I would be a fool not to weigh in on the topic of Blizzard using Real ID on their forums. It is the hottest topic since the Facebook Privacy Scandal of 2010! I am certain this will be covered to death but I had my own thoughts regarding it. If you’re somehow unaware of what is going on Blizzard basically wants to ensure that when you post on any of their forums your real first and last name appear. In short they’re taking away your anonymity.
I want to be up front about one thing before I go down the path I intend to. I do not agree with giving up a persons real life first and last name on a forum. It is far to easy to abuse. With the disclaimer out of the way I want to point out that I understand why the company would want to do this. MMORPG forums are a dark and evil place where largely nothing of value happens. World of Warcraft boasts the most ridiculous forum experience around. If you took all the most obnoxious pre-teens, teens, and young adults around the world and locked them in a room together you would find a similar result. I’m not suggesting that older people do not act as such. I’m merely saying that the WoW forum regresses them to a level of immaturity. They are an evil necessity to disseminate information, support customers, and the spawning point of flames and idiocy. We do need more accountability there. This was just not the way to do it.
The internet is full of cowards. These cowards delight in forums and message boards because they can say terrible things with little to no consequence. They are given courage by the fact that they can hide behind low level throw away characters and false screen names. The wire and glass of the monitor is their shield. They can act out in a way that if they were to do so in public they would be shamed and possibly socked in the face. I register Ferrel everywhere I possibly can and post under that name exclusively so that my reputation, good or bad, can carry out openly. I have my shames and my glories. The point is if I call you something horrible to your face you know where to direct your ire.
Blizzard needs to back down from this immediately. The privacy concerns are just to great. If you have a unique name finding you is extremely easy. If you’re John Smith you can continue to be a troll. A superior way of handling this would be to force players to create a single master account and link all forum names and characters to it so that they cannot hide. In that instance you’ll at least be worried about ruining your reputation if you troll. I know I certainly would exclude a known troll from any group I ran. I’m certain others would do the same. That is how we used to enforce this in an age where everyone didn’t have 40 alts.
Do I agree with what Blizzard is trying to do? Absolutely so! Do I support their implementation? Certainly not. There are better and less invasive ways to do this.