BioWare is planning a "Character Name Renewal" program that will retire inactive character names and release them back to the game's name pool.
Star Wars: The Old Republic saw an influx of fresh users when it went free-to-play almost a year ago. As new players are wont to do, they created new characters, more than a few of which were abandoned as some experimenting players moved on to different games. Hoping to free up some of the names being bogarted by these unused characters, BioWare has announced it will retire names attached to characters that players have neglected "for prolonged periods."
Star Wars: The Old Republic is the only massively-multiplayer online game with a Free-to-Play option that puts you at the center of your own story-driven Star Wars saga. Play as a Jedi, a Sith, a Bounty Hunter or as one of many other Star Wars iconic roles and explore an age over three-thousand years before the classic films. Become the hero of your own Star Wars adventure as you choose your path down the Light or Dark side of the Force.
The "Character Name Renewal" program will take place in November and, according to a newsletter from BioWare, will "offer [players] the benefit of more character names" to choose from in the future. "We are currently in the process of identifying accounts that have been inactive for prolonged periods," said BioWare. "If those accounts do not login to each of the potentially impacted characters within the required timeframe the attached Character names will be released back into the general pool."
The Renewal program will have no effect on Subscribers or characters that are in active play. "[Subscribers] will keep [their] names throughout this process and benefit from the increased options released back into the pool post program," said BioWare.
The fantasy MMORPG Rift also recently announced that it would be taking similar steps to free up its inactive character names during the course of a planned shard merger.