Faith Restored
In the past couple of days, I kept trying to write a post, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

I had a case of the Blizzard Blues. I think Larisa was feeling similarly.

It came from a feeling of complete and utter betrayal and disenchantment. I felt stupid and ashamed for feeling so let down by a corporation. I've never been a fan of big businesses; how could I have been such a fool? How could I have let a corporate entity emotionally affect me to such a degree? How pathetic. Don't worry, I recognized it; And I felt the bigger fool due to it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I recognize that Blizzard is a business and that they not only need to keep making money, but that they have to continually try and find ways to make MORE money. That's capitalism baby.

But Real ID on the forums was one step too far. Over the past week the community came out in droves to protect themselves and maintain the fantasy in their fantasy game. And there were, I should note, a lot of people who thought Real ID on the forums was either a good idea, or at least okay and nothing to worry about. I don't begrudge you your opinion on the matter. I think the majority of the WoW community recognizes that something needs to be done about the forums.

However, the vast and most vocal of the community stepped up to the plate and told Blizz how they felt. From the forums themselves, to the blogger community, the the gaming community at large, all the way up to the Washington Post and major news channels, we made our opinion loud and clear.

And Blizzard listened.

Every time there's a nerf; Everytime people demand some change in the game, it is unlikely that Blizz will make the changes demanded just because the customers insist they should. But there's a big difference between the developers trying to make a game that will function well, and the corporate structure trying to push big changes that the customer does not want. Don't confuse the two.

Blizz is always listening, due mostly to the efforts of their Community Managers, who go out and stand, like a fly on the wall, and take note of what we are saying - of what we want, of what we hate. They do a hell of a lot more than click that lock button in the forums, and I think they should get credit for that. They don't just monitor the forums; they read the blogs, they are the lifeline to the community. If you bloggers check your stats often enough, you will catch them from time to time, stopping by to see what you have to say.

And they communicated our message loud and clear to the powers that be at Blizzard. And despite how much the original decision to implement Real ID on the forums sickened me, despite how much faith I lost in this company, and despite the fact that they may still try to do something similar in the future, I will always know that when it really counted, they were willing to listen to the community and reverse a massive business model decision. I'm sure there are lots of financial and PR reasons why the choice was made; But I don't care. By the time the announcement got to us, they had undoubtedly already invested a lot of time and resources into implementing it.

I'm proud of Blizzard. It's not always easy to admit when you're wrong. But I actually have a hell of a lot more respect for a company that is willing to reverse a mistake than a company that never even makes one.

(Also, to Nethaera... I hope you were pretty excited you got to be the one to post this letter!)

Hello everyone,

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 the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, 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 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.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment
2 Responses
  1. That's a big relief to the community and I'm glad that they made the right decision, it only shows that we are really part of the game and their success.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    One thing everyone is forgetting....They said they will not do this for now, but that it will be implemented in the future. A temporary victory I am afraid.

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