Thursday, July 22, 2010

Blizzard and Real ID

It's been talked to death on Twitter, Facebook and a myriad of gaming forums.  The diverse view I find interesting, as I'm in the Real ID is bad camp, so I'm having a hard time relating to the "it's a good thing" camp, including some of my real life friends.

The premise for Real ID, being able to contact your friends across the different games, I don't have a problem with at all.  But what's so wrong with a user name like every other Forum (I don't care what it's about gaming, gardening, politics, etc.,) on the Internet.  In every other instance you have the option of how much of your real identity you CHOSE to share. You can decide if you want your real name, address, photo, whatever, or not.

That's what I have a problem with - no choice.

I want control.

I want to be able to have a user name that I can happily give out to friends, or their friends can see, BUT I want to be able to control which of my characters they can see too.  Is that too much to ask?  Some of us play with different people or different guilds or just need that break to play solo.  Real ID, I have no options.  Either I have it all out there or I have to give up to much of my privacy.

A good friend doesn't see this as a problem at all.  But then he plays with his brother and a group of people he's known for 4-5 years in WoW.  They're all on first name basis now, and they've been texting and phoning for years, so the level of trust is there.

We debated this as I compared what Blizzard is trying to do as similar to a Steam Account or Xbox - but there you have an avatar and/or user name.  Control.  People say well look at Facebook.  Yes my 'real name' is on Facebook, but again I can control who has access and to what.  Is it perfect no, but there are at least some measure of control and privacy.

My friend thinks its nice to be able to chat with people on different realms, and I asked why don't you call them.  Oh not "that kind of friend", not a phone/texting friend, just a person you've played a game with at some point.  That isn't what Blizzard is promoting Real ID for though.  So the premise of why it exists isn't for casual friends, it's for close, personal friends.

I told him the way I felt about Real ID is like going to a club with a badge listing my full name and phone number printed on it.  Okay that's an exaggeration, but not much of one.

I have concerns as a woman and mother, about safety.  Sorry guys, women and children get stalked, and predators don't always look the part.  (I hate to think how many people present themselves as being 14-20, that are seriously much older.)  I've lied to guys in PUGs, saying I'm a guy.  Mostly because, I've had comments ranging from would you like to be my girlfriend to what color are your underwear to much racier.

So, I have a bit of reluctance, even outing myself as female until I know people that I'm playing with gaming.

Therefore, forgive me if  I don't think it needs to be easier to finding someone.  People say that's living in fear.  I don't feel afraid, because I take precautions to not be an easy target.  Is that living in fear? I don't feel like I'm operating from a sense of fear at all.  Just life experience. I lock my car out in public, don't leave my PC or iPhone on the table at Starbucks unattended either - not looking for my stupid sign!

Honestly, in my day, you could give a guy a fake name or fake phone number and not worry so much.  Oops wrong number he can't text or call.  Is that mean, admittedly yes, but often kinder than saying I'm not interested in you and don't find you attractive, so please go away and leave me alone, etc.  Oh you have my Real ID and play on my realm or are a friend of a friend - screw me!

I know there is no "real" privacy on the Internet, Google yourself if you thing there is (heck even my user name Ziboo pops up third and goes to my Twitter account). But again, someone needs to have your name to start with, so let's not give people a helping hand here, Blizz!

My bad feeling towards Blizzard/Activision really stem from the fact that I truly feel this was thrust on us without really asking the player base what they wanted or felt until the Forum debacle.

Maybe they don't need to ask, but then maybe we don't need to play their games or maybe start all games with a game card, fake name and email address from now on?

It definitely has soured me on Blizzard and WoW, which I've always enjoyed.  It's just a sense of betrayal and feeling steamrolled.

The latest Q&A from Blizzard - Real ID Q&A

1 comment:

  1. I have to admit I don't understand the "it's a good thing" camp. The idea is good, but the product they put in place is far from good. It's meh. It's semi-useful. But it could be more. And they really need to get their heads out of their rears when it comes to the forums. I think the forums suck in MANY ways, but a single username would be so fantastic.