So...Blizzard has found itself in a shit storm due to the whole RealID situation. While I am one of those people who don’t care one way or another about it, I am shaking my head in disapproval at how such a neat and interesting concept was implemented so horribly. I honestly thought that the RealID concept could have been pretty awesome, I could chat with friends who are on different servers, factions, etc without having change servers to do so. I have several friends who play on different servers if nothing is happening on our server so that would be really helpful to me when putting together a raid, 5man, failed WG group, etc. Does it matter to me that they would all know my real name? Not really. I have several people in my facebook friends list who I only know through WoW and when they friended me, they got access to my real name.
So why all the hoopla over the RealID? Well…some people out there (and it seems that they are a vocal majority) don’t want other people to know their real names or they don’t want to be publically associated with playing WoW. Part of the appeal of WoW is that you are anonymous online and you can be whoever you want to be. RealID seems to be taking that layer of anonymity away from people. Even worse, there is no real option to opt out of RealID. Either you use it or you just don’t play, there is no alternative at the moment. Now ingame it isn’t as huge of a deal because unless you give out your battlenet email, people can’t friend your RealID but the forums are a different story. Blizzard is going to be changing over their forums to use the RealID system so whenever you post anything you are going to have your real name shown. This means that to post anything on the forums you are going to be exposing your name to the world. Not a big deal right? Well…when a blizzard employee posted his real name, people were quick to post maps to his house, his parent’s house, and even possible cell phone numbers. Kind of scary what determined individuals will do with a little information.
Now this will probably deter a large chunk of the forum trolls that reside on the Blizzard forums, which is good. But at the same time it will drive away many people who actually post useful information but prefer to stay behind the safety of their online character name. If these people are going to be forced to post their real name, they will likely stay away. Another issue is that most female WoW players don’t want to attract attention to the fact that they are female gamers. It tends to lead to creepy actions generated towards them. Taking away anonymity means that everyone will know who is a female and who is a male and that is unfair.
To add more fuel to the fire, it’s unclear if the Blizzard staff that posts on the forums will indeed be posting using their own RealID names. Some are saying that they will not be revealing their real names and some are saying that they will. This obviously led to an uproar about their employee privacy being more important than our own privacy. Clearly Blizzard needs to get everyone on the same boat and figure out what exactly they are going to do about this whole situation.
It’s sad that such a great idea was implemented so horribly. Hopefully we’ll get a response to this situation that will work out for everyone.