Name Your Character: Elves

I spend a lot of time coming up with character names. I have an 11-page Google doc of lists, ideas, and links to favorite resources. I have spreadsheets with multiple tabs; one spreadsheet is entirely dedicated to anagrams for a single name!

There is a method to my madness and the ultimate goal is to come up with a unique name that is rarely used. Regardless what game you are playing, Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (WoW) Armory app/website is a great way to determine a name’s rarity. WoW has been around for more than 10 years and the Armory is essentially big data for character names.

I use a sliding scale to determine a name’s rarity. If there are 50 results, but only 5 of them are above level 80, I consider the name to be rare. My rarity threshold can depend on various factors and isn’t 100% consistent. Generally, more than 50 results means try again. Zero results is the ultimate win!

And yes, I suppose finding a unique name is its own game for me. Wanna play?

Let’s start with Elves. They are prevalent in most fantasy role-playing games. And you just may need an elvish name for the demon hunter you plan to play in August, or at some point in WoW’s Legion expansion. Sure, a plethora of name generators are readily available. But what fun is that when you can generate your own, and possibly with some meaning behind it?

Tolkien’s Elvish languages are a great source of inspiration. There is a vast amount of information, dictionaries, name lists, even scholarly linguistic studies influenced by Tolkien’s invented languages. All of them very long rabbit holes, so I decided on a single rabbit hole—the Tolkien Gateway—and used it to search for word and feminine name suffixes (sorry fellas!). The suffixes included here do not represent all possibilities, just the ones that I might like to use. If you geek about this stuff as much as I do, you might have more fun searching for suffixes on your own!

Time to Play

Using the first two initials of my first (al) and middle name (da) to create my very own name element—alda—I was pleased to discover that it is a Tengwar letter that also means “tree” in Quenya. Tree! Can you believe it? How fitting for someone who loves druids! A search for “alda” on the Tolkien Gateway also returns the following names:

In the Armory, there are currently 108 Aldamirs and 154 Aldarions and about 10-12 of each are max level. If I were in love with either name and either were available on my server, I may go ahead and use it in WoW or any other game.

I always take it one step further to see if I can get that win. Adding “a” to the end of each name returns 3 Aldamiras and 1 Aldariona. I may try appending some different letters to see if I can get zero results on the Armory and, more importantly, a name I like.

That’s pretty much how I play my naming game!

Applying a Name Element to Suffixes

Let’s say I’m not happy with any of the results so far. I’ll pull up my Google doc listing the suffixes I like from the Tolkien Gateway—yes, that’s a different Google doc than the 11-page one I mentioned earlier—and begin combining my name element with suffixes. If it sounds good and has few Armory results, it will become a final contender. If it sounds good and adds meaning for the character I’m creating, then it becomes an ultimate final contender.

Using a few suffixes listed below, some options may be:

Aldael (64), Aldaenca (0), Aldaeth (3), Aldaiel (0), Aldandil (0), Aldanwe (0), Aldanya (4), Aldasse (2), Aldaya (12)

The number of characters with these names on the Armory are in parenthesis. With 64 Armory results, Aldael, is out. I like Aldaeth, which would mean “woman of the trees.” I also like Aldanwe, which would mean “treeness.” Both are perfect druid and nature loving character names. They are made even more perfect by winning at my naming game—three results for Aldaeth and zero for Aldanwe!!

This can also be a great way to go about establishing a set of common names for multiple characters.

My Elf Hates Trees

If your elf would rather chop down a tree than hug it, clearly you need your own name element to play this naming game. If you don’t already have one in mind, you can try combining the first two letters of  your first/middle, first/last, middle/last, etc. If you want to remain “elvish,” some links are included in the suffix list below to get you started on exploring the Tolkien Gateway. You can also try any of the other Tengwar letters, explore the Quenya words or Sindarin words, or search this Quenya word list (going for the obvious with demon hunters, you can find “demon” here).

If you want something non-elvish, another option is to explore two of my favorite rabbit holes for name elements that are meaningful to you, the Nordic Names wiki and the Online Etymology dictionary. I’ve spent many evenings past my bed time on these sites!

Help Me!

My elf doesn’t live in Azeroth! If your elf is a mer or drow, look to their racial naming conventions for guidance and toss in an extra vowel or consonant or two (or three). The UESP wiki is a great source for mer (and other racial) names. The Forgotten Realms wiki has a brief drow language dictionary that can get you started.

I hope this has helped! If not, hit me up in the comments or on Twitter. I just might have the name you are looking for in one of my many lists or spreadsheets.

The Suffixes

dil: see -ndil

duinë: rare Quenya suffix used for rivers (of large volume)

el: feminine suffix

  • Ailenil = “lake”, ailin, and the feminine suffix -el

enca: meaning “without, -less”

eth: feminine suffix (Sindarin?)

  • Núneth is Sindarin and means “Woman of the West” (from annûn, ‘West’, and -eth, a feminine suffix)

iel: feminine patronymic suffix in Elvish languages. “Daughter of ____”

  • Uinéniel = “Daughter of Uinen”

ielde: feminine suffix in Quenya

  • Elerondielde = “Daughter of Elrond,” which is another name for Arwen.

ien: meaning “daughter”

iën: see -ien

ima: meaning “-able”

indë: feminine agental suffix. The masculine counterpart is –indo

issë: feminine agental suffix in Quenya

  • melissë = “lover” (“mel-” = “to love”; MEL)

mar: pl. -mardi, means dwelling. Although Angmar is a Sindarin name, the Quenya suffix -mar and the Sindarin suffix -bar come from the same root, MBAR.

ndil: added to names to indicate friendship, love, or devotion to an object, idea, grouping, course, occupation or spirit (Ainur) to which one is devoted for its own sake

ndur: is a Quenya suffix added to names to indicate faithful service or servitude.

: denotes a set of something

  • carcanë = “row of teeth” (carca = “tooth”|KARAK)

nil: see -ndil

nur: see -ndur

nwe: has two meanings:

  1. It is equivalent to the English suffix -ness. This can be seen in Manwe (“blessedness”) and Voronwe (“steadfastness”)
  2. It is a dual exclusive pronoun suffix meaning “we, both of us”

nya: pronominal Quenya suffix, 1st person singular possessive, “my” (e.g. tatanya = “my father”)

ssë: denotes abstract or locality

  • Vala = “angelic power, god” (valassë = “divinity”|BAL)
  • laiqua = “green” (laiquassë = “greenness”)
  • hande = “intelligent” (handessë = “intelligence”|KHAN)

vëa: an adjentival ending with the specific meaning “-like” in Quenya. The plural is –vië.

  • elvëa = “starlike” (él = “star”; the long é in él becomes short before the cluster lv)

wen: shows feminine derivation, usually as “maiden”

ya: Quenya suffix of endearment.

  • Anardilya = “dear Anardil”
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Beta Spoiler: Trying Out Classes, Deciding What to Do in Legion

Playing beta has got me excited for Legion. I haven’t done much as I’d like to keep the element of surprise and awe intact when Legion launches. But so far, it’s fun! I’m trying each class to help me decide what I’ll do, and a few things are made quite clear:

  • There’s not much of a need to play multiple characters of the same class
  • Same as above, but for gear types: cloth, leather, etc.

I’m not sure if it’s a goal Blizzard has communicated, but with garrisons and flying in Warlords and now class halls and the new wardrobe in Legion, it seems as though they may be actively designing the game for players to focus on fewer characters. I suppose you could refer back to the introduction of Achievements as a beginning for this direction, if it is in fact a direction at all.

Or, it could just be me and my changed perspective. I feel like there’s a lot more work involved to get multiple characters to the max level. I leveled one character to 100. Then I used my free Legion boost on a level 92 so I could get one last profession to 600 for the guild achievement so my solitary guild could have access to the heirloom legs. I already had all but one of the heirloom legs.

That’s my gaming life. Woo! Go me!

Beta is far more exciting. It’s new, and shiny!

The first beta class I leveled to get their artifact weapon was a dwarf elemental shaman. I wasn’t prepared for the… I have no idea what it’s called, mini movie clip? Whatever that is that happens when your character gets their weapon. After the shaman, I was prepared and captured a few screenshots.

Hunter with Titanstrike & Hati

Gnome hunter gets Titanstrike, and Hati. Gnome hunter is new to the class and forgot to unholster her gun.

Demon Hunter with Aldrachi Warblades

Demon Hunter with Aldrachi Warblades

Druid with Scythe of Elune

Druid with Scythe of Elune

Rogue with Kingslayers

Rogue with Kingslayers

Warrior with Warswords of Valor

Warrior with Warswords of Valor

The three leather wearers are sharing similar looks (pieces from the scouting garb set) using the new Wardrobe feature. I hadn’t yet mogged the druid’s new legs… who started out as a Troll, by the way. A nifty feature in the beta is the ability to switch race and faction, making it easy to try out all the race/class combos.

At this point I’m planning to do something I’ve wanted to for a long while—play a caster troll druid. The druid class hall cemented that choice. Is it ever glorious! A close second is rogue, 99% due to their class hall. And she will be a Blood Elf because another thing I’ve wanted is a Blood Elf rogue, 99% due to their stealth animation.

I enjoyed playing the other classes—especially hunter, I always enjoy hunters—but I need to prioritize and have yet to play a death knight, mage, monk, paladin, priest, and warlock. Maybe Legion will be about doing things I’ve been wanting to do for some time.

I already started leveling my troll druid. The only heirlooms she’s using are the pieces without XP gains. I don’t want her to quickly out-level content. I’m leveling her by questing, primarily to finally experience zones changed by the Cataclysm and to pick up moggable quest reward gear.

I’m also in a guild (with more people than me, myself, and I) for the first time since Cataclysm. The Elder Council is an Alliance and Horde guild for players 35 and older. The majority of players are 40-59. It’s on a three-server virtual realm; with Legion, you could virtually have 36 characters on one server! So maybe I’ll finally create that stable of hunters, one for each race!

Pshaw! Yeah, right. In my dreams, or when I’m retired.

I’ve got to focus first, on that troll druid. Which is challenging because I’m still trying to get as much gold as I can on my two 100s. For what, I don’t know yet. Perhaps for upgrading heirlooms to 100. And then I get sidetracked by completing that one achievement that’s 99% finished… because squirrel.

 

But that focus… I’m amazed and inspired by Kamalia and her et alia. Her life is busy, yet her organized approach to doing what she wants actually works. Maybe THAT’S something I’ll try in legion.

Focus!

Introducing Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard “Celestial” Druid

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard healer

Meet Zahra. She’s a Redguard healing Templar in the Ebonheart Pact. I have always enjoyed playing nature-type characters, usually druids, but there isn’t a playable class like this in the Elder Scrolls Online (ESO). There are NPCs—The Wyresses—who seem to be nature-type characters, but the abilities they display aren’t available to players. So I’m creating my own, using the skills available to me. Interestingly, there are skills similar to a balance druid in World of Warcraft; celestial type skills from the sun and stars.

Using character sheets from The ESO Roleplay Community, I came up with some basic information about Zahra. This is the first time I have developed an online character in this way and I’m really quite excited about it. While I don’t plan to openly roleplay (RP), thinking about and developing WHO my character is has added depth and meaning. This is certainly nothing new to experienced RPers. For me, choosing to focus on one character brought out the desire to make playing the character more meaningful.

Physical Appearance

Zahra is tall and thin. Her dark reddish-skin easily identifies her as a Redguard. Her broad shoulders and the black body paint on her neck creates the illusion of enhanced height and portrays a quiet strength. Her long limbs are often dusty and dirt can usually be seen under her fingernails.

Having spent some time with the Nords, she incorporated their way of dress (fur-lined clothing for warmth). I like to think of her gear looking something like this:

Her kind eyes are bright and smile at others on their own. Set against her dark skin, they can sometimes look like twin setting suns. Zahra’s dark reddish brown hair is shaved on each side to lighten the load of bearing heavy long dreads that are gathered down the middle of her head and upper back. Beads and leather ties are scattered down the length of each dread to help keep them in place.

Zahra wears loose-fitting clothing for ease of movement as she spends most of her time outside. Comfort and functionality is of the utmost importance and she can often appear a little messy. Visible to onlookers are several pouches in which she carries gathered plants. A small fox is seen trailing behind her.

Visual References

A collection of images I put together on Pinterest when thinking about what Zahra might look like. Some of the images represent how her younger self, varied methods of dress, and even her older self might look.

Personality

While appearing quiet, or even shy to some, Zahra’s mind is constantly at work observing and perceiving her surroundings and those around her. She listens, and learns more about others than they may know of themselves.

Zahra relishes being alone, especially in the wilderness amongst the varied natural settings of Tamriel. She doesn’t go out of her way to avoid being around others as it’s required to learn and do the things she wants. In fact, she offers help and support to those in need, whether it’s the sick and dying or a group of adventurers on a mission. She simply requires time alone to recharge after expending her mental, and magical, energies in the company of others.

She manages close relationships with a handful of people, wherever she happens to be when she’s staying somewhere for a long period of time. She doesn’t care to be known and purposely maintains a low profile wherever she goes… as best she can, that is. Zahra can’t help but stand out in some places, attracting the curiosity of locals. She does her best to minimize her presence when visiting new places.

Background

Zahra’s father died in Wayrest when she was young. Her mother returned Zahra and her twin sister, Zoraya, to Hammerfell. Her mother used her knowledge of plants to make a living travelling the desert in search of water bearing plants or potential oases and returning/reporting her finds to interested parties in the cities. The three would often travel alone or join up with other nomadic families and groups.

Their mother shared with them the basics of knowing what plants to look for, how to read the shifting sandy landscape, and the secrets different plant formations told the trained eye. Zahra loved bringing the plants she collected to the mages and tailors when they’d stop and stay at the cities. While her mother taught her the basics of identifying plants, the mages taught her a few of their magical properties and how they could be combined to create powerful potions.

Desert life was rough, although Zahra didn’t appreciate this as a child. It was always a special treat when they encountered Dwemer ruins—all those strange gears and little pots containing surprises for the twin girls! The sand was mesmerizing, shifting in whichever direction the wind blew. The stars at night were beautiful and served as a source of many bedtime stories. Fascinated by the many different types of people they’d come across, Zahra developed a deep respect for their different ways of living. Especially those suffering from hardship; she became drawn to them.

In their late teens, Zoraya fell ill (affected by the Knahaten Flu, but they didn’t know at the time) and as they were heading to a city to find a healer they were caught in a sandstorm. The minor healing potions Zahra had made did not help and her twin sister died. Zahra chose to believe that if she had known healing magic she could have saved Zoraya. She vowed to learn from the mage’s in the cities.

Zahra continued travelling the desert with her mother and when in the cities she spent time training with the mages, learning the schools of restoration and illusion, and practicing by mending and healing the sick in the infirmaries and temples. Illusion was practiced in the city streets, usually to hide and be unseen… and pick the occasional pocket.

During her mage guild visits, Zahra would sometimes overhear discussions about relics and tomes scattered throughout the land. Sometimes she’d witness guild expeditions being sent off to find one. She was most interested in learning more about Dwemer ruins and surmised that Morrowind had a good amount of them and determined that when her mother passed she would make her way there.

Currently

Zahra is now in Morrowind, having spent some time with the Nords in Bleakrock. She loved the snow as it reminded her of the sands back home. Eventually, she’d like to settle down in a Nord village. Until then, the mushrooms of Morrowind call, the fascinating cultures and stories of the Ebonheart Pact beckon, and the Dwemer ruins await her discovery.

General Information

Nickname: She uses her deceased twin sister’s nickname—Aya, modified from Zoraya—in impermanent situations where she doesn’t want to reveal her own name, but perceives others require an assurance of familiarity.
Age: Unknown. Judging by the few wrinkles on her face, she’s in her late 30s or early 40s.
Birthsign: Unknown.
Profession: Alchemist, Enchanter, Cook

Key Sources

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard Druid

Time, the Cure for Altitis

For too long I have wanted to do all the things in whichever game I play. A big part of what appeals to me about MMOs is the ability to try so many different things.

Take WoW for example, I had lists of things I wanted to try:

  • one character of each race
  • one character of each class
  • one hunter of each race
  • one character of each class spec
  • one character for each letter of the alphabet (serious and sad)

I managed a few spreadsheets to plan and map it all out. It never happened. In 10 years of WoW, I completed zero of these lists.

Time happened.

Yet, when I started playing SWTOR, I did the same thing; mapped out characters and specs and professions and, oh my!

Time still happened.

And yet again, when I started playing Elder Scrolls Online (ESO) the spreadsheets came out and all the planning and mapping happened.

Ok time, I get it. I don’t have enough of you. Geez!

So this time—hur hur—I am scrapping my altoholic compulsions and trying my hardest to focus on one character in each game (WoW, SWTOR, and ESO), but…

…time is still happening.

So one character in one game and that game—for now, because I might be wishy washy and fear this may not stick—that game is ESO. That one character will be a druid because I love them so much.

What’s that you say? There aren’t druids in ESO? Well, that’s the beauty of ESO. You can pretty much build whatever character you want using one of four base classes. Also stealing. It’s beautiful.

Thank you time. Thank you for the limitations your limited supply put on me. I thrashed about not wanting to accept it far too long. I can’t do all the things. I just can’t.

That’s all the time (stahp!) I have for a post. Here’s a preview of Zahra al-Nayyir, my Redguard “Celestial” Druid.*

Zahra al-Nayyir, Redguard Druid

* WIP, utilizing celestial type spells in ESO inspired by the Warcraft’s balance druid (but not a moonkin). She even has a story for RP-in-my-mind stuff!

Malorne, Giantstalker, Queen Azshara Transmog Mashups

I have yet to fully immerse myself in the transmog “mini game.” It’s a nifty feature that allows characters to be unique snowflakes and the hard work of gear designers to be shown off. I really do enjoy seeing what people come up with and like that everyone doesn’t look the same at certain points in the “gear getting game.”

The primary reason I haven’t spent much time on dressing up my characters is that I work through expansions so slowly that by the time I’m at a point where I want to spend time farming for transmog gear, the next expansion is right around the corner and I just haven’t felt like spending the gold on applying looks to gear that will soon be disenchanted. I also did not want to spend the time digging through all my bags and banks to find gear.

Recent changes have made transmogging easier:

  1. The Timeless Isle
  2. Access to your gear in all locations via the transmog interface

The Timeless Isle has provided me with gear I probably won’t switch out for awhile, and no biggy if I do because it’s SO EASY now to select which transmogs I want to apply. I no longer have to run/fly back and forth between my character’s personal bank and their void storage. It’s all accessible with one click per slot. Love it!

For fun, I took my two 90s (at the time, I now have three 90s and a fourth on the way) to the transmogger and came up with some mashups using what they had on hand. Which means all these items are fairly easy to get. I also applied a few mogs to my heirloomed Paladin.

Malorne Mashup

Malorne Mashup Front.jpg

Malorne Mashup Back.jpg

View in 3D on Wowhead | View in Armory

The 3D view in Wowhead uses a polearm I thought might look cool with the set. And I’ve been wanting to use that cloak for the longest time and was pleased it worked with this outfit. Some may not like the furry orc hat (I think that’s what it is), but I do.

Eventually, I want Lunosa to have the Conqueror’s Nightsong set. Her name means Moon Bear and there are moons and bear paws on the set. Perfect! If you look carefully at the picture in the link, you’ll see bear paws on the bottom edge of the shoulders, top part of the thumbs, and in the middle between the knees. And throughout, some of the larger designs look like claws of a bear from a paw print.

Giantstalker Mashup

Dragonstalker Mashup Front.jpg

Dragonstalker Mashup Back.jpg

View in 3D on Wowhead | View in Armory

The set boots would definitely make this look better, and a different weapon. But I’m happy with this for now. I just like the fact she’s running around in shorts and boots.

Clearly, I like beast-y hats.

Queen Azshara Mashup

Queen Azshara Mashup Front.jpg

Queen Azshara Mashup Back.jpg

Queen Azshara Mashup Side.jpg

View in Armory

I didn’t build a 3D view in Wowhead as this look has already changed since I created it; her previous shield and gloves matched better. But ’tis the nature of mogging while leveling.

A big annoyance to me is the lack of caster leather, mail, and plate gear while leveling. Drops, quest rewards, and even crafted gear for these armor classes lack caster stats. Quest rewards could have improved with Cataclysm in the revamped vanilla zones, but I haven’t noticed as I tend to heal through dungeons while leveling.

Anyhow, I love the idea of my paladin running around in robes as she shocks the holy snot out of her foes. Plus, she’s probably more covered up than her plate-wearing sisters!

Until next time.