Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature - www.battle.net/realid/ , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new Battle.net. Today, we wanted to give you a heads up about our plans for Real ID on our official forums, discuss the design philosophy behind the changes we’re making, and give you a first look at some of the new features we’re adding to the forums to help improve the quality of conversations and make the forums an even more enjoyable place for players to visit.
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 -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm. Certain classic forums, including the classic Battle.net forums, will remain unchanged.
The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. 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. With this change, you’ll see blue posters (i.e. Blizzard employees) posting by their real first and last names on our forums as well.
We also plan to add a number of other features designed to make reading the forums more enjoyable and to empower players with tools to improve the quality of forum discussions. Players will have the ability to rate up or rate down posts so that great topics and replies stand out from the not-so-great; low-rated posts will appear dimmer to show that the community feels that they don’t contribute effectively to the conversation, and Blizzard’s community team will be able to quickly and easily locate highly rated posts to participate in or to highlight discussions that players find worthwhile.
In addition, individual topics will be threaded by context, meaning replies to specific posts will be grouped together, making it easier for players to keep track of multiple conversations within a thread. We’re also adding a way for Blizzard posters to “broadcast” important messages forums-wide , to help communicate breaking news to the community in a clear and timely fashion. Beyond that, we’re improving our forum search function to make locating interesting topics easier and help lower the number of redundant threads, and we have more planned as well.
With the launch of the new Battle.net, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment -- one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID -- including these forum changes -- have been made with this goal in mind.
We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at conventions like PAX or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come.
For more info on Real ID, check out our Real ID page and FAQ located at http://www.battle.net/realid/ . We look forward to answering your questions about these upcoming forum changes in the thread below.
Edit with new info: THIS CHANGE IS NOT RETROACTIVE.
Originally posted by Bashiok (Source)
One important point which I don't believe has been relayed yet is that the switch to showing RealID on the forums will only happen with the new forum systems we're launching for StarCraft II shortly before its release, and a new forum system for World of Warcraft launching shortly before the release of Cataclysm.
All posts here on the current World of Warcraft forums, or any of our classic Battle.net forums, will remain as-is. They won't (and can't) automatically switch to showing a real first and last name.
All posts in the future on the new forum systems will be an opt-in choice and ample warning will be given that you're posting with your real first and last name.
Edit #2: Security flaw allows addons to expose full real life names without user permission
Your battle.net account full name is exposed to all your addons (and thus potentially to anyone) without ever adding any realid friends.
/run for i=1,100 do if BNIsSelf(i)then BNSendWhisper(i,"RealID whisper from yourself..");break end end
Note: Enabling parental controls on your account will prevent this from working.
Added to this post by request of our lovely mod kryptongirl.
Edit #3: Ways to contact Blizzard with your concerns
Snail mail address:
P.O. Box 18979
Irvine, CA 92612
Information from their ESRB policy:
Blizzard, through its parent company, is a licensee of the ESRB's Privacy Online Program. If you believe that we have not responded to your inquiry or your inquiry has not been satisfactory addressed, please contact ESRB directly at http://www.esrb.org/privacy/contact.jsp or:
ESRB Privacy Online
Attn: Director, Privacy Online
317 Madison Avenue, 22 Floor
New York, NY 10017
Also, a long list of various executives can be found here, as well as more snail mail addresses: http://consumerist.com/2008/09/reach-bli
You can file an online complaint with the ESRB here: https://www.esrb.org/about/contact.jsp
Do I need an LJ cut yet?
Edit #4: Good morning folks! There is a new master post on the subject here. You're still welcome to chat about RealID here, but if you want to join the most recent discussion, you may want to check out the master post!