Raiding Research Online

Exploring and mapping the MMO raiding culture

Archive for August, 2011

A guild by any other name would still smell sweet…

August 10, 2011 By: Ladan Category: raiding guild

…or would it?

You’ve seen them before. The quirky guild names, the epic guild names, the questionable guild names. There have been times when I’ve actually whispered to someone in game to ask them what their guild name means or to compliment them on the wit of their guild’s founders. While I haven’t actually chosen not to be in a guild, however, because of its name, I will admit that I’ve been a bit judgemental of a guild name that I may have considered foolish or grammatically incorrect (I can’t help myself, it’s a professional hazard!).

So for your reading pleasure, I have created my first ever Top Ten List ™ of the most popular categories of naming conventions for our guilds. My very unscientific study (yes I skimmed through 50,000 guild names) could not determine a clear correlation between names and the seriousness of raiding guilds, but I will make a few observations about the names of our topmost guilds in an attempt at answering the following question that I’m sure you’ve all stayed up at night thinking about: “Does the guild’s name help ensure raiding success?”

So in no particular order, here is the Top Ten…

1. The one word guild. Just like our love of one word movies (“Inception”, “Avatar”, “Matrix”, “Gladiator”, “Armageddon”), we seem to love single name guilds. In the top 50 ranked raiding guilds alone, 27 guilds are single word-named. The More Epic The Better! A few notable examples of the single word guilds: “Paragon”, “Method”, “Adept”, “Hypnotic”, “Eternity”. Single named guilds: concise, to-the-point, and epic sounding! Just make sure you are absolutely sure you know what that epic-sounding word means before you pick it for your guild name. Oh a personal favourite:  the Russian guild “Феникс”, which means phoenix. How epic does that look?

2. Dead language alert! We seem to love Latin for our naming conventions. “Ad Infinitum”, “Semper Fidelis”, “Memento Mori”. So if the guild name evokes the Roman era or a dead language will it somehow feel more epic? I think it could also be a nostalgic notion evoking images of tradition, establishment, and association.

3. The guilds named for an inside joke or reference. A lot of guilds give themselves names that may only make sense to themselves: “chicks n onion”, “Did It For Whitney”, “Hug Vendor”, “Strawberry Puppy Kisses”, “shotguns and beercans”, “sea cub clubbing club”, “sapped cows dont say moo”. Of course it could just be me that doesn’t get it–fill me in, guys!

4. Typo’ed names. Sometimes this happens on accident, sometimes it’s on purpose. And sometimes maybe it’s accidentally on purpose? Either which way, we usually stop, look twice, and then wonder. Some might ignore it, others find it frustrating, especially if they’re fussy about spelling. For some, the accidental typo might become a kind of quirky badge of honour. A few notable examples: “Covert Activitity”, “Stelth Kilers”, and nothing commands respect as much as a guild that uses all caps to shout, “WHATEVER WERE AWESOME”. Really? Were they? And here is an ambiguous one: “Cats Game”. Does that mean it’s a cat’s game? Or does it mean that cats actually game? Can you teach my cat how to game? Would get her to stop pestering me for food.

5. Witty or tongue-in-cheek names. These are proof that some guilds refuse to take themselves too seriously. I often find these amusing and indicative of our playful gaming culture. Some examples (including a few suggestive ones, so apologies to those of you with delicate eyes): “Older gamers”, “Grumpy old gits”, “Potato cave”, “Fellowship of the Cave”, “The Squirrel Mafia”,  “Orcgasm”, ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ ë‹­ (Korean for “chicken chicken chicken chicken…” you get the idea), and my personal favourite (please give me honourary membership in your caffeine loving guild!): “Operation Latté Thunder”. I have to give a special shout out to the US server guild that knows its political humour: “Misunderestimated”. Not sure what I mean? Just google the word!

6. The cultural/language/national pride guild names. Nothing says you’re from Mythicland more than calling yourself the ‘Mythicland Raiders!’ Let’s see… what examples can I offer? “Finnish Design”, “Swedish Raidtime”, “The Great Danes”. For some of us, we want to make sure people know we’re from a particular cultural or linguistic background. And one of our notable German guilds: “Affenjungs INC” (it means monkey boys).

7. The how-many-quirky-diacriticals-letters-and-accents-can-we-put-on-a-word guilds. Yes somehow English words can look way cooler if we use accents or sexy letters or a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters for regular words: “Dispøsed”, “Pandemønium”, “Øne Shøt”, “BlòódGuard”, “SpêciâL”. I don’t actually understand this one but I can’t seem to stop staring at it.. “”llIlIIlIlIlIlIlIIlII”.

8. Pop culture, literary, game, or film reference guild names. We love our Usual Suspects or Lord of the Rings! We also love “Oprah” and “Gwen Stefani” and “Pollo de la Muerte” (chicken of death),”Super Smash Bros”, never mind “Shai Hulud” or “Valhalla”. In some cases one can only ask “why?” This one is a nice link between popular culture and the next category: “My Little Pwny”.

9. Names that clearly reference an aspect of WoW, raiding, or gaming. I suppose you could say that these are kind of an inside reference.. to us gamers that is. Anyway, here are a few examples:  “One Percent Wipe”, “I am Murloc”, “Raid Warning”, “Gank for Cookies”,”Sons of Hodir”, “Wiping as Intended”, and the ever popular all caps guild name that has a dose of typos and game lingo: WHAR LEWTS PLZ HALp”! Seriously? And this one is a good reminder of how some famous Web sites or addons had their beginning as a guild: “Elitist Jerks”. And huh?: “DotA AR BR Banlist ON”. C an someone explain that to me? Oh and what’s with the excessive focus on Gnomes in our guild names? They pop up more than any other race! “Gnomish gigolos”, “No Taste like Gnome”.

10. Alcohol, food, or other substance names. I actually got hungry and thirsty with some of these names. “The Sauce” seems to come up a lot… as well as a lot of baked goods (particularly the US server guilds!): “vodka”, “Vanilla Cupcakes”, “The Cuppy Cakes” (come on!), “Blow” (yes, I realise this can be taken two ways… saucy!), “GefilteFish” (an Israeli guild!), “Cookie Monsters”, “Cookie Brigade” (really?),  “Taco Stand Bandits” (yum), “WhiskeyToblerone” (hmm…), “Kebab”. Yum. And why?

What are some memorable guild names you’ve seen? I may actually start a ranking site for the best/strangest/quirkiest guild names.

“Pangalactic Gargleblaster”?

“Twenty Percent Cooler”?

“I’m with stupid”? So 2003!

“Team Pants”?

“World Wipe Formation”?