As everyone knows by now, Blizzard responded to the over 9000 level of anti-Real ID hatred and rescinded their plans to attach mandatory real names to forum posts on B.net. We’ve already covered that, but since I had a whole stack of links to good arguments about the issue, and there are some nice post-debacle comments around as well, here’s a wrap-up post.
Lum the Mad/Scott Jenning’s MMORPG blog proved a valuable source of commentary and link collections during the Real ID fiasco, and he got in some thoughtful comments after Blizzard walked back the mandatory forum provision of Real ID. While he’s pleased with the change, he feels that our benevolent overlords could still do a lot better, on the privacy front.
Does this announcement mean that Blizzard suddenly discovered religion on privacy issues? Of course not. There?s still some not so minor quibbles with the in-game RealID implementation, the lack of any ability to opt out of publishing in-game character data, and a game client that isn?t shy about searching your PC looking for signs of misbehavior. Blizzard is still one of the worst offenders in the gaming industry in terms of abusing its users? expectations of privacy. However, they also now know that their customers do not have an infinite patience for having their privacy stripped away. This is an important, and necessary achievement, before further progress can be made.
Other stuff well worth a read on the topic:
- Prior to that one, Jennings made a couple of other posts with lots of collected quotes on the issue.
- Terra Nova attacked the mandatory real name as an idiotic attempt to emulate Facebook games.
- Shakespeare’s Sister, a feminist political blogger, hated the idea, and her comments were simply jammed full of testimonials from women who have had to flee online gamer stalking and were horrified by Real ID.
- On a related note, Nattie on Metafilter posted an absolutely epic argument against it, with dozens (literally) of reasons why using their real name is a terrible idea for women who enjoy online gaming.
- Shades of Gray wrote an impassioned open letter (with full LOLdragon pictures) about why it’s fun being in a gaming fantasy world. and why having to use your real name sucks most of that fun away.
I’ll close by quoting Lum quoting another guy from F13; with apologies to Bashiok, whose disastrous “I’ll show you that there’s no danger in posting your real name on the b.net forums” experiment is alluded to therein.
We won. For now. And all it took was threadnoughts on the official forums, every single MMO blog bar about two saying ?This is a * terrible idea?, the mass media, a Penny Arcade comic, and the destruction of one CS minion?s life.