I enjoy creativity in character names, forum handles and other unique forms of Internet nicknames. The lore behind a name can be an interesting tale that rounds out my vision of personality for a given individual.
The flip side of enjoying such details is that I am annoyed at stupid names. I realize stupid is a relative term in this case. While I might think “Angelkiss” sounds pretty dumb, there are many who would enjoy such a name. But this is my blog. I’ll make the completely arbitrary judgment calls around here, so here is a list of name types I hate particularly as they relate to online RPGs.
1. Directly lifted names of popular characters
If I meet one more elf named Legolas (or Legollas, Legolass, Leggolas, etc…), I may injure myself or others. Yes, we know you are a fan. This is a fantasy game where nearly everyone is an appropriate level on the geek index to have read or watched LOTR. A decent percentage probably own prosthetic elf ears. If you’re going to name yourself after a character in popular media, at least choose a lesser known one that plunges deep into the fandom. How about Thranduil? No one would mistake you for a superficial fan with a name like that. You’re deep! Plus Legolas calls him “Dad” and he’s a king.
Don't make me shoot you for abusing my good name.
I once knew a ranger named “Tracke”. Come on, man! You’re not even trying.
3. Evocative names
Ever met a player named “Foxypants” or the like? Did you try to flirt? If not, chances are you missed an opportunity. Dependent upon the gender of said player, it was either an opportunity for cyber or an opportunity to be told, “um, hey, I’m a guy.” Admittedly, there is a third possibility that I am keenly aware of. I named my character “Jajunk.” It seemed harmless at the time as it was a song title. I added a surname later that sort of fits in this category. I forgive myself because I added “Inzetrunk” for the humor.
4. Names I can’t type
I can’t find the umlaut key on my keyboard. If you use an accent mark of any kind that I can’t figure out in less than three seconds, we’ll probably never be friends. Unless there is an option to reply without typing your name, I will also appear to be ignoring you. I’m sorry. I’m sure you’re a fine person though perhaps complex.
A helpful Aperture employee locates an umlaut that is not on a keyboard.
As with names I can’t type, you will be receiving neither direct communication nor group invitations from me. I may have known you for years, but we are talking about my entertainment here and I will be lazy if I want to. I’m looking at you, Imwalkinthepath (additionally, a sentence is NOT a name).
6. Titles in names
“Ladysarah” or “Darthmeanie” are not very subtle. Chances are Ladysarah is either not smart enough to realize what she has done or “she” is actually a guy pretending to be a woman. In a number of RPGs, “Lady” is actually an attainable title. If you start off with the name, you may look dumb later when you earn a title and suddenly you are known as “Lady Ladysarah” or “Darth Darthmeanie.” Lucky for you, most games also allow you to turn off titles. But isn’t it cooler to earn it than to immediately promote yourself to a higher social status?
7. Outright stupid
“Hail, Luvtheheals.” “Perhaps you could assist with my collection, Buttface.” “Can you help me find my missing little brother, Dirtyoldman?” Quest dialogue just isn’t the same with a stupid name. Almost any name has a place in some game, but I prefer when it’s kept in the spirit of the game. Stupidity is sort of cool in Kingdom of Loathing, but calling yourself “Lazerbeem” in a fantasy game is out of place and erodes the role-playing illusion.
I know we all get frustrated sometimes trying to select names online. Many are already taken. But I look at it as an opportunity for broader creativity. If someone already has that name, I don’t want it anyway. It’s common.
In the end, I usually say nothing to those that I feel have unoriginal or stupid character names. I don’t discriminate. I even group with them though all the while shaking my head and giving a small sigh.