Facing an onslaught of negative feedback from players, Blizzard Entertainment has reversed its decision to require users to use their real names in forum postings. Since announcing the new policy earlier this week, fans of Blizzard games have complained loudly, pointing out that they enjoy the company’s products because it represents an imaginary world in which they can escape reality.
Others were more worried that their comments would be searchable to prospective employers or people in their social circle.
The idea came as the company tried to find a solution to the ongoing flame wars Internet forums are famous for. Blizzard says it still plans to find a way to improve its forums, but will use other means.
Blizzard CEO and cofounder Mike Morhaime announced the changes in a forum post – part of which is reproduced after the break.
I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.
It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. 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 conversation threading, the ability to rate posts up or down, 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.