Note: In keeping this up to date, the end of the post will include quotes and a lot of links to threads, posts, blogs, and outside sources of interest to this topic. So be sure to check back down there for any updates and additions. And a huge “Thank You!” to Treesdiel, Jake, commentors and friends who have been pointing me to new content and helping me keep this updated.
More Izziebytes Coverage:
Day 2: IRL Storm Continues, RealID unchanged
Day 3 : Continued Damages
Anybody paying even minor attention to the gaming industry today will probably have heard about Blizzard’s uncanny announcement that RealID would be used in future Battle.net2.0 forums for all their games. What this means is instead of posting on your realm forums under your main, a Blood Elf Pally named Shnookums, it’d post as you, your real life self, John Doe.
Needless to say, this raised more than a handful of eyebrows. And by handful, I mean over * 10,000 replies in the official posts on the WoW forums and almost 1500 on MMO-Champion at the time of this writing (and counting, I assure you).
Replies and concerns vary greatly: those who’d rather not have some shmuck they ganked google their pictures or sign them up for porn on their e-mails, females worried about being harassed, etc. Then there are those legitimately fearful of abusive exes or overly-judgmental employers who are sometimes warned not to hire Warcraft players or gamers. The most extreme, and unlikey but very real threat, is that of unstable / borderline pscyhotic players who can now more easily get a hold of personal information about someone they may want to target, such as the case of a counter-strike player stalked and stabbed by a rival.
The biggest argument for it is that it will thwart trolls. That’s the idea, anyway, that no one can really anonymously post their Gentleman T-Rex ASCII art or call you a fucking newb without you knowing now.
But wait. You can still technically hide because it’s optional to have your character name displayed with your real name. So basically someone named John Smith can go flame some random pug tank he disliked on said tanks home forums, but nobody will know who they are in-game, only who they are IRL. And if he’s named John Smith…well, you get the idea.
Others say that forum posting is optional: and they’re right. This is blizzard’s site, they can technically do with it what they want. It’s also somewhere in the fine-text of the TOS, but nobody knows when that happened. But if it goes through, it’s digital suicide for the official community. People will stop posting, migrate to other outlets like MMO-Champion, and Blizzard will have lost a very vital tool: official control over their community. They can no longer delete posts bashing their products, mentioning other games, or threatening their mods, GMs, and other staff. They can’t monitor what’s being said or gain official feedback.
Sure, the trolls will be gone because there will be nobody left to troll.
My thoughts? It’s counter-productive, stupid, and a mistake from all angles, both business-wise and social wise. I have a huge doubt it’ll go live. The fact that there’s yet to be any official reaction from the Blues in my mind indicates that this is was a very unexpectedly massive and negative reaction and they have no fucking clue what to say.
It’s tough for them I suppose. The entire system is likely almost ready to be implemented meaning resources have already been spent. But it’s hard to ignore the outcry. This is the biggest reaction to anything ever in the history of Warcraft and Blizzard games. This, my friends, is history already made.
Things with Blizzard have changed since they’ve become the monopoly they are, between becoming greedy with overpriced services, bullying other companies with immature and unethical marketing tactics, and milking their devoted playerbase for what it’s worth. Blizzard is falling prey to the same poison apple other formerly cool-for-the-everyman company (IE google, apple, facebook, etc) has savagely devoured once the big bucks roll in.
Thanks to a good friend and fellow wow-player, Jake, there’s a great read on how Blizzard’s business model has changed here:
Whether it’s soley pressure from Activision, their own inflated egos, or a combination of both, one thing can definitely be said: this is not the same Gamer-Next-Door group they once were. The only thing that will stop it is if we, the players, make a stand for what gaming should be about; if the above links are any indication, this is something that we are ready to do.
Edit 1: * Grand total of posts reached 11600 as of 9:40 pm
Edit 2: As of 10:00 the total has reached 12,000. Additionally, I found out what all this Micah Whipple crap is about. Blizz poster Bashiok posted his real name on the forums, a move i’m sure he deeply regrets as now his phone number, facebook, picture, and personal information about himself and his family is now very public.
Edit 3: 10:34 PM. The plot continues to thicken. In another creepy twist, apparently cancelling your subscription to WoW is no longer instant. Instead, you have to fill out a form and wait for a confirmation e-mail, and an odd glitch seems to be keeping players trying to cancel in an endless loop. WoW.com reported earlier in the day that a loophole allows some in-game addons to actually have the ability to access RealID names without that person having been added. Activison Blizzard stock falls almost immediately after the announcement is made.
Blizzard responds with a handful of shallow responses that completely dodge the main concerns of players.