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Blizzard forum goers will soon no longer have to fear the dreaded internet troll.  (Source: Amazon.com)
Changes will first go into effect on Starcraft II forums, WoW forums likely next

Internet trolling charitably could be referred to as a pop culture phenomena.  People online seem often to develop proclivities for trying to get under each others' skin and in the most extreme cases a troll is born.

But trolls days of lurking around internet message boards may be limited -- at least if Activision Blizzard can help it.  The company, which makes the best-selling
 World of Warcraft and Starcraft franchise has announced that it will be forcing players to use their real names on online message boards.

Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty
, will be the first game to enact the new rules when it releases on July 27.  Those changes will quickly be rolled out to other games -- likely including World of Warcraft, the world's most popular paid MMORPG, with over 11.5 million subscribers.

The company is offering players the option of putting their in-game handle next to their real world name.  However, it will not currently force players to do this.  It says that players choosing to do so will be helping to create a more positive environment.

It says the changes in generally should cut down on trolling and nasty behavior in the forums.  

Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, says such erasures of privacy are nothing new.  He points out that the world's largest social networking site, Facebook, recently switched to requiring real names, and that businesses are typically well within their rights to demand such provisions.  

That said, he said such moves are disappointing as part of the magic of the internet is anonymity and alter-egos.  He states, "Part of the fun of the online gaming would was the sense that you could construct a character different form who you were in the real world."



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Long Time Player's Opinion
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2010 5:24:15 PM , Rating: 5
As a long time WoW player, this is my opinion.

Blizzard has had a terrible record so far with account security. Every month thousands of accounts are hacked, hijacked, and stolen. We went from using a randomly created user account name to log into the game, to a known email address, and now our real names are being used. This is NOT the path to more security.

Now with a simple Google search after reading a forum post, someone can find your Facebook page, your Myspace, possibly your Email address and much much more. This isn't the end of trolling, this is the beginning of outright stalking and harassment on a scale never before seen.

Personally I will not be using the forums again, and most of my guild mates agree. We applaud Blizzards efforts, but this is simply adding far too much visibility. A certain level of anonymity online is essential for security and peace of mind. It's naive to believe the potential for great abuse, perhaps leading to bodily harm or emotional duress, isn't increased by this change.




RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Lerianis on 7/7/2010 5:31:40 PM , Rating: 1
Did you ever think that the problem with having those accounts hijacked is that people are using too weak passwords that are EASILY guessed?
That is what the security officials in the world say it is from.

Putting your real name on these things is something that I will refuse to do (and it actually might be illegal to require that).

However, saying that Blizzard doesn't care about account security because of this goes way too far.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2010 5:42:13 PM , Rating: 2
I didn't say they "didn't care". They are simply not doing enough. And steps like this prove it.

I hate to sound like a doomsayer, but I fully expect to read a story one day about how some nutjob got someones home address because of this and did who-knows-what to them. It's happened before hasn't it??

quote:
Did you ever think that the problem with having those accounts hijacked is that people are using too weak passwords that are EASILY guessed?


Not all of them. That's simply not possible. You can't explain away the huge volume of compromised accounts with that. It even happened to me once, and I assure you my account isn't shared with anyone, my system is secure, and my password was impossible to "guess".

People might not be aware, but WoW Gold and Item selling is a million, maybe BILLION, dollar industry. These people are highly motivated, funded, and skilled in doing what they do. If it involves computers or networks, people WILL find a way in. It's that simple.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Myg on 7/8/10, Rating: 0
RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Suntan on 7/8/2010 11:13:36 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
This can only be a good change.


Not really. Because it is entirely too easy for anyone with an index finger and the ability to spell “google” to see a large portion of your private life. Even parts of your private life that you may have no shame of, but you just do not want certain people to be aware of every detail.

My boss is close to 60. He likes to shoot animals and pull heavy loads with his oversized SUV. He has no understanding why anyone would ever want to play a video game, let alone talk about them on the internet, and if he knew I played video games, or did anything that wasn’t considered “manly”, I would receive less respect in the workplace and it could “unofficially” hurt my career, even though it occurs in my personal life and has no bearing on my professional life.

Now it’s easy to sit in your parent’s basement and think the world doesn’t work that way, or that my boss “sounds like a jerk” and I should just get a new boos. But the reality is that you portray different parts of yourself to acquaintances based on the relationship you have with them. Web archiving+easy searching of all that online data+easy way to link it to your real life relationships circumvent this social norm that has been around for centuries.

I think anyone posting anything on the internet that can easily be pulled up on google and linked to them is just asking for it to be unfairly used against them at some point in their life.

-Suntan


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By sviola on 7/8/2010 10:06:36 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I hate to sound like a doomsayer, but I fully expect to read a story one day about how some nutjob got someones home address because of this and did who-knows-what to them. It's happened before hasn't it??


Yup...recently a french nutjob who was stabbed in a CS match found out who was the player who stabbed him, went to his address and , surprisingly, stabbed him...

Oh the humanity...


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By rcc on 7/8/2010 11:04:11 AM , Rating: 2
Chalk a good percentage of it up to players stupid enough to fall for phishing attempts, or downloading keyloggers.

So, has anyone heard of an account with an authenticator being hacked? Just curious.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By HostileEffect on 7/8/2010 8:19:01 PM , Rating: 1
I have indeed read about one incident where an account with an authenticator was hacked into, the computer has to be actively monitored for the authenticator code though. I don't know if the method was ever patched.

One incident still counts as successful.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By zonkie on 7/8/2010 11:13:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'll start. My real name is Harry Whiteflanks


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Proxes on 7/7/2010 5:54:16 PM , Rating: 3
By them forcing the display of real names this just gives hackers more information to use to gain access to accounts.

I don't use email addresses like luvs2spooge@hotmail.com as primary contact information. Mine is firstname.lastname@whatever.com.

So displaying my name is just one less thing they need. I don't even use my real name in facebook.

One of the CM posted his name on the board just so show everyone that it's not a big deal. Within 5 minutes people had his phone number, where he lived, and personal pictures. Blizzard had a policy of even the CM's real names showing, they've now changed that because of security concerns.

I think that part should have been mentioned in the article.

For people with common names that's not a big deal. My first and last name are common, but they are different enough to where being put together I'm almost 100% sure I'm the only person in the US with that name. My last name is common and a few actors have it but the spelling is different than the popular version.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Pjotr on 7/8/2010 7:14:17 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Did you ever think that the problem with having those accounts hijacked is that people are using too weak passwords that are EASILY guessed?


The password is only one of two tihngs you need to hack an account. The other part is the username. Before battle.net linkage, WoW accounts had an arbitrary username that you never had to type if you checked the "remember username" checkbox. This made it impossible for keylogging viruses to find out your username!

After Blizzard linked WoW account to battle.net the username is no longer used, instead you have to use your e-mail address. Now this is a lot easier to know. For one it's one of the ways you actually got the virus to begin with, so it can be known from that. Secondly you are likely to type your e-mail address in other applications and a keylogger will find this.

With real names posted on forums, a google search might now reveal likely e-mail addresses to check for.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By omnicronx on 7/8/2010 12:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The password is only one of two tihngs you need to hack an account. The other part is the username. Before battle.net linkage, WoW accounts had an arbitrary username that you never had to type if you checked the "remember username" checkbox. This made it impossible for keylogging viruses to find out your username!
If a keylogger/virus is logging everything on your machine, then your security is bound to be compromised at some point anyways, regardless of whether or not one application has the 'remember username' checkbox on.

If its a virus designed to say specifically go after certain things in certain conditions, (such as a login screen), a virus for example could just as easily know what to log, including the username your are submitting, regardless of whether you've typed it or not.

So in reality good security practice should solve your problems, which chances are, you have not been doing if you have key loggers or viruses on your machine.. Seems like a Chicken and Egg non problem to me.. You can't really be compromised unless you are already compromised ;)

If someone can take your name and email address or name and figure out how to access your machine, you've done something wrong..

Now of course there are real life issues such as someone trying to find someone in real life that they have a grudge with, but thats a different issue ;)


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By ssjwes1980 on 7/10/2010 3:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
It doesnt matter how secure your PW is on wow log in mine is always max amount used like 15 characters. I have letters numbers and symbols in mine and its still been compromised. Its cause of keyloggers . I think that it does help buy you time but in the end if you got a keylogger a crazy PW wont save you. I just randomly change my PW once a month and dont have problems anymore. You have to also watch what sites you visit and check your computers anti virus and such like you should anyways just most people dont want to bother with all the steps you can and should take to protect your info.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By n0ebert on 7/7/2010 5:40:28 PM , Rating: 3
Indeed. There is a rather lengthy post on Blizzards WoW forums where a GM posted his real name to try and downplay the seriousness of this change. Within 45 minutes, they found his home address, who he was living with, their real names, his phone number and facebook account.

It's an incredibly short sighted change if they follow through with it.

This will lead to all sorts of problems outside of the game they're obviously not anticipating. What happens if you kick a disgruntled player from your guild who is a bit troubled and starts stalking those who he was guilded with? Obviously a worst case scenario, but it still applies.

But Blizzard will not listen, they never do. They'll push it forward regardless and absorb the damage as they always do.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Myg on 7/8/2010 4:45:27 AM , Rating: 1
Like thats a special feat in itself?

Such things were possible before the internet and google, remember that...


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By smut on 7/8/2010 5:16:47 AM , Rating: 3
And? It was also a lot harder back then as well.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Fanon on 7/7/2010 5:48:23 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Players have had a terrible record so far with account security.


I fixed that for you. Blizzard is not responsible for the security of your computer. They are responsible for ensuring that their systems cannot be hacked to acquire your account credentials. Anything beyond that rests completely on the shoulders of the player.

Name one instance where Blizzard's data centers were hacked and accounts were compromised. You can't because it has never happened. People get "hacked" not because of Blizzard's fault, but because they're stupid. They get software installed on their computer that compromises their account security.

A user's name being displayed is hardly a security threat. You mention a Google search can produce your Facebook, MySpace, and whatever else information. This is true, but it's also true for the thousands of people with the same name.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2010 5:58:53 PM , Rating: 2
/shrug

This is about PERSONAL security more than it is account security. I don't really feel like discussing you on the things you're saying.

I feel the forced use of real names is too great a potential for misuse. It's really that simple.

quote:
A user's name being displayed is hardly a security threat.


How can someone say that in this day and age? You're wrong to the point of stupidity.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Fanon on 7/7/2010 7:52:33 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This is about PERSONAL security more than it is account security. I don't really feel like discussing you on the things you're saying.


And yet, your argument is predicated on the perceived lax security on Blizzard's part. Your first paragraph is devoted to the topic of account security. I can understand not wanting to discuss. Knee-jerk reactions rarely ever stand up to facts.

quote:
How can someone say that in this day and age? You're wrong to the point of stupidity.


Show me where I'm wrong, then. Back up your statements, or don't won't our time posting.


By Reclaimer77 on 7/7/2010 8:28:55 PM , Rating: 1
Ok well, I see no need for such hostility on this issue. I don't want my real name plastered all over the internet. If you want me to take back the first paragraph, ok fine, I don't care.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Azure Sky on 7/8/2010 12:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
could you please post your real full name, infact, could you re-register an account here using your real full name, if its so safe and not an issue why dont you do that already?


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Fanon on 7/9/2010 8:59:57 AM , Rating: 2
Jesse Chambers

No I will not create another account.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By bodar on 7/8/2010 8:17:29 PM , Rating: 2
Perceived lax security? RealID is already exploitable by addons, buddy.

http://www.wow.com/2010/07/06/security-flaw-allows...

When you freely give your real name out on the internet to anybody, you make it VERY easy for someone to tie that online persona to an address, phone number, other online personas, etc. That opens you (and your friends/family as possible collateral damage) up to harassment both online and off. It should be up to each user exactly what info is given out and who gets that info.

http://www.coffeedrunk.com/2010/07/07/micah-whippl...


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Fanon on 7/9/2010 9:05:59 AM , Rating: 2
And exploits will be fixed, buddy.

Yes, Micah Whipple is certainly an average player. Surely you can tell the difference between harassing an employee who may, or may not, make unpopular decisions for a game that millions of people play and the average player. Surely you realized Micah Whipple would be easy to find and target since his location was relatively known due to his employer.

In an earlier post, I gave my real name. My information is on the Internet. I encourage you to find me.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By seamonkey79 on 7/8/2010 4:23:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A user's name being displayed is hardly a security threat. You mention a Google search can produce your Facebook, MySpace, and whatever else information. This is true, but it's also true for the (twenty-six) of people with the same name.


There are 26 people showing in the world having my name. It wouldn't be all that hard to narrow things down to an age bracket, locality based on all sorts of things already visible, but currently using my character's name, not my real name.

It's less difficult to narrow things down for some of us than it would be for John Smith, et al.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By EricMartello on 7/10/2010 3:06:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There are 26 people showing in the world having my name.


Really? What's your name?


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By walk2k on 7/7/2010 6:15:10 PM , Rating: 1
Well said.

You know there once was a time on the Internet - before the "web", when using your real name was not only encouraged but practically required. It was called "Usenet".

These, are not those times any longer. The times, they have a'changed.


By ZachDontScare on 7/8/2010 4:40:37 PM , Rating: 3
Absolute rubbish. Usenet required nothing of the sort. Usenet has no 'central' authority to enforce such a rule even if one existed. I used Usenet for many years, and always went by a pseudoname or handle. In fact, back in the day, using an online handle was the norm. It was expected. Particularly among programmers your online handle was practically as important as your real name.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By BruceLeet on 7/7/2010 11:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and now our real names are being used. This is NOT the path to more security. Now with a simple Google search after reading a forum post, someone can find your Facebook page, your Myspace, possibly your Email address and much much more.


Not to step on anyones feelings....well, here we go.

If you were so determined for anonymity on the Internet you wouldn't be posting your real information, Facebook is okay, there are Privacy settings. You can make yourself invisible on that website (but who wants that right). It's all these websites that you registered at, facebook games that you have clicked ALLOW on to play to pull your PERSONAL INFORMATION and all the countless Terms of Service from all over the web that you have agreed to let them give out/sell your email information to 'partners' (why do you think that website was free to register at) and hey you even agreed to BLIZZARDS TOS.

It all boils down to people like you, who want to believe that their information is...."safe".


By Reclaimer77 on 7/8/2010 4:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see any logic in your argument Bruce. For one thing, if you go to my Facebook page, it's completely locked down. The only thing my Facebook page let's a non-friend know is that I have a Facebook page. And no, I did not click ALLOW on Facebook apps. Stupid accusation.

But how would you get to my page? You would HAVE TO KNOW MY NAME first.

quote:
It all boils down to people like you, who want to believe that their information is...."safe".


LOL right, I'm the bad guy here. Where did I ever say true safety was a guarantee? I didn't. But there's a difference between a comfortable level of risk and an outright endangerment.


By ZachDontScare on 7/8/2010 4:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thats a nonsense argument. The question is not whether your info is out there ... its whether psychos and stalkers on WoW can connect the name of the guy who killed their character online with a real person.

You obviously have to watch what personal information you put online, particularly to prevent identity theft. But that does not follow then that if you put some information on facebook, you must therefore allow any psycho who wants to hunt you down and knife you for killing his character to know who you are. Even without a Facebook or other Social Networking account, you can find information about people online. If someone intends to do you harm, its not a picture of your dog thats important, its where you live, and that can be found out easily enough via many sources.

People need to think of this as a physical security issue, not an identity theft issue.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Motoman on 7/7/2010 11:11:17 PM , Rating: 2
Yes.

I almost never post on the WoW forums. But I can assure you, that if they enact such a rule, I will never be back.

This is tantamount to reckless endangerment of their users, as far as I'm concerned.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Myg on 7/8/2010 4:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
Only if your acting recklessly...


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Motoman on 7/8/2010 2:37:19 PM , Rating: 2
No. As already demonstrated on their forums, all you need is a name and a couple guesses and *bam* you can have all kinds of info about a person.

...so that noob tank that couldn't keep aggro off my healer, and I let him die while tying to keep my toon alive? Yeah, now he can figure out who I am, and his unhinged nerd rage can come to my door IRL.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By callmeroy on 7/8/2010 9:01:15 AM , Rating: 2
I'm also a long time WoW player (one that hasn't been playing more than 5 hours a week for the past month and half btw -- just bored with the content, need the xpac to get my interest back in it)....

Your post is exactly in line with my opinion on the issue with the Real ID for the forums and account security in general.


RE: Long Time Player's Opinion
By Ammohunt on 7/8/2010 2:29:08 PM , Rating: 2
I don't see the problem i use my real name on all forums i vist My real name is "Ammo Hunt"

Seriously, what kind of serious MMORPG player still plays WoW? gold farmers and 12 year olds rule in WoW.


By FastEddieLB on 7/9/2010 6:14:45 AM , Rating: 2
Give this poster a 6, s/he's quite clearly put into words every concern that I and many others have on the matter of this change. As someone who's had to deal with a few stalkers in my time this change is making me glad I quit WoW months ago.

Cataclysm was tempting, but this put the final nail in the coffin.


"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain














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