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Privacy Games Your Rights Online

Blizzard Rolls Out Real ID Privacy Options 145

tacarat writes "The last time Blizzard mentioned their new Real ID system, there was a strong backlash from users over privacy issues. Blizzard reconsidered their plans to require real names for forums, and little has been heard about it since. Now, they've announced new privacy settings, allowing users to limit how their name gets shared or to disable the system entirely. Quoting: 'These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.'"
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Blizzard Rolls Out Real ID Privacy Options

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 01, 2010 @01:39AM (#33756106)

    They're trying to clean up the Blizzard forums and good on them - it's a circus.

  • Good! Disabled it. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AbRASiON ( 589899 ) * on Friday October 01, 2010 @01:47AM (#33756128) Journal

    Now will SC2 stop showing my real name in the UI? It's bad for streaming and screenshots.
    Also when can everyone play with each other on the GLOBAL INTERNET in all regions?

  • this is the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @02:30AM (#33756262) Journal
    The reason Starcraft, and Starcraft 2, have sold so well is because of the pro-gaming league. If it weren't for that, Starcraft wouldn't have much of an audience. It is so easy to get sucked into. Me too, in my more irrational moments have dreamed what it would be like to be a pro Starcraft player. It won't happen of course, but having that idea in the back of my mind makes the game that much more fun.

    Blizzard is destroying pro Starcraft. They want to control it completely. Which would be fine, except they have no clue how to run a competitive gaming league. They don't know how to get thousands of spectators to an event, they don't know how to organize an event. They see the dollar signs, but don't understand the effort that goes into making it happen.

    It would be best if they just made a way for people to play over the LAN, then got out of the way, so there could be real competitions.

    My point is, instead they are focusing on weird real-id things, instead of trying to figure out a way to make gaming as nice as possible for competitions (while at the same time accessible for the rest of us). They have lost focus of what will bring people in to the game.
  • ugh (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @03:14AM (#33756402)

    Why the fuck does everything and it's turnip need facebook integration. Video games do not need to be integrated with Zuckerberg's privacy nightmare.

  • Re:Dear Blizzard... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by silentcoder ( 1241496 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @04:47AM (#33756646)

    I *like* realID - and I like these features so I can control it more.
    I got several alt characters, I do not want to lose my conversations - the SOCIAL aspect of a highly social game just because I switched alt. I don't want to lose the ability to talk to my guildies on the alliance side about tomorrow night's Lich King tactics just because I'm busy levelling my troll hunter.
    The only feature I would dearly love to see added is an invisible mode, so I can appear offline for those rare occasions when I actually don't want to talk to anybody (e.g. like when I'm doing AH-PVP which means I'm AFK for most of the time watching a movie on my other screen).

    I think a very large part of the player base agrees with me. We freaked out about requiring it on forums, I personally would like to see it changed to be able to use a nickname rather than real name but other than that RealID is really not such a huge thing as people make it out to be. Quite the contrary - it's a logical extension of the same chat features that all online games have had back to the earliest MUD's.

    I am all for constructive criticism to ask for features that allow users the control they should have over *any* form of communication their involved with but the vast majority of the reaction to realID is kneejerk shouting with absolutely no basis in any rational thinking.

  • by Moraelin ( 679338 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @05:44AM (#33756848) Journal

    Gaming may be an escape for you. For others, it is a regular activity. In that sense, interrelation between real life and online games is beneficial. I don't want to tell my friends, "Look me up online by ." I would rather tell them to identify me by my birth name, or by an existing identity provider: OpenID, Google, or Facebook. Stop pretending that everyone shares your beliefs, and that the world should be shaped according to them, because they don't, and it shouldn't.

    AC because 1) I rarely log into Slashdot, and 2) anonymity is occasionally useful, for when discretion fails.

    1. That still is based on the false assumption that there are any players who actually asked for it. Blizzard's _stated_ goal all along for tying it into Facebook and whatnot was basically to try to get more players that way. They even called it "cross-polination". Whether or not it actually is beneficial for anyone, I believe that only started to be even considered when players got up in arms about it.

    I.e., it has nothing to do with what _you_ want. It's the management at Activision being greedy fucktards. That's all.

    2. Here's another clue, though, which I feel that too many people lack: 99% the friends which are interested in your (or my) WoW achievements, are on WoW too anyway. The rest fall somewhere between "don't give a fuck about your hobby" to "annoyed already to hear about it again."

    Frankly, I don't know what kind of mental failure makes some people assume that every co-worker, acquaintance, and guy on the bus, is _dying_ to hear about their Counter-Strike score or WoW raiding gear or whatever. Heck, I even was a WoW player myself, and let me assure you, I don't give a flying fuck about half the things people seem to assume that I absolutely must hear in detail, and half the rest I find stupid.

    Like that some guy is now training his dagger skill by hacking treants. Let me go on record saying that I don't give a flying fuck. And I'm not even talking about some idle conversation in a cigarette break, when you'd yap inane topics anyway, but the guy actually called me to tell me that. What. The. Fuck.

    Do you think I'd genuinely be more interested to find it out via an online link?

    Or some other guy coming over from the next building to tell me that he now has 99 mounts, 'cause he's bought the transparent mount for real money. I think he thought I'd be all thrilled, but all I could think was, "wtf, you're telling me you paid real cash for the sake of getting one notch closer to a stupid achievement title in a game? How retarded is that?"

    You may be confused because we don't actually say stuff like that. Rest assured though that that tends to be the thought process behind that smile and "oh, wow, cheers. Hope you get the last one soon too." (Much as I know I'll hear about that one in detail too.)

    Would I absolutely be thrilled to check that out online via his realID? Nope. Good grief, nope.

    3. And it's not just a personal belief. If you've paid any attention to what has been said and drawn in comics about the CS-heads, you'll find a metric buttload (or about 0.63 British arseloads;)) of complaints about people who won't shut up about it. I've yet to see even one single complaint to the effect of "goddammit, my friend doesn't tell me enough about his CS score. I so wish I could check his score online."

    4. But, yes, basically that is one factor that Blizzard is betting on. They just know that if you give fucktards a link to spam their friends and barely acquaintances on Facebook with it, a lot will do. They also hope that some of those will decide to check out the game... even at the exapense of annoying the heck out of the other 99% who get spammed that way.

    Frankly, it smacks me of an antisocial business decision. It's not that far off from the spammer model. In this case it relies on people with poor judgment clicking to send the spam, instead of having an automated run, but in the end it still boils down to the same shotgun approach.

  • Re:Dear Blizzard... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Rysc ( 136391 ) * <> on Friday October 01, 2010 @07:40AM (#33757214) Homepage Journal

    It's a logical extension of chat features... which displays your real, meatspace identity to random people on the internet.

    I'm with you on the *features*, that's cool, I am not okay with someone else deciding what my name is and who gets to know it. I am not the same person to everyone and I don't want all my identities connected, not even all my identities for the same game (much less different games, much less the rest of my life).

  • Why are brain-dead companies trying to push this Real ID crap like they're drug dealers.

    Ironically, the reason is that their customers are actually paying 15 a month for WoW, etc, and would probably be treated a lot better if they weren't paying anything at all.

    The companies receiving this money view you as a regular source of income and treat you accordingly--monetizing their cash cows to the fullest, and generally treating them like bovine chattels instead of paying customers. Such is modern business.

    However, for some of us still play games at home, offline, by ourselves. Sure it doesn't really pop up on the radar of big corporations, but we're still here. And our gaming really is an escape, in the same sense as reading a book or a walk in the park; a private activity which we can enjoy without the maligning effects of commercialisation.

    The essential irony here is that by choosing to pay for a regular service, online gamers are actually setting themselves up for worse treatment that offline/freeplay gamers who simply make one of purchases at a shop and don't participate in (paid) multiplayer. By paying with credit cards, etc, they enter willingly--if unwittingly--into a commercialised sphere where they are viewed as company assets to be controlled, protected and exploited. It's the philosophy of modern business, and as the company running the largest paid MMO in the world Blizzard are following it to the letter.

    Contrast Blizzard's behaviour with Real ID and their paying customers, to Valve's attitude to their non-paying Steam customers. Steam is even larger than, yet nothing like RealID exists or was even proposed by Valve at any stage. The relationship between Valve and Steam users is far more informal (and indeed healthier) and I would argue that this stems from the lack of paid subscription in Valve's flagship multiplayer titles. If you cheat in WoW, you get banned. Cheat in TF2, and they take away your hats. Another good pair to compare and contrast here is Xbox live and PSN.

    So, if you want Blizzard to treat you better, the long term solution is to stop paying them a regular subscription, and change your online relationship with them back to that of an informal "fan", rather than a formal "customer". Gaming should be a fun pastime, and not a commercial relationship.

  • by KeithH ( 15061 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @10:15AM (#33758406)
    I manage the parental control's for my daughter's account (because I screwed up and was honest about her age - what a nuisance!). I have several complaints about this new system:
    • I wasn't notified; I had to learn about it from a friend.
    • The default behaviour is permissive.
    • Even though my daughter's account is subject to parental controls, its default behaviour is also permissive. (same as #2 but worse)
    • When I check my daughter's account, the settings are greyed out with a message that they are subject to her parent's control. But, the greyed out image shows the settings still enabled even though I disabled them. Is that accurate and hence a bug or inaccurate and hence misleading?

    Generally, I've been pretty pleased with Blizzard. In my opinion, they're a notch above most game manufacturers and *several* notches above EA, the provider of my 3 daughters' favourite game: Sims3 - now that is an appalling piece of crapware with wholly inadequate support.

    But Blizzard dropped the ball on this one and I've let them know. If you feel the same way, let them know via their web support interface. It's quite easy.

  • by seebs ( 15766 ) on Friday October 01, 2010 @11:12AM (#33759290) Homepage

    This still lacks a way to use cross-game or cross-server chat and friends lists without using real names. Without that feature, there's a lot of folks for whom Real ID is unusable... And it turns out that the functionality it offers is a really, really, big deal to many players. Because most people have multiple alts, trying to keep all the toons of a few friends listed overflows my friends list quite easily. So I can't have that functionality.

    So, I cancelled my subs and went looking, and started playing City of Heroes. Where they have a global handle system which does not require you to use your real name, and lets you chat with friends across all characters, and so on. And it works.

    So at this point, the three accounts I had, and my spouse's account, and our housemate's account, and a few other accounts, are just plain never coming back. Blizzard had lots of opportunities to address the foundational flaw of tying everything to a "real name". They had lots of clear-cut specific examples (people with stalkers, transgendered people, etc.) pointed out. And their solution is, months later, to say "well, you can turn it off."

    Yeah, that's not gonna do any good. What we wanted was the ability to use the cross-server friend feature without tying it to real names. Without that, it's simply not a service that offers me any value.

This login session: $13.76, but for you $11.88.