Does anyone really care about MMO titles?

I have to ask this question, because I’m genuinely curious. Are MMO titles really that interesting of a reward? Are there players out there who are gasping with excitement over attaining a new batch of small words to put under/next to their character’s name?

And, in a related follow-up question, do people even read the titles that others have? Because I know I do not.

I’ve only rarely been interested in getting titles. It used to be a Big Deal in World of Warcraft, but I never pursued them. While LOTRO gave out thousands of titles, most of which no one would care to ever use, the only one that interested me was getting “Wanderer” from that weird hidden deed quest. Warhammer Online made titles out to be a major reward type (the “AHHHHH” title for falling was of momentary amusement).

But overall, I don’t see the appeal, both in wearing one and populating a game with avatars that have a name (sometimes with a last name as well), a guild tag, and then a title on top of that. Do we really need paragraphs running around in the world? Has anyone ever looked at another player, taken the time to read a title, and then become green with envy?

Or are titles outdated, non-useful rewards that developers are in love with because they’re easy to program and have tricked players into thinking that attaining them is somehow an important carrot on that stick?

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30 thoughts on “Does anyone really care about MMO titles?

  1. Wilhelm Arcturus October 27, 2015 / 12:05 pm

    Yes. Yes I do care and I do want my damn titles. A lot of them are fluff, but some of them have meaning. And in most MMOs you seem to be able to adjust what you see floating over other players, so if you don’t want the paragraph, turn it off.

  2. Nonsensicles October 27, 2015 / 12:07 pm

    I like getting ones that suit my character RP concepts. They’re not actively part of in character interactions, but they do contribute to the feel of things.

  3. skro9899 October 27, 2015 / 12:15 pm

    I have mixed feelings about this:
    – in LOTRO, I love titles, and am ready to struggle to get the one that I suits the best the roleplay of my characters.
    – in other games (such as TSW), I basically don’t care. I have a laugh when I check them in the deeds log and see the reference, but I don’t feel that need to get one of them

    Maybe the difference is that in LOTRO, the title is put on the same level as the name. Our characters are known by their name AND title, while in other games, the title is only added in small characters below.

  4. Tyler F.M. Edwards October 27, 2015 / 12:16 pm

    I’m in favour of titles. Anything that can add a little more customization or personality to characters is welcome, IMO. They’re also a good way to add exclusive prestige rewards without furthering disadvantaging the “have nots.”

    I’m very happy that I was able to get the “of the Black Harvest” title for my warlock in WoW, like, two weeks before it became unobtainable, and I’ll always treasure the raid titles I got while the content was still semi-relevant: Champion of the Frozen Wastes, Destroyer’s End, Conqueror of Orgrimmar.

    Admittedly, I’m not as keen on titles in games other than WoW. Most of the other games I’ve played with titles give them out too freely for them to feel meaningful and don’t display them super prominently.

    That said, I’m still hoping TSW adds “Funky Interloper” as a title at some point. I will give you money, Funcom.

  5. Sylow October 27, 2015 / 12:44 pm

    For me it also depends on the game, what the title stands for, and the community of the game.

    On the meaning of the titles, often they run along the line of weapon and armour skins for me. They offer a way to show which hard challenge you managed to complete, unlike many other players. I guess no further explanation is needed for this, but as it was already stated, these titles give the game a way to reward people for special achievements without providing special gear and thus driving power creep. (If the reward is gear, it has to be good, else the player will feel let down, which is contraproductive. )

    On the community, the prominent example for that is the title “Preacher” i use in TSW. Getting it is not hard, by itself it also has limited meaning, but some old-time Cabal members still remember how i lived up to that name. I might not be the best player the world has seen, but i have proven to be a reasonably good (or at least very patient) instuctor for newer players. So when two others and me were the first in or Cabal to have some success in NM dungeons, we started teaching the whole rest of the Cabal, which usually meant that i did a loooot of talking there, so the title “Preacher” was well erned. 🙂

    On the game, on the other hand, that’s usually rather a negative evaluation. If i game doesn’t matter much for me, i also don’t care for titles. Only those games where i feel “at home” and the game and people matter for me, the titles have a chance to also gain some meaning for me.

  6. Jeromai October 27, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    I like titles. Mostly they are for me personally, in that they are something that fits my character’s concept and/or a record of something I or the character has personally achieved. I like scrolling through all my options and having a sort of momento of deeds and events past.

    They add a little bit of RP flavor, eg. an asura with the “Honors in Applied Jumping” title is just a hilarious play on words on multiple fronts, befitting their pomposity, their collegiate culture, and my tendency to bounce around uncontrollably when piloting an asura, whereas I enjoy having “Emissary of the Mad King” on a sylvari necro of mine that pretty much always looks like he stepped out of a halloween party, glowing skulls and all.

    I couldn’t really be bothered if people read or don’t read my titles, and ditto, I glance at other people’s titles but rarely envy. It’s mostly a kind of insight into what they value and feel most proud of.

  7. Gracie October 27, 2015 / 12:52 pm

    It definitely depends on the game and the title! Most I don’t really care about, but there’s definitely a few that were either associated with content I enjoyed or was proud of, or that just fit really well with my character. I like that they exist and add a tiny bit of flavor. When I saw someone else in WoW with “The Insane” I knew we had a shared (traumatic?) experience. My priest in WoW is almost always “Champion of Ulduar” because that place was so special to me!

  8. Jasyla October 27, 2015 / 12:55 pm

    My interest in titles was related to how rare or hard to obtain the title was. I liked getting titles that indicated I had beaten some difficult raid content that not everyone would have. Likewise, I liked seeing other people with titles for PVP achievement that I knew I would never have.

  9. Aywren October 27, 2015 / 1:15 pm

    I love titles and love using titles that fit my character. I also pay attention to titles other people use. I won’t kill myself to get a title, but if there’s a title I really want for a character I have, I’ll put some effort into earning it.

    I remember spending hours mapping all the areas in GW1 for all the Cartographer titles and achievements… and was very proud to be “Kinda A Big Deal.” Most of my characters in GW2 use “Closer to the Stars,” which is a title that indicates how much I achieved in GW1. That, and the special armor, are some of the few things that I carried from the first game to the second. It was a nice touch.

  10. Stargrace October 27, 2015 / 1:31 pm

    In Wurm Online some titles increase your bonus to those skills (ie: blacksmithing). So they have a purpose. In other games (WoW) I like the titles because they’re interesting. Like Crazy Cat Lady. I wear that title with pride.

  11. Stormwaltz October 27, 2015 / 1:45 pm

    I love them. They’re a great way to add character to your character. To me, they were always the best reward in LotRO. I always read other people’s, and my most prized “possession” was the retired “Master of Forgotten Lore” title my Lore-Master got from a limited time event.

  12. tomeoric October 27, 2015 / 2:41 pm

    I used to care about titles, now I could care less (LOTRO). They are being handed out like Halloween candy, so they have no weight or meaning anymore. Plus, to keep an uncluttered display, I have them all turned off in LOTRO – so no matter what title everyone else has, I’d not see it anyways.

    Turbine also for some reason, loves their commas. In the case of “the Wanderer” title that you refer to, it is displayed as “John Smith, the Wanderer”, while other titles are sans the comma. The server titles were “John Smith, Of Riddermark” – what’s with the comma and capital “O”? Titles… meh.

  13. bhagpuss October 27, 2015 / 2:44 pm

    I love titles. They are one of the few rewards that will spur me on to do content I otherwise would not have done. (Hats are another).

    I do read other players titles, routinely, and when I see one I’d like to have I wouldn’t say I go green with envy but I do go to the wiki to find out how to get it.

    I hate the visual spam of name/guild/title over everyone’s heads. However, as Wilhelm said right at the start of the comments, there are almost always options to adjust that. I set every MMO that permits it, which is just about all of them nowadays, to display all that information only for characters I have targeted. Then every time I’m at some event where we all stand around waiting for something to happen, which is every session pretty much, I pass the time by clicking on everyone, looking for amusing or insane names and checking out the titles.

    One thing that annoys me is when an MMO lets me see everyone’s title but my own. GW2 does that. I like to look at my own titles and admire them often.

  14. Atheren October 27, 2015 / 3:02 pm

    I really want Starcaller, Dragonslayer and Explorer in Wow and I’d like Counter of Stairs in Lotro, so yes.

  15. Belghast October 27, 2015 / 3:59 pm

    It depends on the title… and how into my character I am. I still think “Party Time Belghast” from SWTOR is the absolute best title ever. I do remember doing the two three drakes Sartherian runs when they were relevant just because I wanted the titles that went along with each. That was seriously the key reason why I wanted to do it, so I could have the cool title to run around with. These days… I just want something cool but I am not likely to chase after specific titles.

  16. Asmiroth October 27, 2015 / 4:26 pm

    I don’t really see a difference between titles and costumes. I like both tremendously. They allow you to stick out from a crowd with flair.

    I’m wearing a squirg helm in Wildstar and use the insane title. Very appropriate!

  17. Azuriel October 27, 2015 / 4:33 pm

    Titles fill an otherwise hard-to-fill niche, e.g. proof of historical achievement. How else would you know that so-and-so cleared X content when it was relevant? The gear from X content would have long since been replaced, and mounts can either be disabled (during dungeons/raids/etc) or be chosen for practical reasons (flying vs non-flying, etc). The sheer number of titles MMOs throw out there these days might dilute the pool a bit, but rare titles are usually recognized for what they are.

  18. Rowan October 27, 2015 / 4:49 pm

    I meant to comment eaarlier and now the good ones are taken. I will the one title I ever envied was the “Private” for participating in PvP in WoW. I first jumped into a Battleground just weeks after they did away with PvP rank titles, so I missed out. Today, I often refer to my mains SWTOR character by her full regular title, Morrenia the Merciless, even though it is rather easily obtained in the first Imperial Flashpoint. It fits her. I changed it to “the Revanite” while running the Shadows of Revan content, just for grin and giggles. But honestly, I rarely look at the titles of others unless I am bored while waiting for Scooter in some hub area.

  19. Shintar October 27, 2015 / 5:32 pm

    I used to find them interesting initially – when I started playing WoW there were (virtually) no titles in that game (I think the guy who banged the AQ gong got one), so when they started handing them out for special raid achievements in Burning Crusade, it was very noticeable. You knew that person had done something to be proud of, even if you didn’t know the details. These days I don’t really care because everyone has a title, and there are so many different ones that it’s impossible to keep track of where they all come from anyway.

  20. M.C. Barnes October 27, 2015 / 6:44 pm

    I like titles and I like them to match my character’s concept. I’ll struggle to obtain difficult ones if they will be good for my character. And I have seen other people with cool titles and been jealous, yes.

  21. wolfyseyes October 27, 2015 / 9:47 pm

    Titles are fun little fluffy things. I’m also of the mind that they add just a little bit of an extra descriptor to a character which can offer up some expectations for RP interaction.

    About the only title system I really, truly found myself wrapped up in where the Badges in CoX. Having that title and that little graphic and the manner in which they were gained made them achievement, scrapbook and RP flavor all in one nifty little package.

  22. Dolnor October 28, 2015 / 4:07 am

    Depends on the game. ArcheAge’s titles give bonuses and increases stats…like +2 to all stats if the Founder title is used. And then there is LOTRO…with a deluge of titles that give nothing at all. Could you imagine a Butler announcing your character at an official event…he would age 10 years before announcing all your LOTRO titles by the time you hit level 100! My LOTRO title is currently “Cake Eater”. -)

    TQQdles™

  23. Shandren October 28, 2015 / 5:18 am

    For me they serve two purposes (both allready mentioned).

    1: A badge of honor for completing something hard/rare/interesting. Both for me to display my ePeen to the world, and for me to recognice what others have done. I am with Shintar, that this was a lot more prominent in early wow (and likely other games) than in most of the modern MMORPGs where they are (sometimes almost literally) handed out like candy. With the sheer number of titles available, some storebought even, it can be hard to recognize the achievements some of them displays, which makes titles with this “purpose” somewhat less effective.

    2. The other purpose of titles for me is feel/rp/immersion/cool-factor/fun, all bundled up into one category because why not 🙂 stuff like having a character called Jaime with “the kingslayer” title (felt funnier before everyone and their mothers got the reference), silly stuff like a character called “parts” who uses the “private” title (yeah not me who did this but it sure made me smile), RP uses like putting on “ambassador” while using a costume to appear like someone from another faction, and my personal favourite was when i found the “silvertongue” title in SWT which is/was my main characters signature nickname in the tabletop/LARP campaigns where the name originates from. For everyone else that title probably meant very little, but for me that was a whole lot of cool in just one title. And tons of more uses.

    I am actually more likely to notice a characters title and what that says about them than I am likely to notice most costumes (certain VERY in my face costumes excepted).

    So in short: Hell yeah I like titles 🙂

    Shandren (Silvertongue) out

  24. tsuhelm October 28, 2015 / 6:25 am

    Late to the party as ever, that would be my RW title… but I do like the titles I get in games but I must admit that 99% of them or pure fluff.

  25. BeerGbome October 28, 2015 / 6:27 am

    The only title I ever pursued in any game was Rift’s “Dances with Squirrels.” I had to have that for every one of my characters. It was just the silly kinda of thing that would make me chuckle every time I logged in and saw it. 🙂

  26. Dahakha October 28, 2015 / 7:11 am

    I do appreciate the existence of titles. I see them as an extension of the character’s costume. Even so, I wouldn’t miss them if they were not included in an MMO.

  27. Silver Shamrock (@ModeratePeril) October 28, 2015 / 7:56 am

    I was thumbing through a colour suppliment magazine recently that came with a Sunday newspaper. At the back was an advertisment for a range of porcelain plates celebrating the career of John Wayne. Each item had a lurid image from a classic Wayne movie painted on them.

    I pondered who the heck would want, let alone desire such things as these? Yet the inescapable logic of the matter was that if such products existed, then there was a market for them.

    Game titles are mildly amusing and ephemerol in my opinion. Yet for others it’s something else to collect and drives them to continue playing the game. One man’s meat is another man’s poison and all that.

  28. Syp October 28, 2015 / 9:38 am

    Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! Was definitely interesting to read all of these opinions and perspectives.

  29. baldwinp October 28, 2015 / 9:52 am

    Titles aren’t much of an award, but at least they are better than nothing. I find I only really pay attention to other people’s titles when we are standing around, waiting to start group content. I think a player’s choice of title for his/her character gives you valuable information about their personality. Did they go with something serious or boisterous aka “champion of the world” or is it more playful aka “easily lost.” In a pug, it gives me an idea whether they want 110% or whether its just for fun.

  30. ScytheNoire October 28, 2015 / 6:30 pm

    Only if it makes me a Darth.

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