Tag Archives: Real ID

Battle.net Parental Controls Get Tweaked

This week’s Tuesday WoW/Battle.net maintenance  (which went until almost 5pm Pacific on some servers, compared to the usual noon-ish wrap up) included an update to the parental controls page.

They did not fix many of the issues that came with the move from it being part of World of Warcraft to being part of Battle.net. (see past rant on the subject)  They fixed one, to be exact.  And the whole thing still bypasses the Blizzard authenticator, which annoys me.

But there were a few other minor tweaks.

One was the color.  I guess that midnight blue was too dark for some.

Now in shades of gray

And they also added the ability to clear the schedule for a given day.  Previously you could only clear the whole schedule.  That fixed the “once you have a time slot on a given day, you cannot undo it without clearing everything” issue.

But more interesting in view of the whole Real ID in the forums blow up of two weeks back, is the addition of an option to allow forum posting. (Real ID still lives, btw.  Just not in the forums at the moment.)

One new check box

Previously there was only a check box to enable Real ID.  And, since Real ID was going to be required to post on the forums, the two actions were effectively controlled by a single control.

Now, however, in the wake of the “No Real ID in the forums” outburst, there is the new check box for forum posting access.

But what does it mean?

Was this planned to be there all along?  Is this a reaction to Blizzard having to yank their Real ID in the forums plan?

And what will it mean when StarCraft II comes out in a week?  The press release about Facebook integration with SC II seems to indicate that there will have to be additional factors to consider for parental controls.

I guess we’ll find out about that in a week.

The ESRB – Against Real ID, Befuddled by Reply All

As part of last week’s Real ID crisis, nearly a thousand people apparently wrote to the ESRB asking for help in the fight against the latest step in Blizzard’s Real ID campaign.

We know this because, as WoW.com has reported, the ESRB replied to all of those who wrote in with a supportive message… and just did a mass “reply all” to the whole list, not bothering to use the blind carbon copy (BCC) feature to hide the addresses and, in some cases, the full real names of the recipients.

Well, the ESRB certainly gets full points for irony in this situation.

I am sure that somebody in their office will be hearing about this for some time to come.  They have since apologized.

Of course, if you work with any sort of corporate email system, people mis-using the said system is probably a common sight.  The reply all button is a dangerous, career limiting weapon in the hands of the uninformed.

And coming from a company with over 70,000 people world wide… somebody once sent out an innocuous message and accidentally CC’d it to the “all managers, world wide” address list.  This was responded to via reply all by literally dozens of terse, unprofessional, and sometimes very angry, messages, all of which went to everybody on the email list, right up to the CEO of the company.

So the ESRB is in good (or bad) company at least.

Finally, as a complete tangent, how many people entering the work force today know that CC stands for carbon copy and is a reference to using carbon paper to make a duplicate or a typed document?  How many have even heard of carbon paper and know what it is?

Oh Crap, We Won. What Do We Complain About Now?

Cyanbane just pointed me to this post over at Kotaku, the meat of which is this quote from Blizzard:

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.

And I was just really getting warmed up on the subject.  There was a conspiracy to be uncovered.  I was just about to implicate Eurogamer and Halliburton in the whole thing.

I guess it is back to griping about gear score and dungeon finder groups.

The Biggest Lie About Real ID

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?

Not likely.

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.

We’re in the Summer News Doldrums Now…

When this is the main Yahoo headline, get ready for just about anything to show up in the news.

Octopus picks winner for World Cup!

Parakeet begs to differ!

I’ll spoil it for you, the mollusk picked Spain while the bird went for the Netherlands.  If you want the arcana on how they choose, you’ll have to read the articles.  Both of these animals have picked winners correctly in the past, but now one of them will have their reputation destroyed, while the other will appear with Jay Leno in an attempt to help him get the Tonight Show ratings back up.

Sure, yesterday Yahoo sank down to the whole Real ID thing with their usual eye for accuracy.  For example, spot at least two errors in this boilerplate at the end of the article.

World of Warcraft, which was launched in 2004, is the most popular multiplayer online role-playing game with more than 11 million monthly subscribers.

But today?

Today animals predict the outcome of a soccer game!

Meanwhile, NASA is looking into the balls being used for World Cup play.

Hey, NASA, if you want to look into something about soccer, how about figuring out a way to break a tie without that whole crappy penalty shoot-off.  Or just suggest some technologies that FIFA could look into to help them make a few less egregiously bad official calls.

Or, hey, here’s a novel idea… do something related to outer space.  The “S” in NASA stands for “Space,” not “soccer.”

Still, if you feel you have to ride along on the World Cup’s coat tails, at least tells us about what kind of reception they get in the International Space Station or throw out some theories to explain the apparent fascination cephalopods and psittacines have for the game.

(There are your vocabulary words for the day.)

What will tomorrow bring?

More Real ID Links Than You Really Want To See…

Dee over at a Azeroth.me has compiled, with quotes, one helluva long list of links to various sources discussing Blizzards Real ID.

You can find it here.

It covers a wide spectrum of opinions from a diverse group of sources, everything from bloggers to blue names to gamer sites to mainstream media.

If you want to immerse yourself in the discussion, look no further.  A lot of work went into that post.

Surprise! A Security Flaw in Real ID!

File under, “That didn’t take long!”

WoW.com is reporting that there is a security flaw in Real ID that allows addons to expose your information to… well… anybody.  It is all up to the addon.

I expect to hear this story repeated again and again because some part of Blizzard, the part that wants you to expose your information, does not strike me as very interested in security.

Again, as I said in my previous post on the subject, the whole Real ID things seems to go completely against the grain of what I am told is Blizzard’s biggest problem, account security.

When you are fighting a battle to keep your customers from having their accounts hacked and looted, something I am going to guess costs them more money than, say, forum moderation, proposing a system that exposes more information about your users doesn’t seem to be the best plan.

Anyway, I’ve turned on parental controls for my own account and dis-allowed Real ID.

Now I just have to hope there isn’t a flaw in that…