Perfect Ten: Worst MMO expansion names of all time

    
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Back when Daybreak announced that EverQuest’s 19th expansion would be titled Rain of Fear, I instantly found myself tripping over the name. I shouldn’t have — it’s a few simple words that are first-round picks for spelling contests — but it defied the traditional naming conventions for MMO expansions. Many people I talked to kept wanting to write “reign” instead because “rain” seemed like a deliberate misspelling by some sun-starved intern.

Homophones aside, Rain of Fear is hardly the worst expansion title I’ve ever seen. The industry has had its share of bad names, from the confusing to the downright unpronounceable. Sure, we get used to these titles, and perhaps it’s nit-picky to lug them out at such a late point in many of their lifespans, but petty is my middle name. My first name is Tom. And these are 10 poorly named expansions. Deal with it.

Anarchy Online: The Notum Wars

Let’s get this straight: None of these names are truly atrocious. It’s just that these 10 fail at being a captivating, courageous, or understandable name in some way.

So why should we start with The Notum Wars? Tell me the truth: Does that name really grab you? I thought not. “Wars” should always be prefaced in fiction with an exciting or bold word. “Notum” is not only a slight mispronunciation away from “naughty,” but it’s simply dull. It’s like if I were to call a movie “The Gluten Wars” or “The Clone Wars.” If I do that, it’s because I am late for an appointment and am just reading whatever word is in front of me at the breakfast table.

It’s so hard to mess up the “The ______ Wars” format that I have to put Anarchy Online on the list for filling in that blank with a blank.

I told you I was going to be petty.

EverQuest: The Legacy of Ykesha

Now I feel like I’m dog-piling on EverQuest, but since that game’s had around 145 expansions, it’s bound to have a few stinkers by default. Daybreak has actually done a fine job with most of the names, but this one rubs me the wrong way.

How come? “Ykesha” is a nothing word. It’s gibberish and tells me nothing about the expansion. Two science-fiction and fantasy naming tropes that bother me are when writers use apostrophes to make words sound alien and when writers slam non-neighborly letters together to create awkward proper nouns. “Ykesha” sounds like what a cat horks up. That makes me a lot less interested in its legacy. (Bree tells me it was originally a sword or something. This isn’t helping.)

Final Fantasy XI: Treasures of Aht Urhgan

And here the creator of the expansion suffered a mild stroke halfway through the name.

Ultima Online: Samurai Empire

I dislike this for the same reason that I’m not overly fond of RIFT: Storm Legion. The name doesn’t gel. They’re two strong words that should be totally fine in a three-legged contest but end up sounding a little juvenile in reality. I can see an eighth grader drawing a doodle comic called “Samurai Empire,” but I have a hard time picturing businessmen giving that name the OK for a major product release.

Also, if you’ve got samurai in your expansion, there are just so, so many cooler titles out there. This is lack of imagination at work.

Star Wars Galaxies: Rage of the Wookiees

Wookiees get stereotyped all the time as ‘roid ragers, and I don’t appreciate SWG profiling them as such. Wookiees raging? Get out. I’m shocked they didn’t follow that up with Shuffles of the Ewoks, Misfires of the Stormtroopers, and Beeps of the Droids, really.

Leave Wookiees alone!

EverQuest II: The Splitpaw Saga

EverQuest II: The Splitpea Soup.

EVE Online: Red Moon Rising

EVE Online expansions favor strong single words that are sometimes an ideal follow-up for ’60s English rock bands. But here a critical error was made, and the time for our attack has come.

It’s like CCP transformed into a bad country crooner overnight, trading in spaceships for a beat up guitar and a failed marriage. Or if we want to go a different tack, it’s a couple of phrases short of a botched Lucky Charms commercial: red moons, pink clovers, and so on.

Also — and here comes the pettiness — moons don’t rise in space. They kind of just float there.

City of Heroes: Going Rogue

Nothing about this title works. Nothing. First of all, CoH already established the naming format by the time it got to City of Villains. Going Rogue is the second expansion (shh, don’t argue semantics, I honestly don’t care), and already you’re getting away from the most recognizable element of your name.

Second, what does “going rogue” tell you? That sneaky backstabbers have branched out into MMO development? It’s unusual to have an expansion start out with a verb, I’ll grant you that, but it’s such a vague clause that I have felt apathetic about it every time I’ve read it somewhere. City of Turncoats or City of Heroes: Switcharoo aren’t much better, but at least those stay on message.

Lineage II: Freya

None of the other titles on this list gives me an eye twitch, but this one does. NCsoft, what the heck were you thinking? It’s just a single name that communicates nothing unless you’re a lingerie fan. Lineage II: Harry. Lineage II: Gertrude. Lineage II: The Artist Formerly Known As Prince. You see the problem here?

Dungeons and Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark

We need to accept this as a geek community and move on: George Lucas ruined the word “menace” for at least 40 more years. Every time I see that word, I add “phantom” in front of it, and then I go into convulsions. Or even worse, I put “Dennis the” up front and then perish of an acute lack of humor.

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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Ardra Diva

Freya is a Norse goddess, so I immediately thought of that, not lingerie.

But overall yes, it’s these awkward faux-mythos names that stink the most. Aht Urhgan, Ykesha, Notum, all bad.

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Knecht_Rootrecht

WoW – Mists of Pandaria should be mentioned. Because the general sentiment on the announcement or rather leak of it was: Very funny, you make an expansion of a Warcraft lll joke character?

T h e n o n y m o u s
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T h e n o n y m o u s

It’s just a single name that communicates nothing unless you’re a lingerie fan.

I don’t know, I’m a lingerie fan and I still don’t get it lol.

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Dennis Schmelzle

Anarchy Online: The scrotum wars?

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Does not check email

Ah, yes. When they introduced the …. Dong Slider

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K8 D

Exactly my thought too lol

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Bruno Brito

Not an expansion name but…

Fly for Fun.

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Castagere Shaikura

Anarchy Online Shadowlands
It destroyed the base game. Rubi Ka became a dead world.
GW2 hot and pof
Kill the original idea for the game. This is my opinion.

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Bruno Brito

But those aren’t issues in the names?

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Kickstarter Donor
JoeCreoterra

^^ there’s always a poster who doesn’t read the article and comments on something that has nothing to do with it lol

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Malcolm Swoboda

SWTOR: Rise of the Hutt Cartel

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Utakata

Battle for Azeroth (WoW) gets my title for the most mediocre name. >.<

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Bryan Correll

Someone at CCP was just listening to a lot of CCR.

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Hikari Kenzaki

They could have gone with City of Bunnies, but I already owned that domain name.

As was said, the name of Going Rogue was the exact thing it was introducing, however, I’d be lying if I said there a metric ton of players who were confused about what the expansion was, how it worked, and what that meant with the new faction.

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Does not check email

I would like to see a 4th expansion- City of Bunnies – a meeting faction.