Saturday, July 10, 2010

Blizzard gives in.... for now

This morning on the Blizzard World of Warcraft forums Blizzard CM Nethaera posted a letter from Blizzard main man Mike Morhaime
Hello everyone, 

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. 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. 

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name. 

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature. 

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning. 

Mike Morhaime 
CEO & Cofounder 
Blizzard Entertainment 
 This seems to be it on the subject for now. What comes in the future? No one's really sure.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Blizzard, Privacy and You

Blizzard dropped a large bomb on the forums yesterday, the integration of Real ID on the forums. This change is meant to be part of their new social-network idea they have been alluding to since Battlenet 2.0 was released. The change that caused the biggest uproar was the use of first and last names being shown when posting. While this in fact may clean up the cesspool the was and still is the World of Warcraft forums, it has caused outrage among posters.

The main argument being this will cause real life stalking and other harassment. While for some this may be true, there are ways to remove your internet footprint. Googling my real life name brings up all sorts of people that are not me, in fact I have yet to find any useful info to track myself down. This may be a real bummer if I ever get amnesia and left in the middle of nowhere with just a laptop. Just how much info can you pull up on someone with just their first name? For some a lot, but for most its a bit here and there and nine times out of ten you will need more information like a geographical location.

How will this effect Blizzard? Probably not much in the long run, even if they lost half their customers worldwide to the change they would still be top of the heap so to speak. I personally am not going to care a whole lot if someone sees my name on the interwebs.

The backlash, and I believe this is a good thing is the children of WoW doing whatever they can to try and prove how much info they can get on someone with just a name. They are then posting this information and from what I hear getting banned. They attempted this with one of the CMs, Bashiok. Not even sure if they had in fact gotten the right info, the children decided it was time to go on a posting spree in the forums posting someone's personal info. Of course all these posters most likely have been banned, in effect cleaning up the forum a bit. Based on that info alone while not even deployed yet Real ID on the forums has taken care of a few jerks already.