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Blizzard forums to require real names News

PC MMO News by Oli Welsh

Wednesday

Blizzard has unleashed a hurricane of internet rage by announcing that it will require users to post under their real names on its forums, in a move intended to create a more "positive", "constructive" community.

The change, announced on the Battle.net forum, will come into effect for StarCraft II forums before the game's release at the end of this month. World of Warcraft forums will follow suit "near the launch of Cataclysm", the third expansion pack for the MMO which is expected to launch at the end of this year.

Anyone posting or replying to a post on these forums will have to use their Real ID - their real first and last name, as registered with their Battle.net account. Existing posts will remain as they are.

"The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players - however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild," Blizzard offered in explanation of the change.

"Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before."

Although some have welcomed the move, it has sent a shockwave of protest through Blizzard's community. At time of writing, the threads on the subject on the European and North American WOW forums run to 119 and an astonishing 861 pages respectively, with those numbers rising by the minute.

"Keep in mind that posting is optional, and we recognise that some players will choose not to utilize the Real ID feature in game or post on the forums and support everyone's individual choice on using or not using it," community manager Nethaera - real name unknown, for now - posted in response to complaints. Parents will be able to disallow children from posting by using parental account controls.

Part of Blizzard's major overhaul of its Battle.net online framework, use of Real ID is optional in the developer's games. It provides a way to link characters and game accounts under a single identity, and keep track of friends by mutual agreement, in the style of social networking sites like Facebook.

"With the launch of the new Battle.net, it's important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment - one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID - including these forum changes - have been made with this goal in mind," Blizzard said.

"As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come."

Although popularised by Facebook, Blizzard's move away from anonymity is unprecedented in gaming, and still extremely rare in the general area of internet community management. There's no doubt it's brave, but will it have the desired effect on its community, or kill it altogether? Does it pose a threat to the protection of your privacy or identity? Let us know your thoughts - under whatever username you choose - in the comments.

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Comments: 1-50 of 106 Next →

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Der_tolle_Emil
07/07/10 @ 09:13
#1
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Absolutely stupid decision. There are so many things that can and will go wrong.

What I find even more criminal is that there will be a lot of users who are not aware of how irresponsible and outright dangerous it can be to publish personal details (even if it is only the name) on such a frequented website. It should be Blizzard's responsibility to clearly state the risks of posting in their forum but I'm afraid this will not happen.

It has been a pseudo standard for the last 30 years not to use real names in the internet. Why does Blizzard think they know better and need to change that now? The disadvantages and risks outweigh the advantages by far.
Goodfella
07/07/10 @ 09:14
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Internet rage. Hahahaahaaa!
Milky1985
07/07/10 @ 09:14
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Well as there seems to be no checks on the names they put in i for one welcome the slew of posts by Mr. File , first name pedo.

[edit] Isn't there also a bit of a major problem if your name is something common, like John Smith?
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:17
Byblos1
07/07/10 @ 09:15
#4
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I wonder how many 'female' posters will stop visiting the WoW forums when Cataclysm launches?
Goodfella
07/07/10 @ 09:15
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@ Milky

Peter File would be better.
Nuronv
07/07/10 @ 09:16
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I wonder how many posters there will be at all, I think this will be terminal for many if it goes ahead
Haloboy!
07/07/10 @ 09:18
#7
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What the squiggly fuck Blizzard!?
ignatiusjreilly
07/07/10 @ 09:23
#8
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Agreed. Yes it will probably help cut down on the flaming and trolling, but the disadvantages far outweigh any benefits. If more aggressive moderation is needed so be it, but the idea that you have to tell millions of strangers your real name to make comments on a video game basically goes all the norms of the internet.

I'm pretty gobsmacked they've made this decision TBH.

Edit: A Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums to try and alleviate people's fears. Predictably, within minutes people had his address, his phone number, the names of his parents and lots of photos and other personal information: http://wowriot.gameriot.com/blogs/Americ...
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:27
ZeroAX
07/07/10 @ 09:25
#9
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yes blizzard make it even easier for child molesters to stalk their prey. Cause you know, noooooo one will think of checking a player's name on Facebook.

Specially if it's a girl. Nope. No one will eeeeeeeeever think of searching for her on Facebook to see if she's hot and ZOMG plays WoW.
ZeroAX
07/07/10 @ 09:27
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Another really good example on why this is such a bad idea, employers google search those applying for a job. And believe me video games, and specially wow, aren't exactly something you'd put on your resume. So that might screw you over.

Also another really important aspect, how many times have we heard of Koreans killing each other over virtual items? You think it's going to be long before someone ganks(corpse camps) a player in WoW and that player being unstable tracks the guy down and kills him? Or ninja's getting killed for stealing an item they didn't need? These extreme examples HAVE happened and will only get worse with things like this.

Kirly_Wombat
07/07/10 @ 09:27
#11
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+1 ignatiusjreilly, you summed up what I was going to say perfectly.

It also annoys me enough that the forums of an online game still use the same password that you use to account manage/ log in to the game. It would aid security a bit to have a seperate one for the social aspects of the forums, imo.

/golfclaps blizzard
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:29
X3Entente
07/07/10 @ 09:30
#12
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the internet of the future:
- Every citizen is issued a single online ID like a national insurance number by the government
- facebook will have quasi-judicial powers
- all online accounts must be linked to facebook
- avatars must be biometric passport photos
Haloboy!
07/07/10 @ 09:33
#13
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A Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums to try and alleviate people's fears. Predictably, within minutes people had his address, his phone number, the names of his parents

How fucking dumb do you have to be to work at Blizzard? This dumb. You don't even have to understand how to make love.
gggames.se
07/07/10 @ 09:34
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If people buy into this, it really shows how far we've come in disrespecting privacy. Wow... This is really bad, and the logic just isn't there.
dylman
07/07/10 @ 09:36
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This is a mind bendingly stupid move by Blizzard. It disenfranchises the (genuinely) female players, many of whom rely on anonymity to be able to play free from harassment, and it will do very little to foster a "positive forum environment". Trolls and fuckwits are rampant in Facebook groups, where they post with far less anonymity. It will be the same here. Sigh.
frenchlies
07/07/10 @ 09:37
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I don't see what's wrong with this. You are not forced by Blizzard to post on their forums, and as a private company it's up to them what kind of rules they enforce on the use of software that is hosted on their servers. If you don't like their rules, then don't post on battle.net. It's that simple.
UncleLou
07/07/10 @ 09:37
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Got no problem with an account being tied to my real name, but I certainly don't want to see it published.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:41
spudsbuckley
07/07/10 @ 09:38
#18
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So people only see you name if you post on the Blizz forums?

Then don't post on the Blizz forums. They're terrible anyway.
ZeroAX
07/07/10 @ 09:39
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@ignatiusjreilly

haha for the link. serves the idiot who tried to defend it right (yeah company forced him but I'd still try to find someone else to do it).

Also he deleted his facebook account. HAhahaha
UncleLou
07/07/10 @ 09:39
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If you don't like their rules, then don't post on battle.net. It's that simple.

And people are allowed to disagree with Blizzard's rules, and say so. It's that simple as well.
Raining_Upwards
07/07/10 @ 09:43
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'Blizzard forums to require real names Comments'.

Well, I guess this is how they get around hiring decent moderators.
LondonSquare82
07/07/10 @ 09:46
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I bet this won't change people rushing to type "FIRST!!11!! LOLZOMG" when they enter the first post in a thread.
gmjapan
07/07/10 @ 09:47
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Couldnt they create a slightly similar effect by limiting people to just one username on all their forums? At the moment for WoW you can create any alt and post under it to flame, troll, agree with yourself... anything.

I dont see why a games network needs real names... people sign up to play games not get in touch with others from school etc.

In fact i'd agree its probably more dangerous as suggested, instead of just misdirected nerdrage on the games forums, they can find out your personal details then come round and set fire to your cat.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:49
kangarootoo
07/07/10 @ 09:53
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Are they nuts? Of course anonymity means some people act like dick-heads, but for the vast majority it is a natural part of being on the internet. And in a forum where your identity is linked to your game character, it doesn't even make game sense to use your own name (which in the WoW, is meaningless).

Blizzard trying to reinvent the internet? I expect forum use to plunge.
Raznilof
07/07/10 @ 09:53
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"community manager Nethaera - real name unknown, for now"

Funny, and that's why I read Eurogamer!

Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 09:53
Raining_Upwards
07/07/10 @ 09:53
#26
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Ultimately, I don't care particularly, they can destroy their own forums all they like. I can't be arsed to pull people away from the rooftop edges, I'd rather keep score.



Haloboy!
07/07/10 @ 09:54
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On the upside. Ninjaring in WoW will soon be a thing of the past. Unless you want holes in your chest while you make a quick sandwich.
anomagnus
07/07/10 @ 09:58
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Jesus people, what the fuck is wrong with you? THis sound like a comment board from the Daily Mail. Its an intersting reflection on internet users, that the first reaction is shoot this idea down and call blizzard dicks, yet fail to consider the reasoning behind it. I see very little cristicism of the fucking pricks that troll those boards for example.

Its about time someone shone a light in the degenerates that infect some of the WoW boards. Its thE internet equivelent of a snake pit, filled with zombies.

As for the child molesters thing, please, cut the Daily Mail level of hysteria, thats utter bullshit. Is it any wonder that the mainstream press has a field day with games and internet sex monsters, when we propagate the myth ourselves. The level of hysteria around this is already fever pitch, and for the most part 99.5% bullshit wheeled out just to shoot an idea out of the sky. Do you REALLY think that a company like Blizzard si going to wheel something like this out without covering their ass from a legal perspective. In 15 years, they've never set a foot wrong, why start now?

As for the employers thing, i've worked for three of the worlds largest multi national tech company's, and several smaller tech company's. Catagorically i can tell you that a HR recruiter that does that level of work doesn't exist. Even google, with their 12 step recruitment process and multi nation vetting will not be going through your forum posts. In comment thread filled with paranoia, thats taking the biscuit.

If it encourages a degree of respect on those boards, then its worth it.
LazyDan
07/07/10 @ 09:58
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That's outrageous - these days firstname and lastname can be enough to track someone's online presence down completely. If they had started with this system it wouldn't be so bad, but sour relationships will already exist between players - it's practically inviting cyber-bullying and stalking on a mass scale, and it's unfair to players.
ignatiusjreilly
07/07/10 @ 10:03
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Blizzard si going to wheel something like this out without covering their ass from a legal perspective. In 15 years, they've never set a foot wrong, why start now?

There is a simple fact: if you post your name on the internet, someone might to be able to find out where you live. I care not for Blizzard's legal protection.

If this is no big deal, please tell us all your real name here.
Haloboy!
07/07/10 @ 10:04
#31
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Smith. Joe Smith.
Raining_Upwards
07/07/10 @ 10:05
#32
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Straight Dave.
Goodfella
07/07/10 @ 10:09
#33
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Yes, anomagnus, pray tell us your real name?

(He could just make one up anyway)
Synthesis
07/07/10 @ 10:09
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Fantastic, a stupid thing to do really, but how hilarious to watch the endless streams of WoW playing morons complaining about it.

I do love those American "women" who are totally self important, complaining about how they're going to be stalked and that the internet is a very unsafe place for a woman because of all the nasty men around.

Either way, I think if you're smart I doubt there will be much problem. They did say showing your ingame name is optional, so you may end up with the situation of your account dying the way it is and not having to post again.

Perhaps they could just go over to some non-official forums and build a community there instead?
butler`
07/07/10 @ 10:10
#35
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ROFL he deleted his facebook
Cigol
07/07/10 @ 10:20
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My only experience with this is the iRacing forums and although it cuts down on 'professional' trolls, you still have all the flaming, arguments, whining and unhealthy characteristics that tend to go with any (gaming) forum.
Zedfragg
07/07/10 @ 10:21
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Cue people being stalked on Facebook and other social networking sites due to something they said which some pillock doesn't agree with on wow forums.

Cue peoples families being abused because something someone said which some dipshitter doesn't agree with on wow forums.

Cue...Well you get the idea lol

Blizzard/Activision, are you guys looking for ways to make people feel uncomfortable whilst using your services? don't get me wrong we already do as we know when we click that "Accept terms of service" tickbox that we are signing over OUR VERY FUCKING SOULS lol....But apparently now we must point Actiblizavision towards our family and friends....Probably to prevent people cancelling subscription"s.

One day on facebook.
*Message recieved from Robert Kotick*
"Resubscribe or I swear I'll eat your parents you bastard little shit bag!!!"
Headache
07/07/10 @ 10:31
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I find it interesting that only those people who've said this isn't such a bad idea are getting lots of negative ratings, regardless of whether their post is "bad" or not.

Personally I agree with anomagnus, some people are creating a level of hysteria over this unwarrented and unhelpful to the discussion. There are certain dangers with using your real name on the internet but for the majority of people who already have their names displayed on the likes of facebook this won't be such a massive problem. Of course there are people with daft or silly names that might not want to be ridiculed and others such as teachers who might not want their pupils to know they play but I genuinely don't think it'll be the end of the world for most gamers.

I can see Blizzard's reasoning in this and frankly if it leads to better behaviour from players in game and on the forum then I'm all for it.
spudsbuckley
07/07/10 @ 10:31
#39
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Oh no! They'll stalk me on my Facebook page? Can't i just set that to private as well?

This is the usual internet-types getting shirty because they lose the ability to anonymously call someone a nigger-jew-faggot on the forums.
Riggers
07/07/10 @ 10:39
#40
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""Keep in mind that posting is optional, and we recognise that some players will choose not to utilize the Real ID feature in game or post on the forums and support everyone's individual choice on using or not using it," community manager Nethaera - real name unknown, for now - posted in response to complaints. Parents will be able to disallow children from posting by using parental account controls. "

That's nice Blizzard, does this mean in-game GMs will no longer direct people to the Technical Support forums?
Gurgeh
07/07/10 @ 10:51
#41
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Apparently your real ID is also available through the scripting interface for WoW add-ons. Spam mailers rejoice!
Stickman
07/07/10 @ 10:54
#42
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People care what happens on the official WOW forums? No-one with half a brain goes anywhere near them anyway.
geeza2020
07/07/10 @ 10:55
#43
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I don't play WoW, but this is really quite ridiculous. Yes its not likely that your going to be stalked after leaving a post in your real name on the internet, but surely its better to keep everyone safe and cope with the retards/flamers/trolls then have everyone use their real names and risk having harm done in real life? It seems like an easy choice to make to me, and i cant believe that Blizzard went the other way.
Der_tolle_Emil
07/07/10 @ 10:55
#44
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This concerns more than just your own account. Check out the wowriot link. People in the comments have posted at least four different phone numbers now that they think is the correct one. That means three people have received phone calls from idiots just because they happen to have the same name like one posting in the battle.net forums. Well done Blizzard. I'm sure they are very happy about that.

spudsbuckley
07/07/10 @ 11:00
#45
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Who posts their phone number on the internet?
ignatiusjreilly
07/07/10 @ 11:06
#46
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Who posts their phone number on the internet?

http://www.thephonebook.bt.com/publisha....
Milky1985
07/07/10 @ 11:08
#47
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"I can see Blizzard's reasoning in this and frankly if it leads to better behaviour from players in game and on the forum then I'm all for it. "

Unfortantly, while I can see why they are trying to do it (lets face it, the WOW community on the forums is probably the worst out there in terms of falming, trolling and generall gittishness), they are not going to have the sucesses they want because of current risks and how halfhearted they are doign it.

Its going to be very easy to just put in a false name because there is no real way to confirm the name (if they went to card only subscriptiosn they could possibly use credit card names to confirm at least surname, but that brings up other problems).

You will just end up with thousands of amanda's (surname huginkiss) and other silly names/simpsons names/ones that O2 accept as real names like the one i posted earlier. WHy? Because thats the internet mentality, that is where the change is needed but its quite hard to do.

Yes removing anominity will stop most of the gittishness, but to do that properly they will need to have some way to confirm names and link up properly with trusted records.
mjzero
07/07/10 @ 11:09
#48
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I like Blizzards idea.

Fare too often have I read a tread in one forum or another, that have been ruined be flaming.

The problem is that in RL you don’t run around insulting people, just because you don’t like they’re point of view or for a spelling mistake or something equal non important.
We try to raise our children to be polite and respect to others, but when it comes to the Internet the idea is that “you are anonymous” so everything goes. How can that not be wrong?

I know that giving your real name on the Internet is like inviting people to see what else they can find on you. But in my opinion people just have to grow up and stand by what they express. Being vocal or written, on physical or electronic media.
If you have something to say, then say it and stand by it!
If you express something about a subject in whom you don’t agree with other people, then do so and stand by it. And should you be wrong then say “I was wrong”

I have no problem in typing my real name: Poul Behrendt
Feel free to search info on me if that’s what you want.
Norfolk'n'Clue
07/07/10 @ 11:10
#49
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I don't see the problem. Everyone puts their real names up on facebook, and god knows what other information. The loose terms that facebook calls 'privacy' settings should be easy to replicate on their forums.

If it was that easy to find that geezer from Blizzard's personal details, he obviously wasn't being careful enough with his personal data.
Edited 1 times, most recently on 07/07/10 @ 11:11
Sildur
07/07/10 @ 11:11
#50
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I think if we're totally honest with ourselves here, currently the Blizzard forums are a cesspit of bile spewed forth by silly teenage boys who's responsibility in life spans little further than cleaning their own bedrooms once a month while their mummies take cook their meals and clean up after them the rest of the time. (See, I can troll too!).

Have you got a genuine interesting question about Warcraft? Are you looking for a genuine, intelligent response to it? Then DON'T go to the Blizzard forums!

There's no doubt that this is an extreme measure, but I think these unbelievably annoying internet trolls need to be taught a lesson about responsibility. They haven't gone out into the world, got jobs, they contribute nothing to society, and yet they think they're superstars in their own bedrooms.

You can bet that this will instantly reduce the level of idiocy on the Blizzard forums and I'm willing to bet that it becomes a lot calmer, friendlier place to visit.

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