The Instance #196 – The Rage! It Burns Us, Precious!

Big News Of The Week

Blizzard Rolls A One

In a move that surprised some people, amused others, and mainly invoked a summer hurricane of nerdrage, debate, and more nerdrage, Blizzard announced on Tuesday an attempt to bring accountability to their subscriber-only discussion forums by identifying message writers by real name. What followed, and what followed that, and what now follows that…

Rumors And Scuttlebutt

Believe it Or Not, Other Things Are Afoot

Lost in all the real name kerfuffle, Blizzard speculated this week on changing the fundamental way you define what sort of mage or hunter you’re playing, by condensing talent trees in the game at some point in the possibly near future. On Wednesday, Zarhym announced a wholescale revamp that they would like to do… in a huge post in the forums.

Sending Things To Yourself, Only It’s A Different You

In another fun little tidbit, the new Blizzard community manager Lylirra popped up this week in a thread speculating about cross-realm functions to say the following,

“Adding the ability for players to be able to mail Bind on Account items cross-realm is something we’ve discussed on more than one occasion.  We understand that players would greatly appreciate having the option to send heirlooms, for example, to lower-level characters on different realms, so we’re exploring the possibility. It’s definitely on our radar! Due to the necessary infrastructure changes that would need to occur before cross-realm mail can be integrated, though, we have no immediate plans for adding this functionality as of yet.”

Town Cryer

Roger, aka Deafwolf, from the Aegwynn server writes: I have attempted to contact Blizzard through their website in the attempt to learn about sponsorship. I currently ride a road bike in charity events, criterium races, and distance races. I’m purely an amateur, but I believe I can offer good visibility outside the game. Who do I contact and how do I reach them about my request?

Cataclysmic Drop Of The Week

Go Raid Some Trolls!

This is the ninth in our limited series, wherein we’re highlighting things for you to do in WoW that you might not ever get to do again after the Cataclysm. It’s Zul’Gurub!

Additional show content provided by Darrell the Tipgiver, Steve “Buxley” Pietrowicz, James “Acuzod” Jefferies and the outstanding Instance Community.

Special thanks to DogHouse Systems, FigurePrints!, TypeFrag and SquareSpace for sponsoring this episode.

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40 thoughts on “The Instance #196 – The Rage! It Burns Us, Precious!

  1. About the whole Bashiok incident… I certainly don’t approve harassment, but I would like to point out this : Blizzard sent its employee to say, on the forums, that “We at Blizzard don’t think our RealID idea will bring any harassment issues, actually, here’s my name and first name to show you all how confident we are in this statement”. Of course people are gonna show them that this statement is completely stupid. They provoked the posters by even proposing this idea, and then they provoked them again with this “Here’s my name and first name, I’m sure you can’t do anything with… Oh, you found my adress, phone number, family, and everything you wanna know about me ? With just my name and first name ? Exactly like you’ve been telling me things were gonna happen and exactly like I’ve been telling you they wouldn’t ? … Ah, crap”.
    That was ridiculous.

  2. While I understand how badly a few community members reacted, that’s exactly what would happen in a real situation.

    Blizzard made people mad, a Blizzard employee gave his name out, said employee was harassed. What if I say something someone disagrees with? What if it makes them mad? What if they had MY real name? They’d harass, just like what happened.

    Yes, I think people went too far, but it just shows that there ARE people on their forums that will do that!

  3. Normally I LOVE your podcast, but today I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by how biased you guys came across (regardless of how many times you guys said you refuse to argue for or against the RealID forum names).
    You seem to put forward that the biggest reason that people were against the changes was so ‘we trolls’ (as all of us against the changes are apparently nothing but trolling douchebags) could continue to troll under the freedom of anonymity. Did you even READ much of the 50,000 post thread? Most of the trolls were arguing FOR RealID name changes (not that they believed it was right, but because they were trolling)! Personally, I’m one of those who refuses to use the WoW forums due to the crazy trolls etc. I protested the changes out of concern for those who would inevitably get harassed (or worse). It only takes one tragedy.
    Second point. Upon having your hot-tub pic/names/etc posted, you say a Blizz employee tells you to expect the worse flaming on the FACEBOOK site and NOT the WoW forums… So they are aware of the fact that people post flames regardless of anonymity(!). Well then what the hell is RealID names on forums for then?! Could it be they give a rats @$$ about their customers persoanl safety and RealID forums are not just a way for ActiBlizz to monetize our names?
    Thirdly, I do whole heartedly agree that people should NOT have harassed the poor Blizz guy. I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes… which is why I opposed RealID names in forums. And I’m not a trolling douchebag (as you guys seem to think).

  4. I’m not sure I can follow Scott and Randy saying that they can really voice their opinions about this, being as we already know their names. So let me ask one thing….

    What if I talk to your son in Wow Scott? What if he has an issue with his account and goes to the forums to report it? What then if, using his name, I show up at his school? Does he want strangers just popping up? I’d never do it, but I am not the internet. There are crazies that would do that. Maybe they don’t like you, maybe they don’t like your son being given so much loot in game just so people can suck up to you. Who knows?

    Either way, are you comfortable with your son having his name forever tied to his Wow account? What if years from now he tries to get a job and they google him, and see a post about his playing Wow. Some employers have already come out and said they don’t want Wow players as employees because they tend to be up late, come to work tired, and not be willing to work late if they have a raid that night.

    I don’t worry for myself, I worry for the children and other people too naive or unfamiliar with the potential dangers of putting your real name out into the web. We already hear about people being stalked from inside the game turning into stalking outside the game. This has the potential to cause much more of that.

    I see it as similar to having an unexploded bomb in my house; true, the odds of it ever going off are tiny, but if it somehow does, it could hurt or kill my family. Why would I risk it?

    In short, I do think you have a voice, or could, if you wanted to. It’s your right to use or not use that voice, if you prefer either way. I also think you are being a bit soft as to the dangers, but I realize that not everyone in the community can be as harsh as some have been. We do need someone to talk us down a bit, and you usually provide one of those voices.

    Sadly though, even after having slept on it, I feel this is not the Blizzard I fell in love with. The love and camaraderie Blizzard used to show has been drying us since the merger with Activision ( And let’s not forget that there is no separation now, they truly are Activision-Blizzard, we only call them Blizzard out of habit) is what I craved from their games and I fear what they will do in it’s absence. More in game items? Likely. More sweets to hook us more? Sure. In game advertising? Already been warned of that by their CEO. Doing anything to make a buck? Looks like.

    And that’s I personally have ended my long affair with Wow. I just can’t help support a company that would consider risking that bomb going off. I’d feel too responsible for the damage when it does. My wife will continue to play, but our son never will.

  5. Thank you guys so much for your logical and respectful approach to this whole situation. It’s truly sad for Blizzard and the WoW community that this issue has caused people to act in such a ridiculous manner. I believe that while Blizzard’s foremost goal, and understandably so, is to make money — they also look out for the best interest of their players. Let’s take our issues to them in a logical, respectful manner. There is no need to act like absolute fools. How about we put this sort of passion into issues like cleaning up our gulf or healthcare? That is making a difference that actually matters.

    You guys are fantastic. Keep doing what you’re doing and thank you for always keeping a level head.

    EVEN THOUGH you’re hordies…

    /hug followed by an /epichighfive

  6. Agreed with Bob Blawblaw, i was a bit sad that you kind of implied that the mega anti RealId threads around the world were merely a few douchebags posting with different chars, and just fighting for their right to be jerks.

    On another note, the auto tuned Mr T made me laugh hard.

    Keep doin’ it live
    Love
    Mona

  7. Good points. I have an online persona, and a podcast, so I know where you are coming from.

    That said, the “forum trolls” thing is a bit of a canard though, or a red herring at least.

    Let’s be clear here – the forums were fine for how many years with the Trolls? I looked through my old posts, btw, and saw that most had intelligent and thoughtful replies to them. I think people are overblowing the forum troll aspect and missing the big picture, which is….

    RealID was Blizzard’s grab for Social Networking on BattleNet, and to gloss over that is disingenuous. Also note the “for now” statement from Blizzard, leaving the issue open-ended.

    If RealID is going to turn into a sort of thing where if I participate then eventually my ex-mother-in-law’s cousin, my boss, or my teacher can see me online in Wintergrasp if my RealID friends aren’t very careful about who they link to (and I’m not constantly “show offline”, defeating the purpose of RealID) then it’s not for me. Perhaps I’m missing some vital difference, but it seems to be turning into much more intrusive than just “letting a buddy know” I’m online.

    Painting RealID as only a positive thing that some people aren’t enlightened enough to appreciate rubs me the wrong way as a traditional RPG gamer from way back when who still enjoys the occasional anonymous gaming session.

  8. I have no problem with the reduction of talents and the number of points you get s’all good though I’m not crazy about locking you into one tree for 31 points

  9. After listening to your podcast I came away with the impression that neither Scott nor Randy actually read any of the forum posts on the Real ID issue. I didn’t read all of them (there were far too many) but the majority of the troll posts on that thread that I read were submitted by people that supported the Real ID change. The vast majority of the posts against it were well thought out responses that hardly fit the category of ‘nerdraging’.

    Also, at the beginning of the podcast Scott and Randy declared that they weren’t taking a side one way or the other on the issue. However after your discussion, it was pretty obvious to me which side you were both on.

  10. Just a reminder that Scott has clearly stated many times that he thought RealID on forums was a bad idea, on his Twitter posts, on today’s Experience Points, and so on.
    I can’t speak for Randy.
    Then again, they stated that this RealID issue wouldn’t really have affected them, and I can hear that. It’s useful to keep that in mind when listening to their following discussion about that very subject.

  11. My solution to multi-character posting is add account unique keys (which lump all characters in that battle.net account into 1 group under that ‘key’). Show all their most recent posts under that account when someone clicks the ‘key’.

    As far those who troll/incite fights on the forum, don’t ban them.. flag their account for a certain amount of time, just give them a visually indicator in-game ‘troll icon’ beside their name (in chat/party portrait icon) as well perma-morph them into a little goblin/troll in-game. Allowing us to more easily ignore players who abuse the game. Maybe block them from Random LFG queues as part of the punishment.

    ..Like the dog that kills the chickens: tie a dead chicken to it’s neck and it’ll learn to stop.

  12. I don’t really think your characterization of this opposition was in any way fair, especially Scott’s.

    Acting like the vast majority of the roughly 15 000 unique characters that posted in the Giant Thread of Discontent were either malignant trolls who had Bashiok’s mom on speed dial, or their sock puppets?

    Most of us had legitimate concerns with this policy. My wife doesn’t even post on the forums, but she cancelled her subscription too, because she thinks Blizzard’s decision was idiotic and dangerous to a great many others.

    Why do you assume that all the people who trolled Bashiok in real life were “Real ID opponents”, and lump them in with the entire position? Wouldn’t it make a tad more sense to realize that people who get their kicks from harassing people in real life would adore a mandate that everyone on the forums should post their real name?

    And I really don’t get “well, we’re public figures so we don’t have a problem with it personally”. I’m male, so I don’t get sexually harassed by pimply teenagers, but I can most certainly empathize with people who do, and have a very strong personal problem with people who do so.

    Maybe your prejudice against the WoW forums has made you think everyone who posts there is a malignant troll. This is about as accurate as saying everyone in Dalaran is a malignant troll, because after all, someone was being a jackass on Trade.

    The forums have lots of wonderful communities in them. There’s the odd jackass who just likes to denigrate people, but most of the chaff comes not from regulars or regular trolls, but the hit and run posters who show up on Patch Day, scared of the falling sky, and make angry QQ posts and tell off anyone who doesn’t agree that their class needs to be given IWIN buttons.

    And they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong or unjustified. Thinking that forcing the QQ to be published as “Jim Smith” instead of “Deatharthas” would change anything is terribly naive. Pretending that the opposition was based on a desire to troll is obtuse and insulting.

  13. Also, I want to add that I think this entire system would be incredibly great if it just used an account-wide handle.

    The only reason Real ID exists, in that it uses your actual full name for ANY of the services extant and proposed, is money exchanging hands with Facebook, the new hotness of 2010.

    I’d love cross-server and cross-game communication. I’d love accountability on forums. But honestly, I don’t know that many WoW players in real life. I would like to use it for people I know in-game. People whom I’ve known for years as their main characters. Suddenly having Seth Wilkinson on my friends list is just weird, when I’ve known him as SkullAssassin all these years.

    It’s just an ill-conceived idea, that probably stemmed from some dumb marketing meeting where they were discussing Battle.net handles.

    “Oh, we’re linking them with Facebook, and Facebook uses real names”
    “Great idea Bill, let’s call it… Real ID!”
    “Yeah, everyone uses Facebook anyway, no one could possibly mind!”

    (Seth Wilkinson / SkullAssassin appear courtesy of Tycho Brahe and John Gabriel)

  14. I love the podcast guys. Thanks for addressing the Real Id thing. I long ago gave up on the WoW forums as nothing but a Troll cesspool. I never go there anymore. Not even to look at the carnage during the last week’s events. Sadly Blizz seems to have given up, and the inmates are now running the asylum for real. I was hoping that the official forums could become a place that real people could go to for information as it should be… Oh well.

  15. I thought it ironic that Blizz used “Real ID” which is also the name of a controversial initiative that’s been before congress that involves a mandatory national ID card.

    So if Blizzard always knows the player/poster’s real identity what is the point in making that information public? I suspect that most gamers will ultimately be willing to compromise their privacy in order to play. In 50 years we’ll be slaves in a technological dictatorship, merely grateful for a chance to lose what few credits we have playing online poker. No joke.

  16. Great show guys, but (like many) I wanted to chime in on the RealID deal…

    Ever since the Armory has been introduced and linked to the forums, people have been using information found there in an attempt to publicly shame other posters they disagree with by making fun of their spec, gear, talents and achievements.

    Can’t make a good point against someone’s argument on PvE content? Look up their characters info and make fun of them for not having “x” achievement or having only 2000 spell power.

    Introduce RealID and instead of making fun of a poster based on their toons statistics, they will be making fun of the person with real life info found on the internet. Links to pictures on facebook, e-dating info, etc.

    I get the point Scott and Randy are making…..but I’ve seen the idocy and level of maturity on wow forums. They are NOT below digging up dirt on people usin the super Google search tool

  17. In regards to Bashiok taking a hit on the forums for posting his real name, David of the Inside Azeroth Podcast had a interesting take. Has anyone thought that maybe he knew what would happen but posted his name anyway to show the higher ups in Blizzard-Activision what would happen. Did he take the bullet for the rest of us and all the other Blizzard employees who did not like the idea of Real Names on the forums.

  18. I don’t post on the forums, but I would like to have that option. If I was forced to post on my real name, I would never do so, mainly because I don’t want people to be able to Google my name and see that I play WoW. I’m not ashamed of it, but it’s not something I’m going to publicly announce to my co-workers. I recently went through a job search and was very diligent about making sure you couldn’t find any personal information about me through Google. This is the first thing companies do when they receive resumes/applications, and it’s scary to think that my professional life could be damaged just because I play a computer game and wanted to ask a question about mages.

    Make us choose one character to post on, or have us pick an alias to use instead of a real name. I think most people would be fine with that situation.

  19. Not to miss the flamefest for the little details, but did I just hear Scott and Randy say that the post-show segments will no longer be allowed to exceed 90 seconds? Are any of the current post-show segments ever shorter than 90 seconds?

    I’ll agree that sometimes a segment drags on, but there have been many segments that are either funny, informative, or both, and I’d hate to see that go away because the new format won’t allow for it.

  20. Thanks guys for reading my email in your “Town Crier”. I appreciate your feedback. It was a longshot at best, but nothing worse than hearing “no” could happen. Keep up the great work on your podcast. I’ll keep training and racing, and playing WOW in-between,

  21. Here’s a solution:

    Blizz should just return to the original advertised intent of RealID and dump the Machiavellian expansion of the concept.

    My friend and I decide to share RealID. Only my friend and I share this link with our real names. Not in forums, not with Six Degrees of Facebook Friends, just “my buddy and I”, as Scott mentioned.

    No spammy in-game IM’s no hassle, just me and a friend sharing our identities across battlenet games.

    What’s so hard that Blizzard can’t wrap its collective head around that valuable option? Why the constant attempts to expand?

    I did not join WoW to join a Social Networking Platform that is as annoying as an anonymous Mafia Wars Facebook friend invite.

  22. Scott…heirloom is pronounced “airloom” not “hairloom”

    mmmkaythanksbai

  23. I just wanted to thank you guys for your Cataclysmic Drops of the Week. I usually don’t really pay attention to that part of the show, but I am loving these. Today, I decided to do a ZG solo run, and lo and behold the Raptor dropped for me! Thanks guys!

  24. You didn’t say “I’m doing great, thanks for asking!”

    The balance is upset! The world will end!

  25. Great episode. I was one of them opposed to the Real-ID change. Some people would give out their name, most of the time I was able to find their address/phone. I called them and said “See why Real-ID is a bad idea?” they all hung up when I said it =/. I didn’t harass anyone though.

  26. Facebook/Myspace are made solely for the purpose of social networking. This is a video game forum. Also, as soon as you join Facebook or Myspace you’re perfectly aware the name you put will be shown. I made my account years ago and I had no clue Blizzard would ever do something like this. Now I can’t change the name on my account because you need to fax Blizzard a legal documentation of a name to change it. Blizzard has effectively locked us into not posting on the forums if we don’t want to sell our privacy.

    Just for people who are saying that people who use Facebook and oppose this are hypocrites.

  27. Hey just want to say that i appreciate your attempts to stay unbiased on the realID subject. Even though you got a little too passionate about it and ended up delving into you personal feelings on it. It’s not a bad think, thanks for trying to be objective but aren’t afraid to be honest. It’s that passion you guys have for the game that bring us back every week. Love the show, you guys rock.

  28. “Just for people who are saying that people who use Facebook
    and oppose this are hypocrites.”

    Hypocrites? No they’re not..
    Neither are they “Douches”, “Nerd Ragers” nor “Bitching”.

    The list of reasons for not doing this is longer than my arm, but
    what is sad, frightening and astonishing
    is that any subscriber had to offer explanations at all for why
    their full first and last name BELONGS to them.
    It really is their personal information. Having to point out this
    fundamental fact to a multi-billion dollar company last week
    was a chilling wake-up call to anyone paying attention.

    More fear, sadness and astonishment arises from the realization
    that Activision ( yes Activision. – My opinion: Blizzard died in 2008 )
    thought for a second that :
    1. . . . they could carry out a criminally negligent practice simply by announcing it.
    2. . . . they could rush this past their customers with a thin public relations snow job.
    3. . . . absolutely everyone would be caught up in an argument over whether real names would ‘clean up’ the Forums and ignore the real issue.
    4. . . . they could demonstrate very clearly their contempt for subscribers by lying to them repeatedly without losing business. ( sadly, they may be correct there. )
    5. . . . no one would recognize this for the blatant grab at Facebook million$ it is regardless of what the players have been very happy with for years.

    I’m hoping my long-term view of this is wrong, but given the track record of
    Activision’s leadership I’m afraid that if we flash forward a year . . .
    The genuine WOW communities and “long-term meaningful relationships” will have fractured or Emigrated to other games.
    Any personal information you share in order to play the game will be as safe and secure as a jellyfish in a blast furnace.
    In-game advertising will be the norm, not the exception.
    There will be as many In-game “bonuses”, “extras” and “features” as you can
    afford ( above your monthly fee ).
    The remaining players will be the dissected marketing demographic cattle they were purchased for.

    But there is certainly no need to worry about such dire
    predictions “ . . . at this time.“

    ..

  29. apologies to Bob – The very top of my post should have read:
    ” You are correct Bob. And I agree that they’re not hypocrites.”

  30. Love your show, but I have to say your coverage of the Real ID controversy was superficial at best.

  31. One of the things I love about you guys is that when you talk with eachother, is that you indeed TALK with eachother. Without that idiot need to interrup when there is disagreement, or shouting over eachother when there a need to speak ones mind. Do you realise how refreshing that is?
    The forum bashing is the barbaric internet opposite to that civilised way of discussing things, and I avoid it.
    Love you guys.
    Nankalle, Lvl 80 Gnome mage on the European server Lightbringer
    And if you are interested, Angélique de Geus from the Netherlans (NOT Dutchland Scott :) )

  32. Isn’t the show no longer downloadable, since your need QuickTime to listen it? I hope it is’t because I always listening the show in the train on my mp3 player.

  33. No one should be shocked by Scott and Randy’s refusal to take a stand on the RealID thing. We are talking about the biggest Blizzard apologists out here on the interwebs remember?

  34. re: unified account banks.

    It would be a great option. However, I personally like to pretend…to an extent…that these really ARE separate characters. So I really try to make transferring gold and items an unusual thing.

    Another aspect of that, all of my characters have separate needs in terms of gold, so I would not want to see all of the gold from one character….I like to know whether or not that character can support himself.

  35. I can’t get the episodes to download on my Zune anymore — every other podcast works fine just not the instance. This started last Wed but I’m going a little crazy missing the show here, any suggestions or comments on why I can’t download the show anymore?

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