RealID debate brings all the posters back to the official forums

I’ve never seen an expression of general outrage against Blizzard so great as what’s been happening overnight.

I’ve lost count of the blog posts protesting the proposed new change.

Moderators of other forums, such as mmo-champion, tankspot, and even Elitist Jerks have come out immediately against the idea too (and to assure users that they don’t plan to go that route.)

And when an EJ moderator suspends their usually harsh rules about whining on Blizzard, you know there’s something more at stake:

The idea of merging RealID into the Blizzard forums is dumb. The more places that say it’s dumb the better (which includes here). If your post violates our forum rules we will infract you for it, but the do not whine rule is waived for this thread only. Carry on.

And that’s even without counting the official forum threads:

(As to why the EU boards are so much less excitable, I think it’s partly due to stronger moderation and partly because everyone knows there’s no point posting there because devs only read the US ones.)

Obviously one cannot assume that all those forum replies are from people who disagree with the idea. But who is going to read through 15682 posts just to check? Oh yeah, forum mods. Who’d want THAT job? Still, at least it gets people posting…

In any case, it’s an interesting experiment in online democracy, whether you agree with the change or not. Does Blizzard really intend to ignore all of the backlash? Today we’ll find out, one way or another. I hope they’ll modify their policy to let people create a battle.net account alias and require all official forum posts to show that information instead of real names.

And what dire PR for the company just before SC2 is released. There was a time when Blizzard was viewed as a company run by and for gamers. That time is now over. Even aside from the wrongs or rights of the proposal, no company that fails so badly in understanding gamer culture can really claim to be one of us any more.

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31 thoughts on “RealID debate brings all the posters back to the official forums

  1. When this was posted, it was already evening in Europe (around 7 PM server time I’d guess), so many people were eating/raiding etc. At the moment, by the time I finish reading a page, a new one appears. 117 and counting… we won’t get to US numbers, but we do care. I still can’t believe Blizzard would do something this dumb.

  2. I do not get it that Blizzard does not give a damn or think about privacy issues.

    RealID done in the way of the GamerTag or Cryptic’s @playername system would also create a perfectly viable online persona. They can do the same with Real ID, they just need to add a few privacy options and should not openly display the email address. What are they thinking, they are compromising both their players and account security.

  3. Well, I have cancelled my SC2 and Cataclysm preorders, I want to play a game, not to have this “Game social network” shoved down my throat.

    • Btw, the guy in charge of the RealID project at Blizzard, a Mr. Gregory C., has a very uncommon last name (only 274 in the US according to howmanyofme.com). I wonder if he’s getting a lot of feedback at his home phone?

  4. There are so many things that are bad about this idea.

    The obvious one, is it’s a starting place for identity fraud. It’s a pool of names.

    The second is harassment. If I can tie a name to an address, then I can effectively flood that person with crap. Not the online stuff, the off line junk mail and other things that you wouldn’t want your mother to know about.

    There real id thing, with the friends of friends being able to see you, was shockingly poor judgement on it’s own.

    In this day and age I struggle to understand what blizzard was thinking. I really honestly don’t understand it.

    If this real id is required for starcraft 2 or diablo 3, then they are gone from my list, even if I don’t ever post on the forums. I find this behaviour of Blizzard, similar to the Apple MobileGo/Itunes Purchasing crap, a corporate arrogance beyond belief.

  5. “There was a time when Blizzard was viewed as a company run by and for gamers. That time is now over. Even aside from the wrongs or rights of the proposal, no company that fails so badly in understanding gamer culture can really claim to be one of us any more.”

    That is the best quote I’ve read all month. And so very true.

    • On the other hand, this quote bothers me a lot, simply because I don’t think there’s enough evidence to say it with certainty.

      If nothing else, reflect that the people working at Blizzard are probably in one of the few places where being associated as a gamer is a GOOD thing.

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  7. The thing is though, if you’ve had a facebook accout or a livejournal or a myspace or anything of that nature? You’ve probably exposed at least as much personal information as Blizzard is asking from you here. Unless you’re very much into web privacy, there are easier ways of digging up who you are than digging through Battle.net and the WoW forums.

    People are free to dislike it. I’m not terribly fond of the idea and would vastly, vastly prefer it didn’t happen. But come on. People are being a touch too…internet about the entire idea, acting as though Blizzard have kicked down the door, killed the dog and pooped on the couch, as though their gaming is some hideous, degenerate secret or as though anyone still terribly shocked about the idea of a female gamer

    I mean, there’s legit issues here, such as why this is even necessary, but let’s not get too precious about it all.

    • But you choose who you open up to on facebook, this isn’t the same.

      It was bad enough with the friends of friends thing on RealId, which was ill judged, this just compounds the error.

      This is a game, not a social networking tool and it should stay in the correct arena.

      I hate to say it, but gamers aren’t the most rational bunch in the house.

      Blizzard are overstepping the mark and they frankly don’t give a s..t. Since if they did, they would have realised that their earlier announcements hadn’t gone down to well.

      • The thing being, I’m do not like the idea at all. But I find myself supporting it because the arguements against it have gotten so historonic and drifted so far from any connection with reality and some of the opponents have gotten so obnoxious about it that I’m feeling compelled to support it on some level rather than be lumped in with them.

        Though I get a feeling this is going to shuffled off to the side somewhere. I’d just prefer it be done in a way that doesn’t make it seem as though the response it’s been getting has been a sane one.

    • Would you post your real name on 4Chan, for example? The issue isn’t that it provides a lot of information, the issue is that it links your real name to your in game persona. When I post about wow, by in large, I post as Kobeathris, unless I have a really old account somewhere. Other wow players, with the exception of people who I chose, have no need or reason to know anything more about me than what I think about wow.

    • Incorrect. My facebook is fairly recent and locked down as tight as it can get. Only my friends can see any of my information, and I didn’t even fill out most of it. I use 0 apps via Facebook and I never will. I keep it only for my mother’s sanity’s sake.

      Livejournal, MySpace? I never had to publicize my REAL name or other information. In fact, I’ve been so good at keeping my real name off of the internet… there are no results when you search my name that are actually ME.

      People aren’t ‘shocked’ about the idea of female gamers, but most female gamers do NOT want the attention that their gender brings with it.

      Have you ever been stalked by someone from a video game, or an online forum? If you haven’t, then you have no idea what some of these people are talking about.

      The fact is – I signed up to play an video game wherein I’m actually a roleplayer. My real life identity has NO place as part of it. Period.

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  9. I cannot stress enough, “Vote with your wallet.” If you disagree with what they are doing, cancel your WoW account, cancel your Starcraft II pre-order. Outrage is fine, but businesses listen more to accountants and spreadsheets. You have to affect the bottom line to really get their ear.

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  11. Well, there are not only the ENGLISH European forums who are ablaze…

    German: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816898570&sid=3 5457 posts

    French: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816838129&sid=2 2166 posts

    Spanish: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816838130&sid=4 1778 posts

    Russian: http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816838131&sid=5 947 posts

    So Europe is more than the English forum there.
    Many have been banned from the forums in Europe for posting on other European forums than their own, which is something that shines another light on Blizz there as well.

    Greets from Germany.

  12. Someone suggested that this was a money saving exercise by Blizzard so that they could massively cut spending on the official forums.

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  14. I honestly think we’re screwed on this one guys. Blizzard has been very successful at introducing unpopular concepts into their games and largely ignoring the public outcry. I feel like their attitude is “We’re going to do what we think is best and to hell with the consequences.”

    I think something that everyone is missing is that we, as a community, have created a culture where our “outcry” isn’t going to have the impact we are looking for. Every change, even minor ones, within the game anymore are met with outrage. We’ve lost perspective as to what is really important and how much or how intensely we complain. Now that we’ve got an issue that is a make or break proposition for some of us, we’re out of luck because Blizzard has become numb to the “noise” that our constant complaining has become.

    I personally almost never post on the forums and will not do so at all now. I’ll continue to play WoW for now until something better comes along. The big thing is that I will not be playing any game that REQUIRES me to link my real-life info to my character.

    Vyll

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