Rankyn Phyle.com

…just another face in the crowd.

Archive for December, 2011

What’s in a Name?

Posted by Rankyn Phyle on 15th December 2011

“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
— Romeo and Juliet

I’m not normally one to toss around quotes from things that don’t fall under the heading of “geek culture,” nor would I ever claim to be sweet or rose-like, but I figured that this particular quote was somewhat apropos to what I’m doing here.

You see, your name is probably the only thing you truly own that no one can ever take away from you and, in the online world, it is the core of your identity.

I’ve existed in the online world for a very long time.
I don’t mean that in the sense of “mass market online services” like AOL, Compu-Serv, or GEnie either.
I wanted my own BBS as a kid but 1) my parents wouldn’t let me tie up the phone line for the computer and 2) I lived in small-town Texas and was probably the only person in town with a modem anyway.

So that brings us to college and my first foray into the larger world of online communities.
The Internet had not yet reached the general public so my first community interactions were with some BBS near Chicago.
I don’t remember the name of it but back then there was a computer dealer I had bought a few printers from over the years (because I had seen their ads in Computer Shopper) and they ran a large, multi-line BBS.

I’ve never been an especially creative person and I am probably the worst at coming up with names so I usually just steal something from established works.
I’m a little ashamed to admit that my very first online identity was named JimKirk.

It didn’t take many $300+ phone bills to encourage me to explore the Internet through college.
It was a small university and they only had 20 or so phone connections but very few people knew about them back then so I could almost always get online whenever I wanted.

I had several identities over the next few years, including Foolkiller and Kheldar, but it wasn’t until sometime after college that I settled on the identity that I would stick with for many years.

That brings us to where we are now.
I’ve decided that it’s time for a change.

Given the anonymity of the Internet, your name is your single most identifying characteristic and I’ve grown tired of the old one and wish to make a clean break.
It is for that reason alone that “the identity which shall not be named” won’t be mentioned and not for any other, more sinister reasons.

The name Rankyn Phyle came from a throwaway character I made for our Dungeons & Dragons game back in college.
There was nothing special about him.
He was a fairly nondescript Half-Elf Fighter/Thief.
He had average stats and a Hat of Disguise that let him disappear into the crowd.
He was literally just part of that world’s rank and file.

Back then, I was a big fan of silent and otherwise unnecessary letters in fantasy names so the original name was Rhankyn Phyle.
The name went unused for years until I first resurrected it for the game Dark Age of Camelot.
I didn’t stick with that game very long because Star Wars Galaxies came out right around that time and it quickly took over my life.

Rankyn was my #3 character in SWG.
I didn’t start with him because I had a different character name I used for Sci-Fi games that originated in Shadowrun.
The problem was that SWG’s name filter refused to allow the letters H, A, and N to be adjacent so as to prevent an army of Han Solo clones from running around the galaxy.
I wanted the name so I gave up the “h” and settled on Rankyn.

I was known by a different name within the SWG community (but not outside of it) but that’s a story for another day.

I played SWG so much and for so long that this version of the name eventually became the norm for me.
I tried to go “old school” for the spelling in Lord of the Rings Online and Star Trek Online but it just feels wrong now so I once again abandoned it for use in The Old Republic.

So what does any of that have to do with this?
Well, most everybody I know online knows me through the games I play.
I needed a new identity and this is the one people know so it seemed like a good fit.

It may not be my given name, but you know me as Rankyn Phyle.
I am unique… just like everyone else.
I’m nobody special, I’m just another face in the crowd.

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