Since World Of Warcraft
and StarCraft II
creator Blizzard announced that its official forums would phase in mandatory use of its newly announced "Real ID" system
, which marks posts with their writers' real-life names, there has been a deluge of heated discussion about the decision, and Blizzard says it is "definitely listening to player feedback."
"[We] will be carefully monitoring how people are using the service," a Blizzard representative told Gamasutra this week. "Real ID is a new and different concept for Blizzard gamers -- and for us as well -- and our goal is to create a social gaming service that players want to use."
The Real ID system remains optional within Blizzard's current games like World of Warcraft
and StarCraft II
. Players can take advantage of it by adding friends by their Battle.net-associated email account, rather than their public user name.
The system is only planned as a requirement on the Battle.net community forums. StarCraft II
's forum will begin using Real ID later this month, and World of Warcraft
's will begin as the Cataclysm
expansion pack's release approaches.
"It's important to note that both enabling Real ID in game and posting on the official Blizzard forums are completely optional," the Blizzard rep said. "Players can continue to read the forums anonymously regardless of whether they choose to post in them, and their gameplay experiences will not change if they choose not to use the Real ID communication features in game."
He also says players can enable parental controls to keep their children from using the Real ID system, or to disable their forum posting capabilities.
Players can actually register any name they wish when signing up for their Real ID -- but an account for a given game must be tied to a unique CD key for that game, and Blizzard says it plans to attempt to enforce the use of legitimate names.
"We have multiple teams here who will be monitoring the forums and looking for inappropriate names," the rep explained. "When the situation does arise, our community and customer service representatives will investigate and determine if any action is needed.