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Real ID, RP, and why only one person gets to have mine

June 22, 2010

So I’ve been working on a post about why I have such a hard time playing my Druid as a healer (damn HoTs…), but it’s been in a draft for about two weeks now and I figured it was time to actually post something. But, because I doubt most people would be interested in the half-assed hack that was apparently perpetuated on my account, I’ll talk about the released-today Patch 3.3.5.

Now, apart from completely breaking most of my UI, the one thing about this patch that has my attention is the advent of Real ID Friends. This is when you can give your battle.net email address to someone, they add your battle.net account as a friend, and then they can see you online even when you’re playing another faction, another server, or even another Blizzard game (Starcraft II and Diablo III, I believe, are what works/will work/whatever). This is cool, right? I mean, you get to talk to your closest guildies even when you’re levelling your Horde RP alt on another server! You can keep in touch with your friends whose mains are on other servers. You can have one-on-one cross-faction RP! All at the low low price of a) never being able to be invisible or have a secret toon again, and b) letting anyone you want to friend this way see your full name.

Okay, I understand that this is supposed to be the kind of friending that you only do with people you’re really tight with, but I’m tight with more than a few people who I am currently not even CLOSE to being comfortable giving that level of access to. These people can ping me on IMs if they really need me/miss me.

Really, I think the biggest turn-off for me, right now, is the fact that it displays your full name. The name on your battle.net account. The name, in my case, that is on my birth certificate but is not the name I go by or identify with. And the only way I’ve found to CHANGE the name on your account is to provide Blizzard with proof that the name you want to change it to is your OMG LEGAL NAME (that is, a scanned ID, copies of legal name change forms, etc.).

There are two people I know on WoW who know this name, and only one I’m comfortable granting complete WoW-tiems access to – and she will be the only person who I will Real ID friend until one of two things happens: Blizzard eases up on their requirements for account-holder name, or they provide a way to set a “nickname” which will be the name that displays to all your Real ID friends.

An “appear offlline” and/or “do not associate this character with Real ID” option would be nice, too, but that’s less troublesome, to me, than the name problem.

Next up later this week… the story of the hacker who failed, to hopefully be followed by my post about healing!

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