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Blizzard forum goers will soon no longer have to fear the dreaded internet troll.  (Source:
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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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.

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