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Blizzard to require forum users to display real names

Blizzard Entertainment has just announced that users will be required to display their real names when posting on their official forums in the ‘near future.’ The change will make use of Real ID feature, which was originally presented to the community as a way to stay in touch with friends on Battle.net.

“The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players – however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild,” says Blizzard employee Nethaera in the official forum post.

“Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on forums as well,” continues Nethaera.


Above: The new forum policy designed to reduce ‘flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness,’ says Blizzard

The announcement has already led to much controversy on Blizzard’s own forums, leading to heated debates. The ‘veil of anonymity,’ which Blizzard reasons is the cause behind so much ‘unpleasantness’ on the official forums, is also highly valued by some. Concerns about identity theft, outing players who don’t want their real life gender revealed, and general privacy issues are recurring themes in the Blizzard community’s conversation on the topic.


Above: Will the Real ID system affect how people play Blizzard games? Will players, like Nutsack, still have the courage to challenge us to a naked duel?

It seems like a rather heavy handed approach to managing a community. If the new policy goes through as planned, players who don’t want their identity revealed can choose not to post in the official forums – and if they’ve made any posts prior to the new policy, their real identity will not be retroactively revealed. The new policy will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums when the game releases on July 27. The new policy will also be applied to the World of Warcraft forums when the Cataclysm expansion releases. The policy will be applied to forums for older games, like Diablo II and Warcraft III, as well.

What do you think? Are real ideas the answer to internet meanies? Do you think GamesRadar’s community would be better off if everyone were required to sign in with their real first and last name?

Source: Battle.net Forums

July 6, 2010

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18 comments

  • Whit - July 7, 2010 8:22 p.m.

    Sure will help the release of KOTOR. As folks have said all along--only Blizzard will be able to kill WOW. This sure looks like a step in that direction.
  • tacoman38 - July 7, 2010 8:02 p.m.

    real name is a bad idea. They could link game names to the forum names though for some accountability.
  • Ded - July 7, 2010 10:43 a.m.

    An awful idea. It will kill the forums, people will just move to 3rd party websites. Not to mention the huge breach of privacy.. so the serial troll cannot post abuse at someone he disagrees with on the forums. But he now has their REAL name.. here's hoping they've erased their online presence or have a very generic name.. During the uproar on the forums last night, a bunch of people got hold of a Blizzard moderator's name... and through that his address, phone number.. etc etc. Even if these things weren't actually his, some poor guy with the same name probably got a bunch of spam phone calls..
  • hazelam - July 7, 2010 10:08 a.m.

    i don't see what this will actually achieve, what does making that information public actually achieve? trolls will still troll, blizzard should be the only ones to police blizzard forums, if they can't be bothered to do that properly they shouldn't violate the privacy of every single user. this just makes it look like blizzard supports some kind of vigilante justice. most forums have rules against naming and shaming, the blizzard forums included, this just spits in the face of that rule. i think it's a disgusting decision on the part of blizzard. blizzard have turned into a right frakking bunch of frakbags since they merged with activision.
  • Ashkael - July 7, 2010 6:25 a.m.

    The problem is that you can't change the name of the account holder once the account has been made. What's more, if you made your account with a fake name, you'll never be able to get it back if you get hacked.
  • jmcgrotty - July 7, 2010 6:24 a.m.

    1) Showing your name won't change the anonymity one bit. How will knowing someones real name affect anything? And you would be hard pressed to track down the person in the world based only on their name. At the very least, those who could do it have no reason to take the time to do it. The whole anonymity of online play is the simple fact that it is online play and not real world.
  • purple_omlet - July 7, 2010 6:09 a.m.

    i'd just change my real name to nutsack. possibly first name nut, last name sack.
  • Ashkael - July 7, 2010 4:51 a.m.

    Lots of WoW players are minors, and no, they do NOT have to create an account under their parents name if they're between the ages of 13 and 17. Now, last I checked, distributing the personal information of minors is highly ILLEGAL. Even if they say they're 18, Blizzard is still the one held responsible if they're not. I foresee a lot of very serious legal trouble for Blizzard if this change goes through.
  • Cwf2008 - July 7, 2010 4:39 a.m.

    Hmm but isnt there a way to make an account and still have a fake name? Cuz im pretty sure when it asks for my name sometimes i put something stupid like IC Wiener or Hugh Jass
  • NotBraze - July 7, 2010 3:28 a.m.

    Yes people do stupid things hiding behind anonymity, but for everyone else anonymity is an important thing. I for one, am not a troll, but I do sometimes say things that others don't agree with. I don't want to have to worry that someone is going to look up my name in the phone book and harass me in the real world because they took offense to something I said online. This policy may well make the Blizzard community a more friendly place, but it would be because people are too afraid to speak their mind, not because the problem has actually been solved. It also will discourage people from expressing opinions that are contrary to what other people are saying. Bad call Blizzard, bad call.
  • AngryAmoeba - July 7, 2010 3:24 a.m.

    I'm just worried some personable guy or gal is going to get tracked down and cannibalized by a psycho. Like thekeith82, I tend to consider worst-case scenarios.
  • KaiokenKid - July 7, 2010 3:07 a.m.

    Great, now everyone will know Im a guy that plays as a Female Dranei Shaman. Thanks Blizzard.
  • BlackKraken - July 7, 2010 2:56 a.m.

    But Nutsack *IS* my real name! I had terrible parents.
  • RebornKusabi - July 7, 2010 2:44 a.m.

    Considering I'm learning exactly what you can ascertain by someone's IP address in tech school right now (...and if your full name is given... 8/10 times it'll also reveal your exact address), I honestly find this to be a good thing. People who hide behind anonymity while treating people like **** and overall BULLYING people online deserve every bad thing they get especially if, in real life, they would be too much of a p***y to say it to that persons face. Sorry, but I agree with Blizzard's decision here and honestly feel all sites that have persons communicating with others should do this anyways.
  • thekeith82 - July 7, 2010 2:16 a.m.

    As if there weren't enough media horror stories about violence commited over online arguments, the biggest game in the world wants people to make their real names public. Well, I don't see ANY way this could possibly go wrong. Bob help you if you happen to be female.
  • Crabhand - July 7, 2010 2:16 a.m.

    I doubt it will change much. All it really means is the "level 1 troll posts" won't be called out immediately.
  • Cyberninja - July 7, 2010 2:08 a.m.

    i feel that this isnt a good idea because someone is proably going to get sued somehow because of this
  • MrDuracraft - July 7, 2010 2:03 a.m.

    Really I don't see what this will accomplish. If all it shows is their name and gender, what is it going to change other than people with an avatar opposite of their gender. And if it shows where they live, that should never be implemented.

Showing 1-18 of 18 comments

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