can be found in the most surprising of places, including the
virtual world. In fact the social aspect of World of Warcraft serves as
one of the game’s many appeals. The bonds of friendship
forged in game are often just as strong as those found in real life.
However, maintaining these in game friendships can be far more
complicated.. With the option to faction and server transfer, friends
in game can come and go, and since there previously was no way to chat
with them after the transfer losing touch with in game friends was a
common problem.

Cue the introduction of Patch 3.3.5 and the Real I.D. system and much
like the Berlin Wall the barriers of communication in World of Warcraft
have finally been torn down . Players everywhere seem to be embracing
the new addition, which provides chatting options never seen before in
the WoW universe. Players are no longer limited to talking to only
those on their server, but now can talk to friends cross-realm,
cross-faction, and even cross-game. This new addition takes the social
aspect of WoW to a whole new level, allowing players to remain in
contact with their friends no matter the circumstances, but is there a
darker side to this new feature?

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To add a friend with the Real
I.D. system you must obtain their e-mail address.

Security has always been tantamount at Blizzard. Proof of this lies in
the frequent reminders to not give out your account information, and
the introduction of the Authenticator, both of which seem to lead to
more security for players. So it came as quite a surprise when reading
more about the Real I.D system that in order to utilize the function
players would need to either give out the e-mail address that
corresponds to their account, or obtain the e-mail addresses of their

As all WoW players know your e-mail
address is a vital part of your WoW information, used with a password
to allow players to login to their accounts. So it seems strange indeed
that the usually cautious Blizzard has asked players to reveal their
e-mail addresses, even to supposed  friends. This would not
have been an issue in the past, when logging in required a username and
not an e-mail address, however with the switch to the system
the e-mail address has become a key link to a player’s
account information.

So with Blizzard’s work to provide and help players achieve
greater account safety in the past, the Real I.D. system seems to be a
step in the opposite direction. With access to a player’s
e-mail address hackers are one step closer to wrecking havoc on your
account. With the amount of time and energy most players dedicate to
their toons the loss of a character or items and gold can be
devastating even if they may eventually be replaced.

The exchanging of e-mails is not the most worrying aspect of the Real
I.D system. Once you have accepted a Real I.D. friend request your real
first and last name is displayed for all your Real I.D. friends to see.
While this may seem inconsequential to most, giving any personal
information, even something as trivial as your name, out over the
internet can turn out to be a very slippery slope indeed. While having
access to someone’s full name may not get you very far, with
just a few leading questions and some slips of the tongue in normal
conversation someone could end up knowing more about you than you ever

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Any friend added via the Real
I.D. system will be able to view the players full name.

The Real I.D system is amazing, and will truly take the social aspect
of WoW to a whole new level. I personally plan on making use of the
system, already having added several long time friends that I want to
keep in touch with. With all that being said though, we must err on the
side of caution and remember that by using the system we are giving out
information that could be used against us. While this may seem like
some paranoid delusion, we must remember that it’s a crazy
world out there and there are those that are out there waiting ready to
pounce on any opportunity.

Gaining information has long brought out the worst in people and I
expect in this case it will be no different. So think long and hard
about adding friends to your list in this manner, only allowing access
to your nearest and dearest friends and not that guy you met in an
instance run last week. By using good judgment you can save yourself
(and Blizzard) a lot of headaches and keep yourself out of a
potentially bad situation.

What do you think about the new Real I.D. system? Are you comfortable
with having your e-mail and real name revealed and do you think this
will cause even more security issues? Join us on our forums to share
your thoughts.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Warcraft Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Amunet, also fondly known as Memtron, is an organic life form best known for its ongoing obsession with Blizzard Entertainment's numerous properties. To that end, Amu has authored hundreds (thousands?) of the most popular World of Warcraft guides, editorials, and Top 10 lists on the planet. When not gaming and writing, Amu is busy chasing after her three children in a perpetual loop of ongoing disaster.