You're sitting at your computer, staring at an empty text box on the screen. The cursor is blinking gently. You need to fill the box with something: a name.
It could be your real name, although no one recommends that you actually use that on the Internet. It could be an acronym. It could be something fantastic, a persona. It could be random. It might not mean anything – you may discard this name in less time than it took you to generate it. Or, it might mean a lot. It might come to be attached to a great deal of memories, both your own and others. It might be a name known by many people in many different places, although they will likely never know the face behind it. No pressure.
What's in a name?
In one sense, in the era of avatars and screen names, the names an individual goes by are more and more a diverse and varied group, each separating distinct communities that know you by one or another of these aliases. For me, names are also a filing system. When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time online, and I adopted various names for various communities. Some names I spent more time creating than others, but I could never predict which names would stick, which would represent a long-term commitment either because of the people I met or because of my interest in the world attached to that name.
Over the next few posts, I'd like to tell a story about each of these names. Something that happened connected to that name, in that world. Something like an anthology of aliases.
To serve as a table of context, let me start by spilling all of the names that I remember most keenly, and the games they were attached to:
Gemstone III (Played 1996-1998)
(Text MUD, now known as Gemstone IV)
Quarillion - Ranger
Keyseth - Ranger
SubSpace (Played 1997-2004)
(Asteroids-themed multiplayer game, now Subspace Continuum)
Squads: Pride, Dark Sun, BALLISTICS
EverQuest (Played 2000-2003)
(The original 3D MMORPG. The legend never dies.)
Daec - Druid
Talroke - Shadow Knight
Medisia - Warrior
Guilds: Hero, Realm of Ages
Final Fantasy XI (Played 2003-2004)
(MMORPG with Chocobos)
Zhaki - Dark Knight - Server: Phoenix
Guilds: Shirt Ninjas
World of Warcraft (Played 2004-2007)
(You probably know this game. Also, census data!)
Denako - Rogue - Server: Feathermoon (RP)
Dracel - Warrior - Server: Spirestone (PvP)
Rashale - Hunter - Server: Emerald Dream (RP-PvP)
Guilds: Dracel's guild that I can't remember (Spirestone), Frostwolves (ED), Misćhief (ED)
My goals with this project are threefold:
First, for myself, to put down some of the experiences attached to these names so that I can remember them better.
Second, for the reader, to provide a window into these worlds -- some long extinct -- along with a little entertainment.
Thirdly and lastly, for anyone who knew me by any of these names who might be reading this, to say: hello again. We may have shared time as friends, skirmished as enemies, or just passed each other by, but I'd like to tell you that it was real -- even if the world wasn't -- and I'm happy you remember it.
Next time, Story #1: Gemstone III, The Tale of the First Name