Lapsed WoW Players Need to Act Quickly to Preserve Their Character Names
If you haven't logged in since November 2008, your name will be freed up for general use unless you log in before patch 6.0.2.
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Blizzard Entertainment has announced that all players who have not logged into World of Warcraft since November 13, 2008 will have their character names freed up, thereby allowing anyone to create a new character or use the paid character name change service to swipe their name.
But you can prevent this from happening by logging into World of Warcraft using each character whose name you want to be preserved before patch 6.0.2 goes live. This patch is currently available on the game's public test realm, which suggests it could go live soon.
As Blizzard points out in a blog post, it's entirely possible that no one will claim your name. However, the company says, "It is probably not worth the risk if you want to keep your names intact long-term."
You might think this character name reclamation is a sneaky way for Blizzard to encourage players to return to World of Warcraft (subscriber figures are down, after all), but it's more about allowing new and returning players to choose from a wider selection of names, the company says.
"Our goal with this great name liberation is to make sure new and returning players have a large and varied pool of names available to choose from," the company writes. "So log in now if you wish to preserve your unused characters' names for your journey intro Draenor."
You can buy the standard version of Warlords of Draenor for $50, while a special digital deluxe iteration is available for $70. A $90 collector's edition will also be available, and you can read more about what it contains here.
For more on Warlords of Draenor, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.
Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch