Should Blizzard Require Real World Names From World of Warcraft Players? (Hint: No)

Uprising in Azeroth! When World of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment announced this week that it would soon require its players to use Real ID log-ins to participate in its online community forum, the company probably wasn’t expecting the backlash that followed. Instead of buying Blizzard’s explanation that using real names to post forum comments would discourage “flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild”, the Activision-owned studio is now under siege from its own outraged players, with its forum ironically buried under thousands of infuriated posts from folks who don’t want their real identity linked to their WoW activity. (Typical sample: “Blizzard, your stupidity knows no bounds.”) In an act of juvenile judo, some players even resorted to finding and publishing the home address of a Blizzard employee. Given the collective fury, Blizzard may reverse its policy. But whatever happens, the reaction exposes a major cultural rift in the Facebook era: