Just three days after provoking a firestorm of nerd rage by announcing that all members of the Battle.net forums would have to begin using their real first and last names, Blizzard Entertainment has relented and said use of the Real ID system would be optional.
“It’s important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums,” said Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime in a post on the message boards. “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.”
Those who didn’t like the change felt it lifted a veil of anonymity that allowed them to express themselves freely. Blizzard said the policy was meant to foster a more positive environment for discussion as well as to help Battle.net evolve with the times.
The trolls win this round.