This is my < 1000 character response to Blizzard’s new policy of publishing user’s real names on their forums. I will have a longer response and blue posts up here soon, but that’s a tad hard to do on the POS computer. For now, here is what I wrote on the World of Warcraft page.
I am on Facebook and I’ve become a fan of Warcraft because I enjoy the updates. Other Facebook users can see what I’ve written here, but my privacy settings are such than no one can add me as a friend or find me in search. However, you have taken away all privacy when it comes to World of Warcraft. People play …games to escape, to become someone else, not put their names out for all the world to see. If I wanted to play myself, I would roll a character named Natasha, but I don’t want to do that. We also take comfort in the fact that we can post as those characters on the forums. That encourages role play even on the forums. Have you not taken that into account? No one is going to role play on the forums if they have to have their name out there. I believe that this has gone way beyond the privacy for your users and straight to your bottom line. Like Facebook, like so many other companies, Blizzard is starting to care more about profit and sales than the end-user.
For shame, Blizzard.
*** 7/9 Update ***
Less than 24 hours after I wrote my response to Blizzard regarding my feelings about Real ID on the forums, it is decided that no one’s full name will be displayed. I, along with so many, breathed a sigh of relief. The news broke on 7/6 that there would be the new Real ID implementation on the forums which angered a great deal of players. Some immediately deleted their characters, some threatened to never post on the forums again.
Here is Wow Insider’s coverage of Blizzard’s response to the Real ID issue which contains blue posts. Everyone’s had an opinion on the subject since Real ID was announced several months ago. I’m not participating in it and neither is my guild master and best friend Tarinae. We both agreed that we know how to contact each other if neither of us are on characters we play together. Bottom line on why I am anti-Real ID in game: there are people who are playing currently who wish to do nothing more than fuck with me. I ended up changing my character name.
That being said, I would prefer people not know my full name. I have very high privacy settings on my Facebook account and I am pretty sure that my Linked In account is invite-only. So, I wish to hold that same privacy to what I do in game. Going on the forums is a fun way to immerse yourself in the WoW experience while not playing. On my realm, Shadow Council, I really enjoy the big PVP-ers of Alliance and Horde talking smack and planning large PVP events. It’s entertaining and it’s anonymous.
Because our realm is RP, there is a lot of text based RP on the forums. You can’t very well RP as your in-game character if your name is up there for the world to see. It just doesn’t make any sense.
But, for now, we have a reprieve. And I, for one, appreciate that Blizzard has changed its mind.