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Introductions, and a rant on naming

March 6, 2010
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Hello folks.

I’ve been given much advice and encouragement on writing a blog. Most of it, I’ll freely admit, soared straight over my head. But I’m very happy to say that some of it sunk in: the need to draw the reader in for example, and have some content worth reading. I can’t promise that. I know I have a reasonable flair for writing, which I intend to put good use here. But that in itself is not enough to tie my audience to the screen (metaphorically, physically would demand some kind of complex rope system that would take more time than could be reasonably expected.) The majority of my content will be focused around my Alter Ego, my secondary existence. My life, in short, that is spent in the World of Warcraft. Any of you who are hoping for a personal blog in the sense of real life activities should start to wander now, and reconsider, for my life is closed in, and uninteresting to an internet audience. If you really insist, I have a short summary on my ‘About’ page.

My experience of the game of WoW is from late Vanilla onwards. I started as a Tauren Hunter, worked my way to the level cap just as Burning Crusade rolled in. I later leveled a Blood Elf priest. I raided with both at 70, and enjoyed both healing and ranged DPS experiences. My true love of raiding took off in Wrath of the Lich King. I played a Blood Elf Death Knight for a few months before my raiding guild collapsed over leadership issues, triggering my decision to re-roll. Looking back, I wish I’d done it sooner. I leveled a Draenei Paladin, which is now my main raiding character, Officer and a Raid leader of my current home guild. I am also leveling a Troll Rogue on the Argent Dawn server as part of the <Single Abstract Noun> Project, more of which shall be spoken of later. In that brief paragraph, you know basically my entire WoW history in a nutshell. The only thing I neglected to mention was that I play mainly Holy, dipping into a retribution offspec. Healing will forever be my most enjoyed roll, with DPS a close second and tanking bringing up the rear. For me, the game is about the players, and they make those roles as much as what class buffs and nerfs Blizzard decide to throw at me.

So, to the concept of naming. My main character, the loveable Space-goat which I earlier mentioned, is called Zalduun. I’m more than used to the nickname ‘Zal’ now, even on Ventrilo. I would probably turn my head if I heard it in the street. But it was a name that I shamelessly lifted from the starting zone of the Draenei. I wanted something that sounded suitable for my race and class, one that would get the approval of any RPer even though my realm is a mere Normal one. Please, do not resent my lack of creativity. Every name I tried seemed to sound too much like a currently existing word. The concept of the double Vowel in Draenei names made them sound ironically more normal; when trying to come up with name you must consider the many moronic ways in which it may be pronounced. ‘Makaa’ for example, may be pronounced like ‘Marker,’ ‘Makaw,’ and even ‘Macker.’ I settled on Zalduun in the end. It seemed positively normal by comparison. All I have to put up with is people overlooking the second ‘U’ and pronouncing it ‘ZalDUN,’ which I have learned to cope with. For my Argent Dawn character, I could not bear to use the Draenic name again on a Troll! I Wowheaded the NPCs in the starting zone for some inspiration, and found myself cursing the lack of an apostrophe in the character naming screen. Every name is bifurcated in the Troll tongue, so naming one well means you merely have to mash the name together like some face-rolling troglodyte.* I sought Zaljin, but realised not only was it already taken, it sounded way too much like the famous troll Zul’jin. I eventually settled for Zalkor, which isn’t perfect, but OK in the circumstances.

Going back further, I realised 6 months after my Death Knight first roamed his way into Naxxramas that I had unconsciously taken his name from a kind fellow I met nearly a year previous. I called my Death Knight Katastrophe. I liked the sound of it, Kat was an easy nickname to tolerate, and there were plenty worse out there. Without knowing it, I had gotten the name from a Night Elf Warrior who I met on a level 12 character on an entirely different server. This thought suddenly came to me one Wednesday afternoon, and I found the screenshots to prove it. The mind is a funny thing.

Aura, my Priest, was named in ignorance. I had a lovely time in raiding, where everyone without a chat or raidframe addon assumed that I was a Paladin. Nominative determinism at its absolute worst. I liked the name however, and since my entire Horde crowd is now level 80 and Alliance, she is a retired Night elf in Dalaran, sporting the name ‘Aura the Explorer.’ I had to.

Ort, my first ever character, was pulled out of thin air. Like Aura after him, I wanted something short and concise that people would easily remember and not mangle with their blasted accents. (Although the Danish players I crossed pronounced it like ‘Ot’ with the very faintest hint of an intake of breath in the middle. I guess you can’t win every battle.) I liked that name, and still do. He bares the title ‘of the Shattered Sun,’ a testament to my boredom of TBC.

As for my other characters, I wont bore you with the details. They ranged from direct references to things I love like my Shaman Calcifor (Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle), to my Dwarf Banker Sniglet (a word favoured by Stephen Fry), to my Mage Kylar (a mangled version of a superpowered Killer on the TV Show Heroes). Naming is a funny thing. Serious or silly, they are what Identify you in the game, the tag by which every word spoken is marked, and the blue text you eternally bare above your head.

Unless of course, you get a name change. I think that’s cheating slightly. You can’t escape that easily.

-Zal

*I am aware that Troglodytes probably didn’t have keyboards. That was creative license.

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