Now You Have To Use Real ID If You Want To Post

Wow! Just wow… and no that’s not a pun.

I get up this morning and check my feeds before heading out and what do I see?

Blizzard has decided to force users of the official forums to use Real ID. That’s right, if you want to post or reply to a post on a Blizzard forum (World of Warcraft, Starcraft 2, Battlenet) then your real life details will be available for the world to see. Unsurprising, the thread linked to above is huge, and the other on the WoW forums is the longest ever.

That’s a game changer to me. In a previous post I stated the reasons why I will not use Real ID when playing WoW, so there is no reason to go into them again now. But suffice it to say, this is making me think twice about resubscribing to WoW for Cataclysm, and even about buying Starcraft 2 in the first place. At the very least I won’t be posting to the official forums again.

There’s always a silver lining though. The owners of unofficial WoW and SC2 forums will probably find that membership on their sites improves as people who don’t want their personal details posted online migrate over. If you own such a forum, now might be the time to put a bit of polish and shine on it.

Hopefully the amount of people on the forums against this will bring Blizzard to their senses.

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  1. Ysharros


    But yeah, this is nuts. I’m only going to post about it tomorrow though because I’m lazy (and I promised I would post every day this month).

  2. Longasc

    This is not the first time that Blizzard shows total ignorance when it comes to privacy issues.

    I do not get it. They could have all the benefits of RealID for their gamers and themselves without all the drawbacks, just by adding simply a few privacy options to make the system very attractive and secure.

    And why must it be RealID. GamerTag or a similar name would be so much more appropriate.

  3. Stropp (Post author)

    Lol. Well maybe not exploding as such, but a lot of unhappy campers.

    I personally don’t like the privacy issues. Some don’t care as much about that, but there are a lot who do. And while aside from a couple of bloggy rants, I’m not going to get upset about it (lifes too short.) What I will do is vote with my wallet.

    It will be interesting to see how Blizzard reacts to the fuss. It will also be interesting to see how many others vote with their wallets.

  4. Stropp (Post author)

    @Longasc — Absolutely. There are heaps of services, some quite loved by their users, that preserve anonimity and privacy. It astounds me that Blizzard are so ignorant about this. It lends credence that this is driven from an unthought out “me too” policy from the top levels.

  5. Korenwolf

    I don’t think they’re going to come round on this, there is a money trail to follow here and I think this announcement shows us where this is going and gives a view of the endgame.

  6. Stropp (Post author)

    @Korenwolf — the only way that this will change is if they lose enough players to offset whatever gains they were going to make on Real ID.

    Interesting a lot of forum posters have said that they have now cancelled their accounts, and while that is often claimed but not true, if they have in this case there might be enough to force Blizzards hand.

    I also just checked and there are now 1035 pages on the announcement post on the WoW forums. I’d be a little surprised if Blizzard doesn’t make an official statement at the very least.

    Of course, I’m just waiting for the announcement of the inevitable class action lawsuit.

  7. Korenwolf

    @Stropp: Completely agreed, Blizz/Activision are a business and will do what they think is in the best interests of the business for profit for the duration of the time they’re wanting to drive it for. It could be they’ve pitched this right, already planned a certain loss of players but think by opening it into facebook they’ll balance that with revenue or new players.

    It could be (and this is my hope) that they’re shocked by the response and the loss of revenue with cancellations and are re-evaluating, but I doubt it.

    Class actions / “it’s illegal in europe” etc etc, threats will happen, there may be a chance of getting them on specific elements of EU data laws but I doubt it. I’m not making any decision yet, however if this is the edge of the slope which I fear then I will be off to another non-blizz game.

    I don’t think they’ve fully worked out just how the information and realid as a concept can be used and abused yet.

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