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How do you go about naming your characters?

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#1 Kakirokiko


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:25 AM

I'm sorry if this is a little too general of a question but... how do you usually come up with names for your characters? One of the biggest issues I've always had with naming in MMOs (and RPGs in general actually) is that starting out, you usually don't know that much about the game lore and culture to make interesting names. What usually happens then is I end up making names that seem out of place for the world.

I'm mainly wondering because I would really like to make a Sylvari as my first character and there hasn't really been too much I can reference.

Thanks ^^

#2 Rowhin



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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:26 AM

Moved to Durmand Priory as you're more likely to get constructive answers here.

#3 draxynnic



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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:41 AM

Let's play hot potato! (Partially because this is where these sorts of discussions got moved to)

One of the stickies in the forum I just moved to is a discussion on just this sort of topic, but for a sylvari, the rule of thumb is that you're basically looking at names from or inspired by Welsh and Gaelic.
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#4 Maiden


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:59 AM

I'm going to make a Sylvari as well and have a list of names to choose from. I've made the list of names I have over some months, picked up while reading books, watching movies and tv.
Here is a link to wiki for Celtic's names and another one for Irish names and Galic names

As they are plants, you can also take a name from the flora and translate it into another language and maybe add or omit letters


Edited by Maiden, 11 April 2012 - 10:04 AM.

#5 Rhododendron


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:26 AM

International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants
List of saladsApple Chicken Granny Salad Recipes

#6 amidwx


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 01:27 PM

If you're looking for sylvari names, here are some resources:

http://guildwars2rol...ing Conventions - the Naming Conventions guide on the Guild Wars 2 Roleplay Wiki

http://www.guildwars...ces-t12713.html - A similar guide here on Guru

#7 Moonface


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:03 PM

Well it is always different for what character especially because I am a roleplayer.
My Main characters are always me but in that game universe so my name is my name in real life but changed a small bit. For example Adam might become Adeim or Adeamia
just juggle some letters and give it a fantasy look or a look that matches you character. (my main is a asura so my name will be Adam but made more "cute")

OH and use nicknames are fun too :) but if I making a alt character which are normally nothing like me than I look around room or in my house for stuff to inspire me! For example a bottle of Tango and a cat called Stan can create the amazing Stango or Tansa or Stangilak. So yeah just juggle letters :) It is all in the Juggling :)

#8 Gridram Coaltooth

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:07 PM

Depends on Race and Profession a lot of the time.

For a Charr, their names are usually rough sounding and make using of d's, k's, and the occasional z. (At least for males).

Female Charr usually have a feminine sound by adding an 'a' to the end, like "Reeva."

With my name, Gridram Coaltooth, I just tried to think of a rough sounding name. Gridram fits the part. Then for Charr, they have a warband surname. Mine being Coal, I just picked an attribute about my character that stands out: his unusually big teeth.

#9 McGinnis


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:12 PM

My main character in Guild Wars 1 bears the surname Sabrewulf. One of my "personal lore" bits for passing on that name to a GW2 character lies in the EotN story. My character became well-respected among the norn (as do all characters in EotN), to the point where someone gave their child that name in order to immortalize the legend. The name was then passed on in that family.

Then, for a first name, I wanted to have something a bit Nordic since my main in GW2 is going to be a norn ranger. I then came upon the name Tormund. Putting the two together: Tormund Sabrewulf.

For my asura character I already have something in mind. The first name is a single syllable ending in a double consonant, like many male asura names. But I haven't decided if I'm going to give him a surname, or a title, or nothing at all. In case I'll go with nothing I'll refrain from posting the actual name since I can't reserve it like the other one.

What I name my characters differs greatly from game to game. It's something I put a lot of thought into, because it's important to me personally.

#10 Siumai


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Posted 11 April 2012 - 10:52 PM

I tend to take either:

- Names that I have seen in fantasy books that I like (doesn't necessarily have to do with liking the character from the book, just the name)
- Names that I find whose origins specifically match a character (for example I had a Tauren with a Navajo name)

This time around I have 2 names in mind for my first 2 characters (with a couple backup names):

- 1 human from a fantasy book (will be my main - was an assassin in the book but unsure what my main's profession will be)
- 1 that means "lotus" for a Sylvari character

I found the Sylvari one from a baby names site - searched by meaning :)

Edited by Serai, 11 April 2012 - 11:06 PM.

#11 ShadowedSin


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 06:48 AM

If you are seeking some assistance in names my website has compiled this guide with plently of suggested sources:


#12 strider77


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:37 PM

If pre-existing naming conventions exist in a universe, i'll usually incorporate them into my thought processes but a name is usually the very very last thing I do pertaining a character. Sometimes a name will just hit me out of nowhere, other times it'll take me months. Like my GW2 main took me about 3 months to name. Sometimes I do plug in random syllables, which leads to interesting comments from the roommates when they overhear it :P. Other times i'll use names that just seem right and fitting for the character,

#13 eremos


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

Here's what I've done for my characters.

Try and think of a few words that describe something about that character to start from. This could be based on something as simple as their profession or race, or something related to their character if you're into roleplay.

For instance, an elementalist might be described as colourful (because of different attunements), destructive, supportive, magical, etc.
Race has a bit more of a connection to roleplay. A sylvari could be curious or naive, while a charr might be ferocious or impulsive.

Then I went to thesaurus.com and just browsed around looking for a synonym to those that could be adapted into a name. It's easy to get off track at this point and end up with a word that has very little to do with the one you started from, but it usually works.

As an example, my sylvari elementalist will be called Kale, short for kaleidoscope.

#14 DarkGhostGizmoXx


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:05 PM

I used a baby name app on my iPod. It gave me celtic and gaelic names for male and female, so I just picked some cool ones from the list, to make a 2 word name, which I've now created on GW. This means that the name will be reserved in GW2 for my account, right?

It's funny though, I created this name for my Sylvari, but I've now decided to use it on my main char, a human :L

#15 Logic


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

When the game releases it's just gonna be a race to get unique names...

#16 DerekUrban


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:14 PM

Generally I'll use either mythological beings and/or words in foreign languages that relate to the character in question. From there I might edit the spelling slightly to cater it to gender or keep it unique.

#17 Paragon Ninja

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:46 PM

Names you use in GW1 are reserved for you, right?

#18 Silvernis


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:50 PM

Paragon Ninja said:

Names you use in GW1 are reserved for you, right?
Not necessarily. AFAIK, you need to do something (I'm not sure what) with the HoM to actually reserve your game for GW2. However, I'm assuming that if you make a GW1 character with the name you want, you basically prevent anyone else from using the name and reserving it via the HoM. In that case, you'd just have to be quick when GW2 goes live so you can claim the name.

#19 Paragon Ninja

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:54 PM

Silvernis said:

Not necessarily. AFAIK, you need to do something (I'm not sure what) with the HoM to actually reserve your game for GW2. However, I'm assuming that if you make a GW1 character with the name you want, you basically prevent anyone else from using the name and reserving it via the HoM. In that case, you'd just have to be quick when GW2 goes live so you can claim the name.

Oh well, we will see. But to stay on-topic: I come up with names just in daily life and remember them for later use. When I create a character and have to come up with a name then, they are always silly and I will regret them later.

#20 Hirsty


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Posted 12 April 2012 - 07:55 PM

lore based. as always. PvP chars are just random things that pop into my head

#21 Bergil Sunfyre

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 08:25 PM

First, I find something to be that core of the name. That's usually a reference to something, usually a semi-obscure fictional character who'se unlikely to have many characters referencing them. Then I tweak it until it fits the context. In Guild Wars 1 that usually just meant adding a last name fitting of a fantasy hero, as shown by my forum name, but in Guild Was 2, I'll try to make it fit the character's race a bit and include calls-back to my Guild Wars 1 characters.

Note that that's for video game characters. When I'm actually writing something, I put in a bit more effort.

#22 ShadyiaTSW


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Posted 20 April 2012 - 06:48 AM

Here is an awesome source for names:


#23 Weindrasi


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Posted 20 April 2012 - 08:03 AM

I use a few things to determine my character names. First, the culture and sort of names used in that culture. Second, the character's personality. Third, the sound of the name itself.
It takes me a really long time to come up with character names. I write down a long list of them, reject generic ones, test potential ones, think about it, write more lists, combine some names, reject some more--and eventually one just comes along that feels perfect.

#24 Klofange Fiercehunter

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Posted 22 May 2012 - 06:37 PM

For me the foundation of all my characters names are derived from a show I watched as a kid, however I alter those names to fit the race and culture they belong too, often the surnames if they have one will be more based on obvious patterns seen amongst NPCs

#25 Castegyre


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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:15 AM

It really depends on what I want the character to be. I can spend more time picking a name for a character than I ever do in the creator developing their look.

I try to avoid doing things like using the common name of a deity or other historical/mythilogical entity directly, but I might tweak something to create a name I like. So I may not have a potentially evil mastermind named Lucifer, but the character's name or surname might be Heylel (I'm aware there is conflict in proper translation using this word for 'Satan').

Maybe I want a character inspired by some of the writing of Dumas. I could search all kinds of french stuff or I could combine some existing names from his works and use Parithos. I don't directly copy fictional characters, but if I have one I really like the name of I might find a work around to use it. Like if I want to make a female character based on Thomas Covenant I might name her Tamsen Berith instead.

If I want something from a particular language but I can't replicate the proper grammar as I understand it correctly I don't (mis)use the language at all. But I might us the phonetics of the word(s) to create a name with that I like. If I am going to use a language or culture for inspiration I try to use less common ones. Like I avoid japanese, norse, or irish direct inspirations whenever I can simply because they are so commonly used. But there are a lot of other ones out there with similarities that can serve me just as well without all the cool names being taken.

The dictionary and thesaurus, sights like 20000 names and godchecker, random name generators, translators, google searches, etc on top of looking into what the game's naming conventions are all work well for me. You can type something as simple as 'what does the name/word XXXXX mean' or 'what are male names meaning XXXXX' into google and get tons of information to work from just with that.

In the end the only person the name has to have real meaning to is me since I'm the one who has to live with and be known by it in game, but I don't want other people to think it sucks either. So I put some effort into it.

#26 dansamy


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Posted 25 May 2012 - 03:40 AM

I start with the character's personality. Then, using lore and naming conventions and foreign languages, I keep looking until I find the right name.
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#27 Tregarde


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Posted 31 May 2012 - 02:15 PM

Basically, I just think of things till a name "pops out" and says "Yes, I'm the one for this character!" Sometimes I have an idea for a character and then I find a name that fits. Sometimes I start with a name and a character develops around it.

Sometimes I find a real life name, sometimes I just make something up. With human characters (no matter the game) I'm more likely to pick a real life name. Depending on the character, I may pick something with a certain "feel" or "theme" (example, in GW1 I looked at some middle eastern names for my Dervish). For a character from another species, I'm more likely to make up something that has the same "feel" as NPCs of the race.

#28 Sevvrim


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Posted 11 June 2012 - 08:52 PM

When naming my RP characters, I usually stick with lore-friendly names. I stay with the established naming convention for that particular race. From there, I pretty much browse names fitting my chosen race. Once I find a name suitable for my character, I usually tack on a last name that also fits.

#29 Gorwe


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Posted 13 June 2012 - 11:32 PM

Prime Directive: Stay within boundaries of World you're trying to RP in (so, no Drizzts and Legolases in 99% cases)
1. Find out Real Life roots of in-game names(names CAN be linked to Sindar, Quenya or Klingon{Thlinngon to be exact} mind you).
2. Research names within that family of names(i.e. Most Elven names end in -we or -mo if we are talking bout Altmer)
3. Ponder some
4. Name pops out
5. Research surnames(if applicable) of given race
6. Ponder some more
7. Surname is here!

Example: Alias of my High Elf Light Mage(Warhammer)
1. Mostly linked to Sindar
2. SHOULD end in -we, -u, -o or -on
3. Ilwe(? No!), Ilu(? No!), Ilo(??? Hell no!), Ilon(ok-ish, but no), Ilanion(!!! Bingo!)
4. Name: Ilanion
5. Surnames are a go! Should reflect some trait or habit or clothes or family name
6. Browncloak-because he wears brown Cloak infused with silvery glyphs representing Qaysh
7. Surname: Browncloak

Final result: Ilanion Browncloak(Like it?)

Hope you learned sth. from this. Thanks for reading!

#30 ~PolarisNova~


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 07:33 PM

Like a few people I like to stay within the bounds of the games lore with appropriate names. I am not a heavy RP'er, but I do like to rub shoulders with RP'ers now and again when I get the chance. I also like my character to feel part of the world, so a good solid name is always a must in this regard.

How I go about choosing them is different for each race. I plan to play only human and possibly Sylvari, so with the Sylvari names I looked at botanical sources of inspiration, unusual plants and flowers etc, that I can use as a basis and perhaps alter it here and there to make it even more unique.

My human names took longer, simply because this meant me taking into account the background of my GW2 characters and their ascendants. Eventually, using a Krytan family background as the main source, I came up with a suitable surname. Mostly with a roman/greek feel to it, since this seems to suit Kryta quite well.

Resources I use, the GW2 wiki, surname websites for Roman/Greek, baby name sites, fantasy name generators, real life Knights from history, characters from myth and legend and so on. Anywhere I can find inspiration really.

Edited by ~PolarisNova~, 15 June 2012 - 07:34 PM.

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