Blizzard introduces BattleTag nicknames as Real ID alternative

Blizzard is introducing a new unified friends system which uses player-chosen nicknames, BattleTags. You'll be able to stay friends with people across games and WoW realms without sharing your real name.


When Blizzard introduced the 'Real ID' cross-game friend system for, it bafflingly required users to share their real name with everyone on their friends list. That's now being addressed with the introduction of BattleTags, a unified nickname you get to choose, so you needn't necessarily share your meatspace identity with someone simply because you play video games together.

Like the Real ID system, BattleTags will let players chat, play and stay connected across Blizzard's games, except you pick a nickname. Names are not unique, but they do combine with a four-digit ID code so people won't mistakenly add the wrong Sylvanas69, Kerrigan69, or DeckardCain69.

BattleTags are now getting their first trial in the Diablo III closed beta test, initially only supporting friends lists. BattleTags will eventually be supported by "all current and future Blizzard games," but there's no word on when they'll be rolled out to StarCraft 2 and World of Warcraft.

All members can register a BattleTag now, though do be warned that they cannot be changed.

Real ID was widely slated for the privacy issues it raises, and Blizzard was forced to kill a bewildering plan to show real names on the WoW forums. Blizzard did eventually add opt-out options, letting players skip Real ID entirely or better control who can find them.

Real IDs aren't being phased out, though, and the system will continue alongside BattleTags.

From The Chatty
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    December 16, 2011 6:45 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Blizzard introduces BattleTag nicknames as Real ID alternative.

    Blizzard is introducing a new unified friends system which uses player-chosen nicknames, BattleTags. You'll be able to stay friends with people across games and WoW realms without sharing your real name.

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      December 16, 2011 10:11 AM

      Don't they already have this in Starcraft 2? My nickname has a 3 number digit after it.

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        December 16, 2011 10:17 AM

        they're making it game wide though. they added a number and now it's going to span blizzard games

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        December 16, 2011 10:30 AM

        This is a change to the Real ID system, which is currently a cross-game friend list using your real name. That's not the same thing as your SC2 name + 3-digit uniquifier.

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          December 16, 2011 11:52 AM

          Not a change, but an addition.

          RealID still exists, but it seems like BattleTag will be a cross-game identifier that's not your e-mail address.

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      December 16, 2011 4:59 PM

      The original motivation for and implementation of the Real ID system was not "baffling" or "bewildering". As it exists currently in Blizzard's games, Real ID is meant as a way for real life, or otherwise close, friends to communicate. Using your real name as your identity for that purpose falls immediately out of the intended use case and is simpler than creating yet another pseudonym for others who already know you by your real name.

      The proposed changed to the World of Warcraft forums - to only allow posting under your Real ID - was an attempt to culture a more constructive community. The rationale is the same as using Facebook as a commenting identity/authentication system: anonymity breeds pathological behavior in internet forums and World of Warcraft's forums were some of the worst examples. I fully supported that proposal then and would still like to see it implemented now.

      Blizzard has always been clear and forthright regarding the Real ID system and therefore I think your diction regarding it could stand to be clearer as well. Perhaps "system I didn't like" or "uncomfortable" would better capture the sentiment expressed in the post.

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        December 16, 2011 5:07 PM

        requiring people to display their real name on an online message board for a game with a playerbase of 12 million users, some of whom can be extremely abusive wasn't a bewildering move?

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          December 16, 2011 5:12 PM

          It isn't that different from sites that use your Facebook login for their comments, unless I am missing something. I don't post on Blizzard's forums.