Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

July 12, 2010 -

Blizzard’s implementation of a RealID system on its forums which required posters to use their actual name caused quite the shit storm, eventually causing the World of Warcraft maker to backtrack.

Late Friday CEO Mike Morhaime issued an open letter to the community stating that, “at this time,” the company would return to a Last Tango in Paris-type world and not require real names for posting on official Blizzard forums.

Full letter below:

Hello everyone,
 

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. 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.

 It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

 I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. 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. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

 In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Posted in

Comments

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

While it's nice that Blizzard has decided to leave the forum nicknaming as-is, this letter is really telling me about a future I do not want. 
Besides: "we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

 

 

At this time?! So what this essentially means is, "Next chance we get, to change it anyhow, we'll take. Nyah Nyah.". 

 

Worse, even. That ever fancied Battle-id: You will be able to talk to your family through that! Oh Gosh, and I thought that possibility was always ruled out, and strictly filtered, or what?? Of course we can. And never needed real names for that.

 

"Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature."

 

Let's hope that me, the player, can chose to diss it all, thank you very much. Judging from the fact that this whole Battlenet-thing is forced down my throat even when playing a LAN game, let's assume the worst, and this really means: "Over time, we will continue to switch over Real ID on Battlefield.net to require unneeded functionality like real anmes for our players, who'll have to accept them at some point. HAH-HAH!"

 

 

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Blizzard was pretty gung ho about this going through, until their own community dredged up a bunch of personal information about Blizzard employees and made it publically available about the folks at the company as an example of what could happen.

Suddenly, they started 'listening to their community'.

"

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

That was the most effective way, subject them to what they almost subjected their customers to.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

It was pretty creepy though.

Going so far as listing where one guy's wife works, her phone number, and their address. AND they even stated who his children were and what school they were attending.

 

"

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

It was vigilante justice and possibly illegal.  There's no excuse for harrassing people, no matter what point you're trying to prove.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Inclined to agree, but I can't help thinking, if this had continued and non-employees were being harassed because people knew their names, would Activision/Blizzard have given a damn?

I think, possibly, sending the information to Activision/Blizzard privately would have been a better direction to take, it still would have probably un-nerved those involed enough to realise the stupidity of what they were doing, but not made the information available publically.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

A mate of mine already cancelled his WoW account, I doubt he'll change his decision. They already suffered the fallout.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Well, they did manage to convince me to still buy Starcraft 2. I think I'll still see about posting a nice 1-2 star reviews with some scathing comments about Battle.net 2.0 though.

-Gray17

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

I can't believe they would even think that this idea would fly.  I blame Activision.

http://www.madeofwinandawesome.com

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Giving Kotick's mornic statements i nthe past, such as making game development less fun, while not thinking games might get less fun, I woudln't be surprised.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

I think Blizz needs to find a happy medium to make people more accountable for their postings (to reduce trolling) while still maintaining the privacy to ensure people are not flamed IRL. I was thinking that the best way to do this is to make people create a single forum ID linked to their BNet account and then they can only post on that ID. Along with that post their most active in-game ID for whatever game the forum is for. IE in SC, show their ID with the most games played. In WoW maybe most logged hours in the last month this way people can not hide behind their alts.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

It really was a stupid, stupid idea indeed. You suscribe to a forum expecting some sort of privacy. It´s hard when every website you have to comment ask you for your email and real name "anonymously", and then this people pretend you to surrender your dox without making any questions?

Glad they quited to it.

------------------------------------------------------------ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

"You suscribe to a forum expecting some sort of privacy."

Well, some sort, sure.  But I've been posting under my real name for 20 years.  It looks like you post under yours too.

Not to say Blizzard should have gone through with it -- there was an outcry, and the people who prefer not to post under their real names raised legitimate concerns.  Blizzard was right to cancel the plan.  I just don't agree with your premise that EVERYONE who signs up for a forum expects anonymity.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

I think everyone that signs up for a forum has a general expectation that the forum will not give out any information about them that they do not wish to give out. At the very least they have an expectation that the forum will not suddenly, radically change what information they do and do not disclose to the entire world. 

-Gray17

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

"I think everyone that signs up for a forum has a general expectation that the forum will not give out any information about them that they do not wish to give out."

Blizzard was totally upfront about Real ID.  It wasn't going to give anyone's names out without their consent.

"At the very least they have an expectation that the forum will not suddenly, radically change what information they do and do not disclose to the entire world."

Fair enough, but Blizzard wasn't going to give up any personal information that users didn't explicitly agree to give.

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Thank you Blizzard for listening to your customers and not the huge profit Star Craft 2 was gonna give ya. And thank goodness Real ID is not gonna be used, that was a crappy ideal.  

http://www.magicinkgaming.com/

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

They didn't scrap Real ID entirely. They gave up for the time being on forcing it on forum users.

They still have it's optional use within Battle.net. An "option" that as Penny Arcade put it is "still tying incredibly useful Battle.net functionality to it"

-Gray17

Re: Blizzard Does 180 on Real Names

Not sure what you mean by "listening to your customers and not the huge profit Star Craft 2 was gonna give ya".  Do you think they would have made more money with Real ID?  Because I think the point is that they would have made less, due to the outcry.

 
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