In which Blizzard drinks the realID coolaid

So here’s my brief list of people who might have a legitimate reason for not wanting their real name to show up on Blizzard forums:

  • anyone who is worried about gender/ racial harassment and whose name reveals their gender/ race/ etc
  • anyone worried about harassment from other players for any other reason (eg. nasty ex-partner, etc.)
  • any community manager – these guys regularly get death threats. (Albeit not from realID accounts, I assume.)
  • anyone unlucky enough to share their name with a convicted criminal, paedophile, or anyone famous (expect to get harassed in game.)
  • anyone with an unusual name who works in a field where it would look really bad if they play games with minors in their spare time (eg. teaching), esp. where many people might not understand gaming culture.
  • anyone who prefers to keep their gaming life separate from their professional life, and who knows people who play WoW who they would prefer did not also know their characters.
  • anyone who prefers to choose who knows their real name, rather than ‘anyone who browses the forums’

I’m just puzzled at Blizzard taking the step from, “Of course you will be able to control who sees your realID,” to “we changed our minds and decided that anyone who browses forums should see it.” I presume forums will definitely be easier to moderate when no one posts to them.

Note: I realise that just about everyone is posting about this. But the more people complain the more it gets heard.

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31 thoughts on “In which Blizzard drinks the realID coolaid

  1. Blizzard simply does not get this privacy thing. Not a single boss of this company seems to think about it at all.

    Or is it a ploy, to pwn us all? :(

    Sad! Let’s see if I can play Diablo 3 without that. And have friends. People assured me I can. But well, see above, so much about that.

  2. It’s a ploy to sell another layer of authenticators and/or online identities. You want your privacy? Pay for it, peasant!

  3. It’s annoying, but it’s not a huge thing. If you’re worried about it (and if you’re in one of the listed groups, I’d imagine your worries might be legit), then just don’t go on the WoW forums. They generally don’t add a whole lot to the game anyhow, and there are better ones not run by Blizzard.

  4. Privacy is an illusion, the quicker you learn we don’t have it the better. Don’t you do searches of yourself over the internet? I do, and my picture comes up.

    • Yup, good point.

      But I think people are nervous now of where Blizzard may be going with realID. It’s still optional so far, and there are plenty of high quality non-official fora out there. But is this a slippery slope that will end up with the name all over the armoury, and characters in game? That’s what we really don’t yet know.

    • Yes, we can opt out completely, but that’s just picking one unhappy scenario over another. What ever happened to middle grounds and paying with money rather than privacy?

      • I hope my wow doesnt break, cuz if it does. im sure as hell not posting in the forums. if I play the game very much longer that is.

        Also, you forgot the 12 year old with his own account who isnt educated enough to NOT tell people what state or city he lives in. I bet mom and dad wont like that.

  5. Real name worked for decades in the Usenet just fine. I approve this change.

    The only “drawback” is that you won’t be able to post on the forum at work as you might get caught (which is the reason I don’t post with RL on blogs :).

  6. Good for you Kring…

    …though you and a smidgen of others might be the only ones left posting on such Forums when this is implemented. So it might get pretty lonely there though.

    Also: Used Spink’s post link as my Forum signature. I’ll probably get banned for that…

    …but right now, that looks like a really good option. /sigh

    • > Also: Used Spink’s post link as my Forum signature.
      > I’ll probably get banned for that…

      Do you really like to post on a forum you get banned for that? If Blizzard really is that bad, then real name on their forum is the minor problem. :)

      I don’t know, I never post on nor read the official forum as I don’t see a point in Europe. The devs don’t post there and you get much smarter people posting on blogs then on the official forums.

      • Well…no. But that’s depending on how the Blues and mods interpret what is being said and how grumpy those officials are when you say it. So yes, their censoring policy is bit arbritary from *my and others have experienced.

        In addition, since this a very touchy subject over *there currently…I’ve seen thread locks being handed out like candy on Hollow’een. I suspect forum bans and thread deletions are as well. So I won’t be horribley surprised if they do with that with me regarding my said signature.

        I sorta agree with your last part though. :)

        *Note: To clarify, at least in the North American Forums.

  7. Just to clarify – no toon names will be associated with your RealID – so it’s not like you can be stalked in game just because they konw your name.

    Small concession, I know – but there seems to be a lot of mis-information being spread. Just like your email won’t be attached to your name – it’s just your name.

    Of course, that’s today – who knows what tomorrow will bring. I don’t think this is the best idea though. I prefer searches for my name to come up with my cycling team and community service work.

  8. While I’m not fond of the changes, I think we’ve gotten to the point, though, where we need to realise there is no guarantee to anonmynity on the internet.

    It’s not a secret club house anymore.

  9. The more I think about it the more I settle on using a variation of my name next time I subscribe to a Blizzard game. Instead of Joe H Bloggs I’ll put myself down as J Henry Bloggs (Henry Bloggs).

    Many people vary their names, most Portuguese people can use any 2 from a long list of names appearing on their birth certificate and of course married women can swap between their husband’s surname and their maiden name.

    Blizzard is not an organisation to which I owe any legal duty.

  10. I already don’t post on the forums, so win for me. However, I am in the general class of people who would like to keep professional writings separate from game-related writings, and therefore won’t start posting on the forums either. If someone’s looking for a law journal article from me, I don’t want them coming up with holy paladin QQ instead.

    I also put together a dummy Battlenet account (Jane Smith), in the event that I have legitimate feedback for which I need to use the Blizzard forums. Complete with dummy gmail account (registered to Battlenet User).

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  13. I’ve been waffling back and forth about whether to stick around and get Cataclysm. This made the decision very very easy. Bye, WoW! The addiction got a bit annoying, so thanks for breaking it.

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  15. Another for the list – anyone who is a member of a guild which others have prejudice against, who don’t want that association splashed around in public.

    For example: the various GLBT guilds – you’ll only post if you’re out and proud and don’t care if your pig of a boss finds out.

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  18. Perhaps it is a PR stunt – Internet and blog buzz is worth millions in actual PR. Hear the roar, change the decision, blizzard is a hero, free PR for a week. I compare it to the hype that Scholastic generated with the Harry Potter books. Notice how there was ALWAYS at least one book store that had the title on display a day early and the press would jump on it.

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