WoW_Ladies: Girl Gamers of World of Warcraft

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Real ID and our voices
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ilaniel wrote in wow_ladies
Members of wow_ladies, if the comments and posts from the last two days are any indication the vast majority of us are very united against the new Real ID policy that Blizzard wishes to enact upon its forums. I want to let you know that there are many Blizzard employees who are also opposed to the change. These people are looking for ammunition to use in their fight. And that's where we can help.

Please comment in this post and tell me your story. Let me know why you are opposed to the Real ID changes. Please include as much detail as you can, as much as you feel comfortable revealing. Your toon name/realm would be awesome. I particularly wish to hear from those of you who have already canceled your accounts and from those of you who will no longer be purchasing Blizzard products as a result of the Real ID announcements. One of the things I would like to be able to do is compile some statistics along the line of "X people responded to me. Y number have already canceled their accounts. Z number will not buy any Blizzard products as long as this policy remains in place," etc.

Many of you have already made posts on the official forums or other comments here. If you wish to copy/paste them or leave a link to those comments for me, feel free. If you don't wish to comment here you may PM me on livejournal, or leave a comment on this post: on my personal journal. Comments there are screened.

The last thing I want to let you know is this: there is no better way to get your voice heard. When I compile these responses the e-mail will go straight to people who are not PR handlers or customer service representatives. No forum posts to sift through, no trolls. These people have direct access to Blizzard company executives, and believe me, they will talk. The more fuel we can give their fire, the better.

If you wish to give this info to your guild or propagate it on twitter or your blogs, go ahead. If I get an enormous response I may not be able to get back to everyone and/or it may take me several days to organize everything. Thank you in advance. We WoW and Blzzard fans have built an incredible community, and maintaining and protecting that community is what this is about.

All comments in this post are screened, with permission from the wow_ladies moderation team. If you wish to have your comment unscreened, please say so in the comment and we will unscreen it.

(I will make a poll to go with this later. Sadly right now I don't have the time!)

ETA 1: THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPLIES. When I posted this I was in a small motel room getting ready to make a six-hour drive back home following a few days of work-related travel. Now I am home and looking at seven EIGHT (as of 6:00 am PST July 9th) full pages of eloquent, thoughtful comments from our community regarding this issue, as well as several dozen comments in my personal journal and private messages.

A few have asked why I did not make this post community-locked. The reason is because I wanted others to be able to spread this post around and get as many people as possible to see it. Non-members can't comment in here of course, but they can comment on my journal, and a few have. I am sorry that I didn't make that clear in the original post. I truly appreciate all of the comments and messages I have received from every one of you. I am going to begin the task of compiling the data and writing it up for the e-mail (more like document at this point, heh) that I will send.

One more note: If I have accidentally unscreened a comment that someone did not want unscreened, please let me know ASAP. By the same token, if your comment is screened and you don't want it to be (i.e. if I missed one) please also let me know. In addition, if anyone asked for their comment to be unscreened not realizing that this post is public, again, let me know and I will re-screen it. Thank you again!

This post is not closed, so feel free to keep commenting. Every voice is important. As corny as it may sound, we, the players, are Azeroth. Let's not let Blizzard or Activision forget that.

ETA 2: It has come to my attention that some of you may not realize that when you leave a screened comment here, it is visible by both myself AND the wow_ladies moderation team. Again, I am sorry for this and I truly apologize if anyone commented here under the impression that only I could see it. If you wish for only myself and the Blizzard contacts to which I will send this to see your words, please comment in my personal journal. I would reassure anyone though, that the four moderators (noabsolutes, kryptongirl, atrophyannie, and nerglish) are 100% trustworthy in this regard and will not, under any circumstances, reveal anything posted here without the express consent of the person who posted it.

You can feel free to unscreen this, bb :]

Hi Blizzard employees! I'm a big fan (recent policy changes notwithstanding, but I don't hold that against you). I'm noabsolutes, or Coralie from Sentinels if you'd rather, and I'm one of 4 people who run the largest WoW-related community on Livejournal; wow_ladies, which has as of this writing exactly 7900 members.

The last two days have been emotionally very difficult. I used to be a frequent poster at my server forums, to the point where I kept my account active for a year after I stopped playing to be able to continue participating in that community. I met my boyfriend there; we celebrated our 2 year anniversary on Monday. I participated in multiple local-area meetups and have maintained several of the friendships that had the WoW forums - not the game itself - as their start point.

Had this policy been in place then, none of that would have happened, because neither I nor any one of those people I just referred to have any desire to attach our legal names to anything WoW related. I work in a small market, interfacing with clients; I cannot afford to have my name out there associated with online games, especially ones so vilified in the popular media. Further, I do not agree that stripping anonymity from forum posters would do anything to hinder trolling behavior - look at the racist and/or sexist Facebook pages people are already perfectly willing to join under their own real names. All this policy would do would be to single out members of oppressed minorities (women, people with ethnic names, transgendered people whose legal names do not match their preferred names, etc) as targets.

While I generally agree with Nethaera's statement that "removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue [...] promote[s] constructive conversations, and connect[s] the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before" I would like to emphasize the fact that in each case mentioned above where I traded real-life names with people I met through the game, safety precautions were used - namely, that first contact was ALWAYS and WITHOUT FAIL through throwaway email addresses and AIM screennames created for the use of communicating with people met through WoW, and that contact continued through those disposable email addresses and screennames through periods of time ranging from months to years before being given any sort of "real" information. (And that sometimes, those email addresses or screennames were of necessity hastily abandoned.) Having first and last names on display from the moment you post in the forum takes away the user's ability to control the release of that information, and ultimately forces users to choose between silence and security - really a false choice, and an unfair one when users are often directed to post in Bug Report, Customer Service, or Tech Support forums for help.

Re: You can feel free to unscreen this, bb :]

I mentioned that I run the largest WoW-related community on livejournal. Until yesterday, the largest number of comments we've ever had on a single post was 471. Yesterday, the post that broke the news about the RealID changes garnered 1,434 comments. None of those comments supported this new change in policy. Today's post about the new RealID policy is 934 comments and still growing. In both posts, multiple members have cited feeling betrayed, angry, and hurt. On page five of today's post, a member commented "I canceled my account. I honestly believe that everyone, EVERYONE who takes issue with this should do the same." Thirty people replied to that thread to say they had canceled their account as well. (Many more have commented to that effect outside the thread). One mentioned busy servers forcing her to try multiple times to cancel; another stated she'd canceled all three of her accounts. Many mention tears.

I spent a large part of the day today collating links that were sent me into today's master post about RealID. None of the posts I came across were in favor of the changes.'s article is titled "WoW Real ID: A Really Bad Idea." The blog Righteous Orbs titled theirs "Seriously Not Okay;" wrote "Why RealID is a Really Bad Idea" and the Elitist Jerks thread on the subject suspended their "no whining" rule for discussion of the RealID changes only. (That one oughta tell you something).

I altered screencaps of 4chan's /v/ forum to remove a link to US CM Bashiok's personal information (or, possibly worse, the info of some poor sap who shares his name). The focus of the screenshot is halfway down the page, where a user posted "I actually kinda like this change, there will be far less trolls now that their anonymity is taken away, and I can find out who that girl in my guild really is (she has a fucking amazing voice)" (emphasis mine). When told he's being creepy, he replies "I just want to talk to her outside the game. I know you could just say 'ask for her number now' or whatever but I really don't have the confidence. I know things would go much better if I were to 'accidentally' bump into her as she goes about her daily routine in the real world." News stories about people stalked or attacked or murdered over videogame slights are suddenly everywhere. Statistics on stalking are posted - I learned today that one in twelve women in the US have been stalked at one point in their life, according to a partnership study between the National Institute of Justice and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. (Looking at my social circle, this actually seems low).

Meanwhile, a Blue post accuses people against the changes of 'scaremongering.'

This is a big thing, Blizzard, and I hope you listen to the outcry. People are upset, people are scared, people are feeling like you're not taking privacy concerns seriously - and this right after Facebook just took a beating in the press for its mishandling of users' privacy. This is a good company that has built a good game that has attracted a good community. I'd like to see that continue.

Thanks for your time.

Okay, you are awesome. :) And so I'll try to keep it concise. I don't have any major stories, but here's what I can offer.

You are welcome to use anything from my blog: though there's nothing there that hasn't already been said by other people.

I can tell you that I have learned to be acutely aware of what I do and say on the internet, and who can see it. I once lost my job (my fault) for something I posted on my livejournal. I learned that lesson fast. My LJ is now friends-locked. Also, I am always careful about and in fact rarely use my facebook. For that reason, I am not willing to tack my full name onto a forums where anyone can spy on me without my permission. I should also add that I am going into a market of jobs that is not typically understanding of that "silly gamer stuff". So, for the sake of my own job search, this is not something I can condone.

Let me also add that my name is actually sort of common. Out of curiosity, I googled it, and found that there are actually 2 or more other girls in the US with my name, one of which even has a webpage for her photography, and another is a stage actress (oh, that I had that much talent!). And yet, the fact that I have "clones" does not comfort me. Instead, I am even more determined not to attach my name to these posts, because I feel responsible for their safety as much as mine. What if I did get a stalker and they googled my name? They have no way of knowing that I'm not Jane Doe the Photographer or Jane Doe the Actress. So, for me, having a common name is no comfort at all.

I can tell you that I have not canceled my account, and though I have considered it, I am going to wait and see what happens. But what I can tell you is that I will never post on the forums if my full name is shown. And if that means that, without the forums, my gaming experience goes down hill because I don't have the customer service that I need, then I will be leaving WoW, as will my aunt, who I introduced to WoW earlier this year and who has already fallen in love with it.

Yours Truly,
Keleili, Khadgar-US

Edit to add: You can unscreen this if you like. Sorry, forgot to mention that.

Edited at 2010-07-08 08:20 pm (UTC)

I play Mirabai, a blood elf Paladin on US-Dalaran. I used to play Kisara, an Alliance guild leader just on the other side. I did that for three years, running a guild through the tail end of BC and the early part of WOTLK. I loved it. It taught me a lot about leadership and problem management. I met a lot of people, and I banned from the guild a few of them. Some are still my friends.

When I took a break, I came back Horde, and I loved it. I rolled fresh, and at 80 I decided, for the first time in my playing history, to be a healer. I put her buns on a flashy sparkle pony because I could. Now, through luck and effort, I'm in the best casual raiding ten man guild on the server. We're primed for Cata.

Or we were.

On the evening of July 7th, 2010, I put a cancellation on my WoW account as the only viable, money-backed vote I could put out against RealID. I was hesitant to do so; I was in the camp of wait and see. Further reading and communication with other players who cared and were devastated by these changes convinced me to vote now.

I want to come back. I want to be able to flick my fingers over to my bookmarks and tap that account page and set it back to its subscription. But I'm not going to. Not now. Not yet.

Blizzard, this is dependent on you. This is not a threat, this is a plea. Whoever has sold you RealID as a concept has sold you a lie. This is not what the playerbase wants. This is not like the past storms over a game change. This is potentially dangerous, unsettling, and a frightening precedent. We don't want this. I don't want this.

Please listen.

(I don't care if this is unscreened, but I don't want to be the only one unscreened. :P)

Lunarchaotic / Nazgrel server

My husband and I play as a way to relax and enjoy something together and with family. As a military spouse, though, I know I'm weary about reactivating my account since the RealID. Having his name out there for everyone to see can produce problems. People can hunt down names through Google and many more search engines where names, address and random other information get put without us really knowing. Last thing we need is to have my husband's identity stolen (it happens a lot in the military) or even worse, information falls into the wrong hands. The military, right now, is making sure soldiers and families know how dangerous things can get. While I'm sure some of it is erring on really cautious, I'd rather not put myself out there with my husband and daughter. We were really looking forward to playing WoW while he was deployed as a way for us to still get some time together. We met though an online game, so we really enjoy playing together, but with the RealID, I'm really thinking about moving to something non Blizzard. I don't even want to know what would happen to the other military people who don't realize how munch information they're giving out who now have their real life First and Last names out in the open. I know me and my husband have seen players who use their company names or MOS's as character names. I personally don't want to have my name or my husband's name out in the open where someone could be like, 'hey, aren't you *blank*' in Trade chat and reveal information that normally could be harder to find if it was just usernames.

(you may unscreen this)

Edited at 2010-07-08 03:03 pm (UTC)

Main Toon: Valaöré
Server: Shadowsong

Let me be clear: I do not want to cancel my subscription. My husband (Morriane/Neji on Shadowsong) doesn't want to cancel his subscription. I enjoy playing WoW. I love my guild. My guild loves me so much that, nine times out of ten, I get a group invite from them as soon as I log on. But I will not allow my love for this game to compromise my safety and security. Our subscriptions will be canceled as soon as I get home for my lunch break. We will be canceling our pre-orders for Cataclysm tonight. We will also make sure to find out which games Blizzard and its parent or subsidiary companies make for other consoles or formats and avoid purchasing those. I cannot, in good conscience, actively support a company or family of companies that would compromise player security while pretending to protect their information in the same breath.

I am extremely uncomfortable with anyone being able to access my information without my permission. I am extremely uncomfortable with associating my real name with any internet-based account. Identity theft is the one of the most prevalent crimes in America. I have enough trouble managing my credit due to my own mistakes. I don't need to compromise that further by making it easier for someone else to pretend that they're me. And I believe the RealID changes will do just that. I was shocked enough when I walked by my husband's computer the other night shortly after logging in and saw my real name in his chat window. It's a good thing I haven't given my e-mail to anyone else in-game. It's one thing for them to have my e-mail. It is quite another to give them my name, address, phone number, and whatever other information RealID is capable of cataloging.

Further, I will soon be a licensed hearing health professional in my community. With the younger generation of hearing technology users, there has been an increased presence of the internet as a means of finding a hearing health professional. While this generation may be younger than previous generations, they are still in a social generation that frowns upon MMORPGs, like WoW. The people in my community who are looking for my services and those of my employer will be Googling our names. They will be able to see any activity associated with my name. I cannot afford to jeopardize my professional image and my career just because of a video game.

I don't even know if I'll be coming back to the game if Blizzard/Activision changes its mind about the new policies. This blatant disregard for the safety of WoW subscribers has left a very bad taste in my mouth for the company as a whole. Not even LiveJournal is so dismissive of privacy issues.

this can be unscreened

Edited at 2010-07-08 03:24 pm (UTC)

I commented a few times in the megathread on Blizz's forums, but, honestly, I don't remember where I left those comments. I'll try to do my best to summarize them here.

One of the things I have always admired about Blizzard as a company is how they take customer feedback and actually incorperate it into the game. The forums are where Blizzard and their players interact, where these ideas are gleaned from. By implementing RealID as manditory on their forums, many players will not post on their forums. Yes, forum usage will go way down. Maybe some trolls will leave, but, it is my bigger fear that people who are intelligent enough to not want to post their personal information on the internet will no longer be feeding ideas to Blizzard. Consequently, Blizzard's future products will no longer be in touch with what their customers want.

I also dislike that the option about whether or not to post with our real names is being shoved down our throats. From a legal stand point (I haven't kept up with the latest in Arizona), in the United States, the only time I need to give my legal name to anyone is if I am paying for something with some form of credit. If I wanted to get on a soap box in my city's largest park and call myself Father Reverend Mother Superior Billy Bob Jones, I am under no obligation to prove to anyone that I am not Father Reverend Mother Superior Billy Bob Jones.

By enforcing RealID on us, Blizzard is forcing us to prove our real identities. If we could easily change the names on our accounts, I would tollerate this. However, Blizzard is taking information that is disclosed because we legally have to and sharing it. The only next logical conclusion is to discontinue sharing that information. Whether that means not using the forums or cancelling our accounts is up to us. Personally, though I have not yet, I am leaning towards cancelling my account.

It is with a heavy heart that I even consider such a thing. I have loyally played World of Warcraft for almost five years and I was looking forward to Cata. However, I cannot spend fifteen dollars a month to condone their actions.

Oh, you can unscreen this and my above comment. I forgot to add, Viarra on Fenris.

Dear Blizzard,

I feel that I, as your customer, have been lied to. When Real ID was implemented in game were assured that it was purely optional and even told that we should only add trusted friends. Now we are told that it will be a requirement for posting on the forums and that there are more plans in store. I am disgusted by the dishonesty being used by your company. For years we have been urged to never give away our personal information. And now you will be doing it for us. I have canceled my account. It is my hope that I will be able to resubscribe in the future, as I love World of Warcraft and the world of Azeroth. However, I do not feel comfortable supporting a company which is so willing to share my personal information with the public at large. I will not be purchasing any more Blizzard products in the future due to this intrusive new policy.

I am very sorry to have to say this. I love World of Warcraft, Azeroth, and all the effort you have put into making a fun, unique game world. Most of all, I will miss the people I met playing your game. The people who I care about. The people who keep me coming back. It was very hard for me to make this decision, but it seems to be the only way to truly let Activision-Blizzard know how upset I am with the course the company is taken. I know that you still care about your customers. Please, prove me right and do something about this awful implementation of Real ID that so many of your customers are against. I believe in the Blizzard that made games by gamers for gamers.

Emilio V.
Terthelas - Wyrmrest Accord US

Edited at 2010-07-08 03:38 pm (UTC)

I am still considering what my precise reaction will be to this latest development. At the very least I will no longer post on the forum.

I should point out that my name is in fact very identifiable. I've tried googling it and the results are either me or genealogical things from my family. I am quite security-aware (I work in IT), so there's not a huge amount of information, but still. Enough to figure out what city I live in, where I work, and what some of my interests/oft-visited locations are.

My objections to the plan, in no particular order:
- Forum threads show up on google search (I tried it for my character names). So when I apply for a new job and the HR person googles me, they find what I wrote on the forum. There can be a certain stigma associated with gaming, and especially with WoW. I do not want any future employer to start off knowing I play. It's really none of their business, but with RealID I would not have a choice.

- I am female, playing a game with a large proportion of male players. I often prefer not to disclose my gender to avoid the usual preconceptions/verbal abuse/pestering etc. I have some male chars for when I want to escape the 'R U really a grl?' type questions. The people I do disclose it to are people *of my choosing* - guildies etc. Being identified by name on the forum would A. remove my choice in the matter and B. leave me open to all the usual unpleasantness we ladies can get.

- In addition, quite a lot of people that play this game are either badly adjusted, and/or young and impetous, and/or have lost their sense of perspective (basically, nerd-ragers). I really wouldn't put it past a few of them to look up a name, google it, and spam any associated emails/sites etc with bile. I suppose the 'stalker' fear falls under this header. Realistically speaking, the chance is pretty small that I'd end up with one from WoW. But that doesn't mean that I should make it easier for them. And I'd love to have to explain to a club of mine or my employer why there's spam/nasty stuff being directed at me coming into their contact emails.

- the claim is that forums are optional. For the most part this is true although I believe it is a short-sighted bit of reasoning. Even if only a percentage of people who claim they'll stop playing/posting go through with it, Blizz will still lose a significant number of helpful posters. I can also see the tech support phone lines and/or email departments getting quite a bit busier. If you don't want to reveal your name you can't use the tech support forum. But hey, it's optional, amirite?

Reading back what I wrote, I guess what *really* bothers me is the lack of choice in the matter. When I gave Blizzard my real life name I assumed they would treat it with discretion (and doesn't their own start-up screen tip tell you to be careful sharing RL details with strangers online?). I was wrong, and it's not something I can opt out of. I could (and did) decide not to use the RealID messaging thing (a disappointment!).

I thought Blizzard had some idea of security, but as of this writing they didn't even have the foresight to block addons from grabbing one's RealID...hardly encouraging. I also intensely dislike the official reason given, namely that it's to stop trolls. I have never posted anything troll-ish, and I resent the fact that Blizz will release personal information of MINE when somebody ELSE is the one misbehaving.

There are other solutions. Off the top of my head: give everybody the chance to make their own unique nickname that they have to use while posting. That makes them readily identifiable and will stop the lvl1 troll stuff. Steam uses nicknames rather than real names, and that does work. Also, give us vote up/vote down buttons on posts. Troll ones will sink to the bottom, good ones will move up. I know this system can be abused - but on the whole it tends to work (see WoW Insider and Massively for examples).

(Deleted comment)
Caenerys - The Sha'tar - EU Region

Blizzard, you are not 'legally' violating my privacy, but you are making it impossible to participate in your community. Gamer culture is not neutral, at the core it comes from a predominately white, male, 18-40 something point of view. Developers are mostly white and male, executives are mostly white and male. Gamer/Geek culture is traditionally comes from a white, male, heteronormative place.

People are capable of being incredibly hostile to women, to Lesbians, Gays, Transgender, Intersex, and People With Disabilities who face prejudice, harassment and abuse from 'mainstream' society on a daily basis. Bigots and Misogynists put their name happily to rape jokes - why should Real Names on the forums make it any less hostile?

By requiring real names, you are unfairly silencing the voices of those who are only just beginning to breakthrough into gamer culture. You will be left only with the voices of those are privileged enough to be able to post under their real names, as they've never had to fear stalkers, or abuse on the base of their gender or sexuality. You are asking us to shut up and comply - if we don't agree with the white male 'majority' of posters we have to risk harassment. It is a real danger, and one you could so so easily prevent.

Yet you dismiss our upset as 'scare-mongering' and say that you are 'sorry to see us leave the forums'. This is the point. You're taking it away from us - something that many of us have happily participated in because at least the game wasn't connected to our real lives, because we could control who we gave our real names and contact details to. This isn't a choice, it is an exclusion. Women are only welcome if we are willing to risk harassment - harassment that will be off the forums, and Blizzard will not be able to stop, because all the harasser needs is a girl's name.

By choosing real names you are not fostering connections, you are simply silencing a large chunk of the community. This is not "Leading Responsibly", and this is not saying "Every Voice Matters". This is saying that some voices aren't worth having at all. We aren't important enough for you to make an effort to keep us, or take our position seriously. The responses of your CMs have been continuely dismissive and not good enough, and I have no faith that I will be able to participate on the official forums safely anymore.

And the above, an issue of discrimination, is in addition to the risks of associating your professional work with a hobby (something I don't have to do anywhere else online.) Of the fact that technical support often redirects us to participate in the forums.

I enjoyed participating in the forums. Debating about lore and contributing to the Shaman forums, connecting with other players on our close knit realm. Helping the corporation by posting bug reports. That has been removed.

As much as I was looking forward to SC2, I will not be buying it. As much as I was looking forward to Cataclysm, my three wow accounts will not be getting the upgrade, and have already been cancelled.

(You can unscreen this)

Edited at 2010-07-08 03:39 pm (UTC)

Someone has said that the reaction of players has been 'scaremongering'. You say this like it's a bad thing. There will be many people afraid to post on the forums, afraid that their name will reveal their gender identity, ethnicity, sexuality, profession etc if searched.

I choose who I tell my name to online. I choose to say 'I am a woman'. If I want to post on the new forums I would likely end up receiving minor sexist jokes at the least and major harassment or stalking at the worst. I dread to think of someone I beat in Pvp or outrolled on some loot tracking me by searching my Facebook, seeing my sexuality and sending me homophobic insults.

The world is not a perfect place, there are many, many people who would abuse the RealID system to harass, stalk, even steal the identity of people.

(You can unscreen this if you want)

This is long, but I don't care. Feel free to unscreen.

My name is Caibre of Area 52.

I've been playing WoW for 5+ years. I've got 5 level 80s and am working on a sixth. I've referred two friends on three separate accounts, I've bought two of the three in-game vanity pets, and the plush windrider. I was just about to use my birthday money to buy a star pony and the other vanity pet. I don't abuse the systems, I don't bug the GMs, I think overall I've been a good customer for Blizzard.

And I love WoW, I really do. I've made friends with people I'll talk to for the rest of my life. The game is enjoyable, it's captivating, and it's really just a hell of a lot of fun. I've really been looking forward to seeing what Cataclysm holds.

I've always been really impressed with Blizzard and their products. I started out computer gaming with Starcraft and eventually moved on to WoW. If you were to ask me, I'd still tell you I hate computer games. They're too complicated to play, too difficult, or just not all that interesting. But I love Warcraft. I love Starcraft. I was really looking forward to SC2. Literally, the only games I play are Blizzard's.


I'm also a woman.

I've been harassed by people in Warcraft. From "make me a sandwich!" comments on vent to ceaseless begging for pictures (especially of my breasts, but they'll take whatever they can get...) to having to have a male friend explain strat changes for me in raid, because we all know girls can't play wow and they don't know what they're talking about. You know, all the stuff that's pretty much the norm when you're female. And that's fine, I've put up with it, I've yelled at people, I've been a righteous bitch... But mostly the problem was solved by rolling male toons, not talking in pugs, and being careful with my choice in associates.

Silencing, hurrah!

I don't blame Blizzard for any of that, by the way. I want to make it clear. I know that putting up with assholes is just part of my lot in life as a woman. So whatever.

The proposed change to the forums, however, is going to strip me of my comfortable anonymity. And yes, I understand that the forums are optional, blah blah blah. However, it's not acceptable that I should have to open myself to further harassment when I have a simple question, etc. We all know that Jeff Johnson will get better answers, more support, and less grief that Elisabeth Woolf or Srinavasan Anandan or Hsu Chang Liu. Trolls are trolls, whether under their real name or an alias, and anyone who doesn't recognize that is a fool. And throwing women, people with non-traditional or "foreign" names, etc, under the bus to eliminate trolls (or comply with Chinese law, or to deal with Facebook) is foolish.

I spent the first semester of college dealing with police in two states and campus safety to rid myself of a stalker who had used my first name + knowing what I looked like to find my last name, my address (at home and at school), my email addresses, my dorm room phone number, and so on. To say that was not fun would be a gigantic understatement. With RealID, my name goes right out back in public, opening me back up to dealing with crazy fucks again. Unless, of course, I never post on the forums again. Yay, more silencing!

My subscription re-upped yesterday, and I canceled my account this morning. I will continue to play until it runs out, and I'd really like to re-up again. But I will not if the RealID plan goes through. It's the first step down a road that I will not travel. I take my privacy seriously, and I expect Blizzard to do the same.

I am against this for many reasons. The one that is obviously closest to me is the personal safety of not only myself but of all forum users.

I used to play EQ. I thought nothing could ever happen to me. My parents were always telling us about women who went to meet men online and never came home and the rest of the usual fear tactics to try and keep my siblings and I safe. I was invincible however, and much smarter than any of those other women, at least in my mind.

I gave a man I was guilded with my real name, first and last, not purposefully but through email (it was my email display name). I didn't really think anything of it. I have a fairly common sounding name. About six months later, he showed up at my job. He moved to my home town, he rented an apartment down the road from my home, he even got a job on campus. I, of course, being thoroughly creeped out stayed as far away from him as I could. After several weeks of him trying to contact me in game and out and me not responding, he took his stalking to the next level. In the parking deck of the mall I worked at he beat and sexually assaulted me.

All this because he had my email display name. This was 10 years ago, it is so much easier now to find out anything you want about someone, in many cases for free. My concern is that this will be like Christmas for people who already have the desire to cause someone harm (ie pedophiles, rapists,etc)

"Oh, what's this? I've never heard of this name before. Look, she's the only one in the country, what's her Facebook picture look like? Oh she's cute, I think I would like to spend some time in Anytown USA and get to know Miss Unique Name a bit better" or "Hmmm Moe Uniquename eh? Says he plays with his kids, let's check them out" and with a quick search Moe Uniquename's children, and their friends, are at the mercy of this person.

I did cancel my SC2 pre-order, and at this point I am not planning on playing in Cataclysm. I was excited for the changes with this xpac, but I can't quite decide if I want to support this company any longer. I did remove my credit card information and more likely than not, I will allow my account to expire and call it quits. I have never had a disparaging word about Blizzard. I have been playing their games since my uncle brought home Lost Vikings way back in like 93, and I have played every game they developed since. It makes me really sad that such a big portion of my gaming life has ended in this way.

Jaylian - Durotan

(Deleted comment)
Please unscreen this comment.

I am Deathgiggles of <Dropped Stitches> on Draenor US. That is how I choose to be known in this gaming community. People outside my guild don't know I'm a woman; many people inside my guild probably don't know I'm bisexual. Few, few indeed in this virtual world know I am a radical feminist, that I have been raped, that the man who raped me was a man I met on an online video game forum.

My name. It is mine. It is mine and he knows it and I don't want him finding me here.

I have not deleted my account. I don't want to. I love this game, I love it down to the marrow of my bones. I have played Alliance, I have played Horde, I have played every race, I have played every class. I roleplay, I raid, I PVP. I am Loremaster Deathgiggles with the bank full of holiday crap and the bright, buzzing Captured Firefly. I don't want to leave.

If this happens, if my name is the condition of participating in this community then I will leave. I will grieve the loss, but I will be gone.

My name. But not just mine. The name of the sweet twelve-year-old boy who plays one of my guild's main tanks, one of the most mature young men I have ever met on the internet. His name is his and should remain private.

The name of an acquaintance on a feminist website who I didn't even know played, who is a transgender person and whose legal name does not match her gender identity. Her name is hers and should remain private.

The name of a friend who has been stalked in the past and does not want to be stalked again, who knows she will be if this change goes into effect. Her name is hers and should remain private.

The names of Vin Diesel and Felicia Day and the others like them who play this game to enjoy themselves, who will no longer have that luxury when other players know their real names and their character names and can harass them while they're just trying to have fun. Their names are theirs and should remain private.

The name of that man, that charming and slippery man whom I met all those years ago on a video gaming forum--if he is out there in the WoW community, I don't want to know it. If he plays on my server, I don't want to find out that information. As he knows my name, I know his, and I do not want to see it there, staring back at me. He found me once. The main reason, the secret reason I don't allow anonymous comments on my LiveJournal or any of its mirrors. He found me. I do not want him to find me again.

There was a promise made to us once. Blizzard will never distribute any personal information. I believe in promises. I believe in not making a promise you don't intend to keep. I believe in not weaseling out of promises by, for example, arbitrarily defining someone's name as "not personal information".

What could be more personal than the name my mother called me when I was tiny and pink and new? Than the name my husband speaks to me when he tells me he loves me? What, indeed, more personal than this name that means "me", that has meant "me" for almost twenty-eight years, that I hope will mean "me" for many years longer? More personal than this name that is all someone would need to find my home, my telephone number, where I work, if I work, the names of my pets.

Is that the personal information the promise meant? Blizzard will never give out my address or telephone number or workplace but will freely distribute the key to all those things?

No. This is not acceptable. I reject this. I will suffer the trolling and the obnoxious behavior in the community if it means I can have my name and my safety. I am Deathgiggles of <Dropped Stitches> on Draenor US. That is all the name you need.

The unscreened part:

"I am taking this a step further. I will be spending my monthly subscription fee on a service to make sure my name and photos are not publicly accessible anywhere."

The coupon code 'jbrocks' will get you a free month of reputation defender. I plan on paying monthly, using my free month as a trial period to see if it's worth paying for continuously. I'll probably continuously pay for the service to keep an eye on my kid's name and/or photos. (I don't know how to make a google alert based on photos.)

(Please unscreen so I can post the whole thing. Thanks!)

To Whom it May Concern,
my name is Ruth Martens, I play (as my main) Madira on Wyrmrest Accord and I object to the RealID features Activision Blizzard has implemented in the game World of Warcraft.

Clearly I'm not worried about people knowing my full real name and having it tied to my toon name. I'm a stay-at-home mother (my husband also plays this game) and while I've dealt with physical; verbal and emotional abuse in the past (and yes, I've even been stalked in your game!) it's not me that I'm concerned for. I've a common enough name, I'm not part of the GLBTQ community and I'm a middle aged white person. However I'm still taking a stand on this issue.

Your official replies to the objections to RealID are true... yes, posting on the forums is "optional" (though it should be pointed out that due to how it works in game, RealID can only TRULY be "opted out" of by enabling parental controls... oops!). Posting on the forums is not required in order to play the game. However that's like saying that participating in a community wide pancake breakfast during a 4th of July celebration is "not required" to be a part of the community. By organizing an "optional extra" that is only available to a portion of the community you are segregating the other portion. Then telling that segregated portion that it's "their choice" not to participate is not only callous and insensitive, it's nothing short of bully behaviour.

I'm sure that you're aware of how angry and upset the people who wish to keep their privacy AND post are, I'm hoping that you understand there are others... like me... who are not worried for themselves who are also angry.

I'm a woman with a strong personality and don't suffer fools at all, never mind lightly, so I have no problem dealing with the constant dismissal from people in-game who think female gamers are incompetent and are only here for the RP. I'm capable of dealing with the whispers asking for ERP or pictures. I'm capable of dealing with the sad little boys on ventrilo when I speak up in a pug. But there are plenty of women who do not have the same level of experience in dealing with this behaviour that I do. There are young girls and grown women who have never (before playing your game) had to deal with the abuse (and it IS abuse though the men doing it most often don't realize that) and so hide behind their toons and remain silent on ventrilo and don't share they are a woman. Now there is one more place they have to remain silent.

(More to come when unscreened)

(continued, thank you for unscreening)

I'm heterosexual but I still speak up with I hear someone say, "oh, that's totally gay" and explain why it's not appropriate to use words like that even "innocently". I've been witness to the abuse dished out to openly gay (or lesbian, bisexual or otherwise not-heterosexual) gamers and it breaks my heart to know the emotional pain they deal with because of bigots. The choice they have is to either remain in the closet or deal with the abuse. Now there's one more place they have to remain silent and in the closet.

There are more examples, (service men and women; teachers; clergy; transgendered; et cetera), but I'm sure you're aware of them (after 2000 pages of replies in your official thread). I hear your moderators say that this forced change will eliminate trolls or at least reduce them. Yes, it will probably reduce some of the trolls, however anyone who has a Facebook account will tell you that using real names does not stop racist and homophobic comments. There are hundreds of thousands of Facebook "groups" where moderators still have to delete comments for their overwhelming bigotry. Even fear of losing their Facebook account (something your users don't fear since they would only be banned from the forums, not the game) does not stop the hate.

People with hate in their hearts will continue to hate even if revealed to the world, they'll just take it in-game instead. So far your stance is to unveil the victims and potential victims instead of creating harsher punishments for the criminals and potential criminals. You cripple your moderation team by not having effective punishments and then take it out on the rest of the community. Not only that but your own moderators are now going to be at risk and will be even MORE likely to take a toothless approach to moderating bigotry and harassment out of fear. Instead of empowering your people to take care of the problem, you've further crippled them.

This is why I, Ruth Martens, objects to RealID and have cancelled my account (my husband has also cancelled his account). I cannot stand in support of a policy that segregates and demeans, (or otherwise aids the spread of bigotry), any portion of the gaming community. It pains me to see how your own employees are crippled and expected to be effective (and quite likely blamed within your infrastructure for the problem you've created).

Ruth Martens
Madira of Wyrmrest Accord (NA)

Employees of Blizzard -- I greatly appreciate you taking the time to read these comments, and take them seriously. I can be found on Tichondrius (H) under the name of Nytefyre, and Proudmoore (A) as Verlayla, as well as numerous alts on other servers. My primary concern is that I am a state employee, hence anyone with my real name can find me quite easily, as well as my annual salary, my work location and my extension. As was proven in the last couple of days, it takes very little time and effort to get a lot of information about someone if you know what you are doing. To find me, all it takes is the two seconds to type my name into a search engine. This makes me extremely uncomfortable. I checked out of curiousity, and I am indeed the only person with my name who comes up on a search. That's not to say there aren't others out there with my name, but online I appear to be unique.
I am not a wealthy person, and my entire entertainment budget is the fifteen dollars monthly I spend on my WoW account. I communicate with members of my family via the game (I frequently recieve phone calls from my mother asking me to pass a message to my brother "in game because he isn't answering his phone again"). I have met new friends via the game. For Mother's Day my husband purchased me a "sparkle pony." We have purchased Collector's Editions of each expansion, and have been saving our money in anticipation of Cataclysm. We have been good and loyal customers for several years. But if this goes live, I will be forced to cancel my account. I simply have no choice.
My son is about to turn ten and will be recieving a refurbished laptop for his birthday. We are working hard on teaching him to be safe online, and the very first rule is to NEVER give anyone your real name, or any other identifiable information. How can I teach him this and freely give out my own? Please, please rethink this decision.
Thank you for your time.

Feel free to unscreen

For nearly 4 years, World of Warcraft has had a HUGE impact in my life.

Without it, I never would have met my current roommates, who I met in the game and helped me move out of my parents' home when I had no money or means to do so myself. Now I have a job, a new home, and an independence I don't think I would have been able to get all on my own.

Without it, I never would have met my first serious love. Though we're no longer together, we're still good friends, and I'll always cherish the times we had together raiding, RPing and going nuts over the fact that you can get an arakkoa costume in Terrokar.

Without it, I never would have met the guilt I am in now -- WHAT HO, MALICE OF SCARLET CRUSAAAAAADE -- full of intelligent, doofy, supportive, friendly, beautiful people that are a delight to raid and horse around with.

World of Warcraft has changed my life. For the better. To see you throw it all away in the name of monetary alliances when I have been a loyal customer who never bought gold, never replied to spam, never harassed another player and abided by all the rules is hurtful. I've strayed to other games but when my interest in them waned, I could always count on coming back to Warcraft and feeling at home with the characters I had created and the people I had met.

I cancelled my account a week ago due to a new job; I wouldn't be getting paid before the renewal, so I was sad to cancel it until I did have the money.

But now I won't be reinstating it until RealID is gone. I am a woman, I am queer, I have or will possibly someday work in information-sensitive jobs, and I have a unique name. I am the *only* person that comes up when you Google it. Does this worry me? You bet your peons it does.

It's hard to say you want to do something and have it backfire, I know that much. But you owe it to your customers, past present and future, to not go through with this.


Artema of Scarlet Crusade.

I am Burnslikeice of Elune.

I value my privacy. I don't want my name known by anyone unless I personally tell them who I am.

My name is unique.
I typed it into Google to see what would happen. Without clicking a single link, and without leaving the first page of results, I knew my phone number, my street address, what college I went to, what sport I played, the fact i'm an artist, and also discovered the that i'm apparently the only person of my specific name in the entire US, possibly the world. (Yes, uncommon first name plus uncommon last name means i'm extremely easy to find.)

I'll stress this again...

Without clicking a single link of that Google search, I knew exactly where to find me in real life.

Again, I value my privacy. Even my closest friends forget my birth name because I do not use it outside official/legal dealings. I absolutely do not want random strangers able to view my real name just because I want to post to a forum.
I disliked RealID from the first time it was mentioned, but because it was optional I grumbled and decided to never make use of it. I seldom post on the official forums. With this change, I shall never post on the official forums. I'm an officer in a guild, and my guildmates are also opposed to this change. We all value our anonymity online. Some of them enjoy the forums and post frequently. They've told me they'll not be posting in future, at all, if their real name is to be made public.

For now I shall hope the light of common sense shines before this RealID fiasco is put into effect. If Blizzard disregards the outcry from their players and goes ahead with it, i'll be forced to reconsider whether I will continue playing WoW. I was so looking forward to Cataclysm, but if my personal information is going to be revealed to the world because I play a game, then i'll just have to cancel my account and remove that security risk. I love WoW, but it's not worth the danger of strangers knowing my real name. I could simply not post to the forums, but I fear only a withdrawl of money will be understood. Only when subscriptions are canceled with Blizzard actually understand that their player base does not want this RealID forum change.

There are other ways to cut down on the problem of forum trolls without sacrificing the privacy and, in many cases, physical security of players.

(This comment may be unscreened.)

Toon/Server: Jerrina on Doomhammer (main, too many alts to list).

I have been a subscribing member to World of Warcraft since April of 2008. I purchase digital pets and other Blizzard items as they relate to World of Warcraft (authenticators, figurines, etc). I currently pay for 3 accounts (husband and stepson).

Why am I opposed to Real ID posting my real life, legal name on the Forums? The same reason I have an authenticator. I do NOT wish to get hacked, be it in game or real life. I take many strides to ensure my privacy on the internet. I consider it an affront that I can have an unlisted/unpublished telephone number, but that a game I play online is willing to "out" me to the public eye simply because the trolls are running rampant and Blizzard is unable to find a viable recourse.

How much of a leap is it to consider that if a "gold seller" is willing to hack accounts to obtain massive amounts of gold and items to sell for real money that the same "gold seller" won't realize that hacking folks identity will make them more money in the long run.

I'm not the only one who has thought of this and frankly, I'm appalled that Blizzard feels my right to privacy on the internet does not extend to a game I play. My rights would be violated, and frankly I am strongly considering ending my subscription (hubby and stepson too) should this go through without ANY assurances that I will not have to deal with identity theft.

World of Warcraft is a wonderful, awesome game that I have happily spent many hours playing. I have friends that I've met only in game and some of them I do trust; others I don't. I would hate to see this wonderful world end simply because Blizzard is unable to find a real solution to my very grounded fears.

Thank you for listening.

(may be unscreened with my full permission)

Edited at 2010-07-08 04:25 pm (UTC)

This announcement has little immediate effect on me because I don't post to the forums, but I read them for technical and class guidance sometimes, and I appreciate that there is much valuable information there. I am certain that there will be far less useful information posted there once the RealID forums are implemented. There are a myriad other issues to do with online and real life security that people have expressed far more eloquently than I can, and I won't re-iterate them. I'll just say that it is a seriously BAD IDEA.

I play WoW to escape from the heap of shit my life has been for the last year (no work, loved one in a war zone, terminally-ill parent). Some days it's the only thing that stops me crying for hours on end. It gives me something bright and colourful to think about, projects to concentrate on, goals to accomplish. And while the social aspect can be fun, I didn't buy WoW to get social interaction, I bought WoW to fight dragons. Sure I talk to my main's guildies and a few in-game friends, but I don't know their real names and I don't want to. And there are many days when I log in on my anonymous alts, not my main, because I want to play but I don't want to talk (and yes, I refuse to sign up for RealID for just that reason). I don't want all my toons linked to a central account name, and I certainly don't want them linked to my real name.

Privacy is important to me. I don't have a Facebook account, I don't play Second Life, I don't post anything under my real name. I take care to keep my name off the net and I'm damned if some suit in an air-conditioned office in California is going to override all my efforts just because he thinks it will save on moderation costs.

I don't want to walk away from WoW, but I will if I have to choose between the game and my privacy. Just watch me.

Reposting from my journal. You may unscreen this comment:

Blizzard Entertainment, makers of World of Warcraft and other games, unveils controversial new forum policies

I'm a person who has long argued that there is no privacy on the Internet,there never was any privacy on the Internet, and that pretending otherwise is a comfortable delusion people craft for themselves in order to not freak out thinking about how much of their personal information is floating around in the ether.

Having said that...Blizzard is seriously out of bounds on this one. The concern isn't just the forums. If it was, we'd all just shrug and go on with our lives; I can't remember the last time I read the official forums, much less posted to them. And as you can see, I post to Usenet with my real name and e-mail address, and have done so for 20 years, so I'm not overly concerned with people finding me .

But then, I've never had a stalker. I've never been sexually assaulted. I've never been the victim of identity theft. I've never been harassed because I'm female, or gay, or transgendered. But I know people who fall into every single one of those categories, some of them very close to me. Their concerns about protecting their identity from random strangers are real, substantial, and very much valid.

Right now, it's just the forums, but what happens when they decide to reveal your real name to people using the Armoury? Or an in-game query against your character? As much as I generally regard slippery-slope arguments as a fallacy, it does seem very clear that Blizzard has a cavalier attitude towards its users' identities, and that is troubling.

It's one thing to soapbox about the illusion of privacy on the Internet, and another thing to simply blatantly ignore the importance of the illusion and flagrantly expose your users' information. There may be only the thinnest line between you and the world, but that thin line matters; it's part of the social contract that allows the Internet to function.

Bad move, Blizzard. Very, very bad move.

More reading on this that I liked:

(you can unscreen this)
hi, i'm oleada from cenarion circle.

i had been playing world of warcraft for a long time. i've made some incredible friends through the game, and also through this community. back in BC, the only other druid in my raid was this guy, and now 3 years later we are engaged and living together. we are getting married this december, and we have world of warcraft to thank for it.

i also love azeroth so much it kills me. my druid? she's f'ing awesome. i love mastering my class mechanics, and i love raiding with a passion. i love doing all the other stuff in game. i loved working on loremaster when my ADD would let me. i loved the tuskarr, and the mobs in skettis that fish at the lake when idling. i loved the fact that wolves/big cats would eat critters. i remember my final bc guild getting illidan down before all of the big nerfs and watching maiev come out in the final phase, and feeling so overwhelmed and excited i wanted to cry. i remember running from game store to game store 2 years ago trying to find the human shadow priest in t5 and draenei mage in t6 figures because i *HAD* a human spriest and drae mage in the same gear. i remember explaining this to the clerks at the store with a huge grin on my face.

i cancelled my account the day the real id forum changes were announced. there is no way i could continue to enjoy this game that i love so much while knowing that activision is selling out its players like this. i went to bed hoping so hard that i would wake up to a retraction. i was disappointed, and just told that everyone was "scare mongering". as a mexican american female with an obviously ethnic name, it was clear to me that activision didn't think this through, despite business models in the works for at least a year and international political pressure.

i'm not ready to give up azeroth, but at this point i have no choice.

Edited at 2010-07-08 08:19 pm (UTC)


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