Christian Thurau and Anders Drachen have written an academic paper. A very important one. It's all about the patterns and significance of the names people give to their World of Warcraft characters. Their findings? That there are patterns. And that the most popular names are pretty terrible.

Inspired by a theory that there was a reason Paladins were called stuff like "Healbot", or Blood Elves "Moonlight", they went through nearly 4 million unique player names across all the game's servers. They found:

  • There's more diversity amongst WoW names than there is amongst real human names
  • There was almost no overlap between races. Mages, Tauren and Warlocks all had their own kinds of names, with Mages having the most variety.
  • Some of the most popular names among races, each with around 200 instances, were Sephiroth (Blood Elves), Arthas (Human) Druid (Druids...come on) and Frostitute (Mage). OK, so that last one is pretty great.
  • Naming patterns emerged surrounding the aesthetics of races, with "pretty" races giving their characters very different types of names to the "bestial" races.


You can read the paper in detail below.

Naming Virtual Identities: Patterns and Inspirations for Character Names in World of Warcraft [Paper, via Gamasutra]