If you are are a former SWTOR player and wish to avoid this happening to any of your dormant characters, then you need to log in to the game before the 11th November. After the deadline, if any of your alts are flagged for renaming, then there is the risk that they could lose your name, if an active player wishes to use it . Personally I think this is a perfectly acceptable move by the developers who are focusing quite rightly on the needs of of current, active customers. I’m sure there will be those who will think this unfair or will cite extraordinarily convoluted scenarios to explain why they couldn’t log in to the game. Unfortunately, BioWare cannot please everyone, nor should they attempt to.
I believe a similar situation arose recently in Rift with regard to names and dormant accounts. Ultimately both these situations open up a wider debate on the entire mechanics of player names in MMOs. How long should an inactive player expect to be able to retain their alts name? Should games adopt the more flexible systems that Guild Wars 2 and Star Trek Online use, which negate this somewhat old school problem of duplicate names. Such a problem as the one BioWare is currently addressing will hopefully never arise with such forthcoming titles as The Elder Scrolls Online or WildStar.
One of the biggest sources of frustration for MMO players is trying to secure the right name for your alt. Popular names are snapped up very quickly and as the game progresses through its lifespan, the list of those currently in use get’s bigger and bigger. Server merges can also present naming problems, as duplicate names means that someone is going to have to change. What makes the situation more frustrating is that there are a lot of accounts that are dormant, tying up a lot of names that otherwise could be used by active players. Well BioWare have decided to do something about the latter.