RP and You, a Beginner’s Guide – Naming Your Character

One of the most difficult parts of the RP process is something that should, technically, be the most simple: creating a name for your character. With millions of people playing WoW worldwide, new players are often at a loss for creating a character name that is both unique and interesting. The advent of the RP server introduces another challenge: creating a name that fits within RP Server guidelines.

Avoiding The RP Name Police:

Have a good idea for a name for your character? Awesome! Watch it though – this is an RP server, so names should fall under RP server guildlines. We DO have people here that report non-RP names, so keep that in mind. What’s the naming policy? Eh, here – a quick search of the internet finds a pared-down version of it:

In general, categories of poorly chosen names include:

* Racial/Ethnic/National
* Extreme Sexuality/Violence
* Sexual Orientation
* Obscene/Vulgar
* Harassing or Defamatory
* Blizzard Employees
* Inappropriate
* Advertising
* Trademarks
* Pure Gibberish
* Contain “Leet” or “Dudespeak”
* Titles (Does not apply to Guild or Pet Names)
* Real World References
* Partial or Complete Sentences (Does not apply to Guild Names)

Some Examples of names that cannot be used include:
+ References to human anatomy or bodily functions
+ Names consisting of any alphanumeric character not normally found on a standard 101/102 key keyboard (O§iri§, Ÿelena, Jašon)
+ Are references to illegal drugs or activities.
+ Have neutral or positive racial/ethnic/national connotations
+ Have neutral or positive connotations of major religions or religious figures (i.e. Jesus, Christianity, Buddha)
+ Includes names of World of Warcraft realms, zones, or names of major characters from Warcraft lore
+ Strings of letters which do not produce a pronounceable name (i.e. Asdfasdf, Jjxccm, Hvlldrm)
+ Language existent only in online communication (i.e. Roflcopter, xxnewbxx, Roxxoryou)
+ Any title prefix attached to a character’s name (i.e. Kingmike, Presidentsanchez)
+ References to very well known people, characters, places, or icons (i.e. Britneyspears, Austinpowers, Mcdonalds, Georgewashington, Newyork)
+ Multiple (generally more than 2) words strung together to create partial or complete sentences (i.e. Inyourface, Welovebeef, Howareyou)

So! Don’t string together sentences, don’t use anything that might be vulgar. Try to keep it something that looks like a legitimate name – strings of vowels or consonants that look like they’d be impossible to pronounce are probably a bad idea.

Hey Spook! Can I call my character Legolas/Drizzt/Tenchi/Bilbo/etc?

No. That’d fall under referencing well-known people, characters, etc. General rule of thumb is this – if you’ve seen the name in a book or series that is incredibly popular, using that as a name for your character would probably be a bad idea.

So how do I come up with a name?

Well, there’s the random name generator, but that thing doesn’t really work so good. Try to think of what a good name would sound like or look like for the race you are trying to play. Maybe take a look at what other people are naming their characters, and take a cue from that. Myself? I love using adjectives and nouns as names – especially when it’s just a nickname my character’s going by. Spook’s name is the third that she’s had – each server change I did required a re-name, and the names that I picked were worked into her story. Shade’s name is also a nickname or codename of sorts, if you will. My hunter’s name is Ketala – there’s no real reason behind that name, and it doesn’t mean anything, it just sounded like a good name for a troll.

Some places I like to go to find names:

http://thesaurus.reference.com/ – A thesaurus? That’s right – the thesaurus can be your best friend when it comes to creating a name. Think of your character, what your character is going to look like, who they are going to be, and come up with a few adjectives that would describe them. Plunk those adjectives into the thesaurus, and take a look at the word list that pops up. Sometimes there’s nothing there but gibberish, but sometimes you find a word that suits what you’re looking for perfectly.

http://www.wikipedia.org/ – Along the same lines, if I am searching for something in particular, I’ll do a google search on the word I like, followed by the word ‘wiki’ – it’ll bring up a wikipedia article that involves the subject I’m looking for. In the case of characters, a lot of times it’ll bring up mythology or folk tale references. My hunter Ketala had a pet raven, and after looking for a short period of time, I found an article on the raven in mythology, which referenced a raven spirit named Kutkh. This worked perfectly.

I also enjoy looking up foreign dictionaries – sometimes a word that is taken (ie Moon, Sun, Star, Dream, Shade) can be found in another language. Be careful what language you choose – sometimes names in French, Japanese, Spanish, German and the like don’t really ‘fit’ an rp server if they’re too obvious.

My personal favorite for troll characters is the Miwok to English dictionary: http://www.yosemite.ca.us/library/central_sierra_miwok_dictionary/

I found this website after looking up Kutkh’s name, and discovered a wealth of words that meant particular things, but were otherwise unknown to most players. These names work really well for trolls, but they’d also be incredibly suitable for Tauren or in some cases Night Elf players – poke around and see if maybe there’s a name floating around in there for your next character!

It’s hard sometimes to find a name that both fits and isn’t taken – but with a few creative searches, you can generally find something that suits your needs perfectly. Don’t be discouraged!

Hey Spook! What do I do if I see a name on my server that’s not right?

First off, you want to be VERY careful about how you look at people’s names, particularly on an RP server. Secondly, keep in mind that name reporting really isn’ t something that’s done all that often, and no matter what server you’re on, be it PvP, PvE, or RP, there’s always gonna be a bunch of people running around with names that don’t fit the guidelines. Blizzard’s chosen a more reactive approach to the naming process – they would rather have the players policing the players, than simply disallow particular names at the character creation screen. Third, you want to ask yourself, ‘Am I going to report this because it’s against the rules, or because I don’t particularly like the player?’

Name reporting should NEVER be used for harassment purposes. Take a close look at the naming rules and whether or not the name falls under the ‘bad name’ guidelines. If you want to report someone’s name just to spite them, don’t. If you want to report someone’s name because you’ve suddenly discovered Drizzdourden the night elf hunter running around, then yes, you’re fine.

There is a small ? icon on your toolbar in game, it’s the ‘Help Request’ icon. Click that, and then click ‘Report Issue’. Don’t click on talk to a GM – there’s literally nothing the GM can do, and you’ll be wasting their time when they could be addressing issues they can do something about. You’ll notice it lists issues that can be reported on, and one of them is Naming issues. Click Open a Ticket!

It’s going to ask you to describe your issue – you want to give them the name, race and class of the character, and why you feel this is a violation of the naming policy. Click on submit, and you’ll get a ‘ticket submitted’ icon in the upper corner of your screen. That’s it! A GM will not page you, you do not have to stay online – they will, however, send you a note and let you know that they read your request. Things to keep in mind:

  • You will not receive a response.
  • You will not be able to ask anyone whether the name has been changed or not.
  • Resubmitting the request over and over will not help you speed things along – it’ll just irritate the GM’s.

What do I do if my name is reported?

This is still a bit of a sore subject for me, but fortunately for you, I have experience with this! While my beloved priest Spook was named because she’s…well, she’s a spooky little ghoul of a thing and it seemed quite appropriate for an undead character, unfortunately and unbeknownst to me the word ‘spook’ was apparently also a racial slur that was used back in the 1940’s. While this word hasn’t been used in that context to my knowledge in at least fifty to sixty years, someone felt it necessary to report my priest’s name, and after review, Blizzard made me change it.

I’d had the name for well over two and a half years at that point, several stories under my belt and an RP guide on the forums that was stickied by one of the most well-known blue posters at the time and nobody had complained about it before – not to mention the racial reference itself was a mystery to me. I’d never heard of people using it as an insult before, and never intended for it to be taken in that context – indeed, it seemed really silly to me that anyone would take it in that context, as it was pretty obvious that an undead character named Spook was named Spook because she was undead. Guild members of mine expressed disbelief on vent, and when told it was considered a racial slur, asked ‘why?’, being just as bewildered as I was. Regardless, what was done was done, and the question I was asking myself was “What now?”.

Let me tell you this: The FIRST thing you want to do is make an alt on your server, and name it with the name that was reported. Don’t even bother logging in, you’re just doing this to hold the name, in case you can get it changed back again.

I wasn’t sure of my options at that point, so I petitioned a GM about the matter. The GM got back to me in a fairly timely manner, and explained that I should have received an email with notification of the name change. A quick look at my spam folder, and I found the email, which had been incorrectly filtered. The GM also told me that I could appeal the decision, and where to send the appeal to.

The email to appeal a name change is wowaccountadmin@blizzard.com – this should be the email that the notification was sent from. It’s going to take them a bit of time to get back to you on the matter, but what you need to put in the email is the following:

  • Your Server
  • Your Character’s Original Name (I also put in the character’s current name for good measure)
  • The reason you believe the name should be reverted to the original name

Then you send off the email, and you wait. Sometimes the response will be favorable, and your name will be reverted – and sometimes, such as in my case, they will respond and let you know that despite your appeal, the decision still stands, and your name will not be reverted.

In my case, I’d acted hastily, and chosen a name that I didn’t like, thinking that my name would be reverted. NEVER ASSUME YOUR NAME WILL BE CHANGED BACK – if you have to change your name, ALWAYS pick a name you are willing to stick with. I had to pay for an additional name change for my character, because I’d foolishly assumed my name would be restored.

Spook is now known as Tione. The name was found after doing a ton of research on Greek mythology – Spook’s name on her original server was Melpomene, the muse of Tragedy – it seemed appropriate for an undead priest. Tione was listed on a few obscure websites as being the daughter of Melpomene, and so it seemed to fit.

Plus it’s a heck of a lot easier to pronounce that Melpomene ever was.

So now you have the basics: Name creation, Name resources, Name reporting, and what to do if your name is reported. Get to work!

Stay tuned for more RP tips and hints.

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