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Blizzard to force real names on forums

Discussion in 'Warcraft & Starcraft' started by Cap'n CJ, Jul 9, 2010.

  1. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    http://forums.wow-europe.com/thread.html?topicId=13816838128&sid=1&pageNo=1

    Blizzard have kicked up a right shitstorm here. The announcement thread on the US forums had something like 35'000 replies last I checked, and it's going along at a rate of knots. Even serious new swebsites have started posting on this, including the BBC, and the Wall Street Journal, which I gather is some big American thing.

    Could we see other big game companies following suit in the future? Could this be the beginning of something big?

    Ooh, on a side note; A Blizzard employee decided that all the bad reaction was silly, and thus posted his real name to prove how safe it was. It did NOT go well.
     
  2. starfox64 Gems: 12/31
    Latest gem: Moonstone


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    Uh oh! How are the kids supposed to flame one another over there if they're not anonymous!?!
     
  3. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    I think the main concern is stuff like this.

    That, and it's just a stupid and pointless invasion of privacy. Me and a mate tried googling eachother yesterday to see who could dig up more information. I won, with addresses of his old house, new house, his mon's house in Florida, telephone numbers to all 3, his email, her email, and details of the school and college he went to, and the uni he's at now. Throw in the courses he took and a few photos. The amazing thing is that NONE of the information came from social networking sites.

    You leave a bigger e-footprint than you'd think.
     
  4. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Morons. It'll cost them customers. Me for example. I won't buy any Blizzard product under these conditions.

    DRM is bad enough, and has often enough in my experience resulted in real stability issues with some games. Grudgingly accepting crap like Bioware's (for example) mandatory licensing, that is aimed on preventing me from selling my copy of the game (which they feel deprives them of money they they deserve! Selling games second hand is sale-stealing!) is the final limit for me.

    I have a hunch of what goes through Blizzard's mind. I think they care about their bottom line, and certainly not about their customers. Or put another way: It is all about their customers. Assumption: With Real-ID way they are able to re-sell their customer database to advertisers, which, since it uses real names, then can be cross-referenced with other social network data? A qualified set of customer data is valuable, with more than 10 million subscribers worldwide for WoW alone that amounts to a lot of money.

    I dislike the related reduction of privacy for a couple of reasons: I don't like targeted marketing. And I don't want my employer, or anyone else for that matter, to see what brilliant insights or asinine nonsense I produce in my spare time. For the very same reason I am not on facebook and the like, and I certainly don't use twitter. Employers are already known to check facebook pages of prospective job candidates. And then, as harbourboy's example illustrates, I want to keep as low as possible the odds that some demented psycho who feels I crossed him on the web, or that I stole his kills or his long longed for, favourite item, might have an easier time going after my real self.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  5. Caradhras

    Caradhras I may be bad... but I feel gooood! Veteran

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    Just crazy and at odds with some laws (over here we are entitled to certain rights regarding information that is stored in databases). Not that it will make a difference as there are many loopholes already but that will just cause more problems.

    Having a client or an employer check out your social network by googling your name is bad enough -unless if you have a very common name and they can't really identify you. Potentially using or storing information about you and your gaming activities is just a violation of privacy.

    I'm not naive, I know there are databases about each and every one of us. But that is just taking things too far.
     
  6. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    Raggy, you've hit upon an important point: This doesn't just affect World of Warcraft.

    Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3, are you listening lads?
     
  7. NOG (No Other Gods)

    NOG (No Other Gods) Going to church doesn't make you a Christian

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    I was reading about this on MSN and one of the commenters mentioned something interesting. Apparently, one of the Moderators on the forums, in order to assure everyone that it was perfectly safe, went ahead and shared their real name on the forums. Within hours, their address, phone number, wife's name, kids' names, kids' schools, and all sorts of other stuff was posted online and the Mod in question started getting horribly abusive phonecalls and emails. Blizzard went on a delete/ban spree, and I imagine legal action may be pending. Needless to say, releasing your real name online in a forum full of trolls and flamers may result in some bad reactions.

    I expect Blizzard will either abandon this idea or suffer horribly (and possibly legally in some places).
     
  8. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Cap'n CJ,
    there is a point goons like the managers of Blizzard don't get. They look at their numbers and see quarter results and growth. Their shareholders i.e. (short term) investors (since the games market is iirc considered to be comparatively volatile) also see it just that way. The point is that money is a finite thing for consumers.

    When there is a lot of month left at the end of the money I don't buy games. Games are a luxury item. I think that a lot of the collapse of sales for music CDs has to do with - no, not the bogeyman piracy but - consumers spending their finite money on other nice things like PS2, flat screen TVs, I-Pods, I-Pads and whatnot. That is IMO supported by the fact that sales have apparently stayed stable after music companies removed their much hyped DRM from music CDs.

    I project that on Blizzard's new policy as well: I will change my priorities in response to a changed market. Since my privacy is more important to me than the game, I'll spend my finite resources elsewhere. I only think that, with the new games in the loop - big titles like Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 - there are plenty people around who will want to play them no matter what. There is a point when the hassle isn't worth the thrill any more. What I presume is that Blizzard is up to find a balance of horrors.

    There are, as for now, plenty of other decent games around - the Witcher rocks - and I still haven't finished the NWN-2 add ons, and PS:T for that matter, neither the sequel to Drakensang, haven't finished the Gothic series, have never played Risen and Bioshock ... And since I am not into on-line games and prefer single player anyway, so far it appears I can dodge the real-ID thing and Blizzard's greedy excesses. But then, presumably Ubisoft, Bethesda, EA and Atari are watching Blizzard's policy carefully, and if they get through, they'll follow suit. Meh.

    Anyway, I'm going off topic. /rant
     
  9. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I will certainly want to play these new games. However, if they are anything like their predecessors (Startcraft, Diablo, and D2), there will also be a single player format. I won't need to post my real ID to use that, and I'll just stay away from the multiplayer scene (which can be annoying anyway).

    The problem comes from games like WoW, where there is no "single player" option. I have only done the trial version of WoW, as I dislike any "pay to play" game, but having to give my real name is just one more reason to not be interested.

    As an aside, how would Blizzard know I'm using my real name or not? What if I tell them my name is James Smith? How would they know it isn't?
     
  10. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Good point.

    As for pay-to-play games, titles like Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age (games that I really like) are pushing single player games into that direction with their annoying reliance on DLC (which so far didn't keep me from acquiring some of these DLCs :hmm: :nolike: ).
     
  11. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    I don't own any of the title you listed, but as far as I was aware, all of them are single player (in fact, I thought Dragon Age was designed as a single player game), and none of them require a fee to play (other than the initial purchase of the game).

    I still don't know how Blizzard is going to know if their customers are being honest with their contact list. You could always do something like this:

    James Smith
    123 Main Street
    Edgewood, MD 21010

    The city, state, and zip are for my work location. There are probably dozens of James Smiths in the nation, some of which almost certainly live on Main Street. How would they know otherwise if it's not a pay to play service? (For Pay to Play, you need a credit card, which of course would be linked to your real name.)
     
  12. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    I suppose they could tell in general about your location through your IP address, but that would just mean you couldn't claim you were in Indonesia if you were actually in Lodi, Colorado. (It's the same thing that allows targeted ads - "Find hot singles in YourTown, Earth!")

    I think it's foolish, but it would be kind of funny to see how many trolls/flamers suddenly calm down and become timid when the anonymity that allows them to be aggressively antisocial 'badasses' is removed.
     
  13. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    I read in a little and it appears that the Real-ID thing is all about merging the Blizzard fan site with or connect it to social networks such as facebook. That is also suggested by Blizzard doling out Beta keys on facebook. As in: generate growth, new customers etc. pp. and the loss of customer privacy is an acceptable price for that. No, the customer doesn't he come first - he is first of all a cow to be milked, of money and information - and if they need a few less moderators for their forums they may even save money.

    In light of that new information I modify my earlier view: They are interested in generating more paying customers primarily, and only secondarily in then selling their customer's data, presumably spiced with facebook information (*shudder*) ... :eek: :outta:

    But let me spin the rumour mill a bit: ... :D Blizzard RealID Unpopular Internally
    Referrring to the arctual rumour found here
    Leaving the "my sisters, flatmate's boyfriend's cousin's workmate's friend" aside, if correct decisions regarding Battle.net implementation, Real ID, and plans for the general acquisition of new players for the business are no longer in Blizzard's own hands suggests IMO that Blizzard is a takeover candidate and about to be swallowed, and delegated to a 'profit center'.

    Three cheers for me if I'm right ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2010
  14. Cap'n CJ

    Cap'n CJ Arrr! Veteran

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    It seems common sense won through in the end.

    Let this be a lesson to other companies that think privacy isn't important.
     
  15. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    Sort of.

    Since I don't play WoW myself I had to ask a friend. He said he managed to switch off Real-ID for his account. It is sort of complicated apparently, since he - and he is quite savvy - needed to consult forums for more than an hour before knowing how to do it. When it is on, all your posts on the official forums will be 'in the clear' i.e. with your real name.

    That said, he succeeded in switching it off, and he can play without the feature. It is on by default. You can switch it off through setting in parental control or some such. The price: You cannot use inter-game and inter-server chats, and you cannot post on the official forums and are read only. That doesn't bother him.

    Since Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 aren't out et we'll see about that.
     
  16. joacqin

    joacqin Confused Jerk Veteran

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    I am going to come in here from the opposite side, I have been an avid WoW player to and from since the release and I purchased SC2 as soon as I was able. In my experience and I have played a large part of hte games released in the last few years that tend to interest people on these boards Blizzard creates wonderful products. So wonderful that I am finding myself in the fanboi camp when it comes to them. I have ranted about how great WoW is before but it really is, not only the game but he community and the various kinds of support as well.

    I have no problem with releasing my name, I like being able to chat with my friends if they are in different games without this feature the guild I am in WoW would have collapsed when SC2 was released now you keep your friends. I am sure Blizzard is doing it to make more money, everything they do is to make more money but from what I have seen of that company their way of making money is to make really good products and generate satisfied customers. Generally I am as paranoid of big business as the next guy, probably more so but through the last five years where I have been dealing closely with Blizzard the only way they have squeezed money from me is by thouroughly entertaining me and making me feel that I get value for my money.

    I almost feel dirty for writing this post, I wanna flame the evil big bad corporation but I can't. :s
     
    Ragusa likes this.
  17. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Also, I didn't have to give my real name for my battlenet account for SC2, nor did I have to give my real name for my DiabloII account back in the day. The only thing I need to do was to give them an e-mail address. They sent an e-mail to that address with a link provided. All I had to do was click on the link to verify the e-mail address, and presto! I had an account.
     
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