I picked up Elite: Dangerous recently in a Steam sale, as it’s a game I’ve threatened to get excited about for a while now. Upon booting it up the first time, I found one of the most difficult decisions facing me: what to name my character. And Elite: Dangerous leaves out some pertinent information that would help inform that decision.

Commander Tad Cooper, I believe in you

Naming characters is always something I struggle with - you know, I want it to be witty, but not something I’m going to regret later. And this decision is made worse in situations like these, because Elite: Dangerous doesn’t give the player enough information about how weighty this decision actually is.

Mainly, can you change your character name later, when you’re in the shower and come up with that perfect name? If the name can be changed later, this greatly reduces the amount of time I’ll sit and ponder - even if there’s a fee associated, or some kind of time limit, knowing that up front makes a big difference.

Some other questions (that are less relevant in this example, a clearly massively multiplayer game) include, 1) how important is your name? In games like Diablo 3, you can’t change your character name, but it also really doesn’t matter much throughout the game. And 2) does this name have to be unique? If it does, that already makes the player think differently about what the possible names are.

For me, the start of my Elite: Dangerous career was delayed a few minutes while I hopped on my phone and googled what the parameters of this name is. I learned that no, you can’t change your name in Elite: Dangerous unless you contact their support team (although they do suggest you can delete your save and start over, which uhhh, I suppose is true). Also this reddit thread suggests the initials of your name are used as an identifier, which would totally be valuable to know when naming my character.

These small facts would be wonderful to stick on this giant “name your commander” screen to help direct new players, and streamline their decision process.