Mixed Feelings About RealID’s Next Step…

It seems the next step for Blizzard is to use your real name in the forums. The time line for this is with Starcraft 2’s release for Starcraft forums and around Cataclysm time for WoW forums. They won’t go back and post your real name on existing posts, but at that point on, it will be used when posting.

Nethaera said:

Battle.net Update: Upcoming Changes to the Forums
Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature -www.battle.net/realid/ , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Battle.net. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.
For more details read more in this thread- http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=25626109041&sid=3000

And that was followed up with Bashiok saying:

One important point which I don’t believe has been relayed yet is that the switch to showing RealID on the forums will only happen with the new forum systems we’re launching for StarCraft II shortly before its release, and a new forum system for World of Warcraft launching shortly before the release of Cataclysm.

All posts here on the current World of Warcraft forums, or any of our classic Battle.net forums, will remain as-is. They won’t (and can’t) automatically switch to showing a real first and last name.

All posts in the future on the new forum systems will be an opt-in choice and ample warning will be given that you’re posting with your real first and last name.

As a part time troll (in truth, I haven’t trolled public forums since early EQ2), I can see this being the death of blatant trolling with level 1 alt characters from other servers. Which is a good thing.

As a person who likes the anonymity of online games for a bunch of reasons, I don’t know that I’d like 11 million other WoW gamers to know my real name. There is something about being able to pull up roots, fade away for a bit with few strings attached.

Maybe that’s a big part of the reason they’re bringing this to the fore?

I wonder what that means for celebrities that play? Oh yes, that is really William Shattner that ganked your quest hand in NPCs! Hey look, it’s Mr. T giving away free enchants and roses for Valentines day!


I don’t like this. This might be even more of a reason for me to not bother posting in the WoW forums even if they are cleaned up… despite the fact I’d likely be one of thousands of people with my name.

/tell John Smith 10000000000000

It does sort of have a ring to it… but I feel for “John Smith 3903288060032”.

Either way, this is a bit of a turn off for me, now everyone will know my real name is Chuck Norris*.

UPDATE: I just wanted to share a couple of posts from various bloggers and sites about this:

WoWRiotHello Bashiok! (WoW Moderator that bravely posted his real name and promptly has had people find his home address, phone number and also noted that he’s got the same address as his mom…)
Stylish CorpseYsh isn’t happy. (And I can’t blame her)
CommonSenseGamer Thinks it is a great idea.
Keen And Graev’s Gamming BlogKeen thought it was okay (until he called people out on the comments by posting his real name and several folks displayed his address)

I think this is something of importance, at least it helps mitigate who you are in game… which is something… from Bashiok:

Nor will I be.

You won’t have to be tied to a character name while posting. You’ll have the choice of displaying one if you want, but it’s off by default.

So long as you don’t post your character name or opt in for that, you will still have some form of detachment to what you do in the game, but not on the forum.

Either way, I think this is going to discourage me from posting on the public WoW forums even more so; whether I’m trying to recruit for a guild, offer help, organize some community thing or point out that someone is being an idiot.

* Not true, Chuck Norris wishes he was me.


5 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings About RealID’s Next Step…

  1. I don’t like the idea of using real names. I tried it on my blog, and when you get death threats it gets you a little worried. Once someone has your real name it is not hard to narrow down where they live, work, and etc.

    How long will it take for someone to get stalked, or killed by using their real name in a game where someone may not be able to handle getting ganked in pvp over and over by the same person?

    How long before scammers will be able to directly target you with regular mail, or something?

  2. It’s not hard to narrow down where someone lives, works, etc anyway. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that adding your real name to the mix reduces your security in any substantial way.

    I’m all for using real names on game boards. The level of utter douchebaggery on them indicates a clear requirement to remove the armour of anonymnity. People have to learn that what you say or write is your responsibility, including when you talk or write like an ass.

  3. I don’t entirely disagree with that, but the point is – who’s responsibility is it to ensure people aren’t being asses on some game’s message board? IMO, it’s the job of the moderators – not the masses.

    In a game of 11 million subscribers, you’re going to have oodles of whackos out there. Granted the separation of name from character name is something else. But people get all sorts of mental over video games, especially MMOs.

    What you do in an online game shouldn’t come back and hit you in real life because if that’s the case, every action or failure in game becomes judged by the varied beliefs and mental states of said 11 million other players. Does that make sense?

    A better way to do this would be to:
    1 – have a single name used across all servers (nickname, not real name)
    2 – make it a link that lists all that player’s characters on all the servers

    You keep game crap inside game stuff that way. You see so and so be a douche on the boards? Well, you can see who he is in game.

    Yes, you should be held accountable for what you do in a game within the confines of the game.

    IMO, Blizzard should be able to afford tracking down and banning trolls. If they moderated with a heavier hand they’d have less of a worry.

  4. Accountability is a great thing but when it causes more problems than it potentially solves it’s not being done right.

    There are a number of ways to make people more accountable without also making them stalkable by any asshole with a browser (as opposed to people who know how to ferret stuff out). As you said — NCSoft already uses general personas to identify someone across alts (it’s used in CoH among others). Pair that with some decent — and decently paid — forum mods and community managers and you’ve already got better ways to deal with trolls.

    Part of the problem is community people (including forum mods) are incredibly undervalued in the industry. Sanya Weathers (Eating Bees blog) knows a thing or two about this. I guess Blizzard is no different in not wanting to improve the quality of its community oversight, coordination and moderation.

  5. Evolving Squid :
    I’m all for using real names on game boards. The level of utter douchebaggery on them indicates a clear requirement to remove the armour of anonymnity. People have to learn that what you say or write is your responsibility, including when you talk or write like an ass.

    It’s not anonymity that allows douchebaggery to run rampant, it’s poor moderation. Which the Blizz forums are notorious for. This is about Blizzard going ahead with it’s Facebook integration plan, not ‘cleaning up the trolls’.

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