|This article needs a serious clean up|
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 battle.net 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 MMORPG.com, "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...
The Community's Reactions
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.
—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.
- World of Warcraft
- Starcraft 2
- Diablo 3
- Battle.net Forums
- Blizzard Entertainment
- Shadow Word: Death
- Asking for it
- The official forum announcement. It is also the fastest growing thread in the WoW forums, ever.
- Wow.com's entry on the Real ID feature, complete with tons of posts on it.
- Micah's mishap, again.
- Massively says, "Do we finally have our WOW killer?
- Big Bear Butt considers this a cataclysm in more than one way.
- Empowered Fire isn't happy either.
- Church of Pangoria thinks Real ID is bad, but probably won't hurt the money Blizzard gets, at all.
- Common Sense Gamer however... supports the idea.
- The BBC as well!
- Blizzard and Facebook did a partnership before this. Could it be a catalyst?
- A stupid pointless online petition that will make no difference
- HURR DURR DOX ME
- All Blizzard employees will use Real ID on the forums
- If you don't like it, don't post on the forums.
- No, seriously, don't post on the forums.
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