When John F. Kennedy was shot, every school in the United States tried to get renamed to “John F. Kennedy Whatever School.” This is not a good idea. Names are important. If you’re opening a new school, then name that one whatever you want. But don’t change the name of something institutional like a school.
As another example, the name of my college has changed. If I tell you I graduated from Florissant Valley Community College, you can’t find any evidence of that school anywhere. After I left, they changed the name to St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. I threw away my FVCC T-shirt in disgust.
When I named my very first World of Warcraft character, I sat at the computer for about thirty minutes trying to come up with something. I ended up with “Caitlinbree,” named for the character Caitlin Bree in Clerks. (Later I made a Dantehicks, Randalgraves, and Olafoleeson). I never liked that name.
I used to call her Bree in the way that you talk to a game while you’re playing it. When I got my first two-handed weapon for her, it was so damned slow that I yelled, “Swing, Bree!” and that’s where that nickname came from. As time wore on, we started to call her (and me, online) Cait which became insanely confusing when I joined a guild that had a Kate and a Katye.
So after all this frustration I’ve been having for years, Blizzard now provides a way to rename your character. Hey! I can rename Caitlinbree. My friends said not to do it, that was her, that was her name. What would I name her? I wondered.
Then yesterday I’m in one of the big cities and some guy makes a random broadcast on the general channel wanting help with a quest. I say sure, I have that one too. We get a third and we’re off. Half an hour later, we’ve finished the encounter and everybody is happy with loot. Then the third guy says, “Have you been playing for a while?” So I say yes, four years. Turns out he’s been out of the game for over two years, but returned to the same server, and he remembered Caitlinbree.
It’s time for me to take my own advice. You don’t rename a character you’ve been playing for four years. Caitlinbree she shall remain, now and forever. Don’t sue me, Kevin Smith.