So this past week, WoW players threw a fit when Blizzard announced that upon release of Starcraft II they would be forcing players to use their real names in the online forums. This news came on the heels of some really innovative things Blizzard has been doing with Battle.net. Similar to Steam‘s model but just for Blizzard games, you’re now able to log into all of your Blizzard games through a single Battle.net account. You will be able to contact people on your friends list through this account, no matter which game or realm they are on, and you can allow real life friends (or whomever you wish) to see your real name and search for you with RealID.
The logic, Blizzard claimed, behind forcing forum users to use their real names is that it would curb trolling and general forum debauchery like that which occurs on a daily basis on the World of Warcraft Forums. WoW players knew that they would be next and much bawling ensued. Some of the arguments were a bit far-fetched like female players crying the blues that they didn’t want to be “discovered” and “stalked.” I think most of them are giving themselves waaay too much credit. In reality, a lot of the complaints were also from fat dudes who have been playing sexy female Night elves and don’t want their cover blown.
Some arguments were legitimate like workplace discrimination and people applying to jobs not wanting future employers to Google them, find out they play WoW and dismiss their application. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of stereotypes surrounding gamers, especially WoW players, so I can understand this stance. Of course there’s also the trolls who will harass you in real life too now with your real name for all to see. The major sentiment was that implementing this system harms the good players and really will do little to deter the trolls. I mean, it’s proven that real names don’t stop a lot of people from making asses of themselves online. Just look at Facebook, real names, photos, personal identifying information and all doesn’t stop people from trolling and generally making uncouth comments.
Blizzard backs down