Nothing can fully prepare a player for the “Select Name” screen in a video game. Whether they have years of “reincarnated” characters that have shifted from D&D to original stories, to other MMOs and finally to FFXIV, or were brand-new characters created on the spot, all players face the same question: Will my character’s identity grow into the name I create? With FFXIV’s rich lore and the Warrior of Light’s personal journey of incredible hardship and growth, it’s no surprise that our hero’s name has to feel “just right.” Sometimes a name requires the tweaking of a few letters, sometimes it fits like a well-tailored suit, and every once in awhile it will change completely before we are satisfied.
We asked the Aetherflow Media staff and AFM patrons about creating their Warrior of Lights’ names, and received a delightful swath of stories back! Whether you feel content with your character’s name or are still struggling to find its perfect incarnation, we can guarantee you will find inspiration in this article. Some explanations are short and sweet, while others are lengthy, but they are all uniquely personal journeys to discover our own beloved Warriors of Light.
This story begins years before I even knew about FFXIV. I like writing stories, so back in college I was inspired by a weird dream and feverishly wrote 60k words in ten days with a little character named Ameme. Ameme is a member of a species of rather tiny war-mongering people. Their names aren’t Lalafellin in nature, but Ameme’s name just happened to fit, a coincidence I was unaware of until much later when I bothered researching Lalafell naming conventions. I also didn’t realize for a long time that people were reading it as ‘a-meme’ because I named her before the concept of ‘meme’ had taken off. (Their names are approximations of the sounds they can produce, as they have rudimentary vocal chords and mostly communicate via whistles and other sounds. Ameme’s name is actually a grunt and two squeaks!) I tend to recreate my original characters for fun in MMOs if I don’t hit the randomizer button, so I decided to go with Lalafell because they were tiny just like Ameme’s people. Then I picked Ameme!
For her last name, I went with Ame’klin because Ameme is actually the clan head of her clan, which means it’s known as Ame’klin or Ameme’klin (much like we’d use Hillton for a town on a hill). Maybe one day I’ll finish proofreading my story and get it published, and then you can read it and be like, “Oh snap, I remember this name… doesn’t the author play FFXIV or something?” That’d be pretty cool, I think. Anyway, after playing as Lalafell for about a year, I ended up fantasia-ing to Hyur because I had a lot of trouble seeing where I was in big fights, which is not good if you want to avoid AoEs. Ameme’s personality remains the same: aggressive, blunt, and angrily maternal. (They’re always angry, it seems… even the mild-mannered ones.)
I have always had difficulties with names and throughout my gaming ‘career’ I have tried to find a name that I like and am willing to bear in a multitude of locations. I finally settled with Catalis, which was originally a combination of the word “cat” and a Monster Hunter elder dragon called Fatalis. After that began the endless loop of character development. When I picked up Final Fantasy XIV around a year ago, the fact that I had to pick both forename AND surname caught me off guard, and thus began the struggle to find the right combination of words… I had swapped between several dragon names before, but it was hard for me to accept Catalis being a surname due to it being the nickname of my dragon, and it was common among roleplayers even before I played FF14.
I grew attached to [the] name Shagaru but I found no apparent meaning in that name and I didn’t want to be full copycat. I researched other languages during nights that summer due to insomnia, but I was incredibly picky and there were no words matching my criteria. Not too long after, I dug into Finnish astronomical terms and there it was… Kvasaari. Since I am a natural Finnish speaker I fell in love with the combination when I pronounced it, as it was both symbolic AND flowed very well. I changed my character’s name the next day. These days the name Catalis is also a modified version of word cataclysm, making the direct translation for my character name “Quasar Cataclysm.” Perfect for my taste and semi-friendly to Viera lore, too!
My story isn’t particularly exciting, but people seem to enjoy hearing the truth behind it anyway. FFXIV was the first game I joined that needed TWO names and I was stumped over what to use. So I just picked the first thing that came to mind, even though I didn’t love it. I changed my name several times after that and tried several different styles (clever, punny, etc.) until one day I decided that I really wanted something that sounded more like an actual name. Long intro aside, Minnie Cay is really just Mini Cay. I play a Lalafell, so I am Mini. Minnie is a real name. Cay is short for my own first name and I like to incorporate it into my gaming names.
I don’t remember if “Dehf” came from an FFXIV random name generator or just some letters I put together that I liked the look and sound of; most of my focus went into A’on’s first name. It’s a mix of my own personal touches and trying to stay true to Seeker of the Sun naming conventions. A’onisya is “A” for my first letter, then a bastardization of “Onism,” which is “the frustration of being stuck in just one body, that inhabits only one place at a time,” or “The awareness of how little of the world you’ll experience.” When I consider how A’on’s tribe was completely unsupportive of her, and how she’s now seen so much of the world with so many amazing friends, it’s really become both an inspiring and bittersweet name. (And somehow I really didn’t plan any of that when I first came up with A’onisya!)
As far as I can remember, Mhynx was always the username I would go for online. As for why I chose it, I don’t really remember; it just sounded nice. For the last name on the other [hand], that’s a different story! Originally when I started FFXIV a year ago, my last name was Jehn. I was happy with it, but when me and my girlfriend [sic] decided to marry in-game, we had the idea to have matching last names to make it more authentic. The problem was she didn’t like Jehn at all, so we decided that I would use her last name instead of mine from now on. And that’s why since almost a year now I’ve been using Katsura as my last name.
Originally the character was named Silanah after a dragon in my favorite fantasy series, but I decided to change it to something more lore-friendly for roleplaying purposes. I knew as a Xaela I wanted to go with the Kha tribe; a tribe that seeks out other people to contact seemed like a good choice for an adventurer/traveler. As for Oyun I looked up Mongolian names on the internet, and liked the look of Oyun, and Oyun Kha had a nice ring to it. The fact that Oyun means wisdom and I was maining a Scholar at the time meant that it fit as well.
I’ve actually had many iterations of my character’s name that I’ve used for older MMOs that I’ve played over the years. Skrully… Well, when I was younger I really liked the idea of the Skrulls, an alien race in the Marvel Comics that are known for their shapeshifting abilities. In a sense, they never stay static and are constantly changing. I just added an “y” to the end of the name and fabricated some deeper meaning of an adverb to mean when someone is disingenuous or acting not their usual self. So in a way to my own personal meaning, the name means “fake.” Matsuyama is a bit more simple; it’s the name of a city in Japan that I visited a long time ago, as well as the surname of a friend of mine, the meaning of it is “pine mountain.” That is pretty much the extent of my naming convention for my character.
Mine is pretty boring, I feel! I’ve always been bad at naming characters so I look for inspiration in other areas. When I realized that FFXIV had a name generator built into the character creator, I took full advantage. I just kept hitting random until one I thought looked cool popped up. I got rid of the clan marker due to the fact I thought it looked dumb (I didn’t even know there was a lore reason at the time), and Qih was born! Four years later and I couldn’t imagine anything else for him, the name is pronounced “Key,” but everyone just shortens it to “Q” or “Kweh” if I’ve known you for a long time. The red panda’s name is Red. Qih isn’t good at naming things either.
Lho’s first name at least has some history! Back when I started XIV about four-ish years ago, I started on Balmung with the intent to RP. I started about a month before Heavensward release, and already intended to play Au Ra. I wanted to get a head start on content, though, and so I used a Miqo’te. My character’s story was that she was using a full body glamour to disguise her true nature of being an Au Ra. Her mother gave her a Miqo’te name as a help to this disguise, and also used one on her older brother, who became Lhotus. When I took a break from Balmung to play with friends Primal, I made a male Miqo’te and named him Lho’a, as a sort of nod to that character – ensuring the name was lore friendly enough if I ever wanted to roleplay on said character.
When I first started FFXIV in 2014 I was so surprised and a little panicked to find out they need a first and last name! So when I was thinking of names for my character, I remember falling in love with the name Niamh. Niamh (pronounced Neev) is an Irish name for Radiant and at the time [I] was interning for a consulate who had the tales of Niamh and Oslin and that name stuck with me the most. Runlaeth is actually taken from a Lord of The Rings Elf name generator since originally I was planning on starting as an Elezen but I went Lalafell (they are so cute I could not help myself!).
As I delved more into roleplaying (and a swap to Elezen) I fell in love with the name fitting her appearance of being such a bright and radiant person who sings and performs in her glory. She exudes beauty and grace and I sat there like, Ah! I am so glad I was able to make a beautiful name for someone so beautiful.
When I was 13 I played a MUD (text-based MMO) called Lensmoor in which I made a character called Xen (Pronounced Sen) loosely based off a character in the book Pool of Radiance. I’ve used the name for a long time, but it was taken by more people as I arrived late to games, so it slowly evolved to Xenn (close to my real name) and finally Xennon (a Devilman villain). Song is just the last name of my girlfriend’s character and I wanted to match it.
I started this game back in 2012 or 2013 (time just meshes together for me these days!) and I’ve never been very good at coming up with fun or unique usernames to be completely honest. I chose Serena because I was watching Gossip Girl at the time and that was one of the main character’s names and I thought it was pretty. I had never played an MMO before, so it took quite a while for me to recognize the fact that people were addressing me as Serena rather than my real name! The last name was a bit harder. I’ve changed it a few times over the years but I think I’m finally set with Sparkles!
Those who know me know that I am a laboratory manager of the research and development lab for a crafting supplies manufacturing company. That’s the long winded way of saying I get to help create that fun paint that all you cosplayers use! Mod Podge? FolkArt? Yep, that’s us! I specifically focus mostly on the glitter paints while the other chemists do the colors, so I became known as the Glitter Princess at work. So what name could possibly suit me better than Sparkles?!
When I began playing FFXIV, I really was hard-pressed to come up with names and looks. On a whim, I made three characters, starting in each of the main cities, named after key figures in a serial I had been writing. These figures were based on characters in a twisted fairy tale multiverse where the characters had to struggle against the fate already written out for them in our real-world tales. Each started as a different class, and for reasons I can’t recall, I decided to keep going only on Elisa.
Elisa was the reborn version of Elisa of the Wild Swans [story] by Hans Christian Andersen and a proxy for other key figures in swans-related myths from across Europe. I decided to make her an alternate version of the one who had been written into a life/death scenario and restart with her in FFXIV. It was a lot of fun [thinking] about how she would be the same or different from her web serial origins! . . . I’ve become just as attached to this Elisa as to the one I was writing for many years.
Back around the end of ARR when I began playing, a lore-based name was important to me, so I picked one befitting of my sun cat. Then, Heavensward came, I switched to a Xaela and, naturally, switched the name to Temujin. My friend circle expanded, I began raiding, and eternally bonded with a good friend, who’s always played a Lalafell. I eventually tried out the Lalafell race, loved it, and went through many random name and race changes, but people still referred to me as “Temujin” or “Temu.” In the end, I stuck with a Lalafell lore-conforming name again, “Tetemu”, but it was already taken, so the “i” saved me… I may be a Viera now, but thankfully, lore lets me keep the Lalafellin name, so that’s gonna stick around… for a while.
I have an obsession with reading history that belongs to the world in-game, and I always want to try to reenact some of those histories in the characters that I make. Back in 2015, when I first started playing FFXIV, I had a Duskwight character who ended up relegated to an alt character as I made a new main in the form of a Miqo’te. Played with a Keeper for a little bit before settling with a Seeker, who originally was I tribe (Buffalo). The theme at the time was “snow cat” for the character, which had me look up species of cats native to colder regions until I settled on a Siberian whose colorpoint variety is known as a Neva Masquerade. Adding the letter “h” to follow forum naming conventions and voila, I had my Seeker culture friendly name. Later on after some changes in groups and associations I felt that I should retcon the character into a new tribe, and a friend suggested the R tribe (Raptor).
I have an unhealthy obsession with dinosaurs, it fit, and it’s been my main character’s name since. However, I have up to twenty alts, each with conventions for all of their names. I have no shame. Fun fact: Neva is a word that comes from the Neva River, a place in northwestern Russia. The word itself has various connotations in Eastern European languages referring to water or water-prone locations. Because of that, I made a headcanon where the name was a Raptor tribe word for the sea and its connotations of freedom, a major theme for the main character.
Issie is taken from two letters of my real name; I’m not super creative but I also wanted a unique name. I can’t remember where I got Verity from, I’ve had it for a long time and it’s stuck to me!
Zero came from a saying I made when I was little: “You are everything but nothing.” So I went with Zero for a long time as my gaming name. I added Yuno after I kept mispronouncing “Yano.” So I went with Yuno as it would be a boy name of Yuna from FF10 if she was a boy. I’ve been Zero Yuno ever since!
My name seems to be one that doesn’t look normal. And there have been times I have been reported for RMT. But the funny thing about that – RMT’s and my name almost have the same birth. Back in high school I was into mud scripts for MMOs (mind you this was also when Everquest Online Adventures was kicking off PS2 MMO Rance on console.) I was playing a halfling but having a hard time thinking of a name. So I grabbed the iMac Mouse (the round one from the six-color era), threw it at the Keyboard, and the letters T Y L P came up. Not thinking twice I smacked the Enter key and that was how Tylp was made. Zolcoze on the other hand… doesn’t really mean anything. Just one of the random names generated from FFXI back in the day.