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.
- 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?