Image: World of Warcraft
Blizzard says there will be no more role playing when it comes to commenting in the official forums for their role-playing game "World of Warcraft." Elves, orcs and dwarves everywhere are seeing red.
By InGame reporter
NBC News
updated 7/7/2010 5:22:54 PM ET 2010-07-07T21:22:54

Trolls, spammers and flamers begone! Blizzard is vowing to out yer nasty arses … and is angering a whole lot of "World of Warcraft" players along the way.

Earlier this week Blizzard — the company responsible for the mega online gaming phenomenon known as "World of Warcrack"… er "Warcraft" — announced that it would begin requiring those who play its games to use their real names when posting comments in its official discussion forums.

That's right, a company that has made its fortunes off a game that encourages players to adopt fake identities and spend vast amounts of their time in a fake world has decided it wants players to get real.

Needless to say, the resounding response has been: WTF?

Blizzard will force players to say bye-bye to forum anonymity starting later this month. The new rule will go into effect on forums for the highly anticipated "StarCraft II" game prior to its launch July 27 and will move on to the "WOW" forums near the launch of the game's "Cataclysm" expansion (coming later this year).

"The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players — however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild," the announcement stated. "Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before."

But hell hath no fury like 11.5 million "WOW" players scorned. The announcement has been met with thunderous (and, yes, anonymous) protest on Blizzard's forums with gamers calling the decision "ridiculous," "idiotic," and "horrible" and others vowing to cancel their pre-ordered copies of "Cataclysm" or just plain cancel their monthly subscription to "WOW" period.

Many "WOW" players say they understand the desire to cut down on trollish behavior, but they fear that players who haven't done anything wrong will ultimately be the ones to suffer.

"Even as someone who hates the fact that these forums are a joke and overrun with trolls and morons ... I can't stress enough how terrible a solution this is," writes a poster using the name Whiplashr. "I don't want my real name out there. I'm sure that many people who are not trolls and just want to have civil conversation will also not want their real name out there."

Many expressed concerns that potential employers and even potential mates would find their "WOW" activity and use it against them.

"Awesome, so now when a chick I'm interested in decides to google me, she'll find my closet-gamer habit," wrote a player going by the name Patientzero.

Meanwhile, a player going by the name Quira wrote, "People play this game for relaxation on their off time. But, for example, if you had a unique name and applied for a job and the potential employer googled your name and found posts on a gaming forum they may not hire you because they have ill conceived notions about gamers."

Image: World of Warcraft
Bye bye, uh, trolls ... and bye bye anonymity. Blizzard will soon require "World of Warcraft" players to use their real name when posting comments in official game discussion forums.

Quira also pointed out that using a real name poses a particularly difficult problem for women gamers: "As a female this one bothers me a lot. Not only do I not want to be petitioned by random people for cyberlovin while I am playing a game, but more importantly I do not want to be a target offline. Most males my not understand the fear women have in today's world about this but it is a real and genuine threat that does, sadly, happen. Women are stalked, hurt, even killed every day."

But others, like a poster by the name of Killar_gnome, are happy to see the changes.

"I am really sorry that Blizzard feels it has come to this...But I agree with what they are doing," writes Killar. "EVERY single Blizzard forum has been and still is a wretched hive of scum and villainy. I gave up on the blizz forums a long time ago because it's really not worth the time to navigate through 1000 useless posts/threads."

A poster by the name Raingame agrees, writing: "I love it. I have no problem with people knowing who I am based on my posts, because I try to put thought into them beforehand. Some of the dumbest things I've ever read over the years have been on these forums; this change should dramatically increase the amount of thought and effort put into new threads, discussions, and responses."

How will this shake out?

"This will effectively turn these forums into a complete ghost town." Whiplashr predicted.

But many of those protesting the announcement say they will simply find a way to remain anonymous.

Says Moose85, "Like many other people, I will be creating an alias Battle.Net account so my real name will not be displayed."

The real Winda Benedetti can be found tweeting about games right here on Twitter.

© 2013  Reprints

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Explainer: Best original games to come

  • Image: Image: Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent
    Telltale Games

    When it comes to video games, it's easy to get caught up in franchise mania. Certainly at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo, games with numbers in their title seemed to hog most of the spotlight. Crysis 2, Gears of War 3, LittleBigPlanet 2, Killzone 3 — we're lookin' at you.

    It's easy to go with the games we know. It's certainly the safe choice. But it can be far more rewarding and surprising to dive into completely new games – games that are delivering brand new stories and trying out brand new gameplay ideas. At E3 this year, there were plenty of excellent original games to be found. Here's a look at some of our favorites.

    — Winda Benedetti & Todd Kenreck

  • Journey — PS3

    Image: Image: Journey
    That Game Company/Sony

    We can't wait to see what Jenova Chen has in store for us next. Chen is the designer/artist behind indie downloadable PS3 games " Flower" and " flOw" —  games that earned raves thanks to their unique take on gameplay and art.

    At E3 earlier this month, Chen revealed that a game called "Journey" is his next project – and one that looks to be another unusual take on gaming.

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    In his company's blog, Chen says he hopes to evoke "a sense of awe and mystery" with the game. Beyond that, we understand that there will be an online aspect to the game but we don't know much more.

    Looks like we'll have to wait until 2011 to see exactly what this sand-swept "Journey" is all about.

  • Limbo — Xbox 360

    Image: Image: Limbo
    Playdead Studios/Microsoft

    The more footage we seefrom this eerie indie game, the more we can't wait to play the whole thing.

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    "Limbo" will be available to download from Xbox Live this summer.

  • Lost in Shadow – Wii

    Image: Image: Lost in Shadow
    Hudson Soft

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    The graphics look amazing and the puzzle solving looks wonderfully unique. The game will be available for the Wii this fall.

  • Rage — Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Mac


    Post apocalyptic setting: Check. Vast world: Check. Plenty of guns and flying bullets: Roger that.

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    This game not only offers tons of running and gunning, it tosses in some intense vehicle combat to boot. And with the new id Tech 5 engine running things, the graphics look spectacular.

    The apocalyptic good times begin sometime in 2011.

  • Bulletstorm — PS3, Xbox 360, PC


    This over-the-top first-person shooter looks like it's going to be one bloody good time. Here you won't just be aiming to take out your many enemies with killshots ... but with skillshots. That is, you'll want to kill with creativity. Shoot an enemy in the throat and you'll earn "Gag Reflex" points. Shoot an enemy in the junk and then finish  him off with a bullet to the head and you'll earn "Mercy" points. More points equals more upgrades equals more mayhem.

    The bullets will fly Feb. 22, 2011.

  • Sorcery — PS3


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  • Nelson Tethers: Puzzle Agent — Wii, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, PC, Mac


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    Players take on the role of Nelson Tethers, the lead (and only) agent in the US Department of Puzzle Investigation, sent to Scoggins, Minnesota to find out why the town’s eraser factory has stopped working. Mazes, puzzles, riddles and logic brainteasers twist their way through an eerie mystery story. But what most intrigues us, is the way it's all wrapped up in Graham’s humorous-yet-creepy visual and narrative style.

    Fortunately, we won't have to wait long to get our hands on this game. It's due to launch sometime this week.

  • Brink — Xbox 360, PS3, PC

    Image: Image: Brink
    Splash Damage/Bethesda

    It's the future. The world has flooded. The survivors are scraping out an existence on a floating city known as The Ark . No, things aren't looking so bright. With this waterworld on the fast track toward civil war – the Resistance versus the Security – you the player must pick sides and pick up your highly customizable gun.

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    Alas, it looks like we'll have to wait until 2011.

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    It's the future. Yes, again. Only in this game the world hasn't flooded. Instead, nearly all the humans have been wiped off the face of the earth ... which is now mostly populated by the robots that wiped them out.

    This action-adventure game centers around the uneasy relationship between two characters – a beefy brawler named Monkey and a tech-expert named Trip. The two literally cannot survive without each other if they're going to survive the evil robots onslaught, and players will have to learn how to best use each of Monkey and Trip's skills if they want to complete the game.

    "Enslaved" is being developed by Ninja Theory — the developers behind "Heavenly Sword" — and the game's story was written by Alex Garland — the novelist who wrote "The Beach" and the screenplay for "28 Days Later." It's scheduled to launch Oct. 8th.

  • Rock of Ages — PC, PS3, Xbox 360


    "Rock of Ages" is one of those utterly original games that, when described, sounds like utter nonsense. It's basically this:  A tower defense-ish, ball-rolling game in which you try to knock down your enemy's castle with a giant rolling boulder as you progress through the stages of art history. (You'll also try to defend your own tower from the enemy's boulder using all sorts of zany defenses).

    We love the unique, arty look of it and, best of all, we think knocking sh*t down looks like a lot of fun.

    This downloadable title will crash into our lives sometime in 2011.

    Also see: The best games to come


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