Bad Idea Friday: Naming Your Character

Bad Idea Fridays are dedicated to the idea that if you’re going to do something (no matter how ill advised), it’s best to do it properly. Any and all consequences of following the advice in this article can be blamed on Poras.

Naming a new character can be an exercise in frustration even for the lazy. Most of the names the Random Name Generator gives you are already taken. The gold spammers have already taken the “mash your fist on the keyboard a couple times” names. The bar is raised even higher for those who are actively seeking to violate the ToS, since Blizzard has previously found and banned many of the names that come to mind. But with the right combination of knowledge and ingenuity you too can come up with a name that will shock and awe trade chat with your utter disregard of Blizzard’s naming rules.

Now the easiest way to violate the ToS is to roll on a RP (roleplay) server. The rules for naming your character are stricter on RP servers so there is a higher chance you will violate one of them. Some rules apply to all servers, however. Let’s take a look.

World of Warcraft’s Terms of Use state that you may not use a name:

(i) Belonging to another person with the intent to impersonate that person, including without limitation a “Game Master” or any other employee or agent of Blizzard – The easiest way to violate this is simply to put GM before your name. However, it would also apply if you used the name of another player and simply used a special character that was hard to notice. Then you can whisper their guild and ask for an invite and ninja the gbank and everyone will think you’re cool because you’re a rebel!

(ii) That incorporates vulgar language or which are otherwise offensive, defamatory, obscene, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable – This isn’t really that hard to figure out. If you’re having trouble, go read comments on YouTube for about five minutes.

(iii) Subject to the rights of any other person or entity without written authorization from that person or entity – Legal stuff. It’s probably a good bet that any brand name or any character name from another game, movie or book would apply.

(iv) That belongs to a popular culture figure, celebrity, or media personality – This is easy to figure out, but hard to find a celebrity who’s name isn’t already taken.

(v) That is, contains, or is substantially similar to a trademark or service mark, whether registered or not – Bonus! Even if the company who’s name you stole didn’t think to get it trademarked you’re still in violation of the naming rules!

(vi) Belonging to any religious figure or deity – This one requires some actual knowledge to be able to violate. I recommend opening up Wikipedia and looking up the major religions of the world. If you can’t name any major religions off the top of your head, maybe you should stick to celebrity names.

(vii) Taken from Blizzard’s Warcraft products, including character names from the Warcraft series of novels – This can be tricky since Blizzard has preemptively made it impossible to take many of these names. But with persistence you might find one they overlooked.

(viii) Related to drugs, sex, alcohol, or criminal activity – This one is pretty easy, unless you’re very young and haven’t learned your sex, drugs and alcohol slang yet. In that case go ask your mom for help. That’s what parents are for.

(ix) Comprised of partial or complete sentence (e.g., “Inyourface”, “Welovebeef”, etc) – If your name has multiple words you’re set.

(x) Comprised of gibberish (e.g., “Asdfasdf”, “Jjxccm”, “Hvlldrm”) – Ball your hand into a fist. Mash it on the keyboard. Is the name taken? Damn gold spammers. Try again til you find one that isn’t taken.

(xi) Referring to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. ” “Britneyspears”, “Austinpowers”, “Batman”) – Unfortunately, if you use too obscure of a name, no one will recognize it. So stick to the big ones everyone will know.

(xii) That utilizes “Leet” or “Dudespeak” (e.g., “Roflcopter”, “xxnewbxx”, “Roxxoryou”) – This can be a great time to incorporate memes into your name, so everyone will know you use the internet.

(xiii) That incorporates titles. For purposes of this subsection, “titles” shall include without limitation ‘rank’ titles (e.g. , “CorporalTed,” or “GeneralVlad”), monarchistic or fantasy titles (e.g., “KingMike”, “LordSanchez”), and religious titles (e.g., “ThePope,” or “Reverend Al”). You may not use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the name restrictions listed above, nor can you have a “first” and “last” name that, when combined, violate the above name restrictions – Take the name you want, and put a title on it. Brilliant!

Now let’s play an exercise: All of the following names are ones I have run into. Can you match up the name with the rule they violate?

  • Anpwnio
  • Pantybandito
  • Bewbz
  • Garrosh
  • Meganfoxxxy

Now let’s say you want to get the maximum impact out of your naming violation. Your best bet is to roll on a roleplay server. Many roleplayers are concerned with a concept called immersion. The idea of immersion is that you immerse yourself in the environment your character is experiencing and forget about real life concerns. For this reason, Blizzard’s RP servers have a final naming rule that all names must be fantasy or quasi-historical. A whole new world of potential naming violations!

What name are you going to make?

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One Response to Bad Idea Friday: Naming Your Character

  1. Tyko says:

    WTB ‘Report Name’ functionality like in BGs with ‘Report Player AFK.’ That would be splendid.

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