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