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Reader Comments (88)

Posted: Jul 9th 2010 3:54PM Djinn said

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She's a journalist, not a forum poster that can make any accusation they want with no consequences cause no one knows their real name...

Oh wait, what was the point of this article?

:)
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:33PM (Unverified) said

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A friend of mine was helping me figure this stuff out, and we (mostly him) figured out that they would only display the first initial of your last name.
So I would be Aaron P.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:47PM (Unverified) said

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I think it's great! People are a lot less likely to be on their worst behavior when they know you know who they are!

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 7:05PM Its Utakata stupid said

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Be careful what you wish for.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:40PM jealouspirate said

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As someone else stated above me, the whole "foster a nice community" is a red herring to distract from the real intent here.

Blizzard has already signed a major deal with facebook - the creator of Battlenet 2.0 says they plan to be fully integrated. Kotick has stated that the competitor he's most worried about is the social networking scene, not rival game companies.

Blizzard knows they're going to lose people, and it's okay, because now they'll make money the exact same way facebook does - by selling our personal information to advertisers.

http://esc-hatch.blogspot.com/2010/07/who-is-activisionblizzards-customer.html

All put together very well in this article.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:43PM (Unverified) said

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relax everyone, its not going to happen. Blizzard will realize what a bad move this is and will cancel it. There is just no way a company could do something this incredibly stupid. The drop in subscriptions(money) from this change alone will be enough to make blizzard change their minds.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:06PM DevilSei said

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It will happen. It will because it isn't like the Dance Studio, or the Guild Talent tree, or the Titans path, or anything else cut because they got lazy. They don't have to lift a finger to introduce this Real ID system, no real coding, no real testing, nothing but clicking "display name" for them basically.

This isn't Blizzard we are talking about, of Vivendi fame, this isn't the people who made Lost Vikings, or The Burning Crusade, or even Blackthorne. No, this is Bobby f***ing Kotick! He knocked on the Death Star's hangar bay door, and the Emperor shat himself in fear. He walked up to Chuck Norris and plucked a hair from his beard and made him buy it back. He went to Satan and slapped him, telling him "you horned, red sonofahellspawn, you're working for ME now!", then urinated in his Sinios.

Kotick is smelling easy cash from easy suckers, and just like Facebook's CEO, is selling the information of "every dumb f***" that trusts him.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:17PM Scopique said

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"There is just no way a company could do something this incredibly stupid."

Uh...Facebook went ahead with their open graph when legions of people complained about it. They didn't bat an eye.

So yeah...big companies can and do make absolutely stupid decisions even in the face of vocal constituents.

Excellent article, Sera.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:45PM onikiri said

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If I felt this was originally planned to stay on the forums only that might have been one thing. However, what other broad reaching plans could they have that don't include your RealID being used across the board.

They are obviously rethinking this. I don't think they expected the backlash. Nor do I think they asked the bulk of their employees. I can't see any of the women who play Blizzard titles being highly interested in having us guys knowing they are girls

http://asnowstormbyanyothername.blogspot.com/ Is already starting to post easily found Blizzard Employee info. Got only by knowing their names and if they were employed by the company or not.

I just don't think people understand how dangerous this actually is. Simple solution is to not use the forums. Problem is what if its not just the forums but your new in-game ID is Legolas@Jack_Hammer.

This is also kinda an overkill solution to a problem that should have been addressed 5 years ago. How many times have WoW players asked for single forums accounts

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:47PM Enikuo said

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Very succinct wrap up of all the concerns and objections to Real ID. Good article!

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:51PM (Unverified) said

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An excellent take-down piece. I enjoyed the excellent reasoning of the individual arguments, but even more than that the rhetorical flow and progression that made the piece greater than the sum of it's parts and a pleasure to read.

Congratulations on an fantastic post.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 4:53PM (Unverified) said

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excellent post. well thought out. I'm one of the many people banned, but I simply quoted someone who had posted Bashlok's info. I even said in my reply that I appreciated Bashlok's attempt, but the post I had quoted was proof of how RealID is a serious problem.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:00PM Keen and Graev said

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@Seraphina: The control is in their hands though: Don't post on the forums. For the players who really do not want to have their name out there and have a valid reason to have their identity hidden then it certainly can be hidden.

Posting on the Official Forums will become a decision now. Choosing to post is a decision to have your real name shown. There is still a decision available.

I'm fine with the idea, but like I said I think there are enough people who are not that it doesn't make sense to anger them.

As for my real name, I've never hidden it. It's attached to all of my emails, my website, and my interactions with the industry (yes, I put my real name on my badges at conventions).

@Brianna: I didn't include the ones that I wasn't sure about. And Google isn't the only way. Criminals will be criminals. Creeps will be creeps. Those truly dedicated to finding out who you are, where you live, where your children go to school, and who want to cause harm or harass you can do so without Blizzard showing your real name.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:15PM Seraphina Brennan said

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But, once again, why punish the good people in your community for the actions of the idiots? I can see we agree here when it comes to the bottom line, Keen, and I understand that, it's just I really don't agree with creating policy based on the idiotic outliers. That's what this is.

I'd rather not have posting on the forums become a decision to reveal your personal identity. That's not what community is about, you know?

Also, I never noticed it on your website. Goes to show how much I care about real names, lol.
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Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:02PM Mikx said

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Well said, particularly on enforcement. Blizzard's response is a total joke. What I will not tolerate is someone harrassing me with my real name, And blizzard does next to nothing about it. You can't even respond without risking greater threats and harrassment.

The other thing is this isnt limited to the forums. Its only a matter of time before the system glitches or a bad patch exposes everyone's name in-game. Then You're getting harrassed and targeted by name, in game.
There's already a security breach with the Friend of a Friend nonsense, as well as another, hidden one with addons. The advice now is to only use "reputable" addons. Give me a break, I trust some addons to be virus free, but I don't trust any of them to secure my identity.

If they do next to nothing in the forums, how much you want to bet they arent going to permanently ban 100s, 1000s or more of their customers from playing the game, which means Blizzard is losing out on its 15 bucks a month from all those banned players. Instead you get the satisfaction of knowing the guy thats calling you slurs and keeps telling you to come over to his house for some fun will really learn his lesson when he comes back from his draconian 2 day suspension. The entire thing is a crock.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:09PM Nef said

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I don't play WoW anymore, tried to get back into it a couple months ago but couldn't. Even if I were still playing, this wouldn't matter to me. I'm quite sure you could dig up far more on me with my character name (nefchast) than my real one (Josh Thompson), but it's likely nothing that I haven't thrown out there myself.

Facebook, Twitter, etc. All the info is already out there if you use social networks and if people wanted to invest the time (which probably wouldn't be much) they could link information from all over together about people. This is merely an integration of all that.

There's millions of Blizzard accounts -- millions. Some people being targeted? Likely. It's probably happened and happening now, even. Would this increase it? Maybe. Though, I'm thinking it wouldn't be the massive privacy invasion that all this hype seems to make it, with every one getting calls or packages from strangers, or stalkers suddenly flocking to every one that even has a feminine sounding name. If racism and sexism are used on the forums or in-game because of this you know who did it and have their name. I'd also assume they'd be banned, pronto.

The biggest problem I think most people have is the secrecy that has been drilled into us since we were children -- the "Do not talk to strangers!" rule. The world today is leading deeper and deeper into cloud based computing and a merging of real life and 'net life. The process is happening quickly, just over a decade ago we didn't have the kind of social networks we do today and they're constantly growing and becoming more integrated in everything we do. If Blizzard doesn't do it today, it will simply be someone else doing it tomorrow. (If it hasn't been done already, somewhere; I would be more surprised if it hasn't been done.)

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:27PM Skolia said

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Very good points in the article, and I agree 100%.

While it is true that some people don't mind having their real name known or feel that it's a security risk, at the end of the day that doesn't matter. What matters is Blizzard is forcing this upon it's customers. They are taking the right to choose what information a person wishes to share or not share away. Sure one could provide a false name for RealID, or never post on a Blizzard forum or otherwise avoid the disclosure of their name. That's not the point.

It should always be up the individual to decide what personal/private information he/she wants to make public. Period.


Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:28PM JoeH42 said

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First off, very well written article.

Second, someone's comment that it'd be nice if we had this sort of access to Blizzard's employees and their names made me think of an article I read back in 2001 about how the company that makes the (mostly Korean afaik) game Lineage has to have seriously armed guards at their company HQs because RL gangs with RL guns and weapons have shown up and threatened people's lives over things that happened in the game.

Third, this seems to be classic Blizzard. What would almost certainly work best would be to simply have a master name on an account and if someone is acting like a troll a GM could ban them from forums (temporarily or permanently) and do similar things in game if needed. But this would require Blizzard spending a little more effort to actually have their GMs watching the forums and responding to complaints about players instead of turning a blind eye like they've largely done in the past. Does Blizzard have the money to hire enough GMs to really start watching the forums and cracking down on people? Well of course! But will they spend one more $ on this kind of thing than they feel like they absolutely have to? Hell no! They haven't in the past and they're not going to start doing it now.

Fourth, is this a smart decision? Clearly not but you've got to remember this is the same game/people that have a limit on how many people you can put on your ignore list. Clearly they're out of touch on this issue (altho they might have changed that since I last played over a year ago). I think Blizzard will look at available options and pick the one that will be cheapest and that they think will make the most improvement. But this sort of thing just confirms my belief that Blizzard is mostly a pack of idiots with a few good people producing the few good things that we enjoy about their games.

Fifth, they should do the master name and allow you to just ignore a person's master name/entire account with a few mouse clicks. You can /ignore someone but if they're determined they'll just log over to another character and continue to harrass you.

And finally, what I'd also like to see is this: I hate it when someone flames me and then hides behind their ignore list like a complete coward. So I'd just love it if you couldn't ignore someone you just sent a private message to for like 2 minutes or so. But that'll just never happen so I'm not holding my breath.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:48PM Aetrix said

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For the past 13 years, I have been an unwavering fan and supporter of Blizzard Entertainment. That changed yesterday. What a shame.

Posted: Jul 8th 2010 5:52PM Wisdomandlore said

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"They always say not to criticize unless you have an answer, and I have an answer -- master account names, a la Xbox Live Gamertags and Cryptic Studios' @masteraccount. One forum account name, not multiple forum account names -- one for every character on your account."

This was my immediate thought. There was no need to reinvent the wheel here. The real reason, IMO, is the same reason behind Facebook's recent anti-privacy stance. Companies want to track everything you do on the internet so they can create a complete marketing profile. Facebook's ability to gather and sell that information (from large demographics all the way down to individuals) is probably priceless. Blizzard (for whatever reason) wants to do the same thing.

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