I Actually Like RealID
Various other bloggers have voiced their disapproval for Blizzard’s new “RealID” system. What it does is to allow players to add friends to their buddy list using those players’ email addresses instead of their in-game handle. If you accept such a friend request, the other player will not only be able to see your real name but also follow you through the various RealID enabled Blizzard games.
The thing about RealID is that you have to use it responsibly. Of course you don’t want to give out your email to anyone, for all kinds of reasons. You don’t want certain people to know your real name, stalk you through varies games, stalk you on your alts, know your login name (which is the email address), or even send you emails. Why would you give those people your RealID in the first place though? The system allows my friends – who have my email address anyway – to quickly find me in the Blizzard games instead of logging into a variety of games just to see whether I’m online somewhere. I’ve already used the system in Starcraft II and it was quite useful to simply add people to my list that I knew played the game as well without trying to track down their in-game IDs. If you’re benched for your guild’s raid in WoW, why not give your guild leader your RealID and allow hop over to Starcraft II for a game or three until your services are required?
There are only two actual concerns that I have with the system. For one, there are times at which you want to hide even from your friends – for example by playing on an alt nobody knows. RealID removes your ability to do that, but it should be really easy for Blizzard to integrate an invisibility switch like most instant messengers (and even some games) have. If you don’t want the hassle of other players contacting you, just hit the switch and be done with it. The other issue is that i would like a third level of ID somewhere in between. If you have a guild that plays multiple (Blizzard) games together you might want to allow all your guildies to see you in all their buddy lists but you might not necessarily want them to know your real name or your email address for that matter.
That said, anyone can find my real name with a tiny bit of research and my email address isn’t exactly a secret either. I suppose if I ever get famous on the intertubes that might become an issue. Until then, bring on the RealID.