back to article Blizzard climbs down on real names for WoW forums

Blizzard has made a speedy u-turn on its decision to force members of the World of Warcraft forums to reveal their real names, following a hailstorm of criticism. World of Warcraft logo Earlier in the week, the games publisher announced the move, aimed at stamping out abusive behaviour. More than 20,000 complaints on the …

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Anonymous Coward

Sounds like half work

Sure, same name, same idea... completely different thing! Separate! Honest!

Pfft. The idea is to _escape_, you know, hang out in a fantasy world for a while... or a lot. You don't need no steenkin' ``realid'' there. How about understanding your core business, blizzard?

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FAIL

No.

SOME people play Blizzard games with their real-life friends*. Real ID can be useful when playing across multiple different games, or when playing toons you don't often play.

Also, as was clearly explained in the article, Real ID is OPTIONAL -- as in OPT-IN -- and you choose who can see your ID. The forum move was going to be required, without even an opt-out, and it would be public to everyone, even forum lurkers. Not the same name, not the same idea, not even for the same reasons.

*Perhaps more to the point, some of us HAVE real-life friends.

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FAIL

That's all very well... (@Steve and all his wonderful mates)

but realID was bugged from the off allowing people to get your details through addons (you had to setup parental controls to opt out properly).

Reading some of the things that went on (and laughing), I'm glad they're not gonna go through with it.

(source: http://www.geekosystem.com/blizzard-real-id-what-weve-learned/)

I prefer my "real-life" friends to stay in real-life personally, just because you want the whole world and his dog to know you're on a raid and should be called Steve doesn't mean everyone else wants to.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh Steve dear

I know how that works, TYVM. Used to hang out online with a troupe of avid MUDders, and we'd all play from the same room. We mostly called each other by our online aliases in person even while we knew each other's real names. Same with a different group of IRCers that'd meet a couple times a year, would visit each other, that sort of thing. Don't know about you but I *really* don't need corporate ass-covering to force my hand in who I give my real name.

"OPT IN OPTIONAL HONEST" is marketese for "we're going to wait a bit and _then_ make it mandatory". Whether refusing to drink the kool-aid makes me friends with some of us, real or otherwise, completely fails to interest me.

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Coat

ahhh

Bet they wouldnt of complained if their real names were posted !!!

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Anonymous Coward

eumm

I wonder if the thread with multiple thousand pages had something to do with it... They thought to make a quick buck out of it cnts

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Joke

Typo

"More than 20,000 complaints on the forum"

should be

"More than 20 script kiddies' botnets spammed complaints on the forum"

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Flame

Joke Alert?

The joke alert tag confused me here, because the joke you were trying to make wouldn't apply at all... and wasn't even an ironic or sarcastic parallel to the situation...

Blizzard DELETED over 20,000 posts against it, leaving around 48,000 posts against it by the time they announced the idea was dead.

I think the part I liked best was Blizzard complaining about how fragmented and trollish the community was, and then being indisputably proven wrong as the entire community united to give them the finger.

The only issue on the WoW forums is poorly apt CM coughGhostcrawlercough and bad development ideas. There have been many in game mechanics as poorly conceived as RealID, and when the forums speak out against these design ideas, they get banned for "trolling" or "not contributing constructively" which by Blizzard's definition is to agree with whatever they say.

Now that we know we can make them change course by rising up, expect to see many more thousand page forum posts on design mechanics.

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I wonder

if this move had more to do with sites like http://asnowstormbyanyothername.blogspot.com/ that showed how easy it was to find out a ton of info with names (including 2 blizzard employees wedding date, time, and location it is going to be held along with all her friends names) just from the full name, and a general idea of the persons location.

I'm actually shocked blizzard changed their mind, this has to be one of the 1st times in history I've read that happening.

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Oh I get it...

I had followed this from the beginning... and I never got the "snow storm by any other name" thing. I kept thinking sh*tstorm because people kept referring to the uproar as one. A "snow storm by any other name" is a blizzard. Har har har.

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Good for them

Not that I have the time to play any more, much less post in forums, but I do want to keep my gamer life as little obvious as possible, thankyouverymuch. I find perfectly normal that most people want the same.

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Anonymous Coward

Anonymous

^ This

I don't trust real id. If my real life friends want me to heal or tank they can call me on the telephone like the rest of the world does. I don't even do facebook.

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Anonymous Coward

Thinking about RealID

I don't claim to know details; like a good commentard I haven't bothered to study the subject matter. It's required. But I digress.

What I've seen of it is that RealID is there to keep your personal details and it's purported to be able to hand out that information to others with some relation or other to blizzard (in-game, forums, employees, various other backends and things). Only it's full of bugs.

Yes, some say, it's only bugs and they'll fix it. To me, it's not "only bugs", but major fail writ sizeof(battle.net user community). "Fixing" it is mandatory and admission of failure at the same time.

Why? Because personal details, like, oh, someone's legal identity (``real name''), are, well, privacy sensitive. And as always, once the information's out, the horse's bolted, the genie's out of the bottle, it's all very cute but oh so very wrong. So, a modicum of testing not just for function but for resistance to abuse is called for.

In case you're wondering, that is an understatement. Make that "lots" of testing and "absolutely mandatory". It doesn't start with testing either. Resilience against side effects of unsuspected (ab)use must be built into it right from the start. In that regard is privacy sensitive software much like cryptographic software, even if it doesn't actually use any cryptographic algorithms.

That's one. Two, they did it to "curb trolling". As already pointed out, that's massively misunderstanding the problem and trying to cure it with what looks on its face like a "quick fix" but in reality opens up a quagmire. But the upside is that it's not blizzard that'll be paying the piper; its customers will in the form of stolen identities, up close and personal harassment, "leakage" of what happens in a fantasy world to consequences in the real world, and so on and so forth. That's why blizzard got 50k reactions, mostly against.

Misunderstanding the problem? A serious troll doesn't care about his name, real or otherwise. He's not afraid of harassment by other players or whatever. They won't, that's his game. If you have rules, he's a past master at toeing the line close enough to do maximum damage without getting smacked with the book. If you want to run the show with any integrity you can't go ex post facto so even new rules can't affect previous abuse, meaning they'll get away every time. A good troll knows the rules better than you do.

All this suggests to me that blizzard didn't really think about the whole thing from a "customer satisfaction" perspective. They're not out to smash trolls. They're not caring about their customers' identities. They're trying to apply a quick fix and move on, managing to shoot themselves in the foot with a fireworks disaster to lighten up the show.

RealID is a nice idea if you don't understand why your customers play. If players want to meet up, they'd best do that in groups instead of one-to-one, at least at first, and hey, guilds. There's no need to have the system "helpfully assist" spraying identities around. In fact the system doesn't need to know. And in privacy land, "doesn't need to know" means "is not allowed to have that information, ever".

If blizzard had any sense, they'd publicly apologize for having come up with the idea at all, and nuke the entire system down to the last line of code, then fire and blackball the middle manager that came up with the idea. But they won't. I can tell you that much. Now you tell me why.

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Joke

TL:DR

Sorry, but in the spirit of the Blizzard forums I just couldn't resist!

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Stop

Middle Manager?

It was not a middle manager that came up with this idea, it came down from the top: Activision. And it never had anything to do with trolling, that was the rationale they came up with cover. This was about advertising and nothing else.

Activision wants a piece of the Facebook and Google ad revenue pie. They can't put ads in the game, people would riot and mass quit. They instead chose to quietly advertise in a way Steam/Valve has for a long time now.

Your buddy Billy is playing Starcraft II, which you haven't bought yet. But you can see Billy winning lots of matches. He is telling you how awesome it is via ReadID chat. That little line under his name saying "Playing SC2" is taunting you. BUY THE GAME BUY THE GAME. Then you can play with Billy and win too. He is your friend isn't he? Why not buy the game to play with him?

This is the short term plan for RealID.

The long term plan got shot in the foot with this forums thing. Long term Activision wants to integrate with Facebook, or create a side by side network of their own. Really, they want to integrate with Facebook though. Why? Look back at how the RealID short term plan worked, the concept is the same, just at a much larger scale. Lets say that Blizzard still has 12 million subscribers like they claimed early on in Wrath of the Lich King (they lost a ton of subs since then but pretend with me). Lets say 90% of those 12,000,000 people have Facebook. That is 10,800,000 people. Each of those people has on average 450 Facebook friends. That is 4,860,000,000 people. 5 billion people who potentially can see that Billy is playing WoW right now. You could be playing with him! He is your friend after all. And Billy isn't the gamer type, you never would have guessed he played WoW. He seems... normal... not at all like the media stereotype. You can see the pictures from the bar this weekend on his Facebook.

People debate whether or not Google is evil. Activision IS evil. They are out to assimilate you via Blizzard games. Once they have you, they will force you to recruit your friends passively with RealID. The positive side is we have held them off for now...

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Victory for Zim!

Or in this case the community.

I have to say I am surprised, I cancelled my account and went out for the weekend expecting to never play WoW again, Just got home, read the news and reactivated my account. I had suspected it was a done deal and that no matter how much I and others complained it would make no difference. Still I'm glad to have been proven wrong :)

Thecowking.

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Big Brother

And when you say Mike Morhaime...

You actually mean "Vaneras"

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Pint

Good for Blizzard

Makes a refreshing change for someone to admit they were wrong and back-down. Seems these days its more common to push things through while lying about the appeal and benefits of doing so.

Blizzard may have got it wrong in proposing something which was unacceptable to the community, and it should perhaps have been recognised as such earlier, but at least man enough to accept that and change course. I'll rise a glass.

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Grenade

"stamp out abusive behaviour..."

Says the company whose product is based on people entering the online world...

and killing each other.

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Flame

More useful...

...would be if the forum IDs could be clicked on to reveal all characters by a person.

It'd cut down on the bell-ends making lvl 1 alts to bitch at people.

Wow, though - people have really got sand in their vaginas about this whole issue. The idea was decent but not really that great for security for accounts with poor security to start with, but Blizzard don't really deserve the level of bile they're getting from Knee-jerk nublets.

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Real Names is not the problem...

Good moderation is.

You have to be on top of this from the start or you end up in the situation that Blizzard find themselves in now.

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Joke

Oh well ...

.. now I'll carry on playing and the wife will see less of me ...

.... or this that a win win scenario?

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Boffin

Alternative solution

Here's an alternative solution:

Allow people to post under any name they like on the forum but require them to log in with their real ID.

That way if they do any spamming, bullying or other naughty behaviour they can get their account banned, just as though they'd done it in the game.

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Er,

That's exactly how it works at the moment. To make a forum post you first log in with your account ID (aka Real ID) and then pick one of your toons to do it on.

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RealID

Bit of misunderstanding about what RealID is and why Blizz thought it was a good idea.

1) RealID is not your real name (unless you choose it to be, in which case wtf are you complaining about?)

2) The idea is to provide benefits to Blizz (centralised admin, disincentivising spam/trolls) and benefits to the player (you can be sure ppl aren't posting as you in forums with a lvl 1 toon, you can spot your mates and be spotted by your mates in game, including from *other* Blizz games).

I have to presume that those folk complaining that they don;t want random friends talking to them in game either don't actually play, or entirely misunderstand the situation. Right now ppl can add you to a friends list and see when you are on! No really they can!! Only diff with RealID in game is you don't have to add per toon, you do it per account.

If you;re worried about ppl googling you up then the horse has already bolted my friend - your info is already out there to be googled.

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FAIL

Say whaaaaaaat?

This person is laughably misinformed or trolling.

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FAIL

RealID ... it is in the name.

"1) RealID is not your real name (unless you choose it to be, in which case wtf are you complaining about?)"

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

RealID was optional (intended to make it mandatory on forums) but the requirement *is* for it to be your REAL name. Similar to Facebook.

And given that WoW users will have Credit Card details linked to them (for game payments), this means that their real names are definitely linked to their account as well. So it isn't like Facebook where I can just mangle my last name; I have to put my full real name.

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Stop

wait... wait...wait..

"I have to presume that those folk complaining that they don;t want random friends talking to them in game either don't actually play, or entirely misunderstand the situation. Right now ppl can add you to a friends list and see when you are on! No really they can!! Only diff with RealID in game is you don't have to add per toon, you do it per account."

FFS mate, that's the whole point of NOT having RealID...

I mean, imagine you're on an alt just chilling... or perhaps real soon now, playing SC2... and don't want anyone in your guild to know you're on because they'll just grab you to go on some raid or other...

"Need Healz plz plz plz etc"

"Pls tank"

etc...

Sure you can tell 'em to F OFF... Or sure, you can get two accounts.. But not getting Real ID may be better :P

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FAIL

ESRB Privacy Fail

A lot of people worried about this chose to contact the ESRB. Who responded using "Reply All". So all 900 odd people got to see everyone elses email address. Smooth

http://www.wow.com/2010/07/12/esrb-unintentionally-exposes-email-addresses-of-people-who-filed

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