What’s in a Name?

After trying to explain to a new group of potential guildmates how to pronounce my character’s name for, I don’t know…maybe the 12th time, I started to think about why I chose and continue to stick with such an annoying in-game moniker.  In the end, I guess it’s the same reason that many others in this genre of games have stuck with their names – recognition by friends and consistency across multiple games.  So, where did it all go wrong?  Why did it all go so wrong?

It started in 2006 or 2007 with my relatively (for me) long career in WoW.  I had played City of Heroes as my first MMO for maybe six months or so, and those commercials for TBC were so tempting.  My character in CoH was a blaster (ranged DPS) named Green Wind.  His bio said something clever like “Named for the malodorous gust of wind from which he received his powers.”  Looking back on it, this was the high-water mark for character names.

Coming from playing ranged DPS in City of Heroes, I decided to pick up a similar role in WoW.  I settled in on the idea of a Night Elf Hunter, not knowing the stigma that would attach to such a choice for the rest of my WoW playing career.  I started thinking that Yngwe would be a good name for a NElf Hunter, patterned after Yngwie Malmsteen, the speed metal guitar virtuoso.  Not that I am a fan of his, I just thought the name sounded right.  And this is where things started to fall apart.

First, as you may be able to tell from the previous paragraph, I spelled the name wrong.  Noob.  Second, the way I pronounced it in my head, and the way i told guildmates to pronounce it when I was first introduced to Vent was wrong.  I heard it in my head as “Ying-way,” and that is how I told people to pronounce it, and it is what I am known as to this day.  In reality, “Yngwie” is pronounced “Ing-vay.”  Double-noob.

So now, I am branded with a nearly unrecognizable and unpronounceable name.  Even those who recognize it and know how to pronounce it are mystified by my version of it.

My WoW-playing is pretty firmly in the past.  The Firelands turned me off pretty strongly, and nothing I have seen since has been tempting enough to seriously return to the game.  I made a couple of half-hearted tries since then, but none took for more than a couple of weeks.  After WoW, I spent a few months back in City of Heroes, and landed with some old guildmates in SWTOR for over a year.  I dabbled a little in GW2 and currently, I am running in the Marvel Heroes beta and Neverwinter.  I have yet to make a clean break with the Yngwe moniker, yet you may find me in various games under a different name.

My strongest effort at breaking the Yngwe mold has been branding myself as “Skerik.”  That name also derives from a musician, this guy.  He has a crazy persona, and I am fond of the name.  At some point, it became my name of choice for tankier characters, and as my playstyle shifted in that direction, it became my name of choice in games like TOR and Neverwinter.  Thankfully, people seem to have an easier time pronouncing Skerik than Yngwe.

Coming full-circle, however, I have run into numerous games where I have tried to select both “Yngwe” and “Skerik,” yet neither name is available.  In GW2, people simply took both names.  In other games, like Neverwinter and Marvel Heroes, I was previously registered under the name Yngwe, and had to create a new account for one reason or another.  So, what name did I choose?  “Ingvai” – the phonetic spelling of “Yngwie.”  The bitter irony of it all is that people seem to have just as much difficulty pronouncing “Ingvai” as they do pronouncing “Yngwe.”

I think the lesson I have learned through it all is that talking is highly overrated.

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