SWTOR Forces Players to Share Surname Between All Characters?



Star Wars : The Old Republic just recently revealed its new legacy system. Players who complete the Chapter 1 storyline may choose a Legacy Surname. And then, they have opportunities earn Legacy Experience Points which in turn raises their Legacy Level. So what’s the catch? The first is that the Legacy Surname must be unique. No problem there! The second is that the name is shared among all characters a player has on that server.


Legacy System: Helps or Hurts Role Play?

Being a die-hard Iron Realms gamer, this concept was completely foreign to me. Like Ultima Online, Iron Realms allows independent surnames with a free-form naming system. If my alts in any of their five popular MMORPGs shared the same surname or bloodline, there would be serious allegations questioning my integrity as a player! Each game also offers some kind of family system allowing characters to choose their own level of involvement. Additionally, tying a surname to a given name is completely optional!


Some Star Wars players like this change, and applaud the new Legacy Surname system. Forcing all characters one person plays on the same server to wear the same surname helps to eliminate the concept of anonymous griefers. (For players who wish to take advantage of the Legacy System without revealing a surname, the option exists to turn off the display.) However, some other players feel the game is trying too hard to compete with similar MMORPGs, like Lord of the Rings or Guild Wars. One disgruntled gamer likened the change to a one-person guild system that desensitizes players to the concept of true roleplay.


A legacy system is great in its own right. It offers players an opportunity to earn bonus rewards at certain milestones. But when the rewards come with strings that restrict the ability to roleplay a character to its full potential, as with Star Wars’ new family system, it makes the game less appealing. Combining two otherwise unrelated elements might work in a themepark environment. But combining the two in a sandbox format where players are encouraged to interact and work together to enhance the roleplay setting? Not so much.


Part of a successful roleplaying adventure lies in the freedom of creativity. Forcing characters to do things like wear a surname linking them to their alts sucks the fun right out of the game. One perk to Iron Realms games is that characters aren’t locked into a any kind of social environment within the realm. Even the ones who do choose to join a family system within the game are still often welcome within the ranks of clans belonging to families of spouses, friends, or even adoptive parents. One of my characters belongs to five different family clans, and not one of them is relevant to his blood family!


What are your thoughts? What if Iron Realms forced all characters using the same Iron Elite account to wear the same surname, or belong to the same family system? How would this change the way you play your characters? Answers to these questions and all other comments are welcome in the section below!


Author: Penelope Swain

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Why are you posting this article here?


To keep use relevant.

Actually, this is a good point. If all my characters shared the same surname, everyone would know that they were all me and that would really, really screw any chance I had for meaningful RP on them. I couldn't rightly play a Mhaldorian and an Eleusian like that because people would see the name and just keep thinking, "Oh, it's that person. I know they play for the other side, too."

That would make playing a different character and keeping it seperate impossible.

Precisely my point. Just a bad, bad idea.


Meh. Don't feel like reading another article today. Too much turkey. Credit.

Same. Except for me not having turkey.





You are correct.

Now that I read this again I have one other thing to add. In our games you have a chance of getting married with possible name change, adoption, changing families. How would that work out the other way?

I tend to agree

I agree! It would ruin attempts to play more than one character.

Don't do it in IRE. It is a bad idea. Conecting characters that are supposed to be separate is bad for RP.

I think it adds a good concept, but forcing is wrong. I don't know is SWOTR has RP though?


UH huh



There's always going to be an article desperately trying to link IRE MU*s to whatever big new RPG is out, however much of a stretch it may be. This one's better than comparing us to Farmville.

I'd so want to read "what Pacman could have learned from IRE games".


Wasn't there already one comparing IRE games to Farmville?




 Kinda hard to see how it is.



Something like that, yeah.

Indeed, but I found this one to be more relevant than usual.







god I hate that thing!!

Not bad idea

Depends on the opportunity cost of alt abuse. IRE has a good enough balance, I think

and how!

It would limit RP possiabilities.

Family honour etc.

I do not see how a big issue there. Players could roleplay the family thing well, if they would. Of course, if mandatory the legacy system clearly jeopardizes players possibility. It is a restriction, in the end. That's pretty simple.

The trouble with this idea is that since the name must be both unique and shared across your characters, it means that there are no circumstances where your family roleplay can come into effect. This isn't just assigning an account name that may or may not be displayed but is otherwise irrelevant, it's the character's surname that's being pre-empted by what is essentially a loyalty incentive, necessarily a purely out-of-character mechanic. This doesn't just restrict family style roleplaying, it eliminates it entirely since no two members of a given family under that system can be on at the same time, and even if they are, both are actually the same player.

that's why it's never a good idea to cross IC with RL.

Hm. I much prefer IRE's liberal naming system, but to each their own.

Alot of names are so dumb... 

A few really sparkle, though.

A few gems in the rough. Its all about creativity in the end... and personal taste.

This would stop you completly seperateing the characters you had in a particular game becaue people would still know it was your from the surname. Works for a game that isn't so focused on rp, but unlikely to be good for ire.



True, is not like swtor wants to focus on RP for me

heck yes.

i like the idea of keeping people connected. However detachment is also good, no matter how good you are at RP. its extremely difficult to keep detached if a person, for example, destroys your city. Then his brother asks to be accepted, knowing its the same RL person.

This article didn't capture my attention, just being honest.

I was more compelled to read because of Star Wars; set a surname, hide it if you want to.  Problem solved?

I think this will be cool, I was a big far of the KOTOR games, so I'm totally into the new MMO version. Additionally, I think it'll be really cool having something that people can recognize, even if they don't know who "Kyle Le'mar Haagandaz" is, they totally recognize the surname of "Haagandaz", and probably not just cuz of the ice cream!

I would rather not have everyone in the game know my alts, but in what is going to be such a huge world like SWTOR i dont think anyone will remember your name

Only the guilty need hide...

Incredibly shortsighted.  Many of us play multiple characters with significantly different personalities, and ther are things we do on one which would be horrific on another, but totally fits the game world.  I personally don't trust most people to keep the actions of the two characters separate from the player - which is why exactly four people, all very close friends, know who my main is.

This isn't true at all. Some people just like their privacy!

I'd say both are true.

something like this would lay bare the amount of alt seconds violations that happen in Achaea.

I think the main problem with that is if you decide to do some kind of major RP move, like joining a different faction. (Not sure if that's possible on Star Wars or not) But, then it's impossible to change your title. I've seen many people in IRE games change title after moving cities, or accepting a new surname that is related to the city they've joined. (Mhaldor has a few surnames like this)

I wish this would be optional rather than enforced. It limits creating random alts to use them as actors in a storyline arc.

If it was tied to Elite Membership, it would be enough reason not to have an Elite Membership.  The great thing about alts is that you can experience the world through different eyes. If you everyone knows its you, then you are robbed of that experience.

Adding this to iron realms games would be a bad idea.


Goes without saying

It's extremely difficult to role-play (or even just play) effectively when everyone knows you're the same player as a more famous (or infamous) character.  It might work for SWTOR, which I suspect has less interplayer role-play than Achaea (if only because being restricted to an existing continuity limits things somewhat), but not for Achaea (and I suspect not for other IRE games either.)

Could always just play one character (Though, if you can't switch classes that's a bit harder)

however, that would be bad for profits in general for IRE


Bad idea, especially if you screw up big time with one character or another. Everyone will know that alt is you and you were the big screw up. 



Great comment. <3


I think it's a tricky situation. In an MMO like Star Wars, my guild-mates and I may be a little RP-esque with cause we love Star Wars, but not as intense as IRE games by any stretch of the imagination. It's still going to be like WoW for us, just hack slash, win, etc while loving the fact we're Sith/Bad Guys. Now if we had the same idea for IRE games..that would be terrible, anyone could know your alts with just a glance, and if they had bad feelings about your other character on an OOC level, they'll probably at least unconsciously translate that to interacting with your other character.

I agree


I would hate to have the last name shared on all my chars. It kind of ruins one of the points of making a alt.

me too

same here

One of the things I've desired is that no one know who else I play as. I have three characters, all in different orgs, some of which really don't get along. Knowing things creates expectations as well. I have alts who never do anything but lackaday and that's how I want it. I do enough work with Stratas. I don't want anyone having expectations of my alts because they know there's a connection.


Also, the 'alts in different orgs' things would ruin the snobby superiority of Stratas's two families, being almost entirely Glom only.

And the same surname will become cultish, and not really about family.

Pretty much this. My Taurian Ebonguard is more or less level-headed outside of combat, but my budding Geomancer is out and out paranoid and his tertiary and trade skill will help reinforce how he doesn't quite trust anyone completely.


I guess one would be classified as a Non-Toire Brujah and the other as a Malkavian. I wonder how many people will get that.


What's up with the picture?

Not sure that the new Kotor game will be so much about role play. IRE and many mmos have different focuses.


Why debate whether it has roleplay merits in a game that does not market itself on roleplay?

... oh, right! As it stands, across all IREs I've played, sharing a surname across one's alts is *possible* (and easier if it's via a secondary source, big family of other players that those alts have various ties to), but generally borders so close on seconds abuse it's rediculous and generally discouraged. The only times I've seen it done well where it was a name originating from a given player and shared across his/her alts were in a situation where those alts were retired before the next came about, giving family ties that explain away minor mistakes on having preexisting knowledge from the previous character, while avoiding the usual worries over seconds abuse.

... to do well.

This would be terrible in any IRE game.

There wasn't a single mention of Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim in this entire article.



I sense treachery afoot.




this would be horrible in Achaea. Absolutely ridiculous

I agree with everyone on the same last name for all characters. ridiculous

What if everyone just had the same last name anyway? :P Everyone's related as it is...

I don't think our alt abuse is high enough to worry about this.

The way the system currently works in Achaea is perfect, there is no need to go this route at all as Achaea is all about roleplay and it would not make any sense... I myself am not bloodlined to anyone, yet I am probably the only one who bears the Kahn surname... I prefer it this way, who knows perhaps some day i will start my own legacy.


I have been a Diamante for as long as I can remember and have built such a good relationship with my family... it's about the people, not the surname.


No comment

If my memory serves me well, your multiple characters have to be strictly separated from each other. While this is easy to roleplay if you just use different surnames (or none at all), I could imagine it to be pretty hard, especially if, let's say, two almost newbie characters shared a rather rare and exotic surname, since that would somehow imply (at least for me) that they're in the same family.


The system as it is is great now, there shouldn't be a need to bother with such changes.



If everyone could roleplay perfectly it would work well but they can't, therefore it is a horroble idea. If Joe knows Suzie, "his wife" is also Brutus, "the thug who robs and murders him regularly" then Suzie isn't going to get any flowers for valentines day. I don't care how good you are at roleplay. You can't forget that they aren't really the same person. I can't believe we are even considering the idea.

It's cool, but yeah, I agree, I don't understand the alts having the same last name part.


Alts having the same last name would defeat the whole purpose. Many people would end up treating the alt like the other character.

finally accepted on the beta! yay


What is this SWTOR? :S But having your surname on every Achaean character would be weird, there would be so many families

best thing ever. Gets rid of alts, which im all for :)


I have no alts, but still a bad idea


Really bad idea

What of those without ANY surname? :<

Really ends up destroying Roleplay

I don't what they are, but whatever

Yes it's hard

it just defeat the purpose of lots of chars

so true

I agree


Character separation is a huge deal in the IRE roleplaying environment. People playing their own brother etc is awful. Having to acknowledge your other characters in any way is fairly awkward.

My char has an awesome surname though.

I have no interest in swtor since discovering IRE

the same last name means thier rolepay goes together

If you think hard coded alt revealing will keep people from not trusting you if you have characters on opposite sides of a conflict.




It's good if you can opt out of it. Being forced to do it I think would be a little... icky.


If you have the same surname on all your characters, I feel like that would hurt the diversity of perspectives you would be able to pull from.  I mean, members of a family are diverse to a point, but they often share a set of core values.


yeah,, bad idea..

It would be... awful

To me SW and Muds are two different games, I don't really get what you're getting at.

wait, what?

it will still suck!

I think honestly that it would be the death of much roleplay possibilities.  As was mentioned if everyone knows all your alts, it will affect how others interact with them, and what the limitations of your interaction will be.  It colors all interaction with all alts you have. One of my concerns would be what happens should one of your characters become an extreme pariah? It means alts could be burdened with the social stigma of another character, conciously or otherwise, which is disolving rp right there.


For me, the point of an alt is always to try something new without having to totally rearrange the lives and fortunes of a main character you are happy with or maybe grown tired of playing at any rate, and to start fresh for curiosity's sake or any number of reasons, none of which happen to be so that everyone and their uncle can be immediately informed of the fact that while the name, race, city, guild/house, order, and alignment can be completely opposite to the previous name, it's still me. If I want folks knowing that, I'll tell them, and I do tell them.


I can't imagine that were this to be tried, that anything positive would come of it.

it would work with IRE games, but maybe with this other thing, which is probably less rp-based, it didn't have as much of an impact.

Seriously, not to knock anyone but do you seriously roleplay on MMO's like this? I can get the RP aspect of a text based game because in all actuality you are creating everything visually with the power of your attractive mind, but I don't think I could ever get into hardcore roleplaying on something like SW or WoW. It's a little too much for me.

and I prefer it that way. more hardcore, sure, but I LIKE how I get to take the kid gloves off.

I'd think this would suck the rp out of it.  not htat I play alts but I know most do.  So they'd not be abble to be a new persona

The interplay of different families and creating characters for different groups is part of Lusternia's draw for me. I wouldn't like a shared surname at all.





Wouldn't want this. It's impossible to forget when you know two separate characters are played by the same person, no matter how hard you try. Sure, you can act ICly that you don't, but it's always in the back of your mind.

Greatly harms RP capability. Great for controling lolalts, but little else.



This makes sense for some other kind of game, but not for a real RP game like Achaea and the other IRE ones.

i definitely wouldnt like my alts to share a surname

You can simply turn your legacy name off, to hide it.

If you can actually play an SWTOR alt without smashing your head into a screen...


Replicated content is painful :/

do it, IRE. please.

Or something very funky happens...

While it would force more accountability, it would probably be a damaging change to make on IRE games.


This seems like a bad idea, considering how surnames are often used in RP for family-related ties, and...yeah, potential seconds abuse? More than that, though, the differing sides are pretty antagonistic...

That is an annoying idea.  I don't even like giving one character a last name.

Sounds awful

Why is the question.


Do not want.



I don't like this idea at all.

To put it simply, it breaks immersion since it makes it too easy to tempt people to carry vendettas across characters - It is only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to search for someone by surname and makes a list of all the characters with that surname... BOOM! Easy griefing.

bad idea





I'm looking forward to the Pacman article. (I don't have alts, but if I did, I would want to keep them distinct and private.)

Forcing people to conform on things is always awkward...but doing it on your character name? Bleh.

Boo to this.

I can see where they're coming from - helps you identify the other players. But this works better for an MMO not structured around RP, as Iron Realms MUDs are, and anyway in STWOR there's only two sides. Would *not* want it in Lusternia.

This is a bad idea. I don't use alts, but for those who enjoy them, this would be a bad change.

This definitely kills the concept of RP...but then again, it's an MMO.

What does the picture have to do with an article? Am I missing something?

this would never fit under the idea of having seperate characters

terrible idea. It would make creating different characters and trying to play different roles almost entirely possible. The caliph makes an alt in Mhaldor and everyone knows it' the caliphs alt? That's gonna go down well. 

Plus, completely OOC mechanic brought in game on a highly influential level that kills character separation? No thanks





Yeah, it'd definitely complicate your ability to RP characters on multiple sides of a conflict, that's fer sure.

What a terrible, terrible RP-breaking concept.


Just don't kiss your sister.



very glad this would never happen in achaea

Does it really, why? The article is too long to read.


I wonder why they even bother doing something like this in an rpg

security reasons, i guess.

I suppose that makes some sense for a game less based around roleplay

I would be really mad if IRE ever tried to instate this. I know it won't happen, though

Too many people play for different factions on different alts. Making it clear that they're one and the same person to people outside the administration does seem detrimental to RP

Definitely a double-edged sword. I personally wouldn't have a problem because most of my alts never really last too long and they're always in different organizations so multi-playing accusations aren't there. That and I don't make a habit of doing the usual alt-idiot thing TELL SOANDSO Hi! This is (insert name of alt) because they just can't keep a secret to save their life and have different friends! Anyways, I think this is good and bad, but I think better alternatives to avoiding alt abuse are there.

I feel like I wasted the 2 minutes it took to read this.

Would be a terrible idea in any roleplaying game where roleplaying is actually important.

not necessary but sure are appreciated if done right! mind ya I haven't had one since achaea where I was a Corten or early Lusternia when I got married :D

what if your toon doesn't have a surname?

Not a big deal, really.

a terrible idea...




While I don't tend to actually RP in visual games, only in the text world because I'm spoiled and like the high level of freedom, I don't like the idea that I HAVE to identify all of my characters with myself.

What if I wanted to play the game but take a little break from my normal gaming partners? Wouldn't want to insult anyone by sulking off to another character which would be obvious once they saw the last name.

Obviously hurts roleplay.


Soo confused.. Too many abbreviated words and acronyms

Interestings read...

I think it works well for swator, a MMO, but it wouldn't work for MUDs because they run on roleplay

would be sooooo bad in achaea




You shall all be Kattalakis!

it will prevent ileagal spies.. But would be poopy.

Sounds terrible..

iie! D:

This just sounds stupid and thankfully IRE would never make such a mistake.



I agree


I don't mind

meh, I wouldn't want this, but then again, if it were a standard thing instead of an Iron Elite membership thing, I'd be pretty...well..pissed to put it plainly (sorry kids, but that's my feelings/opinion), I don't like linking my characters, the only link they have is that each one I play is an aspect of me IRL, no more, no less, Xeran here is my poetic creativity, and my imagination, my other alts you'll have to figure out, but as I said, each one is creative in their own way, but in general IS an aspect of me.

depends on the player really

This is way to much mixing apples and oranges. They have different servers. If you're really keeping your characters separate use different servers.


I would like to see a game where everyone plays a family and managing the different family members was part of the game.


Most MMOs let people share things amoung characters, IRE doesn't allow this, so again, not really the same.

:) credit




I played SWOTR and I didn't have a problem with the global surname.