Blizzard stands down over forum controversy
Blizzard has reversed a controversial decision that would have forced thousands of Starcraft and World of Warcraft (WoW) players to use their real names on the company's online forums.
As expected, the plan sparked outrage from hundreds of forum participants, with one particularly angry player complaining that the unexpected change in policy was "quite possibly the worst idea in the history of bad ideas."
Hundreds of others accused Blizzard of neglecting or ignoring legitimate privacy concerns, while others lambasted the company for turning its back on thousands of loyal users.
"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," Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime wrote in an official post.
"As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on [our] forums."
However, Morhaime confirmed that Blizzard was determined to move ahead with other forum "improvements," such as optimized search functionality, the ability to rate entries (up or down) and highlighting posts based on rating.
"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."
In addition, Morhaime emphasized that Blizzard's plans for its forums were "completely separate" from the optional WoW/Starcraft II in-game Real ID system.
"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.
"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. And 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."