ONTD Political

World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins

3:15 pm - 07/07/2010
A row has erupted after Blizzard - the publishers of the popular online game World of Warcraft - announced that users on its site forums would have to post under their real names.

The firm say the move is to put an end to heated online arguments and topics started purely to cause trouble.

But users reacted angrily, citing concerns about safety and privacy.

Blizzard said they would start implementing the changes over the next few months.

A post, by Vameras - one of the site community managers - said that the forums had become " a place where flame wars, trolling and other unpleasantness run wild".

"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," the post continued.

Blizzard new system - Real ID - means that users will have to post under their real first and last name.

The firm said it will implement the changes over the next few weeks, with the StarCraft II forums - a section dedicated to the forthcoming real time strategy game - making the switch by the end of the month. The World of Warcraft forum will change soon after.

In addition to users now posting under their own names, the site will allow others to rate post and interact with other users, creating a "social-networking platform".

"As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come," the post by Vameras went on.

The online community was swift to respond, with almost a thousand replies in less than 24 hours; the majority of which expressed their displeasure at the move.

"I can't even begin to fathom why you would do this", posted one user, while another wrote that it seems "like someone who likes Facebook came up with it, while being blissfully unaware that an awful lot of people deliberately avoid Facebook".


One World of Warcraft player, Jim Brand, contacted BBC News to say how disappointed he was over the change.

"I have been using the forums for over five years, reporting bugs and trying to be helpful. Now, to have the privilege to help people on the forums I have to reveal my real name; I'm dead against it," he said.

"I work in a charity and deal with governments officials. If they do a search and see I am a gamer, it could affect my employment prospects," he added.

Although most social networking sites have links to a person's real world name, gaming sites have always used anonymous handles.


There have been a few rare cases of online gaming disputes spilling out into the real world, and users are mostly reluctant to reveal personal details, given that video games can sometimes elicit strong emotions.

Mr Brand said that one Blizzard employee posted his real name on the forums, saying that there was no risk to users, and the experiment went drastically wrong.

"Within five minutes, users had got hold of his telephone number, home address, photographs of him and a ton of other information," said Mr Brand

The post and topic has since been removed from the Blizzard forum.

Source.
juel1979 Re: This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 11:34 am (UTC)
I was about to ask if you're on Proudmoore. =P

I just joined a GLBT friendly guild (even though I'm straight and married, they didn't go exclusive, since most of the guilds who are GLBT friendly aren't exclusive either), after three years being in what was essentially a frathouse. I can't imagine any of the females in my guild being in the frathouse, due to the amount of drooling, supposedly-joking "can I watch?" commentary they'd probably get. =/ It's definitely tons quieter in this guild than my last and it's refreshing.

I've known several females who play male characters just to get away. I always made no bones about being female (and I'd work married into it as well to shut people the fuck down if they started anything), just cause I can't handle lying about anything, but I've gotten my fair share of harassment. It also kept people backed off that I kicked ass at my class and, at one point, had a hell of a rep on my server. Since the transfers opened up and floods of new people and stuff, not so much.

Seriously, I'd consider making some alts on Proudmoore and contacting some people in any of the GLBT friendly guilds on our server and see what you can put together.
evilgmbethy Re: This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 11:39 am (UTC)
I have contacted a friend over on Proudmoore who plays in Taint and I guess they're way ahead of me. Not surprising, they're a lot more active over there than we are on Eredar. ;) But they're also a PvE server! Ewwww, carebears! LOL.

But, yeah, I hope you enjoy your new guild! It's really nice to play as woman and not get constantly harassed.
juel1979 Re: This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 11:45 am (UTC)
It's also nice getting play style compliments again. I went for so long feeling like a scapegoat when I wasn't the weakest link, it's ridiculous.
evilgmbethy Re: This scares me.8th-Jul-2010 11:48 am (UTC)
Ugh, that sucks!! I have to say, I'm really spoiled, because I was recruited to playing the game by my friend in early 2007, about a month after WICKED was formed, so I've never played much in any guild that wasn't an LGBT-friendly guild. It'd probably drive me batshit insane.
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