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On League of Legends Champion Names

A blog post on the League of Legends website discusses how Riot comes up with the names for the champions in their MOBA, poking holes in the popular "spill some Scrabble tiles" theory. Here's an amusing explanation of the dangers of temporary placeholder names:

“We’ll try putting some names into the story sketch just to see how it feels,” says Odin “WAAAARGHbobo” Shafer. “Does it work at all? Or is it just weird?”

Sharing these story sketches with the rest of the team can get tricky: What do you call a champion who doesn’t have a name? One thing writers try to avoid—both in story sketches and beyond—is giving the champion a temporary name because sometimes it becomes permanent. “Temp names have a tendency to take over,” says Ariel “Thermal Kitten” Lawrence. “People will become so attached to it that it becomes impossible for them to let go.”

Some techniques writers use to avoid naming champions too early include:

  • Give them a temp name no one can pronounce: WAAAARGHbobo often uses Aztec names in story sketches because almost nobody on the team can pronounce them. “I’ll use something like Xllih, and people will come up to me like, ‘How do you say this?’ And I’m like, ‘Exactly.’”
  • Give them a god-awful temp name: “I try to create a working name that’s so ridiculous that nobody will want to pick it,” says Matthew “FauxSchizzle” Dunn. “If I do it well, everyone will be like, ‘Please, we really need a new name.’” For example, Aurelion Sol’s was “Heaven’s Coil.”
  • Stick with the name being used for gameplay design: This method can be convenient, but oftentimes that name ends up sticking around. “It has a lot of influence on their personality and frequently turns into their title,” says Thermal Kitten. “For example, I referred to Taliyah as ‘Stoneweaver’ for a long time, and that’s her title now.”

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1. Re: On League of Legends Champion Names Dec 26, 2017, 20:20 Kxmode
Sometimes a name can just happen on the spot after a quick glance at the character. For example, I tried Monster Hunter: World beta and named my character Gymon and his Palicoes sidekick OBee.  
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William Shakespeare's "Star Wars" Act I, Scene 1: Aboard the rebel ship. / Enter C-3PO and R2-D2. / C-3PO: "Now is the summer of our happiness / Made winter by this sudden, fierce attack!" / R2-D2 — Beep beep, Beep, beep, meep, squeak, beep, whee!
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