This has become a pretty big issue for me, and may impact the way I interact with the World of Warcraft community as a whole. So, here we go.
If you are unfamiliar with the topic, the long and short of it is this: The Real ID system, in-game, allows you to chat with your friends across all Blizzard platforms. The draw back is that you must give them your battle.net e-mail to friend them, and they will see your registered name from your account from that point forward. You can change your battle.net e-mail, you CANNOT change your name on your account once it's been set. As such, it's recommended this is only used by close and personal friends - in that regard, it's a great system.
Real ID is, as of today, now announced to be implemented on the official Blizzard Forums. While the change won't be retroactive (thank goodness), posts on the Cataclysm and Starcraft II forums, and presumably Diablo III forums when we get there, will all display your Real ID name - your real first and last names.
Why in the world would any company make this decision?
I like Real ID in-game. I think it's great, and an optional way to keep in touch with friends you know very closely and trust. I have my own little network in game of me and my coworkers. Anyone who tries to add me that I do not recognize, I don't accept, and everything is hunky-dory.
I post on the forums anonymously. The character I post with does not even exist anymore. I don't want people on the forums to know me as me, I want them to know me as Eseten. I've done a lot to keep my personal life and the persona I use to post and write my World of Warcraft blogs very separate from each other. I value that privacy.
Yes, I have a facebook. It is VERY DIFFICULT to find me on there - even searching my name won't yield any results much of the time, and trust me when I say I have a very unique name. Keeping a social network under control is the user's job, and even Facebook has options to keep your info private. They do a terrible job of letting you know those options are there, but they are and it can keep you safe. This is coming from someone who HAS been stalked via Facebook - it taught me a lesson, and I've never forgotten it.
I have been an active member of the forum community for quite some time. The time I have spent on the forums is very memorable to me, and means a lot to me. I have made many friends, a few enemies, and some playful adversaries (Hi Zarhym, lol). The forums were there when I had nothing else socially, when I first moved out here to this strange and terrifying land of Southern California. I dare say I survived my move because of them, and for that, they have my debt.
But if this change with making your real name show up on the forums goes through, that is the end of Eseten on the forums. I will never post again - I couldn't. I've taken great measures to ensure separation of those entities, and Eseten IS a different person. Eseten is a lot of things I can never really be, but get the chance to try. Eseten is very important to me, and got me through a lot.
But I may have to say goodbye to that forever. I may have to leave a community that I love, that I voluntarily participate and support, and that I had hoped one day to be a real breathing part of.
Not sure I've ever used "slap in the face" before, but what I feel right now... sure does sting like it.
If you want to voice your concerns on this issue, please, please take the time to post on the official forums. I, and I believe a lot of people, would like to see this changed.
Please help me continue to be the Eseten you know and love.