Tuesday, July 6, 2010

News Filter: The Real ID Thread Will Never End

  • 14937. That's the number of posts in the Real ID thread as I begin writing this blog post. Why, might you ask? Excuse me while I put on an episode of Glee. I need something to pick me up while I write this up.

  • 15122. Anonymity is one of the great equalizers on the internet. Anonymity lets people say what they want to say without fear of reprisal. Anonymity lets people act on their best and worst impulses.

  • 15308. Blizzard wants to strip that all away. Beginning with the StarCraft 2 launch, then continuing with the Cataclysm launch, Blizzard's forums are converting to display poster's real first and last names. As you can expect, not everyone is happy about it.

  • 15424. And as expected, some people think that everyone else is overreacting. And the first group thinks they are being dismissed out of hand. And really, no one is actually talking to one another. Just like the WoW Forums really.

  • 15584. Obligatory Penny Arcade Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory link.

  • 15686. On one side, I agree with it. Anonymity destroys communities. But at the same time, the promise of the internet is that we can be whoever we dream to be. Scott Jennings says it best in the comments for this post on Terra Nova.

  • 15699. His own post at Broken Toys isn't a slouch either.

  • 15750. So yeah, there are a lot of tin foil hats going up all over the WoW community (such that it is). It was funny when people were freaking out about their characters being opened up to the world. Now that it's their name, things aren't so funny.

  • 15826. And it's not funny. When Real ID was announced for the game, I knew I wasn't going to participate. I don't want to spread my name around to the friends of everyone I happen to friend. The internet already fosters crazy pseudo relationships and I don't want that spilling out into my real life. Now that the forums are going over, I won't ever find a reason to post there.

  • 16082. Yes, my name appears at the bottom of each of these posts, but that is my choice. I want that copyright notice to appear in my RSS feed so that post thieves can't help but scoop it up as well. I'm not afraid to put it out there, but not everyone has the same thresholds of comfort I do.

  • 16126. Blizzard has made a bad choice here. The forum will be a shadow of its former self, and I'm sure they will count that as a success. Maybe they'll even get people to post who were scared away before. But the community will fracture and it will drift to other forums.

  • 16182. But it's never going to change. The sooner everyone comes to terms with that and prepares to act accordingly, the better.

  • 16208.

  • 16244.

  • 16304.

  • 16352. I could go on all night long.


  1. Wow, look at those posts go up. The negative response to this is overwhelming. Now I'm really thinking it's quite possible Blizzard will retract this decision, if they want to show they still listen to their customers. One can hope, right?

  2. This seems like a major mistake to me. Blizzard doesn't seem to get at all that many of their customers value privacy.

  3. I'm mostly a bystander for this since I don't play WoW any more, I haven't completely decided if I'll be playing either SC2 or WoW:C but I've been leaning towards no for a while (well before all the RealID stuff hit).

    So my interest in all this is just academic. It's going to be fascinating to see whether or not they ignore the player reactions, especially in comparison to how Cryptic and Turbine have shown a willingness to adjust to player's request/demands/rants. If they stick with it, it'll also be interesting to see if players follow through on threats to quit the forums and/or the game.

    Side note, I've already seen posts on the STO forums asking if Cryptic would ever do something similar.

  4. I hope to learn everyone's name so that I can find them and egg their house!