Role Play: Choosing the right name for your character
One of the first things a roleplayer tends to think about when creating a new character is just what that character should be called. What makes a good name? Can the character have a last name? Do you name the actual character the name they’d like to be called, or a nickname? What are some lore-appropriate names, what makes a name sound like it belongs in the Warcraft universe? And what exactly are you supposed to do if that name is taken?
Although you can choose to roleplay whatever you’d like, names are another matter altogether. Blizzard has its own set of rules for what names are appropriate and inappropriate to use for player characters. Roleplaying servers also have a set of their own unique naming guidelines in addition to the regular name restrictions of the game.
Non-Medieval/Fantasy Character Names
This category includes:
- Any Non-Medieval or Non-Fantasy names (i.e. Slipnslide, Robotman, Technotron).
- Clear and masked names which are references to very well known people, characters, places, or icons (i.e. Britneyspears, Austinpowers, Mcdonalds, Georgewashington, Newyork).
- Names that consist of multiple (generally more than 2) words strung together to create partial or complete sentences (i.e. Inyourface, Welovebeef, Howareyou).If a player is found to have such a name, he/she may:
- Be assigned a randomly generated name
- Be given the appropriate additional penalty if the name violates standard naming rules.
Here’s the catch, though — Blizzard doesn’t actively patrol for players that violate these rules. Instead, if a player comes across a name that they find objectionable or outside of the guidelines, they can report it and bring Blizzard’s attention to it. The upshot of this is that you’ll often find names that don’t quite fit into the rules on RP servers — and while those names exist, they run the risk of being forced to change at any time. This also means that you can create a character name that breaks those naming guidelines — but if you choose to do so, you run the risk of other players reporting you for your name, at which point you’ll be forced to change it. If you want to avoid that issue, you’re best served by simply sticking to the rules to begin with.
Most races in Warcraft don’t really have last names to speak of — and the game won’t allow you to create a last name regardless of what race you happen to be playing. You can, however, use one of the various roleplaying addons like MyRoleplay, XRP, FlagRSP or Total RP to denote a last name for your character if you wish. Different races in WoW have different naming conventions regarding last names:
- Orc If an orc has a last name, it’s usually there to denote their strength and general prowess in the art of combat. Generally speaking, last names are a descriptor of either a weapon the orc carries, an attribute, or an accomplishment they’ve earned. Bladefist, Doomhammer, Hellscream. If you choose to give your orc a last name, odds are that they’d have some kind of story or reason why that last name was chosen.
- Troll Trolls typically don’t have last names — there are a few exceptions, but they are very few and very far between. Instead, trolls will sometimes use titles to denote their position or rank. Overlord, High Priestess, Bloodlord.
- Tauren Last names for tauren are either for the tribe they’re from — like Bloodhoof or Grimtotem — or descriptors, much like an orc would have. The major difference between the two races is that tauren last names can conjure images of war, but they can just as easily conjure images of peaceful meadows.
- Blood Elf The sin’dorei have proper last names that are carried on by a family line in similar fashion to humans. Usually it’s a combination of words, like Sunstrider, Brightwing, Sunreaver. And more often than not, sin’dorei last names denote the sun, the light, the brightness of day.
- Forsaken/Human/Worgen All three of these races carry traditional human last names, because all three races are human — although in the case of the Forsaken, they might choose to take a different last name, suitably ghoulish and ghastly to denote their change from human to undead. Human last names can denote a profession if you wish, or you can simply pick up the nearest phone book and thumb through it until you find something you like. Anything goes!
- Gnomes/Goblins These two races may seem similar when it comes to their obsession with engineering, but their choices in last names denote their preferences when it comes to engineering, too. While last names for gnomes usually involve the various parts, tools, and mechanisms associated with engineering, goblin last names typically involve the explosive results of said tools, parts, and mechanisms. Mekkatorque, Fullthrottle, Steamrigger, versus Blastfuse, Longshot. But there is some allowance for interchange between the two — and both races have last names that have nothing to do with tinkering or engineering as well.
- Dwarves Dwarven last names are usually clan or family names — and if you combine a beard or a weapon with an element or a metal, you’re pretty much on the right track. Bronzebeard, Wildhammer, Stormpike.
- Night elves For night elves, it’s about as simple as it is blood elves — except instead of referencing the sun or bright qualities, you’re looking for words that suggest either natural elements or the night. Whisperwind, Shadowsong, Ravencrest.
- Draenei Draenei really don’t have last names at all. Some carry titles denoting their rank or profession, but last names are absent from draenei culture.
- Pandaren Food, drink, and bear-like qualities all make up last names for the pandaren, as do names that reflect the elements and nature — Stormstout, Cloudsinger, Firepaw. Alternatively, we’re talking about giant walking talking pandas here. Many of them carry Chinese names — even the elements you encounter on the Wandering Isle have names that can be translated directly from Chinese — so you’d be safe enough simply looking through a list of Chinese names and choosing one that suits your character.
Sometimes — many, many times on roleplaying servers — the name you’d like to give to your character is already taken. In that case, you can choose to just name the character with their last name, and denote their first and last name in a roleplaying addon, making sure they introduce themselves with their proper name. Also remember that the name your character has doesn’t have to be the name they were born with. If you can’t find a suitable name that you like — or in the unfortunate event that the name you’d really like to have is taken — you can always come up with a nickname for your character and try that on for size.
Finally, keep in mind that when you are roleplaying, that name that is floating above your character’s head is a game mechanic. It’s not an indication of who your character is, and players that are in character aren’t going to acknowledge that nameplate, they’re going to ask your character to introduce themselves, or wait for them to do so. As long as you’re following the naming guidelines for roleplaying servers, you can make up pretty much anything you want in that field, and give them a proper name in a roleplaying addon.
And if you are in doubt, or are still in search of the most perfect name you can conjure for that brand new character, remember that Google is your best friend. Search for baby name sites, and remember that there are sites out there for just about every type of name under the sun. Pair the word names with a particular region of the world or period of time and see what comes back. Look up sites with foreign language dictionaries and hunt down words that best describe your character, see what comes back. Think of words that describe your character, look them up on an online thesaurus and see where that leads. The only restrictions to naming your character are the rules that Blizzard has put into place — which are remarkably lenient, all things considered — and your own creativity.
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