Some time ago when I created Lianca in Achaea (my MUD of choice,) I had to go through the dreaded 'picking a name' process. Luckily there is a wide variety of help on offer for the newbie in the Iron Realms MUDs, from volunteer new-player-helpers known as Guides, to a comprehensive, built-in HELP system.
Perhaps you thought you wanted to try something a bit different. Maybe a top MUD caught your eye, or that must-have title from awesome-games-company-extraordinaire was released today and you got a copy! One of the first things we have to do is settle on a moniker, this is something that may influence others opinions of you, it is what you will be known by to a community that you may be a part of for years to come.
So, how do we choose them? What are the important considerations? What should we avoid and why? What resources are out there to help us?
A big part of choosing your name or handle depends upon the game and community you are about to enter, many have specific rules, and guidelines to help you. If you're picking your screen-name for your Microsoft account then dandymike2012 is just fine. Granted it's not especially imaginative but it'll do the job for the Halo parties. However if you want to enter into a world that encourages or demands roleplay our dandymike2012 won't fly for a couple of reasons. Dandymike, for a start, is a compound name: a name made up of two or more words. This can be frowned on in certain communities and seen as a bit childish. Numbers in a name for a roleplay world can be seen to be breaking immersion. No one really names their child sexkitten36, at least not if they love them or give a damn. Remember, your name will set you up in a society. Do you really want to be a part of a city ruled by xsnugglelizardx and be expected to hail him by name?
With all that said, we don't always plan our start in a new game, perhaps someone linked you to an MMORPG and demanded you roll a toon to play with them. Suddenly you're faced with the order to "Enter Your Character Name" and the mind goes blank. Perhaps play with some letters, alter some common names, add a bit of flair to make it your own. Sure Jason is a fine and solid name, but it isn't very original. Why not alter it a little? Jassyn makes it a bit more special. Some games are strict on immersion into the roleplay environment and some names have clear real life associations. Whilst Adolf is a good solid name, it reminds most people of the Nazi leader during the mid twentieth century. Napoleon is another that is hard to see past the real life association to blend into a game community. Again, this goes for famous names from fiction, such as Merlin, Sauron or Picard. If you still draw a blank at the box that requires filled for you to continue, why not google up a name generator? Some give all sorts of options for refining your search: length, male, female, modernistic, medieval-sounding, et cetera. With a few clicks your character name could be right there.
Another mistake that many fall into is combining titles or surnames into their chosen character handle. This is where a bit of research into the world you wish to play in comes in handy. Many have systems in place to add a suffix or prefix to a character name, allowing one to join families, wear the name of their game-wife or husband and earn rank and notoriety.
The biggest thing to remember is to be original, you are starting up a life for this character, make it his or her own. If the game you wish to play is roleplay-enforced or -encouraged, keep that in mind. Don't insist that your pussnboots69 is perfect for an Arthurian inspired community, because it probably isn't going to fly very far with the other people you wish to play with.
In the end, the name you pick is pretty much the one you're stuck with unless you create alternative characters or give up entirely. Be sure that it is something you could imagine people greeting a serious character with or addressing letters to. Basically, if you are embarrassed by the idea of an admin using your chosen name, it's probably something you want to rethink.
If this has inspired you or you've perhaps thought up a great name that doesn't fit into the game you currently play, why not come and make good use of it in one of the free to play MUDs from Iron Realms!