Want to start writing about Warhammer? If so, Regis from Wizards and Wenches is running a blog competition you should check out.

Hammer of WAR is a new community site, set up by husband and wife team and looking to establish itself through some interesting columns and a set of forums. JoBildo has said he’s going to be a columnist so it’s definitely worth watching.

Also new to the community is Forums of WAR, a dedicated series of server forums. Obviously it’s a bit quiet so far!

And check out WAAAGH! Hammer also, a very professional looking blog.

Stuck for a name? Here’s a pretty cool resource for Warhammer Fantasy RP names.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun return to their series of conversations with Paul Barnett. This time it covers his top 5 MMOs – which aren’t  MMOs and they discuss more than 5 games, but he likes Elite so it’s cool with us.  (Spinks: Did I ever mention that I got to Elite on the Atari ST version?) Also at the same site, you can watch 3 trailers for Deathspank. Go – watch them.

Scientific American discusses why people like stories in The Secrets of Storytelling. It’s not something you necessarily expect a scientific magazine to come out with, but it’s fascinating stuff.

The latest guild highlight looks at the taverns provided and includes lots of useful info I never tried to explore in the beta – such as where you can fly to from the tavern and what you can buy at reduced price. The EU guild in the spotlight this time is Unleashed. The US featured guild is even more hardcore.

Over at The Consumerist, there’s a cautionary tale about trying to change your postal address on a Collector’s Edition pre-order. Apparently EA do not make this simple, or even possible. NB: this is a US story.

Obviously, there’s been a lot about PAX in the interwebs this past week, but the panel I enjoyed reading about most was How to get your Girlfriend into Gaming. Maybe you could do like Bernie Ping and hack her favourite game so it proposes to her (arbitrary: seriously, I love Bejeweled so I’m impressed!)

On Warhammer-related PAX news, stop by Jeff’s Ten Ton Hammer blog and read all the Q&As cos they’re really informative and definitely added to the whole thing.

Waaagh: the Podcast has a home over at GAX and is available on iTunes. Episode 2 includes a long chat with Brent from Virgin Worlds about his recent Warhammer Online comments. Really enjoyed it. And talking of podcasts No Prisoners, No Mercy has a special Warhammer Online broadcast out and Shut Up, We’re Talking does a pretty nice overview of the game also.

In other news, if you’ve been wondering where all the local cats and mice have been recently, it’s probably because they’ve also been gearing up for the relase of Warhammer Online, with some pretty tasty epics…

What’s in a name?

Wotcha everyone,

We’re getting closer and closer to that magical time when we get to create all new characters for a fresh-out-of-the-box online game server.  And in between brews I had a bit of a ponder about what to call my characters.

In real life, we rarely get to name ourselves.  We’re born, and our parents name us.  And with a few exceptions, most of the people I know have kept those names.  Then the interwebnet came along, and thanks to email addresses and forums, we got the opportunity to call ourselves something different, if we chose.  Then online gaming gave us the opportunity to name ourselves as many times as we fancied (unless it was Star Wars Galaxies, where you just got the one opportunity).

Now, I’m no fan of the “comedy” name.  Sometimes I suffer from chronic sense of humour failures, and “comedy” names are one of the best ways to bring them on.  It’s one of the reasons I much prefer Role-Playing servers over the normal variety.  Being able to wander around and not see “Ownzjoo” on his latest killing spree, or “Legololz” bunny-hopping through a raid is surprisingly good for my karmic balance.

It’s not that I’m precious about my gaming, it’s just that naff names ruin my immersion.  So there.  Well, I am precious about my gaming, but not about names.  Honestly, it is the immersion thing.

So, here I am, thinking about names.  I remember once, with Icewind Dale, getting through four characters’ names successfully, before finding myself completely mentally lacking in the name department for a druid.  Casting about the room for inspiration, my eye falls upon a can of fizzily orange drink, and thus Tango the Druid was born.  I wasn’t proud of myself.  And I still had a sixth character to name…

It was at that point that I decided I really needed to sort some names out, for my own sanity, if for no-one else.  Tango could continue his druidic existence in an offline game, but online games get “proper” names.  Other people are going to see them, after all.  So the last thing I want is to have someone see the name that *I chose* and think; “Idiot” (seeing as this is a public blog, I shouldn’t use the term I would normally use.  It’s one of my favourite rude-word-based insults, though.  See if you can guess what it is).  And the interwebnet came to my rescue.  An absurdly fast search found me a site with some Victorian and Edwardian names on it, and thus my naming problems were at an end.

But here’s where the musing hits sticky ground.  When I start a new game, should I keep a name I’ve used before, or should I go for something new?  Without intending to, “Hawley” seems to have become a name for my healers.  It just happened that way.  It’s been used in three separate games now, and I’m wondering if I should continue to use it.

The part of me that wants to be imaginative, and creative, and other things that make me sound all coolly bohemian and end in -ive rebels at “just” using the same old name.  But having said that, I’m growing into the name.  It’s comfortable, like a well-worn pair of slippers.  Or a favoured t-shirt.  Or the jumper you always go to when it’s cold and raining.

I suppose it also helps when moving from one game to another.  Old friends and rivals can see that name, and wonder if it’s you.

Is “Hawley” a Warhammer Online name?  Does it have a certain Empire cachet to it?  Or does it just make my bum look fat?  I shall probably be pondering this until release day, and it’s time to finish off my character by putting in a name, and clicking on “Play”.

But then the fear starts.  What if someone “takes” the name.  Hey, I’m not in the pre-release.  I haven’t got a shiny Collector’s Edition waiting for me, so that leaves me dangling until launch day (plus the time it takes to download the release patch), and it’s not even like I can copyright my favourite names!

Ah well, looks like fate will decide…