I’m sure we’re all familiar with the RealID issue now, which has thankfully been resolved. However, despite the resolution and the resounding call from the internet to get back to killing INTERNET DRAGONS, I’d still like to put in my two cents. As I see it, there are clearly two sides to this issue that we, as players, can look at. The first is that it doesn’t really matter if our real names are displayed in the forums because we’re so busy playing that we don’t have time to really care about the trolling etc. that occurs there on a daily basis. That’s why I skip out on the forums. I think in total I’ve posted on the forums maybe two or three times. Two of those times were recruitment posts, and the other may have been a drama inducing paragraph filled with select words about someone’s mother. That’s 33% of my use in the forums, aimed towards trolling.
Sure, that may be a small percentage, but for some other people it’s much higher, and when the margin should be a big fat 0%, 33% is a hell of a lot more than I’m willing to deal with. As far as I’m concerned, if the real name change had been implemented and our true names revealed, then if anything it would discourage player participation in the forums and make trolls think twice about what they post. In the long run, this could lead to a stronger sense of community for those that chose to participate, and a higher level of maturity in the discussions found there. By having our names show with our posts, it instills a sense of accountability for what we say and do. No one wants to be seen as a dickwad. From this perspective, I couldn’t agree more with the change. It doesn’t affect me personally because I don’t participate on the forums anyway, so why should I care too much?
Another way to look at it is that we have nothing to hide. If I did participate on the forums a lot, I wouldn’t mind my real name appearing. One of my goals is to eventually build this blog up to a frequently updated, well liked gaming blog. On the trek there, I will eventually reveal my real name anyway, and since I don’t do too much on the internet that is shady, I’m not concerned about what people may or may not be able to dig up about me. My actions are my own, and I hold myself accountable for what I say. If I say something stupid on the forums, then it’s my own damn fault and I will take full responsibility for it.
These two points of view are very basic and shallow in nature. They will fit a smaller demographic then the whole WoW community, and I do sympathize with others who have complained about this proposed change. I can understand if celebrities that play want to stay hidden, then they should be able to do that. I can’t imagine how obnoxious it would be for a celebrity to get bugged in-game by thousands of adoring fans just because of a forum post that required him/her to use their real name. There’s also the issue of children who most times don’t have any moral fiber yet and don’t really understand the ramifications of cussing out their fellow players or being a nuisance in general. Not to say that I support children’s antics in WoW, because I’ve been bugged for a majority of my game time by them, but from their parents point of view, I can see why they would want to keep the name hidden.
When it comes down to it, we all have to remember that this is a community in which we have decided to reside. There are roughly 11 million of us across a large number of servers, and we coexist with each other. The forums are an out of game extension of our community, and reflect much of what we love and hate about the game. It allows a record of our dislikes and likes, our triumphs and our failures to stay prominent in our minds, something which the in-game platform doesn’t allow by nature. To get respect, you must give respect, and so while a conclusion has been reached for now, and true names aren’t required for the forums, we must stay accountable for what we say and do, otherwise we risk our community falling into the ocean of piss that stinks up the internet.