Controversy sparked almost immediately after name reservation opened up for the western versions of Blade & Soul on January 11th. Players saw that certain names in the game’s servers had already been claimed by NCSoft staff and weren’t too happy about it.
The assumption from players is that NCSoft staff had used their privileges to secure what were thought to be popular names – such as Naruto, due to the anime – before anyone else. A boundary had been crossed, or so it was thought.
However, Blade & Soul brand manager Julianne Harty has since responded to the controversy in the Blade & Soul Dojo forums. Firstly, she explains that some of the names were secured by her as they are mascots for particular classes and would be used in promoting the game on its website and in trailers, or participating in in-game events.
Second, she explains that Blade & Soul’s GM characters “have either a personal moniker or a name that is easily recognizable and identifiable as someone special,” hence why they chose the names they did. But there’s more – reserving popular names prevents people trying to make money on them.
“Shady people sell popular names,” writes Harty. “To me, that’s more unfair than losing out on the lottery for the name that you want, because someone has come in and reserved a name specifically so that they can earn money on it. You want a definition of pay to win? THAT is it right there – a person paying $400 just to have Naruto and bypassing the lottery system. We have, in the past, reserved popular names in order to prevent this sort of shady stuff from happening.”