Real I.D., Lodur’s thoughts

Real I.D., Lodur’s thoughts

Since it was first announced there has been a wave of people very outspoken about this feature from both sides. People have been arguing the pros and cons of it and some of them are less than rational arguments. So I figured I’d share my own thoughts on it.

First though, here are some facts that you may not know about Real ID

  • Real ID is another name for Dingo, if you aren’t careful it will steal your babies!
  • Real ID promised to buy me dinner, but when the check came its wallet was in its other pants
  • Real ID will walk into a room, let one rip audibly and blame it on your dog
  • BP isn’t actually to blame for the oil spill, in truth it was Real ID. It just blamed BP and ran like hell.
  • Real ID is so fast it can outrun the Flash, which oddly enough is why Flash doesn’t work on your iPhone
  • Real ID assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand
  • I survived Real ID, and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt

I figured a little levity was in order for this one, hope you got a giggle out of.

Honestly though there has been a bevy of ridiculous comments about Real ID to the point I don’t think I hear this much QQ when hunters are nerfed. It seems most of the arguments against it are based off of misinformation. Posts have been popping up every where about it from small blogs to big blogs accross the globe.

Stoppable had a great post about Real ID yesterday explaining some of the misconceptions about the new features. It’s a good read you should take a gander at it. Even Matt offered his two cents on the topic.

Spinks offered a good argument for sometimes wanting to be alone in game and not be bothered by anyone and how Real ID eliminates that. It was one of the better arguments I’ve read against the inclusion of Real ID and it is definitely worth your time as well. Anna from  too many annas has also chimed in on the topic and talked about the opening up of your personal information. It is a well thought out discussion on the negatives of Real ID.

That said I like the idea of Real ID chat ingame. There are actually many reason. First of all is it allows me and the officers in my guild to be more accessible to our guildies. There are times when someone will need an officer but none may be on at that time. As it stands a number of guildies have my cell phone, email, home address, AIM, MSN, Yahoo, ICQ and so forth in order to get a hold of me when needed. I tend to be a night owl, I’m up all hours of the night, but I’m not always in WoW. I do intend to play a lot of SC2 and you bet your arse I’ll be playing Diablo 3. Having a way to keep in touch with guildies and be pegged if I’m needed in game is very nice. Secondly it allows me to stay in touch with friends on different servers and factions. I have friends all over the place, many of my readers here fall into that category. I like being able to send them a whisper and ask what’s up. My girlfriend raids as horde on another server and it is nice to be able to send her a message in game just to say hi. I enjoyed using it in the SC2 beta and it worked really well there.

It is not without short-comings though. First of all, right out of the box it is spam heavy. Pop ups, growl notifications, status spam assail you as soon as you enable the feature. This can be turned off in the game settings, but still it is not a friendly first impression. There are memory issues still. Friends running top of the line PC’s with gobs of ram and terabytes of storage were getting errors about drive space for processing. This needs to be fixed and fixed fast. There are two key binds to reply to someone now in the default UI. A seperate key for chat reply, and one for whisper reply. Heres the thing though, they don’t both work! Chat reply (for chat groups) doesn’t work at all.  Why not just leave it as one key replies to whispers from Real ID or regular friends and leave the chat like a normal chat channel? Privacy mode please. Even on facebook I can turn chat off and have no one know I logged in. Why can’t I do the same here? I can set myself to busy but it’s not the same. Blizzard please add a function where I can turn it off when I don’t want to be bothered. I mean I accidentally did this last night when I crashed but I would rather prefer a button!

Overall I like it.  It is not very different from the communication we used to track friends back in Diablo 2 (you could add or user names to see all of their characters) and many of us utilize services like Steam where we can communicate across ANY game in the steam library to our friends, and it was about time that we saw something like this from Blizzard.

I’ll end today with a couple notes about security and etiquette

Friend of a Friend: People right now are saying that the ability to see friends of a friend are broken and wrong and invade someone’s privacy. The truth is though, besides a name you do not get anything else about the person. You do not see their email or anything like that. In fact, you get more information about friends of a friend from Facebook.

I have to give my email out!?: While the system is designed to search for people by email addresses, you can add other people and they cannot see your email. You can have people add you through friend of a friend and they will never see your email, or simply you can choose not to participate. Either way your information is really only accessible if you volunteer it.

Now I’m going to get spam mail!!!: Well, you may but you wont get it because of this. There are entire companies that do nothing but plug random combination of letters and numbers at domain names offering blanket statements to try and sell you products or click really bad links. Others buy the information from other websites for marketing. Either way I can pretty much guarantee you the Viagra spam email you got had nothing to do with Real ID.

Say who you are!!: A new pet peeve of mine is people adding someone without saying who they are. I’ve gotten a dozen requests that I have no clue who those people are. I accept that this will happen as my information is highly public thanks to, World of Matticus and For The Lore.  All I ask is that if you’re going to send the request tell me who you are. I’ve accepted many friend requests on FaceBook that just said “hey I’m a reader from xyz you should add me”. So my rule is no message telling me who you are, I wont accept the invitation. I will be using this rule for Real ID as well. I mean it’s just common courtesy to announce who you are!

We live in a world where our information is readily available for just about anyone if they look hard enough. Take a look at FaceBook, Twitter, and even personal Blogs and Livejournals. We post information about ourselves that just about anyone can see if they want unless we are ultra super secretly careful. Is this really worse than they are? Is this worse than FaceBook ? In the end this is still optional, you can choose not to participate. Simply don’t accept any requests and don’t send any, and everything goes along as normal. This is not the end of the world. Blizzard is not going to sell your information to gold farmers and spammers (they would have long since done that already if that was the case) and the truth of the matter is your account is in no greater danger than it was two days ago. You should still have an authenticator and you shouldn’t respond to those emails from Gnomeregan royalty who just need a little help to get their money out of escrow.

So now that you’ve had a day with it, what do you think of the new Real ID system?

Special thanks to Thespius and my buddy Doug for the comedic help this morning.

Error, no group ID set! Check your syntax!
About Lodur

Lodur is the right hand shaman to Matticus on World of Matticus, and a recruiting officer of Conquest and Co-Host of For the Lore podcast. Read more of his works at WoW Insider.


  1. My only quibble so far, which I managed to miss on the PTR so it blindsided me last night: the parental language is turned on for messages and broadcasts on Real ID at all times, no matter what your actual settings are for other chat channels. Other than that, I’m happy with it.

    Also, you can set notes on people. It’s not as good as being able to set an alias, but when you have a lot of people with similar names, it’s nice to be able to hover over them on the friends list and get a note of who they are.
    .-= Stop´s last blog ..Real ID: here’s some info, now stop with the righteous indignation =-.

  2. /hi5

    And, people, please. Grow spines. Occasionally telling people you don’t want to be bothered by “Not right now, I’m busy/don’t want to talk/am watching porn” is not going to kill you. The people that freak out aren’t exactly worth not pissing off, really.

    Still loling at all this. Guys, if you use Facebook, you’re already screwed. Doubly so if you own your own web domain.

  3. Friends running top of the line PC’s with gobs of ram and terabytes of storage were getting errors about drive space for processing.

    Has nothing to do with drive space and everything with the process trying to go beyond the 2 GB boundaries that a 32-bit application like WoW can address.

    I’ve had it happen before 3.3.5, but it happens much more frequently now. Afflicted users should turn down their shadows, and if that doesn’t resolve it entirely, their draw distance.

    Edit, at Stop: No it’s not. Turn it back on, then turn it off, and you can swear up a storm with your Real ID buddies. 😛
    .-= Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..Identify This! =-.

  4. Yes I want invisibo mode!

  5. The one thing that’s stopping me from using it with more than one (maybe two, as I’m considering adding an old friend who’s known me since long before my WoW days) friend, apart from the no “appear offline” function or “disable” function or whatever, is that my legal name, which is the name on my account, is not the name I currently go by. I have yet to get it legally changed, but I WILL be doing so eventually, when I have the money for the fees.

    Unfortunately, the only way to change the name on my account, apparently, is to provide Blizzard with proof that my name is LEGALLY different from the name on my account. Which is, obviously, impossible for me right now.

    So if I don’t want to be broadcasting my current legal name to people who only know me by my real name (and I’d like to keep it that way), I just can’t friend them on RealID. It’s annoying and makes me sad, because I’d really LIKE to enjoy this feature more.
    .-= Apple´s last blog ..To Troll or Not To Troll? (or, what I did last night) =-.

  6. First: Warn a person. I almost killed a keyboard at your facts at the top. 😛

    And I agree, it has some faults, but overall the convenience is so worth being able to talk to my friends or flail at someone for help on a lowbie if I don’t know what I’m doing. Privacy mode would be nice as well as the ability to Nickname people, because I apparently know too many people with the same first name and I get them confused easily and that could lead to some epic mis-tells. >.>

    Though having people go “lolwhut?!” at my last name is pretty amusing…
    .-= Tart´s last blog ..ZOMG REAL ID!!111!!1!1!!1 =-.

  7. Anafielle says

    I was one of the twitter whiners yesterday, and I’ll reiterate here that I think Real ID is awesome and wonderful. I’m a little peeved if I’ve been roped into the sky is falling crowd because I refuse to back down about my displeasure with the privacy aspects of it.

    My problem is with the friends of friends feature, which you point out, only releases real names and no other info (like who that char is connected to.)

    You may not have a problem with it. I do.

    I personally enjoy keeping my wow name and my real name separate and I think a large portion of the wow community does too. I have spent 5 years playing this game being very careful about my info. Like many people who play wow, though, I don’t mind sharing it with a chosen few.

    I put five people currently on my friends list (who all knew my real name anyways).

    But then I right click them out of curiosity to view their friends?

    Hmmm…. I’ve just learned a whole bunch of guildies names. A name here or there in vent. Who’s a girl, and who’s not. Who’s got the same last name. Etc. A little logic goes a long way.

    Did they choose to share their names with me? No, not in so many words. They just opted into RealID and friended my friend. And thus I learned their names.

    By god but I got called a stalking bitch on twitter when I pointed out 100% correctly what RealID gave me the power to do. Learning guildies real names. Who’d’ve thunk RealID lets you do that.

    And it sure does, no doubt about it. The question is whether you see it as a problem or not.

    You don’t. I do. I find it a little… creepy.

    I want to use RealID and have the option to turn off Friend of Friend. I guess that means I want to have my cake and eat it too.

    Feel free to commence with the “WELL DONT USE REAL ID YOU IDIOT.” I want to use it for my real friends. I just don’t want to worry about who they’re friending. Maybe I’m old fashioned. But that’s how I feel.

  8. ToyChristopher says

    I still don’t see why it has to use your real name. My real name is actually kind of long and none of my friends who I play wow with (even my real life friends) really call me by it. Plus there would be so many more people who I would want to be my “real id” friend with if it didn’t use my real name.

  9. @ Anafielle I do agree that there are some boundaries that are… blurred. And I like the idea of adding a toggle to block friend of a friend from displaying. As far as learning real guildies names and such, my guild is very family like. We all already knew eachother’s real names (for the most part) so it doesn’t phase us as much. But you make some very valid points.

  10. Anafielle says

    @Lodur Thanks for the reply. I feel like my concerns have been washed out by the people who like RealID marshaling their defenses against the mean and nasty people like me who are poking holes in it. Glad to know I’m being heard.

    I should note that my guild has a facebook group (I blame Rhidach) and so I knew half those names anyways. 🙂 And I’m casual about who knows my name now. The internet is a different place after all. I was just using an example to point out what can theoretically be done with it.

    Totally aside from the idea of using an alias, I just feel like I should be able to use RealID without sharing my name with everyone my friends add.

    It must be the tanky control freak in me. Not gonna lie. I needs control over everythingggggg….

    By the way, I love the blog. 🙂

  11. @Anafielle Thank you! I realize there are two sides to every argument. And there are a lot of things that need to be fixed. I just hope Blizzard will see these things through all the QQ / Defense that has sprung up around it, and maybe take action on it. I love the concept but it needs just a bit more polish!

  12. @Anafielle – Looking at FoF lists doesn’t tell you that Terry Wenchman is your guildy. Have you heard him called Terry in vent or chat? If so, then it might, but that’s not Real ID’s fault. By default there’s nothing telling you who Terry is. I can’t look at Lodur’s list and see that Roger Humphrey is on there and know that he’s talking about Killyoudead the guild’s huntard, I can assume it’s a male from the name, but that’s about it. You’re putting that together with other information outside of Real ID.

    My name is Jason Griffith, but seeing my name on someone else’s FoF list doesn’t tell you that that’s me. All you see is a name. No pic, no email, no blog address, no email address, nothing but a name. There’s nothing tying that name to me. You can look at my blog and see that I’m a supporter of For The Lore and by doing so assume I might be Lodur’s friend. You may check my twitter account and see that I pimp Bored and Dangerous links every time I see them (if you didn’t know about Lodur’s music blog, well you do now), and then you might decide that the Jason Griffith on his list may very well be me. But without that outside information you know nothing but a name, and even then there’s sure as heck more than one Jason Griffith in the world and there’s more than one of us that plays WoW as well.
    .-= Psynister´s last blog ..Blog Leveling: 1-…Something =-.

  13. The only “oh no, don’t show my real name” argument that I’ve seen that holds any weight to it at all is Lissanna blog post yesterday. As a teacher, she doesn’t want her real name associated with Lissanna because that name is so huge in the WoW community. If you’ve ever been a resto druid and done research on your class, then chances are very high that you know who Lissanna is. She doesn’t want students in her class to tie the name and the character together because it can have a literal impact on her chosen profession and how her students react to her as a teacher.

    If you’re in that situation then there’s a valid reason for you not wanting your name tied to it. However, there’s still nothing saying that that Lissanna = Liz Taylor (no idea what her name really is). And even if it is Liz Taylor, there’s nothing saying that it is literally that very Liz Taylor right there in that classroom.

    The proposed change from so many people for the real name issue is to allow people to use a nickname. The problem with that is there’s nothing stopping you from lying about who you are then. If I set my nickname to Anafielle before you do then I just hijacked your name and since there’s nothing tying that name to your account there’s nothing you can do about it. If someone jacks Psynister before I do, then the same thing happens to me. An email address though, now that’s unique to the world.

    The best thing they could do that’s still unique to a specific player is to allow you to do a combination of character information. For my main: Belsynis-Durotan-US-Alliance. Now that would tie directly into my account because that’s a unique set of identifiers that cannot be duplicated. However, if I ever delete Belsynis, then I’ve just lost the identifier and someone else who makes a character with that name takes it over.

    We can’t use the email address as the constant identifier though, because then you’re leaving the username available for all to see. So instead we’re reduced to either a unique key in the database, reducing us all to nothing more than a serial number, or we use the name that’s tied to the account.

    The only thing they could do that would fit this type of design that would still be unique, would be to let you use the username you had before switching to a account, because those were all unique as well and typically would have been a nickname that someone wouldn’t mind using.
    .-= Psynister´s last blog ..Blog Leveling: 1-…Something =-.

  14. I’m almost upset that no one seemed to mention the T-shirt >.> lol I might just order one for BlizzCon

  15. Links lead to sites that are blocked so often that I very rarely bother clicking on them.
    .-= Psynister´s last blog ..Blog Leveling: 1-…Something =-.

  16. Dechion at Dechion’s Place ( had another very legitimate concern: minor kids playing on a parent’s account. Blizz allows this, but doesn’t allow you to shield/separate your child’s toons from your own? I might like a little ribald language with my guildies, but I might not want them psting my kid with it. And since real id friends see your real name, not your toon’s name, there’s no real way for them to know if it’s you or your child logged in.

    I agree with Dech that the lack of parental tools is a big minus.
    .-= Rhii´s last blog ..Wow that time already huh? =-.

  17. To be honest, I’m probably going to register a new Bnet account for SC2, and just make my first and last names a split-up version of my actual alias.

    Real ID is nice for actual real friends but Blizzard seems to have missed the fact that a lot of people have plenty of online friends who they would like to be able to see them online no matter which game they’re playing but have absolutely no desire to be giving them their real name.

  18. It’s simple: as soon as they start integrating extended social networking features into their games which are linked to your real name, they’re going to have to provide the same robust privacy options we require from other such systems. Facebook’s recent drama is a good example of how you just can’t mess around with that.

    Besides that, I just don’t agree with using real life identity information as the basis of this anyway. I still think they would be better off with a Steam-like getup.

  19. I don’t have a problem with people knowing my name. I’d probably be easy to identify on someone’s friends of friends list (since most of my friends are British and I’m not), but whatever. However, I have a friend who works at Blizzard. A few of my in-game/IRL friends know his first name (as ‘my friend M. who is a GM’), but they don’t know his full name. This friend is one of the few people I’d want to keep in touch on RealID… but then, if I add him, all my other friends will realize who he is. I might be paranoid, but I’m sure Blizzard employees don’t want their real names to be known to everyone and tied to their employer…

    So I’ll probably just add my boyfriend and a few RL friends to keep in touch when I play on other servers, and keep conversations with my Blizz friend on gtalk…

    No other words of wisdom, because I’m in Europe and we don’t have it implemented yet 😛
    .-= Jen´s last blog ..Turkey to Azeroth =-.

  20. Besides that, I just don’t agree with using real life identity information as the basis of this anyway.

    And what would you rather have? Nicknames that can be spoofed, impersonated, or stolen? Characters that can be deleted, rerolled, and the like? Old pre-B.Net account names that not everyone has?

    This is the best implementation that they could do with the way that WoW and B.Net as a whole works. Use the system how the system was designed and there are very few privacy issues.
    .-= Rilgon Arcsinh´s last blog ..Identify This! =-.

  21. Now you are just throwing random scary stuff around. I don’t see how those things are all inextricably tied to eachother and I don’t see how they are individually prevented by someone seeing your real name in their screen as opposed to seeing your internet alias on their screen.

    Besides, if someone can spoof a nickname that is saved in a database somewhere, why couldn’t they spoof a real name that is saved in a database somewhere?
    .-= Daenon´s last undefined ..Response cached until Fri 25 @ 8:45 GMT (Refreshes in 19.08 Hours) =-.

  22. @Psynister – Quite simply if I don’t want to share my personal information then surely that’s a valid reason. Just because you are happy with that level of privacy doesn’t mean other people are. I do agree with your suggestion that they should use the original account username.

    To be honest I was waiting to see how the functionality works before I really start judging it but if it uses my name – as in my full real name then I won’t be using it.

    You see I have a last name that I don’t particularly like or dislike – but as has been pointed out to me oh so many times it’s a couple letters away from being a rude word. It would literally be trollbait and simply I’d rather not give internet people that information. People know my first name, and a very selective few have my full name (facebook). I would rather remain with my online Identity.

    Now there may be many Dave Smith’s all over the place but the other downside of my name is that it’s very easy to find me as both names are fairly uncommon. I’m not a completely beautiful and unique snowflake however as there’s another person with my name on facebook and even with knowing which server group I play on, EU – you could deduce I’m not a 16year old black kid from california and you’d have my facebook at least. Even though that is locked down you could gain further information through google etc.

    I won’t be enabling Real ID in it’s current form unless there’s significant changes which is a shame as some of the other features look quite nice
    .-= Echo´s last blog ..I Haz Announcementz =-.


  1. […] Legacy Forums.  There are of course tons of blogs chiming in about it, Matticus and Lodur pt. 1 / 2 of World of Matticus, Saresa (the first person to tag me EVER) at Destructive Reach, and […]

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