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Reader Comments (236)

Posted: Jul 7th 2010 8:04AM (Unverified) said

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Well, as a Information Security professional I know how important it is to keep every tidbit of information close to your chest (let ANYTHING slip, especially your name, and there will aways be someone to use it to access ANYTHING) and I have also seen people at my job who have not done this become victims of identity theft. I love wow, have 2 80's and hope to have another by cataclysm...but this is a step in the VERY wrong direction. I hope that Blizzard changes this because I really don't want to say goodbye to the game but to protect my identity I will in a heartbeat.

Posted: Jul 7th 2010 8:36AM Lethality said

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You must have a real problem with the phone book then, huh?
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:09AM KorvusKorax said

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@ James
I'm right there with you. People don't realize the power of being able to single out an identity. Give me your name, age, state (and sometimes all I need is name) and I can give you current/previous addresses, social security number, credit history etc etc. Kids are harder to get a lot of info on (no credit history to be found, do not own property, etc) but usually the people looking for kids only want their address, and that for nefarious purposes.

While I don't think this will "break" WoW, it will certainly keep many from posting on the official forums. I see to potential problems with this move;

1, what happens to all the old posts? Will they auto-update, as I think they will, to the Real ID? People may have posted things they wouldn't want associated to their legal name. I don't mean troll posts, I mean any personal info that now becomes dangerous when coupled with the persons real name. For instance if someone had said what their school's name was, they were still anonymous as the school may have 1000 students. Now they can be singled out and their home found.

2. What about kids with accounts in their name? Divulging a child's personal info is not a good thing by any stretch of the imagination.

There are also less serious, game related, issues that this creates that may make the player base unhappy. Cross gender players will now have their true gender made public. Also the whole privacy issue about how much you play comes up. Any information you put on the forum is now "Personal" information as it can be linked to who you actually are. "I raid 5 nights a week", "I'm calling in sick to raid/get the new expansion", "I play WoW it work" all stuff that could be used against you by a boss or change the view of a prospective employer. I know, everyone's thinking people that don't know WoW wouldn't think to check the forums, well they would if they are a WoW player themselves.

It seems there are much better methods to curb flaming/trolling, just have a strict forum use policy, if people engage in that sort of behavior they get permanently banned from the forums. It won't take long to weed out all the e-hooligans. Just my 2 cents.


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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:12AM KorvusKorax said

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@ Lethality

That's why I, like many people, am not listed in the phone book. Regardless of the fact that many people only use cell phones and are not listed anyway, a lot (if not most) people under the age of 60 request to not be listed. At least those that know you can do this.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:19AM Not THAT Matt said

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That'll teach those trolling kids.

They'll need to find something else to do now that school's out for the summer. :(
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:47AM Eamil said

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@Quote the Raven:

"what happens to all the old posts? Will they auto-update, as I think they will, to the Real ID?"

I don't agree with what they're doing any more than you, but just to point this out, they've actually said that existing posts will NOT convert to using real names.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:47AM engrey said

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The changes would only effect new posts once the new Bnet launches, all of your old posts will stay the same and continue to have your character name displayed. Only th new posts will have this feature and thats if you even want to post, remember that out of say the 8-11 million people that play WoW the people that visit the forums are a vocal minority. The ones that post are even a smaller number, so it really only affects a small pool of people, however given the numbers that is tough to moderate.

Sure they could hire more moderators but at what point is it to much? You either let the forums rot away or do something about it. I like RealID in practice and how it can be helpful for guilds or friends. Keep in mind that as long as you do not post people will not know your name.

Those that are up in arms about personal identity and security should really no better, you are not safe on the Internet. Also as long as you do not have a very unique name any "stalking" is impossible to do, plus there are easier ways to find people then using forums. Log into some random ventrilo server, grab some IP addresses, profit.

I do not think the argument really holds water for those that say "Oh no they can look me up"...so? Any public employee you know their name, and they hold a lot more power then some random poster on the web. The President, city officials, game developers, IT guys, blog posters and web cast people, the list goes on. If privacy is such an issue then why have people, in places of power, rarely have anything bad happen to them? Sure the normal hate crime or random crazy comes along but that is far and few between.

Given the amount of changes in WoW, the hate for Bobby Kotick, why has nothing been done to those people? Given a name you can only do so much my name is Matt Roberts, look me up, and see if you can grab some information about me.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 9:52AM Speedmonkay said

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I can't believe people will quit over their real name being posted on the forums. Are you paying to play WoW or the post crap on the forums ? You can still play the game and not have people know your name. Just dont add anyone you dont trust to your friends list by real ID and dont post on the official forums.

To me the forums have always been a cess pool of idiots hiding behind anonymous tags. For every one constructive thing there were 10 pointless unneccesary things. This sounds like Blizz's easiest fix for that problem.

He's how much I really care. My name is Ronald Rosson ... do whatever you want with that.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 10:06AM Rihahn said

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@Lethality

A listing in the phone book is passive - sorta like putting numbers on your house - it isn't linked to any specific activity and is therefore simply data without a frame of reference.

Now, put something like "Huge Ford Fan" or "Obama Rocks!" next to your name in the phone book... It's no longer passive data and I can pretty much guarantee you will be hassled by someone in the near future.

The RealID system Blizzard is looking at has similar connotations - lets say you and a handful of friends decide to go and lay siege to the Crossroads for an hour, killing everything that spawns (this happens on my server every weekend), which really screws with any Orc / Tauren between levels 10 and 20.

And now one of those Horde is a little unbalanced and gets *really* pissed, looks your character up on the armory, then decides to see if you've posted anything in the forums so he can tell you off directly. He then quickly discovers your real name, which for sake of argument isn't horribly mundane, and does a Google search on you which gives a few hits... One of which is a writeup of you during some sports event in High School which gives him a city and state - so now he just goes to the aforementioned phone book and you suddenly get a call from some guy who should probably be on medication about what happened in a 'game'...

See where this is going?

Sure, the above example is 'perfect world', but even if you've moved ten times and have never had a facebook page, the linking of in-game activity to your out-of-game ID is just inviting trouble because someone with enough time *can* put it all together.

Fortunately I've never even been on the WoW forums and I don't see needing to be any time in the future, so this doesn't really impact me - but I can still see where folks' arguments against it are coming from.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 10:27AM (Unverified) said

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@speedmonkay

Within 5 minutes I knew the suburb you live in in Louisiana (unless you've moved since around April).
Where you went to high school (and that you graduated in 1999).
That you're around 28.
That you're a parent.
That you're 6' tall.
That you went to college but didn't graduate.
That your middle initial is E.
That you're a Libra.

Maybe you're comfortable with anyone on the internet being able to know those details, since most of it's associated with 'speedmonkay' as well as your real name, but I am not.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 10:31AM (Unverified) said

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@Speedmonkey

You can also get this information in game.

Let me direct you over to Massively's sister site, www.wow.com

http://www.wow.com/2010/07/06/security-flaw-allows-addons-to-expose-full-real-life-names-witho/
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 10:34AM Rihahn said

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@ Speedmonkay

I'm going to leave out specifics, but: 28, has kid(s), graduated in 1999 from John Ehret...

I got most of the info I needed to really narrow the search down from a google cached version of your myspace page. For $2 I could have pulled public records which would include everything from traffic violations to the holder of your car loan and mortgage.

If someone were to be a complete freak in WoW when RealID goes active and you were to piss them off, it'd take about 15 minutes to have your home address... Or the address of your parents, or sibling... Just from your name.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 4:57PM Prisemy said

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I couldn't agree more.

That's why I don't use my real name when I create game accounts.

They have my real name for the billing information but the name listed as the account owner is a false name. I have done that for a few years now. I guess I'm being paranoid but I have had my identity stolen before.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 11:15AM kasapina said

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You can protect your identity by just changing your name in the battle.net account settings, right? I don't know if it would affect using the blizzard store, but since I never use it and pay only with game time cards, I had no problem making up a fake name. My country and adress were fake to begin with.
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Posted: Jul 7th 2010 3:48PM kasapina said

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Ooops, turns out Blizzard won't let me change the name, only the address. I did add a secondary one with another name, but it won't let me delete the first one.

Damn ye, Activision!
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:39AM JTShadow said

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I really don't think this is much of an issue. A name alone doesn't reveal much as there are many people who share the same name around the globe. In the given example of Speedmonkay up there, it wasn't just his name that revealed information, but also the combination of knowing other details about him such as his username. Doing a search on just the name shows that he could be a dentist from tennesse or a music composer from florida. Facebook alone has 4 people by that name. For that matter, his USERNAME gives out MORE information than his real name. By searching for Speedmonkay, the first result gives me Ronald Ronson on Twitter. Maybe now we should ban usernames from showing up and all messages should say .
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Posted: Jul 9th 2010 3:32AM (Unverified) said

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as for your first point, the forums will be reset, and realid will not be applied to them.
as for your second, no kids should have an account without a parents/guardians permission, and then if they are underage they are optedout/opt out of realid
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 2:28PM (Unverified) said

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I'm kind of on the fence on this one. On one side I feel it might kill off those trolls and very rude people that pride themselves on being jerks on the forums. On the other side the problem with people seeing a persons FULL REAL NAME brings on cyber-stalking to a whole new level. I just won't ever post on the forums ever again, even to be helpful.

Posted: Jul 7th 2010 8:10AM krakead said

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I don't frequent the WoW boards, and after this little announcement I never will. Yes, there's a trolling problem by all accounts, but this solution is complete overkill. There are plenty of other ways to address the problem without the need to use people's real names. This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. I bet the lawyers can smell the blood in the water already.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 1:51PM (Unverified) said

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@ Judas

No lawsuit possible when we all agree to the Terms of Use. If you do not agree with the "terms of use" for the forum then do not use the forums. No one forces us to post on the forum. Sorry Judas, no blood in the water from my vantage point.
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