loremaster.
  • Your gear — masterwork crit pieces can be named by the crafter when they are created. If you want a particular name and aren’t a crafter yourself, you will need to negotiate with a crafter to make it and name it for you personally.
  • Legendary items. These can be reforged every 10 levels and when you reforge a legendary item, you can also rename it.
  • Your mount. This was new in the latest patch.
  • Your skirmish soldier.
  • Monster players can also name their banners (Orcish Warleaders) and spiderlings (Spiders)

Things you can’t name:

  • Your house. Strange omission there, really.
  • Your lunch, even if it is a masterpiece of cooking.
  • Your title. You cannot have a custom title, although there are a very wide range of in game titles to collect and select. Especially if you want something that involves ‘orc slayer’, ‘slayer of orcs’, ‘orc massacre supremo’ etc.

That’s a long list of nameable items, especially in comparison to a game like WoW which hasn’t even advanced as far as surnames for characters.

But sometimes, an interesting or especially IC name is the only thing you’ll remember about another player when you have just met. An unusual guild name will catch people’s attention (I know I’ve had a few comments about The Ashen Rose Conspiracy, for example.) In games where so many people love to individualise their characters, it’s a shame that devs often ignore the most basic and fundamental way we make things our own in the real world — by giving them names.

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7 thoughts on “LOTRO and the glory of naming absolutely everything

  1. The good thing is, at least on the EU servers: Naming policies are enforced. Very strictly on the RP servers, and they are also quite serious about it on the non-RP-servers. This also created a community where there are only few who do not at least try to get a tolkienesque name fitting to the Middle Earth setting.

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