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Posts with tag realID

Real ID Appear Offline option on the back burner for now

One of the questions we get asked fairly often in the Queue and other places is "Is Blizzard working on an 'appear offline' feature for the Battletag/Real ID friend's list?" I understand the desire for the feature: Sometimes I don't want to have everyone I know see that I'm online because I just want to chill and do something small-scale or by myself.

Sadly, it seems that feature is currently having some troubles being realized. According to Lore, it's hit some technical difficulties.

I'm fairly sad about this, and I hope they can eventually solve those difficulties and get this into existence ASAP.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Drama Mamas: When you need some breathing room in game

WoW players -- can't play with 'em, can't play without 'em. Most of us would agree that Azeroth is best when shared with a congenial group of others, but what if you find yourself saddled with overly needy or intrusive game buddies? Or perhaps you get along just fine for the most part, but things get sticky whenever you decide you'd like to chill out with some uninterrupted solo time.

Isn't there a nice way to tell someone to buzz off without hurting their feelings? There absolutely is -- so let's head off the drama before it happens with these techniques for friendly disengagement.

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Filed under: Drama Mamas

Now approaching two years of Real ID -- did it work?

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It's been just about two years since the Real ID feature was introduced to World of Warcraft. This feature unintentionally created some of the hottest debates when it was introduced, largely because it meant the friends you chatted with on Real ID would be able to see your first and last name. The topic became even more heated when it was announced that player's real names would be automatically shown on Blizzard's forums, something that went over like a lead balloon.

I mentioned from the beginning, on a quiet post on my old blog (Warning: language) that while I thought the feature was interesting enough, it wasn't interesting enough for me to use it. So where do I stand, two years later? I have exactly five people on my Real ID, and they're all coworkers with one exception, a friend I wanted to help out on a cross-server raid. I still don't care for Real ID, but it does come in handy every now and again. I'm still not going to use it widely.

So two years after all the roaring, screeching, and general madness ... how did Real ID go over? Was it a success?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard MVPs create Cross-Realm Rated Battlegrounds site

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First, we had a cross-realm raid group site. Now, Blizzard forum MVPs Eldacar and Cyaga have created The LFG List, a cross-realm group finder for players to get involved in Rated Battlegrounds. Part of the group's Battlemasters site, The LFG List is currently active in the United States only; other versions will be rolled out after the U.S. version has been running smoothly for a while.

How do you get onto the list? Well, that's simple!

If you are ready for a Battleground or two within the next hour, head over to the start page and choose your faction. That will take you to a page with an IRC window and an entry screen below it. Type in your realm and your character's name in the entry screen to retrieve your basic details from the Armory. You can add in notes and doublecheck that your main spec and off spec are correct.

Note the IRC Name section -- this is where you fill in the name that you're using in the live IRC chat above. This way, you can give yourself an IRC name of your choosing and seek out Rated Battleground buddies with any character. Other IRC users will see your name in the list and can contact you directly -- and you're off! Your entry stays up for an hour, so if you're looking for groups further in advance, you can head over to the Battlemasters Forums and make a post.

As an aside, the Horde chat seems currently rather more popular than the Alliance chat, hence the split channels. As a mainly Alliance player myself, I'm not OK with this! So I'm putting the call out to my fellow humans, dwarves, draenei, worgen, gnomes and night elves: People of the Alliance! Get on over to The LFG List and get involved!

Filed under: News items, PvP

Breakfast Topic: Further discussion of cross-faction raiding

Matthew Rossi recently discussed the possibility of cross-faction raiding. Those ideas always generate heat worthy of further discussion, so that's exactly what we'll do this morning.

With Real ID, the impending BattleTag system, and the increasing prevalence of social media usage in the World of Warcraft community, it's highly unlikely that all of your friends are on the same faction. In both the real world and the virtual, it has become easier and easier to meet people on the other side of faction lines. Even if all of your friends are on the same faction right now, who knows if that will remain true? You meet new people every day. It doesn't feel good to meet a new coworker, find out they play WoW, only to learn they're on the opposite faction. You'll never be able to play together. Well, you can, but you sure need to jump through a lot of hoops to do it ... like ditching your main character.

The social landscape of the game has evolved, but the binary faction lines remain static. Why not allow cross-faction raiding? I'm not calling for the abolition of a two-faction system entirely. Two independent stories for each faction still makes sense. The conflict between the Alliance and the Horde is still a part of the world we play in. However, if players are on our Real ID or BattleTag friends list, we must know them well enough that those faction lines don't matter. Why continue to use those faction lines in content where they are unnecessary?

Some raids do have unique content based on faction, that's true. It would be weird to fight for the Alliance as a Horde player in a raid such as the Argent Tournament, wouldn't it? I'm sure some creative Orb of Deception kludge could overcome that obstacle.

What say you, WoW Insider?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

The case for cross-faction Real ID raiding

I have seen dozens of forum posts, Twitter conversations, and even a knitted wool hat that argued for the concept of cross-faction Real ID grouping, so I thought why not throw my own hat into this contentious debate? I'm old, I'm grumpy -- it's what I do.

First, to be up front, I think cross-faction Real ID is a fabulous idea. This is motivated by pure selfishness on my part. Half of my Real ID friends are Horde, the other half are Alliance. To a degree, this is ameliorated because we have a lot of alts on both factions, but it's not totally addressed. Some of my friends have no alts; others only have alts on the same faction; and still others have one main they dedicate 90% of their playtime to and a host of alts who barely make level 20. We'd easily be able to put together a raid for any of the content in the game, save for that faction wall. We can talk to each other and put together smaller groups fairly easily to steamroll old raids, but doing content like Blackwing Descent or Firelands is arduous.

I do understand that not everyone would be on board with this, and there are good reasons to be discussed. Cross-faction Real ID raiding would not only be a huge change, but it would also cross a line Blizzard has managed never to deliberately cross in all its time of allowing new services like faction and server transfers and character customization. Sure, your Alliance warrior can join a Horde raiding group now, but in order to do so, he or she must become a Horde character. There are no humans raiding with orcs. It's been the case in the game since launch (to the point that Forsaken players lost the ability to speak with human players to preserve it) that the two factions are separate and cannot group together at all. To change that, even for just Real ID friends, would be a huge change in the game.

That being said, here are my reasons for cross-faction Real ID raiding.

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Should there be a hide option for RealID?

No matter how much we may love playing with our guilds and friends, sometimes we just want to take some time off and play in single-player mode. However, with the pervasiveness of the RealID system, is it truly feasible to go off the grid to do this? Syl over at Raging Monkeys attempts to tackle this very problem, arguing enthusiastically that we should be allowed this option, that it would not only be convenient but also would benefit those relationships we have built both in-game and out.

Personally, I'm a bit torn on the issue. On the one hand, I can identify with this situation, as I have been there many times before. My own friends would always want to level alts together, but our goals for those characters never quite lined up. I'd find myself creating secret alts on another faction, sometimes on another server -- not only to experience more of the story and lore than I had before, but to just be alone. Of course, this was all before the RealID system was implemented, because after its debut, I was not able to start a new draenei paladin or blood elf rogue without being flooded with questions and, admittedly, a little guilt.

On the other hand, there is a very simple solution to all of this: Put your foot down. If someone asks why you're on Area 52 rolling a worgen warlock (or why you're even rolling a warlock in the first place, yuck), I think we all can agree that the best solution would be to honestly and delicately state that you need some time off, away from all of your in-game obligations -- including those inquiring minds. But is confronting your pursuers really that easy? For some, this type of thing comes naturally, and I for one am extremely envious of these people. For others, confrontation of this sort is not something we want to deal with, and the option to hide from RealID becomes a safe, albeit passive-aggressive, option.

What do you think? Is this a feature that Blizzard should be working on, or should these players find other means of enjoying the game in solitary peace?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Cross-realm raids coming in patch 4.3.2

Since the introduction of cross-realm dungeons via Real ID, countless players have been clamoring for the feature to be extended to raids, too. Well, countless players, you don't need to wait much longer. Cross-realm raids will be coming in patch 4.3.2. So sayeth Blizzard:

Coming in Patch 4.3.2 -- Cross-Realm Raids
We previously introduced the ability to form cross-realm parties with Real ID friends, and now with Patch 4.3.2, we're adding the ability for players to use that same functionality to form raids to run older normal or heroic raids, or participate in Battlegrounds!

This will allow you to join up with your Real ID friends from other realms and:
  • Form a cross-realm raid and use Raid Finder
  • Jump in to any classic dungeon or raid and be automatically placed in the same instance
  • Join forces and dominate the Battlegrounds
Please note, you will not yet be able to run normal or Heroic Dragon Soul with cross-realm Real ID raids.

As we look forward to the BattleTag system, it's a very exciting time for World of Warcraft. No matter what realm you and your friends are on you'll be able to team up and take on group content throughout the game.



Brace yourselves for what could be some of most exciting updates to the game recently with patch 4.3. Review the official patch notes, and then dig into what's ahead: new item storage options, cross-realm raiding, cosmetic armor skinning and your chance to battle the mighty Deathwing -- from astride his back!

Filed under: News items

Blizzard announces new Battle.net BattleTags

Blizzard has just announced and posted a FAQ about its upcoming Battle.net feature BattleTag, a feature separate from Real ID that connects players across all of Blizzard's games with a screen name rather than your own full name. BattleTags seems to be Blizzard's response to the community's privacy issues with Real ID, in which many players want to make new connections with people they meet in game but are not willing to share so much personal information. BattleTag will eventually have access to all of the grouping and queuing features that Real ID users currently have access to.

Not only will your BattleTag be your identifier across Blizzard games, but it will also be used as your forum handle on the community websites. These handles are not unique, so you could potentially have the same name as someone else, but you'll have an identification number that appears after your name in your profile so that people can find you and send you messages. BattleTags do not interrupt your Real ID friends or any other feature. Again, BattleTags are optional, and you are still able to post on the forums using your World of Warcraft characters or StarCraft II account. BattleTags are rolling out soon in the Diablo III beta and will be available for everyone at a later date.

Personally, this is exactly what I wanted from Real ID, now pared down to a manageable, private screen name. My real friends can stay on my Real ID list, and my online friends, guildmates, and other people can use my BattleTag. This new feature is a great response to players' concerns, and I cannot wait to try it. Hit the jump for the full FAQ and learn all about BattleTags.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard

New Blizzard community website, forums begin testing in November

The announcement came out this morning on the EU forums that Blizzard is getting ready to roll out its new community website and forums for World of Warcraft some time in early November. Anyone who has been to the community site for StarCraft 2 will already be aware of some of the new features including a more advanced forum system than what we have now. Features will include the ability to report a post for trolling or spam without changing pages, being able to see a quick summary of the thread by mousing over and letting players up- and down-rate responses.

The current forums will be set as locked during the beginning of the transition and then will be completely removed toward the end. This means that if there are any old guides, posts or fun things from days of old that you want to see moved to the new forums, you should copy them to your own computer now.

One thing that is curiously missing from the announcement is what alternative Blizzard has developed to its original Real ID forums concept since it was thrown out. StarCraft 2 has a centralized handle that is associated with your Battle.net login, and it is the same handle/avatar that's used for multiplayer games. Hopefully, they'll provide more details on issues like this as things start to lead up to the changeover.

The full blue post is after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Real ID and Battle.net get expanded privacy settings

Blizzard has come through with its promise of updated and more expansive options for its controversial Real ID feature, connecting Blizzard's games through use of real names as identifiers. The new options allow you to opt out of being listed in the "Friends of Friends" of other users, to deactivate the ability to be seen in Starcraft II's Facebook feature, or to turn off Real ID altogether.

To change your Battle.net privacy options, log in to your account's Battle.net management page and select Settings, then Communication Preferences.

Now all we need is an "go invisible" feature on Real ID, like most instant message clients have, and I'll be a happy Real ID user.

The full announcement by Nethaera is below:

Nethaera -- New Battle.net Privacy Settings
We'd like to make you aware of the new Real ID-related privacy options we've introduced to Battle.net. These options provide Real ID users with additional tools for customizing the service based on their preferences, enabling the ability to opt in or out of the Real ID "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features or to turn off Real ID altogether.

Real ID offers an optional, convenient way for keeping in touch with real-world friends you know and trust, whether they're playing World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, or one of our future games. The "Friends of Friends" and "Add Facebook Friends" features provide you with even more options to stay connected while you play by making it easier for real-life friends to locate each other on Battle.net. You can easily enable or disable these features through your Battle.net privacy settings by logging in to your Battle.net account at http://www.battle.net/.

Filed under: News items, Account Security

New Battle.net site is live

The URL may include the word "beta," but the new Battle.net site is live and seems to be fully functional. Some changes we've noticed at first glance are:
  • Complete change to the interface and navigation.
  • You can check a box to stay logged in.
  • It gives the status of their franchises.
What's not there: an ability to chat with Real ID friends from the browser. Ah well.

We don't know as of yet when the old Battle.net site will be phased out, but we'll keep you posted.

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

ESRB issues apology over email leak

Yesterday, we learned that the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) accidentally emailed the names of people who had complained about Blizzard's potential use of Real ID names on the official Blizzard forums. The ESRB has since sent out this apology:
Yesterday we sent an e-mail to a number of consumers who wrote to us in recent days expressing their concern with respect to Blizzard's Real ID program. Given the large number of messages we received, we decided to respond with a mass e-mail so those who'd written us would receive our response as quickly as possible - rather than responding to each message individually, as is our usual practice.

Through an unfortunate error by one of our employees, some recipients were able to see the e-mail addresses of others who wrote on the same issue. Needless to say, it was never our intention to reveal this information and for that we are genuinely sorry. Those who write to ESRB to express their views expect and deserve to have their contact and personal information protected. In this case, we failed to do so and are doing everything we can to ensure it will not happen again in the future.

The fact that our message addressed individuals' concerns with respect to their privacy underscores how truly disappointing a mistake this was on our part. We work with companies to ensure they are handling people's private information with confidentiality, care and respect. It is only right that we set a good example and do no less ourselves.

We sincerely apologize to those who were affected by this error and appreciate their understanding.

Sincerely,
Entertainment Software Rating Board
I am glad that the ESRB apologized, and it is telling that they have also acknowledged how ridiculous the mistake was in light of the subject matter. Suffice it to say, good on the ESRB for not only apologizing but understanding the issues present over online privacy. Hopefully this whole debacle can be used as a teaching moment.

Filed under: News items, Account Security

ESRB unintentionally exposes email addresses of people who filed complaints over Blizzard's Real ID system [Updated]

Update: The ESRB has since issued an apology.

During the recent Real ID catastrophe on the forums, many players decided to appeal to an industry source that might have been able to sway Blizzard to change its mind. These players contacted the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) as a Better Business Bureau-type middleman in this situation with their concerns. The ESRB itself has championed such causes in the past with its Privacy Online program, which is designed to help companies meet various privacy laws like the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

Since Blizzard recanted its decision about the forums, the ESRB faithfully followed up with those concerned.

Unfortunately, in that followup email, the ESRB exposed individuals to a new set of privacy concerns.

The letter and more information after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: News items, Account Security

Mike Morhaime: Real names will not be required on official Blizzard forums

In a move that is sure to generate just as much discussion as the initial decision itself, Mike Morhaime, co-founder and CEO of Blizzard Entertainment, has released a statement that says "real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums."

Morhaime says that Blizzard has been "constantly monitoring the feedback" given by the community and that they 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."

The other upgrades to the forums will still apply, such as rating posts up or down and conversation threading.

This will, no doubt, make many members of the community quite happy.

The full statement (updated) after the break.

Read more →

Filed under: News items

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