Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Did Blizzard just miss to do a reality check?

I so wish it was April 1. But it isn't.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I just saw the announcement. In a near future we'll not be able to post on the official forums anymore without revealing our real life identity. And Blizzard claims they've thought this over. Quoting:

"With the launch of the new Battle.net, it's important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment -- one that's highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID -- including these forum changes -- have been made with this goal in mind.

We've given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years."
They may have thought this over, but not long enough. And couldn't they have... like asked us?

Like Hatch points out, this is a very effective way of driving out every intelligent adult from the forums. If you don't want your future bosses to know that you're deeply involved in gaming, you'd better stay away. If you've ever been stalked or treated badly, for instance for being a female, you have no right to express your opinions in the forums anymore.

"What's left? Teenage boys who don't have enough career aspirations to want to keep their gaming a secret. The dumbest, most immature, most dead-end teenage boys."
What is so tragic about the whole thing is that they actually seem to believe that they're doing something good, that this will lead to an improvement:

"Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven't been connected before."
It's a beautiful thought, but not even your innkeeper, who admittedly has some of the strongest pink colored glasses in the entire community, believes in it.

Did Blizzard just miss to do a reality check?

The intelligent discussion moving
For my own part I've never posted very much at the forums. I've vented my opinions and shared my experiences and ideas here at the inn, where I'm pretty well protected from trolls and surrounded by intelligent, civilized people. And you bet I'll stay here in the future as well.

If there still was any intelligent discussion going on in the official forums (and there have been a few spots where there actually has been some of that, such as in the guild relation forums), I predict that it will move away. Most of the well articulated people, people with a career and personal integrity that they care about, will hide in the blogosphere and in forums where they still can post with their avatars, such as EJ. You can only pray that the Blizzard staff is sensible enough to go to those places and listen. Because many voices worth listening to will never be heard in the the discussions at the official forums.

I think this change has bigger implications than we foresee right now. And I give those who cried loudest about the Real ID feature right. It was a slippery slope indeed. I didn't understand your worries, since it was optional to use it ingame, but you were totally right. And I have no idea where it will end. I thought that WoW was a RP game and not an extension of Facebook. Apparently I was wrong.

One of the first concrete problems we will run into with this change is the issue of guild recruitment. At least for our guild, the realm forums have been an important channel for this. A lot of players in the guild have helped out to bump the thread and keep it updated. Now we can only hope that someone in the guild will be willing to give out their real names on the forums. Or else we'll have to start recruiting through the in game channels. Until the day you'll need to leave out your Real ID to use those as well.

There's nothing, absolutely nothing, that can surprise me in this anymore.

54 comments:

Dechion said...

When Real ID was first announced I was one of thise screaming from the rooftops that it was a bad Idea.

That was when it was optional and in game, now I am truely convinced that the inmates are running the Blizzard asylum.

I will contine playing the game, but once it goes live I'll never post on the official forums again.

The day they make it mandatory to play i'll be moving along to another game. regardless of how much I might like Wow.

TLDR: Keep reality out of my MMORPG please. If I wanted to play on Facebook I would be playing farmville and now WoW.

Dwism said...

I think they can still surprice you. This -if nothing else- proves that.

I highly doubt anyone ever saw this happening when real-ID was first announced.

My hope is, that this is a pr miscommunice. I doubt it.

spinksville said...

I think this idea has pretty much no merit.

To go from 'you can control who sees your realID' to 'we'll display it to everyone who browses the forums' is batshit crazy.

But I'm sure it'll be fun watching the teens who have homogenous groups of friends and no professional rep to worry about defending it.

Bri said...

I don't post on the forums. This just means now I never will.

And what of the official RP forum? How will that be affected when you're now roleplaying with "Dave" and "Bob"?

The day I'm required to make personal information public in order to play the game is the day I stop playing. Simple as that.

Tesh said...

I'm pretty sure there will be a generational divide on this one (the Facebook generation vs. the Old Fogeys Who Care About Privacy). It will be very interesting to see how this one sorts out.

I find myself firmly on the "this is utterly idiotic" side.

I do agree that anonymity causes problems online, but this isn't the solution.

Prelimar said...

age-wise i should be on the "old fogey" side, but i don't understand all the hand-wringing over this. who posts on the official forums besides the trolls and kids, anyway? the way i see it, now the official forums will be left to official blue posts and adults who aren't ashamed to be playing WoW. sounds good to me.

Saithir said...

Go figure. Now I'm an irresponsible adult of the worst kind, because I'm not at all ashamed of playing WoW, MMOs and games in general - and not jumping in horror at the simple thought that someone might, God forbid, KNOW that I play WoW. And Eve Online. Like it's a crime that needs to be hidden at all costs. Guess what, it's not.

Hatch's post is labeled "load of crap", very rightly so. The crap isn't only in the linked post, though.

If it were up to me, I'd do it in a different way - maybe setting one permament nickname (or choosing a permament character) in the B.net account, both for forums and ingame. That would have the effect they want of less trolling, without all the drama. I wonder what's their reason behind this.

Hatch said...

I have no shame in gaming. It's something I share with my friends and family with joy and pride.

But it would hurt my career if my coworkers or bosses knew about my hobby. The way that the business and academic worlds - and just the world in general - look at gaming is beyond my control and it's not my fault. But I can't pretend it's not there.

If myself the guy in the office next door have equal qualifications, but the bosses know I play wow and his hobby is golf - he'll get the promotion. It has absolutely nothing to do with shame. And if you don't see that, I have a *very* hard time believing that you are a professional in any field or have any intent of being one.

manorton said...

"ask us?" Why would they have to ask us? Have you read the TOS? We pay to play this game. .This is Blizzards game. . They do not need to ask us and this sense of entitlement is absurd.

As for "driving away intelligent people." Again WHAT? If you are such an intelligent person one would not have to hide or be ashamed of something they may write or post . . .anywhere. I would rather have someone working for me who is honest and forthcoming with who they are and not one who lives a dual life. When that happens it becomes rather hard to differentiate the lines between the two and you will get caught with your proverbial pants down.

And yes, I did post this with my real name. No big deal!

manorton = Mike Norton

Analogue said...

I'm as much "Facebook generation" as old fogey but good lord no! Facebook is for my friends and family. NOWHERE on the internet do I have to use my real name with people who don't actually know me! This is a terrible idea.

As a female, potentially-professional-contractor-type, highly-highly-unusual-name, I will never use the official forums again. It's just too high a risk to my privacy and security. I don't want clients to know I play WoW, or blog about it; I don't want random WoW players to be able to google me and see my political and personal interests. A google search about my name has about 8 hits, all me, all revealing information I don't really want xxArthaxxDK who I just vote-kicked to find out, thankyouverymuchindeed.

And if my kid starts playing WoW when she turns two or whatever, I sure as heck don't want those headaches...

Analogue said...

@ Mike Norton and others: all well and good for you, you're not the only Mike Norton on the planet. I am the ONLY "K**** J*****" out there. There's enough personal information revealed from a google search of nothing but my name that a halfway competent internet user could track me down.

Sorry, I don't like that idea at all.

Talarian said...

When RealID was first announced, I was one of the people yelling that it wasn't that big of a deal. Frankly, with it limited to only people you gave your e-mail out to explicitly, it's not the worst thing in the world. Heck, I use it with my significant other (and only my SO).

So what about this piece bothers me? Well, with a fairly unique name, Google already pulls up pretty much everything about me on the internet on the first page of search results as it is. Add to that potential WoW forum posts and that makes for an interesting picture for any potential employers. It's not a matter of being ashamed of my gaming habits as it is about a society which still does not accept gaming as a mainstream and legitimate pasttime. I cannot control what my potential employers think about my hobbies, but I can control to a large extent what appears on the internet for potential employers to find.

How about for folks who would rather not have certain family members contact them? Or creepy exes? How about getting into academia, or applying for things other than jobs? How about folks who are in fields that require a high amount of privacy or security and cannot afford to have their names posted on a forum post?

Sure, it's not the end of the world. The clear "solution" to this is to not post on their web site. But that means no more asking customer service questions, or posting in suggestions, or filing bugs under the forums. And if that's what they want? So be it. If I get to a point where I need technical assistance from their forums and I cannot post without my full name, then that's the day I say screw it and stop playing. I've quit other MMOs for less.

And for those who are keeping count, I am *not* an "old fogey", unless 27 is over the hill these days. I'm a software engineer and have a pretty good grasp of how this sort of thing works because it's my job to know. Someone over at Blizzard is not really thinking through the impact and legal implications of this, and I'm curious to see what the fallout is in the end.

Holly said...

I've never enjoyed facebook or myspace for mostly this reason. I don't hide who I am on the internet ... for the most part, but I know there are times in game when I don't want my guildies poking me every 3 minutes to tank a run, heal a run, or dps a run, answer a question, or sit there 10 minutes fidgiting with rawr to help them pick gear, I go on a hunter, or a shaman on another realm, and play alone, isolated, seeing whether wolves and I can solo archimonde.

The reason I've hated real ID is for -this- reason, because sometimes I don't want people to know I'm online, period, there's no appear offline button on real ID, and thus, I'll never use it, period. I'm not afraid of puttin gmy name out there and that I'm a gamer, but I don't want to have to make a 'private account' to hide from people when I wish to. It being on the forums wouldn't bother me, save for the fact that then people will be able to poke me in game, which wouldn't bother me -on my mains- but on my shaman and my private quiet time characters, then I start growling.

Video Game Philosopher said...

The true irony would be if realid and this forum change is what does wow in. I doubt it will, but I will be laughing for a long time if it does.

Ratshag said...

True Names have value. Can be used fer ta summon a demon. Can be used fer ta steal a bugger's soul.Can be sold ta telemarketers. Can be used against ya in divorce proceedings.

Ta be handed out fer free ta everybody and his binky on the forums? Bugger that.

Anonymous said...

No more trolling on level 1 alts. If you complain about ICC being too hard, I can look your characters up on the armory and see how much ICC experience you have.

I see it as taking down that curtain of internet anonymity so many people like to hide behind while they fling their proverbial turdballs...

As a side note, there are a few people on my server (on every server, I bet) that troll the trade channel with such persistence, its hard to believe they ever get anything done. I want to be able to ignore them. RealID style. I want to be able to ignore this persons character, and have my account flagged to ignore any character they create on that account. No matter what toon I am on.

-Posting as a level 1 troll, just to help prove my point :P

Gazimoff said...

For a while I've been working on an alternative website for a roleplaying realm called Earthenring.eu. Most of my work has been on the structural rather than content side so far.

Let's just say plans to complete the work have stepped up a gear as a result of this.

Zelmaru said...

The point about guild recruitment is dead-on. Because I don't "trust" the statement that this change will not be retroactive, I went ahead and deleted all my old posts. 90% of them (and I only had a handful anyway) were in a recruitment thread for my guild.

Shadowspawned said...

The use of RealID on the forums would not be necessary if Blizzard actually policed the forums and got rid of the trolls and flamers. This is an attempt to make the forums a productive community where discussion can occur. Instead this will kill what little intelligent discussion there is in the forums.

Mister K said...

We've always said the only thing that could kill Wow was Wow screwing up. The facebooking of Wow is certainly going on that direction an will have a huge impact on the player-base and when this goes through the forums will be deserted like we've never known. If this becomes a requirement to play I am pretty sure I will quit too. I hope all the other games out there are seeing this colossal fail on Blizzards part and making notes to add the virtues of anonymity to their feature list.

spinksville said...

Someone on our guild forums did point out that one good thing about this would be that you'd know in advance if you were about to argue with chuck norris

Saithir said...

@Hatch - Living a "double life" because of a hobby must be hard. Ever considered finding a new one? Like, I don't know, golf for example.

And no, I am not a "professional", if that's your synonym for a "hypocrite". I just happen to work with people that don't actually care about whatever I might be doing in my free time.

According to you that makes me irresponsible. So be it.

Keeva said...

My problem with recruitment:

How many people will skip over my recruitment threads because they see my guild is run by a girl?

It's unfortunate of course that this still happens, but I do prefer my gender to not be trumpeted from the rooftops when I'm trying to recruit.

I know I'm a good player, and so do my guildmates - but will potential recruits judge me, and my guild, on my gender?

I have always been the one to post recruitment threads, because I am well respected in our community. But in Cataclsym - will I have to get a male guildmate to post them for me?

It's all well and good to say "if they judge you on your gender, you didn't want them in your guild anyway", but even good people can be slightly biased, and scared off, if they think a guild run by a girl might not be all that great.

It's certainly not the end of the world, but it's pretty sad that I would feel that I had to let someone else post for me.

NaturalGamerGirl said...

Unfortunately, they could accomplish detering trolling by having you select an account name that encompasses all of your WoW toons. So like someone mentioned, you could mass ignore an entire account or look up all of those lvl 1's toons to see what they've done. But this account name should NOT have to be your real name!

Let me select an avatar to serve as the face of my account. I would be fine if every post I made on any one of my toons was traceable to my account (as I only post on my main anyways). But I will no longer post on any Blizzard site if it publishes my real name.

Xaxziminrax the Second said...

I just don't think ANY of you get it.

Where the purpose of the forums is player-to-player and player-to-developer communication, the forums are nigh-useless. A dev must spend days wading through junk threads to find a gem. The same is true for player-to-player communication via their forums; start a legitimate thread and it either breeds trolls or gets pushed off the front page by troll threads before anyone has read it.

Pros:
-Reduced moderation required; money saved by Blizzard
-Faster, more direct customer-to-developer communication, since less trolling to wade through.
-Improved content of posts that do get posted, since most social oriented people will want their names associated with good ideas and meaningful discussion, so will strive to make themselves and their ideas well-presented.
-They can delete the World's End Tavern Roleplaying Forums, since immersion is completely annihilated after seeing that Mary Sue, the cute paladin you were considering roleplaying with, is really named Jimbo Allen. (Wait, isn't this a con?)

Cons:
-Fear of being ridiculed for a half-baked idea may scare off potential posters with valid input. (I don't know about you, but most of my ideas don't spring into my head 100% perfect.)
-Any mention of your region/state may land you with serious real-life repercussions from unstable individuals.
-Unthinking persons may say things they didn't mean (or be misinterpreted), and years later it may bite them in the bottom.
-Players who have their accounts stolen and used to spam keyloggers will have their real life name associated with such activities.
-Multiple persons with one name may be confused for each other.
-Immersion is utterly obliterated. This stopped being an MMORPG a long time ago. Now it's about to finish being an MMOG. It's just an MMO. (Same thing as a social networking site?)


Other things to think about:
-Immigrants may be stuck with a poor name, and not wish to give it out.
-Anyone with a unique name may not wish to give it out.
-Transsexuals and other 'gender variant persons' must give out their legal name, not the name they are actually known by on a day to day basis.
-Professionals who talk the same on gaming forums as they do in the work place may wish to refrain from posting.
-Blatant bigotry will not prevail, as such posts are directly and obviously against the ToU. With less trolls to moderate, moderators will be able to pay quicker attention to these offenses.
-Subconscious bigotry will always exist, and currently does on the forums, except using your character's gender, race, and class.

I do not, in any capacity, support no change to the forums. Currently they are an unsustainable cesspool. Blizzard is burning their own money by throwing it into the current model. Cost of moderators + man-hours of devs/CMs wading through junk posts is getting hefty of late, and what are they honestly getting out of the forums? Barely anything, except in the specific threads blues create asking for feedback.

A better idea than to leave the forums as they are would be to shut them down. A better idea than shutting them down would be to only allow posters to post using their Real ID.

A few ideas ideas I thought of (or stole) that are better than shutting down the forums:
-Only allow each account to post on one character.
-Gratuitous increase in punishment for violations of ToU (week long forum suspension for minor offenses like trolling/spamming, etc)
-Real ID.. except with nicknames instead of real life names. (See better idea #1.)

hound said...

I'm on the fence.

I do not actively try to hide who I am, but I also do not just enter a room and shout out my name.

I do not care about what employers would think about my hobbies, if my hobbies are incompatible with the job, then maybe I am too.

On the other hand, I do not approve of blatant and forceful actions such as this.

And it is also obvious that Real ID is a child of Activision. Blizzard makes games. Activision makes money. Real ID stands to open a path to future financial revenue. I am confident that this is not over yet.

Jormundgard said...

Probably a consequence of Ghostcrawler... I mean, Greg Street... spending so much time on the forums. It's presenting him with problems he really shouldn't be trying to solve.

Klepsacovic said...

@Saithir "I just happen to work with people that don't actually care about whatever I might be doing in my free time."
That's good for you. Not every person in the world is so fortunate. Why should Blizzard make that worse?

People often seek to keep their work and non-work lives separate. Blizzard has no right to interfere with that. While we have the right to simply quit, to opt out entirely, that's just going from one bad extreme to another.

Shintar said...

The more I think about this, the more I feel that I'm more intrigued than appalled by this proposition. It kind of feels like some sort of social experiment to me. Does forcing people to use their real names in a gaming context make for a better community? Kind of bold really, but it might not turn out so well.

Pangoria Fallstar said...

The fact that I have to pay $15 to go in a delete my posts is upsetting. I don't want to do it, because I don't want to be involved with WoW anymore.

All those saying how they don't want this... I'm sorry, if you don't quit WoW with that being the reason, then no change will ever occur. A mass exodus of people will make them change policy, because they only think with their money.

So here's the breakdown, most people won't leave, and Blizzard will send a message out to the world to go ahead and use people's real names.

I'm not returning to WoW anymore. Forget it. Not worth it. I'm more annoyed than angry though. I really was looking forward to Cataclysm, and Diablo 3. Now I'll have the pleasure of hearing everyone else tell me how great the games are, while I play Ms. Pac-man, and Plants vs. Zombies.

Saithir said...

@Klepsacovic

"That's good for you. Not every person in the world is so fortunate. Why should Blizzard make that worse?"

Not every person in the world has to post on Blizzard forums either, do they? If you don't post on them, how are they making it worse?

I wonder how many posts Hatch, who spews angry crap around, made on the forums, or is it just spewing crap for the sake of spewing it. But enough of this.

"People often seek to keep their work and non-work lives separate. Blizzard has no right to interfere with that. While we have the right to simply quit, to opt out entirely, that's just going from one bad extreme to another."

But do you really have to go to the extremes? The current forums will stay as they are, this was confirmed by the blues - that they will not be upgrading all of this crap there is now.

The *new* forums, well, don't post on them if you don't like your name appearing for whatever reason. That's opting out of it. You don't have to quit the game entirely to not have your name on it - you just don't post there.

It still doesn't solve any of the real problems, like the one that Keeva pointed out - when you *need* to post something there. Or tech help/support forums, or RP ones...

The best and obvious solution would be to introduce an optional nickname for the Battle.net profile. That would be enough.

Janyaa said...

I am also VERY against their new policy with Real ID.

I know some of you will flame me as being paranoid or reactionary for saying this, but there is the potential for real life danger/ risk to exposing your full name on forums such as this.

Professionally, there are a lot of companies that would hold it against you if they found out you were a gamer. I know of quite a few industries that frown on this, and it's not unheard of for future and current employers to google/ facebook search before hiring.

Another thing I'm concerned about is the potential for stalking. No, I'm not saying anybody would care to stalk me. What I'm saying is, that it has happened, it's not unheard of. Granted, if you're a male, it's probably not something that concerns you and is therefore easy to dismiss. It's very rare for a man to be stalked. However, there are some things any/ every woman should be aware of...

-You don't go walking around super late at night in unknown, dark places needlessly.
-You never accept a drink from a stranger without seeing the bartender pour it, or open it yourself.
-You always bring enough cab fare with you on a date.
-And you use common sense when using your real identity in large, public settings.

If you have a common name, maybe it's not as concerning to you. I happen to have a very unique name, and it wouldn't be too hard to look me up by knowing my full name and the state I live in.

Basically, I feel like I'm being made to choose between being an active member of the Blizzard/ WoW community or my own personal safety...and it PISSES me off.

Go ahead, trolls. Have a field day if you must...but I stand behind my reservations. You will not be seeing me on these forums again once they change it.

Edited to say: This will probably affect my ability to fulfill my duties as a recruitment officer if I can't post what we need as a guild on the forums, too. I can't believe Blizzard could be THIS stupid. What the hell are they thinking up there in their offices?

TyphoonAndrew said...

I hate this.

I'm a blogger, who's real name is easily found if you're willing to dig a bit, and I still think this is a total mistake. Totally wrong.

What worries me is that I now feel like we are not at the end of the slippery slope.

KiwiRed said...

I agree Saithir, all it would take to make it minimally acceptable for me would be the option of using a nickname instead of my name, or at least some form of recognition that they will be implementing it in the near future.

Also, for those who're saying "If you don't like it, don't use it" I'd just remind you that if you have technical issues with the game for whatever reason, your best avenue of recourse is... the forums.

As it is, this is my tipping point on the matter, and I'm cancelling my subscription.

Anonymous said...

To the person saying you can now look up my characters on the armory...no you can't.

Now I can post on a lvl 0 alt...aka just my name. You don't even have to attach a character to it.

Louise said...

I can't believe they'd do this. Everyone knows of famous people like Mila Kunis and Vin Diesel play WoW, how many reporters/ fans are now going to search through every forum to find a famous name then stalk it. It'll bring a new era of fanboi realms.

Falir said...

Personally as long as the things you post are constructive and well thought out I don't see anything anyone could post as being harmful. You should already be protecting your personal info etc on social networking sites. People are more likely to try identity theft through those avenues anyway as they have a lot more info to go on than just your name.

Also I'm sure there will still be some ways to submit feedback without everyone seeing your name. In game ticket, email, etc. It just means your feedback won't be public.

Korenwolf said...

As ever, follow the money

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2010/05/blizzard-and-facebooks-friendly-social-networking-deal-launches-with-starcraft-ii-/1

Saithir said...

@KiwiRed - "I'd just remind you that if you have technical issues with the game for whatever reason, your best avenue of recourse is... the forums."

"Phone support is provided in English, French, Spanish, Russian, and German. (...) You can also contact our Customer Support Team through our web-form, or browse our FAQ section here."

Granted, I had to use their support only once in the few years I play WoW, and for the Blizzard Store, not for the game itself. It did work though and my problem was solved.

Best or not, it's not the only way, is it?

timefortincan said...

It's Blizzard's creation - I pay my fee to play the game. I accept the terms, or I no longer use the service/play the game.

I dislike having my gender and name found so easily - I don't even know if I can change my battlenet "identity" to something that is less personally identifiable.

In my profession, gaming is not viewed highly. It is not the sort of thing that one puts on a CV - gaming is not an activity that has the same networking potential(how ironic) as golf, or being a governor of a local school - I would not choose to have my employer aware of my free-time gaming.

My online usenet presence, such as it is, is limited to an entirely separate identity. I like having my online identity separate from my professional one. I don't like them mixed. I like that choice.

So, I might browse Blizzard forums, but will not post there.

Copra said...

Like I posted on my blog, Blizzard is in this for the money. Social media being the craze and power word of the business at the moment, they are stretching every string to be the first to make it worth money. They've built their customer base over the last 6 years for this product, so why wouldn't they try to benefit the most from it?

This is only the beginning, really. The RealID is bound to be branded and put a price tag on it. As whole or as in segments.

And like Dechion, I was not amused when RealID was announced. Not at all.

C out

Anonymous said...

Another option instead of cancelling your subscription is to write to the technology desk at national newspapers. Any story that combines World of Warcraft, Facebook and privacy concerns will get column inches.

Larísa said...

@Dechion: Yeah, that’s my standpoint too. I play this game to become someone else, to escape reality. If they’ll force me to display my name, I’ll have to find some other place to go where I’m still allowed to use my imagination. Currently LOTRO doesn’t feel like a bad alternative.

@Dwism: I’m trying to make up my mind and make a qualified guess if they’ll back on it or not. I’m not sure yet. They don’t mind about opinions from people like you and me. But when Ciderhelm and other recogized community speaks up I guess it hurts… a little bit at least.

@Spinksville: I feel cheated tbh. I thought they aimed for middle class people like me as well. But I was wrong.

@Bri: RP forums will have to move somewhere else, that’s for sure.

@Tesh: Yeah. I’m a bit surprised. I thought we in the non-Facebook-generation had higher average income.

@Perilmar: We post on the forums for various reasons. Guild recruitment is one. Technical support is another. Guild recruitment will have to move elsewhere, to Tankspot and other places. And technical support… well they’ll have more e-mails to take care of, that’s for sure.

@Saithir: Good for you to have a work where gaming is accepting. Everyone hasn’t. I agree that a nickname solution would have worked fine.

@Hatch: yeah. What you said.

@Manorton: Yeah, it’s Blizzard’s game. But most business do some research among their customers before making changes like this. They recently had some sort of survey sent out, covering a number of questions, but as far as I know of this wasn’t one. I think that if they would have included it, they might have reconsidered this idea after listening to the response. Good for you to be I a life situation where you can be absolutely open about gaming. AND having a fairly common name. personally I have a name that is carried by one person on planet Earth. Me.

@Analogue: What you said.

@Talarian: I was like you: pretty cool about Real ID since I didn’t plan to use it in-game. This is an entirely different matter.

@Holly: If you don’t mind showing your rl name you’ll be fine because it will be optional to show your character name. Which feels a bit weird and reversed to me.

@Video Game Philospher: No I don’t think it will be the end of WoW either. But a little part of me actually wishes it would.

@Ratshag: The orc is right.

@Anonymous: what you ask for could easily be arranged without leaving out our real life names. You could link the characters together. I’m sure others would mind that but it wouldn’t be a biggie to me.

Larísa said...

@Gazimoff: Good stuff. I know there’s a good one for Argent Dawn EU as well. Those sites will become even more important now.

@Zelmaru: I thought for a sec about doing that as well, but for now I’ve decided to believe what they say. Maybe I’ll regret it.

@Shadowspawned: yeah, it’s a lazy way out of their problems.

@MisterK: I’m not sure how big impact it will have. Gnome has cancelled his account. It remains to see if more will follow. It takes a hell lot of cancellations to make them notice. And we’re pretty addicted if you ask me. But yeah, they’ve eaten a huge chunk of their credibility with this measure. As you say – if it becomes a requirement to run around displaying my name in game, this isn’t a game for me anymore.

@Keeva: This sounds horrible. That people would skip over your recruitment because you are a girl. Absolutely horrible. The thought really didn’t occur to me. But maybe you’re right. There are still some prejudices flourishing.

@NaturalGamerGirl: Exactly my view. They could have done this in a different, smarter way.

@Xaxziminirax the Second: A very good list of arguments and good suggestions about how they could manage their forums better without leaving out our names. Thanks! And closing the RP forums definitely is a con in my world. I’m a closet RP:er!

@Hound: You seem to be in a good situation personally. But realize that everyone else isn’t. There’s a lot of talk about money. But I don’t quite see how they’ll make more money out if this. What are they selling?

@Jormundgard: hehe… you could certainly think so! To be fair, I’d rather say it’s got to do with the Facebook cooperation. But the thought strikes you.

@Shintar: Intrigued? Well. I’m furious and saddened since it makes players such as Gnomeaggedon cancel their subscriptions.

@Pangoria Fallstar: You don’t have to go there and delete your posts. It won’t show up retroactively.

@Janvaa: No flames or trolls here at the inn… I suppose you reposted your post from the forums here. Which is fine. Valid points.

@Typhoon Andrew: Yeah. I didn’t believe there was one for Real ID. But now I see it.
The slippery slope.

@KiwiRed: Another cancel. Sad to see you go.

@Louise: Another aspect. Didn’t think of it. Yeah. Celebrities can forget about participating in the forums.

@Falir: You can e-mail Blizzard but you’ll not get any response whatsoever like you can if you’re lucky in the forums, getting a ”blue”. And you can’t discuss with other players. Where did the community go? Out through the window. For some players it’s impossible jobwise to make it public that you’re playing an mmo. Gnomeaggedon, www.gnomeaggedon.net, is cancelling his sub now for that reason.

@Korenwolf: Thanks for the link. It’s interesting. Judging from that interview they’re probably taken by surprise by the reaction.

@Timefortincan: I think you’re stuck with your Battlenet ID, unfortunately. Little did I know that this would happen when I signed up.

@Copra: I just don’t see how they’ll make more money out of this. What are people going to pay for? Unless they launch a service where you pay extra for NOT having to show your real name. That might work ofc.

@Anonymous: I’m actually just waiting for some major newssite to pick it up. That might be a wake-up for Blizzard. It certainly bites better than 15 000 posts at the forum…

Copra said...

If you don't see how they could benefit from the RealID, I suggest you read Tish's excellent post on this...

http://tishtoshtesh.wordpress.com/2010/07/07/blizzards-f2p-plans-realid/

thenoisyrogue said...

Yeah, I hate to say i told you so but ...

Muneyoshi said...

If you live in the UK please go to ;

http://www.ico.gov.uk/

and report Activision-Blizzard for breaking the Data Protection Act with RealID.

Frankly having an arm of the UK government breathing all over them is more likely than any number of posts to make them re-think.

Octale said...

For the majority of the last 17 years, my name has been in the public eye in one form or another, in one community or another. In 1993, I was doing terrestrial radio under my real name. 1995-1999 I was doing sports television on the Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus under my real name. In 2006, I started a podcast that was picked up by WoW Radio. My name was public knowledge in that community, as real names were used in the "staff" area of the website. In February, 2010, my friends and I formed VTW Productions as a legal entity. My personal information and association with a gaming, tech hobby and geek culture website is now a matter of public record if someone is clever enough to know where to look.

Guess: How many people in all that time, in all those communities that I've insulted directly or indirectly, whose traditions, beliefs, etc. I've tread on, and whose fandom I've openly mocked have come to visit me in person? Zero. None.

I can stand up and defend virtually every single comment I've ever made, regardless of medium, regardless of topic (except maybe the soccer incident, but I accept that was wrong).

The value of cleaning up the sewer of Blizzard official forums, and adding real accessibility to Blizzard games (instead of fake accessibility through criminally easy content, and character power level entitlements) by bringing value added discourse to official forums trumps the want for anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Look at the bright side - I can now find out that Nerdscoreprime, who is actually Joe Lastname and works for me in the Legal Department at Big Brother Amalgamated, when he is not at work acts like a total racist, homophobic, hate-spewing d-bag and I can fire him for "not representing the company in an appropriate manner" when he is off work. Not only can I trim the company payroll, I can destroy his gaming and professional lives simply because everyone will know that the d-bag Nerdscoreprime=Joe Lastname. Pretty sure his wife and kids will love finding out what kind of guy he really is when hidden behind the mask of anonymity.

Those of you who know me better should know that the above is in example of sarcasm. Nonetheless, I think it paints a picture of where this Real ID slope leads. In a matter of truth about me, I work in the legal field and have used "social" sites, specifically Facebook, to gather research to succesfully aid my side in legal proceedings - word of free advice -be careful about posting your drunken, sexual or other escapades on your social pages - public information has many implications.

Am I proud of of the fact I found information that way? No.
Did I like using that information? No.
Would I do it again to help my client? Yes.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

I will be finding a different game if this goes much further than forum posting - I value my privacy from people like me too much.

SpiritusRex

What's my main again? said...

Assuming they don't let you create a universal nickname...

If you are a "professional" and are worried about your employer's view of your gaming habits... then simply create a second account under a false name and transfer your toons to that account. Sure it cost a bit of money... but considering the time it would take for an employer to dig through the internet to find your gaming habits in the first place, I'm sure you are making enough for the cost to be minimal.

Should you have to go to that extent? No, I don't think so.

This same outcry occurred when they made everyone convert to battlenet. I really think people are just over reacting to this change.

Redbeard said...

In today's world, an employer -or potential employer- will regularly scan your online activity for anything that they don't like. While it's not illegal to be a gamer, the gaming community isn't held in the same regard as, say, the sports community.

I suspect that the next movement that Blizz will do will be to allow you to hook directly into your Facebook account from your battle.net account. And you don't think that advertisers won't be salivating at the prospect of gaining access to a bunch of electronics consumers?

Saithir said...

Apparently, according to the CMs, they are reading all that stuff people post on the forums and gathering feedback.

Maybe we still could have a form of a nickname of some sorts. Guess we'll see in a few days after they process it. Hopefully.

Larísa said...

@Copra: thanks, yeah, he's in my blogroll. I included a link in the follow-up.

@Thenoisyrogue: yep. You were so right! I didn't remember who said it, otherwise I would have linked to you.

@Muneyoshi: I suppose that's for UK citizens?

@Octale: I hear what you're saying and good for you. But everyone isn't in your situation! If you're making a living partly from gaming journalism I suppose displaying your name isn't any disadvantage. Remember though that there are many more attorneys, doctors, teachers, psychologists, IT specialists or whatever than you can imagine in this game. Grown-ups who might get problems in their career or other real life issues due to displaying their engagement into an MMO game. It's sad, but the truth is that it's still, after all these years, connected to a social stigma. And yeah, maybe we need heroes who step up and bravely declare to the world that they're in fact gamers in their free time. But it's really not Blizzard's choice. Maybe this would be possible to do in 10-20 years, when being a gamer is nothing more strange than watching a TV show. But we're far from there yet

As opposed to you I don't think the forums will become that much better now. It depends on how many of the serious contributors that will decide that it's worth to keep posting.

@SpiritusRex: Yeah. I don't use Facebook myself for those reasons. I guess there's a generation gap there but I'd dare say that some of those youngsters who don't mind sharing private information will become a bit surprised one day when reality catches up on them.

@What's my main again: I disagree on this. I don't think it's an overreaction. Creating a second account and moving over all characters isn't a small thing in my world. It's possible that I'll do like Gnome and quit. There are other MMos by the way that don't require you to display your real name. Yet.

@Redbeard: I don't have any Face book account so I'll be free from that. But I'm concerned for the same reasons as you.

@Sithir: yeah, I hope they'll listen too. Maybe I'm a bit naïve, but I haven't lost my faith in Blizzard yet. I'm really a fan girl I suppose.

Anonymous said...

One concern I have is that there is nothing saying this is the end of the slippery slope. If they choose to implement RealID in the forums, how long do you believe it will be before this moves to the WoW Armory?

So in one fell swoop Blizzard allows any RealID name to be searched on, because after all, we're all in it for social networking. :\

While Blizzard has not announced such intentions, I can readily see this being a logical extension of this 6 months to a year down the road.

Thoughts about when the Armory was initially released and how they played down the concerns of the community, are you telling me, history won't repeat itself?