It seem’s every year we have a company doing something highly questionable but here we are again. So here is the low down folks. Blizzard would like to incorporate their Real ID solution which will first be taking effect for Starcraft 2. Now what this Real ID does is strip you of whatever privacy you had by using your real name for forum posts in an effort to make a close knit community. The selling point is that they want to make a more social atmosphere and have players be more invested into who they play with by betting on they will make relationships that last a long time.
Now I can see the pro of using a real name in the sense that a lot of forum trolls will be silenced as they will be in fear of having something done to them…but is that not also the most scary aspect. When it comes to social media spaces like facebook you have a degree of protection and a system in place if things get awkward however when it comes to video game especially in the MMO arena you tend to have a more combustable atmosphere. A lot of youth are quick to insults and if you ever noticed the WoW forums things tend to degenerate around the third forum post reply.Of course I don’t want to single out youth either as there are unfortunately many older people who lack their mature faculties.
I think in general though there has to be a better way to moderate your forums. I like to call them moderators. Higher more staff to clean up the boards and weed out the trolls. A forum is meant to be used for constructive conversations while allowing the ability to express one’s ideas. Things are meant to be cordial. You cannot obviosuly end trolling but you need to act on what you preech. I think also weeding out false accounts is also another method of regulation. The problem is you have a monster of a game which is insanely accessible and successful but it’s almost outgrown the company itself in a customer support respect.
As a company especially in the MMO arena you have to realize that some people just want to pop on and play. They are there to amuse themselves. They don’t want to be pushed into another person and told to be friends forever. Personally I have found cool people while playing but have yet to forge a relationship where I wanted to continue it outside a game. They are simply my video game buddies.
Time will tell how all this will play out. Maybe it will all smooth itself out. Currently though we have the knee jerk solution with the comunities knee jerk reaction of cancelling accounts.
For the forum post on the World of Warcraft forums click here
For the Battle Net announcement via their forums click here