Well, I started writing a post. It got to about 1700 words, and then I stopped, re-read it, and deleted it.
It wasn’t a rant or anything, I just thought it was boring. Talking about how the core gameplay rules are going to change, again, just like the core gameplay rules have changed with every expansion.
After deleting it, my thoughts turned to what about the expansion I’m actually excited about.
Raiding? Um, no. New levels for my characters? Um, no. New rules changes? Oh please. New instances? Meh, that’s nice.
I’d just gotten to the point that I’d realised that the only things I was interested in and excited for in the expansion were new starting zones, a revamped world to quest in from scratch, new tameable pets (the fox looks AWESOME) and new race/class combinations when my darling wife sent me a heads up that shut down my train of thought entirely.
See, right now the only thing I’m planning for the expansion is to make a new first level character with my wife, and we’re going to level up together from scratch. I’m going to have a Troll Druid and level as tank (with character name already reserved), and Cassie is thinking a Tauren Paladin. That’s still kinda up in the air.
But yeah, I was thinking of what to say that has me jazzed up for the expansion, when I got this email about a blue post made by Nethaera today.
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 Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.
So. First question. Will this be made retroactive to apply to all existing posts?
I would assume that the existing forums would be wiped before implementing this change. But we all know about making assumptions. It makes an ass out of you and ‘mption.
Further down, more details are provided, including the ability of you, the forum goer, to vote up or down other people’s comments the way most forums do these days. Like WoWhead does, for example.
Still. Does this spell the death of forum trolls? Will this mean never again will we be able to laugh when a Blue Poster nails a troll by revealing that various comments posted by different character names were all the same person?
What the hell are they thinking?
You know, as much as I despise forum trolls, the last thing I would want is everyone’s real name being attached to any question or comment made in the official forums, most especially when that is our primary avenue of help we resort to if we need technical support and can’t get into WoW to flag a ticket.
As the threat of identity theft rises, and as incidents of predators stalking children increases, how is forcing the reveal of player’s real names a good thing?
Is it somehow intended to encourage civility in the forum community? Guess what, the Moderators already have access to that data. If there are comments and a tone of discourse they don’t like… they can do something about it if they choose.
If the Moderators don’t choose to act in the first place, well, the trolls are supposed to what? Feel ashamed of having their real name tied to their words? Shame? A troll? REALLY?
What benefits this supposedly would bring, to me, are greatly outweighed by the potential downside.
Remember, I’m saying this as someone who HAS posted their real name publicly right where I comment. I know what I’m talking about.
I mention a couple nearby shops and post a picture, and I’ve got two readers who clearly were able to use that data to identify exactly where I work and look at it from Google Earth maps.
Going much further back, and using nothing but my name and some clues about what city I live in, and probably a story about where I’d lived in the past, I had somebody post a link to my real street address, and threaten to come over to my house and kill my son because I love bacon.
Seriously. Blizzard. Take a step back and get a grip on reality. This is a bad idea. At the very least, remove any aspect of the forums that players may have no choice but to post in, such as the technical support section, from being forced to use your real name.
I don’t go there as it is, I post things here. But I’m just dizzy with disbelief.
Is this April first? Did I enter the Twilight Zone? In what team meeting or brainstorming session did this come across as a great idea?
And as an addition, considering how Gold Sellers currently datamine email addresses for gold spam, how much would you love starting to get real mail asking you to buy gold? Do you love the idea of gold sellers and account stealers being able to identify you as a player by name?
Of course, this is nowhere near as disturbing as the poor souls whose parents set up, pay for and maintain the accounts their children use, and who won’t quite understand why their 14 year old son might be embarassed to post a comment as “Martha Gimberly”.