Blizzard rescinds naming policy

Blizzard nixes decision to require real names on forums just three days after it is made.

Earlier this week Blizzard Entertainment drew great debate from its engaged community over a new tweak to the Real ID service. The measure would require users to register with their real names, where they would be attached to forum postings beginning this month with Starcraft II.

Now you'll never know his name.

However, Blizzard has repealed that policy just three days after it was announced. In a post on the World of Warcraft forums, Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime explained the situation.

"I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games," Morhaime said on the forums. "We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

The completely voluntary Real ID system, a service that allows friends to easily follow each other's activities is already live for World of Warcraft users and will launch with Starcraft II at the end of the month. Additionally, Blizzard plans to move forward with beefing up forums by implementing comment threading, improved search functionality, and the ability to up- or down-vote posts. The new forums will arrive near the release of Starcraft II this month and World of Warcraft's Cataclysm later this year.

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Discussion

329 comments
chancellor28
chancellor28

lol Gods Forbid people actually have to stand behind what they post on the official forums. Perhaps if people were held accountable for what they posted Trolling would disappear.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

No takers? Okay. Pity, because I would've been intrigued.

HK-Ghost
HK-Ghost

@swyg: "Maybe, but "at this time" could also mean "as of this moment" as in they just decided right then and there." I find your interpretation of Blizzard's use of the term "at this time" (meaning that what they meant to say was something like "as of this moment") to be highly unlikely. Companies always use vocabulary that keeps their doors open. You'll probably remember that they never really "cancelled" Star Craft Ghost, they just put it on "indefinite hold". They may retry it in the future, just like this issue of having real names as requirements. I'm sure that the people that get payed to analyze those statements before they're made public can tell the difference.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

If that's all it takes to get money out of *your* bank, I suggest you take your business elsewhere. I will state, for definite, that I believe having real names attached to forum posts would improve the standard of behaviour, in general. Some people are just f**king degenerates who don't care about anything - fine, there's nothing you can do with them. But many people will think better of posting something controversial if their name's attached to it, lest a friend or a family member, or even a prospective employer, discover it in future. I'm curious to test this "all it takes is a name" theory. If there's somebody who thinks they can do it, I'd be willing to give them my name just to see what they can get on me. If something potentially threatening emerges, I'll change my position on this. I will very publicly climb-down, and I won't be ashamed to admit that I was wrong. Professional phishers needn't get excited, because I don't have any money. I have the equivalent of $100,000US of student debt, which I'd be happy to give away, however...

Boudica_NG
Boudica_NG

"My name won't give you anything. It's a fairly common one." mbchfdh2 Thats nice - there a lot of people that can't say the same. But then I suppose if it doesn't bother you then it shouldn't bother any of us right? After all its only a matter of time before our identities are stolen or our bank accounts emptied so we should take no measures to prevent that from happening... I get that you think that real names on a forum would improve the quality of the postings. Even though you also say you can't do much with a real name. So why would someone worry about flaming you just because they have their real name on a site? The worst that would happen would be they get their profile blocked. Just like they do now. So whats the point? Also have you not noticed that nowadays people don't give a sh*t what others think of them, or have you managed to avoid reality TV? If so I'm deeply envious...

Kakjens
Kakjens

@jacyp: Why should it offend me? :)) I don't care about it to be honest :D They can even post the picture of my house, I don't make propaganda on the internet, it's useless.

jacyp
jacyp

@Kakjens: Erm... sorry but we were discussing the decision to implant such thing in the first place. We all know that the decision has been revoked and etc. That doesn't prevents us to discuss why such a bad decision was taken before they realize, through the tremendous mass outrage that followed the news, that it was indeed a bad idea. Some people already said that perharps it was a publicitary stunt to create a mass attention to SC2 coming up. I doubt it was that, but that just show that people wonder why the first decision was taken, I would like to know too. Sorry if the simple discussion of the matter offends you in any way. Cheers.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Although I don't agree, I credit and thank you for your intelligent contribution. This would be, off the top of my head, my legal advice to Blizzard as my client in any such litigation in my country. The claimant was told that he'd have to give his real name, and he did so. It was made clear several times in the sign-up process that his real name would be publicly available. He had opportunities to withdraw if he didn't consent, and he didn't take them. Blizzard collect revenues from players monthly (that's an assumption, so alter my advice if that isn't true...), so they're entitled to alter the contract on a monthly basis. If players don't consent to the new terms, they don't need to keep paying their dues, and Blizzard don't need to keep granting them access to the servers. Both parties can walk away. The claimant kept paying and playing and, in doing so, consented to the new terms. Blizzard are a business and are under no obligation to spend more and more money on moderating their forums and gaming environments as their business grows. Provided they give their customers all reasonable notice and do not breach contract, they can change the terms under which their services are provided. This happens in business of all kinds very frequently, and to prevent a company from being able to vary their terms of business for fear of litigation arising from a third party's malice would be dangerous to the spirit of enterprise. And that's just off the top of my head, in five minutes. I'm sure I could do better with a team of five other lawyers. And some money...! ;-)

zmortis
zmortis

This is simple enough to understand. There are people with bad intent out in the world. Blizard decided that rather than bothering to spend time and effort to police their forums to limit the d**k behavior it was easier to expose everyone to everyone else and hope that fear of direct peer pressure would do their job for them. The problem is that the other group of very bad people out there will see this as a perfect opportunity to begin the theft of personal information which can ruin someone else's life. Frankly it is a bad move by Blizzard unless their only goal was to eliminate the overhead of operating forums altogether by making them too personally risky to use. I also wonder what method Blizzard proposed to use in verifying people were not giving them false information about who they really are. I'm sure the average citizen may not think of it, but the identity thieves would certainly use false identies while culling for additional ones. So what if their false identity is compromised, their real one is still relatively safe. It was lucky that some corporate lawyer caught on to this in time before Blizzard enacted a big mistake. This is the stuff which class action lawsuits are built upon. Facebook and the like are already begining to understand the headaches they are building for themselves as the list of litigation against them grows each time they fail to protect the privacy of their customers. I hope this helps.

camarija
camarija

5) LAN. WTF are doing taking away lan? Televised starcraft tournaments done over lan are widely viewed, mainly in asia. People want to replicate these competitive tournaments. It seems like the decision maker either doesn't know the customer or isn't giving the customer what the customer wants. Are you really looking to make a strategy game that alienates it's huge following? I really just want to say FU and give you the middle finger. I've been waiting for too long for the sequel to starcraft and you've completely ruined for me and others like me. Thumbs up if you agree or support the cause. Thumbs down if you support Activision douchebag who wants to "take the fun out of making games".

camarija
camarija

3) Take out the Halo player matching by rank system! This is starcraft not halo!! First, it can take ages to find someone of your rank if you're unlucky. Second, if it is used, it should be used ONLY for competitive play, aka ladder matches ONLY. Unranked matches are meant for learning and having fun. Noob stomping is not inhumane, it's a process most gamers experience on both sides. But the only way to really reach the other side is to get stomped and see how to be 1337 gosu. 4) Chat rooms. The basis for the starcraft community. I love my clan channels. I love my private channels. I love meeting up with people in channels after the game to chat about random stuff or mindlessly trash talk each other silly and set up a series of hostile rematches. This isn't a dateline news investigator area where 40 year old dudes are hunting for some young ass. These are people who are looking for an alternative form of human interaction, if we really want to reduce it to it's basis. But for you guys, it means you will have a social community who want to keep coming back for more every day. Does this remind anyone of the Facebook//Farmville boom? This benefits you, douche bags, now give us back our chat rooms.

camarija
camarija

To the Blizzard Staff. Grow some balls and tell Activision what's up: 1) Don't be douche bags and claim intellectual rights over custom maps made by gamers who put their love and time into making YOUR game a more enjoyable experience for the Starcraft community at large. While we're here: expand the space limitations for custom maps! Currently you cap it at 5 maps with barley enough space to make ONE decent game. Why is there no "suicide" command in map making? That's the basis of most custom maps?? What does this mean? Say goodbye to matrix defense, rpg games, golemz, dirty tank defense, etc. 2) For those that want the least amount of lag, have "Asia Only" (for example) zone, as well as "Asia Open" zone for those that want to play with friends or cross borders but don't mind lag. I have friends in Europe and Asia but I'll have the North America zone as the game stands now, which means there is no way I can play with my friends unless I buy three versions of the same game -_-;;

camarija
camarija

Have they rescinded the rights to all custom maps? Have they increased the space limits for creating custom maps? Have they rescinded the inability to join more than one zone? Have they decided that chat rooms will be allowed? They still have a lot to fix before I even consider buying this game.

Kakjens
Kakjens

@jacyp And I mentioned the real name on forums solution for Blizzard is down. They said that on the forums, there will be no more real name on their forums. So, yeah people keep postin' crap but they don't read the primary source.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

I think Blizzard would argue that making people feel more responsible for their actions is more 'efficient' than anything else. If people behave themselves better, there's no need to monitor, or moderate, or anything. People moderate themselves. Quicker, cheaper, better.

jacyp
jacyp

@Kakjens: I understand your point of view, but the main fact, to me, is that Blizzard has a more simple way to prevent trolling and identify, in game, who's that guy swearing and giving everyone a hard time at the foruns. By the way, I also fail to see what's the real benefit to have a real name attached to your posts in a Blizzard forum, what's the point anyway? Besides "to prevent trolling", I can't see a satisfatory answer, and you can, as I already pointed out, prevent trolling in efficient ways, without all this trouble. Cheers mate.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Lots of 'thumbs-down', but nobody actually telling me why they disagree. Weak. But then, I guess that's internet anonymity for you...

juancorazon
juancorazon

They should've kept this up, it's really disappointing Blizzard.

purecontrol
purecontrol

@xshadowzz im not making fun of u, but yes those games are pretty bad

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Awwwwwww, my God... ... thanks for the link. I love a good weird-o. Ultimately, d*ckheads like her are gonna be d*ckheads whether internet anonymity prevails or not. It's like people calling for Taxi Driver to be banned because John Hinkley Jr. was a nut-bag and tried to assassinate Ronald Reagan... there are nutters everywhere, and you can't let their presence have any say in what you do or don't do. I believe the overwhelming effect of people having to take personal responsibility for what they post on forums would be positive. For one thing, it'd make it more difficult to bully douche-bags like *this* one into going postal, because you know there could be consequences...! I've just watched it again. It's bizarre. I feel like I'm going to laugh... then I find that I can't because it's just too messed-up.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Come on. That's a cheap analysis, and you know it. If you really want to walk that path... the Chinese do lots of things right. They run a ridiculously large and diverse economy extremely successfully. Is "efficiency" a dirty word...? If you have a beef with their authoritarian reputation; well, frankly, I think a bit of authoritarianism wouldn't go amiss on some of the forums that I use, including GameSpot's.

atopp399
atopp399

The government in China is going to implement a law like this so people cannot post online anonymously. Interesting that the government of China and Blizzard think along the same lines.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

My name won't give you anything. It's a fairly common one. I've posted it before on forums, and nobody's turned-up at my door with a machete. Even if you could find out who I am (and I doubt that you could), why does that suddenly mean I'm at risk? HUNDREDS of people know who I am - and I'm not just talking about adolescent internet doodling. Most of the people I've met in my life know a damn-sight more about me than my name and my preferred mage-staff. People know who you are, therefore you're a potential target?! Well, then. Let's all stay home and actively avoid human contact, black-up our windows and never answer the phone... mind you, WoW players probably do that already. Too much X-Files. Too many people taking themselves far too seriously.

Boudica_NG
Boudica_NG

"I just don't understand this "privacy" beef. I mean, really, unless you're someone important, what's your privacy worth, anyway? Who the Hell would bother to find out anything personal about me, for instance? And even if they managed to, what would it matter?" - mbchfdh2 I love this argument - the "if you have nothing to hide then you have nothing to worry about" argument that governments everwhere are using to rid us of our civil liberties - as its almost always stated by people who have never encountered identity theft, stalking and for that matter have never experienced insititutional discrimination. There are a lot of reasons for us "unimportant" people to protect our identities online. With just a name and one other piece of information I could find out a lot about you. I could find out what school you went to. Who your family are. If I couldn't rip you off I might be able to rip one of them off. This is the reality of the internet and identity theft is flourishing because of people thinking "what harm could it do to put my real details on this site". And thats before you consider I could also work out what gender, religion or ethnic origin you are. The world is still full of sexist, racist, crazy people who genuinely have nothing better to do then to make your life a misery if they choose to do so.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

was never gonna work no matter how many people wanted it to... there are just too many people capable of even half-decent phishing scams now, that it would be a field day for them given easy opportunity like this. I'm surprised someone as mighty as Blizzard couldn't see the wood for the trees on this one before the idea even left someone's lips.

hassy94
hassy94

"It's a pity Blizzard isn't going ahead with this, I don't necessarily agree with having peoples addresses and what not easily available but I can't see any reason not to at least have peoples real names attatched to their posts. As many have already suggested it might have brought a level of maturity into the game community that I think is sorely needed, people may have thought twice about being a jerk online when they realize that their name is attatched to their ignorant behaviour." To try prove a point 1 Blizzard Forums moderator posted his name up on a thread and said 'what harm could it do?'. The members of the forum went on to find his home address, the name of his wife and children and what school his children went to. This kind of thing just isn't safe.

scyldschefing
scyldschefing

This was just another attempt to follow the philosophy of Facebook founder Zuckerburg in destroying all walls and barriers between Internet identity and real-life identity, and having a social network site for everything to be an actual face on the internet without any means of hiding any personal information whatsoever. Is it any surprise there was pushback? If there was such a ruckus on Facebook's site over this issue, how did Blizzard expect that this would turn out in games where the expectation is to take on an alter-ego, or, in the case of WoW, even part of its purpose? If there isn't a clearer message about how completely out of touch even a developer like Blizzard can be with its playerbase, then I don't know what would be.

themadsheep2001
themadsheep2001

@empiretoys i can understand where you're coming from, but there are some bitter people out there who would use someone's real name to exploit them in some way, ie using it to find out sensitive information. you'd be suprised how much damage determined malicious people can do with just a name...

empiretoys
empiretoys

It's a pity Blizzard isn't going ahead with this, I don't necessarily agree with having peoples addresses and what not easily available but I can't see any reason not to at least have peoples real names attatched to their posts. As many have already suggested it might have brought a level of maturity into the game community that I think is sorely needed, people may have thought twice about being a jerk online when they realize that their name is attatched to their ignorant behaviour.

h3rb
h3rb

While I had no complaints about the planned forum policy change, I think that this is a commendable decision. While Real ID is a good idea, you just have to respect your client base. Making the Real ID optional on all fronts gets that done.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Hey, I'm sorry if that read like a personal shot. I didn't mean it that way. I just don't understand this "privacy" beef. I mean, really, unless you're someone important, what's your privacy worth, anyway? Who the Hell would bother to find out anything personal about me, for instance? And even if they managed to, what would it matter? When an internet nobody says "this invades my privacy", it makes me wonder what the f**k they're up to. Because frankly, when I use the internet, there's nothing for anyone to find out.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Why? Why are you so ashamed/afraid of having your name (and not your address... no need to exaggerate) attached to what you say?

gandalf_storm
gandalf_storm

its not necessary for real life names or any rl to be posted, either by force or otherwise, im sure I speak for 99% of gamers, we want privacy online, not our names & address`s etc. posted on forums

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

Why do that when you can pay an infant Chinaman to earn it for you while you sleep...? ... oh, sorry, you mean REAL money? In the REAL world? Sorry, we have nothing in common.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Darn and I was so going to earn loads of money as a WoW real-life payback assassin.

mbchfdh2
mbchfdh2

I went over to the forum and looked at the complaints. Maybe I picked a handful of particularly poor ones, but they seemed to be rehashes of the following: "there was this one guy who got hunted-down and killed by this other guy because he pwned him@wow lol ftw wtf blah-blah-blah..." And, "this is an invasion of my privacy". For me, these kinda responses do nothing to refute the stereotype that people who play MMORPGs are half-breeds with poor hygiene who take the day off work to slay a dragon. What are you so afraid of, really...?

blaze11987
blaze11987

I think the whole point behind the idea was the fact that if your real name is imprinted on every post you make, people are less likely to post insulting or derogatory comments about others, and lets be honest, there are quite a few of them out there, hiding safe behind their usernames, insulting people for no reason because they know there can't be any repurcussions outside the forum. Could you imagine if xbox live adopted that policy with the amount of underage idiots populating the MW2 servers annoying the crap out of us normal folk who just want to play the game? the murder rate for every country would soar.

Skreba
Skreba

I don't really have an opinion on whether or not the Real ID thing was a good idea (well, I do, just not gonna share it here), but it is nice to see a developer respond to consumer feedback. If only Infinity Ward acted the same way.

Raice
Raice

"Great debate" is code for tens of thousands of angry posts. ^_^

comachrissie
comachrissie

WoW doesn't need to be life-consuming, as always it's people most often who have never played the game that get on that bandwagon. I play and balance work and social life very well. I didn't agree with RealID on the foums as a mandatory measure(it's only voluntery in-game), mainly because on facebook I'm there to be social and interact with my own friends and family. With WoW, and proven when a Blizzard employee gave his real name and within hours people were posting his real address and private phone numbers, resulting in harassment at his own home, the rate of people who could and may abuse it is high. I play WoW to meet up with friends sure, but primarily, it's just a game. Not having RealID on the forums would mean I can post a question without a chance of some troll googling my name and finding my postal address in 30 seconds.

sheah1
sheah1

Has everyone forgotten about Facebook? Practically every single little detail about someone's life can be found through social networking nowadays, so if someone has your name, they have everything. It would be incredibly unlikely for someone to go crazy, find out where another player lives and threaten them, or even harm them in real life, but it would still happen, there are far too many unhinged people in the world to allow them that, especially when we're talking about life consuming games like WoW.

blakeney
blakeney

lol alot of the "female" players were getting worryed that everyone would see thier real name is steve and not daisy like they swear it is;p

gamedude2020
gamedude2020

this is not a good sign for the future of internet privacy

Neyowolf
Neyowolf

@SteelBallsBill I wouldn't be surprised if you are right man. It seems a little fishy doesn't it.

Paul2004
Paul2004

The internet is full of fake names, if ppl were so annoyed by the new system then why didnt they just put in a fake one ?. System failed within afew seconds if you think about it

SteelBallsBill
SteelBallsBill

Blizzard was never going to revel real players names. I think the whole mess was a publicity stunt by Blizzard to promote the new starcraft game. Every news website was talking about this and how starcraft/wow players will be affected. It was even on googles "latest news". I wouldn't be surprised if Kotick was the mastermind behind it.

fabz_95
fabz_95

That's a good, the real name thing was a terrible idea.

King_Gamer19
King_Gamer19

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]