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Blizzard backs down on Real ID

Plans for real names on forums dropped after player outcry

Blizzard has scrapped its plans to drop anonymity from its online forums.

As part of a claimed drive to clean up the tone and language of its sizeable community, the publisher had announced that real names would be required on its WarCraft, StarCraft and Diablo forums.

This formed just part of a new scheme known as Real ID, intended to bring social networking to Blizzard games.

Many questioned the privacy implications of such a move, concern over which was heightened as a result of players unearthing and posting contact and private details for various Activision Blizzard staff - including Bobby Kotick - on the internet.

On Friday, Blizzard boss Mike Morheim issued a new statement on the World of Warcraft boards, announcing the developer's intention to back down over Real ID on the forums.

"We’ve been constantly monitoring the feedback you’ve given us," said Morheim, "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.

"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. 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."

StarCraft II, incorporating the new version of Battle.net, launches on July 27.

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Alec Meer avatar
Alec Meer: A 10-year veteran of scribbling about video games, Alec primarily writes for Rock, Paper, Shotgun, but given any opportunity he will escape his keyboard and mouse ghetto to write about any and all formats.
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