Even though the lifted NDA for Cataclysm has pretty much outshined anything else WoW-related, I took the time to read up on the much anticipated Real-ID networking system and found myself to be less than thrilled.
The official page says this is meant mostly for IRL friends, but they contradict themselves by also stating they’re hoping the entire thing will be central to their efforts to streamline communications within all their games.
If they are serious about cross-game chat, they should realize that being able to be friends with more than just people you trust 100% is going to be important. As the feature is planned now, it’d be pretty dangerous to add anyone you don’t know.
First of all, your e-mail doubling as your Battle.net ID is a huge, huge danger to accounts. The login is the first step to account compromise, and even identity theft if the culprit so wishes. With REAL-ID, the people I’m adding will know what e-mail I use to log into my games.
This basically limits my friend options to people I know IRL or really, really trust in-game.
That means no random guildies having your ID to harass you to come online for heroic runs or raids.
That means no adding that pretty cool tank you met in LFG the other night to try and organize more runs together.
That means no befriending the badass warlock who pwned face in BG’s by your side.
These are all things that could make Real-ID very central to the blizzard gaming experience but are currently far too risky to be implemented to their full potential.
Then there’s always the possibility that if I get hacked, said hacker now has access to all the e-mails and names of my friends, which is like striking gold, pun completely intended.
I am not the only one who feels this way, either. The discussion is getting heated on the forums: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=24702231147&sid=1
I suppose we’ll see what Blizzard says about all this. Hopefully they will give more privacy controls and allow us to make better use of this system without compromising our accounts.
If that happens, this Real ID could truly change the future of gaming!