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Blizzard To Require Real First and Last Names For Official Forums 833

Posted by Soulskill
from the guess-that's-one-way-to-get-rid-of-trolls dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Recently, Blizzard Entertainment implemented a Real ID feature for some of its current games and all of its future Battle.net-based games. Today, Blizzard announced that it intends to require usage of the real names of Battle.net posters for its StarCraft II forums before release, and for its World of Warcraft forums shortly before the release of World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. From the announcement: 'The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name — with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.'"
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Blizzard To Require Real First and Last Names For Official Forums

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  • Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:04PM (#32815184) Homepage

    Real first and last name? Full, no initial? Not sure what I think about that one, Blizzard...

  • Yeah.. (Score:1, Interesting)

    by T-Bucket (823202) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:06PM (#32815228) Homepage

    Yeah, I can't imagine how forcing minors to put their real first and last names on the internet could POSSIBLY backfire... Brilliant idea.

  • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:07PM (#32815244) Journal

    ... with more and more people being forced to use their real names on the Internet, you'll see a lot less flaming, trolling, and defacing. People I believe will be less quick to turn a discussion into an argument and more interested in understanding one another.

    However, I do not personally like the idea of my first and last name being made public everywhere, which is why I have generally shunned Facebook and would not use this feature even if I wanted to.

  • by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:11PM (#32815322) Journal

    Just think - now you can find your favorite pornstar wow-players even easier!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:11PM (#32815330)

    some can't-stand-loosing person tracks his opponents with this information and starts to harras, or worse : physically attack them ?

    Yes, demanding that everyone is known by his true name to everybody else can only be a good thing ...

  • by selven (1556643) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:12PM (#32815346)

    So you like other people not being anonymous, but you want yourself to still be anonymous? That kind of reminds me of this [theonion.com].

    I personally think internet anonymity is a good thing. It forces people to attack each other's arguments rather than resorting to ad hominems, and ensures an even playing field, since newbies' arguments are heard on the same level as those of our celebrities (at least in theory).

  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:22PM (#32815534)

    I mean I completely agree, that if you remove the anonymity you'll remove a lot of the asshole factor online. People are much bigger pricks when they don't think it can come back to bite them. So it would remove a lot of that.

    However it would also discourage people form sharing thoughts as freely. If I had to use my real name on Slashdot, I wouldn't post nearly as much. I'd make sure to restrict it only to things I was comfortable with all current and future employers seeing. I wouldn't want to screw myself out of a job because I posted something that someone disagreed with.

    As it stands though, a pseudonym allows me to do that. It isn't true anonymity, with a bit of sniffing around you could easily come up with who I really am. However it means that a simple search for my real name will not come up with any of this. That is enough to keep it form being a problem. Just removing the direct connection is all I need.

    Over all, I think it is good to have things that way. I like to be able to freely share my thoughts online, and I'd like to think some people find it valuable (on Slashdot people seem to at least sometimes as I do get modded up). I wouldn't want to have to restrict some of those because of the worry of retribution. I can only do that so long as I can have a small barrier between my real and online identity.

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:24PM (#32815564)

    Is this going to tag a character on WoW Armory with the Real ID user name of the account holder?

    It'd be awesome to find the names of an entire guild.

    Worst damned idea ever Blizzard.

  • by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:34PM (#32815774)

    No trolls here.

    Hey, if you're browsing at -1, that's your problem, not Slashdot's.

    It's a shame that GP was modded down, because he proves a good point like many others who are modded down just because someone with mod points is unhappy with their opinion.

    Trolling is a problem here still, and I'll probably be modded as one.

  • by breakfastpirate (925130) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:34PM (#32815792)
    Only about 12 people in the United States have my last name. If I tell someone my full name, I might as well just tell them my social security number. Names aren't always as anonymous as you'd think...
  • by butterflysrage (1066514) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:35PM (#32815800)

    what has me worried is that I rarely disclose that I'm female in WoW except to my guild... when other people find out they tend to be less than mature. I would rather not face a barrage of /tells and real_id friend requests from the "plz cyber?" crowd.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:36PM (#32815826)

    Simply put, this is Blizzard's dumbest decision ever. Real ID will be used not only for the forums, but for the upcoming cross-faction / cross-server / cross-game chat system. As I understand it, this system will reveal your real name AND the email address tied to your Battle.net account along with it.

    Concerns about minors aside, this is an awful decision for the following reasons:

    1. The vast majority of guild leaders I met during my time in WoW were control freaks who try to make up for their RL shortcomings by lording over their guilds as much as they can get away with. Not the type of person that I'd ever reveal my real name to. One time I quit a guild because I got tired of the leader's d-baggery, and he harassed me and made threats for weeks until the GMs actually had to step in and warn him to stop. Not the type of guy I'd want to have my real identity revealed to.

    Not to mention the millions of other random dbags in WoW and Battle.net that I'd never want to reveal my real identity to. I actually was threatened by one of my opponents during the SC2 beta when I rushed his base.

    Yes, 99.99% of the time these threats are empty even if they got your real information. However, you never know when you're dealing with someone who is completely off the rocker. If seen my fair share of WoW players go off the handle because they lost a roll on loot.

    2. Revealing the email address associated with your Battle.net account will, at the very least be:
    - Giving your login name to attackers, half of what they need to brute force your password if you don't use an authenticator.
    - Giving them your email address so that they can spam you with attempts to phish your password from you.
    I utilize a unique email address for my Battle.net account which is used for NO OTHER PURPOSE. So if I get an email saying it is from Blizzard, I can tell it is a scam if it is not addressed to this account.

    In addition, giving out real names could create greater social engineering opportunities for those that steal accounts. Since I've never needed to call Blizzard tech support / customer service, I'm not sure how diligent they really are when someone calls up to have their WoW password reset.

    I have fortunately stopped playing World of Warcraft, and will likely not play again because I don't like the direction the game has been going for a while. However, I was hoping to play SC2 and D3. From what I can see from the SC2 Beta, Real ID was not going to be required to play, just for cross-game chat. However, if it ever becomes a requirement to play (which I feel it eventually might be), there is no way I would continue playing Blizzard's titles.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rxan (1424721) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:37PM (#32815840)
    And yet everyone gives out their real name on Facebook when they have the choice to give a fake one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:43PM (#32815966)

    When I played Everquest 1 in its heyday, contested mobs were REALLY stuff people nerd raged about. At the time, there were only a few mobs that gave loot, so you had 3-4 guilds of 100+ people all gunning for Tormax, Hoshkar, Vind, etc.

    During that time, the admins who ran one server's message board got the real life name of a rival guild leader. They started calling the child protective services in the person's city alleging sexual abuse, and it almost got him relieved of his kids. He had to pay thousands of dollars to a lawyer to clear his name, both criminally and civilly to keep his family.

    I'm sure that the 4-channers will be doing that left and right when people's names will be plastered over their posts. Oh, and of course, they will have accounts in fake names with game cards.

  • by CodePwned (1630439) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:49PM (#32816078)

    In short, this is being done by a ton of really bad people on the forums. This cannot be being proposed by the upper leadership as this has all sorts of legal implications.

    If you have a problem with your forums, on such a large scale... it's EASY to fix.

    Step 1:
    Implement a ranking system. People can give you positive or negative bumps to your posts (think karma here). The longer someone holds an active rank the more "bump" they give to people. You have to be a member of the forum for at least 1 month before you can bump at all, and then give it a progressive growth scale of the strength of their "bump". (1-6 months: 1pt, 7months to 2 years: 5pt, 2+ 10pt).

    Additionally, provide some incentive for activity on the forums by offering discounts of productions/services by maintaining a high activity and in good standing at certain intervals. For example "You've been active on our forums for over 6 months with a great rank! We want to thank you for contributing to our community by offering you 25% off any of our old games... or a $5 credit on your next bill!". The overall cost to blizzard is dirt cheap.

    Step 2:
    Ensure that someone has to been active (logging in) to keep their rank or they start over. You can figure out that time table

    Step 3:
    If a user gets below a certain rank they are auto silenced. They cannot post anymore but can submit for a review of their "silencing" in case of some exploitation. This is highly unlikely since to even bump you have to be a member for quite some time.

    BENEFITS
    - Trolls get silenced pretty damn quick
    - The community monitors itself with minimal administrative intervention
    - You get certain individuals who become leaders in the community from their rank
    - People feel rewarded for contributing

  • by Spazztastic (814296) <spazztastic@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:52PM (#32816148)

    I think the only positive thing Blizzard will get from this is less traffic on their official forums.

    I can only hope that Blizzard will catch on to the outrage of this. I won't stop playing, but I'll stop using their forums. All of those useful posts I've made in the past will no longer continue to happen, including anything I've said that was inflammatory. The good posts I've made outweigh the ones where I put up bounties on people on my faction, trashed someone, etc.

    I'll be posting on Elitist Jerks or some other forum for anything involving my class or endgame content. For discussing realm matters, I just won't post anymore.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:54PM (#32816192)

    Ridiculous. We shouldn't post names because someone might kill someone for a minor incident?

    Maybe kids should wear protective gear in public, too, that disguises the fact that they are children. You could expand it to women, too. They could wear veils and shit so potential rapists wouldn't know if they were attractive or not.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a whoabot (706122) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:11PM (#32816528)

    You actually don't have that choice, unless you infringe their terms [facebook.com], which say, "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission".

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:11PM (#32816530)

    And when Blizzard started this Real ID was only going to attach a real name you friended for cross-faction/game/realms.

    Then few weeks into that they announce it's going to the forums.

    Sure it's not connected to a character unless they choose too, here is an example of how that's broken.

    Guild X is posting LF guildies and Guild X's recruiting officer puts up the post and uses their real name but no character. So you see Tammy.Jo posted it. You hop on WoW and ask someone in Guild X who their recruitment officer is and now you have Tammy.Jo's real name and character names.

    Now, how long before blizzard shifts this tagging characters and Real Names into Armory?

    It's a dumb idea all the way around.

  • by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:15PM (#32816600)

    Why shouldn't I seperate my online persona(s) from my real life identity? What problem is Blizzard trying to solve here?

    The Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory [penny-arcade.com]. People are less likely to act like an asshole if they don't have anonymity to hide behind. The only people who will be idiots any more are those who are idiots already.

    Another example of a game using real names is iRacing [iracing.com], though real names are used throughout the game, instead of just on the forums. Again, the idea is to discourage anti-social behavior (intentional wrecking, profanity, etc), and this is part of their aggressive policing against griefers. In this case, such a prevention is especially necessary for a racing game of this type. I don't frequent the Blizzard forums, so I'm not sure if there are enough douchebags there to justify such measures.

    I make it a point to avoid any forum identity that could be easliy traced back to my real name, because stuff comes back to haunt you. Do you really want somehting you said 20 years ago in some gaming forum to come up in a job interview?

    In that case, either:
    1) Don't be a jack-ass on the Blizzard forums.
    2) Don't use the Blizzard forums.

    That said, I've given my screen name which I've used for the last decade as part of a background check for an interview, so I'm well aware of the issue. However, nothing I said in the past (I've said a lot of stupid stuff) was an issue. If it is a concern to you, don't use the forums (it's an optional part of an optional game you play, you can deal with it), or simply police your behavior before it is recorded for all posterity on the Intertubes.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by LambdaWolf (1561517) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:22PM (#32816708)

    And yet everyone gives out their real name on Facebook when they have the choice to give a fake one.

    But Facebook is intended for communicating with people whom you already know in real life.

    Pretty much every forum on the Internet that is (unlike Facebook) meant for communicating with strangers allows anonymity; the WoW forums are about to become the only exception I can think of. And users generally want it this way, gaining anonymity at the cost of occasional trolling and such. So either Blizzard knows something that every other forum and their users don't know, or they're making a massive mistake. I give Blizzard a lot of credit as game designers but something tells me it's the latter.

  • by gilleain (1310105) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @04:51PM (#32817220)

    There are IIRC only 3 of me on earth. Mostly because my ancestors changed the spelling of their name to sound less German when they immigrated, but they didn't know enough English for it to make any sense.

    And no, my user name is not even remotely related to that name.

    Well, if we're playing the "who was the rarer name" game, then I probably win. I only know of one other person (on the internet) with my first name.

    ...and yes, that is also my slashdot username :)

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bakkster (1529253) <Bakkster@man.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:08PM (#32817444)

    That is a predicament, but more because they are trying to phase it in. This wouldn't be an issue if it were the way the game was when released, and those with an objection could simply not sign up to begin with.

  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stonewallred (1465497) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:09PM (#32817482)
    Really? I have two facebook profiles. One with my real name, with very limited details, and one with a fake name where all my RL friends can find me. A google search brings up nothing about me, even though I was convicted of a felony 23 years ago, there are no pictures of me on the internet that I can find, and I use my real name for nothing, including my WoW account. My phone, cable and power bill are all in fake names, and I rent for cash from a former employer. My vehicles are registered to me, at a 10 year old address and my DL shows the same address. Which the banks also have as my permanent address. I use a PO box in the same county as my "official" address shows. Not everyone is willing to let the government or corporations track their where abouts and doings with ease.
  • Re:Hmm.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BobMcD (601576) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:41PM (#32817950)

    Real ID is required to use the friends list in game.

    Are you talking about StarCraft? Because this doesn't look to be the case in WoW. You can use either the new RealID system, or the old friends system, or both.

  • by Anonymous Cowpat (788193) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @05:49PM (#32818042) Journal

    I sympathize with Blizzard's desire to want to make the forums a more constructive and friendly environment,

    I haven't been on the Blizzard Fora for years, but my last experience of it was a few years up until they finally killed of the last forum for Diablo I.
    I can tell you exactly what Blizzard could have done to make that forum more constructive and friendly. They could have actually dropped in once in a while to moderate it.

    There was a group of a dozen or so forum regulars who had been there essentially since forever. These people were a very close-knit group, and esentially saw the forum as their own.
    Anyone new who dropped in and said, well, really anything was immediately treated to a spiel about how the regulars expected them to behave (over and above the actual rules of the forum), and woe betide aynone who said anything which the regs disapproved of, or told them what they though of 'extra' rules.
    Anyone who dared to argue with them, or the accepted wisdom of the forum, or tell them that they were wrong would bring the whole wrath of the pack down on themselves. They would then usually be accused of being 'defensive'.
    In short, the forum regulars were self-appointed moderators, who used a general barrage of unpleasantness to drive out anyone who they disapproved of. Most newcomers quickly realised that it wasn't worth hanging around and were never heard from again. Personally I hung around just to prove that I wasn't going to be beaten by them.

    Now, the point of my telling that story is this. That could have been snuffed out YEARS before the forum was finally killed if a few Blizzard people had occassionally dropped in and swiftly dealt with the people who were under the false impression that it was their forum. A user with a blue username saying "This is our forum, not yours. You do not own, run or moderate it; please stop acting like you do" sufficiently early on might have stopped it entirely and prevented these people from getting too big for their boots.

  • Long Story short... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thatbloke83 (1529851) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @06:05PM (#32818224)
    Blizzard just lost my subscription. I WAS going to re-activate my WoW account and purchase Cataclysm when it came out. Unless these changes are reversed, I'm not going to do that. I do NOT want my real name associated and easily searchable by my in-game actions. I might as well name all my in-game characters as my real name and be done with it, because that is what will happen anyway.

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