Blizzard has just confirmed that plans to implement Real ID on its forums won’t go ahead, following a community backlash to the scheme.
Speaking on the Blizzard forums, company boss Mike Morhaime said, “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 and 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.”
Morhaimed added: “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.”
Back from the brink
Earlier today, Blizzard declined to comment on a backlash to its decision to implement the Real ID system on its forums, with multiple blogs posting personal information about Activision employees and their families in an effort to prove a point.
“No comment,” was the only official response available this morning.
Overnight, bloggers posted personal information about Bobby Kotick, his wife and children in an apparent attempt to show how easy it is to gain details on addresses, hobbies, phone numbers and the like when in possession of someone’s real name.
A Blizzard forum mod, who posted his real name on the company’s forums to lead by example, has now had a large amount of personal data posted live, including his address, telephone numbers, school history, employment history, family details and more.
Blizzard said on Tuesday that it would start posting Blizzard forum members’ real names alongside their messages on the StarCraft II forum when the RTS releases on July 27.
The World of Warcraft forums will adopt the same policy when Cataclysm launches later this year.
Explaining the reasoning behind the move at the time, community manager Nethaera said, “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.”
Following a violent reaction to the news on the Blizzard forums, the company said yesterday that it “will be carefully monitoring how people are using the service,” and that “Real ID is a new and different concept for Blizzard gamers – and for us as well – and our goal is to create a social gaming service that players want to use.”
While the official announcement thread on the issue approached 1,600 comments on Friday morning, Blizzard still went forward with confirmation that both the Diablo II and WarCraft III forums will also move to Real ID when StarCraft II released.
Never more. Even Hitler got in on the act. Let’s chalk this one up to experience.