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Blizzard backs off plans to use real names, this is why we can't have nice things

by: Chuck -
More On: World of Warcraft Starcraft 2
Last week Blizzard announced that they were going to be changing the forums for World of Warcraft and Starcraft 2 over so that people would see the real names instead of allowing users to hide behind anonymous screen names.  The goal was simple, help curb some of the flame wars that broke out and encourage more civil discourse by holding people accountable for the words they posted online.

The reaction was as loud as it was predictable as people immediately tore into the company and vowed to leave the service if this was implemented.  Sure there were some legitimate reasons why this was a bad idea (would you really want your boss/parents finding out about how much time you spend on the forums?) but the primary reason this was revoked was because of the immaturity of a few gamers. 

It's a shame that Blizzard didn't stick to their guns on this as it would have been a huge step forward for the gaming community.  We could have actually pulled ourselves out of the mire of the stereotypical gamer but instead we fall back on the old image of the basement dwelling loser who lacks every social grace.  I hope that we can eventually get past this but until then this seems like a missed opportunity.  Full text of the letter after the jump.
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, 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.