Real ID

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ED CLEANER 2.jpg This article needs a serious clean up

Somebody should do something about it.


In July 2010, Blizzard dropped a 50 megaton lolbomb on the Internets...

What IS Real ID?

Real ID is basically Activision-Blizzard's attempt at being Facebook. It was first announced as being part of WoW patch 3.3.5, along with a shiny new loot piñata (likely included to distract players from these changes.) At first it was described as a chat system of sorts, similar to that included with Steam, which allowed players to converse with their friends on other servers or in other Blizzard games (such as Starcraft 2 or Diablo 3). The only catch was that players were to use their real names, presumably to allow their friends to more easily find them in-game. A few wary gamers expressed concern that the system pulled information from profiles, which include IRL names and billing information. Aside from that, little else was said. The new chat system slightly inconvenienced players by breaking addons and providing an ugly, clunky new interface. Within a few days all was quiet again...

...Until July 6, when they made the dumbest announcement ever. In a misguided effort to fight off trolls, Blizzard has decided to add real names to forum posts. It sounds optional, until you learn that the only optional bit is to have your character name tacked on with your powerword. It will be implemented after the third expansion, Cataclysm.

According to, "As it stands, the RealID system is enabled by default on all accounts except those with parental controls (more on that later), and players who want to use the RealID system are unable to make any changes or select options as to how their information is shared."

Why it is a Bad Idea

Because it's fucking WoW. WoW players are angry fucks. Moreso than anyone on EVE or EQ2's Nagafen.

In theory it's supposed to rid the official forums of their plague of trolls, but as a result non-trolls will be wary posting there as well, leaving the official forums a ghost town. Sure, one could post on unofficial forums, but how then could one communicate easily with technical support reps or customer service? Blizzard has a toll-free support line but upon dialing it, one is presented with a message stating that they are far too busy to even queue your call and to post on the official forums to have your questions answered. In-game reports also don't work, as it takes approximately forever for a GM to review a request, gather up a goofy RP script, and then send an in-game mail instead because the "petitioner" died three weeks ago and is now rotting. By the time anyone actually reaches a query, Barack Obama will be out of office.

Some say "yeah, but it gets rid of the trolls!" So does more moderation and perhaps using a global username for the forums. City of Heroes does this and it works. To an extent SOE does this as well but not to the level as COH does. Likewise, Steam uses a global username to allow players to communicate within the games it supports. While some have argued that this will scare girls away, the real problem is it will reveal the true gender of those playing female "toons", ruining other players' immersion. Still more people argue that it's just a first and last name. A lot can be found from this information, however, especially if you have an uncommon name such as Micah Whipple. Scroll down to see what happened to Mr. Whipple...


Real ID is a completely voluntary and optional level of identity that keeps players connected across all of

The Community's Reactions

This new system WILL give trolls and assholes the ultimate advantage in trolling. IRL trolling.

WoW, is chock full of petty, vindictive little shits. I quit, mainly do to the community or, lack there of.

Giving them your real name, is like begging them to hack your Paypal or harass your family. They are pathetic enough to do it.

Blizzard has an entire task force to "manage the community". The CMs. Why not just make it clear, that trolling will be absolutely unacceptable and, IP ban the trolls? Ban their credit card number.

Rules are only as good as the police that enforce them and the CM's are pathetic.

They let six years go by, and thus, set the miserable, joyless standard for their community. They LET the place go to shit.

As much as I'd love to see every loser who trolls those boards, have the bastard walloped out of them, I can't help but feel this is every piece of 4chan trash's dream come true.


—Aislingi, of

[If this happened in EQ2] I probably wouldn't be posting on the forums anymore.

The thing that concerns me is what if it spreads to in-game as well? And I mean completely, not the opt-in way they're going to be doing it.

There are so many privacy concerns. I don't want people finding who I am in RL. Which is what this will end up leading to. I wonder how many women actually post as guys to prevent harassment (especially on the WoW boards), now they won't be able to.

What if you have a fairly unique name, it would be easy to find you that way as well.


—Silverglade, from EQ2Flames

Hi. You're going to call off RealID. You're going to publicly state that there is no need for RealID. Or... these guys are going to cancel their accounts. They're going to alert the New York Times, and the LA Times press-release style. Look, the people you are hurting are the people you depend on. We cook your meals, we haul your trash, we connect your calls, we drive your ambulances. We guard you while you sleep. Do not... fuck with us...


— someone in the 2000-page clusterfuck that is the general forum.

WoW is being milked for all it's worth. This game is dying, and if we don't take a stand now there will be no end to it. It may already be too late.


—janettie7, of

figured I might as well add something myself. And to see if I was really banned for a week for summing up my feelings in the form of ACII Patrick Stewart.

I've always liked Blizzard as a company since they seem to be filled with people who care about their product. In an age were companies feel they can release any ol' crap on the market it's a nice reminder to see there are those that still care. Even a change like this doesn't make me want to send a brick through anyone's window (as opposed to the normal feelings of when I do send bricks through windows).

But this idea is still not a good one. Whether or not it was someone's idea to 'pitch at the forum users', it's stlll[sic] not a good one to be made. Many servers, particularly RP servers, rely on their forums to form events and communicate. By adding a feature like the game becomes less comfortable for many.

~Hoping you'll reconsider. And is astounded this is the largest thread on the forums where the community is largely in agreement.

(A little letter Blizzard will most likely never see, because they're handing out forum bans to...well, anyone who likes to sum up their feelings.)


—Typhron, of

What the hell are they thinking?

You know, as much as I despise forum trolls, the last thing I would want is everyone’s real name being attached to any question or comment made in the official forums, most especially when that is our primary avenue of help we resort to if we need technical support and can’t get into WoW to flag a ticket.

As the threat of identity theft rises, and as incidents of predators stalking children increases, how is forcing the reveal of player’s real names a good thing?

Is it somehow intended to encourage civility in the forum community? Guess what, the Moderators already have access to that data. If there are comments and a tone of discourse they don’t like… they can do something about it if they choose.

If the Moderators don’t choose to act in the first place, well, the trolls are supposed to what? Feel ashamed of having their real name tied to their words? Shame? A troll? REALLY?


—Big Bear Butt

Micah Whipple Doxes Himself

To prove that Real ID wasn't that bad of an idea, Blizzard employee Bashiok posted his full name: Micah Whipple. Within hours, his Facebook account, mother's name, addresses, phone numbers, and relatives were all found. Since then, he's been getting harassed nonstop, so much that he deleted his Facebook profile and stopped picking up the phone. His dox are here, have fun!

Perhaps this will prove to Blizzard that they're making a huge mistake.

According to goons, "Did you know that Bashiok is tendering his resignation because of this? They didn't have the wrong guy. They had the correct person, but the wrong address. They had his mother's address. People were leaving notes on the door, she had to turn several pizza deliveries away. Oh, and eventually, they did find the right address. He's now staying in a motel."

Blizzard blows over

As of 9 July 2010, due to an incredible amount of negative press (including this very article) and outcry within the gaming community, Blizzard has canceled the plans to require Real ID in order to post on the forums. The overwhelming numbers of trolls will continue to clog up the official forums, facing no opposition and no real threat of punishment. Micah Whipple valiantly sacrificed himself to allow this grand tradition to continue unabated.

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.


—Mike Morhaime, co-founder and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, This still may come back to haunt us.

Morhaime had recently gotten married and was on his honeymoon during the entire debacle. It is rumored that he returned from his honeymoon and furiously devoured Robert Kotick whole.

But of course, it wasn't over yet. The ESRB accidentally exposed email addresses of those who sent complaints about Real ID. People who wanted to keep their e-privacy hidden had their shit leaked anyway. Oops.

See Also

External Links

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Featured article July 9, 2010
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