Hell hath no fury like a World of Warcraft player scorned. And nothing scorns a World of Warcraft player like the idea of having their real life identity associated with their online persona, which is exactly what Blizzard was planning to do.

After Blizzard announced that the online forums for their games, like World of Warcraft and StarCraft II, WoW players filled a massive thread with over fifty thousand replies in a matter of days. In a very surprising turn, Blizzard’s CEO and founder Mike Morhaime sent out a personal response reneging on Blizzard’s Real ID forum requirement. Blizzard players will continue to use either their World of Warcraft character names or StarCraft II character accounts for posting on the forums.

Here’s Morhaime’s open letter in its entirety:

Hello everyone,

I’d like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. 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. As a result of those discussions, we’ve decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, 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.

I want to make sure it’s clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. 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. And 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. 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.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard’s success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment

While I’ve made my personal feeling known on the entire issue, I do not disagree with Blizzard’s decision. In fact, I’m really impressed with how Blizzard is handling the whole situation. The entire Real ID system reeks of Activision, and the open letter from Blizzard’s CEO and founder is 100% old school Blizzard. It’s the company that everyone doubted still existed.

Still, the ridiculousness continues with thousands of players still insisting that Blizzard has wounded them deeply. The comments implying that Blizzard is simply waiting to reinstate the Real ID forum requirement, or that their ultimate goal is to nefariously abuse your personal information are exquisitely preposterous. Still, it wouldn’t be World of Warcraft without abhorrent amounts of drama, am I right?

What do you think of the the entire situation, Ranters? Blizzard‘s Real ID system still has the potential to have far-reaching implications throughout online gaming. Is improved social networking something you believe gamers want, or need? Leave a comment!

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