Blizzard Nixes Plans to Require Real Names

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Blizzard Nixes Plans to Require Real Names

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In response to overwhelmingly negative feedback, Blizzard has changed its plans to display users' real names on its forums.

A quick recap: Earlier this week, Blizzard announced plans to expand its in-game RealID system - which allows users to friend each other via their real life identities and keep in touch no matter what server, faction, or game they're playing - to its forums come the release of StarCraft II and WoW: Cataclysm. If you wanted to post, you'd have to post with your real-life name.

The community went up in flames in possibly the most overwhelmingly negative reaction I'd seen in six years of WoW (and I've seen a lot of negative reactions, believe me). Blizzard said that it was "definitely listening" to the community feedback on the issue, though many doubted that the developer would change its mind.

Well, guess what: Blizzard changed its mind.

According to a message written by Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime (posted by Blizzard community manager Nethaera) in a post on the World of Warcraft forums, all plans to incorporate RealID into the forums are hereby off the table: "We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

Though Morhaime said that Blizzard believed that RealID was a "powerful" communications tool that real-life friends could use to keep in touch no matter what, it would remain entirely optional. "We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game."

So this means that StarCraft II players will just be posting with their StarCraft II character name, and WoW players will continue posting on their characters and level 1 trolling alts as per usual.

In the end, I'm glad to see that Blizzard was in fact listening to the community's feedback on this, though I'm also glad that RealID is sticking around in its current form - it really is great talking to friends in-game who play on completely different servers. So the people who like RealID get to keep it in game, and the people who don't like RealID get to keep their anonymous forums. Everybody wins!

Everybody, that is, except for certain people who have spent all morning writing a column that is now completely invalidated.

Dammit.

(World of Warcraft Forums)

Permalink

I'm actually disappointed with this. I like the idea of being forced to use your real identity online, provided it's all safe and secure. I use my real identity, and it's a great idea to crack down on people who abuse the system and the forums. Fine, usernames are good too. But why not let Blizzard do something like The Escapist does, allowing usernames but having real names on profiles, except unlike here, making those real names compulsory? A bit of compromise might help sooth the wounded trolls on the Blizzard forums...

Blizzard's intentions were good (sort of), but the cons really did outweigh the pros in this case. Gamers like to keep their game lives and their social lives separate for more reasons than trolling, after all.

*pats John*
Don't worry, you can still publish it, just as an afterthought of the whole deal. I wouldn't mind reading it.

As for 1 lvl alt trolling, i still cant see how a name would fix it. You still wouldn't know the guys character, would you ? ^^ Trolls only really care for not being discovered in-game so they don't get kicked out from guilds/raids/arena teams. It can be easily solved by making your forum avatar link to all characters associated with that poster. Or..well, moderate them forums?

Perfect example of the Web 2.0 experience. I am glad they came to their senses. I feel sorry for all the articles out there.

Heh, thought it wouldn't work. In spite of not playing it anymore, it's still good to see that marketing considerations don't take priority over PR considerations with WoW. Though in conjunction with another bit of news about another MMO, which just came out a few hours ago, this retraction of theirs might be a little...hrm...badly timed. *grins evilly*

I'm shocked at this sudden retraction of their plans...No I'm not really.

Well, now Blizzard haters have another reason against them. "Them" being the haters, that is.

Although, the idea never annoyed me in the first place, but I'll never understand people...

Glad to see this madness never came to be. Anonymity is the most powerful thing we can ever have.

Wow, perhaps some other groups could listen to feedback, too? Maybe ubisoft. Man, I fucking hate ubisoft.

Fuck you, spellcheck, they don't deserve a capital letter.

Oh, and go Blizzard.

I wouldn't consider this a victory just yet, they have a slight loophole in the 3rd or 4th paragraph. This is more damage control than anything, still a good sign.

Wow players will complain about this too, likely. Seems the vocal minority of that game is pretty awful.

I enjoyed the fallout from the announcement quite a bit, but I suppose long term letting people be anonymous will provide more laffs und lulz.

Bleh, whatever. I still think it was an awesome idea.

I'd be genuinly happy with that, not the fact they have scapped real Id but that they listened to the community, I just lately as a gamer feel as though their is less connection between the companies and those who buy their games lately. Nice to know I was wrong.

Citrus Insanity:
Blizzard's intentions were good (sort of), but the cons really did outweigh the pros in this case. Gamers like to keep their game lives and their social lives separate for more reasons than trolling, after all.

I agree.

I was not as vehemently opposed to the idea as some (I just was never going to post on the official boards) but I still didn't think it was a good idea.

Too bad. I was kind of liking the concept of accountability. Personally- and I say this as someone with a very VERY rare last name- it would've been an effective tool for reducing the amount of childish namecalling. The concerns in re: mistreatment of minorities and females were legitimate, though, so I can see why they decided to back off rather than risk that.

Of course, given that I never go to the forums except for Tech Support, I suppose I won't be much impacted either way.

Bravo to Blizzard for listening to its supporters...again.

Now if they would just listen and somehow remove themselves from Vivendi...

Well, now we know they're not colossally stupid, but there's still a long way to go to regain the trust and respect of people buttfucked by what we know as Battle.net 2.0.

Deofuta:
Bravo to Blizzard for listening to its supporters...again.

Now if they would just listen and somehow remove themselves from Vivendi...

And this. I am just so tempted to make a fool of myself by creating a thread about this.

Keava:
*pats John*
Don't worry, you can still publish it, just as an afterthought of the whole deal. I wouldn't mind reading it.

As for 1 lvl alt trolling, i still cant see how a name would fix it. You still wouldn't know the guys character, would you ? ^^ Trolls only really care for not being discovered in-game so they don't get kicked out from guilds/raids/arena teams. It can be easily solved by making your forum avatar link to all characters associated with that poster. Or..well, moderate them forums?

Yeah exactly, aren't all WoW characters linked to the like master account that holds all their characters? Why not simply make them use that master account so you can then look at their characters and blacklist all of them?

Trivun:
I'm actually disappointed with this. I like the idea of being forced to use your real identity online, provided it's all safe and secure. I use my real identity, and it's a great idea to crack down on people who abuse the system and the forums. Fine, usernames are good too. But why not let Blizzard do something like The Escapist does, allowing usernames but having real names on profiles, except unlike here, making those real names compulsory? A bit of compromise might help sooth the wounded trolls on the Blizzard forums...

I and many others wouldn't even consider posting here if real names were required. You can still browse the forums without signing in or signing up, so hackers can cruise for names to sell to advertisers.

I have to say, I'm very impressed that they had the balls to put there hands up and say "it was an idea, and it hasn't worked out" and change their minds. There's a lot of companies out there that would simply go ahead with the plans anyway.

On a personal note, i don't mind having my real name out there, I just prefer to be the one who decides to give it out. This plan didn't sit well with me because I didn't have that choice. Some say that posting on the forums is a choice, but in the case of Starcraft and Warcraft, if yuo want to leave feedback on classes and abilities, the forums was your only way. The in game GMs don't pass on suggestions and feedback, they simply redirect you to the forums.

Still, alls well that ends well.

ciortas1:
Well, now we know they're not colossally stupid, but there's still a long way to go to regain the trust and respect of people buttfucked by what we know as Battle.net 2.0.

Deofuta:
Bravo to Blizzard for listening to its supporters...again.

Now if they would just listen and somehow remove themselves from Vivendi...

And this. I am just so tempted to make a fool of myself by creating a thread about this.

I know right? I know that Vivendi and Blizzards adopted brother Activision don't have much of/any say in Blizzards dealings, but it is just a stigma that they have to deal with. Blizzard is almost the antithesis to Activision at times.

Apart from being money eating bastards, they do that pretty well. ;)

Wait... weren't you FOR this just a few minutes back? xD

Also... that "Post" isn't from "Nethera" (whoever that is) but is a Public Announcement by Blizzard's CEO (Mike Morhaime) just posted by different Blizzard representatives on different forums, so you might wanna change that :P

John Funk:
Though Nethaera said that Blizzard believed that RealID was a "powerful" communications tool that real-life friends could use to keep in touch no matter what, it would remain entirely optional. "We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game."

Really, guys? Really? You need my real name to be able to do that? How many years have things like Steam and all sorts of other services allowed us to do all of those things with just an account name? You don't need a "real" ID, just one unique account ID that links the rest together, which can be anything from a number to a made up name to your real name. Stop making up excuses for crap.

I'm tired of acting scared of the internet and its 'ills'. I wanted to see the Real ID experiment carried out and see the results.

I'm not afraid of my own name.
My name is Scott Gillan and I approve this message.

The Singularity:

Yeah exactly, aren't all WoW characters linked to the like master account that holds all their characters? Why not simply make them use that master account so you can then look at their characters and blacklist all of them?

So long as the name of that account* isn't revealed I could see that working. Maybe allow the account owner to choose a handle and "main" to post on while the rest of the characters are linked.*

*Account security is a big enough problem on WoW as it is without giving hackers another bit of information.

Pansies. This could have been a real experiment into the effects of removing anonymity and trying to stop the raging assholes who thrive on it and now we don't even get to see if it works or flops. Man up Blizzard.

Trivun:
I'm actually disappointed with this. I like the idea of being forced to use your real identity online, provided it's all safe and secure. I use my real identity, and it's a great idea to crack down on people who abuse the system and the forums. Fine, usernames are good too. But why not let Blizzard do something like The Escapist does, allowing usernames but having real names on profiles, except unlike here, making those real names compulsory? A bit of compromise might help sooth the wounded trolls on the Blizzard forums...

Because when an unhinged psychopath flies into a rage at that thing you posted asking them to nerf his class, the first thing you want is for him to know your name and have the ability to uncover all of your personal information, including your address, right?

There's a reason NCSoft's global headquarters has double steel vault doors separating the company's staff from the throngs of people who constantly send them death threats.

--------

As for the OP, Blizzard's announcement was "We're going to rethink RealID," similar to Google's "We're going to not turn Buzz on by default."

This is a strategic retreat, and they're going to return once you've all gotten used to RealID in the game. They probably won't even announce it next time, since it becomes easier for them to say "Well, we can't go back now!"

Also, they didn't listen as much to "the community", as probably to the negative feedback from even the BBC, ABC, Spiegel Online or the Washington Post

And their World of Warcraft "cancel Subscription" servers that were apparently overloaded and couldn't accomplish their jobs anymore xD

Guess I'll have to update my blog post showing the decline of a Theoden-like Blizzard from the brave leader of horse-men of Rohan to the tottering and confused old man being whispered to by Wormtongue... er, Activision...

i glad to see that blizzard is continuing to listen to us. overall i still liked the idea but was just not comfortable sharing my full name with the internet.

really all blizzard needs to do is make players have a forum-only screen name that is permanent to post on the forums with, that way they can still have accountability. they can link their WoW toons/ SC2 names as well and they need at least one blizzard game code to participate on the forums. problem solved.

Good, Blizzard. Thanks for listening to us gamers and retracting such a preposterous idea.

I'm glad only because I'm sick of the whining. You don't want to post on your real name on the forums, then don't. Simple.

Well thats disappointing. Blizzard giving into all the paranoid crying isn't exactly what I call good news.

Whats the next going to be? Are they going to hand out free epics at lvl 85 because a vocal minority is crying about that too?

Twilight_guy:
Pansies. This could have been a real experiment into the effects of removing anonymity and trying to stop the raging assholes who thrive on it and now we don't even get to see if it works or flops. Man up Blizzard.

So you would be ok if the Escapist did this then? "But there's no troll problem here!" Right you are, if Blizzard put half as much effort into moderation as most large and well-known forums do, there wouldn't have been this discussion to begin with.

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