Blizzard announces changes in attempt to cull forum trolls

With the release of the beta of Starcraft II, Blizzard introduced a new feature called "Real ID" -- essentially the feature is your "real-life" full name being used as your username. The feature was trumpeted to be "completely voluntary" and "keeps players connected across all of Battle.net".

Today, Blizzard announced some major changes coming to their forums, saying that in the "near future" you will be required to post on the official Blizzard forums using your Real ID, which is essentially your full, real life name. Blizzard says that "the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild" and they have made the move because "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."

The announcement also says that the update will include staffers, who will also now be posting under their full names, but with their posts in blue.

Backlash has been huge on the forums, with well over 26 pages in one thread as of writing, and another over on the WoW forums with 388 posts and climbing. Most replies are negative with some users writing:

"This is possibly the worst thing I've ever read in blue. I can't even begin to fathom why you would do this."

"I don't want my real name out there. I'm sure that many people who are not trolls and just want to have civil conversation will also not want their real name out there."

"I'm in witness protection for testifying in a trial that sent a man to death, and his family swore to send me to my death too, so I will be deleting every single post I've ever made in FEAR for MY VERY LIFE."

Some users agree with the move though, posting:

"Good god guys. This isn't a big deal. Real Names will make it more difficult for spammers and trollers to do their thing. I mean they will. But it will be more difficult."

"I change my mind. I love this idea and I only hope they take it a step further and require it in game to stop people from using potty mouths."

An employee even went as far as revealing his name in a post on the forums as "Michael Whipple" and said that "Like all employees I've also been in every game manual and credit reel since I've been here."

The community on the Blizzard forums is large, numbering over 10 million users, and the move ultimately would upset some of these users. The move is a first by a game manufacturer such as Blizzard, who has high hopes this will clean up their forum community for the better.

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MadDoggyca said,
hmm google web spiders any one. has blizzred even think of sarch engins pick up on this?

get ready to google your Real Name ever one>LMAO


Yes, this was brought up on the Bnet boards... "OMG, what about employers googling my name and finding out about my secret Starcraft obsession??", but I honestly don't think their boards are spidered by Google and others? I've never accidentally have a forum post from there show up...

Northgrove said,

Yes, this was brought up on the Bnet boards... "OMG, what about employers googling my name and finding out about my secret Starcraft obsession??", but I honestly don't think their boards are spidered by Google and others? I've never accidentally have a forum post from there show up...

I doubt employers would care about what games you play if you do so on your own time anyway. Now, if you were playing at the office, that's an entirely different story.

Quick Reply said,
But does it apply retroactively?
No, they said they will be introducing a completely new forum with SCII and WoW: Cataclysm and the old forum would remain untouched.

But, after stating this, who knows what kind of things they pull...

da00 said,
Goign to be fun for all the roleplayers "OMG UR A DUDE LOL!"

Actual role-players don't care about the sex of the person they're role-playing with. I know I sure as hell don't care if the night elf chick in front of me is actually a fat guy sitting in nothing but his underwear in his mom's basement. If the role-play is good, it doesn't matter one bit.

Metodi Mitov said,

Actual role-players don't care about the sex of the person they're role-playing with. I know I sure as hell don't care if the night elf chick in front of me is actually a fat guy sitting in nothing but his underwear in his mom's basement. If the role-play is good, it doesn't matter one bit.


having played on a RP server i can tell you it only doesn't matter if it's a girl playing a guy toon. if it's a guy playing a girl toon you're a bad person irl for doing so and probably gay or something according to the hardcore RPers.

treemonster said,

having played on a RP server i can tell you it only doesn't matter if it's a girl playing a guy toon. if it's a guy playing a girl toon you're a bad person irl for doing so and probably gay or something according to the hardcore RPers.

Mmmm, not sure where you get that information. Having role-played for 14 years now, I'd like to consider myself one of said hardcore RP-ers. It's the ones that DO care about it that are obviously not hardcore. Sorry.

I've role-played on numerous on-line medias and I make it a point to state beforehand that I'm a male if I'm playing a female character. Do you know what that achieves? I haven't had even a single person that was a bad role-player, compared to when I didn't do it and was getting them in tons. The bad ones just run away when they hear about it.

Metodi Mitov said,
I know I sure as hell don't care if the night elf chick in front of me is actually a fat guy sitting in nothing but his underwear in his mom's basement. If the role-play is good, it doesn't matter one bit.

Thats actually pretty disgusting

micah whipple, a blizz employee who revealed his name on the wow forums yesterday, has had his dox dropped.
why don't you stop by his house or give his phone a ring or say hello to his mom or his 2 kids and tell them how you feel about this.

Or not. Because that is an insane, stupid, childish reaction.

FWIW, all the CMs have revealed their names previously (I know this for a fact). People just don't care that much unless ... they're on a 'moral' crusade, like now.

treemonster said,
micah whipple, a blizz employee who revealed his name on the wow forums yesterday, has had his dox dropped.
why don't you stop by his house or give his phone a ring or say hello to his mom or his 2 kids and tell them how you feel about this.

And that is going to change what exactly? I doubt he has any way of changing the decision.

treemonster said,
point is it happened to him. it can happen to you if you post on the sc2/wow forums after this change goes into effect.

My name is right there. Hit me.

I like this idea. I've gone there on and off to read the forums to see what's up with the game and see if there's a demo or something released. But the forums are just completely unreadable due to all of the trolls there.

If this is just for the forums and not the name you use "in-game" then I'm fine with that. I don't use the Blizzard forums, anyway. But I'm worried that this may be extended to in-game as well.

For me, it isn't so much people on the Internet finding information about me so much as people I meet and know IRL finding posts I've made online. I don't want a future employer to google my name and think that I have a video game addiction problem and if they hire me I will probably spend most of my time posting in forums instead of working.

Shadrack said,
If this is just for the forums and not the name you use "in-game" then I'm fine with that. I don't use the Blizzard forums, anyway. But I'm worried that this may be extended to in-game as well.
Just the forums. And not retroactive.

Kirkburn said,
Just the forums. And not retroactive.

Well, you can add friends using RealID, which will lead to the name, but it takes authorization to do so. In other words, you are protected in-game.

Metodi Mitov said,

Well, you can add friends using RealID, which will lead to the name, but it takes authorization to do so. In other words, you are protected in-game.


actually you can see all your friends' friends lists with all the irl names in them. so it's not really protection at all.

treemonster said,

actually you can see all your friends' friends lists with all the irl names in them. so it's not really protection at all.

That's a bit of a weird decision, but then again, I haven't tested the feature yet either. If that's the case, then I would have to say that's a really bad decision and I will be the first to contact customer support in regards to that 'feature'. And yes, it is different from what they're doing on the forums.

Some of these comments, I must say, are simply inane and childish. I fail to understand this sense of entitlement that so many people have... With just about everything these days... Blizzard has every right to make every attempt to improve the quality of *their* forums. Perhaps it will work, perhaps not. For my part, I played WoW from release and enjoyed it (maybe a little too much;) Then I made the mistake of visiting the forums. I recall being not just a little disappointed at the caliber of folks who seemingly played the game. Relatively speaking, there was very little in the way of constructive, or value-added comments. Eventually, I quit the game for good, as did most of my friends. For my part, I won't go so far as to say the Blizzard's forums killed my interest in the game, but it <i>was</i> the first in a series of steps which led me to the decision that my time was better spent elsewhere.

arcita said,
Some of these comments, I must say, are simply inane and childish. I fail to understand this sense of entitlement that so many people have... With just about everything these days... Blizzard has every right to make every attempt to improve the quality of *their* forums. Perhaps it will work, perhaps not. For my part, I played WoW from release and enjoyed it (maybe a little too much;) Then I made the mistake of visiting the forums. I recall being not just a little disappointed at the caliber of folks who seemingly played the game. Relatively speaking, there was very little in the way of constructive, or value-added comments. Eventually, I quit the game for good, as did most of my friends. For my part, I won't go so far as to say the Blizzard's forums killed my interest in the game, but it <i>was</i> the first in a series of steps which led me to the decision that my time was better spent elsewhere.

Hmmm? Name an on-line game that doesn't have trolls, flamers and drama-queens. As of yet, I haven't run into even one. The difference with World of Warcraft is that you got a whole lot more gamers than you do in other games.

I'll give you a simple example of something I ran into while playing DDO. I was doing a 'hard' quest on epic difficulty with a random group and I was the rogue. Now, despite the numerous says and mentions of how the rogue should be the one moving at the front of the group, we had one player constantly showing off his boots of haste, rushing forward, setting off traps and pulling groups of 10-15 mobs on the group. Such a behavior is hardly productive, but what ticked me off the most was when he practically pushed the rest of us off a ledge for being 'too slow' and we ended up in an acid trap that killed us. In the end, neither of us could get any loot from the quest as we were unable to complete it due to being dead and having to interact with a creature at the end of the dungeon which was about half a minute away from the place of our demise. Anyways, when the quest was done, the same person called us jerks, idiots and noobs and ran off to trouble god-knows-who. We had to revive through a spirit healer and push our way through a maze all over again to complete a quest that we could had spent another 30 seconds on, but instead ended up spending more than 20 extra minutes on it.

That is only one example where about an hour of questing gets screwed up by a single person. I can give you hundreds more, and while I have the same stories about World of Warcraft, I also have them about DDO, LOTRO, MU Online, Ultima, EQ and Lineage 2. If I try to list all the non-graphics based MMOs I've played where I've ran into people like that as well... it will probably take the good part of the day to do so.

And what happens when some punk kid is online talking trash and is not old enough to have his own name on his account and ends up getting his parents or possibly someone else beat up ? just an example ya know ? Or do you think any parents will be happy to know their name is showing up online when their kids use the account they bought for them ?

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