What’s In a Name

What’s In a Name

Wynthia copy


My guild made the decision to transfer to a larger server – seems like the opposite of the trend right now, what with all the free transfers to small servers, but we’ve found that recruiting and raiding at an end-game level are infinitely more difficult when your ONLY recruiting source is off-server, and you have to do all your own farming due to artificially high AH prices.

A few days ago, our officers told us they had narrowed it down to two servers, and the idea was bandied around that we may want to reserve our names.

“Silly. I’m the only Wynthea on the armory, and have been for years. The level 11 is my alt. No one will have my name.”

I’m sure you can guess where this is going.

Someone – either in my own guild as a joke, or, more likely, from our rival guild on our old server – registered my name.

I am not amused.

(before you ask why I think it might’ve been the other guild, quite a few of our more prominent members’ names were also registered. Uncommon, not found on a cool t.v. show or book names.)

Aside from my identity as associated with World of Matticus, I have an email address, a twitter, and a close affinity with this name. I know many people *cough*Matt*Cough* are perfectly comfortable hitting the “random” button, and wearing whatever comes out of it for the rest of their toon’s life.

I am not. I spend, quite literally, hours naming a character that I plan to play extensively. Hours.

I research the meanings, the language of origin, and imbue the name with a personality before the character selection screen even comes up.

Trivia, for the interested: Wynthea, meaning “healer” is a Welsh-spelling of a Hebrew name. My mother’s family is Welsh, and my own real name is Hebrew. The name holds quite a bit of significance for me.

My character is currently named “Wynthia.” Not a huge distinction, I suppose………. and one that I will remedy as soon as possible. But it bothers me. A lot.

Anyway, if you’re looking for me, I’m currently Wynthia *wince* on Firetree.

Oh, wait, I guess I should make this more than a Rant-post.

If you are considering creating a character, for RP purposes or not, but you want a name that actually carries weight, and means something – “noobpwnerx” I’m looking at you – there are some really great resources on the vast interweb. First, though, you need to have an idea of what you want.

Wyn’s character-naming guide

1. Start thinking about what you want the character to be, and to do. Before I name a character, I come up with an attribute I’d like the name to mean.

For example, if you’re creating a character to PvP, you may think about words like “Victorious” or “War-like”

For a bank alt, you may want something meaning “Wealthy.”

Just think about words that mean something you’d like the character to embody.

Whatever you do, do NOT name your character after something you really liked in a currently-popular book or movie. Old books are fine – for example, Renwein (my Human Priest) is named after a relatively obscure character in Arthurian Literature. It’s also possible it wasn’t even her name, but just a generic word for “maiden.” Bonus points if you go look it up.

2. Pull up a baby-name website.

This one freaked my last boyfriend out when he found it in my internet-history. One of my favorites is Baby Names World, because it allows you to search by meaning, and create lots of fun filters.

It also allows you to filter by gender and language of origin.

3. Google a search like “Names meaning….”

If you don’t like anything on a standard baby-site, just give Google a shot. This is actually how I found Wynthea.

4. Refine your choices.

You need to pick a couple. If you’re creating a Female Human Prot-Warrior, and like Irish names, be aware that “Bridget” (means Strong) will probably already be taken.

Say them out loud a few times. People will be trying this on vent, so don’t spend all this time creating a name just to hear it butchered every day.

See what abbreviations you come up with. Wynthea shortens rather handily to Wyn, which is an awesome nickname. (Full of wyn, for the wyn… it’s an unexpected thing I really love about the name.)  

Make sure it’s relatively easy to type. Elves especially seem to have a hard time with this one. I had a friend named Randirardhon who a) hated to be called Randi, and b) couldn’t figure out why people had such a hard time typing it out.

5. Name your new best friend.

Or alter-ego. However it works for you.

Then get really upset when some Jerk steals your name. (Yes, I know that reaction is probably exactly what they wanted….. )


My next post(s) are coming, as promised. I just can’t believe you guys wanna read about REP FACTIONS. That’s not one I had 1/2 prepared. That was “no one will choose this” poll-filler. Argh!



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  1. I agree on carefully picking your character’s name 🙂 My name (as you can see above I suppose?) are 2 names together. “Mara” and “Etha”, they should mean “priest” and “healer” in elvish.

  2. I kinda use puns in the naming of most of my Warcraft characters:

    Pesa, my bank alt
    Paracelsa, my alchemist (named for a famous alchemist)
    Benni, my warrior (closest I could get to Pat Benetar)
    Malcheza, my priest, a mauling of Malchezadek

  3. You might like this one: http://www.behindthename.com

  4. The name of your character is part of the character’s identity and, ultimately, part of your identity. I don’t think one needs to know psychology to understand that “projecting yourself” on your character (or a part of yourself) and giving it a suiting name is like naming that part of yourself. It can only feel awkward if someone steals that name or forces you to rename yourself.

    I think this topic hit the nail on the head, that there are two approaches:
    1) Don’t care, just name it, or have a laugh with it.
    2) Care, give it part of your identity or something you feel related to. the naming guide is a great way of achieving that.

    I grew tired of option 2. I found too many people with the same name, grew tired of the name or the character it represented. I resolved to using option 1. Strangely enough… my rather stupid naming style (or silly, depending on how you see it) has become a trademark on its own.

  5. For every new game I start my charname/gamertag or anything is drugfreeyth or drugfreeyouth. It’s sort of my test-run name. If I continue to play with this character or name, well I’m stuck with a kind of stupid name but at least I get to know people with similar music taste.

    For all my alts I pretty much use names out of books or mythology.

    drugs last blog post..Raiding in Northrend

  6. Apoptygmaa says

    ‘Ventability’ is a very valid and oft-overlooked criteria. I’m perfectly fine with ‘Apop,’ but the same can’t be said of my mate Nadien, who quite quickly grew frustrated with being called ‘Nads’ all the time…

    Apoptygmaas last blog post..Damnation Army in Retributive Strike on Stormwind

  7. Regarding the misfortune of having someone take the spelling of your name:

    E-mail/twitter/blog account aside, at least rest assured that the Welsh meaning of your name remains intact.

    This is thanks to the fact that the concept of standardized spelling is relatively new linguistically and the formation of the meaning behind the name predates the spelling.

  8. Wyn,

    I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who obsesses during the name creation. I go through the same steps you listed above to make sure the name makes the cut in all the areas. My husband smirks when I hint at creating an alt because he knows there will be days of “what do you think about x” and “what name would best represent this class.”

    When I created a Death Knight, I didn’t want to have any “death” names so I went with a pun instead. My toon’s name means “Good Night’ in Hebrew 😉 Puns are a good alternative if all the traditional meanings are already taken. Even with all of the above, I find it really difficult to create a name that doesn’t already exist on the Armory.

    Thanks for your articles! And, I was one of the ones who voted for writing about Rep Factions! 🙂

    Sharon Rosens last blog post..3D-Me Please

  9. I like to take meanings from different languages or old languages such as latin, german, arabic etc… I use behindthename.com as someone above mentioned,

    I also derive names from Mythology, beasts and norse characters, greek gods, villians etc… a lot of the popular ones are always taken but there are some interesting names as well.. I go to http://www.pantheon.org for that.

    Lastly, I know a lot of people that got their names from characters in books, tv shows, magna, I used the Marvel dictionary once and they have so many characters you’d never heard about with cool names.

    Wills last blog post..Auctioneer Addon Guide Pt. 1 – Profit from the Auction House

  10. Wyn, now I’m terribly curious as to what your Hebrew-originated real name is!
    <— is of the tribe

    I am very stuck on character names as well. My char’s original name was Baelor, which I stole from George R. R. Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” and thought was perfect for a paladin or a priest. When I transferred, I found that Baelor was taken. I was planning on making the switch from protection to retribution, so I wanted a name that conveyed strength. I flipped to a Gaelic baby naming page and found the name Cathmor, which means “mighty warrior” in Gaelic.

    I want Baelor back, but Cathmor will do.

  11. Allindra - Smolderthorn - Alliance says

    Firetree! That’s in my battlegroup…and you’re horde. LOL…maybe I’ll see you in a bg sometime?

  12. Well, it certainly makes me feel better to know I’m not the only one putting that much effort into my names – do you guys get made fun of, too? hehe.

    @Tarsus, thank you. I kind of figured that about the spelling, but it definitely makes me feel better for you to confirm.

    @Sharon “Good Night” = GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My DK was named Eirawen on beta. Means Snow White. Guess what color her mohawk was?

    @Allindra mmm……. maaaybe. I really don’t BG much. But when I do, I’ll make a /target Allindra macro, and keep an eye out for you!

  13. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Malazan_Book_of_the_Fallen_Characters

    I love the book series and the names of lots of characters

    You will notice a certain dwarf priest name in there

  14. Doc….. how come you don’t have a gravatar yet, dear?

  15. I too spend hours agonizing over names. My healer priest is Missmedic. Created to be a battleground Medic inspired by Band of Brothers “Bastongne” episode -medic Eugene Roe. Of course Medic was taken so I added Miss. Its amazing how many people just don’t get the name still. Other names of mine people just don’t get (except for the coolios 😀 ) “Elleseven” which is a play on L7 which is 50’s slang for being a square. “Sischristian” which is my homage to “Sister Christian” by Night Ranger. My other was “Urfubar” which is You are F.U.B.A.R (if you don’t know what fubar is watch a WW2 movie). My kids use an anagram of their name and a reference to a popular vampire book character.

  16. Probably cause I don’t use the right email

  17. No way Doc, I love the Malazan books too. I recognized Mallet the healer 🙂

  18. Definitely jumping on the “obsess about character names” wagon. In my case it’s exacerbated by the fact that I’m very bad at it. I am constantly full of envy of my flatmate, who somehow always manages to find the coolest names for his characters.

    Also joining Josh in wishing to know how Wynthea comes from Hebrew. It’s my native language and I can’t figure it out. Closest name I can think of is Cynthia, but that’s not a Hebrew name.

  19. That, quite seriously, sucks. I’m really sorry about your name.

    Naming is one of the most important things in WoW for me. I always slave over my names, and I helped my husband with one of his. There was this one time, my brother and his wife as a joke… well, read.

    Birdfalls last blog post..Hot Epix, or "What Do You Mean, Stats? Look at How CUTE It Is! XD"

  20. I found it at Hebrew Baby Names but their server seems to be down.

    Again, Wynthea isn’t Hebrew in and of it self… it’s a WELSH spelling derived from the Hebrew for Healer. I don’t remember what the original Hebrew word was, unfortunately, and discovered the server was down when I went to look.

    Also, the number of results that comes up for Wynthea has increased A LOT since I first took the name. Hmmmmmm….

  21. that sucks..I have a lvl 7 troll hunter on firetree btw 🙂 LFG!

    I sat down and was playing the open beta back in the day of original wow. Enough random clicks on the naming button produced one I liked..Aurdon. I took that with me through open beta and continued to use it in the live servers.

    When in WotLK beta, I build a death knight and named him Ourdawn for simplicity sake.

    Aurdons last blog post..Have you ever felt deep down you were … different?

  22. Sjelmater says

    I too obsess over the names of my characters. For instance the name of my deathknight, Sjelmater, means devourer of souls in Norwegian which I thought fit the snowy feel of WoTLK.

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