Character names in World of Warcraft are very personal, even if you started out trying to be nonchalant. For some players, their character names are the only handle they will ever be known by with their Azerothian friends. I for one am about 75% certain that I would answer to my main's nickname "IRL".
For many, this naming decision, which used to be permanent, and now is potentially too changeable, is a way to express one's interests outside of gaming. Although staying within the boundaries of Blizzard's naming policy requires some extra creativity, the effort is worth it in the end. Mythological figures is a very popular choice, and our very own Elizabeth Wachowski chooses medical terminology when naming her toons. Amanda Rivera has varying logic behind her character names, although by times she takes inspiration from her own works as a writer.
Names can work to bring characters with similar, even obscure, interests together in WoW. Any of you who have ever encountered a character and done a double take, realizing that their name is some obscure 18th Century poet or minor figure in Romanian history, will be able to identify with Jeremy Bruno of The Voltage Gate.
Jeremy has recently become quite interested in WoW characters named after an organism's genus name. He has begun to feature such characters, along with photographic representations of the actual organism and tidbits of interesting facts. As he points out, these organisms are important enough to people to name their characters, which they might have for years, after them; and he wants to help honor them. If you have such a toon, shoot him a message, because he's accepting reader submissions. We're all interested to see what types of animals, bacteria, plants, and fungi will turn up on our realms.
Do you have a theme or an interest that is reflected in the names of your characters? Have you ever stumbled across a character with such an obscure name that you were taken aback?