Blizzard Reverses Course, Real Names to Not Be Required on Official Forums

Blizzard made an announcement this morning I thought they wouldn’t make. Here’s the meat from Nethera’s post on the official forums about it, where she’s reposting a message from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime:

Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

I didn’t think Blizzard was going to retract the policy this way, but clearly the demand got to them and they decided that this was a bad idea.

So, now let’s see if the people who threatened to or went ahead and canceled their subscriptions return to the game, or if the spectre of Real ID in other forms and implementations is enough to keep people away from the game for privacy concerns. What do you think about the reversal? Sound off in the comments!

4 Comments so far

  1. Lee Olesky (leeolesky) on July 9th, 2010 @ 5:46 pm

    I played last night. And I felt terribly guilty about it. Like I was cheating on myself for not being stronger and sticking to my own convictions. I hated the prospect of Real ID and what it would mean for people, but I couldn’t *not* play the game I loved. I was going to wait it out… see if it actually went live and decide then.

    The sigh of relief I feel over this has made the last 3 days of guilt and worry seem silly. I’m happy for the change. I don’t care of I have to be 1 single entity, as long as it’s not my real name on the forums. I can be accountable with one login. I can be one single character, that’s fine. I just don’t need to be “Lee Olesky” on the forums.

    I’m thrilled.

  2. Anissa Fahrenthold (unregistered) on July 9th, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

    Excellent site, exactly where did you find the information in that page? I’m pleased I found it however, ill be checking back again shortly to check what other posts you’ve.

  3. Jenni Lind (jennilind) on July 10th, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

    First time commenter, hello!

    First, I am so glad they reversed this. While I was upset and a bit worried about this I had friends who played (mainly other females) who have had issues with stalkers in the past and this just really terrified them. They used the game as a way to escape reality, not be forced to share their names.

    Anyway…I am shocked. I would glance at the official forums and read all the posts against it, see the blue posts, and read some other blogs on the topic but I just really thought it was set in stone and Blizzard, like most big companies, would do whatever they wanted. They’d still make lots of money as the majority of people I felt would still use the game despite claiming otherwise. But look, they did change their mind. We’ll see what happens in the future but for now…I’m relieved.

    And as a side note: So excited to discover metblogs and this section of it! Can’t wait to read more from the posters here. :)

  4. Alan Henry (phoenix) on July 13th, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

    Hi Jenni! Thanks for the comment!

    I agree – I’m really really happy that Blizzard decided to reverse course on this; I can completely understand their desire to clean up their forums and end the forum trolling, but I think that going about it the way they chose was a bit much, and the collateral damage they would be doing in the interim (especially since they have such a large playerbase) would be just too much to make the change worthwhile.

    Still, I’m really really glad that Blizzard has proven that it’s not too big to listen to its players, its customers, and the community at large. Now we just have to see what they’ll do next with Real ID.

    Anyway, thanks again, and welcome!

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