Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Real names on the WoW forums.


I cannot comment on this right now because I feel too betrayed and angry to be rational.  Just thought you might like to know that anyone who wants to keep their real name private can't use any Blizzard forum anymore, including WoW and SC2 forums.

http://bit.ly/9ZfjeD

Fuck you, Blizzard.

UPDATE: some comments added.  This is what I posted in the thread under one of my alts (gotta savor the anonymity while I have it):

This is a terrible idea, Blizzard. I know that you're going to go through with it no matter what we say, but hey, I gotta try. I love this game and I had a lot of respect and loyalty to your company, and that is all gone now with the advent of Real ID and it's expansion to other parts of the WoW experience. How long until giving out my personal information is no longer optional for simply playing the game?

You say that you're trying to improve the level of discourse on the forums. Do you realize that what you are doing is driving out every intelligent adult?

Any grown-up with a career outside the games industry? No longer posting on the forums, because it will hurt their career for their boss and peers to know they play WoW. Gaming is not understood by the masses, especially the career-minded.

Anyone mature enough to have a healthy sense of how to protect themselves online? No longer posting on your forums.

Any female who has ever been stalked (ie almost every female)? No longer posting on the forums.

Any female who has ever been ignored or disrespected simply for being female, but found herself finally treated as an equal in WoW because her gender was hidden? No longer posting on the forums.


What's left? Teenage boys who don't have enough career aspirations to want to keep their gaming a secret. The dumbest, most immature, most dead-end teenage boys.

That's the forum culture you are building. Good job thinking that one through.  




UPDATE 2:  You can post a complaint to the ESRB here:

https://www.esrb.org/about/contact.jsp

I'm all for parents supervising the gaming activities of their children.  It is in no way the game company's responsibility to protect children.  BUT the ESRB has taken that goal upon themselves to help inform parents.  And a "TEEN" rating is not high enough when the game is giving out your personal information on the net.  No minor, including 17 year olds, should be allowed to purchase this game without the presence of a responsible adult who is well-informed about the parental controls available to them.  No minor should be able to choose to give out their personal information this way.

Here is the content of my complaint to the ESRB (limited to 500 characters, excuse the grammar):


Filing a formal complaint about Blizzard's announcement today that their forums will display your real first and last name.

It poses a security and privacy risk, especially for minors.  Please raise the rating for all Blizzard games to at least what you would give Grand Theft Auto (preferably Adults Only).

Giving out personal information is more dangerous today than letting a child see the content in GTA.

The move also shows a startling disregard for privacy that you should keep an eye on.

13 comments:

LarĂ­sa said...

I can't believe they're doing this. Thanks god I've never bothered about posting at the forums. I discuss in the blogosphere and that's what I'll keep doing. But it's a little sad that no Blizzard person ever will read or care about it.
The discussion is going underground. There choice.

Hatch said...

They've been pushing the discussion underground for a while now. Ever since RealID came out there's been near-complete radio silence from Blizz in response to player concerns on the forums, save GC posting about design/balance issues.

Every controversial Blizz decision has been relegated to its own thread. if you started a new thread about real id, or opening RS while realms were down, they closed the thread because they wanted to keep feedback in a single thread. This means no one sees the concerns unless they are looking for them. The traditional "front page overwhelmed by threads on the subject" effect goes away, which is great for Blizzard. They no longer have to allow their forums to be an avenue for criticism.

They are just another big game company now. Nothing special, and no reason to have respect or loyalty for them.

tishtoshtesh said...

They *do* have a point that anonymity breeds problems... but this just isn't a good idea.

The fallout (or lack thereof) will be very interesting to see. I can't help but think there may be a generational divide on this.

Zelmaru said...

"True" Anonymity is, in my opinion, something blizzard did to themselves by allowing posting from the name of any of your characters. If you have a constant handle you don't have "anonymity." You have a consistent and permanent persona for as long as you have the account, with consequences to that persona for actions you have done.

If Hatch posts as Hatch, there's accountability and identification of the person. There's no need to know a "real name" behind Hatch.

Adgamorix said...

I agree Zelmaru - I was ok with RealID when it first was announced, because I could choose who I was RealID friends with. Even if I couldn't control who saw my real name (through the friends of friends thing), at least there was no way to tie it back to me.

This is a whole different animal though. It's why I've kept the handle "Adgamorix", even though I've changed my Paladin's name several times now. It's the handle that I've adopted for blog posting/commenting - and I hope that I've been able to build a positive reputation around that handle.

Right now though, if my employer Googles my name they see links to things about the community service work I've done, my personal IT related blogs and achievments, etc. They might also find my triathlon related activities, but that's about it. I won't be opening up the door for the first thing they see under my name is a bunch of WoW posts.

At least we have the blogging community to keep our sanity.

Hatch - I don't think they can change the rating, simply because right now the RealID is optional in game, and it will be optional to post on the forums (required IF you post, but nothing says you have to post).

I'm as big a fanboy as you're likely to find, and I'm even against this. Bad move Blizzard, bad move.

Jormundgard said...

I've cancelled my account, I hope you will join me. Money is the only influence we have over them.

Mike ... said...

"Any female who has ever been ignored or disrespected simply for being female, ..."

Again, almost every female.

Hatch said...

Good points in the comments. I agree that if they were being honest about getting rid of trolls, it would be better to give you an account-wide alias and include the new upvote/downvote functionality. But they aren't being honest, it's just a cover to expand real id.

I've already canceled my SC2 preorder. I have 2 weeks until my WoW sub gets renewed to decide what to do with it. Regardless of what Blizzard does, I'm worried I might be too close with my guildies to stop playing WoW right now. Ironically, it's the social networking aspect (albeit using aliases) that's keeping me there, so ha ha to me, I guess. But they've lost $100 and someone who would actively promote SC2 on the internet, and they've lost a sale on Diablo 3 and the SC2 expansions.

Adgamorix said...

I won't be canceling my WoW, nor my SC2/D3 purchases - not until my name is forced into the game. I don't post on the forums often anyway - and I play Diablo and SC for the single player aspects.

I still think most folks are making this out to be more than it is - but I won't be lining up to support this either.

Tal said...

Like everyone else here, I think this is a really bad idea. I doubt the ESRB petition will actually do anything, though. Battle.net does have parental controls that let you disable RealId. Yes, it means no RealId friends in-game and no forum posting, but it's there so "our kids are safe".

Actually what worries me about RealId isn't the forums changing - they are, after all, not what I'm paying for. But one thing that was mentioned in one of the myriad of locked threads is the fact that add-ons have access to your RealId name and could send it to anyone they want. Unlike what Blizzard first said, simply not using RealId does NOT guarantee that no one will be able to see your name, so anyone who cares about their privacy should set up parental controls on their account. (yes, that disables the scripting API too)

Hatch said...

Yep, I set up parental controls the day this was announced. I was hesitant to do so before that because it requires that you give Blizzard yet another of your email addresses, and god knows what they'll do with our email addresses now. I mean, I use a dummy for my wow account and I set up the parental controls on my "spam magnet" account, but still.

I understand Blizz is (probably) not breaking any laws (except maybe in Canada, where I hear there's already a real lawsuit), but the ESRB is not a "legal" organization, in that they make their own rules. Of course they are bound by law and also heavily influenced/controlled by industry interests (though I'm sure EA, for instance, would love to see Activision hang for this), but the ESRB could very easily say "we will give this game an AO rating unless you put on parental controls by default whenever a minor purchases the game" or something. Blizzard could respond to that in a lot of ways, but they couldn't say "you can't do that because the law let's us get away with it". That's what self-regulatory organizations like the ESRB are for: to supplement the law.

Mike ... said...

@Hatch

According to Gevlon you can use the same email address for both the account address and the 'parents' address.

I've not tried this myself.

Zelmaru said...

Re: using the same email. Yes, you can have the parental controls just sent to your battle.net email that is associated with the account. That's what I did.