Friday, July 09, 2010

RealID Gone, for Now: Wherein I Show My Cynical Nature

So, the battle is won. Posting with your RealID is gone.

For now.

Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

In my first post on the subject I warned about a bait and switch by Activision-Blizzard over RealID, that they'd cancel it but institute something else in it's place slightly less abhorrent. Then significant numbers would come out and say 'hey, at least it's not RealID' and we'd all go along with it.

This would not be acceptable.

In the original RealID forum announcement it was stated that pre-upgrade posts simply can't be retroactively updated to show RealID, i.e. that the data wasn't captured. This will not be the case in the new forums, it's just that your RealID won't be shown.

Remember the new T&C's? They still stipulate that you accept that your Real Name can be noted alongside your post. With the new forums they can flip a switch and start doing that at any time.

Worse still, the creeping brief of Facebook integration and RealID is still open policy, nothing has changed in this regard except that opposition was perhaps more outspoken than they had anticipated.

The more pompous amongst us may say that the price of privacy is eternal vigilance. The general point to make is still that you should be responsible for your own privacy on the internet, and every corporation that deals with your data has a responsibility to either keep everything locked up tight or allow you fine control over what you make public. The plan for the forums didn't allow that, it was their way or the highway, and that's the major reason why it was terrible.

So, good work people! But don't make the mistake of thinking that this is the end of the matter.


Jaedia 09/07/2010, 18:51  

Haven't accepted the new T&Cs, and if they keep the whole "WE CAN USE YOUR NAME AND TELL TEH WORLDS HAHA" in there, then I won't accept. I'm glad they've backed down, but as I mentioned on Twitter, I am picturing Mr.Blizzard twirling his evil moustache, plotting away. *waiting*

Amber 09/07/2010, 18:52  

Sadly, you're probably right. I can only imagine the uproar if that was to happen though. Just look at this one!

warcraft gold 12/07/2010, 15:47  

Words can't express how happy I am when Blizz announced that they will no longer be requiring the real names on forums (oh what a relief) and I hope that this would be their last attempt.

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