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What’s In a Name?

Coyote Sharptongue Posted:
Columns Coyote's Howling 0

There has always been one aspect of online gaming that bothers me. It stretches beyond queues and lag, and has nothing to do with graphics or storyline.  It is a small, petty, minor annoyance almost not worth mentioning - but in the off chance that I save just one person from the downward spiral that society is being flushed into, I feel that I must.

Your names suck.

Now I realize that in stating this, I risk coming off as a bit of a gaming snob, especially for a guy who answers to “Coyote” both online and off. For the majority of you out there, your in-game name has little relevance or meaning. After all, isn't a name that defines a person, it's their actions. So, as long as you're not a loot-whoring need-ninja, a person could call themselves HilterSatanDeadBabySantorum and you would be okay grouping with them.

A name is just wrapper and what is inside is all that really counts.

On one hand, I want to feel ashamed and then applaud you for your ageless wisdom and your ability to see past titles to the person that lies beneath. That is an intelligent and mature response that should immediately dismantle any following arguments about names. But as a writer, role-player, and supernatural creature of darkness who can be summoned by saying his name three times into a mirror while holding the sacred chalice…

…I understand the power behind them.

That being said, there are four types of name that simply cannot be forgiven. In a written form of communication, these people choose call signs that all but guarantee that others with loathe to communicate with them in any fashion.

They go above and beyond the acceptable excuses of silliness, "tongue-in-cheek", and every other pretext that people use to defend their poor choice of name in a gaming environment. Those things we can overlook, but what we can't ignore are the:

Ironic Rebels (Examples: ihatethisgame, biowaresucks, swtorblows, goingbacktoWoW)

How they see themselves:  They are the voice of the revolution.

Gaming companies have gotten away with mass producing lame, watered down, trite clones for far too long. While the rest of the sheep may be happy suckling at the sewage teat of these money-grubbing developers, someone has to take a stand.

Sure, you can play your little "game" and have "fun" and "enjoy yourselves", but by doing so you are part of the problem and giving into the MAN. Wake up and have a little self-respect. Only by standing in defiance and demanding greatness can you achieve it.

How the rest of us see them:

You're investing your time and money in a game you hate so much that you had to name yourself after the disappointment and rage in your heart, and we're supposed to be in awe of you? You're paying money to do something that you DON'T ENJOY.

That doesn't make you a revolutionary, it makes you a dumbass.

“Yeah, but I’m not re-subscribing to this lame ass game! I’m not paying for it anymore. So STFU noob.” You might rationalize if you’re so cocky that you have a tiny penis where your brain should be. Okay, so you’re not paying money – you’re just investing the free time that you could be using to do something that you actually enjoy in an activity that brings you nothing but anger and resentment.

That makes way more sense.

The best way you can show dissatisfaction with a product is to simply not use. Spending all of your time and money on the thing that you hate sends mixed messages. Like a girl who says “no” but doesn’t have a can of mace at the ready and pointed at your eyes, your signals can be kind of hard to read.

The Popular Character (Examples: Raistlin, Hannsoolo, Wolverine, TheREALDarthVader)

How they see themselves: If you’re playing a game like Star Wars, why would you want to be a character of your own creation? Especially when you relate on a deep and personal level to the characters that are part of the world you just entered?

Sure, it might take you 16 or 17 tries to get a variation of “Han Solo” that works in game, but that just further proves your dedication to the genre. Besides, it’s not like you went with Luke Skywalker – you chose a lesser known secondary character, right? And what does it matter anyway? I’m…


How the rest of us see them:

There’s no need to really delve too deeply into this one. If you’re using a name that is a character in the game that you’re actually playing – you’re officially the guy who wears the shirt of the band that he is going to see to their concert. Don’t be that guy.

Oh, and from every player on an RP server ever: F**k you for your perception of “role-playing”.

Pop Culture Celebrity (Examples: Jon'stewart, Stephen'colbert, NathanFillion, YesIamWillFerrell)

How they see themselves: I am Stephen Colbert.

Hahaha! Just kidding, I’m not, although I could be. Video games allow us to mask our true identities, and become someone else for a while. There’s no way of knowing who is really behind the character, and even though I am not really Stephen Colbert, you have to admit that I seem to have his personality down pretty well, don’t I?

But don’t worry, I’m probably not him.

How the rest of us see them: I’m not sure which is worse; the person who takes this name in hopes of being mistaken for the celebrity that they’re currently stalking, or the people that must flood them with private messages asking if they are the real deal.

I know this has to happen fairly often, because whenever I run into one of these asshats the very first thing they say when I mock their name is:

“Haha, no I’m not really him. Just a fan.”

Oh, hey! Thanks for clarifying that you’re not really a super popular celebrity! For a minute there I thought for sure that you were a widely known television star who was trying to escape into a virtual world for a few minutes of peace and relaxation by using their real name!

Now, I’m not saying that celebrities don’t game – I actually know for a fact that many of them do. I’m just saying that when they want to slip out of the spotlight and lose themselves in a video game, they don’t advertise it in fear of being stalked on the internet by someone who may or may not drive a windowless van full of surgical equipment.

The Role Billboard (Examples: ihealyou, sirtanksalot, dpsdpsdps, icontrolurcrowd)

How they see themselves:  I’m the best of the best and I’m not afraid to say it.

I read every guide, study every encounter and have tested every strategy to design one that works flawlessly. I know my role like no one else, and if you want to win you need me in your group.


How the rest of us see them: These are the players who admittedly usually do know their role better than the majority of their class. However, they are also the same people who come with a bevy of rules and regulations that you have to follow to the letter, lest you incur their wrath in the form of passive aggressive protest.

“Did I say pull? Have fun tanking that without me.”

“You set off a trap that I could have disarmed? Fine. I’m not disarming anything for the rest of the instance.”

“You’re not the tank, so if you get aggro you’re not getting any heals.”

Then, when the team wipes because of their inaction, they throw a tantrum and rage quit using their flawed perception of why everyone died to further fuel their own superiority. Which is actually a good thing as this should have been your intention the moment they joined group.

That’s what they get for having a stupid name.



Coyote Sharptongue