Starman’s views on RealID

| July 7, 2010 | Reply

Yesterday, Blizzard announced that their RealID system was coming to their forums. That means your real name will be used when posting. I cannot think of anything that can make me more angry than this. Why so much anger? Several reasons. First, this is a game. By definition it’s an MMORPG, emphasis here on the “RPG”. It’s a place where I can play the game my way, and separate myself from the real world. I don’t want the real world and my online world to mix unless it’s on my terms. Blizzard is now taking that choice away from me and millions of other people.

This isn’t Farmville, this isn’t a Facebook app, but someone seems to want to turn it into one. When Blizzard made this announcement, my view on the game shifted. I still love and respect the game, but now I have this nagging thought in the back of my head that someone wants it to be more of a social network than an MMORPG. I’ve been asking Blizzard for more tools to communicate with your friends in and out of the game like Everquest does, but this is too much.

Blizzard is also telling people that this is to clean up the forum trolls. Whoever thought of that decision never read Usenet. We’d argue for months at a time on particular topics, all using our real name. Granted, Usenet was unmoderated, but we weren’t afraid of calling people out. I just don’t see this change as being a help. In fact, it will move people towards other forums such as our own, the instance, mmo-champion, tankspot, and elitist jerks.

I also don’t believe that this is just for a forum cleanup. If anything, you’re going to lose a large part of the intelligent community simply because they don’t feel comfortable posting with their real name. I think that there’s something like direct Facebook integration coming. I don’t want Facebook invading a game. It’s a terrible idea because the game stood on its own. The most I ever wanted was the ability to talk to guildies out of the game, not also see their drunk pictures because they happened to be in my guild.

One argument some people have is that the forums are optional. I disagree with that. I’m paying for the ability to post to those forums. It’s where I go to ask about class issues, quest problems, and other things. It’s the first place I go to. I don’t troll the forums, but now I’m going to be punished for those that did. Also, Blizzard requires that you post on the forums when you have a customer service issue and can’t call in which means your real name will be exposed. That, to me, is not “optional”.

The people most at risk are the ones that have the most to lose. People looking for a job are probably the ones that have to worry the most. A potential employer can Google your name and “oh, look, they posted on the WoW forums. Well, we don’t want WoW players working here”. Teachers, women, children (if not blocked), and others that may be ridiculed are all at risk, simply because they posted on a game forum.

Other problems I see:

Gankers / Campers on PvP servers
Gold sellers
Annoying people on the forums (the bigots and racists are the worst IMO)
Stalkers
Professionals that don’t want their name shown in a Google search
Harassment

There are two solutions:

1) Get rid of RealID on the forums altogether.
2) Use RealID on the main forums, but allow character names on the customer service forum.

I would implore Blizzard to rethink this change. Not only does it make over 22,000 people upset, but it puts the game in a different light. Now people will think of it as the world’s biggest Facebook app, and that stings.

Category: Gameplay

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