Real ID Moves to Blizz Forums, Trolls Worst Nightmare?

Blizzard ignited a huge debate in their forums with an announcement on the official forums.  Around the time of Cataclysm’s launch all posts made on the forums will use Real ID names which are also of course the real names of the posters.  At the time of this writing there are multiple threads on the US and EU forums, some with over 1400 pages and counting.  Some of you may know as listeners of The Instance, Scott and Randy are not known for their fondness of the official Blizzard forums but what does this mean for future of the forums?

I see several good and bad points that may come from this.  Just like most things in life the outcome will not be black and white and will fall somewhere in between but one thing is for sure; Blizzard is moving forward with this change.  Let’s discuss both sides of the arguments for and against.

The Good:

  • Trolls will be forced to do their trolling in the light of day – while many people on the forums are posting with their main characters names displayed, many posts (and especially the negative ones) can be found with a level one alt listed as the author.  People love to say the nastiest things imaginable when they can hide behind the internet’s veil of anonymity and this may clean up the Blizz forums quite a bit.
  • Spammers and gold sellers will have a tougher time harassing people via the forums – It’s not the most used vehicle for gold sellers and spammers but it is out there and this change will probably curb that significantly.

That’s really all the good I can find.  Please let me know if I missed anything.  Now, some of the bad.

  • People will become much more exposed to other players that they may not want to be exposed to – Let’s be honest about this.  In a world of Facebook and Twitter most people are relatively exposed already, but some people (like myself) have segmented their online persona  and have different circles of friends in the many social networks available.  Now if someone were to google my real name they may find out that I am a heavy WoW forum poster (I’m not actually) and while someone like myself certainly doesn’t mind that, there are people who will.
  • The children – I hope that parents aren’t allowing their kids to run around on the net unsupervised but I’m sure that some are.  These kids will become a bit more susceptible to creepy people.  If you are a parent, just don’t let your kids use the internet in dangerous ways.
  • Mistaken identity – There are a lot of people with common names in the world.  Even with a way to differentiate these people, unobservant folk will mistake people for others quite a bit.  Some sticky situations will arise from this surely.

There are much more repercussions to discuss but I’d love to know what you think.  Does the good outweigh the bad or vice-versa?  Does it affect you?  Do you give a crap?

100 thoughts on “Real ID Moves to Blizz Forums, Trolls Worst Nightmare?

  1. This will not at all stop trolls, all this does is cause problems for people who don’t want their full name shown online! Why would this stop trolls from posting? For one. the name they use name can be made up and completely false and also why would showing your full name do anything to stop the trolls? Even if it does cut down on trolls it will only be a very small percent, if I’m not mistaken you can change your real life name you used in . So basically blizzard just screwed up

  2. I had been playing WoW for over 3 years. I also had a second account for my child. I had cancelled both accounts 2 months ago, due to financial difficulties, with plans to coma back for Cataclysm (hoping situation had resolved itself). I have had a hold on 2 exp copies since at least Feb, maybe longer.

    I had many good friends in game. From Quebec to BC, New York, to Louisiana. I love them all. I didn’t need RealID, I found them, on my own. Not sure if any Durotan peeps out there, Yela says hi.

    Now i have to tell my kid we’re not going back. I have to go to the store and get my hold back. I have to contact my ingame friends, and let them know I won’t be roaring into Halaa on my red rocket and save the day and send those alliance weaklings home.

    I was baffled when I read this on our online news site, couldn’t believe it. But after looking at that forum thread, coming here, etc….I am simply heartbroken. I never thought it would come to this.

    I was really looking forward to coming back….I don’t even have that anymore.

    P.S. aren’t you guys, Scott and Randy as WoW podcasters, ( as well as those heading up other WoW casts) worried about what this will do to your own fan bases? If people are this angry, and will actually hold to their threats of not buying the expansion, or renewing their accounts, or even boycotting any Blizzard-Activion products from now on, why listen to WoW casts? They have no relevant info for me anymore….they will onmly serve to remind me fo the hatred and bitterness I hold for a game I loved. Why put muyself through that?

    A once extremely loyal WoW player, who can’t even bring himself to say For the…..

  3. I am really disgusted with this change. I HATE social networking sites, and Blizzard has repeatedly blamed online networking sites for allowing viruses and malware to prosper and cause hackings. Why in the bloody great blue blazes would they EVER pair up with Face Book?

    I’ve been online stalked/harrassed before, and I’ve no plans to allow it to happen again. Me giving you my email and name is one thing. Allowing everyone who stumbles in to see it is quite another.

    At this point I have decided I will never use their forums again, and I’m considering canceling my account. Real ID seemed like a cool idea to me, but only in terms of contacting real life friends. I never wanted every random psycho on the internet to know my wow life.

    For that matter, I don’t want potential employers googling me and seeing how many hours I have logged in wow. Discrimination against gamers is alive and well, regardless of how well you can perform your job.

    Bad, terrible call Blizzard. I feel betrayed.

    Incidently, I have also filed a complaint with the ESRB requesting they revoke the teen rating of the game and replace it with “Adults Only”. Too many kids play the game without any restrictions, this puts them at risk.

  4. @Tandoro

    “People don’t need to know you’re female/black/gay/whatever to call you horrible nasty things now. If the assholes don’t stop with the change, don’t post, or realize their opinions are meaningless.”

    This is just about the most chauvinistic, myopic, and obtuse thing I’ve heard in my life.

    Who is going to call “Tandoro” the Tauren shaman a terrorist babykilling sand ni**er? No one, because no one has any reason to assume this would hurt you. They’ll call you random, generic names that don’t hurt you.

    An innocent person posting on the forums, forced to reveal that his name is Mohammed or Abdul is pretty much guaranteed to have this happen to him.

    If you honestly don’t realize there’s a colossal difference between someone telling you to “f*** off” and honest-to-god hate speech directed at an already threatened minority, then you’re beyond hope.

    There is absolutely nothing anyone can say to white straight guys that’s even in the same universe of offensive as terrorizing someone because of their gender, sexuality, creed, or ethnic background.

  5. This change is terrible. I am one of the 12,000+ people that have posted my outrage on the official forums and yet we continue to be ignored by Blizzard.

  6. Posted by user “Smog” in the thread on real names, it’s pretty funny

    Yo, this is the story all about how
    My Real ID made some !@*@ go down
    I’d like to take a moment, just listen to me
    And I’ll tell you all about how Blizz took my privacy

    In West Dun Morogh, born and raised
    Adventurin’ is how I spent most of my days
    Questin’, groupin’, craftin’ my gear
    Grindin’ Ashen Verdict rep up to Revered
    When a guy named Robert Kotick, up to no good
    Did somethin’ nobody understood
    He showed up on the forums, said we’d use our real names
    And that “Now everyone who googles you will know you play our game.”

    I whistled for a blue and when he came near
    He said they’d been plannin’ Real ID for over a year
    I said bein’ stalked and @#%#ed up wouldn’t be funny

    I went to my account and canceled all my data
    And I yelled to Bobby Kotick, “Yo holmes, smell ya lata!”
    I looked back at an Azeroth with no security
    And thought ‘Goodbye WoW, I’ll keep my obscurity.’

  7. My opinion of this is that Bliz is trying to find a shortcut to maturity among its community. This is a risky move and with the current state in Starcraft 2 and seeing how the once-so-loyal fan base is turning against Bliz in that game, this change just blew the doors out.

    I’d like to know what Bliz did before this announcement, how many of their fans/general gamers did they ask for opinions on this before they made the decision? They said in the announcement that they wanted to give this heads up long in advance for the community, but in the next breath they say that this change has been planned for a very long time.

    I just think that Bliz made a terrible mistake, and this will certainly not help them in the current situation with the already disappointed SC2-community

  8. I still don’t see why this is such a big deal. It’s not like the forums are a significant part of the game- they really don’t matter.
    Blizzard is not coming out and saying that they wish to post our names and info for all to see, they are merely saying that if you post on the forums- you do it at your own risk- which will probably going to kill the forums. Which is probably their intention.

    Oh, and for all those who claim this is some Facebook conspiracy- Facebook has yet to turn a real profit. They are still trying to figure out a way to monetize their massive success.

  9. @Neuroman

    Yeah, we all care what particular flavor of sociopathic, Objectivist, blame-the-victim drivel GreedyGoblin is spouting about this.


    Doubt you’ll find many people who think it’s a good idea to quote some anonymous elitist troll who habitually denigrates casuals, here on the Instance website. Unless you’ve never heard the podcast, I guess.

  10. “Facebook has yet to turn a real profit. They are still trying to figure out a way to monetize their massive success.”

    That’s hilarious, and also scary. How you form opinions on things based on information you apparently just fabricated into existence.

    Facebook made around 500 million last year.

    And when people refer to “Facebook” in the context of gaming, they’re talking about Zynga (of Farmville fame).

    Zynga has a market cap of around 3.5 billion dollars. That’s “billion” with a B”.

  11. “That’s hilarious, and also scary. How you form opinions on things based on information you apparently just fabricated into existence.”

    You assume. And when you assume, well, you know what that makes.

    I read this book, which is where I got my information –

    Facebook just STARTED making more than it spends at the end of last year and to date have yet to turn a substantial profit. Only a year ago there were many who predicted that the company will fold due to lack of revenue.

    Here, more links for you, my friend:

    Zynga is a third-party. Read what I said- Facebook are “still trying to figure out a way to monetize their massive success.”
    This is a substantiated fact.

  12. Re the children issue. I have gone through COPPA website training, and there are VERY specific rules Blizzard will have to follow in terms of allowing children’s names to be visible in the forums. Under a certain age, you can’t connect anywhere a last name with a free entry text field. At all. I feel confident this new system will be COPPA compliant and safe for the kiddiees.

  13. Great show, love it. And regarding the changes with real-id and the merge. We’re a bunch of friends over in europe all waiting for better news from blizzard. If this is final and we see where this is going, we’re all canceling the subscriptions.

  14. Yeah, they’re still “figuring out”.

    All your linked articles are from spring of 2009.

    Are their operating costs going to rise by 400 million in 2010, pray tell?

    At any rate, this is a red herring. Blizzard is a third party, like Zynga. The profitability of Facebook itself is irrelevant to the discussion (although you’re clearly wrong about it).

  15. I hate this whole thing… I honestly feel depressed about this. I log in and start walkin’ around then *boom*. I start thinking about all the crap that’s been going on with this new forum inititive and in-game advertising for StarCraft II and I just feel… terrible. Like, someone I thought I knew just looked at me passing on the street and kept right on walking by.

    Anyone else feeling like this?

  16. Although This Seems Like a Dumb Idea to Me…When I Think About It..I Dont Care..I’ve used the forums maybe twice. But im not doubting this Will COMPLETELY OBLITERATE The Forums..And Thats Not What they Were Trying to Do..If They Were Trying to Destroy The Forums, It Would Walk Over to The Reject Pile With 40 Man Raiding. I Cant See Why Blizzard Wants to Do this..

  17. Why fuss? Just how recently have blizz said they would do some thing and then pulled it back um just about a week ago they took back some of their key pitch ideas for cataclysm. And if it makes you that mad and want to cancel you game your free to do so, but I feel it’s all for not. If you have a valid complaint you should back that with a good reason and most importantly a way that issue could be resolved. Complaining and whining lead nowhere and will be likely ignored as a whole unless you present a possible solution. That’s why you feel ignored. If you feel that way ask your self how you’d fix problem and then share yor ideas. This is how problems are solved. I wouldn’t feel sorry for anyone who cries when they don’t realy wanna help. If this was they way the forums worked then people would see the changes they wanted insead of feeling ignored.


  18. I have been out of the game for about a month. Vallius, you mentioned in game ads for SC2. How were these introduced? In the login info? Or even more intrusive? I still can’t believe there has been no blue response to the over 45000 posts, since post 6476.

  19. See I still don’t understand why people are griping about this. Blizzard has stated that they will have a way to make it so parents will be able to disable their child’s ability to post on the forums.

    Also my name is unique to 4 registered people in the world last I checked. This will not stop me from posting on the forums when this goes live with Cata. The only problem I see with this is trolls will still be here. If I wanted to troll I would just create another account with a fake name like Megatron Optimus and troll you.

  20. Personally i think people are overreacting, sure you won’t have this character persona on forums but really why does that matter, its forums, yeah sure they’re great to discuss wow related things with the wow community but having your name displayed why does that bother people, you still can use forums to discuss wow stuff, but instead of ppl saying “i dont agree Orcmaster” or whatever they’ll just use Fred or Sarah or whatever. Now if it was our real names displayed in game now thats a different problem, but in forums doesnt seem to be such a huge problem imo.

    Also how is this going to remove trolls, there will still be ppl out there that voice there opinions, its not like a troll is gunna harass someone like they do and be worried because ppl know their name. It may remove a few but the problem will still be there.

    I think this is no reason to quit wow, or be angry, people are overreacting to this issue. You should be worried about in game problem rather than forums.

  21. I’ve already decided to opt-out of this iteration of RealID, due to its lack of options that allow me proper control over my privacy. Although, I can’t help but wonder what the next big announcement will be. Its abundantly clear that Blizzard has plans for RealID, and that what we’ve seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg.

    As far as the forums go, I only worry about the potential hit the tech support forum will take. With fewer people participating, it may get more difficult to find work-arounds and solutions to problems with specific setups.

  22. here is a scary Idea Trolls getting your Name finding phone numbers and trolling there is sounds crazy but people do put there loc on there profile and with that they can narrow it down

    personal I loved the old where I was just a Nickname my personal freinds know I play wow I dont Hide it but I also dont plaster my face and name on the local bus saying my name is “so and so” and I play wow

  23. “See I still don’t understand why people are griping about this. Blizzard has stated that they will have a way to make it so parents will be able to disable their child’s ability to post on the forums.”

    And what of parents who are too negligent or computer-unsavvy to do this? Are their unfortunate children fair game for harassment, stalking, or worse?

    That is the number one reason I cancelled my subscription. I’m posting on here, under my full real name, one that is wholly unique. I’m doing so to make a point – I am not worried about my own safety all that much, but I am morally outraged at the fact that Blizzard is either too shortsighted or too ethically challenged to assume some responsibility for the safety and privacy of their players.

    My money will never support the kind of social darwinism and victim blaming that is implicit in “if something bad happens, well, you chose to put yourself in danger”.

    Thankfully there’s a glimmer of hope. A few of the CMs came on the forums last night, and while they were professional almost to a fault, and obviously couldn’t comment on anything directly, the “between-the-lines” message I and a lot of others got was “hang tight, we’ve heard you”.

  24. anyone remember the story of the Mexican whose wife was getting repeatedly ganked in game, so he got his friends together and went and beat up the guy?

  25. I think the people that just ‘don’t get it, or think people are ‘overreacting, complaining or even whining’ really need to head to the 2400+ pages of General forum posts, or to one of the many other comment sections now reporting on this, and get educated as to why this genuinely concerns so many people … that aren’t you.

  26. Blizz-Activision:: I know you most likely will not give a rats about losing my $30+ a month, but guess what, my $30+ no longer gives a rats about you either.

    Thanks for ruining the 4 years of escapist fun with one fantasically ill-conceived decision with very real, real-life consequences.

  27. “And what of parents who are too negligent or computer-unsavvy to do this? Are their unfortunate children fair game for harassment, stalking, or worse?

    That is the number one reason I cancelled my subscription. I’m posting on here, under my full real name, one that is wholly unique. I’m doing so to make a point – I am not worried about my own safety all that much, but I am morally outraged at the fact that Blizzard is either too shortsighted or too ethically challenged to assume some responsibility for the safety and privacy of their players.”
    I hate how people always blame some o e else for their own problems. Bad parenting is not blizzards responsability. Neither is it their responsibility to protect you. There may be issue with what you think they are doing but I would not think that at several points that this realid and real name in the forum was look at by legal teams. And had a change to their customer use agrement.

  28. That’s a terrible argument.

    It is Blizzard’s ETHICAL responsibility to not endanger children, or any of their customers, unnecessarily.

    Go to an amusement park. The rides that are dangerous don’t say “must be over 15 or provide proof of parental consent”. They say “must be this tall to ride”, because the safety precautions on the rides don’t function well for children too small. Even if you are a complete mouthbreathing idiot parent, you cannot allow your child on this ride.

    Thus, many parents can rest reasonably assured that their children are in fact safe from getting on such rides.

    Now imagine an amusement park opens, and puts out a press release (and adds to the fine print on their legal waivers), stating that the height restriction is now null and void, and parents with small children should proactively tie their children to themselves, lest they get on any dangerous rides. Doing so breaks the public trust, if not any laws per se.

    I am not advocating the position that Blizzard should go to extraordinary measures to protect everyone else from their own stupidity, carelessness, naivete, or that of their parents or legal guardians.

    I am advocating the position that Blizzard must not remove the near-universal protection of anonymity found everywhere else on the Internet, because people will fall victim to it.

    The position that Blizzard should not be expected to consider this, and that any ill effects that may come from this are solely the fault of the victim (or, even more grotesquely, as you’re arguing, the victim’s legal guardian) is morally repugnant. It is a casino letting in minors, and serving them alcohol, because after all, their parents should know better.

    But hey, isn’t the gambling industry where Bobby Kotick learned his ropes from?

  29. And another small note – I am not saying Blizzard is breaking the law, so I don’t understand why you’re referring to their legal teams or any of the legal agreements. I don’t give a good god damn whether they are legally liable for anything bad that happens.

    My moral choices aren’t based on “hey, can I get away with this?”, and if that’s what Blizzard’s moral choices are based on, then I am not going to give them one more cent of my money.

    Nor am I likely to stop publicly, and loudly, condemning their immoral behavior.

  30. What the people posting here who are for Real ID don’t get is this is a step in a very bad direction. You may say that posting is “optional”, but what happens when you need tech support? What about the children whose parents don’t care about or don’t understand the parental controls? Most importantly, what about having a place to be social and amiable to other wow players? This will kill the forums.

    The trolls win if this goes through. They will be the only people left posting. And you can get alot of info from a name. They’ve already proven that by harrassing people with similar names to blizzard employees (google).

    The problem is not real names on the forums, the problem is real names on the forums or eff off. It should be optional.

    And don’t get me started on the facebook merge. If that’s mandatory I’m cancelling everything, demanding a full refund for all my prepaid time and forcing them to delete every piece of personal information they ahve about me. Face book is not something I want to be a part of.

  31. Ever wonder who is Mr. Mike Moneymaker that is mention in the credits for Burning Crusade ?

  32. I don’t have a problem with the forum aspect. I do not want to use RealID because I don’t want friends of friends I have not approved myself to see me gaming at any given moment. And if I put myself as “show offline” all the time, it sort of defeats the purpose of RealID, doesn’t it?

    Think about it…is there any situation where you would you want an ex-girlfriend, a boss, your mom, or just anyone your friend decides to add to his/her RealID list to be able to see that you are playing World of Warcraft and currently in Wintergrasp?

  33. I’m so relieved! I had literally come to the decision this morning to cancel my account as soon as I got home because of the lack of response. Though I’m a little sad I didn’t get to contribute my vote to the pile (although I did send emails to public relations and such) I would like to whole heartedly thank every single person who posted on the forums and cancelled their account to stop this real name thing on the forums from happening.

    You’re my heroes :)

  34. I would just like to point out that most likely the only reason why Blizzard retracted their position is because people were withdrawing their accounts en mass.

    Don’t get me wrong, it was a perfectly reasonable decision to do so. But to do so just because of this, is showing that Blizzard is pussy whipped by its community.

    On the whole, probably the best decision they have made in about 5-6 years.

  35. Really? A business that listens to an overwhelming outcry by its paying customers is “pussy whipped”?


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