Blizzard has finally updated its RealID system with many of the privacy features that should have been there in the first place.
In case you weren't around back in July, there was quite the hubbub when Blizzard announced that its RealID system - attaching your real-life identity to your in-game character - would be mandatory for posting on its Battle.net forums. In fact, you might say that it was slightly controversial, if you wanted to put it mildly. Blizzard quickly backed off, but the RealID system remained in place in-game.
That's not a bad thing at all. The RealID system in its original, optional form was actually a great idea. It let players keep in touch with their friends whether they were on another WoW server or faction, or playing a different game entirely. Unfortunately, it still had some gaping flaws, like an inability to ever "go offline" when you just wanted to pick some Peacebloom on an alt, and the bizarre inability to make yourself invisible to the friends of your friends.
Well, you can do one of those now, at least. The notice just came in from Blizzard that the popular PC developer had added more privacy options to its RealID service via gamers' Battle.net accounts:
We'd like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we've introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.
In other words, you can now completely turn RealID off if you just don't want to ever be bothered, or you can enable RealID but remove yourself from the "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" pool.
Uh, better late than never, I guess? I've always thought RealID was a cool and useful system with one or two crippling Achilles' Heels, so it's nice to see that Blizzard is working on fixing it - even if it is at its customarily lethargic pace.
Baby steps, people. Baby steps.