Tuesday, September 15, 2009

AI: A Revisit Character Naming and Other Tales

In the past I've written a little about how I choose my names, Fulguralis being a rough Latin translation for lightning that I started using as my online moniker when I was around 16. While Fulguralis is usually associated with me (and, appropriately, there is a lot of "me" in my warlock character), all of my characters need not be "me". With the approach of the release of a new game, there is always the dilemma: What names should I go with? What characters should I create?

For those of you who don't read elsewhere, I'll rehash what I know about Aion's pending release. Simply speaking, here's a bulleted list of important dates and points:

  • Official Release Date - Sept. 22nd, Noon PDT
  • Head-Start Date for CE purchasers - Sept. 20th, Noon PDT
  • Character Pre-creation - Sept. 18th, Noon PDT
  • All times are subject to change, as these are gleaned from what NCSoft has done with all of their betas. As of yet, I haven't seen an "official" word, but the dates are set in stone. It's very likely that the times are correct as well.
  • You can Pre-create two (2) characters and are eligible if you have pre-ordered the game in ANY form.
That's the skinny. You can see that the timeline goes something like this then... on Friday the character pre-selection will be opened at around 3pm CST (my time). It will then remain active throughout the life of the game (obviously it could go down for patching, etc like any other MMO). (Update: while the start times are officially correct now, the character preselection will close at 9AM PDT the day of the head start, so there will be a 3 hour window where you cannot do anything on that day) For collector's edition purchasers (I think, maybe all pre-orders here too, I'm not sure), you'll be able to log into LIVE Atreia as early as 3pm CST on Sunday. Then everyone else will hit the servers at 3pm CST on Tuesday. That's how I understand it. That's how I'm doing my planning. I'll be leaving work early on Friday and taking Monday off to sleep in and enjoy a new game. (Fuu and I definitely took sick days when WotLK was released too... we're gamers, what can we say :-D).

So, with that timeline in mind, I want to be prepared with two names that I can live with for the next however many years finds me in Atreia. I also am pretty sure I want to go with a female toon. We're planning to go Asmodian, and I had made a red-headed spiritmaster in the beta that I REALLY enjoyed playing. Isn't it odd how we sort of fall in love with some characters? I mean, it's not just the playstyle or the look or something specific, it's really that everything just clicks, and you get into that character. I also really enjoyed my buff gladiator that I rolled for the open beta, but I would change some of his features. So, I'm looking at one female, one male toon, which is pretty much what I have now in WoW.

However, I don't want to reuse the names. My WoW characters are NOT dying. They're not going away. I'm not "retiring" them. They are who they are. Thus, I feel drawn to come up with a different set of names for Aion. In the past, I've always advocated putting a little research into your names. There are people who can hit the random button, slap an "A" in front of what it gives you, and be perfectly happy. I am not one of those people.

In addition to the research, I advise that you try to use things you care about. For example, my personal heritage is heavily German. I can also speak German conversationally (I wouldn't call myself fluent, but I'm not a complete newb either). So that is one route I may go. A second part of my personal heritage is Catholicism. Yep, I'm a crazy Catholic. What with the wings and all the angelic hullabaloo in this game, the thought of pulling some names out of my religion seems to fit as well. Angel names, yes please.

In doing some research, I learned something... there are only THREE angels EVER mentioned by name in sacred scripture (aka the Bible). Michael the archangel (played by John Travolta), Gabriel the messenger (played by Tilda Swinton), and the lesser-known Raphael the healer (who as far as I know is still looking for some film love). There are four other names that could be attributed to angels; Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jarahmeel; but none of these are considered Catholic Canon.

Also, I don't really like any of these names. I mean, Michael and Gabriel will probably be overused (and, if not, they're still a bit obvious). Raphael makes me think more of the ninja turtle (which might be appropriate for an assassin). The rest just really aren't me. They evoke more feelings of the middle east than they do of angels and religion, so it kind of misses the point, IMO.

Does that throw out a religious tie in? Not really. You see, Catholics have a rather impressive listing of saints. Angels can be saints, but formerly human saints cannot be angels... as far as I know. Still, popular culture would have you believe that "every time a bell ring an angel gets its wings" (thanks, It's a Wonderful Life, great classic. No, I'm not going with Clarence, who strangely enough got his film debut before Raphael).

So, maybe I could stretch it and use saints names. After all, Daevas are supposed to be humans who were given a bit of divinity due to something Aion noticed within them. The concept isn't all that dissimilar from Catholic saint theology. Not that we think they get wings and cool abilities, but more that we each have a bit of divinity in us, and for some people they display it more prominently than others (obviously simplified theology, but I think it works).

In any case, I'm going to browse through a list of saints names and see if there isn't a pair that really strike me. If not, I can always fall back on German translations of things. For instance, I thought of going with Hexe, which is German for "witch". Maybe combine it with "heart" to make Herzehexe... so like a witch with a heart? OR a temptress (with magic)! You decide. There are several ways to go, but in any case, I'm going to put some thought into it and try to pick something that has meaning to me. What are your plans?


  1. I've always been fond of the name Lucifer. I know, I know, how evil, right? But in Latin the literal translation is (if used as an adjective) "light-bearing" and if used as a noun, "the morning star". For some reason I find that really cool.

    You could also take a latin name like that, and mix it like you did with German. For instance "Lucifera filia" would be "light-bearing daughter", and you could shorten it or have fun with it.

    Names are loads of fun.

  2. I'm not telling until after I get ALL of my names ;)

    I don't want someone to steal one of them or the whole thing is a mess.

  3. At least one of my names will likely be Syrana or one of my other "most used names." Mostly for recognizability sake.

    When I come up with names, I get quite attached to them.

  4. @syrana - Yeah, I thought about that too, but since I'm planning on my main being a female, it didn't really fit. I really didn't like the male cloth wearers... it's even more sissy-robish than WoW.

    Not to say they can't or don't look cool, just that they don't really fit my visioning of my online persona. Ful really is mostly like me... a bit of an evil me, but isn't that what we embrace the anonymity of online persona for? Letting out our inner warlock?