Blizzard Changing Forum Policy: Real Names Will be Shown

By Brian Leahy, Jul 06, 2010 11:27am PDT Blizzard Entertainment will be making a major change to its forums, with the largest change being "anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name."

"These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game," reads an official posting by Blizzard. "with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic forums, will remain unchanged."

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.

Blizzard has clarified in another post that this will not apply retroactively to any posts made before the change. It will only apply to the new StarCraft II forums and new World of Warcraft forums before the launch of Catalcysm. "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." Along with this, Blizzard will be improving the forums with post rating, threaded responses to help track conversations, and the ability to broadcast news across the forums to assist in spreading breaking news.

StarCraft II will be released on July 27. The second phase of the beta test is scheduled to begin soon prior to the game's launch. World of Warcraft: Cataclsym will be released later this year and the closed beta is already underway.

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  • This is very good and very bad. For anyone who has posted on the Blizzard forums you should know that trolling is a past time. People do it for fun and quite intricately at that, going as far as having multiple characters to back up their first troll character in order to look like the majority. This adds quite a bit of confusion and bias to whatever is posted on there. It's like Elitist Jerks, only the trolls aren't the admins, so they can't ban you whenever they feel like it.

    On the other hands privacy has a lot of meaning and I personally think it outweighs this change. The real ID system for user accounts is one thing as users can pick who they want to add, using it on a public forum is a very, very, bad idea.

    People can still be anonymous in real life, not necessarily by using a fake name, but after the first few Blizzard employees get death threats or other shenanigans people will start to realize what a bad idea this is when dealing with such a bitter and jaded community. That generally happens when you focus a game entirely around the acquisition of material items to brag that you're better then other people.

    Blizzard needs to change the motivation behind WoW before going so far as to having everyone shake hands and be friends.

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