Apparently Blizzard has been listening to the huge amount of backlash regarding the announcement that posters to the official forums soon would be posting via their real life names. A post by Blizzard founder and CEO Mike Morhaime today reverses that decision.
While other features of the new forum system such as threading and rating will remain in place, the name issue is no longer. Said Morhaime, “We’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.”
See the full post, with some of his important points marked in bold:
I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.
It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II Battle.net character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.
I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make Battle.net a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you’ll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. 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.
In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/about/mission.html ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.
CEO & Cofounder
Regardless of how you felt about the requirement of posting by your real name on the forums, I think most players will be happy to at least know that Blizzard is listening. The vast majority of comments on the official announcement were negative, and Blizzard seems to have taken them to heart.
I’m glad, also, that the other announced changes will remain in place. I still am hopeful that threading and rating will make the forums a more positive experience. Sure, trolls will still be able to post, but hopefully those changes will make such posts easier to bypass and wade through.
What do you think — does this reversal put you at ease, or are you still worried about what the continued evolution of RealID to bring “new and exciting functionality” will mean to the future of Blizzard games?