I tried an experiment just now. I googled myself. There’s more of me out there than I expected. I then did a search on Facebook. Yep. More than just the one of me. And then I googled my character name. I have a pretty rare character name. In the European side of WoW, according to the armoury, there are two of us out there.
In real life I have an unusual name. Unusual enough to be able to find me easily if you know what you’re looking for, but not quite unusual enough for me to be unique. This name defines me as being female. Or a car…And in 3 quick clicks you can find where I’ll be on Saturday night this week because I responded to a friend’s invitation to a book launch. Fuck. I hate the internet at times.
So, come Cataclysm, let’s say I’m PvPing (I don’t, but it’s for the sake of argument) or someone askes me to join the guild. They are a complete dickhead, and have pissed off one of my guildies. For some reason, perhaps I’ve had to raise a genuine issue there, and have been sent there by a gm, I’ve made a Blizzard forum post. Dickhead finds my real name and then proceeds to cause the WRONG ME serious problems….
Yeah. Just one of the problems I foresee with this. And everyone’s foreseeing problems. The entire blogosphere’s exploded quicker and more messily than a gnome who’s been force fed over-ripe fruit at this lastest revelation. The WoW ladies community has a post on this with over 1200 comments, over 3 times as large as their second most commented post. I don’t even want to think what’s happened to the official post which announced it. But let’s face it, if they’ve had to ban a shed load of people already, then it sounds like it’s pretty darned messy….
There’s another aspect too, aside from the obvious potential trolls, stalkers and internet bullying issues. If we have to use the forums, and our names will be out there for real, oooh, think of all the spam we’ll receive from advertisers etc who can also find out who plays WoW and thinks they fit the demographic of choice…..
Of course, this is nothing compared to the potential stalking, racism, bullying. loss of job opportunities and all sorts of other crap that can come from using real names.
And the potential death of the official forums.
Edit: One thing I’ve noticed while reading all the comments on the blogs that have dealt with this. A number of people have been saying “That’s it, it’s over for me”. I can appreciate why, too. If anyone’s been stalked, harrassed, bullied etc or is at risk of it, I can totally sympathise. But don’t do it tonight, don’t do it right now! Because this is being implemented in Cata. And I suspect the fuss that everyone’s kicking up about this will have to mean SOMETHING to them. And they may be forced to change their minds. So let’s keep kicking up that fuss, and see if we can get them to change their minds before it DOES become legit.