Name Hoarding & the Frequency of Freeing Names from Inactive Accounts

Hi! While I enjoy having the opportunity to trade names or purchase names for gold via threads like the Moon Guard Name Archive, I have found that names are quite often hoarded on accounts that are not active.

Back in the era of live GMs in game, you could submit a ticket and they would check out the account, see if the account was active, if not, they would free up the name. This is how I lost my name years back when I unsubbed, guildies knew I did, and took my name.

What does inactive mean? Inactive can be determined by Blizzard as either an unsubbed account or someone who has not logged in a set parameter of time; I would prefer the former as this is fairer to people. It is also how it was determined ‘back in the day’ before a GM freed a ticketed name.

What I would like to see are names being purged more often on inactive accounts.

Current Process:

  1. Names are freed up ‘some random day’ within the prepatch for the next expansion. There is no order to the matter. It takes years, contingent on the expansion’s release.


  1. Free up names every 6 months from inactive accounts, enhanced from the above.


  1. Allow a ticket system for name release. Instead of the live GM doing this as was the procedure back in the golden days, support can have these tickets categorized and address them accordingly.

Zero Entitlement: It would always be up to each individual to claim a name. Nothing would ever be reserved, even if ticketed, this way there are no hard feelings or a sense of accountability if a person is not quick enough to get the name when the ticket is closed.

Either resolution would certainly beat having to wait years and hope you land on the right day when names are released sometime in prepatch.

Thanks for hearing me out! Names hold quite a bit of value, especially on large servers and RP servers.



I think we could go beyond what you proposed, which would be to allow the creation of a second name for the character in an optional way similar to what exists in other MMORPGs.

Three years ago i lost the name of my paladin Tirion because the game system does not allow players to have the names of important characters in the game. That was one of the saddest days i’ve had in the game. I just wanted to recreate it and even after contacting support they were unable to help.

Surname/Lastname (Optional) in Guild Wars 2, Final Fantasy 14 and New World

I believe this would solve the problem for many players who would like to have names and add an identity option to their characters.

Who is Nonoa if she doesn’t have a surname/lastname to differentiate her from the other players.


I have a question, do they announce when names are going to be freed up? Because I’ve been trying to reclaim a name for almost 15 years. I’ll periodically check on it once or twice in an expansion, but I don’t know when it’s likely to happen. Here’s my story, I’ll try to be brief as possible.

Not long after launch, probably January 2005, I made a dwarven rogue. I trying to sound out dwarven names and eventually settled on Grundle (no one knew the urban dictionary version of the word back then and neither did I). A month or two later, I was questing in Westfall and a GM whispered me and said I’d have to change my character name and pointed me to urban dictionary to see why. I understood, it was unintentional, but it was still a thing.

Fast forward 2 expansions or so, I saw a low level priest on our server with the name Grundle. I was curious why they were able to keep the name, so I checked the WoW Armory, and there were many characters named Grundle across different servers. So I put in a GM ticket to try to get my name back since it was obviously allowed. Unfortunately, they said they didn’t have any records of the earlier ticket and could do nothing for me.

So I added that character to my friends list so that I could see when they popped online. I don’t think they ever got above level 10 or 11 and hadn’t played for entire expansions at some point, but I still can’t get that name back. Perhaps someone else took the name at some point, but if you look on the WoW Armory, there is no Grundle on Cenarion Circle. I believe that means the character must be very low level. If you search the WoW Armory now, you get 90 characters with the name and about 15 of them are level 70, so there doesn’t seem to be an issue with the name currently.

tl;dr: I agree with what you’re saying. Names can be very important, so better options (especially to reclaim names) would be useful. Or at least something that’s more consistent and less arbitrary than a random day once every few years. Obviously, that would take some work to implement that, but I just really want my original character name back.


Yeah, other MMOs have used this system a number of times and I feel like it’s worked well. Wildstar even implemented it as a way to resolve name conflicts when they had to do server merges.

It would require a bit of work to implement, but I don’t think it would be that crazy although I don’t know how characters are stored and how much restructuring that would take.


They do not! It is a random day during the prepatch with no heads up. I would have no qualms if they gave everyone the same warning and we could have an opportunity to tee up equally.


I would be happy with this as well! Guild Wars 2 implemented this well so you had more flexibility.

Am greatly appreciative of all the feedback here. With a game that spans so many years like World of Warcraft, it is true that there will be names sat on by accounts that subscribe once an expansion and not again, or are inactive.

With the system changing from being interactive (Support answers Support Ticket about a name, frees it up, you still pay for the name change and hopefully get the freed-up name) to ‘random day of prepatch,’ something ought to be adjusted as this seems backwards.

Also: Names get freed up every 2 expansions per inactive account currently per a ticket response with further elaboration. Example: If you sat on a name claimed two expansions ago and then unsubbed thus being deemed ‘inactive,’ it will get freed up in the upcoming prepatch random name release assuming you do not resub.


That’s what I thought, but I wanted to double check in case I was missing something.


Could even just add a form of warning in game to certain characters that are below level 30 that if not logged in to their name would be added back to the naming pool so people can’t just sit on names for expansions just cuz. At least making them log in to count as active would probably be the least out of the blue intrusive way while still being able to target “active” accounts, I’d say maybe also send an email warning of impending name freeing but that might be a bit too much.


I really like both ideas here with the level cap and inactivity; logging in is a very small ask.

No matter what Blizzard goes with, I certainly hope it is something rather than maintaining the status quo for 2 expansions/inactive account before the name is released ‘sometime during prepatch’ with no announcement. :pray:

Fingers crossed that there can be some middleground to prevent name hoarding. The names should be freed up after a smaller period of time than two expansions later, and there should be a heads up for folks. Names are important and identify who we are in the game, and those who care about it should not be left with this uncertainty.


Yeah, I would really like to see this happen with more consistency or at least more transparency as to when this is happening.