October 05, 2010

BA Shared Topic Idea: What's in a Name?

What takes the longest to choose, is the first thing people see, and is the one thing they always remember about you and your character?

Your name.

How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)? Did you delve into Norse, Greek, or Roman mythology? Did you choose a name from one of your family members? Did you mash the "Random" name generator button in vain until you stumbled upon something you liked? Is your name a play on aspects of your class, using spells or other traits? Did you play around with syllables, vowels, and consonants until you found something that you loved?

How long did it take you to come up with your name? Do all of your characters share the same 'theme' or naming convention? Have you ever run into someone who had a similar name? How did you feel? Does your character have a partner with "the other half" to your name (such as "Salt" and "Pepper"). Do any of your characters have a "themed" guild that goes along with your name? Do you have a nickname that your guild, friends, or significant other has given your character?

Has your character name become your online persona, or maybe the other way around?

Do you have any tips for naming your characters in WoW, or any other game? Resources, name generators, mythology websites, sources of inspiration, etc.

If you are an avid roleplayer, how was your name decided upon by family/friends? Did your character choose the name later in life or were they given it at birth? There are whole stories behind naming/birthday celebrations that I am sure are floating around out there.

So much can be said about names. What does yours say?

This week's topic sprouted from somewhere within my thoughtful mind, although I'm not quite sure when I thought of it. I think I had been reading several roleplay blogs and thinking about jumping into RP myself. I still have yet to do that; I've been dragging my feet a little bit.

So far it looks like people will enjoy thinking about and sharing their naming processes with the world this week.  I will update a list at the end of the post of all the people who participate in this week's topic.  I think this will be a good post for roleplayers too who would like to have their character reminisce about their name and where it came from/how it fits in with the rest of their friends and family.

To start with, I will give you a list of all my current character names and we will go from there!

Llani, my draenei shaman (80)
Mushee, my night elf druid (80)
Nelena, my night elf priest (80)

Myrani, my draenei paladin (34)
Natalie, my blood elf priest (5)
Sahteen, my night elf hunter (34)
Mushee, my draenei mage (72)

It looks like I've been favoring the letter/sounds of Ls, Ms, Ns, and Es!  Hmm.  I never actually noticed that.

When I Need a New Name...
The naming process for me can take DAYS.  First, I don't really follow any set theme with my names.  I find one that sounds good, has an easy pronunciation, and sounds feminine.  I have all female toons and just don't feel like playing a male toon.   Depending on what mood I am in, I start writing down the first ideas that come to mind.  Sometimes I want a non-traditional name (usually a combination of words) like Shadowfury, Cashmere, or Blubell. Other times I will go with traditional names you would see in the world like Karly, Jadsia, or Annabell.  And finally, if I want something mythological or a foreign language or culture I will search for anything Celtic, German, Roman, or the like.

Llani came about because I had been watching Smallville a little too much.  I wanted Lana to start with, but, it was naturally taken.  Lani was also taken, so I stuck another L on the front and it just "looked" nice and balanced.  That's another thing--my names have to look good. If they look awkward, chances are someone else is going to find it awkward also.  Nickname:  Llanibunny

Mushee was a druid, first and foremost.  When I was naming my druid, I wanted something that said "I'm cute, cuddly, and furry, HUG ME".  I had intended for her to be a bear tank, and despite the wary feeling one might associate with a tank named "Mushee," I leveled her up as a tank anyway.  These days she is a tree with a cute name, but, still...I associate all druids as fluffy, furry, fuzzy, cuddly fluffballs of fuzziness that I can just squeeeeze and use for pillows.  Yep. Nickname:  Mush, Mushball

Nelena came about when I wanted a name that started with an N, but that sounded sophisticated and chic.  And so, Nelena came about when I was moving my priest back home to her current server.  Her beta server name is Nalena, because the former was taken.  Sometimes I call her "Nuh-lay-nuh" and other days I call her "Nuh-lee-nuh".  Most of the time she is just... Nickname:  Nel.

My paladin alt came about oddly as a form of Llani.  I chopped off the front of her name and started adding on other names that I thought would fit well. Eventually I came up with Myrani, "Muh-raw-nee" or "Meer-raw-nee", however way you want to say it.  So many times my names just come from other names that I squish together until I find one that flows off your tongue and is either relatively easy to say or easy to learn after some correcting. Nickname: Myra

Miss Natalie came from me desiring a normal, everyday name.  Thus, I managed to snag Natalie.  Nickname: Nat

This name is actually another shaman on my server, but I thought it was such a pretty play on Sateen that I saved it on my other server for my hunter, who is currently 34.  I love fabric names, and a previous name of mine was Cashmira. Chenille and Taffetta would be some other favorites.

Other names I have used in the past include:

Bretta, Zesti, Oregano, Shadowfrenzy, Sparkles, Chirabell, Litebrite, Cherished, Grace, Ziv,  and Faith.

The names I like the most come from these categories, if you want some inspiration:
  • Girlie names, like Natalie, Bretta, Nellie, Anna.
  • Anything with Dream, Sky, Wind, Leaf, in the name.
  • Native American names.
  • Religious/Faith/Clean based names like Grace, Peace, Hope, Poise, Adored, Elegance
  • Herbs.  Oregano, Chamomile, Mint, Tarragon, Rosemary
  • Sweets/Sugar.  Cupcake, Teacup, Sugar, Muffins, Sugarwings
Mmm. I made these Monday night for my Physics class.  German chocolate + Coconut Pecan icing.  Cooking can be a good source for character names, if you like herbs, certain foods or food types, or need a pool of names to choose from for a group of friends.  People always get a chuckle when they see Bleucheese from the guild <Salad Dressings>.  If you need something more formal/serious, I suggest sticking with the herb families...especially if you are a druid.

    The list goes on.  My advice is to Google the type of name you would like, be it something from one of the above categories, a Native American name, a mythological name, a Chinese name from history past, a cutesy/cuddly name, pet names, three letter names, etc.  Google is your friend, use it often!

    My favorite name generator is located at http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/.

    I believe my names reflect the fact that I appreciate a balanced, easy to pronounce yet still creative name.  I do not think any of my names are overly unique as many of them are just variations of names that I stumbled upon throughout the last five years and liked.  In the future, some friends and I would like to create a guild named <Foods> and name all our alt characters after a food. I was going to do Blucheese, although I have a thing with "misspelled" names.  I am okay with them, much moreso than with those terrible foreign symbols, but I still like to spell things correctly.

    My latest alt for the expansion will be Teacup, the gnome priest. =)  I am also thinking about Shadowpuff.  Imagine a cute little priest coming at you to dot you up into oblivion and then giggle with glee as you flop over!  Ahhh the possibilities.

    In the end, your name is what you want it to be, so spend the extra time to choose something you love!  You're stuck with it until you fork over the 10 dollars to change it!  (And in this economy, who really wants to spend $10 on THAT!)

    Other Thoughts So Far About Names!
    Dragonray @ Azerothian Life
    RestoDude @ RestoDude
    VioletScribe @ The Violet Scribe
    ecclesiasticaldiscipline @ Ecclesiastical Discipline
    Syrco @ Syrco-Owl

    More to come, I will add them every few days as they are posted.


    1. I love names, and I love coming up with names. I also write stories, so I have a list where I've written down a lot of names that I like and then I might use them - or a variation of them - for WoW, other games and stories.

      I have various ones, from greek and gaelic - and some of them are more common than others I guess.

      Then of course I sometimes use more "common" names or that means something. Like my original name for my priest was Saga (and I still run with that online) - or my warlock is Démonique. Sometimes I just think of a name and use it, sometimes I end up regretting it - other times it's perfect for the character, and other times I'm unsure about it but the character eventually grows into it.

      (PS there's no option to just use a Name/URL when posting.. so I can't enter my details, have to use my personal google account..)

      This is Saga from http://spellbound.nu/gdpw (since it won't say from my avatar :)

    2. I totally agonize over naming my toons, so I know where you're coming from. The reason for me is that I like to think of each of my toons as their own persona - I mean, when I create them I don't generally do it with a plan in mind to delete them so I try to give them a suitable name that can last. (Although, I tend to be an altoholic, so my babies are routinely deleted, or remade)

      I take into account a few things when I consider a name: the toon's class, race, faction and my own personality. If I smoosh all of those things into a mold, what do I come up with? I sometimes mash the randomize button and see if anything strikes me as something to build from, but often, I have in mind the letter I'd like the name to begin with and work from there - searching (as you mentioned) baby name web sites, or fanasty names.

      My main online persona is Evanstar - she has been my main in WoW since --- well, since I started really. (Aside from a short stint this past xpac to allow me to play my priest) Even when I go off to moonlight other games, if I can find a race/class comparable to my druid, I will name the toon Evanstar - and she is always purple. I guess the point here is that -I- find the name so relevant, that I carry it to other places as well. Sometimes, though, I wish they would allow a Surname as well. More to agonize over, but more fun as well!

      (posted also on Revive & Rejuvenate)