Well, I guess we can just ignore my previous post, for now.
Activision-Blizzard, which boasts one of the largest online user communities of any video game developer in the world, unveiled its new Real ID system yesterday, a service that basically turns your forum account into a Facebook knock-off. Real ID allows friends to easily follow each other's activities in Blizzard games, like World of Warcraft, across all of their accounts. It also introduces cross-game chat and social networking features that allow users to see not just their friends information, but also everything about their friends' friends.
However, what seems like a logical step forward in the evolution of social networking is actually a GIGANTIC step backwards, all the way back to the mid-1990's. You see, Blizzard is requiring new users to register for the service using their real names, AND, beginning with the Starcraft II message boards this month, the developer is changing ALL of its forums to require users to post under their Real ID names. Blizzard fans expressing extreme privacy concerns (As well as those dismissing such worries, which I will get to in just a moment) have flooded to the company's official forums with more than 30,000 messages in a 1,500 page thread.
While the Starcraft II forums will undergo the forced switch to Real ID this month, other Blizzard forums will have some time before the switchover. The World of Warcraft forums are to begin requiring Real ID around the time of the Cataclysm expansion's launch, which is sometime later this year.
..........ok, you've had time to read the article and digest it, right? Right. Let's begin.
WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK!!!! WHO THE FUCK CAME UP WITH THIS BRILLIANT FUCKING IDEA? BETTER STILL, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT. FUCKING. MIND. IS ACTUALLY GOING TO STICK AROUND ONCE IT HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED!?
I promised, *PROMISED* myself that I was going to change this blog into something other than a toxic waste dump, but GOD. DAMN. who *WOULDN'T* respond to this?
Ok, from the top: The VERY REASON the internet became full of 'anonymous' people in the first place was because of all of the real-life danger, harassment and stalking that went on in the early days. I didn´t think Activision corporate had a fucking brain cell between them before, but son of a bitch, it's like these assholes missed the entire nineties and all the problems people had back then.
I'll come back to stalking in a minute, first I want to detail what I think will be the primary reason this shit fails: Underage kids. A lot of kids that play WoW do so using accounts that are tied to their parents names. What the fuckety fuck do they think is going to happen when one of these kids goes to the forums and...acts like a kid? I'll tell you: Little Timmy will suffer the wrath of dad when the guy he trolled Googles his address, and he will subsequently get cut off from the game. Sorry Activision, YOU LOSE, GOOD DAY SIRS!
Now, stalking. I'm sure you've heard stories: Guy meets girl (Or at least what he THINKS is a girl) in WoW, and becomes a little 'over fond'. Stalking ensues. What happens when a dedicated stalker is able to ascertain his victims real-life identity just by perusing the forums?
I could go on listing reasons why this is a really REALLY bad idea, but luckily Activision has gone ahead and proven it: A Community Mod, in a desperate bid to ´prove it's not a big deal for internet people to know your real name' posted his real name on the forums for everyone to see. He wasn't counting on the power of 4chan, though. Anonymous posted every single piece of real life information about the guy: His address, phone number, cell number, and loads of other personal info, all of which was able to be found using only Google. Tons of information on just a random guy, dug up almost immediately.
Of course he vehemently denied that it was him (Despite the listed address being in line with where Blizzard employees work) and then, after some particularly nasty stuff came out, Mr. mod threatened to ban everyone who replied for ´spreading other users personal information´.
This, is a giant clusterfuck just looking for a time and place to happen, folks. When people start being attacked, raped, beaten, and MURDERED, IN REAL LIFE, over a goddamn fucking VIDEO GAME (AND A GODDAMN STUPID ONE AT THAT), and believe you me, it *WILL* happen, the sharks in the tank will start to get really hungry, and the lawsuits will begin. What will Acti-Blizzard fall back on, the EULA? HAH! EULAs are not actually legally binding, and there hasn't been a single time when one of them was brought up in a legal case that it hasn't been thrown out. IN FACT, it has happened so often that it has become a LEGAL PRECEDENCE to throw them out automatically.
Now, I want to have a word with all you WoW players: You going to stand for this? Going to let your (Pathetic) addiction to an outdated and outmoded pissant MMO RUIN YOUR LIFE? "But I don't post on the forums!" Tell a lie, that's half of the addiction. EVERYONE goes there eventually, and who's to say that soon enough, they won't implement the Real ID system IN-GAME?
Walk away. You heard me, time to pack it in. If you people don't show some backbone and let this company know that you REFUSE, FLAT-OUT FUCKING REFUSE to allow your personal and PRIVATE information to be hung out there for all the world (And the identity thieves, thought I'd forgotten THAT angle, did you?) to see.
Alas, I'm probably wasting words again. Stupid assholes will follow R.E.O. Speedwagon's advice and "Keep On Rollin'", allowing yet another freedom to fall by the wayside. I say this because it's what other people are already thinking.
Mark my words, nothing good will come of this, not. at. all.
"Real ID Defeated, For Now"
In a forum-wide statement dispatched early this morning, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaine explained that the company had listened to player feedback, and as a result, reconsidered the matter internally.
"As a result of those discussions, we have decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.", Morhaine wrote.
The truth? After one of Blizzard´s own employees posted his real name on the forums (See above), found all of his personal information plastered all over the WoW forums, and was forced delete all of his social networking accounts (Even his Facebook), it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to ignore the risks of implementing this plan of revealing people´s names right now.
"Right now?" you say? Oh yeah, Real ID isn't gone for good: Morhaine also wrote "This is not the end of it. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature".