Battle.net Forums to Force Use of Your Real Name in the Future
All of this sounds great, because as it currently stands you’re still able to add people the old-school way as well. You could also post on the forums as any of your World of Warcraft characters or Battle.net account handle.
That last part is about to change though. Recently Blizzard Poster (forum moderator/ admin) Nethaera made a statement about some of the upcoming changes to the Battle.net/Blizzard forum infrastructure. The changes — which essentially are the linking of all of your Battle.net characters and profiles — will make it so you post on the forums under your real name, among other things. There will be an option to “…display the name of their primary in-game character alongside [the real name]…”, all currently posted items will remain as-is, and parental controls will be set in place as to disallow minors from posting with their real name (or at all? the post is a bit vague).
Citing the large number of real life interactions and relationships being formed over their services, Blizzard say the change is to keep Battle.net relevant. ”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.”
As much as I’d like to agree that this is a good idea, I’m not sure what to think. The added layer of accountability for one’s actions will be nice. The typical WoW forum posts are players complaining about how bad a certain class/guild is or a bad player, as well as some fairly serious problems with server demographics.
On the other hand, it won’t be as easy for role-playing, which makes up a fairly large portion of the player base. Sure, most of them use external forums to avoid getting harassed by trolls and the like. But the official forums should still be a viable option for players and guilds that can’t afford that kind of autonomy from the service that they pay $15 a month for.
I’m uneasy about this change. The addition of players having to use their real names for a public forum is great from the perspective of accountability and more polite behavior. On the other side, there are a large portion of Blizzard’s customers that are unsettled by using their real name for personal privacy, gameplay, and immersion concerns.