Graveyard of Unwanted Opinions
It’s not rare these days to have trouble coming up with names: either for accounts, characters, handles, or even for guilds. Choosing seems to take a good amount of time for a number of people and even worse, they end up just settling with a name or tossing on random numbers or letters to the name they’d originally wanted. There’s just a point where people get tired of sitting at the same screen wondering what name to use.
Of course with the incredible number of people online these days it’s not rare either that a name you’ve used for ages suddenly gets ‘stolen’. This really kills a person’s motivation, especially when it’s not a common name. Imagine seeing my name being used by others: you wouldn’t wonder if it’s me or not, it’s such an uncommon name you’d be surprised to find anyone else using it. So that would probably lead myself to wonder: is it time to change names? Do I want to waste hours trying to come up with a new one or do I take the easy way out and add some letters or numbers to it?
Some people just give up then and move on for a bit. Handles and names are important, it’s an identifier, why bother with playing a game where someone is impersonating you? Won’t they just try to kill your fun anyway? Alternatively it helps to have multiple names, even if you generally intend to stick to one, having one or two as “back ups” in case something happens can easily allow you to move on without wasting much time. Of course you’d still be bothered your main identifier is taken it’s not like you’ll never have used the secondary name. It’s not quite the same but at least you don’t end up wasting time on not having a name.
Putting that aside for a bit, let’s start off with first choosing a name for the first time. Though fair warning: I’ll only go over choices that keep users anonymous, not something that will tie a user back to their real identity.
Choosing an account name is rarely a difficult task, in cases where account names will be unseen and unused aside from logging in it’s simply best to go with something that’s easy to remember. The trouble comes when it’s tied to your handle, in this case you have to choose something that appeals to you and if you wish something that’ll either catch people’s attention or stand out. Handles can be handled two ways: a unique name you’ll carry around everywhere or a toss away. Of course with toss-aways there’s not much to the choice, do as you please and move on.
Settling on a handle you’ll keep using gets more complicated: do you go with interests or something completely new? There’s a few popular actions.
Quite simply: bang on the keyboard for a combination of letters that appeals to you. There’s no deep meaning behind it, it’s just a fun easy way to kill stress and move on. Of course if you want an excuse to use its not difficult to come up with one: tell the person it’s a form of fortune telling, it relates to the act of spirit writing, simply writing without care, not particularly focusing on any letters and allowing your subconscious to name itself. Of course you’re still telling them you mashed on the keyboard but it sounds deep.
This is the particular one I went with: choose a location, person, name, etc; for example the phrase “de Paris”, of Paris. Then consider what you can change that can make it different but seem the same (de Paris became des paris). From there on you’re simply doing the same thing, alter it bit by bit until getting something that rings with you (des paris became des parris, des larris, deslarris, deslar`ris). If you’re looking for something unique then simply check Google after each alteration and see what results turn up with your new name (deslarris turned up quite a few results though it was still rather limited to the point where I didn’t mind taking the name, eventually being a tryhard led to adding the accent).
You have certain interests, build on those by combining them, adding names, locations, using alteration and mashing to build upon it further. It’s basically just adding a personal touch to the other two methods.
After getting the account/handle down for something like a game you’ll usually end up with a second long choice: what do I name the character themselves? There’s always the option of just using your same handle/username though using the username in this instance poses a security risk, in this case I’d actually suggest using a secondary name as the account name and your main handle as the character name. Of course others will choose to name the character something different for various reasons.
This is likely to be both the easiest and hardest name to choose. If you join a game near it’s opening then you’ll have no problem choosing a name, you have almost all the options in the world. However joining a game a year after it’s release with potentially millions of characters having already been created you’re left trying to come up with a new name that hasn’t been taken yet still seems somewhat unique. In my personal opinion if you’re joining a game a year late and can’t come up with a name or everything you’d like has been taken: alter it.
Personally when it comes to choosing a name for characters I’ll base it on three main issues: gender, race, and role.
Pick a letter or a few starting letters for a name, find a site with a list of names then sort by whether you want male or female. For race consider using a more exotic name for non-human races. When it comes to role it can help to look up names by definition. It’s a way to get a unique name that still relates to the character and role/class. Of course if something you really love is taken, alter it. There’s no way around it if you’re late to joining a game.
The ever-elegant way of coming up with names, mash the keyboard, choose a starting letter if you want and just let loose. Of course if you’re going with a human race I’d suggest adding vowels here and there after mashing to come up with something that can be pronounced.
I’ll admit to this: take a name from some other game or from a book and use it as your character’s name. I’ve done this in multiple instances Alicel was taken from a Ragnarok Online monster while Aliera was taken from Steven Brust’s Taltos series. To be fair I always let people know where it’s from if they ask. While not unique it does help when trying to think of a name and only coming up blank. Try not to pick anything too popular though and avoid altering, it will be obvious if you alter an already existing character’s name.
This is where creativity goes to die, the graveyard of creativity comes by the hands of many joining as one. Many minds don’t always work best when it comes to making a choice and guild names is where this shines. Many opinions clashing against one another calling each others’ ideas garbage, tryhard, or a joke; this is why most will simply choose to take a name of a known organization and use it instead. The endless number of Fairytale, FBI, NSA, Sword Art Online, or some other creatively dead names are sadly rather common. The use of the words Alliance, Brotherhood, Gaming, Lords, Eternity, etc. have also grown quite common and could stand to be excluded from almost any guild name.
When it comes to names of a collective it’s best to avoid describing what’s obviously a large gathering of people so including “Guild” or anything of the sort is pointless and can even seem idiotic. Single words as well can stand out as idiotic or creatively dead.
Take a phrase, alter it or use it as is. Whether it’s a joke or serious it’s a nice way to avoid being disregarded as tryhard while still being able to catch people’s attention. No Fun Allowed, Touch Fluffy Tail, and even Goonswam to an extent are good examples, taking a common phrase used among its members and using it as an identifier.
It doesn’t end, it never ends, you can always use this method. Simply apply the same methods used for character names but do it at least twice. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s terrible, but it catches people’s attention and for guilds this is important. This isn’t a joke.
If you’ve spent too much time on it, in all honesty you’re probably not going to come up with anything good so just take something from a book or other game. You’ve lost with guild names but at least you’ve lost with other people instead of alone.
Going back to the subject of having your name stolen there’s only one option I’d recommend: Get good, PvP, KoS them. The normal human thing to do would be to let them be and ignore them but if it’s a unique name that you know 100% you’re the only person who has ever used that name then please do something about it. PM them, ask them where they got the name, request they change it: this would be a normal non-confrontational way of going about it. If you’re playing a game though, why not play? Have fun with ‘getting your name back’, add to your own entertainment but hunting someone down in game, make a target for yourself, don’t let it get to you. Just have fun with it.
If your name was taken then you clearly caught someone’s attention in another game and they liked it enough to copy it, you’ve done your part to get your name out there.Your handle is yours, while there is someone imitating it that’s always the case with well known players. Take it as a compliment and show them why you had the name first. You’ve already established elsewhere it’s your handle so you don’t have to worry, just keep playing games and having fun.
This is actually my first time writing in a blog format in years, it’s interesting but not often that you’ll really use it. As always I refuse to reread it or double check it so quality is probably shoddy at best but it’s out there.
A nice way to kill some time but likely won’t be a daily thing.