MMO Names

What’s in a name?  That’s the question I assume was on the minds of Pitch Black Games this weekend as they relaunched Prime: Battle for Dominus under a new name.  Their three faction PvP MMO is now only known as: ‘Dominus’.

When I asked them via twitter if they had a reason, I received this in reply:

That makes sense.  The original title was on the longer side compared to games these days.   This name change got me thinking about MMO names in general and how much, if at all, they affect me.  Some names have a lot to do with what the game is about and some seem to be there only because they sound cool.

EverQuest is somewhat ironic, given the fact that when it launched there were few quests in the game.  I think it was meant to portray an idea that this virtual world you play in isn’t going anywhere and that your overall adventure within this world would be a quest.  Oh how I wish that mentality would have lived on.

Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided is a mouthful.  Most people just shortened it on their own to SWG.

World of Warcraft is almost as brilliant as it is unoriginal.  Taking the IP known only as “Warcraft” and adding the ‘World’ to the front, back in 2004, helped players make assumptions about the game.

Dark Age of Camelot was obviously chosen because Mythic favored Albion. (That one’s for you, Mark)

We’ll just have to see what the future holds for the name of Dominus.  In the end, the name of a MMORPG matters very little to me.  I’m the type that will pick apart mechanics and design decisions without even thinking twice about the name.  Most developers do not market to me, though.  In fact, I think most are scared of me.  People who are attracted by a name, a logo, a trailer, or an advertisement are the target of a name (or a name change).  That’s the part of marketing I enjoy.  What makes people tick, what makes them want to buy a game called Dominus instead of Prime: Battle for Dominus.

Anyone out there care about the name of a MMO?  I think as long as the name isn’t completely stupid, I don’t care.

  • I agree with their decision. Dominus Prime sounds like it might be about battling transformable robots, while Dominus sounds like a sci-fi planet.

  • The only name that has ever genuinely irritated me was “World of Tanks” – something about the combination of imitating WoW’s naming convention with the fact that it was a lobby game with no “World” to speak of.

  • I hate when companies simply add “online” to a title to denote it as an MMO. DC Universe Online, Allods Online, Champions Online, etc. It’s a bygone relic from a day when you had to straight up tell people that your game required the internet, because still few people had access to/could afford the internet at home. Now the MMO term has become pretty universally known, it’s just redundant and rather tacky and unoriginal. “Oh Mortal Online…Perpetuum Online…I’ll bet they’re MMOs.”

  • I should say, I make exception for when the Online is to denote a change in product norm. For instance, DC Universe Online is more fitting because it sets the game apart from DC’s other brawlers. And according to my Gamestop friends, people still picked the game up for PS3 not fully realizing that it was an unreturnable MMO.

    If it sets brand recognition, I’m okay with it. DC Universe Online, Hello Kitty Online, Lord of the Rings Online, DDO, etc.

  • All “Pitch Black” reminds me is… Vin Diesel and a grue…

    (Sorry, couldn’t resists =P)