Everyone who has ever played any sort of RPG has faced the daunting challenge of coming up with the “right name” for their character. I can spend so much time before the game even starts, feeling the immense pressure of needing a name that conveys my considerable coolness. A name that explains something about my character and is some how fantastical enough for the RPGs I play. I have spent so much time that I still remember the character creation page of every RPG I’ve played. Going all the way back to Wizardry on the original Nintendo. I don’t remember anything about the game play or even the character names I chose but I still remember those first few minutes sitting there choosing a persona that I would be taking up for the next several month or years. In the case of Wizardry your beginning stats were random so you created your characters multiple times until you got a roll with the most points possible. You could spend hours just creating your first character, In the almost entirely text based interface staring at your 13″ TV Screen.
Back when I got my hands on the original Diablo I unconsciously began formulating a system that I still use for the creation of characters. Straight out the box I create a Warrior/Barbarian, something crude with lots of Health and a propensity for smashing first and asking questions later. These classes tend to be the best way to first experience a new game. They do not play particularly fast but they are forgiving for your noobish mistakes. My last name is Savage and it happens to make a great name for the image of a trashing bashing kick ass character. Once I have the mechanics of the game under my belt the slower style of the warrior type classes begins to bore me and I find myself back at the character creation screen again. This second time around I create some sort of hybrid. Something with good ranged capabilities who doesn’t need to back down when the enemy closes in. In most of the games I’ve played these classes really let you see all aspects of the game. You get to learn and cast almost all if not all the cool spells, you can use most if not all the coolest biggest weapons, and wear all the flashiest armor.
Usually I play the game to completion with my second “mixed class” characters. So the name creation for these characters is the most vital. The names of my “main” characters have to have some meat to them. They have to be legendary names with a back story and personal connection, no Slayer, or Killer here. Names for these characters come from Favorite Books; Taran from Taran the Wanderer, Kaz from the DragonLance series, Bran from A Clash of Kings. Great Movies; Razel from Willow, or they come from people whose names really capture my imagination because of their cultural uniqueness like Padrick, or Ketzel.
While working towards the completion of a game like most people I feel the draw of the classes I have shirked. Eventually, the urge over-powers me and I create an Alt. Because I am no longer in a state of nervous anticipation of what the game might hold or because I spent my limitied creative energies on the naming of my main character the names of my alts are generally less inspired. Since my last name conveys some meaning of badass I tend to just add prefixes to it. A rogue for example is DarkSavage, a Preist is PiousSavage.
Mine is a fairly straightforward system and back before online play it worked very well. These days name selection is not as simple. If I’m not in the first wave of people purchasing a game it is unlikely that I will get the name Savage for my first character. Other players (the ones who name themselves Slayer, and Killer) scoop up my name for its considerable coolness and I am generally left reading the “That name is already taken” message. This was the case when I started playing WoW. My friends Jen and Josh convinced me to get the game after I made some joke referencing the Cows Level in Diablo II. They encouraged me to come to their server and said that when I signed on I should call them and they would help me out however they could. Since I couldn’t the name I’d hoped for I decided to forego the warrior all together and instead created a Rogue sticking with my naming convention she became DarkSavage. Once I got logged in I called Jenny and Josh. Told them my characters name and I quickly, I got a whisper from Josh, “Savage says: Hi”… I couldn’t believe my good friend was running around with my good name “You stole my name!? I asked flabbergasted and a little weirded out, then relaxing “I’m kind of honored….”
I should have known right at the beginging that the rogue was not going to be right fit me. I’d never played a straight role class all the way through any game. But I stuck with it all the way to end game raiding pre-BC at which point I started a Druid named her Sioban (Gaelic Name said Sha von) and in my typical fashion I have played her to as near completion as the time constraints of my life will let me.
Recently, I created and took up my alts with fervor. I have leveled BlueSavage a Shaman, and ClovenSavage a Mage up to nearly 30. If the past is any indicator then these alts will never see any of the Burning Crusade content. I will quit playing about the time that I get competent at them. Maybe this time things will be different. Maybe.