Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Name Game

IRL the Boy and I are currently dealing with a name dilemma as we plan out our lives after marriage. We both want to change our surname to a variant of his family name, but the mother-in-law invoked the Tears of You-Hate-Your-Family, so our initial efforts were shot down. Ever watch that episode from season one of The Guild where they fought Zaboo's mother? Yeah, I'm sorta envisioning that.

Anyway, I've always found it interesting how people name their toons. I value originality in names and find cliches greatly irritating. For example, I once ran down and corpse camped a flagged NE hunter that had the audacity to name his toon Drizzt. Ironic names (such as a shaman named Oprahwindfury) are always worth a chuckle, along with twist on class roles (Eyehealpets, Eyeditanks, and I'm still waiting on Eyeinnervatehunters... but I suppose that's too long). I get tired of the groaner-worthy names quickly (I knew a DK named Pinktacho), but have an appreciation for cleverness and creativity.

So where's a source? I don't think I've met a person who hasn't had some affinity for a certain name. The Boy has single 10-letter monstrosity that he came up with in his youth and now uses for the majority of his account names. He just combined a couple of words that caught his fancy to form something all-encompassing. Personally, all my toons names come from my own writing - "Negathle" means Woman of Strength in a made-up language, "Ranrele" means Woman of Learning, and "Chasle" means Woman of Song.

Of course, with these original names comes a price in pronunciation. I suffer Negathle (Ne-gath-lee) to be called all sorts of variants (Nega-thall is the most common) and people wanting to shorten it after the second vowel instead of the first consonant. Blatantly Latin-based names are frequency butchered, along with anything that is meant to have a vowel sound where a consonant is (a la Renaud).

So, since I infrequently do this, I invite everyone to tell the story of their toon's or toons' name. How did it come about, what do you like about it, and how is it misread or mispronounced?


RFairney said...

I did wonder how to pronounce it, My first thought was that it rhymed with apple >.>

Mine is just the boring obvious name for me to use :(

Anonymous said...

My names come from...whatever. Sometimes they're completely original, sometimes it's just a twist on a the spelling of a real word, like Psynister (Sinister) which was the name of a D&D Lich that my players had to fight, Lord Psynister the Arch-Necromancer.

Sometimes I'll take them from books. Like when I started up a druid and a shaman at the same time, Beldinn and Belgawrath, where both names (different spellings) were taken from the Belgariad books from two characters that were spellcasters and known for using animal forms.

My new mage uses a naming mechanic from that book as well, where a sorcerer adds "Bel" to the front of his name. I didn't want to use my full "name" though so I shortened Psynister down to synis for "Belsynis".

Characters that I don't plan on devoting serious time to generally have cheesy names, like my Tauren Hunter, Hookum. And yes, I'm a Texan. And if you don't understand that statement I'll understand.

My twinks all belong to a guild called The Breakfast Club, so they all follow the convention of "I be " followed by a breakfast food or breakfast item, so Ibewaffles, Ibepancake, Ibecinatoast, Ibesyrup, Ibegritz, Ibebacon, Ibemilk (and pet Ibecereal), Ibehashbrown, Ibeomlet, and Ibesausage are all names for our twinks.

And sometimes I just let creativity come on it's own with something original. My first shaman was a troll named Zurajin. There's Dhaakral, Malesthos, Fedrediir, Talesos, Kriamar, Kriyish, Falrael, Janlein, Blaise, Kraelix, Valexxnith, and Gorose. To name a few.

Eidtalheg said...

The triple palatal consonants in my character's name trip everyone up: "Ey-la-teg?" "Ee-del-tag?"

A close approximation is "Ey-tal-heg," though the 'dt' is more like a palatal rolled into a velar... I'll stop now :D

Shagrat said...

Shagrat and my paladin's name (Feanor) both are directly from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. I've never had problems with anyone mispronouncing my toon's name because it's just Shag and rat. If you have problems with that you should probably get some help.

Personally, I will choke anyone who makes a tauren paladin named holycow or any variation thereof.

Pike said...

Tawyn was something I came up with on the spot for a D&D game because it sounded "elfy" (she was a half-elf, actually, but ya know.) Later recycled it for my main WoW toon. It is mispronounced ALL. THE. TIME. Everyone calls me either Tawny (like the owl), or more often, "Tay-win". It's actually a much better sounding "TAH-win", but only 10% of people ever seem to guess that =/

(To be fair I had trouble pronouncing my own made-up name when I first, well, made it up, but my WoW friends and I worked out "TAH-win" pretty early on and now any other pronunciation grinds my gears.)

Lunapike has kind of a long story, "she" began life as a troll warrior who I named Lunakuti-- the "Luna" was a nod to a tusked character from the webcomic Dominic Deegan, and the "kuti" I added because it sounded Trolly. It was pronounced "Loo-NAH-ku-tee," and I rather liked it.

Anyways I soon decided that I didn't like warriors so rerolled tauren hunter and didn't look back. I kept the "Luna" part of her name as a nod to the character I scrapped for her, and added "pike" largely because my boyfriend initially gave his Horde character a name based off of his internet moniker and I thought I would follow suit.

It is kind of an unusual and bizarre name; sometimes I don't really like it but on the other hand it means I'm the only one on the Armory, which is kind of neat.

Other than that I typically go by what just sounds like it would fit that particular race and/or culture.

I started giving all my alliance toons names that start with "Ta" as sort of a pattern, additionally they were all going to end with "yn" as well but that became too limiting. Still, my druid is Tamaryn, which I am well aware is pretty much the name of a monkey but I liked it anyway. (Plus, those monkeys are cute.)

Streamer said...

My name comes from the fact that BC chain heal looked like pee so I named it streamer for streaming piss. But thinking back people might think of streamers and think I'm gay.... /sigh

Anonymous said...

I hit the randomizer button and got "Lyrat". I added an a to be different. I know, boring as heck.

Re: your RL names: we went through something similar. We thought about changing them to something completely different from our RL names, like "Bear". That got nixed by both parents. We thought about a portmanteau, but our last names didn't mesh well. We decided on keeping our respective last names, but changing our middle names to the other's last name. Works for us.

Good luck! The name game is always sensitive.

KiwiRed said...

I got lucky when picking names, and the first serious attempt at naming characters I was going to level seriously (just before the launch of TBC, when I rolled my first dwarf) worked out nicely.

I was a fan of Spike Milligan's book 'Badjelly the Witch' as a child, and when I was a trying to come up with a name, I decided that 'Dinglemouse' sounded awesome (and ridiculous), and I'd try something that sounded similar while saving the original for my proper main character, when I got around to deciding on one.

So now I have Pringlerouse (my first dwarf rogue and main bank-alt), Kringlelouse (dwarf hunter), Ringleprouse (my second dwarf rogue), Dinglemouse (dwarf warrior), Binglerouse (dwarf paladin), Mingledouse (dwarf priest), Finglethouse (second dwarf priest, because you can never have just one), Ninglethouse (dwarf DK/glyph mule) and Tingleflouse (nelf druid/glyph mule - an honorary dwarf).

I think I'll be scraping the bottom of the barrel when Cataclysm brings a shaman and mage to join my little dwarven family...

Kheldul said...

First, congrats on your engagement! (?) Living in sin didn't disturb the MotherInLaw enough? ;-)

I have some friends who were going to combine their last names to make a new last name (not hyphenated). They eventually just went traditional.

My wife was going to hyphenate, but I wanted us to have the same last name... but the children having (and grandchildren?) having some crazy list of last names was too much.

Kheldul is pronounced "Kell dool". It sprang from a name generation system I built on phonic parts for made up languages. Here's the Dwarven one. I like the Dwarven places generator better. However, I like my Elven words generator best of all because it has word meanings behind it -- even though the words are phonically assembled dynamically each time.

Stupid Mage said...

While I have some understanding about the hyphenating thing...it's dumb. I really REALLY don't ever want to meet the kids of Brenden Shimabukuro-Matsushima and Taylor Johnston-Sharabianlou

Kordwar said...

Reposted from lovely black dress because I'm too lazy to type it again

My name is dwarven, but I’ll come to that later.

My parents came through the dark portal with the rest of the horde. When the forces split to confuse the humans my mother became lost in the hinterlands with a 2 year old me. She was found by a dwarf hunting party and was swiftly killed, and i was left to die. I was found not much later by a wildhammer dwarf by the name of featherbeard. He raised me as his own, it took a bit for to understand the dwarven tongue. In any conversation with other dwarves i heard the term “Kordwar” used alot, so i assumed that was my name.

Many years later after getting a chance to speak with Brann Bronzebeard I was informed of the true meaning of my name, it means “ugly dwarf”. I recalled the normal conversation to him in dwarven and he translated it as “Oi featherbeard, that yer boy?” “no, he’s an Orc” “oh aye, was about ta say “that’s an ugly dwarf”

Abyss said...

Some names hang with you. I have used more or less the same 'handle' from the start of Online gaming (1998ish). Others can be based on what you are trying to get out of it, which borders on the definition of 'game'(IE do you role play or do you settle for silence when others say that they do?). Still others are used because after 'years' of gaming, originality can become much more difficult in order to gain satisfaction in a name.

Bristal said...

Although I chose the fairly conventional-but-original name "Bristal" for my first character (and current main), I name all my alts for Sanskrit words. Sanskrit is awesome for original & varied word spellings, and there are many translation web sites that you can use to find words with appropriate meanings.

My deathknight is Antaka, which means death in Sanskrit.

My priest is Bhisaj, which means healer.

My bank alt rogue is Damanaka, which came up under "sneaky".

Many of the words are names from various sanskrit tales, mythology and religion.

Anonymous said...

All my toon names come from Grateful Dead songs;

Theotherone - DK Tank
Wharfrat (ChinaCat pet) - Hunter
SugarMag - Horde Shammy (female Orc)

and a host of others.

Anonymous said...
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Thunderhorns said...

Thunderhorns just seemed perfect for a Tauren Elemental Shaman.

Hellskull perfect for a death knight.

Icykil for a frost mage.

Dacarver for a troll rogue.

Phoenyx for a red haired blood elf paladin.

I like to come up with names that seem cool and appropriate to my character's class, race, and skillset.

Spaztrik said...

My dwarf hunter's name is Spaztrik, was and always will be my main. The name comes from RL as it's a play on my real name and the fact that I can be quite a Spaz(I'm Irish if the name hasn't already sunk in). I wind up being called Spaz all the time which is cool. All my alts have become iterations of the "Spaz" prefix, Spaztor, Spazalon, Spazzer, Spazbank. But I've since rolled some Horde and I just go with whatever feels good.

Eyedontheal said...

Well, Eyehealpets is back to Eyedontheal because some jackass five-fingered my name when I came back to Turalyon. Eyedontheal was her original name on Bleeding Hollow because I intended her to be a shadow priest alt...and then, I rememebered I had a T6 warlock, what the fuck would I need a spriest for? DUR!!! Eyehealpets was my name change of choice when I left Bleeding Hollow as a plea for understanding to other healers; as a warlock in the days of using cc in heroics and raids, it angered me immensely to be cc'ing with my sexy succubus Carnia and have her fucking die as I am fear kiting 2 mobs, howling the rest, and trying to avoid imminent death in Shadow Labs...then the healer say, "seduce broke." Ok, little lesson for those of you who don't know by now, I CAN'T RECAST SEDUCE WHILE THE TARGET IS SEDUCED SO IT TAKES A GCD TO REAPPLY!! Also, succubi have shit for health, so ummm yeah they get bitch hit and die. A lil love for the pet that you expect to make your instance a lil easier is all I ever wanted as a lock...a bubble from a priest, a renew, a lesser healing wave, a rejuv, a lifebloom...FOR THE LOVE OF BABY SUCCUBI EVERYWHERE! Although the need for cc in instances is long gone now, I still throw a few heals now and then to hunter pets...and of course some mad for lock pets in appeasement of my inner warlock heart.

Eyeditanks doesn't really have a background story so we can skip ber.

Rubisco, my warlock, is my inner Bio-Chem geek shining thru...
Ribulose 1,5 Bisphosphate Carboxylase Oxygenase, otherwise known as RUBISCO (this sounds so much cooler if you sing it when you say it to the tune of the Nabisco cookie/cracker commercials).

Eyenrvahntrs...coming soon to Turalyon.

Eyedontheal said...

and of course some mad love* for lock pets in appeasement of my inner warlock heart.

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