Naming virtual identities: Patterns and inspirations for character names in world of warcraft
The abstract should summarize the contents of the paper and should People are increasingly interacting via online services - from forums, online communities, social networks and online computer games. While there has been considerable research on the motivations and communication of people online, as well as the social environment provided by online services, large-scale analyses of the virtual identities people use online are rare. In this paper, the first large-scale analysis of virtual identities in the massively multi-player online game WORLD OF WARCRAFT® is presented based on a dataset of nearly eight million avatar names and associated information. The results presented highlight the inventiveness of the names the users of WORLD OF WARCRAFT® express in terms of naming their virtual identities and the varied nature of the sources of inspiration for these names, which range from mythology, literature, popular culture, real-world names and others. The results also in dicate that how players name their characters is influenced by the aesthetics and game function of the characters. The server type also appears to have an impact on player naming strategies, with role-playing servers forming a distinct cluster from Player-vs-Player type servers. Additionally, the analysis presented reveals that character name frequencies follow, similar to real-world names, a power law distribution.