How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)?
(Abbreviated because I’m lazy).
I was asked this same question by the folks over at the Twisted Nether Blogcast, and I have to say, the answer hasn’t changed that much: it depends!
Early in my WoW career, I was able to rely on my bookshelves for the majority of my names.
My very first character was a human paladin. I named her Paks from The Deed of Paksenarrion, by Elizabeth Moon, a three-book saga about the making of a paladin. However, poor Paks didn’t survive for very long, and I’ve been unable to pick up this name any other time I’ve attempted to make a human paladin.
Next I made my first “completed” character, a night elf hunter. I named her Starweaver, because at the time, I was reading through Sara Douglass’ Wayfarer Redemption series which featured a race of haughty, magical, and expert marksmen creatures called the Icarrii who all had names with Star in them somewhere. While my night elf may not be able to fly, she sure fit the bill for the rest!
My second serious character was an undead rogue. Fortunately, I was in luck, and Brust came to the rescue. [SPOILER ALERT] The following information is rather deep in the series, so if you haven’t read the series and would like to OR you aren’t that far in, please ignore this section!!!! In the Vladimir Taltos series (Jhereg, Dzur, etc.) the alter ego of Sethra Lavode, an undead enchantress, is actually a thief, named Kiera. How often do you find powerful undead women that aren’t magical and demented? [END SPOILER] This was a perfect find!
Since Kiera, I’ve had a much harder time finding names that fit and are available among the various servers I play on. More often now, I find myself choosing a general direction for a name and randomly poking in names until lo and behold, I am graced with a name. Often I find myself a little embarrassed to be slinking around with some of these choices, but I typed ’em in, and I stick with them.
For my trolls, I am almost inevitably try to find something that starts with a V or a Z. I’ve had Vixie, Vahalla, Zala, and Zasha for just a few horrid examples, but for some reason, I want a harsh syllable up front when dealing with my spiky haired troll babes.
When I was originally naming my blood elf paladin, I wanted a musical instrument. Somehow, I associate analytical but crazy-evil people with a passion for classical, and the early blood elf paladins definitely fit this strain. I tried a couple of variations, but Lyre is the one that stuck, and so she remained until I transferred her to the Alliance side. I wanted to keep some hints of her former name, and I failed horribly. The only thing that can be said for Aliera is that it has 3 of the four letters from her previous name.
Windsoar and Nightfall, my two most recently completed characters, were so named because I absolutely insisted that the root of their name be what it is, and I kept typing in random second halves until something popped. I personally think of flatulence every time someone shortens my name to Wind, but I wanted the name of an element somewhere in her name. It’s probably the only name I have that has the root of a spell in the naming process, but for once, I wanted a name that fit into the role of my character and didn’t require me digging through my collection of novels to find it. I don’t think I have anything with shamans in it in any case.
There’s a few more names that I toss out in desperation when I get bored: Vhaera, Jhara, Shashi, and Corrinna. I think the first two had a root in a book, but I’ll die in a fire before I remember where they came from. Shashi means moonbeam or moonlight, and it caught my fancy with its soft rounded sound although my husband always does the /eyeroll thing when I use it. Corrinna was the name I gave to my red mage back in FFXI, and sometimes I’ll name a human character with a particular hairstyle the same as a kind of rememberance.
As time goes on, I find myself being less particular about my choice of name. My first characters’ names were selected after much angst and anxiety as I tried to find just the RIGHT name for them; however, as I find myself more as an alt and less as a main kind of person nowadays, I attach less significance to the name of my characters, and hence, pick a concept and just let it roll until something pops out.
That being said, I don’t think I could ever fall into a naming scheme such as dogs, flowers, all A names or even all names that start with Wind or Night, as I feel that it leeches too much of the personality of the character I’m trying to play. While I may not spend an hour picking a name anymore, I still think names should be unique to the class I’m choosing to play and the role they’re aiming to fill.
However, I’m not above recycling a name that I had for a long time, and I can already tell you that my new worgen druid will be named Starweaver. I feel comfortable with the do-over since she plans on calling down lazers beams of death and barrages of stars on her enemies as a boomer chicken.
And that brings me to a final question: as a recycler of characters and a known deserter of mains, how important is keeping my identity as Windsoar on my blog? While I may level her into the next level of content, I doubt she’ll maintain her status as main, yet here, I have dubbed myself after the great passer of gas. Embarrassing, isn’t it?