This RealID Thing

July 13, 2010 at 7:24 pm | Posted in mmorpg | 6 Comments
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This is actually a pretty good movie

I would be remiss if I did not offer a resolution post about the whole World of Warcraft RealID thing. They gave in like a drunk teenager on prom night. That’s great and I’m glad that this means that virtually every other MMO studio will probably be scared off anything similar for a while, but there are a few points I wanted to address.

A lot of the people I saw defending RealID seem to have their heads up their asses.

They have every right to defend the system and I don’t deny they had many good points, but the vast majority of people for the system seemed very arrogant about it. They tended to characterize the anti-RealID movement as people who were childish, dumb, naive, paranoid, and generally crazy.

I disagree.

I don’t want to generalize and say that the people for RealID were arrogant in their ‘rightness’, but I don’t recall reading more than one pro argument that wasn’t tinged with condescension.

Saying people shouldn’t be paranoid about being harassed on the internet and then having draconian rules for your own comments section (imaginary example) sort of conflicts with reality doesn’t it? The truth is although its rare, everyone goes through it at some point. Does anyone out there not have a story about harassment, griefing, stalking, flared tempers, crazy guildies, or other non-stable internet types?

Putting all the actual arguments aside, when your paying customers voice their concerns in great numbers, as a business you should probably listen. That’s what Blizzard did, they listened, and no amount of sulking sookie-baby complaints about angry nerds getting their way is going to change that.

What would using peoples real name actually do? Severely limit direct feedback. Slightly cut down on terrible behaviour. Increase security problems. Increase harassment, griefing, and stalking. Decrease socialization, which is sort of the point of this whole thing isn’t it?

I’d like to take a moment to ponder just what the heck is going on in the minds of Blizzard. Its like some Activision bigwig saw this whole facebook trend and the money making potential (potential I doubt will last, facebook is the next myspace and we all know it) and said “Lets do that but with our games!” and didn’t think it through beyond that.

I don’t think they ever dealt with the issue of online identity at any point, and thats very strange coming from a company that is built on alternative online identity.

For all the supposed thought they put into making people use their real names on the forums there were far more arguments against it. My own argument is simple. What makes you think if people are using their real names they’re suddenly princes of politeness? Shame on me for quoting Shakespeare in this context but What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

I think I just classed up this blog by 100%.

Activision Blizzard has a partnership with Facebook, a business agreement that isn’t going to get flushed down the toilet any time soon. Who knows how they’re going to implement their future social network, but they are going to implement it. Hopefully with their players concerns in mind, but maybe not.

As Charles Bronson would say “This ain’t ovah!” Ugh, crap. I think I just nullified that Shakespeare quote.



  1. I find it odd that this whole debacle occurred the week after I left WoW. Shame I would loved to have seen the chat channels flare up in some of the most vitriolic “discussions” in the matter. But I agree with your point about the fact that someone just didn’t think this through, though still Blizzard has some of the sharpest minds in the industry of gaming and internet so for something like this to even slip through the cracks is strange indeed.

    I guess the fact that just because there’s people that are willing to twitter about their menstrual cycle and even joke about posting their other private information so readily to anyone doesn’t always translate to everyone wanting to adopt that mentality.

    • I think its all about choice. People should be allowed to choose when, where, and to whom they give out information about themselves. if i give out all kinds of personal info on this blog, and then don’t want all kinds of personal info flung around some gaming forums, then that should be my right.

      • I have to agree with you on that, I mean at first glance it does sound like a good idea to give some accountability to bad behavior but in the end of the day more good people will get hurt than bad ones.

        But it won’t stop me from posting this because it’s just too damn funny:

        • yeah i debated linking that actually. its pretty good.

  2. Yeah, I was surprised a bit by the comments of some of the people defending it (or saying that to be upset about it is paranoid, etc.). You can’t find a thing about me via Google under my given name – and that’s the way I like it! In contrast, my gender, ethnicity, interests/hobbies, general location and/or certain life status details might be available under various pseudonyms, but again, not tied to my given name (or to each other, for that matter).

    Of course, I don’t play WoW or have an account, but let’s hope all the other game developers out there take the hint.

    • for me developers taking the hint is my big concern. Where WoW leads others follow. smaller games just can’t take the risk of that kind of backlash though

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