On Judgement

Now that I find myself signed up for the role of editor and co-author, I suppose I may have to do more than just correct The Esteemed Creator on his poor, and quite frankly infantile use of the English language. Thus I have committed to writing a fortnightly post, of which you are reading the first.

All too often, I find, we are consumed with worry over the smallest things, whether it be what the neighbours think of your new fence, what that cute girl on the bus thinks of your haircut, or, more relevantly, what the other inhabitants of your virtual world will think of the chosen name for your avatar. Which is silly, really – because nobody does. There are a plethora of informative studies – both formal and informal – that address similar phenomenons – which I am not going to link because the majority of you won’t read them and the minority will probably find better sources.

Some of you may be saying right now, “Hey, I know tonnes of characters on my server by name. Your argument is invalid.”

Reconsider. I concede that memorable names do exist. Names like ‘ChuckNorris’, ‘Dora the Explorer’, and ‘I_RAPE_CATS’ are memorable by design – but not because the creator imbued it with special meaning, or because they are particularly clever – rather it is the shock value, or the pop-culture reference that we remember, not the character itself.

Think back on the rest of the names, Bavra, Dexion, Swifted – each of these names may have a meaning to their creator, but for you, instantly pass from memory. Personally, I ran a dungeon and a raid last night, and for the life of me I cannot recall a single name from either group, with the exception of Primalight.

Perhaps this is, in fact, due to my awfully fallible memory, but the constant exposure to the literal onslaught of names that hold zero significance to you is such that no matter how well thought out the name is, no matter what subtle puns or witty origin, people will simply not care.

The literal onslaught of names is literally an onslaught of names...who knew?

See that guy, fourth from the left, second row from the front? He probably rolled your DPS once or twice. (courtesy of deviantart.com)

I suspect that’s a little low for the ending of my first blog post, after all, my primary aim was not to evoke a deep sense of disillusionment about the futility associated with naming things, but rather to enlighten you of this fact – and free you from the burden of ever having to think about it again. It doesn’t hurt that in the process, I also managed to discount what my ineffable co-author blathered on about last week. Instead, let me call upon the age-old, cop-out of an excuse for a conclusion by using a cliché: ‘It is not the name that maketh the man, but the man that maketh the name’.

Cutting through the crap, don’t spend too much time feeling apprehension after you have typed something into that ‘Name’ box – while it is always nice for someone to notice your name – what’s the fun in exploiting shock and pop culture for recognition? It is much better to be recognised for something you’ve done, whether it be for showing up the scrub DPS, solo-capping stables (or farm, I guess, you Alliance dogs), or simply a witty remark in trade chat.



  1. I used to worry about how my names would be perceived in game, but now I tend to use names I love. I mean, I’m the one who has to look at it every time I play it, not some schmuck from trade/randoms/pvp/ect. It still takes me forever, but that is because I tend to be picky about what names I want to read. I never thought I’d play this name much, but she grew on me. It’s ok though I know that you only see my nelf persona, you can love my horde sister ElunaMOOkata. 🙂

    1. Heh, fair point. I didn’t really address the personal aspect of names in my post, but that’s a pretty ‘ohiseewhatyoudidthere’-smile-inducing name.

  2. Welcome to blogging and the NBI! Have fun and let us know if you have any questions!

  3. […] rolled a new character instead, a Burglar Hobbit named Scorbo. I know, the name is pretty bad. But no one cares about your name, according to Escalier of Not Too Heavy blog. Steed of the Horse-Lords. It’s really […]

  4. […] Escalier, are really good writers (but mostly Escalier). Escalier’s post about MMO naming, On Judgement, is the one that caught my […]

    1. Grade A stuff. I’m unbinstuoeaqly in your debt.

  5. It’s a joy to find sonoeme who can think like that

  6. Difficult distinction to make, in practice. E.g., it may have been your intent to “just” create the inconvenience of turning the lights out when you wreck electrical infrastructure, but how about the terror of the people whose at-home medical equipment (from CPAP to home-dialysis machines) lose power at the same time?

  7. Hi Fred. No, I’m not criticizing you. I worked for NJ.com about 13 years ago. I can’t remember the blog’s title but it was under my name. My editor would occasionally have news staff pick fights with me over gun control, politics, etc. I think I recognize some tells that indicate P is part of the dailyrecord.com staff. Their writing skill aren’t as tight as the regular newspaper (more like TV) and they rely on web skill more that their own brain cells.Anyways, that’s what I was referring to.

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