Battle.net’s Real ID – Is it really all that evil?
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I’ve been crazy busy recently, alphas, betas, whatever-comes after betas, you name it. I’ve been playing a lot of World of Warcraft as you no doubt expect and I’ve been loving it more and more. Recently Blizzard introduce the Real ID system into WoW. This meant that we could ‘friend’ our real-life friends and gain the ability to see them on any server, not have to populate our friends lists with all their alts and even see when they are missing out on all the fun by playing some space game (Just kidding, StarCraft 2>WoW ).
I wasn’t sure about it at first but I’ve grown to love it. I’ve added some of my current guildies and some of my old-old-old guildies from when I first started playing the game. It’s a great way to keep in-touch in the game without spending a fortune on server transfers or splitting my playtime across 6 different servers. Do I care about them knowing my Battle.net name? No, I’v got an authenticator (Though I should note: this was only added recently after I was hacked due to using a computer that was compromised with a keylogger.) Do I care about them knowing my real name? No, I’ve always displayed both my real name (Mark Turpin) and my internet name (Turpster, The T, The Chosen One, you name it I’m called it) publicly.
So yesterday Blizzard turned around and said, “LoLz We are in your base broadcasting your real name to the world” (not an actual quote). In brief, shortly before StarCraft 2 comes out and then before Cataclysm’s release they will be changing the forums to display your Real name above that of your character’s name. Now as I said earlier, I really am not bothered about this personally since for me it’s not a huge amount of difference to how I choose to display myself publicly on the internet anyway. But that is my choice. I totally get why some people don’t want to have their name out there for anyone (read: Google) to see and I know that there are a lot of unsavoury people already out there just waiting to know who you are.
I would like to share a story with you all, one that came to mind when I heard the news and the predictable outcry from the WoW community. When I was younger I had a part time job in a department store selling Computers and all that stuff. There was this lovely lady who worked with me who had been in retail for a long time, but I wont lie to you, she was a fox. A cougar if you will. It’s kind of beside the point but she was hot, and as you by now know, a woman!
The store we worked in decided that to help give better customer service (and I think in part to make Staff more responsible for their actions in front of customers) that everyone would have to wear name badges. Not a big deal to many people, loads of other store already did this and it was kind of a natural progression for the store. Now this smoking hot slightly-older lady (did I mention she was blonde?! SHWING!) wasn’t too happy about this, apparently she had worked at one of these other stores where they had name badges before and, I guess due to being fairly attractive, was victim to unwanted attention from some of the customers that in one extreme case this turned into stalking. Because she wore a name badge this creep was able to glisten more information about her and eventually find out where she lived etc.
So, understandably so, she was pretty upset about this change and went to the management to complain. She laid-out her reasons intelligently, calmly and sexily (What?! You had to be there, something about ladies getting passionate about stuff…). The management took what she had to say fairly well but then pointed out one flaw in her argument. You see, this lovely lady was wearing a nice, albeit slightly tacky looking necklace, and on this necklace was her name… (I know, epic fail! I thought so too)
After all this arguing and attempted reasoning she forgot to notice that she was already sharing her name with anyone who walked into the store and had been for some time. As I said, she was blonde (I kid, I kid, Blondes are no smarter or ‘un-smarter’ than any other hair colour)
So I guess what that long winded story was all about is just to ask you guys to have a good think about how you are already featured on the internet. You’d be surprised as to how easy it is for many people to find out information about you already without your real name courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.
Do I disagree with people’s fears about this new forum system? Hell no. But I do think that it will make the forums a more accountable place which will make it more palatable for myself to visit more often than my bi-annual (Got to be careful how you spell that one!) trip. But enough with my pointless tales and vanilla views, What do you guys think about the Real ID changes? I’d love to hear more from you.