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Blizzard nixes real-name requirement in forums

/ Source: The Associated Press

Blizzard Entertainment is backtracking on plans to require players to use their real names when posting on its online forums.

Following an outcry in the gaming community, Blizzard lifted the planned requirements.

It said Friday it will still make other changes intended to curb bad behavior in the game forums. These include the ability to vote comments up or down, with low-rated posts slowly disappearing.

The maker of "World of Warcraft" and the upcoming "StarCraft II" was bombarded with criticism this week when it announced the real-name requirement. Gamers say it could make them vulnerable to real-life harassment, hurt job prospects and encroach on privacy.

Blizzard, part of Activision Blizzard Inc., is still proceeding with its optional "Real ID" program, which lets gamers use their true identities when playing.

As msnbc.com games columnist Winda Benedetti wrote earlier this week, "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."