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Blizzard sensibly backs away from new forum policy

Since I got a fair bit of response to yesterday’s comments on Blizzard Entertainment’s proposed forum policies and the privacy implications of them, I wanted to make sure and take the time to note that they are responding to their customers in a postive manner. Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime made this post today on the game’s forums:

Hello everyone,

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 the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, 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.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

Just as they deserved the brickbat when they were proposing to do something stupid, they deserve praise for recognizing they’d mis-stepped (and in a rare move for most companies, recognizing it before they actually implemented it.

Good job, Blizzard. Very good job.

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7 Comments

  1. This is much more clear than a link to a blue post I saw earlier. In that post, it was stated real names would not be used “at this time”.

    This is better. Lots!

    So yay! I can have a goblin!

    • To be fair, he still says “at this time”. It could be weasel words, but, you know…companies develop reputations, and Blizzard’s reputation has always been that they’re very responsive to their fans, and they have a tendency to try and do the right thing. So I’m willing to cut them some slack and offer them some benefit of the doubt here.

      • At this time is probably face-saving, we retain our power stuff. I would imagine they don’t anticipate people changing their minds on that issue. Or maybe it’s to avoid legal stuff if they sell the company or something later.

        Awesome they rolled it back so quickly!

  2. All power to the people! (and orcs, warrior thingies, goblins etc…)

  3. This is most pleasing 🙂 If they had another system to attach an identity to a person, but not the real name of that person (An enforced main as a poster) this would be workable. RL names were jumping the shark.

    Glad to see Blizz reverting on this!

    • I have a feeling that’s what he means by “character code”.

      I think what they’re saying is this: When you post on the forums, there
      will be some unique string that ties that character to your account. This
      gives them their goal of keeping people from using sock puppets to hide
      themselves on the forums, while still protecing the person’s real identity.

      So you’d be able to see that my character TrollFlameLOL is actually an alt
      of teh same account that has Pryderi and Kyrial. But you won’t be able to
      get my real name and backtrack my identity with it.

  4. Ok, Bliz can have its cookie now

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