The Daily Grind: Do you have a technique for coming up with MMO character names?


My husband doesn’t really take MMO names too seriously. The pigtailed City of Heroes toon floating in the image up above? Yeah, her name is Bubblezap. She’s his old Electric Control/Force Fields Controller. She, uh, bubbles people and zaps things. It’s not complicated, but hey, it gets the job done, and he manages to go from “I want to make a new toon” to “here’s my new toon” in a few minutes.

Me, on the other hand? Onomastics is my thing. I have a spreadsheet, a giant list of names and terms and ideas from my trusty thesaurus, tons of ideas rolling around at all times, and premade costumes I can adapt when the mood strikes me. It sometimes takes me hours to roll up a toon even then. Names matter so much to me that I’ve abandoned whole concepts when I can’t get a good name to go with it. When Homecoming warned it’d be putting an end to name-hoarding with characters, I felt very seen. I didn’t have 277 in reserve on one server, but I came pretty close!

Do you have a technique for coming up with MMO character names?

Every morning, the Massively Overpowered writers team up with mascot Mo to ask MMORPG players pointed questions about the massively multiplayer online roleplaying genre. Grab a mug of your preferred beverage and take a stab at answering the question posed in today’s Daily Grind!
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Mia DeSanzo

I am a conlanger (i.e. I create languages as a hobby), so that’s a rich source of naming. I am also a general language nerd, so sometimes that’s a source of naming material– the mage I am playing in Runes of Magic right now is named Kaulana, which is a Hawaiian word that means “famous.”

Sometimes I give my characters random names I make up on the spot, unusual real-life names, or just plain silly names. I played a shadow knight named Jeezlueez for a long time in EQ and I have a trickster (fairy) in Riders of Icarus named Buzzbee.

Most, but not all, of my Black Desert characters are named after small towns in Western PA: Aliquippa, Sewickley, Zelienople, Coraopolis, etc. I am tickled that my dedicated AFK fisher is named Fishertown. (I need to think of a good PA name for my Shai character… Punxsutawney, maybe? Nanty_Glo? Altoona?)

I named a character Instantsoup recently, just because I was in a hurry and it was the first thing that came to mind, so… yeah. I can go in any direction.

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Not really, but when the going gets tough, I let the random generator or pregen name remind me why it’s important that I never give up.


5 letters


I like Japanese (or Japanese sounding) names

Rodrigo Dias Costa

As long as the game permits 12 characters, I use the name of the main villain of a story I started writing more than a decade ago. Don’t even remember how I usually did before that.

For alts after the first, when the game permit alts, I usually use the first 4 characters of the name as a prefix, and use something related to the class or race to finish the name.

For games with family names, I have two options. One is the name of the world of the same story I mentioned. The other is the family name me and some friends used on our Tibia days.

These names are unique enough to identify me on almost any game.

Oleg Chebeneev

I use a few names that I got used to in MMOs and RPGs. For MMOs I dont plan to play for long sometimes something randomly comes in


I take the shallow route and just add suffixes like “boy” or “lass” to whatever theme my coh character has. Or really, just slap any two words that coincide with my character’s theme. Its a bit lazy, but I’m glad that I’m able to do it. Imagine having to come up with a single word name every time I made an alt, like most other MMO’s.

Taelon “Great Bird” Boot

I use Google translate and a lot of latin/Italian concerning things that I find interesting, like Rome, or birds/of prey. Bottom line is it has to sound good to me, and if not, be amusing

I typically default to some kind of bird (which happens to also be my name on Steam). When I cant take my account name seriously because no one else is like they do on Steam where you regularly meet people who chat using names like “smelly ass” I default to Bird Jesus or something stupid like that. So, names like Corvus, Aquilus, or Venator and things like that tend to be common in my character names if I dont just pick Talon, which is what I had been using since I was like 12; long before, much to my chagrin, League of Legends existed.

Corvus is my most used one at this point. Most of the characters I can actually customize end up having a Poe-esque aesthetic to them.

Jon Wax

5 bonghits and 2 Pandora stations


Hmm. Not anymore. I used to, back in the day. But after experiencing many server mergers, transfers, and going ham on alts, the novelty wore off.

Now I go with something relevant to me at the time of character creation.

There is an exception though. If I am making a female toon, I follow a pattern to make things easy. I like the name Yolie and if I can’t get it I tangent off of it until I get something that works. So, in recent games I’ve had a: Yolie, Yulie, Yalie, Baylee, Hollie, Kallie, Kalie, Mollie, etc. etc.