Pro Real ID

You might have heard about the controversy surrounding Blizzard’s new Real ID system. They basically want to set up a Facebook for their games – WoW and StarCraft 2. The controversy started when they also decided to show real names instead of nicknames on the WoW boards. A lot players complained that they wouldn’t be able to use the forums anymore in fear of their personal safety. To be honest, I find this situation quite bizarre. Maintaining a community where the only way to prevent people from physically assaulting is each other is to put everybody under a witness protection program doesn’t seam like a healthy thing to do. If real-life stalking and verbal abuse is indeed such a big problem, maybe we should start thinking about limiting user interaction in WoW in general. From the accounts of the protesters it seems like paying WoW is like taking a vacation in Cueva de Villa Luz (a cave filled with hydrogen sulfide).

Regardless, it looks like Blizzard cave in (pun not intended but serendipitous) and decided to remove the Real ID system from the from the forums. Um, “yay” I guess?

It seems like a missed opportunity. Implementing Real ID in a large forum such as the WoW would have been a great test to test the Greater Internet Fuckward Theory. A lot of the protesters argued that it wouldn’t improve the post quality. On the other side, I think we shouldn’t underestimate the role of anonymity plays in ALL the mentioned problems.


Can’t argue with science.

There is another aspect that hasn’t been brought up at all. I guess it’s mostly due to the fact that it’s the WoW players who seem to object the most. However, the reason why I’m looking forward to Real ID is it’s implementation in the StarCraft 2 community. StarCraft 2 will most likely become one of the most important e-Sports games in the next few years. It will shape the global face of the entire scene. In many countries, Germany included, e-Sports are struggling with being recognized as a serious activity. For example, if e-Sports would be recognized as an official sport by the government, e-Sport teams would be able to receive tax subventions. It would be also much easier to organize e-Sport events and media would be more inclined to report on them.

I think introducing Real ID into the StarCraft 2 can vastly improve the quality and professional appearance of that game. If new e-Sport players are bred from a pool of anonymous Internet trolls, it’s difficult to get that mentality out once the players reach a professional level. This has detrimental effects on the appearance of e-Sports in general. Even among gamers, StarCraft’s reputation is not that of a civilized and mature game.

Zerg Rush


I think introducing a concept of being a real person competing with others even at a casual level will vastly improve the quality of the StarCraft 2 community. This boost can trickle down on the rest of the e-Sport movement and it’s reputation. It even could become an important step in accepting digital games as a serious part of our culture.

Of course, I do see how this has little to do with World of Warcraft. Considering how Real ID will still be implemented it seems like everybody got what they wanted just for now. GG

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

One response to “Pro Real ID”

  1. Radek

    I tend to agree. Everyone’s focusing on the (mostly anticipated, not factual) negative fallout of using one’s real name, but I don’t buy it. There are some legitimate privacy issues, but people still have the option of simply not using the official forums. Plus, would it really be that hard to get a duplicate Facebook/Real ID account?

    As for StarCraft, it’s a rather splintered community and the official message boards aren’t as active as the unofficial ones, so I’m not sure how much impact it will have on potential E-Sports stars.

    It’s also interesting that other communities have taken a similar stance in the past (for example,, and the results were not the doomsday being predicted for Blizzard. Granted the CWSB forums weren’t as big as WoW and were pretty civil to begin with, but I don’t think the real-name policy increased racist comments or had other negative results being theorized right now.


The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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