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Loading... RealID: What's In A Name?

Posted Thu, Jul 08, 2010 by Ethec

Loading... is the premier daily MMOG newsletter, only from Ten Ton Hammer!

Welcome to the 1,371st edition of Loading...

Blizzard's planned implementation of RealID has raised quite a hot fuss on the official boards. The central point of contention: "Beginning in mid-July, players who post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, the real-life first and last name associated with their Battle.net account."

The days of Internet anonymity may be quickly evaporating, but is the use of your real name a violation of privacy? Could having to own your comments possibly be a good thing? We move past the knee jerk reactions in today's Loading... RealID: What's In A Name?

The Pulse

You vote with what you view at Ten Ton Hammer, and the result is the Ten Ton Pulse (What is The Pulse?).

Today's top 5 Pulse results this week:

  1. World of Warcraft
  2. EVE Online (UP 4!)
  3. EverQuest II
  4. Age of Conan (UP 1)
  5. Warhammer Online

Biggest movers today:

  1. Pirates of the Burning Sea
    - UP 20 to #13
  2. Guild Wars
    UP 14 to #14
  3. Star Wars Galaxies
    - UP 9 to 9
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WoWRiot is making hay off of the fallout from Blizzard's RealID initiative, ostensibly posting the personal info of a WoW developer who chose to post his real name in response to RealID concerns. I view that as uncalled-for, especially since the information may or may not be real and, more importantly, may or may not be the correct individual, so I'm not going to denegrate Loading... by linking you (Google away, if you wish). Concerns over RealID and real names are definitely worth addressing, but I personally think the hate and consternation is overblown for a number of reasons.

First, believe it or not, despite the promise inherent in the name "RealID", real name doesn't go all the way toward establishing identity. Case in point, try to apply for anything without giving your date of birth and/or SSN. Even with my odd last name, for most of my life I lived some 30 miles away from another guy with the exact first, middle, and last name, even though I've never met him and we're only distantly related. (He's a park ranger, and I often thought about contacting him to pull a prince and the pauper - me being the pauper - when I needed a break from the glowing screen.)

One could argue that those crying loudest about the RealID switch are those most prone to hide behind their anonymity, making the sort of comments they'd never make if they were in the same room with their respective audience. I don't buy this entirely - a big part of the fun of MMORPGs is temporarily reinventing yourself. In moderation that's good innocent fun. At times, I think we all long to see who we are apart from who we've becom insofar as that's possible, and real names break down that almost sacred divide. But it's important to realize we're talking about forums here, not in-game personas, and forums presence should be separate from your play experience.

Not to mention that posting is a voluntary act typically done by a tiny minority of any game's playerbase, and that forum minority is typically out-of-balance with the gaming mainstream (even though their perspectives often taint the entire playerbase). Ever since the MMO maturity level took a serious nosedive around 2004, forums have become the nexus of unfounded discontent, flamebait, and general stupidity. Blizzard's initiative to make players own their comments could go a long way toward cleaning this up.

Putting your name to your words is something I've never been opposed to. We've said a lot of controversial things over the years in Loading..., and our real name has been plastered on every single Loading... we've written. I've gotten some email hate and forum rage, but never anything more serious than that. I suppose the potential is there, and I can certainly understand why devs and the women on our staff would want obscure their real names (stalkers are no joke), but on the whole, I think that if you're going to speak up, you shouldn't be afraid to put your name to it.

With regards to privacy concerns, I'm no lawyer, but if those opposed to this change have a legal leg to stand on, it's that posters making comments made prior to the RealID switch had a certain expectation of privacy. Even if real names aren't automatically associated with these comments, it might be fairly easy to cross-reference posters by character names, avatars, etc. Blizzard's out is that you don't have to associate your real name with your character, it's entirely your option.

Assuming Blizzard goes ahead with the RealID switch, and I think they will at this point, I think the real danger is that it will kill not only the noise but also the legitimate discussion that occurs on the forums. Thoughtful posters might simply avoid the forums on principle. My hope is that we can get back to the days when folks weren't afraid to make a name (a real name, that is) for themselves through intelligent debate and discussion on the forums.

What's your take on RealID? Should Blizzard move ahead with the switch? Should other games adopt their stance? Share your thoughts in the Loading... forum.


Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day


From our FFXIV General Discussion forum

September 30 Release?

This Epic Thread was posted before it was official, but now that we know for sure that Final Fantasy XIV will launch September 30, folks want to talk about it. If you're one of them, head over to our FFXIV forums and get your chat on while you wait for your beta key. You may get a few questions answered while you're at it.

==============================
Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread

"m a little confused... you get one storage character and one playable character... at the end of the free time, you pay 12.99 but does that include both the above characters, or just the storage character? Do I actually have to pay 15$ to play the "adventure" character?"

- kitsunegirl
==============================


New and Exclusive Content Today at Ten Ton Hammer

5 Ten Ton Hammer feature today! 20 Ten Ton Hammer features in July! 738 in 2010!

INTERVIEWS

APB Post-Launch - An Interview With Creator David Jones
http://www.tentonhammer.com/interview/apb/e3

We recently got a chance to sit down and interview Real Time Worlds Founder, and the creator of Grand Theft Auto, David Jones, about the current state of APB (All Points Bulletin) and what he has in store for the future of the game.

MEDIA

Massively Mobile - New Might & Magic Heroes Kingdoms Images
http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/86567

Ever since acquiring the rights to the Might and Magic name in 2003, Ubisoft Entertainment has continually expanded upon what is no doubt one of the most beloved fantasy franchises of all time among RPG and strategy enthusiasts. With its newest title, Might & Magic Heroes Kingdoms, the publisher has aims at bringing a bit of that strategic RPG magic to not only the PC and Mac, but also the newest gadget on the gaming block, the iPad. To help whet your appetite for what will likely become a staple of mobile gaming when it’s released to American audiences later this summer, we have an assortment of images from Might & Magic Heroes Kingdoms for your viewing enjoyment, so be sure to check them out!

FEATURES & GUIDES

EQ2 Warrior Sample AA Specs
http://www.tentonhammer.com/eq2/guides/specs-warrior

These impressive EverQuest II tanking classes can blow the other classes away with their defensive abilities, but having the right alternate advancement spec is very important. We have compiled two sets of AA specs for both the Guardian and the Berserker to suit both the tank and the solo/DPS focus players. Take a look, tweak them as needed, and make these specs perfect for your Warrior!

WoW: Cataclysm Talent System Overhaul Unveiled!
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/previews/cataclysm_talent_overhaul

While the initial class talent previews may have been a disappointment to most, Blizzard is well on it’s way to redeeming itself. In a shocking announcement Blizzard unveiled the framework for some of the biggest changes to the talent trees in WoW history. Join us at Ten Ton Hammer as we give you the scoop on the changes Blizzard has in store for talents trees in Cataclysm.

WoW Gold through Production & Speculation
http://www.tentonhammer.com/wow/guides/gold/production

In this final section of the Ten Ton Hammer Ultimate WoW Gold Guide we're going to focus on the art of production and speculation in the World of Warcraft economy. This is the end game of WoW gold making and can also be the least effort depending on how you decide to approach it.


Today's Hottest Articles, Guides, and Features

  1. APB Post-Launch - An Interview With Creator David Jones
  2. Ten Ton Hammer's StarCraft II Guide Portal
  3. Aion – The Divine Fortress Taken! An Interview with the Elysean Council
  4. Sock! Pow! Bam! DC Universe Online – An Interview with Senior Producer Wes Yanagi
  5. New TERA Video Showcases Intense Combat Gameplay
  6. The Races of Guild Wars 2: Humans
  7. DC Universe Online's Senior Producer Wes Yanagi on Ten Ton Hammer Live Episode 13
  8. APB: Spotlight on the Symbol Designer
  9. Exclusive Interview With Creator of Sherwood Dungeon
  10. Introducing Company of Heroes Online - A Video Q&A with Producer Greg Wilson

Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!

- Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer Team.


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