So for those of you just joining us, the highest character I’ve ever managed to level up in Dark Age of Camelot is Bottom, my 36th level Theurge. Yes, that’s pathetic, but we all know how bad I am at things, so lemme alone. Besides, we’re not talking about my suckitude in this story. THIS is a story about ignorance.
See, Bottom lives on the server known as Percival. Percival, or Perc as us cool people like to refer to it as, is a “roleplaying server.” What does that mean? A number of things, but for the purpose of our little fun today, we’ll just quote what the Camelot Herald says about the Naming Policy on Roleplaying Servers:
Character and Guild Naming Policy
- You may not use any names that violate the General Rules and Guidelines. This includes the use of names that are hateful, defamatory, racist, ethnically offensive, obscene, vulgar, sexually explicit, or any other language that is offensive in nature.
- You may not use names that are harassing or defamatory to other players or employees of Mythic Entertainment.
- You may not use names of any employee of Mythic Entertainment.
- You may not use names of copyrighted or trademarked characters, materials or products.
- You may not use names from popular culture or media.
- You may not use names that are religiously or historically significant.
- You may not use proper names of areas within Dark Age of Camelot for character names. Guild names MAY use the proper names of specific areas, to help promote roleplaying and realm pride.
- You may not use proper names of NPCs within Dark Age of Camelot.
- You may not use names containing titles or ranks within them.
- You may not use names that refer to drugs or that are drug related.
- You may not use names that contain a phrase, sentence or any fragment of a sentence.
- You may not use names where a combination of the first and last names violate any of the above rules.
- You may not use misspellings or alternative spellings of names that violate any of the above rules.
Naming Policy for Roleplaying Servers.
All names must fit into the medieval setting. All names must fit into the realm that you are playing in. All policy enforcement for names on the roleplaying servers will be done aggressively by members of the DAoC CS staff, of Server Lead and higher authority. It is in Mythic’s sole judgment whether a name breaks the policy, and we will rename characters accordingly. If you see someone with a name that obviously breaks the roleplaying ruleset, please report them.
So…with this in mind, when it came time to pick a name for my character, I thought long and hard about it (yeah, in important matters, it’s possible for me to do that). I had just finished a local community theater production of Midsummer, and I really, really loved it. Out of all of the Bard’s works, this play has always been one of my favorites. In our production, the role of Bottom, an incredibly arrogant, obtuse but loveable weaver was played by a friend of mine (to get an idea of the sort of person Bottom is, read this excerpt – or just take my word for it, okay?). My buddy played the role unbelievably well, and was absolutely the star of the show.
Arrogant, foolish, and turned into an ass? With the way that I behave, it seemed like that was a perfect fit for my character.
Of course it flashed through my mind that juvenile people would instantly assume I was talking about my tush, but I thought – hey, this is the roleplaying server! Everyone here should at least have a passing knowledge of who I’m referring to with this name! Why, even Yellow Rat Bastard immediately got the reference – and if HE could get it, I had great faith that anyone could get it. Anything, for that matter, since on his best days YRB has roughly the same recollection power as your average rock.
I have been playing that character confidently since three months after release. Yeah, I only made 36th, I suck, I know. Stop getting distracted!
So it struck me with a little amazement and annoyance when I received an email two weeks ago telling me my name had been appealed and I had to submit five alternates within the next 24 hours. Well, of course I was miffed that some little dumb-ass middle-school dropout whose idea of medieval was learnt from “A Knight’s Tale.” But I quickly shook that annoyance – hey, Mythic is full of tons of well-read froods, I’m sure that it’s simply a mistake. They’ve GOT to recognize the reference, and once I explain it to them, everything will be cool! I compose a smarmy little email, where I confide to the Mythic staff that OBVIOUSLY the person who appealed me had never heard of the Bard’s most enjoyable comedy, confident that once I explained where the name came from and that the surname Bottom, in fact, came from Botham, both of which names existed in the medieval era (Anyone remember Bottom the Chemist? What – like I’m the only guy that read up on medieval alchemy here?). I composed my appeal with tongue-in-cheek humor, confident that once matters were explained, everything would be all right, and order and logic would once again be returned to the universe.
Instead, I received this reply:
“On our Roleplaying Servers, we require players to use names which fit within the “spirit of the game.” This means that we require players to use proper birth-names, rather than nicknames, descriptions, references to personal history or past deeds, etc. As such, the name BOTTOM was inappropriate.”
Urmm… apparently, somewhere in my letter I claimed “Bottom” was a nickname…no, wait, no I didn’t… Oh, then I must’ve said it was a description…hrm. Nope, didn’t say that, either. A reference to personal history or past deed? I shudder to think how one would get that nickname for a past deed…Strike three, you’re out! Apparently what happened when I appealed is that the person reading my appeal suffered a massive brain injury to cause them to spew forth a bunch of crap that had no bearing whatsoever on my name, before they were led off to bed and a nice happy pill from the men in white suits.
I understand how hard it is to admit when you’re wrong. Especially, as I’m forced to conjecture here, when someone else in your company does something amazingly stupid and then you’re left to explain said stupidity. I know how frustrating it can be. But, see, the thing that really marks you as a class act, is when you can admit that yes, we completely screwed up and we’re sorry and what that person said made no sense whatsoever and we’ll fix it right away!
Mythic, I wubs you. Immensely. I think you all work very, very hard for a lot of ungrateful, nasty people. I’m deeply, deeply indebted to you for the amount of fun I’ve had RvR’ing. It has provided me with some of the funnest gameplay since I first started AC. This rant isn’t directed at all of you. This little bitch-fest is directed at the one or two people involved in the name appeals process who lack any depth of thought beyond “What names sound like nicknames for people’s butts”.
Look, I’m not one to point any fingers here, but when one of the most famous guilds on the server is “A Drunken Holy Guy,” you have to realize what a grade-A nincompoop you sound like when you try and tell me that a name from a play by Shakespeare does not fit into the “spirit of the game.” I don’t mean to diss the Holy Guys, mind you – every single one of them I’ve met are incredibly cool. But come on – how can you seriously enforce ANY naming policy when you allow that? And don’t get me started on the “Combat Machines” guild.
I was going to start a guild called the “Rude Mechanicals,” but I figured that would just blow some gaskets on people right away.
Everyone would probably assume we made siege machines that gave you the finger or something.
28 Mar 2003