The Blade & Soul subreddit has been in an uproar the last few days over accusations that NCsoft EU GMs pre-claimed popular character names, rendering them off-limits for players who preordered in the hopes of securing their pet names during the name reservation event that began on Monday. NCsoft Director of Community and Social Omeed Dariani responded to a tweet about the issue:
@WolfpackCasey Employees almost always get to choose their names early. I'm not sure why anyone chose specific names.
— Omeed (@Omeed) January 11, 2016
Brand Manager Julianne Harty explained the reasoning in even more detail to forumgoers:
In regards to our CMs having multiple names: this is tricky waters, so please understand (I’m also jet lagged so not the most coherent). A GM character cannot switch servers currently, so GM characters are dedicated to 1 server. In normal circumstances, GMs and CMs just use the same name across all servers, but we don’t have that luxury. Those who are expected to have a GM-type role in the game was given the ability to reserve up to 7 names to be used as GM names. The general rule of thumb for GM names is to have either a personal moniker or a name that is easily recognizable and identifiable as someone special. Yes, I understand that they could also use “GM_Naruto” instead of “Naruto”, but this brings me to my last point:
Shady people sell popular names. 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. I can’t speak for Youmukon right now, since I’m on the road, but it’s highly possible that this is a scenario that is occurring and that the names will be released later on in a more fair manner that prevents this sort of account/name selling.
This is not uncommon; its just unfortunate that we have the character lookup so you can see a lot of the inner workings of the game being prepared for launch.
Please be assured, we’re not trying to screw you out of your money or rig the system or anything of the sort. There was always a chance that the name you wanted would not be available for various reasons. Many of the complaints that I’m reading are legit and valid; but we’re employees of NCSoft first, and gamers next, not the other way around. Our priority is the experience of the game for our players first and a lot of what we do is not meant to put ourselves as the first one to score a much-desired anime name, but keep an eye out for all the potential pitfalls that can, and have, arisen.