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The staff of gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,


Posted by garrett Wednesday July 7 2010 at 8:41PM
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In the last 48 hours Blizzard's REAL ID announcement has driven more traffic than the LA freeway. Having people post under their real names on the forums...I guess my secret identity is out...well as is everyones.

I know several celebrities who play WoW...what now...will the players of Hollywood be exposed?

Wait a second...who gives a Flying-F about them...what about my privacy god damn it !! ??

Here is my major issue with Blizzard's new policy...they are forcing you to do it.

If you want to post on forums as yourself or create an account as yourself that is fine, but some people do actually care about privacy. I know police, detectives, teachers, who do not use tools like Facebook for fear of exposure. I agree with some of the posts that you are now exposing peoples names to groups of wackos out there. It is true, there are cyber stalkers out there who will use this to their advantage...and all that needs to happen is one lawsuit where this tool is now used in a crime and a huge mess will explode on the national stage.

While I am all for forum trolls and flame wars to at least be held in accountability, I think this is such an extreme measure that it doesn't make sense for Blizzard to do it.

I do believe that they truly think they are right and are too big to fail on this.

But they could be wrong. Could the WoW killer finally be Blizzard itself?

They have certainly created enough of an uproar to make them think twice. The issue is how do they respond? If they collapse it and say, nope we're not doing it...will they win back the loyalty of players? Or if they stick to their guns, will enough people never post on their forums again?

Well, I have an email into Blizzard for a comment, but since USA Today is not hearing back from them, I don't forsee us getting a comment any time soon. Still we will continue to research this story as is grows.

Oscillate writes:

Nice blog entry.

Wed Jul 07 2010 9:58PM Report
Flaime writes:

Another Blizz Epic Fail.... :(

With the current battle over identity theft, I am absolutely STUNNED that they would be this stupid.  Not only can someone's identity be stolen, their account hacked, and all sorts of nasty dirty deeds done with access to a real life ID, they are opening a can of worms with cyberstalkers having access.

Thu Jul 08 2010 2:15AM Report
Supercollide writes: After ages of wondering whether it would be worth subscribing they make announcments like that. I've been subjected to online death threats before and I'm not risking that again. I now doubt Blizzard will see another penny from me. Thu Jul 08 2010 5:21AM Report
Reianor writes:

Geee... funny thing but the most threatening thing I see in this is a whole forum of real names... eek... now that freaks me out...

Must be the fact that I haven't seen blizzard forums since before WoW came out. Or the fact that I haven't heard about cyber stalking since times beyond remembrance... I guess i just don't keep an ear open to news...

But a forum full of real names... you've got to be kidding me...

Thu Jul 08 2010 6:08AM Report
Talonsin writes:

I pay for both my children to play WoW and they both particitpate on the forums.  I have told them we will be cancelling their accounts this weekend.  I let them play the game in part  because it is a safe way for them to have fun.  Having their real names listed scares me too much.  I monitor the things they do online and I have seen people get mad over a simple opinion posted on the forums.  The last thing I want is for some psycho to come looking for them because he feels priests are overpowered and my 14 year old son did not agree with him.

It is bad enough that people can track your IP to the general area that you live but now having your real name listed just makes it easier for the freaks to find you.  You can say what you want about how safe it is but thats crap.  When you join a guild and go to their website, jump into teamspeak or vent, they have your IP.  Now they will have your real name as well.  Thats just more information than I am willing to give to the freaks that are on the internet.  I'm also not going to tell my kids that they can play the game but not use the forums or any other official channels for help and support.  Why would I pay a monthly fee and then deny them the full support of the company?

Thu Jul 08 2010 9:30AM Report
carolmf writes:

I really don't understand why ppl made it such a big deal.. Cancelling the account for this? Wow killer?

You know you can just opt out of the real ID system through the parental controls right? And that the forums aren't the only way to get technical support, there's also a web form, e-mail and ingame tickets...

I've been playing Wow for a couple years and never posted anything on the forums.

Way too much drama for me. Just opt out, keep playing and let the forum trolls rant alone.

Thu Jul 08 2010 9:52AM Report
maplestone writes:

I've probably said more than my quota on this issue already, but it feels like this will be the defining battle of the Web2.0-meets-MMOs era.

Can they turn back now even if they want to?  If I understand what I've been able to gleen from the business press, behind the scenes, the infrastructure for facebook/massive integration is already well underway.   The switch to using real names on forums would appear to be just a symptom of this deeper breach of privacy - and a fundemental change in the relationship between customers and producers where customer data becomes a significant product to be sold.

Thu Jul 08 2010 9:59AM Report
pingo75 writes:

Actualy I will be deleting my account ... on this web page and community.

Over the years it has become a place to get most distorted information, but nowdays even the payed contributors are posting exactly the same quality content as the forum posters.

Sure, there are real concerns about this system, but the way it has been covered in gaming media is just sad. Rumors becoming news, false statements all over the place ...

So can Mr. Garret explain how is Real ID being forced upon you? Because you feel entitled to post on Blizzard's forums? Well, you have your own forums here Mr. Garret ... enjoy 'em.

Cya all, delete account button found.

Thu Jul 08 2010 10:05AM Report
Nkat writes:

"I know police, detectives, teachers, who do not use tools like Facebook for fear of exposure" This is exactly why I will never have a facebook account or ever play a Blizzard game.

I want to know if Blizzard can force telemarketers to tell us their names this might win them some kudos.

What really should happen is enforce your Forums from the get go, stop the flaming, trolling, @ Nkat ect. Then this garbage would not be needed.

Thu Jul 08 2010 10:32AM Report
Elikal writes:

Well said, Mr Garret. I see it exactly the same way. I too thought, men this could be the WoW killer we waited for.

I think people don't really think what the consequences can be. It can become an example! Imagine it becomes a new trend and you are public bait for everyone! Unthinkable! Yes, if you are young and single and have no responsibilities, you don't consider consequences. It's why some people post their real names in Facebook along with party pictures, and then wonders when their next job opportunity fails because the company looks up for you. People just have no clue.

And some have families and loved ones you drag into it as possible targets. No, every sane person must be fundamentally against this.

Thu Jul 08 2010 10:37AM Report
adam_nox writes:

"Because you feel entitled to post on Blizzard's forums?"

Paying customers ARE entitled to post on blizzard's forums.  geezus some people...

Thu Jul 08 2010 11:25AM Report
solarine writes:

With this, Blizzard is making a huge bet on the paradigm shift that's happening online - namely that more more and people seem to prefer presence and visibility to anonymity.

This is a daring and possibly foolhardy move, one that will surely have huge implications. If Blizzard come out right, online gaming as we know it may change forever. If they come out wrong, well I'm sure they have enough money to make even huge mistakes now. :)


Thu Jul 08 2010 12:03PM Report
risenbones writes:

To me the scariest potential to all this isn't that someone tracks down an actual WOW account user and does whatever.  The scariest possability is the inevitable mistakes that will happen where someone tracks down the person who has no link to WOW whatsoever except sharing the same first and last name as someone else who does.

What happens then is anyones guess.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:21PM Report
ferndip writes:

What's really sad is how many people will spew there whole personal lives out on facebook or myspace & be okay with it, yet something like this goes down & its "OMFG!! mah privacy! mah privacy!!"

I think if this will encourage people to think twice before posting, than this is a good idea & you in control of should be doing the same here.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:23PM Report
Dayison writes:

Everyone is so concerned about first and last name...apparently you are all too young to have ever seen the white pages in a phone book.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:28PM Report
Bob_Blawblaw writes:

Waiting for EA BioWare to announce their "Everyone gets 3 free aliases!" campaign for TOR.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:30PM Report
Drakonus writes:

First, you don't have to use it.

Second, the only people you're going to use it with are those that know you and have your e-mail anyway.

So, please chill people, there are only a couple of people I've used it with and I think it's awesome.  I can communicate with my nephew who is on another server, and join him if I choose.  NOT everyone on your friends list or even in your guild and see your Real ID.  Just the ones you've opted use it with.  Just some food for thought. 

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:33PM Report
ran30just writes:

People keep comparing this to Facebook or myspace. asumming that everyone who plays wow uses those sites if that were the case then there wouldn't be a problem.

However not everyone who plays wow uses those sites. I have played with Dr.s lawers and teachers who don't want people they work with knowing they play video games.

Sad that once again Blizard makes a drastic change for a simple issue. Who really cares what a troll says seriously lets compermise every 13 millions peoples sanity

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:34PM Report
erictlewis writes:

What I want to know is where is the news madia on this.  All the want to cover is the oil spill.  This is huge potentialy giving away your id's.  Where are all the parrent orginazations who talk about being safe on the internet.  Whare are all the organizations who preach confidentaily and tell us to tell our kids to be save.

I dont see any of those agencies comming forward, and I wonder why?

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:42PM Report
erictlewis writes:

What I want to know is where is the news madia on this.  All the want to cover is the oil spill.  This is huge potentialy giving away your id's.  Where are all the parrent orginazations who talk about being safe on the internet.  Whare are all the organizations who preach confidentaily and tell us to tell our kids to be save.

I dont see any of those agencies comming forward, and I wonder why?

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:42PM Report
erictlewis writes:

sorry for the double post sometimes my internet hicups.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:44PM Report
Gadareth writes:

From what I am hearing :-

1) There is NO opt out policy you opt out by not posting thats it.

2) Yes the white papers (i.e. phone books and their ilk) are part of tthe proble. Your IP address tells people a lot of inrofmation it gies your geneal location as well as your IP provider. So if you have a general location a copy of the phoe directory for that area combined with the persons real name your definatly on the way to finding all you need to track them down.

3) Whilst being annymous is a bad thing in that people do tend to tras talk because there is no comuppence (well except for moderators ...) Displaying peoples real names leads to bigger issues, now predators can just sit silent in the forums and track down people without having to post anything themselves. Blizzard  is giving the info away.

Basically this move has no redeeming merits what so ever. my advice is want it to go away speak with your wallet cancel your sub and let Blizzard know if they want you back they drop this policy. Yes I know one person leaving will not make them change but if wnough of you do even they will get the message.

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:46PM Report
eye_m writes:

They state that they will make efforts to insure that everyone uses their real name, How exactly do they do that, without invading your privacy? Accounts can be paid with timecards, so at what point can they determine that you used a false name.



Lloyd Earl Pesha-Winston Charlie Huffalot XXIV

Thu Jul 08 2010 12:53PM Report
Wraithone writes:

This is a very bad idea. Not only does it violate basic principles of privacy/security, it leaves Blizzard open to unnecessary liability. I suspect they are trying to tie into Facepalms HUGE market with this stunt. I doubt they realize(or care) how many people object to this.

Thu Jul 08 2010 1:03PM Report
Bruwin writes:

If they wanted to reduce the amount of trolls, they should have just introduced a handle to post on the forums. One per account. Only way to post as multiple people is to have multiple accounts. That would have had the same effect on people who will currently think twice about posting under this new policy. Would it stop all trolling? No. Will this stop all trolling? No. Will this open yourself up to be trolled? HELL YES!

I think that Blizzard forgot that Anonymous didn't go away just because they're not allowed to post on the Blizzard forums anymore.

Thu Jul 08 2010 1:26PM Report
Bruwin writes:

Oh, and before I forget:

@Drakonus an addon has already been written to harvest realid names from in game. So as of right now, realid is not secure at all. Granted, Blizzard will likely patch that security hole. I hope they will, anyway. But the breach is already there. And who's to say there won't be more down the line?

Thu Jul 08 2010 1:30PM Report
Hashberry writes:

Blizzard claims this is to stop the trolls, but it's their own fault the trolls are as out of hand as they are.

1.They chose a forum system where each toon can post, versus each account like most other games.  They could simply change to a system more similar to other gaming forums.

2. Their own rules are violated by these posts.  It was in their hands to address them, following their OWN code of conduct rules.  Instead, they hesitate to ban or inflict much of a punishment.  You can report the SAME people over and over for posts containing blatent violations, and they're simply not discouraged from continuing that behavior.  Sure,Blizz wants to keep their money.  Well, it's likely costing them more in the end.


I for one will be deleting my account and going elsewhere.

Thu Jul 08 2010 1:50PM Report
AoCrules writes:

I'm professional troll and real ID isnt going to stop me. Things just get more personal.

Thu Jul 08 2010 2:00PM Report
Terany writes:

Trying to claim this is some kind of privacy issue is silly.  Blizzard is not forcing this system on anyone, you have complete control over where and how your identity is revealed.  Blizzard does not force players to use Real ID, nor do they force players to post on their forums.  If this is not something you are comfortable doing then don't do it.


I think the funniest part of this argument is that people freak out when their name is attached to their WoW account.  Why is that do you think?  Are people scared you'll be able to google their name and come up with their myspace page?  Home address?  Personal telephone numbers?


Rather than attack Blizzard for this I'd recommend cleaning up your online presence.  If you can google your name and you get a page full of information about yourself you are definitely doing something wrong.


I fully support Blizzard's move.  I don't like internet anonymity in certain places and I believe it is Blizzard's right to run their game and forums however they wish.  They are not retroactively changing the forums, your name will not be attached to posts you made in the past.  Your name will not be available to anyone unless you allow it.  This is so far away from a violation of privacy I'm insulted some people are trying to make that case.

Thu Jul 08 2010 2:40PM Report
Smokeysong writes:

I first thought about the celebrity, and was "OMG! People will know what toons Morgan Webb plays and harrass her while she plays, she'll have to quit!" Then I remembered - her posts on the WoW forums will be under her name, but her toons' names won't be shown unless she wants them to be.

We all know (that is, those of us who know who Morgan Webb is, and if you don't, you're not a gamer :D ) that Morgan plays WoW. We know a bunch of celebrities play WoW, because they've told us they do. Does this tool put them more at risk? No. We already know they play. It doesn't link their name to their toons, so they aren't more at risk, and they are already celebs, so they are already exposed to whatever crazies are out there. . .

Oh no, my child will post and people will know his/her name! Once again, unless they choose to expose their toon names, they won't be any more exposed than they were before - and, they have the option of not posting. Don't post, no one knows your name.

Don't sign up on any Real ID accounts, no one will know your real name. Don't post. no one will know your real name. it IS optional.

It is true the latter prevents you from posting if you decide not to expose your real name. My knee-jerk reaction was to object to that, but I'm not sure that Blizzard hasn't stepped up and taken a long term apprroach toward making individuals more responsible for themselves in our society.That, in my opinion, is a very good thing.

In the meantime though, I do wish they'd take a more direct approach toward stopping some of the biggotted and rude posts in the public channels on the gaming servers. As it stands, it is rare that I don't have a ticket in on at least one of my toons regarding some violation of the ToU I think is important enough to report.

I just had a thought - I wonder how many of these people bleating and whining about how their kids' names will be exposed, or that they will be exposed to danger because they are female, are actually the kinds of forum trolls and ignorant posters that should be embarrassed to be exposed, and are trying to sway public opinion and make Blizzard keep them anonymous?






Thu Jul 08 2010 2:52PM Report
Lawlmonster writes:

I just had a thought - I wonder how many of these people bleating and whining about how their kids' names will be exposed, or that they will be exposed to danger because they are female, are actually the kinds of forum trolls and ignorant posters that should be embarrassed to be exposed, and are trying to sway public opinion and make Blizzard keep them anonymous?


People keep bringing this up like it's a valid point, but the fact of the matter is that if anyone feels threatened that their privacy is being invaded, whether a troll or otherwise, they have a right to complain. Keep trying to trivialize people's fears, because all it's doing is making the continual and expressed arguments being presented more shallow than their previous regurgitation.

Thu Jul 08 2010 3:12PM Report
SWGmodAlpha writes:

Right, because you have never been E-harrassed or had your ID stolen that means it's no big deal.


When will it be a big deal?  When some physco uses the information posted in the forum to track some one down and kill them?  Laugh all you want and there are real life violent crimes motivated by online gaming.


Exposing your customers information, regardless of what it is, is never going to be a good idea, especially for a gaming company that privdes a virtual fantasy play ground.

Thu Jul 08 2010 3:28PM Report
Psychow writes: This is going to be great! Now I can finally find out if those "female" players are really chicks. Then I can find out where some of them live. Hopefully nearby! Then I can swing by, maybe get their phone number, where they work. You know, just kinda follow them around. It'll be GREAT!! Thu Jul 08 2010 3:32PM Report
Schnizit writes:

Awful idea

Thu Jul 08 2010 9:51PM Report
xcerebrus writes: deleted Thu Jul 08 2010 10:15PM Report
Flaime writes: (sarcasm, tongue in cheek...) Frankly, at this point, I think it would only be fair to have the following occur... 1.  Every corporate officer of Activision and Blizzard should have the names of all their family members listed.   2.  Every person who is totally in favor of this should immediately post all the names of their family members along with their own.   3.  Every person capable of easily obtaining the resulting personal information they find from those names should post what they find.   4.  Document the resulting chaos and rage over such exposure that they are forcing on the rest of us and compare it with their corporate stand on taking this action or the forum posts in support of it.  Why not, if it is all good?   Seems only fair to me...if you are going to force me and my family to be exposed to gold farmers, spammers, hackers, stalkers, and all around fruit loop idiots who can potentially destroy my life, then you should be in that same boat with the rest of us...the corporate leaders included.   Screw civil rights and privacy protection laws, go ahead and nuke Lady Liberty and get it over with.   sheesh. sorry, but I'm just completely blown away by the stubborn stupidity of those who refuse to see just how far all this can, and probably WILL, go, and it is far beyond any Blizzard forum posts. O_o Fri Jul 09 2010 12:42AM Report
MurlockDance writes: Great blog entry and look forward to hearing more about this from you. I for one hate the idea of my privacy being compromised to this point. At least there is a choice right now: don't post in forums and if the RealID becomes part of the game, don't sub to WoW, boycott Blizz, whatever. Shame if it comes down to that, but at least this is an identity problem I can avoid. Fri Jul 09 2010 4:38AM Report
Kenageru writes: And with most of the account security-related info being centered around personal info, the RealID just made it infinitely easier for hackers and the like to steal your account and God knows what else... Fri Jul 09 2010 5:35AM Report
hazy writes: for those that dont know already this idea was cancelled Sun Jul 11 2010 4:27PM Report
bronzeronin writes:

Yeah cancelled for now, but you need to read mister CEO's post again and then tell me that Blizz will not ever try to do this again.  Glad I quit awhile back over lack of customer service.  And I mean quit I only quit once and will never go back

Tue Jul 13 2010 7:28PM Report writes:
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