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What’s In a Name? (or, Choosing the Perfect Name for Your Toon)

In a virtual world filled with “Ikeelu” and “Ugonnadie”, choosing the perfect name for your toon can be a big decision. It’s the label that you put upon yourself, the way you will be identified for the life of that character. If you choose to make the toon your “main”, it will become your online personality, and the reputation attached to that name will follow you through all your travels within Azeroth.

So, what’s the best name to choose for your toon? Blizzard has a few hard-and-fast guidelines that players are expected to follow when naming a game character, which include rules restricting names which may be offensive, reference real-world people or places, are full or partial sentences, or which may be pure gibberish. If Blizzard finds that you’ve created a toon with a name like this, you will be asked to change the name.

With all these restrictions, how does one name a character in a unique manner? I’ve assembled a few tips that may be helpful in choosing the perfect name for your next character.

Baby Names Websites

If I am at a loss for what to name a character, the first place I turn is to one of the many baby naming websites available on the web. They often have names from many countries along with their meanings so that you can choose not only a name that you like, but one that means something that’s appropriate to your toon. For example, if that new mage you just created is destined to be fire-specced, you might name him Aodhan, which means “fire” in the old Celtic. The possibilities are endless, and offer options for both males and females, and using baby naming sites help you to solve the problem of naming toons according to what they do. Aodhan has a much better ring to it than Iburnyoo.

Modified Novel Characters

If your favorite novel is, let’s say, Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic and you’d really like to name that fire mage you just created Rincewind, but because of the Blizzard naming guidelines you can’t, you can always modify the name and still pay homage to your favorite character. Change Rincewind to Rillwind or perhaps Ryncegust; the spirit of the name remains present, but it isn’t THE actual name, and thus not against Blizzard’s guidelines.

Modified Real Names

As tempting as it may be, naming a toon Cynthia because that’s your name is just, well, to be honest, not very interesting. That doesn’t mean that you can’t modify your real name into a name that would be acceptable, creative and will fit into the atmosphere of World of Warcraft. A name like Cynthia could be modified to Syhnthaea and not only does it look fantastical and fit into the game atmosphere, but it still retains the spirit of the original name.

Using the Random Name Generator

If all else fails, there is always the in-game Random Name Generator to fall back upon. The names it provides don’t always follow the game’s own guidelines, and sometimes some tweaking is necessary to get them to fit into the guidelines (or even to make sense), but the World of Warcraft Random Name Generator is provided by Blizzard to help make naming your toon easier and with a little effort it can be a valuable tool for choosing the perfect name.

The point of the Blizzard naming guidelines isn’t to make naming your toon more difficult, but to help steer you in the right direction for making the world we play in more believable and immersive. A world filled with nonsense-named toons takes away from the experience and makes the world seem less “real”; no mother in their right mind would name their child Ikikurbutt, so why would you name your toon that?


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Great article Calli. Thanks!

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