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Customizing and opting out of Real ID

This is not a discussion of the good (yay, crossrealm chat!) and the bad (boo, privacy fail) of Real ID. This is a guide for how to truly opt out of this feature and how to adjust the settings if you do participate in game.

To be clear, everyone who does not have a parentally controlled account has in fact opted into Real ID, due to a security flaw. Addons have access to the name on your account right now. So you need to be very careful about what addons you download -- make sure they are reputable. In order to actually opt out, you need to set up parental controls on your account. This is not an easy task. Previous to the Battle.net merge, you could just go to a page and set them up. Done. Now, you must set up an account as one that is under parental control. Once your account is that of a child's (a several-step process), your settings default to Real ID-disabled. Any Real ID friends you have will no longer be friends. In order to enable it, you need to check the Enable Real ID box.

Setting up parental controls:
  1. Go to the appropriate battle.net site for your region. (That link should take you there.)
  2. Push the Create or Manage a Battle.net Account button.
  3. Log in as normal.
  4. Click on Parental Controls, which is an option listed under Manage My Games. (And, if you're like me, you'll be sad that you are still not in the beta.)
  5. Choose the No - Setup Parental Controls button.
  6. Fill in your info as both the child's account and your own. (Why they make this distinction, I don't know. Parental controls always used to be an option for adults to manage their own game time.)
  7. You will receive an email. You need to save this email, because the link in there is the only way to get to the parental controls. Otherwise, you have to make Blizzard resend it. Click the link to get into the controls.
  8. Save Settings and then be told it will take up to 30 minutes to go into effect.
That is how to opt out. How to optimize opting in is after the break.

If you are using Real ID, there are a few things you should know:
  • Check your Pending tab. It's under Social (!), Friends. Real ID friend requests will be listed there.
  • Add Real ID friends by typing in their Battle.net email addresses. Choose Add Friend from the Friends tab of Social and type each address in there. Warning: if you have a player targeted, it will add that person as a friend when you press the Add button.
  • The status line will broadcast to all of your Real ID friends. It looks like just a status that you might think people would only see when viewing you on their Friends List, and it is also that. But as soon as you change it, it sends a message to everyone on your list. So, make sure you really want all of them to know that you are scanning the AH before you set your status.
  • Those excessive notifications can be turned off. I really wish I had known this when many of my friends were having crashing issues.
How to turn off your notifications:

  1. Go to your options by pressing ESC or the computer icon.
  2. Choose Interface.
  3. Select Battle.net.
  4. Adjust your notifications as desired.
Note: If you are into character and world immersion, I highly recommend you turn off all notifications. Otherwise, any notification is preceded by the friend's full, real name.

[Robin Torres] has logged on.
[Robin Torres] is streaming an event. You have been warned.
[Robin Torres] is harshing your RP buzz.

The cross-realm chat with people you trust is really a pleasant thing in a non-RP setting. It is also a fun way to keep in touch with absent friends and family who already know your phone number, IM and home address. Just make sure that you are OK with your full, real name being shown to their Real ID friends. As with anything online, if you are aware of the risks and take the proper precautions, it can be a fun feature.

When the Facebook integration goes through, perhaps we will get some of the same privacy features, such as turning off Friends of Friends and being able to be invisible. And unicorn mounts. We could get unicorn mounts for merging our Battle.net and Facebook accounts. They would breathe rainbows and be able to teleport.

/skips away, humming a happy tune

Filed under: News items, Account Security, Analysis / Opinion

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