Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another Blizzard RealID Post

I have not commented about RealID here on my blog. I was of the opinion if you are worried about it… don’t use it. Someone who doesn’t know your real name and/or you have issues giving your email account to them should not be a RealID friend.

The only people who have my RealID are family and an EXTREMELY short list of friends off realm. The friends were only added because they were off realm. I hope this will make it easier for me to go off leveling on other realms.

If I knew this was coming down the line when I joined I would have made an email account only for Blizzards use. Oh well… not that big of deal.

While testing the system with Husband I was surprised at how much information RealID gives out. Not only that he was online but it provided full first name, full last name, realm logged into, character Logged into, character level, and zone. I know I like to disappear onto other realms or characters to not be bothered so this was a huge red flag. It confirmed my decision to limit the number of people who I made RealID.

As a blogger other peoples real names displayed is a concern. When I take screenshots for posts now … I have to watch for ACTUAL NAMES. These are not just any names but the people I love and adore in my real life. “Sister-in-law has gone offline” Annoying… but something I can live with because I love them enough to protect their real names and keep them out of my silly WoW blog.

This was my opinion as RealID implemented in-game... I would have liked to have more flexibility (like Nickname, friend access levels, hide characters from friend levels, etc) so it would actually be more useful. But nothing I couldn’t ignore if I wanted too.

Now to the Forum RealID issue… has link to the blue post and restates it. You can read what Blizzard is doing with the upcoming forums.

Here are my immediate concerns:

1. Minors

I think back to when there was hard core twinking in my battlegroup. Because we use vent I knew that some of the guys we ran with were 13-15 year old boys. The only place for them to rant or rave about a great game was on the Battlegroup forum.

Yes, some got out of hand. I will tell you that there is not one person I talk to today that doesn’t look back at those times and not remember how much fun posting on the forums and arguing with each other. … Ok… that maybe an exaggeration, but the times were still good.

Kids are mean. There have been lawsuits about High School students stalking, bullying, and just being nasty to each other on phones and on the internet. It happens. It is here. It is reality.

As officers we encouraged people to NOT post on the Battlegroup forum because we knew you cannot win with trolls. But they were teenage boys and had to learn for themselves.

The idea that those same minors would have their full first and last names out there are criminal.

These same boys are now applying to colleges and out there getting jobs. If they had a juvenile record it would be sealed and would start off fresh as an adult… like all aspects of the internet … forum post would be out there to stay.

Any comments about Blizzard not retroactively posting names are irrelevant. The point is minors will post under the proposed system because they did post.

As for turning forum post off for minors, what about the customer service? It is just not as easy a solution as switching off. 

2. My Real Name

I am Hydra of Almost Evil. That is the alias I go by. Some people know my real name around the blogisphere. If there is a legitimate reason for someone to know my real name, it is not an issue. I just don’t post under it.

As everyone should once in a while, when I google my real name it get another woman in the LPGA, a few of my professional engineering projects, my qualifications when I was a state regulator, some marketing projects I was associated with, and a few organizational memberships.

No where in there would it tell you that I have a blog that has been running about an MMO for over three years.

Anyone with any intuition at all will connect seeing a name posted even on the Blizzard customer service forum to someone that plays Warcraft. As a professional, someone in their mid thirties and looking for regular work and projects I am not happy with my name available in that capacity.

I don’t want a potential employer to see I am having trouble downloading the latest patch, logging in, or having a graphical issue. And as the primary place that Blizzard wants us to communicate issues with them… I don’t see how displaying our real names will encourage that in the future.

3. Other Professionals

In this game over the years I have met professional engineers, teachers, military personnel, doctors, pharmacists, county prosecutors, defense attorneys, fire fighters, chefs, building managers, bank personnel, and so many more. In my guild alone I know more then half have advanced degrees. They are professionals in real life, people like Gnomeaggedon (I will miss you!)

Relevance to RealID on forum? Just don’t post?

The idea that only those who are trolls and flame other people post on the forums are narrow minded.

Well that is nice and all… but what about guild recruitment. Your guild leader will have to post to keep you raiding, bring in new blood, and filling those slots.

I think of my own guild and … it would be unfair for anyone to ask any of the officers to put themselves out there. This is a game and you never know how “playing a game” will affect your career.

We live in a world where we use labels to define those around us. Good or bad that is how it is.

For internal Blizzard use and even in-game use I can work with or without RealID. But to make it so minors and professionals names are readily associated with a game and have no choice in the matter is not a good choice by Blizzard.


  1. A couple weeks ago, just because I wanted to better protect my WOW account, I did create a new email address just for WOW. Since I own a couple domains, it was pretty trivial to do, and forward all that mail (of which there should be none) to my regular account. Since then, I've been amused at all the spam I continue to receive (phishing scams) at all kinds of email addresses I have...but none to my WoW-only address. Strongly recommend EVERYONE do this (use Gmail, Yahoo! mail, or Hotmail).

    Second point: I'm sorry you were surprised to find out the info revealed when a RealID friend logged in. All of that, plus no "invisible" mode, are reasons I have not, and will not, opt in to RealID.

    I'm on Twitter, I have a website, I have a fairly public email address, my Skype account and Trillian (Live Messenger, Google Chat, and iChat) are always on when my computer is on. If someone wants to get in touch with me, they don't need to wait until I log into WoW.

  2. I think there is a lot of overreaction to all this issue. There IS the option to not use Real ID. It's not like people must use it for the game to work. If people don't like it, then just don't use it; or like Hydra said, limit its use to really trusted people.

    As far as the forum posts go... I think anonymous posts are an incredibly ridiculous idea. Anyone can post from one of their newly-created level 1 alts, to just flame and ridicularize people, or worse. WoW forums have a bad reputation for a reason. So do we just sit and watch it rot? The problem here is that people got comfortable with being anonymous, and go out of their way behaving like COMPLETELY different people when posting. I ask you: if WoW had a real life forum, would people behave that way? Fucking no. That's why they're all scared: no more forum trolling. As a responsible WoW player, I say yes to forum with people's names. If that means I can browse the forums and ask questions and post opinions without getting trolled, hell yes. do it. The internet already suffers too much from all the protection there is to anonymous people, who most of the time don't deserve it.

    If a company or employer had an issue with a a hobby of mine, like WoW... then I'd seriously consider if I really wanted to work for them. It's just a game, just a hobby. Like practicing a sport, or going to the beach. Leisure activies require time from people, no matter if it's parachutting or sitting in front of a screen and pretending to be a fantasy character. Companies have NO business with that.