Blizzard Forum Changes Agitate Players

Those excited about RealID, Blizzard’s plan to connect users’ real names to their in-game characters, may be a little upset with a policy change to the company’s official forums. Judging by the response in the forum thread announcing the changes users are pissed off. Blizzard announced that forum posts in various official game forums will now use the RealID of the user instead of forum names or gamer names.

While this may be a good way to deter over-the-top flame wars and spam (because they’ll know who everyone is by name), some users are concerned about having their gaming and forum activities out there for the world to see. Here’s the official announcement from Blizzard from this forum thread (thanks to Mendror via the GP shoutbox):

Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature – , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new 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.

The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic forums, will remain unchanged.

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

We also plan to add a number of other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.

In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread. We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion. Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.

With the launch of the new, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID — including these forum changes — have been made with this goal in mind.

We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at conventions like PAX or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come.

For more info on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at . We look forward to answering your questions about these upcoming forum changes in the thread below.

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  1. Thad says:

    Not the same thing.  Facebook hasn’t come under fire for making people use their real names, it’s come under fire for sharing their personal information with third parties.

  2. Inimical says:

    I’m not super familiar with privacy laws, but Facebook has come under some serious scrutiny for some of their privacy rules despite it being in their ToS and EUA. To my knowledge if a ToS or EUA violates some kind of a law they are not enforceable.

  3. Krono says:

    The thing is, while their stated motives are "clean up our forums", they don’t need to post everyone’s real name to do that. Hell at the moment it’s against their forum rules to post your own real name, much less someone else’s.

    What this is really about is that they want 2.0 to be more like a social network. Realid has progress from being optional and only your realid friends can see your real name, to friends of your friends can see your realid name, to "you must use realid to post on the official forums."

    The logical progression of this is "you must use realid period". Note that Blizzard’s said they intend to at least attempt to enforce a policy that people must use their real name for their realid.

    This is a very valid concern considering that they’ve technically lied every step of the way regarding realid.

    That’s a post by a Blizzard employee in their WoW europe forums.

    The first paragraph is the relevant one:

    "We have been planning this change for a very long time. During this time, we have thought ahead about the scope and impact of this change and predicted that many people would no longer wish to post in the forums after this change goes live. We are fine with that, because we want to change these forums dramatically in a positive and more constructive direction. "

    So even at the first stage when they were assuring people that realid would only be for your close friends they were lying through their teeth as they were planning on requiring it on their forums at the same time.

    Here’s a quote from a Blizzard PR rep from an update to USA Today’s article on this fiasco:

    "We’re definitely listening to their feedback and will be carefully monitoring how people are using the service," says Colayco via e-mail. "Real ID is a new and different concept for Blizzard gamers — and for us as well — and our goal is to create a social-gaming service that players want to use."

    As you can see from the two, they pretty clearly intend to press forward with this despite people’s complaint. The thread regarding these are pretty much the biggest thread ever on each individual Blizzard forum it’s posted in, mostly opposition. News articles on the subject have ranged from neutral to negative (that I’ve seen at least). Yet the decision has already been made, likely at a level where what the Blizzard employee’s see doesn’t matter anymore.

    That this would progress to all around realid requirement, and datamining and targeted advertising in the vein of social network sites is a very real possiblity. It’d certainly be in line with what’s been going on since Blizzard and Activision merged:


  4. Thad says:

    "Sure the information dug up might not be accurate, but that’s even worse as now some completely random guy is catching grief over this."

    But again, that’s VERY possible in the case of a common handle.

    I’ve attracted online stalkers on a couple of occasions myself.  One attempted to get me disqualified from BioWare’s writing contest a few years back, and another started posting aerial photos of places where I used to live and work — he was utterly incompetent and all the locations were years out of date, but it was still pretty creepy.

    But I still post under my real name.  I’m not afraid of those people, and if they bother me again I’m not afraid to pursue legal action.

    Not that I’m saying my way is for everybody.  There are a lot of good points in this thread about preserving anonymity; the best I’ve seen is the one about minors posting on the forums, and your point about the LGBT community being subjected to harrassment is well-taken too.

    I’m still not 100% on what side I’d come down on on this — I understand Blizzard’s motivations, but it’s clearly a mistake from a PR perspective.

  5. Thad says:

    Yeah, but you couple that handle with a few other pieces of basic information and it gets a lot easier, like our friend John Smith noted a few posts above.

  6. Mendror says:

    Holy crap, leave town for a couple of days then i get back and find this. But I do agree, this is a horrid move on part on both Blizzard and Activision and because of this I canceled both my Starcraft 2 and Cataclysm pre-order and suspended my subscription to WoW. I was really getting happy about Cataclysm too.


    Oh well, Star Wars is going to be out soon and I can keep my time up playing some Torchlight or a free to play MMO.

    —- Rumblerumblerumber

  7. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    But in this case we’re talking about a fantasy game, where a large proportion of players have more than one character name, and in my experience the majority of players choose a name that is nothing like their real name or any handle they use on any non-fantasy-game-related website. 

    I used to have a character called ‘Siegfried’, for example.  Try tracking me down using only that name.


  8. Matthew says:

    Even without the massive potential for stalking, it’s sick. You can’t change your Blizz name.

    Get married and want to play with your hubby? He’ll have to live with seeing your old name.

    Go through a messy divorce and go back to your maiden name? You’ll have to live with that reminded for the rest of your WoW days.

    Transgendered? Signed up as Dave ten years ago, but now prefer to be called Samantha? Prepare for a constant stream of "ewww you sick perv" while you’re just trying to grind kobolds.

    Find religion, change your name? Nope.

    This is wrong.

  9. Krono says:

    The information might have been able to be found out otherwise. He is a Blizzard employee, with a facebook and a twitter that don’t hide that fact, and his name is in various credits and so forth. It would probably however have taken a fair bit of detective work to connect the handle Bashiok to his real name, and associated vulnerable information.

    The mod eventually made the same point you did about a real name being given did not change the fact that seeking out other information was still against the rules. Which doesn’t change the fact that it was not exploited until it was posted on the forums where at bunch of people were angry with him and his coworkers. Sure the information dug up might not be accurate, but that’s even worse as now some completely random guy is catching grief over this. Yet Blizzard wants to make everyone that posts on their forums vulnerable to this.

    PZ Meyers has another good point here about the gay and lesbian crowd:

    The counter to all that is that "you don’t have to post on the forums" or "you don’t have to attach a character name to the realid", or "You don’t have to use your real name for the realid they don’t have any way to verify it".

    To rebute that, besides being forgoing a feature of Blizzard’s products, there are a number of cases where posting on the forums is the best way to resolve a technical or account problem, and suddenly people will have to use their real names to do so.

    Not attaching a character name means that any prestige or respect from within the core game won’t carry over to the forums. People won’t respect the gameplay opinions of John Doe nearly as much as unless they know he’s in the top ten of the SC2 player rankings. It also means that you can’t post about any of your guilds without giving people a lead towards your in game self.

    Not using your real name for it is somewhat viable, but you’ll be screwed if you ever have a problem with your account and need to prove your identity to Blizzard. Unless of course you have a WoW account and Blizzard has your credit card info on file, which means they can verify if your realid matches the name on your cc.

    Then of course there’s the matter of embarrassing or potentially offensive real names. It’ll be interesting to see what happens the first time someone with a name like Richard Gaylord tries to register.

    Finally, while they don’t seem to think it’s a big deal, nutjobs do start stalking people over stuff as inane as some opinions on forums. Here’s a case in point:


  10. Thad says:

    Pretty nasty, and a rather ugly way of trying to prove a point — albeit an effective one.  (Assuming they’ve even found the right guy; it could be just some poor random bastard they’re harrassing.)

    The counterargument is that they wouldn’t have published his info if they’d been using THEIR real names — but of course even if Blizzard’s forums forced people to use their real names, they’d have no way of stopping people from posting anonymously on other sites.

    I’m also curious as to whether this could have been found without his real name and with just his handle — as I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, people tend to be pretty careless with their personal information even when they’re not using their real names.

    And I’m pretty sure it could be constituted as harrassment.  The mod should talk to a lawyer.  Just because you give somebody your name doesn’t mean you’re granting permission to post your phone number and photos of your house.

  11. Thad says:

    "Which begs the question: If it’s not a violation, why are they creating punishments for it."

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about.  The "violation" we were speaking of is the violation of users’ right to privacy, which I submit is not actually a violation; it’s a rewrite of the terms so that users waive the right to privacy in order to post.  Which, again, you can criticize, but I don’t believe it’s a violation of anybody’s rights.

  12. Vinzent says:

    Which begs the question: If it’s not a violation, why are they creating punishments for it. Albeit this is a very roundabout punishment but I see this getting dirty real fast.

    I visit several boards that issue warnings about poster conduct and swing out the banhammer where applicable. Also it is possible to ban a poster from the forums without banning his play account, so why not?

  13. PHOENIXZERO says:

    This is extremely stupid, just as I said in the topic. One, Blizzard already knows your info, they can see your alts and all that, there’s zero reason to share your name with others besides exposing alts for trolling, which could easily be done without someone’s name being put out there. Tie the account to a required Nickname (like they should have done with RealID) or tie it to the player’s most played character. I know I’ll stop using their forums once/if this goes into effect the way it’s planned. RealID in game was one thing, at least it was optional (for the time being) though that doesn’t stop me from getting nagged about not wanting to share my user name and full name to people, which is going to be a potentially massive security breach once hackers get into people’s accounts. But this really is over the line and it might stop some trolls but there’s still going to be plenty hanging around. Not to mention not everyone who created a account used their real name, because they didn’t have to. Especially if they pay for WoW using a game card.


  14. Krono says:

    From the employee’s name, they in short order pulled up his facebook (which he has since made private), and some whitepage/people lookup listens likely to be him, giving people a likely address, phone number, and names of relatives.

    The comments also gave his twitter account, and google maps images of the likely house, and another address likely to be him.

    He’s denied on twitter that the first house, or the phone number are his. Meanwhile, at least one person’s mentioned giving the number a call but not getting an answer.



  15. Thad says:

    I can see that being a good idea; if people are going to post using their real names, you can limit the audience to others who also use their real names.

    The immediate drawback I can think of is people just casually searching for tech support info would have to sign up too.

  16. Hevach says:

    "i am sure that you will find that there are lots of poeple who share my name (unless you happen to have a very unique name)"

    You’ll find a lot of them share mine, too.

    Now, limiting that to tech savvy college educated people with my name and you’ve eliminated a lot of them. If you can link me to a specific state of origin, you’re down to two – me and, oddly, professor at the university I graduated from. Even John Smiths can be pared down to the point that a couple hours of phone work will identify the one you’re after.

  17. Chris Kimberley says:

    Edited since you both ninja’d me.  Ignore this post.


    Chris Kimberley

  18. hellfire7885 says:

    This will fix absolutely nothing. If anything trolls and peopel with grudges will have an easier time harassing people.

  19. Thad says:

    "You sure employers are using google of all things?"

    Um, yes?  It’s pretty freaking well-documented that employers search Google and social networks before hiring people.

    "unless you happen to have a very unique name"

    Not a lot of Thad Boyds out there.

    "now facebook and possible myspace would be possible as they can narrow down by your location and the school you went too."

    True, but they also have (optional) privacy controls, while a Google search may turn up sites that don’t.  And of course you can put somebody’s name AND location into a Google search.

    It’s not mutually exclusive.  Employers search Google AND Facebook for applicants.

  20. Monte says:

     You sure employers are using google of all things? afterall, if you search search your name, i am sure that you will find that there are lots of poeple who share my name (unless you happen to have a very unique name)… now facebook and possible myspace would be possible as they can narrow down by your location and the school you went too. 

    This ends up being why i would never join a group that any way shape or form bashes a potential employer… ya, i might find stuff my employers do to be stupid, but i don’t have the years of experience and talent to be picky

  21. Thad says:

    I’m not sure it qualifies as a violation.  It’s their service and they get to set the terms; there’s no presumption of freedom of speech, privacy, etc.

    Whether or not it’s a good idea is perfectly debatable, but I think calling it a violation is inaccurate.

  22. Thad says:

    Care to summarize that link?  I’m reading this on my break at work and it’s blocked by my firewall.

    (It IS a little over-the-top, IMO, to worry about people finding out what continent you live on.)

  23. Inimical says:

    My thoughts exactly. It doesn’t require anonymity as much as it does a monitor, keyboard, and a few thousand kilometers between you and the person you’re being harassed by. Even with pictures on their profiles there are a lot of Facebook trolls and Blizzard is delusional if they think violating people’s privacy is going to change the fact that trolls will always be trolls.

  24. Vinzent says:

    I don’t care for internet trolls but I’m not sure I like this idea.

    First off, a troll is linked to their handle and their handle is linked to their account, right? So if you want to ban a troll you could also ban their account or any handles linked to that account. So does it matter that the general public knows their name?

    Second, I’m not the only person in the world with my name, and at 11 million subscribers the chances are good that I may pick up flack over what the other John Smith is saying.

    Third, the only reason I can think of to post their real names is to promote real world consequences to acting like a troll. It’s saying "For those of you who hate this guy, here’s his real name." At best this would promote cyber bullying and at worst it might promote murder. This wouldn’t be the first time a disgruntled player took his grievances into the real world and killed.

  25. Craig R. says:

    And yet, I’m not sure this will actually change anything.

    I’m a firm believer in the John Gabriel Internet Dickwad Theory. But Facebook has pretty much shown me that the "anonymity" part of the equation is no longer necessary. Even with their real names attached, people will be complete dickwads when they feel like it.

  26. Michael Chandra says:

    I can assure you that every google-hit of my real name is me. Unfortunately one of those is part of heated argument. Furthermore, the lists I show up in means they can pinpoint where I go to university. So yeah, if people score my real name, they WILL find me, and I’m 99% sure there’s nobody alive with the same name. Guess why I prefer my internet alias that happens to be a quite common real name?

    tl;dr: If I give my real name people WILL find me.

  27. Michael Chandra says:

    You know who else did that? Jack Thompson. Didn’t like what someone on GP said about him, found their number and started giving them agressive phone calls. Why you’d want to track a troll down and go personal judge on them, is beyond me. It makes one hardly any better than the trolls.

  28. tetracycloide says:

    This, more than anything else, I think should change.  One thing that always bothered me about Facebook even before they started publishing private information to everyone was that there was no way to know who was watching you.  This full disclosure should go both ways, I think; people should know who’s looking in on them.

    my vanity is justified

  29. tetracycloide says:

    If having a Facebook account is such a huge liability then delete it.  I know I deleted mine as soon as it became obvious that was the case.  Now I know from your other posts you have kids of roughly secondary school age and for them shutting themselves off from their friends online might be a much tougher sell but if being on Facebook is a danger to them after blizzard’s changes then it’s just as much of a danger to them now.

    I think this is a big part of why this is an issue for so many, they’ve published a lot of information about themselves online under their real name and they want to keep that separate from the stuff they published under a pseudonym.

    my vanity is justified

  30. Krono says:

    Yeah, one of Blizzard’s forum manager’s posted his real name to demonstrate that people’s concerns were unfounded. Here’s how well that worked out for him:

    Note that the comment corrected some information, and added other information.

    In general this idea is completely insane. Your real name gets put on any forums posts for webcrawlers to harvest for spam purposes. People with obviously female names get to risk increased harrassment if they point, as do people with name that point to their ethnicity.

    Then of course there’s the matter of people tracking you down in real life courtesy of your real name being on your forum posts. I’ve seen plenty of people argue that it isn’t as easy as people make it sound, that names aren’t unique especially on a global scale, aren’t even an indication what continent you live on. Well, some names aren’t nearly as unique as others, and thanks to Blizzard’s great plans for region locking Starcraft 2, people will have pretty good odds of figuring out what continent you live on. Even if they aren’t successful at finding you for harassment, that doesn’t mean that they won’t think they were successful and end up giving grief to someone entirely random.

    The list of possible abuses is long. That Blizzard’s forums will become easier to moderate (after an exodus of trolls, minors, and anyone that cares about keeping their personal information private) will be cold comfort to victims of stalking or other forums of harrassment.


  31. Thad says:

    A quick repost of something I wrote in the Ars comments section when this came up:

    "And what’s to stop random people from reading, disliking your ideas, and trying to find out all your information based on your name just so they can stalk/harass you?"

    What’s to stop them from doing that with a handle?

    I mean, look, that’s my real name at the top of this post, so obviously I don’t have a problem using it in comments threads. But in my experience, people use their handles in more than one place and are pretty careless with their personal information.

    (I once started chatting with a girl who made a personals post on Craigslist; a Google search for her AIM ID told me that she was married and had two kids. The point is, people are pretty careless about covering their tracks, even in situations where you’d expect them to put some effort into it.

    The point is also that you shouldn’t try to meet girls on Craigslist.)

  32. lizardinmycoffee says:

    My question would be: Can someone Google your name and find what you’ve posted on a Blizz forum? Because I know a lot of potential employers are doing that to find out who they’re hiring. Quite frankly, I don’t need/want an employer seeing my posts on a forum and thinking "Wow, Lizardinmycoffee must be a video game addict who will blow off work to game. Next!"

    Besides what everyone else is saying.

    I’m all for stopping the trolls, but I think that this will stop a lot of non-trolls from posting in the forums.

  33. Zerodash says:

    I’m 100% for this.  The internet has become such a cesspool of assholes who hide behind anonymity to treat others in a way they would never have the balls to do.  Perhaps accountability really can come to the internet. 

    It’s time to man up, Trolls!

  34. Defenestrator says:

    Well, it looks like that’s money I won’t be spending on Starcraft II or Diablo 3.  Thanks, Blizzard, for saving me $100.

    Bad, bad, bad idea.

  35. FourX11gd says:

    I’m just going to give one good and easy example of people being able to easily use a real name to stalk outside the blizzard forums.


    I know Facebook has privacy controls in place, but, since they change their privacy settings/policies faster than most people chance their underware, all it takes is one policy change and they can stalk again.

    High Tech Redneck

  36. Krono says:

    You’re kind of missing the point about stalkers. This won’t stop them, and will make it easier for them to stalk people outside the Blizzard forums.

    WoW and facebook have already generated problems with stalking. For example:

    This is only going to make it harder for people to both enjoy the game, and protect themselves from nutjobs.


  37. SimonBob says:

    One of the arguments I keep seeing is that having real names will somehow make it easier for stalkers, pedos, and so forth to locate their victims.  Everyone seems to forget that those folks will have their names visible too.  So if they’re going to stalk you, they’ll have to figure out how to do it outside of the Blizzard forums at least.


  38. SimonBob says:

    Blizzard updated to say that the new policy would only apply to posts made after it went into effect, so the post you made as "DragonWhelper75" when you were drunk and admitted you wanted to lick whipped cream off the lizard from Eragon is still safe from your grandma.

    I mean, hypothetically.


  39. tetracycloide says:


    Let’s say a former player had posted on the forums why they were still realtively anaynomous.  Would this update retroactively attach their name to all of their posts without their consent, their account having long sence lapsed?  If yes, that can’t be legal, can it?


    my vanity is justified

  40. Spartan says:

    I’m all for it. I’m sick of trolls and chums talking shit and trying to destroy communities for fun and profit -etc… Now if someone irks me enough with a little effort I can track them down and hold them accountable without resorting to the courts or other nefarious things.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  41. Prof_Sarcastic says:

    If you buy that line about reducing trolling, you should look into the deal recently made between Blizzard and Facebook.

    This is absolutely NOT about trolls.  Its ENTIRELY about making more money.  The troll line is just an afterthought, and there’s no real evidence to suggest that it will help anyway.


  42. questionmark1987 says:

    Exactly. People are responsible for their own posts. Use a different name, I don’t think they are going to be pulling the name off a credit card (and if they are you have plausible deniability that it’s your account as you could be paying for a friend or loved one’s account) so how is it any different then making some ridiculous screen name?

    Bottom line, take responsability for what you post.

  43. Alex says:

    True, but the sheer volume of complaints this is generating is enough to judge by.

    The thread is now up to 1730 pages at 20 posts per page. To put that in some kind of context, if you sort the thread list by total number of posts, the next largest thread (about the "additional instances cannot be launched" issue that plagued the game for a while last year) has 188 pages. That thread took over a week to reach 188 pages.

    The thread about the forum change has reached nearly 10 times that number in 38 hours.

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  44. Thad says:

    In fairness, judging by amount of praise versus amount of complaint isn’t necessarily an accurate measurement, as people are much more likely to speak up about something they’re against than something they’re for.

  45. Thad says:

    "Until such time as Congress or better yet the Courts come down HARD on companies that do google searches on prospective employees and/or discriminate in hiring based upon LEGAL outside interests and activities I’m not sure we really have a choice."

    And I can’t really see that happening because in most cases it’s impossible to prove.

    The more likely long-term solution isn’t legal, it’s social.  Twenty years from now the managers and the HR departments are going to be people who THEMSELVES posted embarrassing things on the Internet when they were younger, and they’re going to have a much different perspective about it than people do today.

    But in the meantime?  Yeah, I understand people wanting their anonymity.  I choose not to exercise it myself, and I don’t think that’s limited my employment opportunities, but I understand people’s concerns.

  46. Mortium says:

    Until such time as Congress or better yet the Courts come down HARD on companies that do google searches on prospective employees and/or discriminate in hiring based upon LEGAL outside interests and activities I’m not sure we really have a choice.


    And by coming down hard on a company I mean fining/awarding damages so massive they are forced out of business. And before anyone screams I am anti-business or what about all the innocent employees, if the company was profitable, another will rise to take it’s place. The employees are already subject to the poor decisions of the owners/managers, be it bad business deals or allowing sexual harrassment to go unchecked or discrimination in the workplace.

  47. Michael Chandra says:

    Oh I don’t intend to ever work for a boss like that. But not everyone has that choice. And I know a case where a girl didn’t get a job because of one dirty joke made at her expense that got published online and turned up in a google search.

  48. SimonBob says:

    Are you sure you want to work for an employer who takes that kind of hardline iron-fist approach to their job?  If my boss gave me flak for my personal choices and refused to allow any kind of reasonable dialogue, I’d be on the line with the ombudsman.

    …Actually, my company doesn’t have an ombudsman, but we also don’t have interpersonal problems regarding opinions, and the a/c is set at a comfortable level.  The only thing we argue about is who’s gonna win the World Cup (Netherlands.)


  49. Michael Chandra says:

    Or it could simply be untracable to your real person by anyone but the feds? And besides, are you sure you want to give employers the ability to look someone up and decide not to let them get a job because they play Alliance, or voice a personal opinion in a ‘private’ environment in a harsh manner? Or perhaps a political stance? Supporting the wrong party? Attending GamePolitics? Being able to offer advice on how to build a good tank druid, showing they played a lot, thus making them a ‘liability’ as far as spending enough time on the job is concerned?

    And let’s not get started on people who post "man my job is a nightmare, the airco stinks" and get fired for it.

  50. Thad says:

    That’s a good point — 13 is the minimum age for posting on most forums in the States and I can definitely see privacy concerns for minors.

  51. Krono says:

    Blizzard’s touted solution to your concerns is that you can use parental controls to turn off posting on their forums.

    Never mind the fact that many people would be perfectly fine with their children posting on Blizzard’s forums if it weren’t for Blizzard’s plan to violate all privacy recommendations regarding personal information. Or that their solution amounts to "forbid your children from using a feature of our products."


  52. FourX11gd says:

    While I personally would have no problems with my real name being used in online discusions, I have a huge problem with my two children, one 10 years old and one 12 years old using their real names online.  The 12 year old is getting really ready to join the online gamming comunity.   While for the most part, I can protect myself from preditors, trolls, scams, etc.  My children, while having some, do not have all the skills to do so, and using their real names online would make it that much easier for people to pray on him.  Having everything tied together is a good thing.  But, in my opinion having their name public is not.

    John Levengood

    High Tech Redneck

  53. Alex says:

    "There’s also a lot of people going "good thing!" and "we got nothing to hide". Not sure how big the percentage of nay/yay people is."

    The official sticky thread about this subject on the WoW forums is up to 1105 pages as of this post. I’m not crazy enough to read every single one of the 20k+ posts, but from what I’ve seen there’s maybe one or two posts in favor of the change every few pages, and about half of them come across as trolls themselves, whereas most of the people against it sound fairly reasonable.

    Also, just to point out, Blizzard has always done forum bans separately from game bans. If a troll gets permabanned from the WoW forums they can still play WoW. (Granted that they could easily change that, I personally don’t think they should)

    I’m not under the affluence of incohol as some thinkle peep I am. I’m not half as thunk as you might drink. I fool so feelish I don’t know who is me, and the drunker I stand here, the longer I get.

  54. FlakAttack says:

    "Many people argue that with the forum account tied to your account and thus your games, is already enough. A ban would cost you your games, knowing you’ll lose 50 bucks or worse would be a good way to reduce trolls already. Real names only encourages fake accounts for trolls and people who care about their privacy."

    A damn good point, and I would much prefer this over revealing my real name.

    I get Blizzard’s reasons for doing this, and I hope someday that we can actually have intelligent discussions on the internet as a way for the common people to influence politics. If you’ve read the Mass Effect codex bits about Asari politics you’ll get the general idea. That would be fantastic!

    But for a game? I’ll take a pass. Blizzard is going all "srs business" and I’m not a fan of this approach to gaming.

  55. Michael Chandra says:

    There’s also a lot of people going "good thing!" and "we got nothing to hide". Not sure how big the percentage of nay/yay people is.

    Many people argue that with the forum account tied to your account and thus your games, is already enough. A ban would cost you your games, knowing you’ll lose 50 bucks or worse would be a good way to reduce trolls already. Real names only encourages fake accounts for trolls and people who care about their privacy.

  56. Zerodash says:

    You don’t have to post on their forums then, if trolling is that important to you. 

  57. questionmark1987 says:

    There’s this little thing people need to start learning about the internet. It says "If you wouldn’t say it to someone in person and be quoted to anyone, you shouldn’t post it on the internet."

    It’s really easy to avoid having stupid stuff you post online from affecting your everyday life. Don’t post stupid stuff online.

  58. Daelda says:

    This is a bad direction to take. I was looking forward to StarCraft II and Diablo III, but this ReadID system has made me re-think my purchase decisions. As long as this system is in place, I will not be purchasing Blizzard products.

    I have no problem with some sort of ‘Global Handle’ that ties all accounts/characters of one person together. But displaying someone’s real name and e-mail address goes too far. Who wants denied a job because your new boss doesn’t like your opinion of the newest game patch? Or wants some stalker to really know that you actually *are* a female gamer? What about identity theft? Or any number of other scenarios. Personally, I just don’t like the privacy implications.

  59. FourX11gd says:

    Exactly, part of the fun of playing online games is getting together with friends to go out and do stuff in game. The easiest place for people to orginize that is on the offical forum/boards. Now you take that fun away from your kids, because you (rightfuly so) won’t let them post under their real name. Plus there is the real fact that some parents don’t care that their child is posting on boards/forums with their real name, and you have an issue waiting to happen.

    High Tech Redneck

  60. Erasmus Darwin says:

    I’ve had one troll decide to continually harass me on a website I was on, following all my postings with anonymous insults for months on end.  The thought of someone like that in possession of my real name is a lot more disturbing — especially as communications technology becomes easier, cheaper, and less easily tracked by the police.  We’re at the point where it’s really easy for a determined troll to call and harass someone heavily from anywhere in the country, and giving out real names in an area where tensions tend to run high is only going to throw fuel on the fire.

  61. Tammej says:

    While I was really happy with the usenet and use of real names on it, I’ve never been a fan of companies that make up new rules at will. So this is the final straw.


    I will not be playing StarCraft 2 or Diablo 3. Other game companies will get my money. It’s a bummer, really. Because I was actually looking forward to get both games. But not at the cost of losing control over when I want my real name attached, or not, for any reason, without having to explain myself, being questioned, doubted, singled out, or whatever. It’s private. It’s personal. It’s no ones business but my own.

  62. madeofwinandawesome says:

    I agree that this is just incredibly stupid on Blizzard’s part. As I mentioned in my blog post (here) I work on keeping my online persona and my real name separate. I even use the same online alias in whatever I do (as common as it may be), so people can know me and relate my online persona to what I am saying.

    I don’t want employers, enemies, crazy exes or people that I pwnt in PVP to try and track me down. Real names wont stop the trolling anyway – no more than a single alias attached to your ID would.

    This is a huge privacy issue, I really don’t see it being implemented. And if it is, I will either cancel or since I plan on rerolling for Cataclysm anyway I might just create a new account under an alias.


  63. Michael Chandra says:

    Something a few people commented: They’re pretty sure this violates Canadian and European Union privacy laws. Question is: Does it?

  64. Thomas P. says:

    To fake an account, they’d have to pay $20 bucks for classic WoW and pay another $15 a month to keep the posting privs.  This is too much for your average troll.

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