Just depends on where I am playing and what I am playing. More often than not, I choose a serious name. However, if I know I'm pretty much only going to pvp, I use couchatron or a variant thereof.
I always end up choosing a semi-serious name. It's an actual name but it's not uber RP. I usually think a lot about my names because I have to imagine someone calling me that over Discord or whatever, and especially with vanilla, it sucks to get to 60 only to regret your name and cringe every time anyone says it.
Toshiok - Troll Mage, Kil'Jaeden US retail Dimaga - Human Warlock Lightbringer US retail, guild: Animus Invictus
I used to have a rogue called Moulin. Technically I still have it, but it's highly unlikely I'll ever play it again.
This time around I think I'll just go with absolutely stupid meme-names that will instantly give away my nationality.
My first 60 I named Kalmar just out the blue which is a pretty big city in Sweden so I got hurdy gurdy whispers for years. Sorry I don't speak Ikea.
So I've composed a list of about 80 names on a word doc. On launch I will be logging into my two accounts simultaneously to reserve as many as I can. My goal here is to keep the name reserved while I design my characters without chancing that the name will be taken. So the two accounts will make it easy for me to create a character on my main account, click delete on the alt account to free up the name, and then slam create so that no one can take it. For most of my friends who don't have this option, I'll also use my secondary account to reserve for them to ensure no one takes their names while they are creating characters. In preparation I will be running all of these names through a retail check to see which ones are prohibited and permanently blocked.
As for names, I want to choose things that are short and memorable. Nothing incredibly creative or unique, just plain names like: Boom, Lion, Titan, Zeus, Apache, Outlast, Predator, Vast, War, Jumanji... Etc etc etc. Simple, straight forward names. My list contains fantasy names, sounds, and general vocabulary (like the name Adversity). I have also taken this list and categorized the names into the classes that I feel would suit them best... My warlock list contains about 15 names : Hades, Doomsday, Zoolock, Lock... My goal with my names is to be remembered. Whether you like my name or hate it, I want you to be able to pronounce it and recognize me when you see it. Needless to say, I wont be using the "randomize" feature.
I think that allowing us to reserve one to two characters completely by creating them and naming them would be a great preorder bonus. I'd love to have my characters created and named for login day. Nothing like spamming through stuff on login day just to findout your hair is 1 shade off or you chose the wrong face 10 levels later. I also think preordering (despite the fact that they say Classic will be inclusive in the cost of retail) would have been their best method to measure the level of interest for the game and in turn launch with the appropriate amount of servers.
Main to Alt
Twitch Channel, feel free to take a look :)!
This is me, but I name myself after objects in my room. Takes out the overthinking portion.
Classic Waiting Room
I guess I'm more in a contemporary category. I don't take the game or its lore into consideration much at all, and focus more on a word that I feel represents me while also sounding cool as a name. An example is Støv, which was my Orc Rogue back in WotLK. Støv means dust in Norwegian, so it's perhaps a bit mysterious as not everyone will understand it.
I love words and the combination of letters, so I'm a sucker for short names with a combination of letters that fit well next to each other. Also, I'm particularly picky about capitalized letters - so even if I find a cool name, I might scrap it just because it starts with a T and not a t, etc :p
I've become obsessed with loose leaf tea, so I'm trying to find a name that is tea related, at least vaguely.
I like tea.
I think option 1 is the way to go. Just make sure it's easy to pronounce in case you want to raid. Avoiding non-english alphabet letters might also be good idea.
This is what I do as well, just for fun. Been doing that for a along time, actually. Have a list of maybe 10-15 names, which would suit different class, or general mood of the character.
Song names idea is nice, I like it. Even curious to go over my playlist right now.
The Cult of Cthulhu
I have to go with serious, lore friendly/believeable names. Sometimes I wish I didn't so there was more clarity as to what alts are mine in guilds, etc.