Blizzard Forums Will Soon Display Your Real Name

How do you stem the tide of a forum flooded with flame wars, trolling and other unpleasantness? Just do what Blizzard is doing for the official forums for StarCraft II and World of Warcraft: Display posters' real names.

Blizzard poster Nethaera breaks the news to fans in the forums: their internet anonymity will soon be a thing of the past. Going into effect with the launch of the new StarCraft II community site before July 27, with World of Warcraft following suit as the Cataclysm expansion nears, all posts and replies in official Blizzard forums will contain the Real ID, which is the first and last name on each user's account.

Real ID is a feature of the new that allows players to communicate with one another over different servers and games. It was recently introduced to World of Warcraft, and will be part of StarCraft II at launch.

So why the forum change?

The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven't been connected before. With this change, you'll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.

It may go against everything internet forum posters believe in, but it strikes me as an amazingly simple and effective solution to a problem that's been around for years, and I'm not just talking the flaming and grief.

I've been playing MMO games for more than a decade now. I spent a good couple of years in EverQuest, interacting with the same people every day, yet I don't know any of them. They were my closest friends at the time, and they've all completely disappeared from my life now that I don't play anymore. This change could keep that from happening to Blizzard fans.

With the launch of the new, it's important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that's highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID — including these forum changes — have been made with this goal in mind.

Sure, there are privacy issues involved, but then you can simply not post on the forums, right?

So what do you guys think? Who wants to see their full name displayed in the Kotaku comments? Update: Upcoming Changes to Forums [Battle.Net Forums Via StarCraft IncGamers]


    I think that for people like me, it makes no difference. I am anonymous in my real name.

    Always have anyway. Don't see the problem with it.

    I wonder just how many of the people having a cry on the Blizz forums have a Failbook account.
    Personally I hate the idea of Facebook, giving all your personal information to a random website just because it's the 'in' thing to do these days.

    If they don't like it they don't have to register an account with their proper name. I've had multiple WoW accounts, all under different names.

    this will cause some deaths for sure...

    Personally I don't have a problem with it, but it does pose interesting privacy problems - i.e. a newspaper doesn't publish the full names of people who send it letters to the editor, just their first name, so that if some hothead takes their message the wrong way they don't let their fingers do the stalking through the yellow pages - although with an international network, that threat is reduced.

    i dont mind it actually, i mean 9 out of 10 posts within the offical forums are nothing but troll posts and flame wars.

    Ok so it gives out your real name big deal theres going to be hundreds of people with your real name on on the forums. Now if they start showing full addresses and phone numbers then sure, people can be up in arms about that, but just showing your real name is nothing

    with the addition of social networking websites
    it makes for male degenerates to stalk the female players that much easier.

    the privacy issues here would be insane.

    As the forums will retroactively switch your name if you have posted under anomymity you will now go from 'girl gamer' to 'kelly robinson'

    One quick google or facebook search and you are in all sorts of cyber stalking joy

    This is a bad bad thing.

    I agree one handle for all accounts to stop the flaming garbage.

    But your REAL name = a bad bad thing.

    expect lawsuits galore after the 1st cyber stalking case for this.

    Has anyone checked the EULA when you put your real name in stating at the time it could be used in the forums? I doubt they had that foresight and as you can't change your real name its locked in.

      It's easy enough for them to require you to accept a new set of Terms & Conditions before allowing you to post in the forums again.

      I'm sure there enough unofficial fansites out there with their own forums that those who don't like the new rules will still find somewhere to go.

        the issue is they have stated its retroactive.

        thus all previous posts are now going to show your old name.

        I don't see this actually getting implemented.

          its not retroactive. old posts will not be changed they are basically bringing in a new forums and scrapping the old one thus all post made before these new forums open up will not use your real name.

          Actually, they specifically said it would not be retroactive

          "All posts here on the current World of Warcraft forums, or any of our classic forums, will remain as-is. They won't (and can't) automatically switch to showing a real first and last name."

            ah okay, my major grievance was with the retro-ness I must have misread it

    Looks like a wonderful way for in game stupidity to escalate to real world harassment. Creepy stalkers can now take their obsessions out of the virtual world.

    Sure most people won't be affected in this manner, but those that are would likely have legitimate legal grievances against Blizzard.

    In this scenario I'd be more worried about the idea of being the guy trolls are aiming to annoy. A phone book, the World of Warcraft forums and a list of people who take the game seriously is enough to make a trolls mouth water.

    It's a good idea, the anonymity of the internet has all ready proven the John Gabriel Greater Fuckwad theory many times over.

    Now that the veil is lifted people might think first and post second.

    Cyber stalking isn't an issue with the change becuase, news flash, it's all ready an issue, and a small one. This won't noticably increase the problem at all.

    So i sign up to with a fake "real" do they police this?

    In regards to keeping 'friends', many of us do not view online games in this way. We may make friends, but they are very compartmentalized friendships - as I've explained to some ingame before, I appreciate the people I know while I'm there, but I don't give them much thought when I'm not.

    People like us don't WANT emotionally needy people chasing us down from all corners of the net, trying to "reinforce" meaningful relationships, that were much more casual than they want to admit to themselves.

    "Candy69! Hey babe! How've you been? I missed you so much, girl. Uh... why does your handle say 'Mark Thompson'..?"

    It is also fairly common when applying for jobs that the assessors will google applicants names. This could have real life consequences for some less savoury people and their chance at getting a job... I would consider that a fair trade for trolling and flaming

    I think one name for all your accounts so no matter what they know who it is would be better than having everybody know the exact name.

    I've been in Vent chats where somebody loses a roll on an item of loot and goes completely nuts. Not the "Well screw you guys you said I could have the it the whole game and now you give it to this Johnny come lately." But screaming about murdering everyone and everybody they know. Now with real names they may track down the person or some dude who just happens to have the same name and hurt them. Just look up cloudsong on youtube.

    The other problem is I met quite a few ladies who would never play a female character. Simply because they got all sorts of weird tells or simply dismissed because of their gender.

    I've played enough Wow to know there are psycho's on there who need to detox from that goddamn game. Hmm now I'm thinking about renewing my subscription, Damn will I never escape?

    On the surface it seems like a good idea... but retroactively? I think that raises a simple legal question: If a person uses a forum with the expectation of anonymity that expectation should be respected and it probably falls under privacy laws. I think it would be safer and just as effective if a player has to agree to have all posts retroactively changed when they log-in to the forum but still be allowed to play the game.

    This creates a few new problems too: Libel. Generally speaking, mouthing off at someone in a forum isn't libel because the person's identity isn't being targeted. But with this? Suddenly every mean thing ever said becomes a legal liability. With real name in hand someone can easily sue anyone they just don't like.

    Another problem is general insanity. Some people have been known to take an online flame war and take it into real life. I wonder what would happen if some nut uses the Real ID to track someone down and kill them? It actually HAS been known to happen. So what if a retroactive change gets someone killed. In real life. Would the company who made such a change be responsible? I would think so.

    for better latency got to

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now