Howdy, mighty crowd of MMO Champion!
Today is the day you are thinking about rolling a goblin or a worgen. Don't lie, we're all in the same boat: you've reached level 85, you have run some dungeons, maybe some heroics, maybe even some raids, your reputations are getting there, your gear does not look so bad anymore... and that's it, you want to try your hands at the little green men or the angry fur-people. Of course you do! The starting zones are awesome, the new races are awesome, you need a couple more professions, and those new spells of that other class you don't play are looking way better than those you got anyway.
Well, this guide is for you. It will not teach you a lot of things. For example, it won't teach you to play your character, either at low or high level. It won't teach you where to farm stuff, or level your professions, or how to get the Baron mount. But it will, maybe, help you feel really good about your character nonetheless... Because it will inspire you to get a kick ass name. Hopefully. And if it doesn't, well, you get a full refund, because that's only fair. As an old Shadow Priest - a buddy of mine - used to say: "Life eternal, or you get your money back."
Note: please keep in mind that whatever name you choose for your character has to comply with Blizzard's naming policy found here. Also, this guide is limited to naming your character on a non-Roleplay realm.
Alright, let's get the only boring rule of naming out of the way: there is a maximum of 12 characters in a name, and you can only use characters that are relevant in the languages of your region. For Europe - where I'm writing this guide from - that means accentuated characters anywhere from Swedish to Spanish and back. Russians get Cyrillic characters, etc. You get the picture. I would recommend staying away from special characters whenever possible - when overused they can make a name look messy, and difficult to spell for chat/social purposes. And now let's move on to the actual guide!
So how does this work? Well, I could give you a list of names that I find cool and you could pick one of them. Obviously that would be highly subjective, and not very scalable in the long run. Instead, I have decided to put YOU to work: in addition to a few rules of thumb, I will shower you with a bunch of concepts that will hopefully make your mind wander and wonder about your very own ideas, so that by the end of the read, your creativity would be magically stimulated and you will rapidly come up with a great name. I call this method the Turbo Kaja-kick 2000 (borrowed from Goblin alchemeering and vastly superior to the 1000 version in case you were wondering).
Rule of thumb #1 – Wölvehrÿnne and Evilcaster666 are. Not. Cool names.
Obvious fantasy names are not helping you feel unique. It may come out as pretty obvious, but yeah, stay away from Legolas (or Lëgollàss) for your Blood Elf hunter; or Gîmmlï for your Dwarf warrior. In a similar fashion, composed names that mean to sound bad-ass like Shadowkiller or Nightslayer tend to be too expectable and generate more chuckles than shivers.
Rule of thumb #2 – Sense > Gender > Race > Class.
Wait, what do you mean by “sense”?
Sense is whatever idea(s) your name conveys (IE projects in a person's mind). For example, a warrior named Fluffydonut will not convey the same vibe as a warrior named Retalihate. Your own culture and empathy determine how well you are able to predict how people would react to a given name.
Ok, then what is that priority system you’re talking about, is that a DPS cycle or what?
No, nothing to do with DPS, and yes, it is debatable, but basically, my view is that when you think up a name, whatever sense you want it to convey is more important than whether or not it is appropriate for the gender of your character, which is more important than the way it fits with the race general names, and finally the class vibe. Here is an example, for a female Troll rogue:
“Coolstorybro” fits the Troll theme, and arguably the class theme as well. It sparks from a meme that may make you and your friends laugh, so it’s all good. But if your character is female, the “bro” sort of stands out as odd. In that particular case you may want to create a male Troll rogue instead.
Another example for our female rogue would be Ginandtonic: it carries some cocktail meaning, which may appeal to you. It arguably applies to both male and female characters, and to all classes. If you want to add a little Troll vibe in there you may spell it “Jinandtonic”, but because the name’s meaning is not associated with a gender, you’re pretty much free to come up with whatever you like.
And now, on to the Kaja-kick-a-thon 3000! (or was it 2000?) - Remember, just sit back, grab an energy drink (or three) and read through the following stuff, while clicking on the links if your curiosity / creativity is fired up.
Names that are made up from internet, urban, musical, artistic, geeky cultures of all kind. TV Series you've been watching, songs that you listen to all the time, books you've been reading, their characters but also their titles, their places, regions, cities, names of building, gardens, items, objects and pets.
Any inside, private joke you have with your close friends. A recurrent word or phrase, the running joke of your buddy / family member, the nickname of your bald uncle who drinks too much at weddings... sorry I got carried away. Carriedaway, good name for a priest or a paladin, by the way. What do you think? :]
WoW Race vibe
Dwarves are stout, they sound like beer brands with a hint of furious blacksmithing. Google "beer brand" and "medieval smithing jobs". Guinness is good for you by the way.
Night Elves are beings of the moon, nimble, light, swift, eternal. Google "Elven names" and "100 beautiful words".
Gnomes are ingenuous, smart(ypants), mischievous, small, deceitful, cute. Google "Clever pet names", "High tech buzzwords list".
Draenei are benevolent, spiritual. Double all vowels like in Naaru. Google "Astronomy names".
Humans are... humans. Take a list of real names and try to modify one letter in each: Mariah -> Dariah. Patrick -> Katrick. Denis -> Oh, wait...
Also, keep in mind that real names can sometime convey a great vibe. Imho "Eugene" makes for a great Human or Forsaken mage name, for example.
Worgens and Forsaken both share a Victorian, old England vibe. Google "Victorian Names", don't be afraid to switch a couple of consonants in there.
Blood Elves are hot, sexy, kind of precious borderline effeminate, and addicts. Get synonyms of addiction and mana/arcane/magic. Google "clean but sexy words".
Goblins are clever, greedy, dirty, mechanics, engineers and alchemists. Sludge, Blast, Fizzle, Wrech, Gold, Scam, Grifty, Boom, Bam! Go google your mama.
Taurens are spiritual native americans, peaceful. They sound like nature, grass, plains, eagle, mountain, hoof, stampede, and wisdom. Google "Native American Word".
Trolls are cool, voodoo, hex, Jamaican, African, Rastafarian Jintaholics. Google "tribal gods" "Voodoo names" and "African names".
Orcs are "Karthax" and "Gramsha". Make up words from K, Gr, X, Sh, with lots of "a" and "o" sounds, you can't go wrong. If you want a noun, get a synonym of "anger".
Study a concept
You already know that you want your character to convey some voodoo meaning? or some engineering vibe? Go study that very field for half an hour. Wikipedia is your friend. Write down all nouns that sound cool, you will be able to compile, distort, and recompose them later.
Composed words (not workable in all languages)
Take a few ideas, write them on paper, then cut down the words into pieces and rearrange them.
Example: a male Goblin warrior, made for tanking. Words that come to mind: Engine, Diesel, Gasoline, Sludge, Shield, Tank, Damage, Scam, Board.
Potential names: Dieselscam, Sludgetanker, Scamoline (probably female?)
Let's take another one: female Worgen priest. Elizabeth, Victoria, Soul, Eternal, Sister, Monastery, Light, Fury, Furry (!), Full moon, Wolf.
Potential names: Sistermoon, Monastoria, Furryfury (yeah, I know, but I had to), Wolizabeth.
And a last one with less meaning, and more sound-based work: Male Gnome warlock. Demon, Pentacle, Maleficarum, Tiny, Peanut, Angry, Megalomaniac, Slavery, Doom, Rash.
Potential names: Maldomius, Dembrashek, Pentagrium, Sliptin, Ang.
Take whatever comes to mind when you think of the character and find the exact opposite. Examples using classes:
Fragile, for a warrior tank.
Paganrites for a priest.
Noise, for a rogue.
Balanced, for a paladin. Oh, the flames, the bright flames, I can almost touch them... :]
You get the idea.
Semi-random name generation
Pick 3 numbers between 1 and 30. Write them on a piece of paper. Now look around you and pick the first work that you can read outside of that screen. Go Google that word. Get the first result page up and count down the words or lines using the first number on your paper. Get the first letter of that word and keep on counting using your second number: another word, get the second letter this time. Do it once again: you will have 3 letters. That is more than enough. Put them on paper, add vowels, mix them around. Try to make a word of no more than 7 letters. See how that goes for you. Pro tip: also works with 4 or 5 numbers / letters if you need to.
... and a shout out to one of the finest and most popular absurd character names out there: the famous podcaster Totalbiscuit! Boy, what a great name. /bow
Easy to think: take an absolute truckload of words that have nothing to do with World of Warcraft, or even fantasy, or gaming. Also get a bunch of sayings, short sentences and expressions. Mix short ones together, and spend some thinking time on the longer ones, one at a time. Let them sink in. Ask yourself the question "do I think Usbkey is a name I will like to answer to in the future?" or "Can I really be referred to as Thatonethere for the next couple of years?"
Alright, examples I've come up with or witnessed during the years, to my great delight:
Ineedacoffee, Goshthatshot, Foldmyeyelid, Ilovepeanuts, Howaboutno, Raiseyouthen, Cleanbeans, Discoisdead.
Last but not least - Nickname check
If your name is a bit long, chances are your friends will shorten it in order to save writing time. You can fight it, but it is going to make you sound like a bit of an ass, so you may as well embrace it. Check your name for whatever is the likely shortcut people will adopt. Some examples of things that work (or not):
Criminology (-> Crim: you're fine)
Fructosalis (-> Fructo? Fruc? Yeah, not that great)
Sevenblades (-> Seven: you're fine)
Sarvelington (Sarv? maybe yes, maybe not...)
And on that note, I'd like to thank you for reading this guide, and I hope it's been useful, or at least an enjoyable read! Please leave feedback good and bad in the comments (if it gets posted in the public forums)!
PS: some useful resources when looking for words.
Rhymezone - lets you find synonyms, antonyms (words with opposite meaning), rhymes, and more.
Special characters guide, if you need to go there.
A useful Name Generator - if you haven't found what you are looking for yet. Use with caution, and only to get inspired![COLOR="red"]
What? Alright, alright, I'll put an Orc as well, there you go...
But wait! There's even more! Here is a very cool tip I came across in this thread - credit goes to Slenzy for that awesome tip!