By now I’m sure we all know about Blizzard’s Real ID system, which they have lovingly built into World of Warcraft and their upcoming monster hit StarCraft II. This is a system by which you can communicate with your friends cross-server, cross-faction and cross-game. When you mutually agree to have each other as Real ID friends, each other’s real names appear on your friends lists within the game, and you can easily recognize and chat with each other no matter what you’re doing.
This system is now set to expand to the World of Warcraft and StarCrat II forums, upon each game’s release (in the case of WoW, upon Cataclysm‘s release). This has created quite an uproar yesterday across said forums. Why? Because gamers love to complain, that’s why. Okay, that isn’t really why. The reason is because this Real ID system, when expanded to the forums, will display each poster’s real name, instead of only their current character’s name and avatar. This presents a privacy issue to some – thus the eruption of nerd rage.
Here’s the heart of the matter, straight from one of the community managers’ mouths (or fingers):
“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. 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. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.”
I realize not all of you play World of Warcraft, StarCraft or any Blizzard games, for that matter, but if you did, would this change cause you to stop posting on their forums for privacy reasons or do you think this issue is being blown out of proportion?