What’s In A Name
Blog Azeroth – Shared Topic for the week of October 4th, 2010
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)? How long did it take you to come up with your name? 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.
So much can be said about names. What does yours say?
I missed last week due to real life dragons that needed slaying (they have been pushed back to the hills, thankfully). But I’m happy to be back this week and will return to the topic I missed sometime into the future when I have an opening.
Anyway, names. I love messing around with names. My brother had his first child back in January and in the months leading up to the big day, I sent them emails with sets of 10 names based on a ‘flavor of the month.’ I had a blast putting those little lists together, complete with commentary on the names and some occasional poetic ramblings.
I have always had an interest in the way that people refer to themselves and one another. I have a rather unusual family name and it has always been a point of pride for me. As far as Google can tell me, I am unique in my name; the only one in the world.
When it came time to name my characters for World of Warcraft, I reflected on the names that I knew and the ideas that I associated with them. My first character was to be a Warlock and so I looked back into my memory for names that would be associated with powerful magics and cunning. It was not too long and settled on Aliera.
Aliera is a name that I appropriated from the fantasy author Steven Brust (I wholeheartedly recommend the Taltos novels). In his canon, Aliera e’Kieron is a powerful dragonlord that harnesses sorceries that, at one time, caused a catastrophic sundering. In other words, she does not mess around. That was the sort of character that I wanted to base my Aliera on. Interestingly, when I was reading the books, I pronounced the name in my head and only later found out that my internal pronunciation was not the same as that of the author. I have, however, kept my pronunciation for my own character.
For my other characters, I spun out more names from Brust’s world of heroes. Kieron the Conqueror is a brother of Aliera (during a previous life) and Sethra Lavode is a 300,000+ year old undead enchantress. Those names form a little set for my WoW life.
While those characters were going, I was planning the remainder of my crew of characters. In the long term, I have the goal of bringing one of each class up to max level and learning how each of them work from the inside. One of them, my Rogue, had a name that was just random-generatored from the Wrath client and then modified slightly (I believe I added a T).
A few of my characters dip into the literature of Melanie Rawn (another fantasy author, surprise surprise). Gorynel Desse, my Paladin, and my new little Huntress, Maichen, borrow from the Exiles trilogy (that remains, unhappily, unfinished). Also, looking back on that sentence: holy parenthetical thoughts, Batman.
Anyway, I draw a lot from fantasy literature to find names that I find are associated with character traits that I enjoy or backstories that I can draw from. Sometimes I pull things from seeming midair. But, when it comes right down to it, you just have to go with something that you will be happy to have floating above your head.