Last night over guild chat the subject of naming our characters arose. Someone asked exactly how we chose our character names. It's a pretty personal question, at least it is for me. Being a writer pretty much all my life, my player character names are mostly names from my writing. There are also those characters that have been created out of jokes, or as representations of their jobs like Donations. I've built character names out of thin air as well, mostly because I love character creation beyond all other things. Most of my characters' names are fantasy in nature since being a fantasy writer I tend to be a stickler on that sort of thing. But some of my characters have looser based names. My priest is named Mandie, for obvious reasons. My paladin I've called Vashlyra, which is a combination of my dogs' names. I once even had a gnome rogue named Runnt.
Perhaps that is part of why I love creating new characters so much. I get to give them a name, and infuse them with personality and back story. Every new character is a chance to rewrite the story, and each name is so important to me. But I am just one player in millions. I know my guild mates choose names differently. We have one player whose characters are all named variations of the same word. We have another who picks all his names from the random name generator. And yes, we are a guild populated mostly by alts, if you must know, so there are plenty of characters to name.
On the other hand, I have seen many, many names that I cannot stand. I have actually found a correlation between horrible players and those who named their characters by picking a cool word they like and tacking on the letter X at the end (CipherX, you know who you are.) On our server I have run into Linksys, Pallyman and my personal favorite Ooitsahamster. I have even seen some I cannot believe haven't been reported. Now while I am more of a name snob, I can see why people choose to have fun with their character's names. What I cannot see is playing a character with a ridiculous name until 70.
How do you choose your character names? Is it something tied to characters you have always played, or do you close your eyes and hit 'random?' What makes you connect with a name, or do you have no connection to it at all?