I think I better understand the different positions people have, for and against, on the Real ID.

So, I’m moving on, letting the topic go.

I’m left holding the position that I agree with the idea of making the Official WoW forums a place where a player, whether brand new or long time and knowledgeable, can go and feel comfortable asking questions, posting suggestions, look for help or request technical support.

I disagree with the steps Blizzard is taking, in making the forums a place where direct interaction requires the publication of a player’s legal first and last names.

That being said, I personally have not posted anything in the Official WoW Forums in years. Literally years. I have also not felt the desire to do so. I have my blog, and while I’ll admit the Official forums are the best choice to get suggestions and guides for new players in front of their eyes when they need help, I just don’t have any interest in going there. Generally, if someone does a search for Druid Tank info on the internet, they can find me.

Gnomer makes a great point in a recent post about slippery slopes of privacy intrusion. Today Real ID in the game, tomorrow Real ID on the forums, next year, who knows? Maybe Real ID on the WoW Armory to track what players are doing today, live as they do it, regardless of character. Who knows? We’ve got Achievements there already to track what individual characters have been up to, so it’s really not the stretch of imagination you might think.

Still. There’s been enough talk about it for me. Blizzard knows how we feel, and what they do, they do.

All I can do is decide for myself what I’m going to do. I wasn’t posting in the forums before, so not posting in the future is no big deal. My real name is already out there thanks to my website, so it doesn’t stop me from asking Technical Support questions on the Official WoW forums if I ever need to, either.

I’m not going to quit the game, even to send some kind of message, because I still like the game. The game is fine. I keep finding more fun things to do in the game, increasingly with Cassie, and I’m looking forward to what the future may bring in Cataclysm.

I reserve the right, however, to change my mind if and when Blizzard continues to show a lack of respect for the privacy of it’s customers.

WoW.com has been reporting that Blizzard has changed it’s mind about revealing their CM real names publicly. Why? In consideration for the privacy and safety of their employees.

If they do go ahead with Real ID for customers but not for the CMs, then I’d have no choice but to interpret that as Blizzard caring for the safety and privacy of the employees that work for them, but not of their customers.

At that point, yes, I’d likely quit the game. I love the game, but a company that shows they’re aware of safety concerns for their employees but are fine exposing their customers to the same hazards isn’t a company I’d want to continue to do business with.

Time will certainly tell. For now, I’m going to drop it, and enjoy the game.

24 Responses to “Moving On”
  1. Kevin says:

    For what it’s worth, wow.com has retracted that report via update and only ever reported it as a rumor in the first place. The report now attributes the rumor to internal Blizzard miscommunication.

  2. kattrinsaa says:

    I do hope we can get the exploit patched that lets addons pull your real name. but other than that, i’m in wait and see mode as well.

    In other news, have you seen the BRK video that shows a glimpse of the goblin starting zone? OMG sweet! I may have to bite my tongue and go horde for a while to check it out myself when it’s available.

  3. Christian K says:

    Personally I think that Soon ™ i.e between now and Cata, Real ID will be required for using the Auction House, Leading or Joining a Guild, participating in Areas and Rated Battlegrounds. All of those make more sense than the public forums and for a lot of the same reasons.

    Blizzard believes that the future of the company requires that Battle.net become a social gaming platform and that is more important to them than existing WoW customers.

  4. lissanna says:

    I’m not sure I’m any happier with the idea of Actiblizzard not caring about the safety & privacy of BOTH their employees and customers.

  5. Jason says:

    I am more upset that Blizzard ignores the fact that WoW is a game. It is a form of entertainment and escape from reality. I am not an RPer but this sure as hell takes the buzz out of that.

  6. arrowrest says:

    I’m sorely disappointed with Blizzard’s implementation of RealID and the lack of transparency on their future plans for it. My first Blizzard game was Orcs and Humans and I’ve bought everything since then, from Diablo to WoW, to plush-toys to in-game pets.

    I will not be buying Starcraft II.

    There are way too many privacy issues with the current implementation of RealID: it shows friends of friends without the originating user giving permission, the API for addons can be manipulated to pull out your first and last name, and speaking as a parent who plays WoW, the parental controls on Battle.net are far too convoluted (it takes 5-steps to turn off RealID, you then have to wait for an email to go to the actual parental controls page – it’s like they designed it purposely to be hard to turn off).

    The implementation of RealID shows that they’ve strayed from their core ideal of focusing on making great games to chasing the latest revenue fad. I hardly doubt that Blizzard customers are going to be thrilled once RealID is used to bring targeted advertisements to their Starcraft load-in screens from Facebook-provided advertising companies. RealID is a marketing ploy and WoW players have spotted this a mile-away. It has nothing to do with enhancing the gamer experience. If it did, Blizzard wouldn’t need to integrate it with Facebook; it could have been a Blizzard only product for gamers to keep in contact with each other.

    The last straw for me was this first and last name policy on the new forums. It shows a real lack of judgment regarding privacy, especially for female gamers or parents.

  7. Tesh says:

    On the one hand, it’s valuable to be able to separate the game from the business and critique or appreciate appropriately.

    On the other hand, they do inevitably affect each other, for better or worse. I’ve noted more than once that I actually like WoW for the most part as a game, but won’t pay a subscription to play it. The business isn’t separate from the game, especially when they push things like this RealID that further strains the separation.

    That may be the biggest problem with this decision from a *game design* standpoint; the “magic circle” is further strained in Blizzard’s effort to craft a “social gaming platform” instead of great games and worlds.

  8. I’ve never posted in the wow general forums… I’ve never felt the need to and I highly doubt I ever will.

    I love RealID though. I have RL friends who play wow but not on the same realm. This lets me talk with them on any toon which is pretty cool. I don’t have a single in game friend on my RealID… I don’t see the point of doing so. I’m an officer and don’t have any of the other officers on my RealID and don’t see the need to.

    The whole “seeing friend of friend” thing I”m pretty sure is completely false. I’ve never seen any functionality of this in game and I believe it was a rumor that was later dispelled but I could be wrong.

    Overall… its a good system and no one will know my name unless I want them too… so I don’t really see this as an invasion of privacy.

  9. Talth says:

    I have not read through a lot of your comments mostly some of your posts. That being said I want to apologize if I am hammering on an issue that is already being focused on.

    My main issue with Real ID is not the forums specifically but with the new chat features in game. One of the easiest ways to turn the chat feature on to connect with Real ID is to give out your personal battle.net e-mail address. I am extremely surprised that blizzard has released this feature at all. They still have so many security issues with people hacking and stripping characters and guild vaults etc. I personally have an authenticator but obviously many many people do not. I can not see how handing out your battle.net ID to “strangers” is going to help this cause. It’s obvious that you should only send this to someone you trust and the only people have done this with are immediate family. Alas, there will be many many people who use that as the way to connect the chat feature. I don’t know, this is just a huge red flag to me.

    Sorry this steered away from the forum topic but I really think this is going to be an issue. Maybe, i am missing something…

  10. Nimizar says:

    From an initially mildly supportive, mostly ambivalent position, I think I’ve come around solidly to the “this is a boneheaded idea” position. (although, like you bear, it doesn’t bother me enough personally to get to me quit the game or anything like that).

    I don’t really understand why they aren’t adopting the obvious solution (persistent pseudonyms) that existing social networking sites like FB and Twitter use, instead of saying “Hey, you know that name info you gave us years ago that you thought would be private between us and you? Well, now, the only way to participate in our public forums is to share that information with the world”.

    Something else Blizzard has to fear is what happened to Bashiok and other people that posted their real names in the RealID thread: people being tracked down, not out of malice towards them personally, but because the people doing the tracking down don’t like RealID and want another scalp to point to and say “See, see, RealID on the public forums is dangerous!”. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a “Real Identifies” site get started that was devoted to posting the real life info of RealID forum posters as a matter of principle (and a big “F*** you” to ActiBlizzard).

    Also interesting is that even mainstream media are smelling a story here (e.g. the article on the BBC site).

  11. Urt says:

    @Main
    >The whole “seeing friend of friend” thing I”m pretty sure is completely false.

    if you select a realid friend and right click you get a couple of options, one of which is view friends.
    cheers
    Urt

  12. Katie says:

    Yep, I discovered the view friends thing on day one.

    I hardly post on the forums, so I’m not affected by that change. I’m gonna stand with BBB here and just keep playing the game unless Blizz does something even more boneheaded with this system.

  13. Kaleesh says:

    RealID will not be making any more forays into gameplay than it already has. Activision has control over the forums but not over the actual game. The whole RealID fiasco was not truly a Blizzard descision and it will not likely make it’s way into the game due to their reasoning for implementing it in the first place.

  14. Kaleesh says:

    Sorry for the double, but if you noticed Blizard purposely gave us the option to disable RealID in-game completely. I don’t think that was an accident or an afterthought.

  15. kattrinsaa says:

    Was talking to some of my friends in SAN last night, and it occurred to me that with all of the laws in place to protect privacy, (ie. hippa where medical records have to be transmitted/stored with non-identifying information to protect patient privacy) I’m fairly certain that if the realID system ships as is (displaying your first/last name on forums and giving out your account name to “friends” instead of a pseudonym) the class action lawyers will probably jump all over them. You know they are drooling and chomping at the bit already.

  16. Catsclaw says:

    I don’t go to many forums, but can’t think of ANY (Wow or non-wow) that require me to use my real name. I am greatful for that since I don’t want some Kook tracking me down over something I post. In fact, most internet security folks recommend you don’t, so for Blizz to make it a requirement just seems VERY wrong. The day they start making me use RealID to do things in game, will be the day I say goodbye and go back to my real life and take with me the real friends I made in game. I have not read all the posts, so don’t know the whole story, but sure hope Blizz folks don’t shoot themselves in the foot.

  17. Cornfedhick says:

    Here is a well researched site with the “business side” of Blizzard and Activision. I think we have to understand that these aren’t artists who just love to play music or paint or make a movie. Activision is in this to make money and they are going to squeeze it out of every pore and crack they can.

    http://www.teamliquid.net/forum/viewmessage.php?topic_id=128252&currentpage=All#

  18. menglor says:

    RealID.

    Back in the old days of Diablo 2, when I first went to blizzards forums, my very first post I opened was of a heavily overweight man, bent over his desk pulling his ass cheaks apart.

    I kid you not, I could see more of him then I ever wanted to see.

    roll forward 5 years and the blizzard forums are a lot more controled and people dont have to put up with that crap.

    Today, you cant just create a new account and post that garbage. but back then you could.

    I understand a majority of the people who play are from all walks of life and different moral caliber.

    But truly feel that if your Real name is going to hanging over a post were everyone can read it, your less likely to post it.

    In today’s day and age, we constantly tell people if you dont want a picture of breasts or vagina to come back and haunt you in life, dont post it.

    But of course the anonymity of the internet gives you the ability to post and say what ever you like from comments on Rape, beastiality, even threatening peoples lives.

    - Anonymity is for people with something to hide.

    - Freedom of speech on private property doesnt exist, get used to it.

  19. Solarflash says:

    RealID / Real names on forums is DOA.

    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1

    Thank you Blizzard for listening to your customers.

  20. Copey says:

    And…..it’s all over.

    http://www.wow.com/2010/07/09/mike-morhaime-real-names-will-not-be-required-on-official-forum/

    Almost 45,000 posts, probably mostly negative on it. And that’s a drop in the bucket of people that wouldn’t have liked it when you consider a very large majority of people don’t read wow websites/blogs/whatever and didn’t even know that this was being discussed.

  21. Rauxis says:

    http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1

    looks like even Blizz listens sometimes
    what I wonder is – why did no one at Blizz was thinking this through in the first place

    Rauxis, chosen of CAT

  22. Fobok says:

    Thankfully, they seem to have cancelled their plans? There’s still other security flaws in RealID, but hopefully that’ll be dealt with quickly too.

  23.  

World of Warcraft™ and Blizzard Entertainment® are all trademarks or registered trademarks of Blizzard Entertainment in the United States and/or other countries. These terms and all related materials, logos, and images are copyright © Blizzard Entertainment. This site is in no way associated with Blizzard Entertainment®