Wednesday, July 14, 2010

RealID vs PlayerID

The debacle over RealID has been covered extensively by just about everyone so there's no need to rehash the same things that others have said better. Blizzzard's backflip over displaying player's real first and last names was probably inevitable. It couldn't have gone ahead.

In all fairness, every indication is that the initial decision to do so was made by Activision (who own Blizzard) and Blizz was just as unhappy as anyone else.  That being said, the reasoning behind it was not a bad thing and here's why.

RealID on the forums was supposed to raise the quality of the official forums which really are a joke in terms of the amount of crap you have to wade through to find good information by not letting trolls hide behind pseudonyms.

One of the reasons so many people lurk on Elitist Jerks to get accurate and indepth information on game mechanics is their strictly enforced rule set. The banned section is quite entertaining. No-one really wants the WoW forums to be quite that tight that but more moderation would be a definite improvement, just to avoid having 25 posts on the same topic and to stop all the lazies from not reading the stickies. Not to the extremes that EJ goes to although I love them for it.

Blizzard has upped their moderation somewhat, especially on their technical and customer service forums and particularly on the EU site. It's a first step.

RealID was never the solution to this. It just drives away genuine posters and encourages trolls to make fake account details. As a girl, the implications were worrying. I have a unique name that comes up with my workplace address when googled. There are enough stories about sickos tracking down people down irl to settle an in-game grievance like this, this and this. Scary times.

One solution that worked really well in a little game I played a few years back was to have a log-in name that was separate from your PlayerID name. You log in with your LoginID but anyone in could look up your character and see the public name, or PlayerID, associated with your various characters. Players couldn't hide behind alts. Forum posts were made under the PlayerID. Very little trolling.

Since Blizzard changed our log-in ID to our email addresses, I changed my email address to something unique, associated only with logging into the game.

I wish they would introduce an PlayerID that is displayed on all forum posts, that is separate from what we use to log in, I hope they continue to step up moderation because the forums are mostly useless at the moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment