I bet that many battle pet collectors would consider catching all available wild pets, or stoning all pets to rare, or leveling an entire collection, to be the greatest challenges in the arena of pet battling. But I think there’s a hidden challenge that many people forget about, one that comes with no achievement or ranking points… that’s right, it’s finding names for all your pets! Pet naming is one of the most underutilized (and yet most customizable) features of the battle pet system, probably due to the sheer number of pets available. While it might be easy enough to name one roach or one moth, it’s much harder when you’re suddenly faced with a dozen more similar model pets!
HOW TO: NAMING RULES AND RESTRICTIONS
To name your pets, open your pet journal. Right click on the pet you want to name and select the Rename option. It’s that easy to get started!
Pets can be named and renamed an unlimited number of times, so feel free to try different names out. Multiple pets can also share the same name, which can be a useful tool for organizing your pets (I'll explain further on).
Pet names can be anywhere from two to sixteen letters long. You cannot use numbers or punctuation. You can use spaces and some special characters (the same ones available for player character names, such as accented vowels).
- Example: Pepé Le Pew would be a valid pet name.
Pet names will automatically get the first letter of each word in their name capitalized, and all other letters in their names as lower case.
- Example: Naming a pet BIG BEN or big ben will result in the name Big Ben. Naming a pet BigBen will result in Bigben.
Not all names are acceptable; there are some restrictions in place for a variety of reasons. If you choose a name that is invalid you will see a message that says “That name contains mature language” or “That name is reserved.”
- Example: You cannot use most personal titles (such as Mister, Queen, Duke) as pet names or as part of a pet name (so Queenie is also invalid).
While some restrictions may seem silly (Duke being a popular dog name) and you can use special characters to get around them, use good judgement when doing so. While it may be difficult to report another player for their choice of pet names, there’s no reason to court trouble by choosing names that are obviously inappropriate, such as slurs or expletives.
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FINDING AND CHOOSING NAMES
There’s many different sources you can pull pet names from. Here’s some of my favorite sources of inspirations for new names!
World of Warcraft itself is a very obvious source of names. You can pull names from NPCs, locations, items, and spells. If you’re ever really stumped, it’s easy to name your pet after the NPC it most resembles. I’m pretty sure there’s a very large number of Magical Crawdads named Pinchy!
- Example: I named some of my Raiding with Leashes pets after items that drop from the same boss the pet dropped from. My Death Talon Whelpguard is named Maladath, my Giant Bone Spider is Grim Toll.
You can even name pets after other players (this suggestion is meant to be good natured, of course; don’t use it to insult others, or you may find yourself with a lot fewer WoW buddies than before).
A very easy place to pull pet names from would be television and movies, books, and music. Not only are there loads of names to pick from, but it’s a fun way to pay tribute to your favorite series or bands.
- Example: My Fox Kit is named Gambìt and my Alpine Foxling is Jubilee, referencing the X-Men characters.
Think about the things you like to do outside of WoW. Do you enjoy certain sports? Where are places you like to visit? What else interests you? All those can provide loads of highly personalized names for your army of pets – it doesn’t matter if it’s athletes on your favorite team, cities in your home state, or favorite beverages.
- Example: As I enjoy cooking, I’ve named a lot of pets after food and cooking terminology. My snails are mostly named after French culinary terms, like Quenelle and Chiffonade.
Pet collecting should be fun, so if you think of names that would make great puns, by all means, use them! It doesn’t matter if other players don’t get it, as long as it puts a smile on your face.
- Example: My Albino Snake is named Coverdale (as in David Coverdale, lead singer of Whitesnake... get it, it's a white snake)!
Even if you don’t speak multiple languages, you can still use foreign words as names (though I’d strongly suggest you find out the meaning of the word before using it). You can even use fantasy languages like the ones used in WoW.
- Example: My Lofty Libram is named Biblioteca (Spanish for library).
If you’re really stuck on what to name a particular pet, a simple solution might be to take the first letter or two of the pet’s default name, and then use that in conjunction with a baby naming website to find a name you like.
- Example: My Diemtradon Hatchling is named Dietrich. My Blighthawk is Blaine.
If a single letter isn’t enough, consider what an entire word might inspire!
- Example: My Stone Armadillo is named Feldspar, which is a type of mineral.
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USING THEMES: A METHOD FOR NAMING MULTIPLE PETS
An easy way to find names for a bunch of pets is to choose names under a common theme. Like those cockroaches that I mentioned in the beginning.... Picking a name for one may be quite a task already; picking a name for all of them is a lot harder. But if you treat them as one entity, you can greatly simplify your task.
Themes are useful for helping you name everything from pairs to dozens of pets in one fell swoop. Simply start with one pet and let its name inspire another's.
- Example: After naming my Stone Armadillo Feldspar, my Armadillo Pup picked up the name Quartz (another mineral).
So consider the cockroaches; by using word association, I asked myself, what do they make me think of? They’re hardy and brown and supposedly can survive nuclear war. They show up in swarms and carry disease. All those things, both positive and negative, can be used to help me narrow down some possible names for my cockroach collection.
- Example: After considering the Apocalypse ability and the nuclear war angle I named my Undercity Roach Uranium. Uranium is an element on the periodic table, which then became my theme. My other roaches now have names like Argon, Neon, Plutonium. By naming one cockroach, I was able to name them all!
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OTHER USES FOR THE PET NAMING FEATURE
Because pets can be renamed at your leisure and can even share the same names, you can use the pet name function as a tool to organize your collection, by using specific names to mark pets for trading, selling, and leveling. I find this to be a more versatile option than the Set Favorite feature, which is good for marking off pets for one thing, like leveling, but not so great for categorizing multiple things.
- Example: Pets that I intend to resell, I name Sell. When I am ready to list them at the auction house, I simply do a search for Sell in my pet journal, and that way I can easily check to make sure all my sellable pets get boxed up and ready to go. This system also prevents me from accidentally selling an identical pet with different breed when I’m intent on keeping one breed over another.
Regardless of faction, other players can see your pets’ names exactly as you’ve typed it. So you can use your pet to communicate with the opposite faction in a limited manner. It’s not practical for drawn out conversation, but it is a fun way to say hi and to pass on simple messages to other players.
- Example: If I’m farming a low level quest mob for rep, I’ll name a pet Farming Rep. If another player comes and seems confused as to what I’m doing, I’ll /point at my pet, let them get their quest done, and then go back to farming once they’ve finished. It’s far simpler than using the emote system to try and get the same message across!
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Hope this guide proves helpful for those of you who’ve been wanting to customize your collections with pet names and weren’t sure how to go about it. Or for those of you who've already started tackling this task, maybe it'll provide fresh inspiration as you face a swarm of unnamed beetles. But even if you never get around to naming all your pets, have fun naming your favorites, then go and show them off to the world!