On naming conventions

Enter your name:

The importance of keeping writing tools nearby

Last night as I was laying down to sleep, it came to me - the perfect name. This was a name I could use across multiple MMOs for my first character, a name which people would gradually come to associate (usually) with me, in the same way that some variant of 'stop' or 'stoppableforce' has. And then, like an idiot, I didn't write it down, and instead I went to sleep.

At least I can get a blog post out of it. This is kind of a disjointed series of thoughts, and it all has to do with names.

The history of (my) names

Final Fantasy XI

The very first MMO I ever played - not counting MUDs, for which my memory is hazy, save for one - was Final Fantasy XI. When confronted with that all-important box to type in a name, though, I was stuck for a long while. What do I put here? It was more than just a normal name; I mean, I might be content to put whatever I like into the name input box for a console game because no one's ever going to see that, but your name in an MMO is the first impression you make - without knowing anything, I'm automatically going to assume different things if I see one warlock named Cynwise and another named Deezznutzz (and yes, I do know a warlock named Deezznutzz). It's just part of being human; we're prone to first impressions, and names are no different.

So I looked at my hume male red mage, waiting impatiently for a name, with his face tattoos and his cornrows and his short ponytail, and I named him Severus. Please note that I had never even picked up a Harry Potter book; I have absolutely no idea where the name came from, as it just popped into my head, but a certain ambitious professor was certainly not the source.

I came to regret that name, but it was my first name for a long while. Later names came after I had started my second major, and it showed - my only other two characters of note in FFXI were named Socrates and Aristotle.

World of Warcraft

When I next picked up an MMO, it was World of Warcraft. I installed both vanilla WoW and The Burning Crusade - from discs! how quaint! - and, after going online to create an account, logged into WoW. I created a draenei shaman - burly, exotic-looking, and I was at the time attracted to the dual-wielding nature of the enhancement shaman (I have a weakness for dual-wielding, apparently). After he was rolled up, I was then confronted with the same choice as before: what to call him? I was stumped for only a few minutes this time around, as the random name generator created 'Kalle' and I appended a 'ch'.

Fun fact: Kallech is still my username on Wowhead. I should look into changing that sometime.

Later I created a Forsaken warlock because, even back then, the Alliance just didn't do anything for me. I envisioned him as affliction early on, spreading corruption wherever he went. Having just gone on a stint of playing Final Fantasy Tactics, a name immediately popped into my head, and I was promptly surprised when Queklain was not taken. Oddly, the number of people who caught that name's origin was extremely low, despite the game's apparent popularity. Maybe they just didn't play on Feathermoon.

From there, the names largely were random, and to be honest I don't have any attachment to most of my character names between Queklain and my death knight, Zulfon. Based on a quick look at troll language particles, 'Zulfon' more or less refers to a master of outcasts. Voodoo Queen of the Pariahs. That sort of stuff. It tickled my fancy to imagine this troll shaman who fell against the Scourge and was raised as a death knight (which was actually the source of a few transmog outfits I asked Narci the Transmog Fairy to design for me - see here, here, and here).

Most of my character names are otherwise forgettable, even by me - although I do have a warlock named 'Faustinix,' which I figure always sounds like something Blizzard would dream up for a goblin warlock given their love of references to pop culture, and I once had a rogue named Gutsco, which is, all things considered, a pretty good name for a rogue. Or a Forsaken small business startup that sells replacement innards: Guts Co.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

A lot of my early character names were actually supposed to be references to certain Mega Man characters, at least until I got to where I could unlock my Legacy and was denied my chosen last name for no apparent reason - seriously, it didn't even say "that name is already taken," just "you can't have that name, bugger off." If you ever wondered why my fat miraluka (FAT MIRALUKA IS BEST MIRALUKA) was named Kyzur, it's because his full name was supposed to be Kyzur Cygma. This naming scheme stuck, even if the Legacy necessarily didn't, which is also where Jentra came from.

Oh, and, assuming Bioware doesn't delete characters on inactive accounts, I'm pretty much permanently namesquatting on Shepard, at least on Juyo-US. My bad.

Guild Wars

If you looked at my Guild Wars character names, you'd think I was hitting a keyboard randomly. To some extent, you'd be right: I just type names that look like they'd sound interesting to say.

  • Vos Volturnum
  • Ticuna Val Medime
  • I have a second character with the surname 'Volturnum' but I cannot remember her first name
  • Tetheal Margas

So... yeah.


Now, I mostly pick sounds that sound good together. I've had to do this a lot recently; I was in three simultaneous betas at one time for a while. But on some level I kind of wish I had that recognizability that comes with, if not mostly playing a character with the same name across multiple games, at least a name scheme that's recognizable. I just can't bring myself to stop using a mix of "hit the keyboard randomly," "use something that sounds good," and "reference a video game," though.

For those who are curious, the full roster of my WoW characters is now largely free of references to anything pop-culture-y (although one is vaguely named after someone I met at an L5R tournament, and it's probably not the one you think it is): Faustinix, Zulfon, Nuhalo, Hrunet, Kyleana, Grendan, Brione, and Kashakti.

Back to you

  • When it comes time to name a character - what resources do you use?
  • Do you have a naming scheme you use within one game or across multiple games?
  • Is there a particular source you turn to for names or inspiration for names? Novels, other games, et cetera?
  • Do you just freely make stuff up?

Why I went back

Actually, he's level 12 now.

So, yes, as some of you had surmised correctly from my inclusion of the above picture in my last post, I went back to WoW... sort of. But this time, as a casual player, not a hardcore raider. Why? So I can ruin your game, of course; that's what all us casual players do. I'd like my free epics now.

... no?

... anyone?

Alright then. Truth be told, I had been doing some thinking since Cataclysm's plans to renovate Azeroth, and realized that there was basically a whole half of the game I had never* experienced. And while I may not be actively playing like I used to, I still wanted to see at least that half of the storyline. Then I thought to myself, hey, I've never rolled a human. So I clicked human. Followed by, hey, I've never rolled a mage either. Click. Mage. Now all I need is a name.

And we believe everything we read on the internet, right kids?

And thus Anschlag, human mage, located on Kael'thas so I can harass Jess, Bre, and apparently sometimes Ratters, was born. Voila! See, it's not that interesting of a story. But so far I've been having fun with it, rolling Frost and shooting things with ... well, frostbolt spam. I'm really bad at figuring out the range on Frost Nova, and I kinda hate Elwynn Forest now. (I think it was the 8th time I had my face eaten by the same red-leveled bear while I was inside a house that the bear walked past).

So, yeah, on the MMO front I'm dividing my time between that and FFXI, with the result being that I level really, really slowly in both games. I'm also temporarily playing Shaiya (WoW clone hooooooooo!) because there's two overlapping contests, for reaching levels 5 and 10 respectively, with a chance to win an Alienware 17x laptop (here's a pic of the specs). Plus all the usual console games, though to be honest everything is taking a back seat because it's football season! (And the Bengals have already managed to disappoint, but hey, that's the life of being a Cincinnati fan.)

  • Actually, I have a draenei shaman; he's level 46, and he's on Silver Hand. And I leveled him when I had no earthly idea what I was doing, so we're going to pretend he doesn't exist.

Finishing what I start

And that's not the half of it.

Remember how I told you I was a pretty avid console gamer? Well, yeah, about that...

I have a small problem when it comes to videogames: I never seem to finish them. My attention is caught, I plunk down the cash (or, more recently, massive amounts of Gamestop trade-in credit) and bring it home, I play the game for a night or two, and... nothing. Some rare games get me to come back to them repeatedly, but overall I seem to lose the drive to finish things in place of the drive to buy the Next New Thingâ„¢.

So, now, I am putting a challenge before myself: I'm going to finish what I start. Enter this site's new page: Hey Phil, Whatcha Playin'?_ _It's a pretty straightforward page, divided into three sections:

  1. Currently Playing, for games that are currently receiving a moderate-to-large amount of my gaming hours,

  2. On the Shelf, for games that I either haven't started, haven't invested more than a few hours into, or that I have played for a while then put back down for whatever reason.

  3. Finished! Which should be self-explanatory, no?

And, to make it a little more challenging on myself, I won't be adding to the collection by spending any cash at all, until I've finished everything that is currently unfinished. If I want to get something new, there are two exceptions to this rule:

  1. Store Credit, by trading in things I'm no longer playing, and

  2. Rare Finds, such as if I manage to find Xenosaga III or Yakuza 2 somewhere.

That's it. No spending money on new console or handheld games until I finish the ones I have. Let's see if I can do it! I'll update periodically on this (you didn't think I would do something that didn't provide me with periodic blogfodder, did you? Pshaw) and welcome comments as well as recommendations (because it's probably pretty obvious from the list what kind of games I like).

You search, I answer


Pic unrelated, but Rav sent it to me just prior to posting, so there you have it. Seriously, is that cat doing The Hustle or what?

Okay, so, I still get a lot of search engine hits, and I thought now would be a good time to address some of the pressing concerns that apparently drive you, the reader, to visit this blog. Let's hop to it, shall we?

  • n52 change keys

    • Just use the program that came with the driver. If you don't have the disc, you can probably download it. Unless you want to change the physical keys, which I wouldn't recommend.
  • orphan (2009)

    • Don't bother. Spoiler, she's not really a kid at all. Bonus points to my roommate for figuring this out entirely based upon a scene in the trailer where she appears to be wearing mascara and eyeshadow. My ending was much better:
  • how to attach a blizzard authenticator to my wow account

    • You're welcome. When my Square-Enix security token arrives, I'll probably do another one for that one, too. I will become the all-knowing source of attaching one-time use security tokens to accounts, muahahahahahahaha!
  • on a related note, what do you do if you lose your blizzard authenticator

    • Call Blizzard's Accounts department. Prepare to endure the 3rd degree, probably.
  • welcome to thunderdome"





  • should i stop playing my death knight?

    • Yes.
  • end of the world

    • "...war came, no longer from the elemental nor from the star's rain of fire. The world was again remade, and the glow was as the coming of the sun upon the Earth. The children of the gods were again too few, scattered and divided and among them walked the ancients and those whose thoughts were not as to the towers and the marvels, but to the End and the destruction of the Earth and to the fires from which nothing could escape." Ethan Haas was right, gang.
  • roegadyn

    • So, yeah, I'm not going to do a whole post about it because I know only like 3 people are interested in reading about it, but Square Enix updated the official Final Fantasy XIV site with all the info that's already been leaked from Weekly Famitsu and Dengeki Playstation. Except, for some reason, for the European one.
  • "sergej gorodenskiy"

    • He does fantastic banners. I wonder why I still show up in searches for him, though? Must be cached data, because the current banner, well, I did that myself.
  • gelkis and magram clan centaur exalted

    • You can't.
  • death knight ghoul form

    • You can't, unless a different DK uses Raise Ally on you.
  • caravan emblems

    • ... I got nothin' for this one. Are you trying to grind rep with a Dodge Grand Caravan?
  • illithid

    • This is showing up here because of a link that was on my sidebar, where someone made an illithid PC race for 4e D&D. Here it is again, in case it somehow vanishes from WotC's forums.

_Nightmarishly alien refugees from a doomed time, desperately struggling to find a different path to a better future.
Racial Traits
*Average Height: 5' 6"-6' 2"
Average Weight: 130-200 lbs.

Ability Scores: +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma
Size: Medium
Speed: 6 Squares
Vision: Darkvision

Languages: Deep Speech, telepathy 5, choice of one other.
Skill Bonuses: +2 Bluff, +2 Dungeoneering
Aberrant Origin: *Your ancestors are alien beings from a future dominated by the Far Realm, so you are considered an aberrant creature for the purpose of effects that relate to creature origin.
Psionic Nature:
You gain a +5 racial bonus to saving throws against charm effects.
Psychic Resistance: You gain resist psychic 5 + one-half your level.
Mind Blast: You can use mind blast as an encounter power.

Mind Blast, Illithid Racial Power
*_In a storm of pure destructive mental power, you unleash a psychic assault on your foes.
Encounter* * Psychic
Minor Action* . . . . . Close blast 3
Target: All creatures in area
Attack: Intelligence + 2 vs. Will, Wisdom + 2 vs. Will, or Constitution +2 vs. Will
Hit: 1d4 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage. Increase to +4 bonus and 2d4 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage at 11th level, and +6 bonus and 3d4 + Wisdom modifier psychic damage at 21st level.
Special: When you create your character, choose Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma as the ability score you use when making attack rolls with this power.

And that's it!

Not Terribly Final

Obviously, the only logical thing to do now that I've been linked to by WoW.com is to, of course, blog about something that's not WoW. (Of course, to be fair, they linked to the bacon sandwich post. So we're already off to a rockin' start.)


Vaguely spurred on by Faulsey, boredom, and nostalgia, and not finding the inspiration to rejoin WoW (seriously, I've been following all the news about WoW closely... and still have no urge to re-up my account, in case someone was hoping), I decided to head back to my first MMO love: Final Fantasy XI. I'm playing at a casual (some would say ‘glacial') pace, and a number of things have changed since I last played (two years ago!), but here we are.

Let's take a little retrospective into my history with this game, along with a list of things it does very, very right, and a list of things it does very, very wrong (that hopefully they'll fix up in Final Fantasy XIV). Just as a warning, this post turned out a lot more enormous than I anticipated.