An Arioch by any other name…

would still pwn as much.

I’m in the process of catching up on a blog that will be added very shortly to my blog roll (remember, I have to read the entirety of a blog’s archives before I add them to my feedreader, I have issues).

This blog moved up the ladder several notches when I started seriously looking at what I needed to do to function as a holy priest. Miss Medicina came highly recommended and so far I am not disappointed in the least.

(To the other gabillion blogs on the list, I will get to you, I swear.)

Anyway, one of her posts and the resulting comments got me thinking about names – in-game and in real life. And now commences the rambling.

In my guild, we have a group of people that know each other from the midwest to the east coast.

We have a second group that knows each other on the west coast.

And then we’ve got a bunch of filler that we’ve pulled from every other corner of the map.

The East Coast group often use real first names when communicating.

The West Coast group uses character names.

Somehow my real name was learned, I’m blaming Tel, but never entered common usage.

This could have something to do with the fact that it is very easy to mangle both in pronunciation and spelling.

We did have some fun at another player’s expense when he became unnaturally curious about my name. We turned it into a game over the course of an Ulduar run, giving him clues regarding actors and movies related to the TV show my name is from.

But I’m still Arioch.

I’m Arioch in the game.

I’m Arioch when I write a post for this blog.

I’m Arioch when I’m scouring EJ for a useful tidbit of current, relevant information in what is now 138 pages of a mathematical pissing contest in the Arcane Mage thread.

I’m Arioch when I’m posting on the guild forums or the Inside Azeroth forums.

If I were to be interviewed on a podcast or another blog, I would be Arioch.

Then I log on to my priest.

Now I’m him, but I’m still Arioch.

(That’s the part that really gets people, I’m him (several characters over), but I’m a her… brain fuses fry, very amusing.)

I’ll respond to any character name without thinking about it.

Or my real name. Although that usually catches me off guard.

When I’m talking to my friends outside of the game, sometimes it’s a struggle to remember that I can use their real names, that there is no curtain to be kept drawn.

Although, what can one really do with a first name in WoW?

ZOMG that tank’s name is Fred!

When I learn someone’s real name is “David” after I’ve known them as “Gnomekiller,” I’m still more likely to refer to them as their character name.

I’ve already built an association to the avatar, their class, spec, raiding habits, running jokes in guild chat.

Adding their real name doesn’t replace their character name, in fact, I’m very likely to forget the real name and continue to refer to them as their character. I might not have a real face to match to that name or voice in vent, but I still have a picture of who they are made of all the information I have about them.

If I met Euripedes or Jong in real life, I don’t know that I would use their real names even if they were offered. I know them as I know them. Adding a name to them does not make them any more real to me.

I think part of it has to do with my dislike of my own name.

I’ve never been fond of it and I can’t get rid of it without paperwork.

And then there’s the difficulty of picking the new name. What if I turn out to hate the new name as well? What if friends and family just don’t care and keep calling me by my original name?

Bah. Too much trouble.

But a name that someone picks for their character (hopefully with a little more thought than Gnomekiller), those names mean something to me.

There’s a ton of Mikes and Davids and Brians and Stevens and Jennifers and Sarahs and Julies and Carols.

Not a whole lot of Ariochs (although it’s apparently a Hewbrew name meaning fierce lion, rawr) or Darkdalamars or Zarigars or Zambras.

I probably look too deep at it, but I’m able to assign more meaning to a chosen name over a given name.

I know there are people that just hit the randomizer and take the first thing that comes up that is available.

I can’t do that.

Either my names are from sources that mean something to me or they are names I find enjoyable.

I’ll sometimes start with the randomizer, but I don’t take the name until I’ve played with it, moved a letter or 5 around, mulled over in my head how the name will sound, how it will look in chat, what nicknames people are going to shorten it to.

When I started Arioch, I honestly wasn’t expecting to get this far with him. I figured the guild would fall apart or I would suck really bad at playing a mage and give up, running back to the safety of a plate class.

But my guild stayed strong and we merged with another to take on even more content. Arioch developed a life of his own.

Most days, I’m referred to as Arioch more than my real name.

Matter of fact, I think my real name has been uttered in my presence only maybe 3 times in the last week.

And it doesn’t bother me at all.

Anyone else have a strong attachment to a name or persona like that?

29 comments on “An Arioch by any other name…

  1. Slo says:

    I love your blog <3

    I don't play a mage, never have, got one to level 13 and quit, it was too squishy for me :) But I religiously read your blog because you have really great insights and comments on so many aspects of the game.

    Every time you write a post like this it hits home. I read the post on gender bending and why you play male characters and kept thinking 'Wow, that is so me, too!'

    And this post felt exactly the same to me. I am Slo, and am kinda shocked when people who know my real name use it. I have a friend who quit the game, but we still talk; I still expect him to call me Slo rather than my real name, which is silly I guess, but I am so used to it.

    Anyway, long comment is long, but just wanted to give you a big THANKS for always having something interesting to say, and saying it in interesting ways.


  2. Darraxus says:

    Most of my online friends know my real name. But they still call me Darr. Been that way since Vanilla. Would be hard to change it now. I still call them either their toon name or real name depending on what pops in their head first.

    I give all of my toons names that I thought up. Not a big fan of the randomizer.


    • For the Pie says:

      The folks from 4theHorde, know my real name, but most just call me Pie. In fact, sometimes I have to remind myself in Shadow Rising that you guys call me Hal or Halk.

      The people from DragonRealms (text based MUD) knew me as Pep or Peperic (which is my dorf hunter’s name in WOW).

      My real name is Todd. It’s actually my middle name. In JR High, I was nicknamed Dewey by a Sunday School teacher and for the longest time, that is what I was called, by most everyone I knew in HS and at church, except teachers and the like. In college, there were people I knew for 6 years who didn’t know my real name, until someone mentioned me and they put it together.

      I use the randomizer for some names, but a lot of times I use the Petoholics anonymous name generator and switch some letters around if I can’t get a name I like, until I like it and it’s available.


  3. Raven says:

    My husband made several friends in Vanilla WoW. They are all in our current guild. They have his cell#. They know his occupation. They know we are married, have a kid, and a ton of other personal information. The other day I slipped and used his first name when I was telling them he wouldn’t be able to make it to raid. They thought I was referring to a rogue whose shortened avatar name happens to be the same as my husband’s. Yes, all that personal info and they didn’t know his real name. WoW is an escape. It’s a vacation for those who really can’t afford one or just a way to get away from the every day grind. How much further away can you get then getting away from your own name?

    Great post.



  4. Orangeslice says:

    o.O Arioch’s IRL name is not Arioch *head explodes*

    Haha. Nice post. :)

    I also do not like my IRL name…so hence why a lot of my things are :”Slice” Old nickname from college. When I talk to my college friends, I never hear my real name….then my relatives, friends made outside of college back to the real life name…sometimes i wonder how i dont have an identity crisis,


  5. Raist says:

    I had to reply to this one.

    So, my favorite book character is Raistlin from Dragonlance. When I started Wow three years ago, I rolled a mage and named him Raistlinn. He was my only toon through TBC.

    Then I rolled a paladin – named him, well, Raist…. pally. That way, everyone knew it was me. Since, I’ve rolled a priest and a druid. They are Raisthealz and Raistsdruid.

    My son hates the convention, but I’m Raist to everyone in the game and everyone calls me Raist, so it works. He is still my favorite toon and I like the nickname Raist.

    Also, Raist is a wow gamer, no age, no job, just on for raid fun, etc. In RL, I’m Mark, 40 year old husband and father of two teenage boys doing all the teenage / family stuff. Its kinda fun to be both. I like just being one of the 10 or 25 raiders in the group expected to pull my own weight or getting /slapped for making mistakes. Doesn’t happen much in RL where I run the planning and forecasting for a very large insurance company…


    PS.. My real name is Mark – so bland…


    • Tebla says:

      I am exactly the same. When I started this character I wanted to name it something that had come from Tabula Rasa. Which I first heard of when I read The World of Tiers trilogy by Piers Anthony. Since ‘ and spaces are not allowed I settled on Tebla. In my old guild I was always known as Tebs on Vent.

      I now have a warrior named Teblos, warlock named Teblock and a pally named Tebitha. My bank toons (on both servers) are Tebbank. I like the convention; I can always be called Tebs, no matter the toon.

      I have some other lowbies with different names, but the Tebs are the ones I am actively playing.

      IRL my name is Corey, 40 year old husband and step father of 4 kids, two of which are teenagers. I get three raid nights to beat on Icecrown and the rest of the time it is family time.


    • Dark/Soth says:

      Aww, a fellow Dragonlance fan. However, I can’t be too nice. Raistlin was not the nicest guy to Dalamar. =)

      Raistlin is my 4th favorite Dragonlance character.



  6. Delerius says:

    Great post. You have changed the way I am thinking now.

    Haha, seriously though, I happen to be blessed with the best IRL name in the world… but I would probably freak out if I was called by name in vent in a raid.. I’m not super-secretive about it or anything, but “Bob, you heal Dozzer”… ???? Bob doesn’t have any special healing powers, Bob isn’t the one who has mastered the druidic art of restoration. Bob is the guy that sits in a cubicle down in IT.

    How I see it.. it’s a half-step toward role-playing. Not that we all go speaking “in character” or have these long drawn-out play-acting sessions instead of raiding… but we feel a sense of identity with our characters. My character is NOT me. I really really would not playing an MMORPG as the IT nerd character. World of Cubiclecraft would not have sold as well.

    When I’m on Delerius, I’m not Bob anymore. It’s not me. I don’t play this game to be me, I play it to be something else. And that’s why I’m ok with playing girl characters when I’m not a girl. Why I’m ok with playing a cow (awesome) character when I’m not a cow.

    Long comment is long. I’ll leave it at that.


  7. zarigar says:

    I think that how you initially meet a person/toon/entity is how you think of them. In-game Arioch is Arioch; out of game she ceases to be Arioch and I know her as her RL name. I knew Arioch and Zambra and Soth before they were those characters so it’s easier to make the distinction between the different personas.

    But if I meet someone as, say, Tel…even when I learn his RL name he is still now “Tel” to me. Reading Del’s comment–he is Del to me, I met him as Del, I know his as Del. “Bob” means nothing to me, even if they are technically the same person. I must now block out all knowledge of Bob. Bob cannot become a tree and heal me.


  8. Rashiel says:

    Love the post. My brother and I have very different attachments to names. All of his toons are Burnin—- fill in the blank. -light for a healer, -shad for a warlock, -death DK.

    Whereas for me, all of my character’s names come from my books. Each realm has its own book series. We have R’shiel (spelled Rashiel because Blizzard doesn’t like apostrophes but technically pronounced rrshell) the demon child and Kalianah the goddess of love all courtesy of Jennifer Fallon and the Harshini Trilogy to name a few. All of my character’s names mean a lot to me!

    I’m a first time commenter andI just wanted to say thanks! This was a great post and truly makes me realize that I will respond to Rashi just as quickly as my real name!


  9. koalabear21 says:

    The first character I leveled to max level was Millea. Despite every username I have ever used being some variation of Koalabear, no one in my guild calls me that. I am known as Mills, or Mill. Several people know me in RL and know my name is Jacque (pronounced Jackie), but even they don’t call me that. The newer guildies tend to call me Tati, or Tat because they see me on my druid (Tatia) the most. On DT you guys call me Lyssi, because my toon there is Lyssianna. Although I am sure there would be confused people if you guys started calling me Koalabear.

    I actually named Millea after my fake name I use, Mildred. Unfortunately that name was taken, so I eventually reached Millea. Tatia was a name I heard while at work and liked it. Lyssianna is the name of a character in a book I read. I thought it was really pretty and so I give it to the prettiest of my toons. My draenei priest is also named Lyssiana.

    Some people I just don’t feel comfortable calling them by their real name, even if I know it. Others I can’t use their character name. To me they are the same person regardless. I am a nosey person though and like to know people’s real names just to know it.

    Since others gave their other info I guess I shall too. As I said before, my name is Jacque, short for Jacqueline. I actually like my name, shocking I know. I have always thought it was pretty. I am 27 and am a personal assistant for a financial planner. I also have my life insurance license and get to do a lot of number crunching for policies. Sounds boring but I went to college to be an accountant, so it actually is fun for me. Yes I am sick, I know this already. I don’t have much of a life outside of WoW, so there really isn’t much of a difference between things for me.


  10. theerivs says:

    I am River, or Riv in real life, virtual life, and everything in between, and that’s not my real name. Even my nephews, and nieces call me Uncle Riv.

    There is an origin story of me being called River, but I will never tell. All my toons are a play off that. Rivion, Riveria, Rivia, Rivzok.etc..etc.

    I have one toon my main mage who use to be called Heatscourge, after the fact the was my nickname amongst some co workers, but thats another tale indeed.


  11. Jaedia says:

    There are some people who I know by their RL names ingame, and some I know by their character names, and some who I refer to as both or either at varying times. I don’t mind too much if people ingame call me by my RL name, but at the same time I’m starting to prefer my pseudonyms a little these days.

    Going to a guild meetup, learning everybody’s RL names beforehand, and then finding “Enslaver” and “Totsi” more comfortable than “Daniel” and “Martin” does feel a little odd to me though :p


  12. Some Orc says:

    I read 2 books in the dragon lance series. I liked em dont remember anyone but Raistlin. Got a mage sitting on a diff server named after him.

    When i choose a name for a character i take it from other things. Like…
    Angelvirus(B-elf rogue) is from a chinese movie with chicks that had a program that could hack anything and they used it for good things. Flavi(Troll hunter) is from the rogue standing at the end of blood moor before the cold plains in Diablo 2.
    Kimahrironso(Tauren druid) is from final fantasy X
    Tristram(B-elf paladin) Diablo 2 zone.
    Stormzealot(Tauren shaman) I came up with this one on my own and have gotten comments bout how cool it is :) Im still the only one with this name.
    Zugzuug(Orc warrior) my main is of course from warcraft. Ive heard this phrase since Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. It’s an okay or agreement. I wanted zugzug but it was taken so i took Zugzuug. I grew to like zuug over time because i made a name for myself on my old server. Stuck with the same name when i transfered servers and every now and then someone from my old server notices my name and sends a tell or mail saying hi.


  13. gnomeaggedon says:

    dave… Dave…. DAVE!


    I will never run in fear from a Gnomekiller again… DEADdave come on down!


  14. Rurjaos says:

    Giving names to childs or chars is different. When giving it to a child, you don’t know anything about its future. When giving it to a char, you have the chance to match it to its identity. Players, unlike parents, know, where their newborn will go, how it will be(come).
    When I name my chars, I try to mirror their origin. So Thonquii and Rurjaos arent plain elfish-sounding names or powerwords, but just strange, uncommon, just how I think, spacegoats would name their childs. But I have to admit, they aren’t very practicable in vent/ts.
    Numani, the name of my tree, expresses softness and is the name, I like to HEAR the most, while Thonquii is the name, I’m PROUD of the most, while Rurjaos is the char I LIKE the most. Weird, isn’t it?
    When playing with (RL-)friends, I call them by real names, problems rise, when playing with strangers. Then switching to charnames is difficult sometimes, even more, when its an unusual char for the friend and he’s on with Frala instead of Raindrop and you try to refer Rain, so nobody know who I mean….


  15. Tirael says:

    Meh, I never thought that was anyone greater than the mighty, R****. (Nickname I was told to use when I found out Arioch’s real name). I guess I can bite.

    Tirael (Orc DK)- Taken from Act III of Diablo 2, Tyrael, the fallen archangel

    Paleteal (Tauren Warrior) – This was actually give to me by the random generator in WoW

    Naerityah (Belf Priest) – I made this up out of thin air….I am weird

    C******* (IRL Human) – Given by the random name generator known as parents


  16. rustbeard says:

    Known as Rusty by my guildies – all of us go that way. Although one person knows my true name – I work with him and he’s the one responsible for me being in this guild. However, Rusty’s vent personality mirrors the dwarf in game – gruff but fun loving, and occasionally with a hair trigger temper. I’m not quite that way outside the game, but I often unconsciously assume the character traits of whichever one I’m playing.

    As to the origin of names, they come from the deep dark recesses of my brain. Blackrune for a DK is obvious. ShepardBook, my priest, does indeed come from Firefly. Gilgamite, my long neglected gnome warrior, is a play on a very very small Gilgamesh. Other’s have names rooted in the classic gods or older names designed to fit their personality.


  17. Darraxus says:

    My wife characters were named after

    a) The name she used when she would crank call her mom. Gurrtrude (Gertrude was taken).

    b) The name of the girl in the poop book (Proodence because Prudence was taken).


  18. […] opened with a little post about the meaning of names in […]


  19. Shannow says:

    Now there’s a name I haven’t heard in a long long time .. 10 year old post too .. even longer since we conversed .. hope your well bro



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