A View from Atlas Park: nAm1ng ur HER0!!!!

Talking about cloned heroes last column made me think about the huge number of original heroes there actually are in CoH. And there are heaps. Pick a spot a short distance from a trainer (especially in Galaxy City or Atlas Park) and you will literally see hundreds of very different, mostly original designs.

For the most part, these heroes are well-dressed in appropriate-for-Paragon-City costumes. Sure, this isn’t always the case – there are some heroes that dress themselves in horrifying, retina-burning combinations – but these exceptions are thankfully rare.

What is becoming increasingly common, however, are the number of heroes out there with terrible or just bad-looking names. It could just be me, but I’ve really seen an increase in names that make me want to avoid those heroes attached to them.

And it’s the little things that do it to me. Like not having any capitals in your hero’s name. In limited cases it might be appropriate – say, when you are creating an e e cumming’s inspired hero – but this isn’t the case, given the large numbers of capital-less heroes I’ve seen. To me, not being able to put your capitals in the right place makes a hero look sloppy. I’ve also had a couple of bad experiences with capital-less (and sloppily played) heroes, so I now avoid teaming up with heroes who can’t use the Shift key during character creation.

Another thing that gets me are players who give their hero a long or complex (or long and complex) name. These names get used for two main things in-game: 1) so players can send you /tell messages, and 2) so players can refer to you in-game. Having a long name (eg Fantastic Prawn) makes it a certainty that fewer players are going to send you a /tell if you aren’t in their line of sight since it will take them a while to just type your name. It’s just simply easier to talk to someone with a shorter name.

And if you do get into a team, your team-mates will shorten that long name anyway. Or just call you by your Archetype name.

As for complex names… well, they can be worse, because you end up mistyping them because you missed the third ‘i’ or forgot to have the ‘a’ and the ‘e’ the other way round in the second half of the name. Complex names just get annoying to try and deal with, particularly when there appears to be no rhyme or reason behind them.

Joke names for heroes are also questionable, since they are funny for usually half-a-second before becoming old. Plus, you risk offending those people who don’t find your joke funny (which happens, I’ve seen, quite a lot).

I’m not trying to be over-dramatic or overly-pedantic (which automatically means I am being both those things) about the whole issue, but running into ream after ream of poorly-named heroes it is obvious that a lot of players aren’t thinking about what they name their characters. It could be they don’t care. It could be that they are on their seventh alt and have run out of ideas. There could be lots of reasons for why players give their characters a poor choice of name.

But it is a pity that it appears to be happening in increasing numbers since it impacts on the feel of CoH and how other players interact with you. I, for one, will generally avoid heroes with bad names the same way I avoid people who don’t shower – I’m not going to say anything, but I won’t hang around, either. So please, when choosing a name for your next hero, take a moment to think about what you are doing… and use the Shift key on the first letter.


According to those on the test server, the Fifth Column are out of CoH, replaced by the Council. Some players have blamed the 5C’s exit on political correctness; others have blamed Germany.

Although I had written about the Germany / PC connection before, it actually doesn’t have to be for either of those reasons. The 5C are one of the oldest villain groups in terms of time since they were created for CoH. As such, they’ve had the longest to be manipulated by the devs in terms of their potential for story impacts. The Nictus connection has always been there (say players who have completed the right story arcs) and this change may just reflect something that has always been planned.

But on the negative side, I guess now we’ll never get to fight Hitler’s brain, will we?

– UnSub [email protected] 25 November 2004

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