Sometimes we get mired into arguing about minutia and miss the real point. I’ve been going back and forth about the symptoms and ignoring the reality. What forest, all I see are a bunch of trees.
Blizzard is not imposing Real ID on the WoW forums to clear out trolls or to make us responsible for our posts or to save money on forum moderation. That is a load of crap. An excuse. A smoke screen. The post that set off nearly 2500 pages of responses (so far, including one from me) is just a side show, a distraction.
Seriously, are you telling me that after more than five years, suddenly Blizzard can’t take it any more? Did Mike Morhaime suddenly crack and shout, “I’ve had it up to here with you damn trolls! I’m taking you all down!” and start hurling murlocs around his giant office?
A big change like this, which is really a change in the way they do business, a change in the way they want to relate to their customers, always comes with a corporate press release.
So I went looking for one.
There is no corporate Blizzard press release out there about cleaning up the forums.
This is not the purpose of their grand stroke.
These are not the forum trolls you are looking for.
The people at Blizzard know that the forums are unlikely to get more civil. And they also know that support issues diverted from the forums to email and the phones are likely to cost them more money, not save them any.
No, the only press release out there related to Real ID, and it doesn’t even mention it by name, is the announcement that StarCraft II will be integrated with Facebook.
Real ID is the result of that integration.
Because to integrate with Facebook, you have to use your real name. So say the terms of service.
So if Blizzard wants to come play with Facebook, or is being told they have to go play with Facebook because somebody mentioned to Bobby Kotick that Facebook is where the money is, they have to go in with their subscribers real names in full view of the world.
Getting in bed with Facebook requires full disclosure.
“But wait!” I hear you say, “That press release only mentions StarCraft II! We’re talking about the World of Warcraft forums!”
That is merely because we haven’t seen the right press release yet.
Prediction: New Cataclysm feature to be announce, Facebook integration with World of Warcraft.
I’m going to stick with that one until proven wrong.
You’re welcome for that blinding flash of the obvious.
You probably beat me to it by a few days. I just haven’t made it to a post yet that laid it out quite like that.
What that means to World of Warcraft and the Cataclysm expansion… well… I think I’ll quote Robert Heinlein:
When in danger or in doubt
Run in circles, scream and shout!
You may now begin to panic.
If you wish to defer panic for a few minutes, go read this, laugh, sigh, and smile for a moment.
Then begin to panic.