Tuesday, September 27, 2011

SWTOR: Why the Character Name Matters

What’s in name? Why does it matter?

In late December, I will create my characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic. While it’s easy to decide the character’s appearance, the name is a whole other issue.

The name is the key identifying feature of the character.

Selecting a character’s name in a MMORPG may not sound like it matters, but that is how people identify you. In past games, I never put much thought in the name. I usually chose names based off book characters. Even doing that, I still debated about the name.

With Star Wars: The Old Republic, I intend to make up the names beforehand. Instead of selecting a name from a book or movie and changing the spelling, I plan to come up with original names. That being said, I want these names to fit Star Wars. For example, my Chiss Imperial Agent will have an appropriate Chiss name, not something more appropriate for a Corellian nerf farmer. You don’t need to know that Malgus is a Sith to know he’s evil; his name says it all.

For role players, the name is even more important. It acts as part of the character’s story. Many role players create a back-story, personality, traits, history and other facts. While I am not a role player, SWTOR caters to RP players in addition to the regular gamer.

The ability to select exactly which response to a quest fits your character makes the character more customizable. This, along with selecting the right name, makes the character feel more like it’s “yours.” In “World of Warcraft,” as much as I enjoyed my character, there was nothing about her that made her feel “different” from any other undead arcane mage walking around Orgimmar. That I can select how moral my Imperial Agent or Jedi Knight is adds something extra to the game.

And there is certainly some irony to making a “dark side Jedi” or “light side Sith.”

These factors play into the naming decision- along with what I want people to call me in chats. I’ll pass on Boss Nass.


  1. A name has to be lived with, it also has to have a lived in feel to it. Both are difficult to achieve with any real integrity…personally I’ve always liked Arnie, but really it just isn't me.

  2. These factors play into the naming decision- along with what I want people to call me in buy swtor credits chats. I’ll pass on Boss Nass.