UPDATE: Blizzard has cancelled their plans to require real names to post on their forums.
Unable to handle the avalanche of trolls overloading their community support forums (with 11.5 million players and over $20 billion in revenue after 5 1/2 years, you’d think they could afford to hire a few Kiara’s), Blizzard has decided to not just touch, but grasp firmly the third rail of MMORPGs — online anonymity.
The Blizzard Announcement:
The first and most significant change is that in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID — that is, their real-life first and last name…
Since the announcement yesterday, there have been 13,000 responses, many of them announcing their depature from the forums for good.
Massively is calling this the WoW Killer.
The irony of their current company spokesman “Mr. T” being a chosen moniker, is not lost on us. Will he be forced to start calling himself Laurence Tureaud in all future marketing? “I’m Laurence Tureaud and I pity the fool” neither intimidates nor rolls off the tongue.
If I were Sony Online Entertainment president John Smedley, I would put my marketing department to work getting a slogan like this printed on every flat surface within reach:
Get lost in our worlds, without having to show ID.
Expectations are high that we might see DC Universe Online this winter:
Your secret identity is safe with us.
SOE has released The Agency: Covert Ops Facebook game:
We won’t break your cover.
WoWRiot is covering this story, and have documented some instant karma reaped by one of the WoW developers.
Now I think it’s fairly safe to say that this is perhaps the dumbest idea that anyone has ever had ever.
To alleviate people’s concerns, Blizzard employee Bashiok decided to say his real name on the forums, his real name is Micah Whipple.
Within a few hours, a full report of Mr Whipple’s personal life was posted online, including full address, phone number, age, parents names and ages, and his Facebook page with extensive personal details.
In the end, it may be the threat of hundreds of employee resignations that nixes this idea.
The Funny Papers
I leave you with this hilarious (and scary) comic strip: