Message from Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain

http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/3424906852

Hey guys, we read and heard all the feedback from BlizzCon this year. The Corpsegrinder bit was never intended to be taken seriously. We are sorry that we offended anyone; everything at our shows is just meant in fun. Thank you all for speaking up. We’ll definitely keep this in mind for future shows.

Our humblest apologies,

Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftain

I’m entirely happy with that response from L90ETC, in fact it’s better phrasing than we get from most companies and politicians who normally weasel with “We’re sorry you took offence”

Now.  Blizz.

They’re still dodging

Thank you everyone for your feedback regarding the closing night performance at BlizzCon. While we had some other messaging worked up we were going to post, the members of band wanted to instead address it themselves: – Bashiok

Blizz, admit you also have some culpability in this and accept you need to look to yourselves in how you setup the shows, agree with the performers on what’s go and what’s no-go.

Stop dodging.

Edit:

Something I wasn’t aware of until I read Ratshag today

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BlizzCon

The closing ceremony had a performance by Blizzard’s own in house band, The Artist Formerly Known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftains (TAFKL80ETC), who changed their name mid concert to Level 90 Elite Tauren Chieftains (L90ETC). Foo Fighters performed afterward.

Which puts another spin on the whole thing, L90ETC are not some band Blizz can distance themselves from, nor can they claim that “they didn’t know”, because they are Blizzard in all the senses which matter.  In much the same way if I as a blogger put a trash piece against one of my employers competitors out on the company home page.

So Blizz, I say yet again, pull your heads out of your collective arses and accept you screwed up, and accept that as Blizzard not by shuffling it off trying to wash your hands of the affair as some in house company prank which went wrong.

 

So,Blizz. You certifiable, crack-brained, dumbkopfs…

Let’s open up with the uncensored version of the rant which was shown to all the attendees and virtual ticket viewers at this year’s Blizzcon, the bile begins to spew at around one minute in:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cW_Lv0r-l4c

Now some commentary from a couple of other sites:

Piercing Shots & Huggywuggles

Now the Terms of Use Blizzard require us to abide by:

Section B
Rules Related to “Chat” and Interaction With Other Users. Communicating in-game with other Users and Blizzard representatives, whether by text, voice or any other method, is an integral part of the Game and the Service and is referred to here as “Chat.” When engaging in Chat, you may not:
(i) Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable, nor may you use a misspelling or an alternative spelling to circumvent the content and language restrictions listed above;

(vi) Harass, threaten, stalk, embarrass or cause distress, unwanted attention or discomfort to any user of the Game;

Some blue responses to complaints regarding the broadcasting of the video:

http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/203999/official-alliance-hate-from-blizz-at-blizzcon
http://blue.mmo-champion.com/topic/203994/complaint-about-blizzcon-closing-concert

Now apparently no one at Blizzard has seen the uncensored version before, all they’ve seen is the bleeped version used at Blizzcon.  To be honest I call bullshit.  Can anyone seriously believe the lawyers weren’t all over that? Well, thinking further about it, I actually can because they and the PR people should have looked at it prior to the broadcast and shouted loudly “this is a disaster waiting to explode in our faces”.  Given how much the mainstream media like to paint gaming companies in a bad light I’m surpised they’re not all over this (though given that it’s about some semi-celebrity using abusive, homophobic language and not cute girls wearing very little getting hit on by “nerds and geeks”, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised).

This isn’t about the inter-faction rivalry, though there is a whole other post there and how much responsibility Blizz has for behaviour outside the game (verbal attacks, physical abuse, spitting and the like).  Some morons will be morons and take things far too far, always.

Whether it’s Horde / Alliance; Rangers / Celtic; England / France; Ale drinkers / Lager drinkers.

Slack-jawed, knuckle-dragging, fuckwits will ever be the same.

However, large companies do have to weigh their actions because of the sheer numbers they broadcast to.  With Blizzcon 2011, it has been estimated at 26,000 attendees[1]. What we have is a company which, in it’s ToU, demands a certain level of behaviour from its customers, which is fair enough.  Then it goes and smashes their own Terms to pieces and implicitly endorses the levels of mindless thuggery and abusive crap seen day in, day out in the /trade and /general in-game chat channels.

So, Blizz, that was a first class move on your part. Do you have an encore?

It does reinforce the view that you are run by sub-25 year old males who’ve not yet got a relationship with anything that doesn’t have staples and are still fapping off to images of Jaina without her clothes on. The type that have to stress how masculine they are by putting [Anal] in trade and hitting on anything which appears to have boobs in the game.

I know you’re not a stupid company, stupid companies do not keep businesses of the scale of Blizzard running successfully for so many years.  However big companies can have their reputation trashed and, given the way – as I mentioned above – that the media likes to blame the evils of the world on computer games, I would have thought more business sense would have kicked in.

So…  Stop hiding, stop claiming “it’s a joke”, stop telling yourselves and others “it’s not serious” and start acting like you belong in the business world and not staring at dirty mags behind the bike sheds.

Edit: Online petition

Real ID & forums, a news site roundup

Firstly an interesting article which might give some insight into one of the drivers for this change
http://watchingthewatchers.org/indepth/1365085/korean-law-driving-policy-blizzard

Now, here is the news

BBC News – World of Warcraft maker to end anonymous forum logins
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/10543100.stm

USA Today – ‘WoW’ studio Blizzard to require real names on forums
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/gamehunters/post/2010/07/wow-studio-blizzard-to-require-real-names-on-forums/1

Associated Press & Affiliates – Bye-Bye Trolls? Blizzard Forums to Use Real Names
http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jV7ybK7aZ_ZS-5ejE4v6tRWYpp9gD9GQCO5G0
ABC News – http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=11108240
ABC News – http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=11109291
Yahoo! News – http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100707/ap_on_en_ot/us_tec_blizzard_real_name
MSN Entertainment – http://entertainment.msn.com/news/article.aspx?news=509481&affid=100055&silentchk=1&

CVG – Fans rage over Blizzard forum plans
http://www.computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=254846

PCGamer (UK) – Why Blizzard’s new forum plan is an epic fail
http://www.pcgamer.com/2010/07/07/why-blizzard%E2%80%99s-new-forum-plan-is-an-epic-fail/

The Register – Blizzard exposes real names on WoW forums
http://www.reghardware.com/2010/07/07/wow_forums/

About.com – WoW Real ID: A Really Bad Idea
http://antivirus.about.com/b/2010/06/22/wow-real-id-a-really-bad-idea.htm

Ars Technica – Blizzard: post about StarCraft 2? Use your real name
http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/07/blizzard-post-about-starcraft-2-use-your-real-name.ars

Gamespy – Blizzard to Require Real Names on Official Forums
http://uk.pc.gamespy.com/articles/110/1104456p1.html

Kotaku – Blizzard Forums Will Soon Display Your Real Name
http://kotaku.com/5580585/blizzard-forums-will-soon-display-your-real-name
Kotaku – Blizzard’s Real Name Forum Policy Has Fans In An Uproar
http://kotaku.com/5581209/blizzards-real-name-forum-policy-has-fans-in-an-uproar

Joystiq – Your real name to appear on Blizzard’s official forums
http://www.joystiq.com/2010/07/06/your-real-name-to-appear-on-blizzards-official-forums/

Inc Gamers – Blizzard Going Too Far With Real ID?
http://www.incgamers.com/Columns/94/blizzard-going-too-far-with-real-id

MTV Multiplayer – Blizzard Cracks Down On Anonymity In Official Forums
http://multiplayerblog.mtv.com/2010/07/07/blizzard-cracks-down-on-anonymity-in-official-forums/

TechEYE.net – Blizzard forces users to show real names: Internet security they have heard of it
http://www.techeye.net/security/blizzard-forces-users-to-show-real-names

Product Reviews News – WoW Real ID System: Security Flaw Found
http://www.product-reviews.net/2010/07/07/wow-real-id-system-security-flaw-found/

ITWorld – Blizzard to share your name with angry video game nerds
http://www.itworld.com/personal-tech/113202/blizzard-share-your-name-angry-video-game-nerds

Voodoo Extreme – Is Blizzard’s Real ID Safe, Or A Playground For Sexual Deviants?
http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/55728/Is-Blizzards-Real-ID-Safe-Or-A-Playground-For-Sexual-Deviants
Voodoo Extreme – Blizzard Forums To Require Use Of Real Name, Rage Ensues
http://ve3d.ign.com/articles/news/55910/Blizzard-Forums-To-Require-Use-Of-Real-Name-Rage-Ensues

Examiner National – World of Warcraft Players WoWed by Blizzard’s REALID announcement
http://www.examiner.com/x-48234-Santa-Ana-Internet-Examiner~y2010m7d7-World-of-Warcraft-Players-WoWed-by-Blizzards-REALID-announcement

EuroGamer – Blizzard forums to require real names
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/blizzard-forums-to-require-real-names

GameFocus – Blizzard To Kill Anonymity On Forums
http://www.gamefocus.ca/?nav=new&nid=10091

Strategy Informer – Battle.net removes “veil of anonymity” on forums, real names used
http://www.strategyinformer.com/news/8551/battlenet-removes-veil-of-anonymity-on-forums-real-names-used

HuskyStarcraft – Blizzard Forums: First and Last Names [VIDEO]
[url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBwTpHNZDpQ“]YouTube- Blizzard Forums: First and Last Names

AusGamers – Blizzard Switching Forums to Real ID System
http://www.ausgamers.com/news/read/2926798

Australian Gamer – Blizzard decide to give out subscribers’ real names
http://www.australiangamer.com/news/3239_blizzard_decide_to_give_out_subscribers_real_names.html

Zeroday – Is Korean Law Driving Policy at Blizzard?
http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/zeroday/2010/07/07/is-korean-law-driving-policy-at-blizzard/

Hell Mode – Why Real ID is a Really Bad Idea
http://hellmode.com/2010/07/06/why-real-id-is-a-really-bad-idea/#more-390

Tank Spot – RealID — Unethical and Dangerous
http://www.tankspot.com/showthread.php?68744-RealID-Unethical-and-Dangerous

Real ID & forums, a cataclysmic failure

Thanks to Matticus for shoving this on the radar, though given the noise it’s creating (118 pages on EU and 882 on US the last time I checked).

So firstly what are they doing and what are they not doing.

  • New forums will be opened for Starcraft II & Cataclysm
  • The new forums will be using Real ID, and will be showing your real name on the posts
  • The old forums will not be changed
  • The old forums will be closed once the new ones are open
  • There is an explicit opt-in on the new forums making it clear that your name will be made public
  • The parental controls have been updated so minors can be blocked from the forums

So, where’s the problem, surely having your name on the net has happened a lot of times already.

True but I’ve controlled, as far as possible what my name is associated with on the net, having come online around 15 years ago when the mantra was “never give out your real name”, usenet was a brutal place and keeping some security and privacy was a critical lesson to learn and learn quickly.  As was having to deal with the trolls.

What Blizz appear to have forgotten is that data should only be released where there is a clear benefit, and where it cannot be achieved through other means.  In this case a fixed alias for each battlenet account would do the same trick of cleaning up the forums, it stops the creation of level 1 alts, it allows a mapping of one account -> one identifier (not necessarily one person though) and without having to release additional information and the associated meta information, think of all the players who if they want to use the forums will expose their gender, their ethnic origin etc etc.  There are plenty of morons out there who will latch onto that information, some in the antipication of trolling and others (white knights) in the vain hope they might get laid.

What about the players in gay friendly (or gay only) guilds, if they have decided to keep their sexuality private outside of WoW then can no longer post to the forums.

As things stand (and we need more information) there is also the breaking of the namespace.  At the moment we know that each ‘name’ is unique as it’s <alt name>+<realm>+<region>, we know that has to be unique because of the way the system is built.  How is that going to be managed when there are 200 John Smith’s posting to the forum.  There is no realm tie in, so there is scope for trolling on a grand scale with confusion over who is responding to who.

Security

Releasing more meta information is bad where it’s not needed, at the moment there are a few people who know my real name within WoW, I think it’s about 13 people, with another 10 who might be able to make the right connections.   Pushing my identity out into the wider world in connection to WoW gives a scammer another hook to try and catch me, why not guess at the email address I use normally?  Scammers aren’t afraid of spamming the world in the hop of a 0.01% return rate, this would allow better targetting of their attempts.

Follow the Money

The change isn’t happening in isolation to clean up the forums, there’s a bigger game afoot, social networking and the piles of money corporate execs see in it.  So Blizzard/Activision are teaming with Facebook, that highly respected paragon of good data security and practice.

Is this the final act?

Not a hope in hell, I personally believe these are opening moves, what was once optional (realid in game) has become “optional but we’re going to freeze you out of part of the service” and I’m sure will become “optional, unless you want to log into the game“.  One thought which has surfaced already would be embedding realID information into tooltips / in-game nameplates etc etc.

I’m not sure where they’re going to go, but as I said above look for the money trails, look for where they can make the extra cash off their database.  This is what the world is about at the moment, all the large companies are looking to do something with their databases, the suits see them as money in potentia and want to convert it into big piles of the folding stuff as quickly as possible before the current bubble bursts.

The last word

I’ll leave the last word on this to Ctrl-Alt-Delete

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