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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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This is a bad idea
By ZachDontScare on 7/8/2010 4:36:31 PM , Rating: 2
This is an incredibly bad idea. I dont play WoW or any other video games. But I can see how this can open the door for stalkers and psychos who might take offense to in-game actions and try to get real-life revenge. And dont say it doesnt happen, because exactly that HAS happened. Not just in games, either. When you are dealing with strangers you cant take your security for granted.

And dont even get me started on women gamers, who now, after long being able to hide as 'just one of the guys', can expect to be stalked and constantly hit on by pervs. I know very attractive women who play WoW and other games, and they enjoy just being able to game without having every perv online going after them. With their names being exposed, a few google image searches and viola, you know if the girl you stalking is a hottie. or if she's single, or perhaps where she lives and if she lives alone. The same goes for celebrities - even minor or local celebrities. How about a newspaper reporter or TV anchor or local politician or business owner, who wants to game without being pestered by people?

For those spewing out such nonsense as 'but...but...you put your info on Facebook'... its a completely different issue. For the most part you know your facebook friends. On WoW, you are competing with others, and that can cause *animosity*. You can piss off the wrong stranger, even through just normal game play, who, now armed with your real name, can hunt you down in real life. If you were able to be anonymous in WoW, even with every last personal detail of yours on Facebook, it wouldnt matter BECAUSE THERE'D BE NO WAY TO CONNECT THE TWO . Do you get that? The point isnt that you have a facebook account... its that when the forums are anonymous, THE PSYCHOS CANNOT CONNECT YOUR WoW NAME TO YOUR FACEBOOK ACCOUNT OR OTHER INFORMATION ABOUT YOU ONLINE AND STALK YOU .

Let me tell you something I've learned from using the internet for well over 25 years now. Yes, since well before the web came about. Except in perhaps a professional capacity, anyone who uses their real name in a forum or in a game or any place online where there is conflict... is a F***ING IDIOT. I like using fake 'real sounding' names, myself. PROTECT YOURSELF and use a pseudo-name.




"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton














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