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World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins

Zyphlin

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BBC News - World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins

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.
I know I'll get some boos and hisses for posting a story about Video Games in breaking news but I know there are a number of players on the forum, over 11 million world wide, and I think this may be a negative trend that starts heading elsewhere.

For those that don't know Blizzard, the makers of WOW, are coming out with a highly anticipated game called Starcraft II in the next few months as well as the first major expansion in a few years for the highly successful World of Warcraft with an additional game from their other successful franchise (Diablo) set to launch sometime in the near future. In preparation for all this they have moved to a universal login called "RealID" that would allow someone access to any of the games they own when signing into an online account.

No real issues there, nice and convenient.

However, the recent news that is making headlines not just in gaming blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq but even on the BBC is that they're going to be using their RealID system to display peoples real name on their forums.

Now, the argument for this from some is that its a private company and forum whose usage is a privileged. On the flip side of this WOW is not a one time payment system but a continuous subscription with benefits, one of which is supposed to be ability to use the forums. More so the forums are not "optional" if one needs customer support, technical support, bug reporting, and other relatively common functions of gaming customer service. This creates an issue where to even be able to properly report an issue with the game one must sacrifices their private identity to the viewing of every other person playing the game with them.

Unlike a situation like Facebook which also has real names displayed, this is not something you can choose who gets to see it. Additionally one must take into account the interaction that's going on. Like most things on the internet forum discussions can get extremely heated. However add to that a game where much of it is predicated off the notion of interacting, if not fighting against, other real people and you have numerous situations where emotions can take over far more than would be likely from a closed in facebook account.

Blizzard suggests this is to reduce the amount of "trolls" on their forums, hoping to shame them into not trolling by showing their real name. However, accusations are of a more commercial nature. Activision/Blizzard recently signed an agreement with Facebook that would allow for information swapping, thus giving the potential for significant advertising benefits by matching ones real ID to ones facebook account to generate data to use as an incentive to sell targeted advertisements for significant gains. Additionally South Korea recently made a law requiring online communities of over 100,000 people that operate in SK to have to show a users real name. Youtube was the first to be challenged with this and ended up blocking SK posters from making comments until they relieved an exception. Its unlikely Blizzard would do such a thing as SK makes up a significant market base for their upcoming Starcraft II release. The more than a decade old original Starcraft is still played routinely in SK, to the point that there are professional leagues there for it. So it appears to many that the suggested "stop trolling" argument is simply a cover for the company putting peoples privacy in jeapordy in exchange for further profit.

The question is how ethical is this, how legal is this, how likely is it to cause problems, and is this a sign of things to come. Will a greater move to remove anonymity from the internet be made over the next decade, tearing down the 4th wall between the user and cyber space?

To me this reeks of a horrendous idea. With a user base as large and varied as WOW mixed with the potential for heated situations you significantly increase the chance for essentially real life griefing. There are undoubtedly players now that have zero qualms with griefing players that have PVP'ed them, pissed them off on the forum, won an item they wanted, took a kill they were trying for, etc. What percentage of these type of people will take the opportunity to take it a step further if the ability to get the name of the person who earned your ire is readily and easily available?
 

Hatuey

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Don't like it? Don't post or play. Problem solved. Halo III Betch.
 
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Jucon

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It blows my mind that people still play WoW and are willing to pay the monthly cost. Especially with all the other great games that have come out. Modern Warfare 2 beotch!
 

Redress

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I was literally just reading my favorite game blog which is talking in depth about this(Broken Toys, written by a guy who works on games). The consensus: this will end up causing troubles, but since a tiny percentage of players actually post on their message board, it's not going to cost Blizzard subscriptions.

One interesting thing from the comments though:

RealID Changes; The Very Real Ease of Stalking In The Internet Age. « What You Did There; I See It.

To make a long story short, guy on the Blizzard board posts his real name, which is a very common name, and challenges any one to find him in real life. It took 20 minutes before he got called at work by some one who found him.
 

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I think Blizzard will rescind this order as soon as they find out that parents find out that the identities of their children and teenagers playing these games will no longer be private. The parents will stop paying for these games and that will be a major loss of revenue for them.

Instead, if I were Blizzard, I would no longer host forums in which people can cause problems. Instead, let individual guilds make up their own forums and let them police themselves. Blizzard can join these forums just to keep in touch with their fanbase if they choose to.
 

Aunt Spiker

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I'm not involved with any real-time games or online gaming of any nature - never have been.
Nor is my real name anywhere on the internet. . . nor do I have facebook or other such things.

Nor do any of my kid's have involvement with these things.

However, the notion that a once-private factoid (such as a real name name) is now going to be made public without the person's consent is so wrong it's beyond belief.

There is absolutely NO real reason for it - code name, screen names and assigned numbers should be sufficient.
 

apdst

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BBC News - World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins



I know I'll get some boos and hisses for posting a story about Video Games in breaking news but I know there are a number of players on the forum, over 11 million world wide, and I think this may be a negative trend that starts heading elsewhere.

For those that don't know Blizzard, the makers of WOW, are coming out with a highly anticipated game called Starcraft II in the next few months as well as the first major expansion in a few years for the highly successful World of Warcraft with an additional game from their other successful franchise (Diablo) set to launch sometime in the near future. In preparation for all this they have moved to a universal login called "RealID" that would allow someone access to any of the games they own when signing into an online account.

No real issues there, nice and convenient.

However, the recent news that is making headlines not just in gaming blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq but even on the BBC is that they're going to be using their RealID system to display peoples real name on their forums.

Now, the argument for this from some is that its a private company and forum whose usage is a privileged. On the flip side of this WOW is not a one time payment system but a continuous subscription with benefits, one of which is supposed to be ability to use the forums. More so the forums are not "optional" if one needs customer support, technical support, bug reporting, and other relatively common functions of gaming customer service. This creates an issue where to even be able to properly report an issue with the game one must sacrifices their private identity to the viewing of every other person playing the game with them.

Unlike a situation like Facebook which also has real names displayed, this is not something you can choose who gets to see it. Additionally one must take into account the interaction that's going on. Like most things on the internet forum discussions can get extremely heated. However add to that a game where much of it is predicated off the notion of interacting, if not fighting against, other real people and you have numerous situations where emotions can take over far more than would be likely from a closed in facebook account.

Blizzard suggests this is to reduce the amount of "trolls" on their forums, hoping to shame them into not trolling by showing their real name. However, accusations are of a more commercial nature. Activision/Blizzard recently signed an agreement with Facebook that would allow for information swapping, thus giving the potential for significant advertising benefits by matching ones real ID to ones facebook account to generate data to use as an incentive to sell targeted advertisements for significant gains. Additionally South Korea recently made a law requiring online communities of over 100,000 people that operate in SK to have to show a users real name. Youtube was the first to be challenged with this and ended up blocking SK posters from making comments until they relieved an exception. Its unlikely Blizzard would do such a thing as SK makes up a significant market base for their upcoming Starcraft II release. The more than a decade old original Starcraft is still played routinely in SK, to the point that there are professional leagues there for it. So it appears to many that the suggested "stop trolling" argument is simply a cover for the company putting peoples privacy in jeapordy in exchange for further profit.

The question is how ethical is this, how legal is this, how likely is it to cause problems, and is this a sign of things to come. Will a greater move to remove anonymity from the internet be made over the next decade, tearing down the 4th wall between the user and cyber space?

To me this reeks of a horrendous idea. With a user base as large and varied as WOW mixed with the potential for heated situations you significantly increase the chance for essentially real life griefing. There are undoubtedly players now that have zero qualms with griefing players that have PVP'ed them, pissed them off on the forum, won an item they wanted, took a kill they were trying for, etc. What percentage of these type of people will take the opportunity to take it a step further if the ability to get the name of the person who earned your ire is readily and easily available?
Therefore, it doesn't belong on this forum. Yes?
 

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Therefore, it doesn't belong on this forum. Yes?
Well, since it's breaking news, meets the guidelines, and I enjoyed reading it, i'm gonna have to go with no, it does belong here.

That being said, I believe Blizz should have done this years ago if they were gonna do it at all. I'm assuming, of course, that the population of the game has declined since I retired back in early '08.
 

Redress

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Therefore, it doesn't belong on this forum. Yes?
Moderator's Warning:
If you have a problem with a post or thread, use the report post button
 

theangryamerican

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Putting someone's full name out on the internet is a terrible idea, considering how readily available personal information is.

Having visited the World of Warcraft forums before, I can say that the majority of the "trolling" Blizzard/Activision is so concerned about happens when people create new characters in game specifically for the purpose of posting on the boards. Since the new character is not their main character that they actually play, they have relative anonymity while posting.

I fail to see why this couldn't be solved by locking the players log-in to only reflect their main character in game. Without the option of selecting random characters to post under, the player would only have a single username to post under, just like any other forum and be just as easy to track on the forums without giving away their real names
 

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I seriously doubt the trolling is the reason for them doing this. It's all part of their integrated package. They are going to use RealID for everything.
 

theangryamerican

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I seriously doubt the trolling is the reason for them doing this. It's all part of their integrated package. They are going to use RealID for everything.
Shockingly, I agree with Redress. I have no doubt that this isn't really about the welfare of the forum istelf, but that is the lame-duck excuse that's being given by the company.
 

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Putting someone's full name out on the internet is a terrible idea, considering how readily available personal information is.

Having visited the World of Warcraft forums before, I can say that the majority of the "trolling" Blizzard/Activision is so concerned about happens when people create new characters in game specifically for the purpose of posting on the boards. Since the new character is not their main character that they actually play, they have relative anonymity while posting.

I fail to see why this couldn't be solved by locking the players log-in to only reflect their main character in game. Without the option of selecting random characters to post under, the player would only have a single username to post under, just like any other forum and be just as easy to track on the forums without giving away their real names
Another solution would be to have an "account name" connected to his "character names" and s/he can only post with his "account name." Maybe his account could then list all of the characters joined to that account.

Anything but list real names.
 

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I seriously doubt the trolling is the reason for them doing this. It's all part of their integrated package. They are going to use RealID for everything.
Without privacy, people won't use RealID for anything.
 

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Another solution would be to have an "account name" connected to his "character names" and s/he can only post with his "account name." Maybe his account could then list all of the characters joined to that account.

Anything but list real names.
You missed the major drama over having all of the characters on an account revealed...
 

theangryamerican

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You missed the major drama over having all of the characters on an account revealed...
I see no problem with this, and really the only people who should be upset are the guys who've been posing as girls to garner extra help and attention in game. :p Having ANY in-game information revealed is preferable to having someone's personal indentity compromised. World of Warcraft is already a spawning ground of indentity theft for the unwary.
 

samsmart

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You missed the major drama over having all of the characters on an account revealed...
If you mean the RealID, I did. What I meant is your "account name" could be like a screen name, not your real name. That way your retain privacy regarding your real name but people are limited on how they can post on the forums. Everybody wins.
 

Hoplite

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This is why I like EVE. If you create a character specifically for stanking up the forums, you'll be ignored. If you use a character with actual pull to get attention, you get annihilated by other players and no one wants to deal with you.

I have to wonder why Blizzard is so concerned about flaming/trolling on their forums but they dont seem real inclined to deal with it ingame. My guess is they want the publically viewable parts of WoW to look shiny and clean so when you buy a subscription, they've already got your money so they could care less if you like the environment. I remember buzz a while back about there being a separate server for trial accounts with tighter restrictions on swearing or flaming.
 

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Targeted advertising and a lack of security will have the consequence of a decreased user base willing to contribute "meaningful community conversation" which is to the detriment of their service. Aside from the fact that much of the internet is filled with people you wouldn't want to know personally, I figure that if you go to lengths to use their web forum, you should play by their rules and do not cry when things change while you still use the service.
 

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BBC News - World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins



I know I'll get some boos and hisses for posting a story about Video Games in breaking news but I know there are a number of players on the forum, over 11 million world wide, and I think this may be a negative trend that starts heading elsewhere.

For those that don't know Blizzard, the makers of WOW, are coming out with a highly anticipated game called Starcraft II in the next few months as well as the first major expansion in a few years for the highly successful World of Warcraft with an additional game from their other successful franchise (Diablo) set to launch sometime in the near future. In preparation for all this they have moved to a universal login called "RealID" that would allow someone access to any of the games they own when signing into an online account.

No real issues there, nice and convenient.

However, the recent news that is making headlines not just in gaming blogs like Kotaku and Joystiq but even on the BBC is that they're going to be using their RealID system to display peoples real name on their forums.

Now, the argument for this from some is that its a private company and forum whose usage is a privileged. On the flip side of this WOW is not a one time payment system but a continuous subscription with benefits, one of which is supposed to be ability to use the forums. More so the forums are not "optional" if one needs customer support, technical support, bug reporting, and other relatively common functions of gaming customer service. This creates an issue where to even be able to properly report an issue with the game one must sacrifices their private identity to the viewing of every other person playing the game with them.

Unlike a situation like Facebook which also has real names displayed, this is not something you can choose who gets to see it. Additionally one must take into account the interaction that's going on. Like most things on the internet forum discussions can get extremely heated. However add to that a game where much of it is predicated off the notion of interacting, if not fighting against, other real people and you have numerous situations where emotions can take over far more than would be likely from a closed in facebook account.

Blizzard suggests this is to reduce the amount of "trolls" on their forums, hoping to shame them into not trolling by showing their real name. However, accusations are of a more commercial nature. Activision/Blizzard recently signed an agreement with Facebook that would allow for information swapping, thus giving the potential for significant advertising benefits by matching ones real ID to ones facebook account to generate data to use as an incentive to sell targeted advertisements for significant gains. Additionally South Korea recently made a law requiring online communities of over 100,000 people that operate in SK to have to show a users real name. Youtube was the first to be challenged with this and ended up blocking SK posters from making comments until they relieved an exception. Its unlikely Blizzard would do such a thing as SK makes up a significant market base for their upcoming Starcraft II release. The more than a decade old original Starcraft is still played routinely in SK, to the point that there are professional leagues there for it. So it appears to many that the suggested "stop trolling" argument is simply a cover for the company putting peoples privacy in jeapordy in exchange for further profit.

The question is how ethical is this, how legal is this, how likely is it to cause problems, and is this a sign of things to come. Will a greater move to remove anonymity from the internet be made over the next decade, tearing down the 4th wall between the user and cyber space?

To me this reeks of a horrendous idea. With a user base as large and varied as WOW mixed with the potential for heated situations you significantly increase the chance for essentially real life griefing. There are undoubtedly players now that have zero qualms with griefing players that have PVP'ed them, pissed them off on the forum, won an item they wanted, took a kill they were trying for, etc. What percentage of these type of people will take the opportunity to take it a step further if the ability to get the name of the person who earned your ire is readily and easily available?
I can't say this is a concern. At all.

Given the existing level of identity exposure I can't see how this policy makes the situation any worse than it is.

So what if you have to show your real name?
 

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Well I certainly wouldn't do it. Of course, I was not a target user for them anyway-so I never played the game short of trying the trial a few times. There are some communities where real names is not a concern, but WoW would be one of them. The combination of juveniles, nerds, hackers, and gamer d-bags that float around is unreal. It only spells disaster.

It's a bad idea for them.
 

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Methinks this will result in at least a slight reduction in customers for Blizzard.
 

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You missed the major drama over having all of the characters on an account revealed...
I'm used to regularly telling people who all my toons are.....not only friends, but folks who need regular trade-skill services; so again, I fail to see the concern.
 
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I am beyond furious at this move. If this occurs, I will not be posting on WOW forums or playing it any more.

Heck I have spent the last hour complaining on the WOW forums. This is just the beginning. RealID in game is next - Not voluntary

Without a shadow of doubt, this is the single worst decision made by Blizzard.
 
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Jetboogieman

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World of Warcraft sucks...

LOTRO is where it's at. :)

(I have nothing constructive to add to the conversation)
 
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