Character Names (A Confession)

I wrote too much about how to pronounce my Skyrim character’s name recently, and there was a Daily Grind on Massively OP about character naming, too. It’s a common topic, really, and I don’t think I have a special angle on it or anything, but I am hoping that some people will come along into my comments and tell me about their character names or ones they have seen because I love that kind of stuff.

The other thing that brought this to mind was that I was playing Runes of Magic last night, which I play on an EU server through Steam and a US server through the launcher, and I use very different naming styles on each of the servers. My husband, who has had very little interest in gaming at all, leaned over and watched me play for a while last night, and I suddenly became self-conscious about playing a character named “Instantsoup” on the US server. He didn’t comment on it, so I didn’t try to explain, but I think I would have felt better about playing on the EU server where my character of the same class and race is named “Kaulana.” I am not embarrassed for other gamers in the game to see my characters named Instantsoup and Mershmerllo, but it felt different when someone from outside the game and gaming saw it. That’s probably another bizarre personal hang-up to add to the list.

I draw names from many different sources. Sometimes they are real names, sometimes they are descriptive names, some come from other languages, some are from conlangs or are made up on the spot for their aesthetic, and sometimes I give my characters goofy names.

My BDO list consists of a set of characters with made-up-on-the-spot names (Lovani, Lobit, Emindra, Cyneshia), one named after a brand of appliances (Hotpoint), and then a whole bunch named after places in Western or West Central PA (Aliquippa, Sewickley, Gibsonia, Zelienople, Windber, Coraopolis, Fishertown, Slippery Rock, Callery, and Charleroi).

I played a Shadow Knight in EverQuest named Jeezlueez Beegtrouble. That was my main for a few years.

I also once had a secondary EQ account full of support characters of various levels that had a bunch of characters with the same name spelled differently. I wish I could remember the name, but it was probably a bit like my daughter’s Kindergarten classroom 10 years ago: Emily. Emilee. Emaleigh. Emmaleigh. Emmalee. Emma-Lee. Emmelli. 

This turned into a bit of a confessional. You’ve seen some of mine. Let me see yours. Please share the good ones, the bad ones, and the WTAF ones you have seen or used. Please. I want to see them.


Get your BDO on for free…

Hey, if you haven’t picked up Black Desert Online during one of the Steam sales or one of their previous play-and-get the game for free events, now is your chance to start a free trial and then get the game for free. From the e-mail:

How to earn your free game pass
Reach Lv. 50 on any character and play the game for seven days before your participation period ends to get a free Starter’s Package, which includes a free game pass.

Period: June 19  – July 10

Read all the fine print here:

Not MMO: Skyrim. Again.

I did a thing I said I wouldn’t do. I bought Skyrim a second time– the Special Edition this time. I hate to encourage Bethesda to find new ways to re-release Skyrim while we’re waiting for VI, but it was on sale (DAMN YOU, STEAM!!!!) and was an upgrade from the original recipe with only one DLC that I was rocking previously.

So I played a hell of a lot of Skyrim over the weekend. I had recently gone back to the game (original) to try my hand at being a mage, since that’s normally not my thing, and it was going well, but when I fired up my shiny new Skyrim, I went back to my tried-and-true, a dual-wielding melee psycho in heavy armor. And that is also going well.

This new character’s name is Nadiya. That’s like Na-DEE-yah. (I would use IPA* because I am a linguistics snob like that, but this seems good enough for most English speakers. And so many of my friends are also linguistics snobs that I feel like I have to justify using an approximated English version of the pronunciation, even though that’s really sufficient, because who really cares how my character’s name is pronounced in a single player game? WHEW, what a stupid tangent I have gone on here…)

I have joined the Imperial Legion, as the only other time I went through the main story, I joined the Stormcloaks and regretted it because Ulfric Stormcloak is a jerk.  I still haven’t gone to see the Greybeards, though, because I am off in sidequest land. I keep telling myself I will get back to the story, but then I think I will finish just one more quest, and next thing you know, it’s 2am and I have a journal full of new quests.

I need to get back to my MMOs. I have things to play and write about.


*International Phonetic Alphabet… Although I have managed to end up with 4 six-packs of the beer sort of IPA in my fridge because of a communication problem that resulted in my husband and I each buying 2 six-packs. Now we have a variety, anyway. MMO party at my house?


Today is 5/31/19, which is my baby brother’s 41st birthday and the 130th anniversary of the 1889 Johnstown flood. I lived in Johnstown for most of the time between 2007 and 2016, and I am an alumna of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, so that’s the personal significance of the latter.


Now it is June. I wrote the first paragraph on break at work yesterday. Let’s get onto the reviews and previews.

I have played a little bit of a lot of free-to-play MMORPGs and a bit more of Riders of Icarus and Tree of Savior. I played a tiny bit of Elder Scrolls Online. I think I logged into Black Desert at some point.

I did log into Riders of Icarus enough to pick up some cool freebies. I am particularly tickled with my Lucky Plush Wolf.


I logged into Riders of Icarus this afternoon and finished a bunch of quests, coming right up against a level up without actually hitting it. I will probably pop back in this evening.

I keep planning to play The Elder Scrolls Online, but I always seem to end up doing literally anything else. This month will be ESO month.

No, for real this time. Really for real.


The proliferation of services…

I installed the Epic Games store/launcher in order to have a look at dauntless (and also picked up a couple of things that are currently free because… free), but I am not entirely happy about adding another game store service to my roster. Love them or hate them, I usually use Steam. I have had the Origin launcher on my computer at times for specific games, even though EA gives me the heebie-jeebies. Now there’s the Epic store, which seems to be collecting a lot of exclusives. So now I have that one and also a mild sense of unfocused resentment.

I feel the same way about video services. We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu (plus Tubi on the Kindle for a different set of kids’ shows for the little guy) and that is more than enough, but then there are all these other things out there now vying for our subscription dollars. It isn’t that big a deal, especially since we don’t have cable TV service, but it makes me feel uneasy.

I feel like we’ve moved to an a la carte world where everything is going to end up being more expensive in the long run, but in smaller chunks here and there. The old nickel and dime.

Alternate game modes

I have been busy with work, family, and playing Tree of Savior in order to write about it. That’s a real oversimplification of what’s been going on, but there’s not much point in getting too far into all that. The point I’d be trying to get to in the end is that I am back and ready to write.

I recently re-installed Age of Conan to try out their Unconquered mode. In this mode, you create a new character and mark them as Unconquered, and from there you gain rewards as they level up without dying. If that character dies, you still get to keep and play them, but they lose Unconquered status and get no further rewards. I think this is a nice alternative to permadeath.

I would like to see more games offering different modes of play on regular servers, as well as special ruleset servers– progression servers, permadeath, team PvP, short-run event servers, etc. I have enjoyed many of these things when I have had a chance to try them out. They seem to generate interest in the game and might contribute to keeping an older game relevant.

This is work for the dev team, of course, and they have to balance working on those things against working on the main game. They really can’t win. There will always be people who suggest new modes or servers, and people who will object because they want new content for the main game first.

I feel like I can’t leave this subject without mentioning World of Warcraft Classic.  WoW players have been seeking a vanilla server for a long time, and they are finally going to get something vanilla-ish this summer. (It is humorous to me that some people are reporting “bugs” that were just part of the game back in the day.) Progression servers have been a big hit for some other games, and I expect the initial release of WoW Classic to draw a crowd, but time will tell if this will be boom or bust for Blizzard. I don’t play WoW, but I am happy to see Blizzard taking a chance on this for their players looking for an alternative to the current game.

I might be looking forward to a couple of games…

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen and Peria Chronicles have caught my eye.  I try very hard not to buy a ticket to the hype train, but those two have me at least standing near the ticket office.

I played a decade (plus) of EverQuest and then I jumped into Vanguard: Saga of Heroes late in its run, and I enjoyed both. I don’t want Pantheon to be a clone of either, but the next evolutionary step, while maintaining some of the mechanics and design elements that I loved in those other games. And it is the gameplay footage, more than what the devs have promised, that gives me some hope. I know that Vanguard launched as a mess, and a lot of that was poor management, but it seems like Visionary Realms has a better structure than Sigil, and they definitely seem to be putting in the time and effort to get it right this time.

I know somewhat less about Peria Chronicles, at least in part because I don’t speak, read, or understand Korean. (Which I have been whining about since I started playing Korean imports in the early 2000’s, so you’d think I’d have used the last nearly 20 years to learn the language, given that languages are my *other* hobby…) What I have heard is intriguing, though, and I love the look of it– just gorgeous, like playing inside an anime. I hope to hear more as information seeps out from the (Korean) beta. I enjoy the life skills side of Black Desert, and it seems like Peria Chronicles may have a good deal of that, so that appeals to me. The gameplay videos I have seen look interesting. Again, it would help if I understood or could read Korean, but the international language of gameplay is enough for me to get the general notion of how it works. I am not clear on whether or not PvP plays any great role in the game, and I actually hope it doesn’t. I am not that kind of player.

The combat in these two games seems considerably slower than I have gotten used to in playing a thousand hours of Black Desert Online, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I love BDO combat, but I have played plenty of tab-target games in my day too, and they have their own charms.

I wouldn’t say that I am SUPER MEGA PUMPED for Pantheon or Peria Chronicles, but they strike me as the most interesting games on the horizon right now. I hope one of them pans out. I don’t expect to see Pantheon before 2021, to be honest, but I will be keeping an eye on it. Peria Chronicles seems closer, but we’ll see how long it takes to make it to North America.