What’s in a Name?

What's in a name?For me, naming my characters can be one of the most tricky aspects of character creation. I know that I’ll be spending many, many hours with my characters in game, so I want them to have a unique name that I can be proud of. With the launch of Guild Wars 2 rapidly approaching, I’ve already started to plan out my characters, deciding which race, profession, and name each of them will have. Choosing races and professions is easy. Choosing names is tough. So, dear readers, what’s in a name?

What style of name do you go for? Do you choose a funny name or a lore-friendly name? Do you dream up your own names? I literally dreamt up a name I’m going to use; a cloud of bats spelt it out in the night sky, it was awesome! Perchance you pick modified versions of well-known names, such as Drizzzzt or X Legolas X. Do you perhaps use a variant of your own name? Or use names from characters in a movie / novel / comic book?

If you’ve played Guild Wars 1, you have the ability to reserve your GW1 character names for GW2. Will you name your new GW2 characters after your GW1 characters? Maybe you role-play them as direct descendants? With the ability to now use single names for your characters, will you be taking advantage of that, or sticking with two or more names?

As an extra discussion point, does another player’s character name influence (subconsciously or not) whether or not you’ll group up with them? Are you more likely to group up and chat with a character with a lore-friendly name, or a funny / silly name? Does this factor into your thoughts at all?

Many questions! Let me know your thoughts on names in the comments below!

About the author: Wedge is an avid Guild Wars 1 fan (with far too many hours sunk into it), & has been eagerly awaiting Guild Wars 2 since it was first announced. His heart lies in the dark ways of the Necromancer, although the raw power of the Elementalist is doing a great job of luring him away! Having recently completed a DPhil in Immunology, this new Dr keeps a blog over at www.richerramblings.wordpress.com. 

Further reading:

  • Distilled

    In guildwars made the odd choice of just calling my character after my full name, ie: William Knight!

    But with guildwars2 I’m torn between using my twitter handle “distilled will” our trying to get some variant of Willpower.

    Btw, whoever made that picture is a God amongst men.

    • Wedge_TT

      A God Walking Amongst Mere Mortals, one might say! Great pic. 

      I only know of one other person in all my hours of GW1 playing who used a variant of their own name. I find it a rather brave thing to do! 

  • Qamarkwinta

    I so understand you. Names are difficult. I generally go with lore friendly names, but I don’t mind what other people chose….each to his own, and it also depends on how you intend to play the game. At the moment I’m kind of sure of my main, though I don’t think I’m going to bring any family descendants from GW…….I’ll just use the name because I like it!

    • Wedge_TT

      Very difficult! I think it’s definitely a good idea to use a name that you like. Whether that’s a lore-friendly one, or a funnier one, it’s up to you. I’m still debating whether to use my descendants’ names from GW1… One month left to decide! 

  • Carlos Rodrigues

    Could anybody explain me the joke on that picture? I really didnt get it. >.<

    • Distilled

      Snuffkins is a silly name for a manly charr such as Rytlock? So he’s embarrassed…

      • Wedge_TT

        I think anyone would be embarrassed by a middle name of Snuffkins… Well, apart from Asura golems! 

  • ArcherAvatar

    Names are important.
    They are a significant part of the “first impression” process.  Some of my longest lasting online friendships began as simply as bumping into someone in the game world and their name being pleasant to me in some fashion or another (anything from witty or funny, all the way to thought provoking or carrying double meaning) which was followed with an offer for a PUG to tackle some content we were both clearly working on.
    The flip side of that is there are folks who choose names so unpleasant to me that no matter how nicely the beginning conversation, or how well they apparently play, I simply want nothing to do with them.  They have disqualified themselves from association from the outset because of what they’re choice of name says about them.

    • Wedge_TT

      I’m very similar to you in the “first impressions” regard. Although I try to keep an open mind, it’s a lot easier to start talking to and making friends with people whose names you appreciate in one form or another. 

      I have made friends with people who name their characters in an odd way, but it’s been a much longer process. 

      Another question for you: If you meet a character with a pleasant name and make friends with them, but subsequently find out their other characters all have unpleasant / odd names, what do you do? 

  • I agree with Archer. Names are important. 

    My character names are all over the place. I try to be lore-centric since I like to RP, so my charr names, for example, will have appropriate surnames based on their warband.

    In general, I like to pay homage to stuff I like. Many of my online characters are named after old D&D characters. Belzan is actually named after my Diablo II necro, who was named after an AD&D character. Several of my GW2 character names are based on book characters, such as Molly Carpenter from the Dresden Files and Ronixis from Star Ocean. My norn have Norse names and my sylvari have plant names.

    Other than that, I use whatever comes to mind. 

    As for other people’s names, I have to say I’m a bit of a snob. X blah blah X or “names” that aren’t really names like Dritzzzzzzt just annoy me. I am less likely to take that player seriously. 

    Also, props to you Wedge on your doctorate! I’ll have my PsyD (doctorate of psychology) by the end of the year. 

    • Wedge_TT

      Thank you! Had my graduation ceremony yesterday, so am 100% officially a Dr! Huzzah! Good luck with you PsyD! 

      Although I try not to be, I’m a bit of a snob too with those X blah blah X names and such. Like you say, if someone names their character like that, I just can’t take them seriously. They have to work hard to impress me, and make me want to group up with them. 

      I think the way I name characters is very similar to you. Lore-centric, with nods to the character’s race and background (Norn / norse, Sylvari / plants, etc), and paying homage to what you like. Several of my GW1 characters’ names were variants of characters in novels or other games, and I’ll most likely be doing something similar for GW2. 

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  • My character names have been legacy names, thought up a long time ago with friends. I try to keep consistent across a lot of games, but I’m thinking of trying some more variation for GW2.

    • Wedge_TT

      I’ve started to do that too. I find myself more and more often using the same few names throughout many different games, perhaps with only very minor variations. Once you become attached to a name you like, it’s hard to let go! 
      It also makes me feel a lot more attached to my characters, enhancing the story and my playthrough of the game. 

  • I usually tend to stick with Lore. Meaning that if I have a charr, This charr will definitely have a warband! If my asura is female, I’ll give it two syllables and end it with a vowel. I think names are very important, especially on Tarnished Coast! (Unofficial RP server!)

    • Wedge_TT

      Ooh, is Tarnished Coast the unofficial RP server? That’s good to know! Re: asura female names having 2 syllables and ending with a vowel, I don’t go quite as far into naming my characters as you, I don’t think. My names will be lore-friendly though, for sure. 

      Having said that, the name I’ve chose for my asura female warrior is 2 syllables and ends in a ‘y’, so maybe my chosen names are more similar to your style than I think! 

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  • Beere

    Mine is just simply “Berry” in German (on a German server). As a Sylvari I wanted a name that has something to do with a Fruit, since Sylvari are technically like a fruit from a Tree. I like short and pointy names, since almost every fuit was taken I got stuck with berry and I like it. Of course if I would play a Norn Warrior or a Charr, Berry wouldn’t match at all. I’m terrible at finding names and it’s difficult. especially if all the names you come up with are already taken 🙁

  • Xenaiya

     I find naming my character to be important. I come up with my own names and I prefer names that aren’t stuff like ‘Ikillthings’ or ‘noobinator’. Names like that just seems so lazy to me.