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The beginner's guide to roleplay-appropriate names in WoW

Anne Stickney

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World's a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

Regardless of whether or not you're a roleplayer, if you're on a roleplaying realm, you're subject to the guidelines of that realm. What many players don't realize is that this includes an extended list of naming rules that PvP or PvE servers don't really have to follow. Even if you aren't a roleplayer, being on that realm means that if someone notices your name doesn't follow the guidelines listed by Blizzard and decides to report you, you'll need to change your name.

That sounds pretty annoying, doesn't it? Luckily you can avoid the issue altogether by simply picking an appropriate name to begin with. While that may sound like an onerous task, there's really only a handful of guidelines that you need follow. Don't worry, you won't need to dedicate hours and hours of time into finding the "perfect" name -- you just need to pick something that is deemed appropriate, without breaking the server rules that have been set in place.

So what's appropriate? You might better ask what isn't appropriate.

There are three big no-nos when it comes to names on roleplaying realms, in addition to the usual rules for names that apply to all servers. To avoid an unwanted name change, you'll want to make sure you aren't violating the big three.

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW

Names that don't fit in fantasy
Non-Medieval/Fantasy Character Names This category includes any Non-Medieval or Non-Fantasy names (i.e. Slipnslide, Robotman, Technotron). If a player is found to have such a name, he/she may:
Be assigned a randomly generated name
Be given the appropriate additional penalty if the name violates standard naming rules.
What counts as a non-medieval or fantasy name? There are three examples listed above -- but beyond that, it's any name you wouldn't normally encounter in a fantasy novel. This is a pretty broad limitation, to be perfectly honest. I'd say the biggest violations I've seen of this particular rule are names based on puns. While a restoration druid named Treesus may seem like the funniest thing in the world to you, it has no place on a roleplaying server.

The best way to avoid breaking this rule is to just ask yourself whether or not you could see a pair of parents name their child with the moniker you happen to have chosen. If the answer is no, or that they'd have to have been insane to do so, you may want to avoid that particular name. There are exceptions, of course -- a character with a descriptive name may simply have been dubbed that as a nickname of sorts. But by and large, names that feel like they're too far-fetched to exist are likely best avoided.

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW

Names that reference the real world
Real World Referencing Names This category includes both clear and masked names which are references to very well known people, characters, places, or icons (i.e. Britneyspears, Austinpowers, Mcdonalds, Georgewashington, Newyork) If a player is found to have such a name, he/she may:
Be assigned a randomly generated name
Be given the appropriate additional penalty if the name violates standard naming rules.
This restriction is far more self-explanatory. If you feel the need to name your character after a real-world person, place, or other easily-recognizable icon from out here on planet Earth, don't roll on an RP server. Roleplayers on roleplay realms are usually pretty concerned with the lore of the game, and immersing their characters in that lore. Seeing ChukNorris the troll hunter running around in the Barrens completely wrecks that experience.

Immersion may seem like a weird concept to those that don't roleplay, but for roleplayers, it's just part and parcel of the whole experience. When you're roleplaying, it's almost an improvisational acting exercise, one in which you try to act as if you were your character, living on Azeroth and doing whatever it is that you'd like your character to do. Seeing names around that obviously would not exist on Azeroth in any way, shape or form breaks the roleplayer out of that experience altogether.

The reason that roleplay realms were created is so that people can do just that -- and that's why there is a restriction for these types of names. So if you're looking to engage in some of that fun roleplay atmosphere, keep in mind that the reason that atmosphere exists is because of the guidelines set in place.

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW

Sentences, partial and complete
Partial or Complete Sentence Names This category includes names which consist of multiple (generally more than 2) words strung together to create partial or complete sentences (i.e. Inyourface, Welovebeef, Howareyou) If a player is found to have such a name, that player may:
Be assigned a randomly generated name
Be given the appropriate additional penalty if the name violates standard naming rules.
This is just as self-explanatory as the previous restriction, and it exists for the same reason -- so that players seeking an immersive roleplaying experience can do so unhindered. Again, while this may seem silly to a non-roleplayer, you have to realize that the sole reason these realms exist is for roleplayers. If you're a non-roleplayer that has, for whatever reason, chosen to join one of these roleplaying realms, it's rules like this that made the realm exist in the first place.

Keep in mind that these restrictions go hand-in-hand with the rules and guidelines in place for all servers, which means that any name that uses offensive or derogatory language is also off-limits. And also keep in mind that while you may see other players use names like these and get away with them, it's not a guarantee that you'll be safe to do so as well. This is because roleplay realms are generally self-policing.

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW

Reporting names

Self-policing means that Blizzard doesn't really patrol these roleplaying realms looking for people that have violated the rules. Instead, they depend on players to report violations of policy. If you're a roleplayer and you see a name that doesn't fit within the roleplay guidelines, you can easily report the name by right clicking the player's name and selecting the appropriate option, pointing out the violation in the text box provided, and submitting it to Blizzard.

There are those that will point out that no action is ever taken against these name violations -- and it may appear that way, more often than not. This is because it takes more than one lone complaint to get a player's name changed, unless it contains offensive or derogatory language. Even on roleplaying servers, a player's name has to be reported multiple times and by multiple people before anything is done.

Although this may make a player think it's perfectly safe to choose a name that violates the above rules -- it's not. You may be fine with the name "Imaburger" for months on your tauren warrior, and then find that one day you log in and you've been flagged for a name change. In the case of roleplaying servers, you don't really have much room to argue or appeal the change -- you simply have to suck it up and deal with it.

The beginner's guide to roleplayappropriate names in WoW

Picking a proper name

While the three rules listed above may seem restrictive, in reality they give you a lot of room to go on. Simply avoid any real-world references, sentences, or names that don't fit in with a fantasy world and you'll be fine. But if you're looking for the perfect name for your character, there are thousands of baby-name sites out there on the internet that should help you find something appropriate.

If you're looking for a name that feels more like the genuine article, we wrote up a guide on naming conventions for the different races of Azeroth back in Wrath of the Lich King. Although the guide was written several years ago, the same standards still apply -- and there's even more suggestions for good name sources lurking in the comments on the post. We also have a more recent guide available for pandaren roleplayers as well.

Whether you're a new roleplayer just starting out on a roleplaying realm, or a non-roleplayer transferring to a roleplaying server for fun, choosing a name that fits within the realm guidelines is a good idea. It'll help you fit in with the server atmosphere, all the while avoiding any unwanted reporting or future name changes. Roleplay servers are one of the little treasures of the WoW community -- following the guidelines and rules for the servers will help keep them that way.

All the World's a Stage is your source for roleplaying ideas, innovations and ironies. Let us help you imagine what it's like to sacrifice spells for the story, totally immerse yourself in your roleplaying or even RP on a non-RP realm!

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