Aww, you knew I wouldn’t be able to resist talking about this one, right? :)
“This message is being sent to confirm that all credit card information has been removed from the World of Warcraft account <MY NAME>, effectively canceling its recurring subscription as of July 7, 2010 5:21 PM UTC.”
I have spent some time in the last few months trying to cope with this weird feeling that Blizzard doesn’t care about us anymore. The RealID friends thing seemed poorly handled. They dropped the Path of the Titans, upped the ticket price for Blizzcon, and told us all that we had to pick 10 OR 25 raiding in Cataclysm. Okay, fine. Whatever. Maybe I’m just a stick in the mud that hates change.
But this RealID on the forums thing is just so… it’s evil. And dumb. It’s evil and dumb, and usually when corporations start to get that way I take my account out behind the woodshed and shoot it in the head like Ol’ Yeller.
1. This is a decision for young, straight, white boys.
Who is going to be alienated by having their full name on ever post? Women. Gay and trans folks. People with some obviously ethnic name. Professionals and older people who don’t want their hardcore belf pally turning up every time some new employer does a Google search.
This means that the new forums will be populated pretty entirely by privileged, young, straight, white boys. One of the greatest things about WoW was the diversity of the player base, and Blizzard has acted decisively against that.
2. This is a decision against guild leadership.
Where do we get most of our fresh recruits from? The official Alliance recruitment forum. On those forums, people are free to post under alts so they can look for a new guild while not upsetting their old one. This practice, of course, will not exist after RealID. And what of recruiting itself? Soon my asking officers for help with recruitment will not just be a matter of posting, it will be a matter of asking people to expose their real life to the vagaries of the WoW Forums. I am not comfortable doing that, by any stretch of the imagination.
I suppose I’m still assuming that anyone will be READING the official forums. (See Point #1.) Instead it’s just as likely that people will flock to a variety of unofficial forums, adding that much more to my recruitment workload.
3. Our trust is gone.
People were fanatic about Blizzard and their games, and now I see those same people saying that they will never have anything to do with the company again. It’s not even so much specifically about names appearing on the forums, although there is certainly enough concern over that. For me, anyway, it’s more that I feel my faith and trust has been abused, and I no longer believe that it will not be further abused down the line.
At no point during the account signup process five years ago was there any indication given that my name would be used for anything more than the billing system. There was no sign that it would be made public. Blizzard is planning on using my personal information against my will. Seriously, forget the whole debate about whether someone can find you from an name on the internet, or whether a support forum should be optional or not, and just think about that. My name — my personal information — is being held hostage by a company.
It’s ludicrous. I quit Facebook for lesser issues, honestly. I still have two months on my account, but today I canceled my ongoing subscription. I run a guild full of adults and professionals, and I am hardly the first person to have canceled their account over this.
Where will it stop? Real names on the Armory? You know they want to do it. You can almost feel those greedheads thinking it. Well screw you, Blizzard and Activision. My guild, my people.. we will find new games. THAT is my kind of gaming social network — gaming with, you know, friends — and one that you cannot monetize.