Real ID: Do you trust the friends of your friends?

So, today is patch day. This patch has a lot of neat features (like the Ruby Sanctum raid). One of these upcoming features is the Real ID system.  This system is designed to blend your “real life” with game life to a somewhat uncomfortable facebook-stalker level.

When the Real ID system was first announced, I thought I’d be able to get into contact with my friends & blog readers that I’ve met through the game, twitter, etc. However – the level of detailed information that the system provides to your “friends” (and the friends of your friends) makes it such that I’ll only be using the Real ID for the people I know in real life, and not likely people I met through the game (even if I think you are a great person, I may not trust your friends). That means I won’t be using the feature to it’s fullest.

They could have designed the cross-server chat to be less invasive, but they chose to reveal too much personal information in a fantasy roleplaying video game, and didn’t implement enough choice & privacy options.

Unfortunately, it’s not just YOUR friends that can see all your personal info. It’s also the friends of your friends. If I invite someone to be my friend, and they have 100 friends, all 100 of those friends can see my RL info, and that makes me very uncomfortable. So, I’ll mostly be waiting & hoping that they add more privacy options into their system in the future. If they gave us the option to disable friends of friends, then I’d like the system a lot more. Until they implement privacy options into their system, I’m going to keep my friends circle limited.

Now, there are RL friends who play WoW that I’m looking forward to having cross-server communication with, and I’m happy that I’ll be able to reconnect with them. I just wish the system was better.

Just remember to be safe about how you use the Real ID system. It’s not supposed to be a friends list that you give to everyone you ever meet in-game. (my e-mail is not the e-mail I use for this blog).

Posted in Patch 3.3 WotLK, Patches, Uncategorized

52 comments on “Real ID: Do you trust the friends of your friends?
  1. Maor says:

    I’m looking forward to be able to keep in contact with a few people I’ve been playing WoW with for a few years now, and talk to out of game. Overall, for what it is and what I think their goal is (more social networking than cross game chat IMO), it’s not a bad system. The main problem I have with it as well is the friend of friend feature, and I do hope that they add an option to opt-out (I’d prefer an opt-in, but I don’t see that happening) for that particular feature.

  2. Chezza says:

    Yeah, definitely need more privacy features such as disabling “friends of friends” and maybe separating email from what token you give to your RealID friends. Why can’t I give them a sort of universal username that I don’t use to log in with? I’ll likely use it to keep in touch with a few real-life friends who it’d be nice to keep in touch with and maybe, -maybe- a few people I’ve met in game.

  3. Maor says:

    I also have a feeling that the WoW forums are not going to be a calm place to visit today with this going live.

  4. Lissanna says:

    I’m not sure the forums are ever a “calm place to visit”. lol

  5. Maor says:

    lol. True, but there are calmer times than others. Today is going to be a long day for the blues.

  6. Lissanna says:

    maybe that’s why we can’t log into the forums now. 😉

  7. To be honest I don’t mind giving out my registered WoW email to the few friends on different servers I’d like to keep up with. And, I don’t personally mind that every one of my alts will be visible. I just abhor the fact that my real name will be visible, not just to my friends but to *theirs*.

    I simply don’t do my real name + the Internet. For that matter, I am not referred to by my legal name in real life either, with friends, at work, anywhere. It’s a shame Blizzard is forcing me to do so to enjoy this functionality. While the couple people I’ve been comfortable sharing with aren’t a concern, I hate to have it spread around to anyone they might know.

    I certainly hope that Blizzard allows more privacy options, if only as a legal safe measure to counter stalking.

  8. Kae says:

    Yes, this real ID thing is setting off all kinds of personal privacy/security alarm bells in my head. Real ID: if you don’t trust someone with your real name, or don’t trust someone not to share your real name with others, don’t give it to them.

    Unfortunate… but maybe they’ll implement more privacy options in the future.

  9. Trazer says:

    Why did they not listen when You first raised the questions about this? …

    This is wrong on so many levels I do not even know where to begin …

    As it is now, I would never use such a system – there is no single feature I want – actually I cannot express how much I do not want these features.
    But that is a personal choice – yet it boggles me beyond reason how Blizzard would even think about launching this … Do they not have enough hacks to attend to? Using the ID we use to log in with? . .

  10. Spinks says:

    “I’m looking forward to be able to keep in contact with a few people I’ve been playing WoW with for a few years now, and talk to out of game. ”

    So what stopped you swapping email addresses (or info for whichever social network you prefer) up until now?

  11. Maor says:

    Nothing. In fact, I’m talking with one of them over IM right now. As I said there, sorry if it wasn’t clear, I’m going to be using with with friends I’ve been playing WoW with that I talk to out of game.

  12. Lissanna says:

    There are some really great features for keeping in touch with RL friends that I would trust in real life. It’s just a problem of the Friends of Friends system being too invasive.

  13. Avatar says:

    It doesn’t seem like they are giving out the email, but the full name I can see as a concern, but when I relate it to facebook, its the same thing really. So not sure if I am as uncomfortable with it, and if I am reading it right, friends of friends can’t see your email just your name and can send you an invite.

    I do agree that they should allow you to have different options including hiding your last name, providing a username (not your email) and disabling friends of friends option.

  14. Maor says:

    Your Battle.Net email is not visible to anyone in game, not even your Real ID friends. There is 0 way for someone to get that unless you are giving it to them.

  15. Psynister says:

    RealID doesn’t bother me a bit. I really don’t care who knows my real name (Jason Griffith), and I don’t care who has my email address, which is displayed on my blog and is the same one tied to my account.

    I just really don’t care. You can send a postcard to every house in the world with my picture on it saying “This is Jason Griffith, also known as Psynister, a WoW player whose account info is [email protected]” and I wouldn’t care.

    I have an authenticator and I change my password on a regular, though random, basis. Everyone who sees my work email sees my name. Everyone who ever came into the McDonald’s I worked at in college knows my name, everyone I called while working in that horrid credit card call center knew my name – and it doesn’t matter.

    So what if somebody has my real name, or even my email address. What are they going to do? Stalk me on Facebook? Maybe I would care if I ever actually used the thing. Send me spam emails? Oh no, don’t make my spam filter work harder!

    There is no secret voodoo magic in the real world where people gain power over you by having your real name.

  16. Lavata says:

    Ya I have to agree the Real ID system is a bad joke when it comes to security in general.

    There is no reason that every Battle.Net account should not have a computer generated unique ID pair of IDs created.

    The system should also able to be automated so you do not have to type email into the system.

    Expanded function of the current friend/ignore list could have been created to implement this system. Step 1 add character as friend. Then to “real ID them” you then go into friend/ignore list and in the case of friending send RealID friend request. They get an announcement either real time or next time they log into the game and can approve/deny the request. Then you have 2 direction account wide communication with no loss of IRL/Account Information security. Yes your real name then shows. But we should also be allowed to implement an alias so that we do not even have to give real name. In Lissanna’s case the defaults available are all Character Name + Realm pairs existing on the Battle.Net Account.

    The Real ID system launching now is a joke and disgrace to the gaming world.

    The other alternative would be in the account management web interface you can get the same unique ID pair and then email them to your friends to add to their account. Then next time you log in the request appear either in your account management page or in game client.

  17. Lissanna says:

    It’s not the e-mail that is problematic – it’s associating a RL name to my in-game persona. Given that my main character’s name is publicly known and recognizable, I don’t want a RL name associated with it. When my RL name is associated with that character name, I won’t have the privacy that I value now. I like keeping my RL & game life separate.

  18. Lavata says:

    Jason Griffith/Psynister, it is simple for work or other related issues some people like to put some separation between different aspects of their lives. There are a slew of reason that are reasonable. Good for you if you don’t care. However lets hope no one you ever apply for a job with has a problem with your non-work related hobbies that you are so proud in trumpeting.

  19. Hamlet says:

    Are you sure the see your real name associated with your in-game persona? In the SC2 Beta, you could see a list of your RealID friends’ friends’ names, but not the accounts associated with those names.

  20. Lissanna says:

    Hamlet – I’m not sure, but I thought you’d get to see everything. I could be wrong, in which case I’d find it slightly less objectionable. 😉

  21. Maor says:

    Based on the description of the friend of friend, they’ll only see your real name. So they won’t see your characters or what you are playing at the time since that requires mutual friendship to work.

    Still doesn’t mean I don’t want an opt-out for that feature.

  22. Lavata says:

    Yes but the SC2 beta had you create your realID name when you logged in the first time after a DB reset. Given what has been posted about the system so far for WoW and going forward the realID name would be tied directly to your irl name. Not some handle you get to enter.

  23. Rades says:

    Psynister, in my opinion you’re looking at this the wrong way. The issue isn’t getting spam or having a game account hacked. It’s permanently linking your name to your character name in google, FOREVER. It’s a terrible idea for privacy, personal safety, and identity theft.

    Lavata’s got a great point about employment. One of the first thing employers do now is look up an applicant’s name. Drunken facebook profile comes up? Not good. If they think gaming is immature and addictive, and your WoW blog comes up? Also bad. Not to mention you can’t write about co-workers or work experiences on your blog if it’s all linked to your real name.

    The less your real name appears on the internet, the better. 5-6 years ago I went to visit my friend at a major University and didn’t know what room or dorms she lived in. I found the library though, and after 10 minutes of researching using nothing other than her name(!!) I knew her room number. And this wasn’t something stupid like she posted it on Facebook; this was finding University links to her name, finding out she was a Dorm Advisor, what Dorm she supervised, and then finding out contact information for that Dorm.

    That’s terrifying.

  24. Lavata says:

    The worst I have to worry about with facebook is me lighting candles on a birthday cake with a blowtorch.

  25. Psynister says:

    @Lavata, in all honesty, I wouldn’t want to work for a company that discriminates based on hobbies in the first place, so they’d be doing me a favor.

    It doesn’t bother me if people opt-in or they opt-out, it’s a choice everyone is free to make for themselves and I don’t think any less of anyone if they choose not to use it.

    However, I think people are blowing the severity of the issue way out of proportion. The top argument is, and has been from the start, security. If security was really an issue, then Blizzard wouldn’t be handling it this way to begin with.

    Next in line is just not wanting people to know your real name. If it’s just a matter of being uncomfortable, then fine don’t do it. The reason(s) why people uncomfortable with that may be entirely unfounded though.

    If you’ve got personal reasons, that’s fine. Lissanna’s reasons are personal, she doesn’t want people to go pay for lunch with a debit card and have the person behind the counter say, “OMG IT’S LISSANNA THE DRUID BLOGGER!!! I love you, Lissy!!!” (Though they might now that we’ve seen a pic of her, Mike, and the ring.) Lis is a popular person, so there’s solid ground for that hesitation.

    But friends of friends only see a portion of your information. If Lis (call her Sue) is Hamlet’s (Bob) friend, and I’m Bob’s friend, then I can see that Bob is friends with someone named Sue, but I don’t know who Sue’s characters are. I would know Bob’s toons, but I wouldn’t know Sue’s.

  26. Maor says:

    You do know that your name will not be linked to your character names in game unless you happen to actually be a friend with the person yourself? Or you liniked them in some way? There is no way to find on google that your name is attached to this Battle.Net email or a WoW character(especially since, as already stated, there is no way to get that information).

  27. Psynister says:


    Finding people’s real info has never been hard. Ever searched a WHOIS database? I’ve sent letters to people’s homes that I found the address for in that database.

    I’m not worried about employers finding my blog, my facebook, or anything else. The best way to keep stupid crap on the net from biting you in the butt is to not put stupid crap on the net in the first place. I don’t talk about coworkers or work for that very reason. The answer isn’t to hide behind an avatar, it’s to not do it in the first place. Don’t want drunk pics to show up? Don’t drink. Simple solution.

    You found your friend’s dorm room – why? Because you knew more than her name. You knew her name, you knew the town she was in, you knew the school she was going to, and you know that she stayed in the dorm rather than an apartment or home. RealID isn’t handing out your address.

    Identity theft takes more than just a name and/or an email address. Don’t put stupid crap on the net and you won’t have to worry about it.

  28. Verdus says:

    My opinion, for what it matters, pretty much matches up with Lissanna’s. The system has some potentially handy uses. I don’t even mind having that information shown to my friends, since if they’re seeing it that means I’ve explicitly said that it’s okay. But the friends-of-friends feature is too much. That’s now an indeterminate number of people that I likely don’t know who now have my real name, at least one of my character names, and an established relationship with a third party (the mutual friend). If someone did want to dig up more information about you, that’s a solid place to start.

  29. Verdus says:


    But do you trust everyone else that you’ve ever met to not post “stupid crap” about you?

  30. Maor says:

    Verdus, they shouldn’t have your character name at all, just your real name.

  31. Maor says:

    Friend of Friend features:

    From the FAQ:

    What is the “friends of friends” feature of Real ID?
    Similar to other social-networking platforms, when you click on one of your Real ID friends, you will be able to see the names of his or her other Real ID friends, even if you are not Real ID friends with those players yourself. If you happen to know someone on that list, you will be able to quickly send a Real ID friend request to that player. This feature is designed to make it easy to populate your Real ID friends list with people you might enjoy playing with.

    From the Battle.Net ToU:
    12.F: Real Life Friends Feature and Identity Disclosure.
    The Service allows you to disclose your identity to other users of the Service through the “Real Life Friends” feature. If you use the Real Life Friends feature and opt-in to a request to be “Real Life Friends” with another user, that user will be able to see your real name. Certain features, such as the Voice Chat Client, are only available between users of the Service who have opted in to the Real Life Friends feature. IF YOU OPT-IN TO THE REAL LIFE FRIENDS FEATURE, THOSE PEOPLE YOU DESIGNATE AS “REAL LIFE FRIENDS” WILL BE ABLE TO SEE THE NAMES OF YOUR OTHER “REAL LIFE FRIENDS,” AND YOUR NAME WILL BE VISIBLE BY THOSE PEOPLE THAT YOUR “REAL LIFE FRIENDS'” HAVE DESIGNATED USING THE SAME FEATURE. You may opt out of the Real Life Friends feature at any time by deleting all Real Life Friends from your Account.

  32. Chezza says:

    People have been bringing up the email issue. Here’s where the email comes in:
    From the faq found at

    How will I become Real ID friends with another player?
    Both players must first mutually agree to become Real ID friends. To send a Real ID friend request to another player, simply enter his or her account name (an email address) using the Add Friend function in-game. The other player will see the pending request in their friends list, and if they accept, you will become Real ID friends with each other.

    How this all pans out remains to be seen, but I think it’s clear that at least some of us, whether famous, infamous, or obscure feel it would be nice to exercise some of the options related to this new feature without opening a floodgate or starting a cascade of information.

  33. Psynister says:

    @Verdus – FoF’s do not see your character names, they only see your real name. Your real name is not associated with “you” at all until you’re friends with that person or they ask the mutual friend, “Hey, who’s Jason?”

    I’d have to do “stupid crap” worthy of being important before I would need to worry about other people posting anything about me.

  34. Psynister says:


    I’m all in favor of there being more options for RID. I wouldn’t mind there being nothing more than the user names that we have right now in the blog, for instance. Heck, it’s a lot easier to just have everyone know that I’m Psynister and have them remember that than it is to have them remember my wonderfully long email address.

    There’s definitely room for improvement, I just don’t see the huge red flags flying up that everyone else does.

  35. Lissanna says:

    I have the bigger problem of – my students are Undergraduates in college. The probability that one of my students will play WOW at some point in my career: Very high.

    After I finish grad school, I’m going to have to find a job in academia. In my field, playing video games isn’t really widely accepted – especially for females. I could probably get away with spending all this time on WoW blogging if I already had tenure, but that’s still a LONG time away.

    I don’t completely hide – there was a thread with pics of me from Blizzcon that people started in the WOW forums from the year I went to Blizzcon. I just want to keep that division as much as possible because it’s easier to protect myself now than to have to deal with drama crap later. I had to post pictures in my engagement announcement because it would have been super lame if I didn’t. It’s still not a decision I make lightly (and I left out most of the “people” pictures from my post that I put in the more private album that I sent to people).

  36. Rades says:

    Psyn, you’re right that the best way to not have stupid stuff on the web is to avoid posting it. But few people go their entire internet “life” without ever writing or posting something regrettable. Personally? I’m pretty secure in my knowledge of how to safely use the net. But a decade ago when I was a dumb high school student? My then-username’s ALL OVER THE PLACE. And I can’t get rid of it. I’m just glad I never associated it with a name or address or other real life info.

    And yes, there’s lots of personal info already out there. But why add more and make it easier for people who would abuse that knowledge? As for my friend at Uni, I didn’t use ANY prior knowledge of knowing her to locate her. It was JUST her name – that’s the scary part. I knew she was at the University and her first and last name. I could easily have been a stalker who saw her picture in the Uni paper.

    If someone is smart and careful about their internet usage, then sure, there’s nothing to worry about. But many people just aren’t that knowledgeable, or like me, were less careful in the past. I’m sure that there’s very little chance of identity issues arising as a result of your real name being on RealID, but why take the chance.

  37. zelmaru says:

    I think it’s a serious security risk, and I won’t be using it. I don’t need stalkers. All it takes is a person whom I *do* trust completely to friend someone creepy.

  38. Verdus says:

    @Maor – We’ve already seen PTR screenshots indicating that direct friends will see both your real name as well as the name of the character that you’re currently on, so we know that functionality at least exists. The information that you posted says that FoFs be able to see your real name. It doesn’t say one way or another about whether they’ll be able to see your character names. Perhaps it’s a faulty assumption on my part, but I see nothing to indicate that the information given to FoFs is different than that given to direct friends.

    @Psynister – Perhaps it was a mistake to re-use the phrase “stupid crap”. I’m not just talking about blatant stuff, like drunken pictures. Would you want, for instance, an ex-girlfriend going into the details of your relationship publicly, even if there was nothing particularly damning about it? People, or at least many people, still want privacy about innocuous things.

  39. Maor says:

    @Verdus – I haven’t seen any screenshots that show friend of friend seeing which character you are on. Your direct friend was always suppose to be able to see which character you were on. Everything indicates that the friend of friend will just see your real name, not the character your are playing.

  40. Verdus says:

    @Maor – The information that exists says that FoFs will see your real name. What it doesn’t say anywhere is that they’ll *ONLY* see your real name. I acknowledge that there’s the possibility your interpretation is correct. Based on the information that we have, though, it’s not as clear-cut as you seem to think. I guess we’ll just have to wait until the servers come up.

  41. Maor says:

    @Verdus – If it was going to include more than your real name, they’d tell you somewhere. It’s not like they have hidden what information is going to be available with this system at all. And as stated Hamlet above, in the Starcraft 2 beta, it was just your name. It won’t be different in WoW.

  42. Psynister says:

    @Rades – knowing her uni is prior information. 😛

    There’s enough information on my blog, available to the public, to find my phone number and address. Did I mention I’m not worried?

    @Verdus – we’re on the same page here, stupid crap, blatant crap, it’s all the same. Anything that would embarrass or otherwise harm your reputation. For the record, I don’t drink so there’s no possibility of drunken pictures. Past girlfriends wouldn’t worry me either, about the worst they could say is I wouldn’t have sex prior to marriage and that would really hurt let me tell you.

    If you’ve got things you don’t want people to know, fine we’re all human so we all do stupid crap from time to time. Do you seriously think that people are going to bother researching things like that?

    An employer just might, I’ll give you that one. But we aren’t playing WoW to get jobs here, guys. So what if Bob of finds out that you like to drink vodka and then sing karaoke while wearing your girlfriend’s bra on your face? He’s not there to hire you!

    Having your real name linked to your RealID in no way impacts your chances of getting a real life job unless that person also plays the game and happens to be your RID friend.

  43. Chezza says:

    “There’s definitely room for improvement, I just don’t see the huge red flags flying up that everyone else does.”
    quote from Psynister

    **generalizations are my opinion and based on my observations. The readers’ experiences may differ.

    You may not, but others do. I think at least part of it is the culture we live in. Look at the United States. In our Constitution, there are certain amendments that protect personal freedoms. We have a whole amendment (Fourth Amendment) that guarantees against government intrusion without reason and probable cause. The government is barred from using arguments like, “It’s for your own safety,” “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” etc. This amendment has also been interpreted to guarantee a certain expectation of privacy by the citizenry of this country in addition to guaranteeing against unreasonable search and seizure.

    Why mention all of this? Simple. American citizens have come to expect certain conditions regarding privacy and other freedoms (1st amendment comes to mind). Not only do people expect these conditions from their government, they expect it from those they do business with and those they engage in dialogue with.

    Now, has Blizzard turned into a Orwellian “Big Brother”? Certainly not, but I think it is safe to say that many will not trust the system and will disapprove of the system until further privacy controls are put in place. Why? They have come to value their privacy. How will they express their distrust of the new system? Hopefully, they will constructively exercise their freedom of expression in a manner that engages the topic and provides productive criticism and feedback.

    Bottom line: People in the US seem to have a certain cultural expectation regarding privacy if they so choose. Therefore, they’re going to see huge red flags.

    Want a great example of user outrage (not just concern as seems the case of RealID) over privacy? The Facebook instant personalization brouhaha comes to mind.

  44. Psynister says:

    @Chezza – who’s intruding on your right to privacy here? Blizzard is offering a tool and says, “If you want to use RealID, you have to give your email address to the people you want to use it with.” Nobody is being forced to do anything.

    No freedom is sacrificed here. A price is paid in the form of giving one person your email address, which is given to that one person and then never seen again. The person who is your friend can see your real name and they can see the character you’re logged on as right now. Their friends can see your name, but that’s it.

    In no way is your real name tied to your person through RealID. Knowing that you have a friend named Jason Griffith doesn’t tell me who that person is, where they live, what they do for a living, or how to contact them. All it gives me is a name. People know your name, but they don’t know that it’s your name unless they know you by some other means.

    People aren’t going to see Jason Griffith and know that he’s a computer programmer from Texas who has a WoW blog and a twitter account. They’re only going to know that you have a friend named Jason Griffith.

  45. Chezza says:

    No, referring to rights was to build my case that I see people having certain cultural expectations regarding privacy. No one is being forced to do anything, true. That wasn’t what I was getting at. I don’t see people opting to use this service because of their expectations regarding privacy that have been built up and espoused as right and true by almost 250 years of Constitutional freedom in addition to common interpretation of said Constitutional freedoms.

    What I was referring to wasn’t outrage or trampling of freedoms or rights. What I was referring to was a perceived lack of comfort with giving up (voluntarily) certain expectations of privacy, and since it’s voluntary, I predict a large number of users not using the service.

  46. Simone says:

    Right now Blizzard can barely keep peoples accounts secure with the login procedures they already have. Every day I login to the game, only to hear about ‘this person’ or ‘that person’ got hacked. What if a hacker were to get into a person’s account, and that person had RealID enabled?

    If they stoop so low as account hacking, what’s not to say they wouldn’t stoop to Identity Theft on a Real Life scale? You are displaying your first and _last_ name for everyone to see, and you can see their real names, and their friends real names, etc. It is a very real security risk by itself, without that level of uncertainty added.

    You would not believe how easy it is to track a person down just by their first and last name. Especially if that person has a unique name that’s not common (such as me).

    Also, while I would be alright with RealID (above personal safety concerns aside) if you were _only_ seeing your friends names, and vice versa; this ‘Friends of Friends’ business is just plain unnecessary.

    If I want to be friends with someone, I would add them. If they are not on my friends list already, they are not there for a reason. While I personally would only use this feature with people I know in real life, I don’t trust the friends of my friends by the very fact that likely I either don’t know them, or know them and don’t like them. And some of those friends don’t like me either.

    So it’s a double whammy. Your personal safety is being put at risk by displaying your first and last name for everyone and their grandmothers to see which ever way you look at it.

    This is a poor attempt at making a video game a social networking site, and likely a plot to lure more people in who would not otherwise be interested in the game by itself. If I wanted such, I would be trolling Facebook, not playing a game anonymously because I genuinely enjoy the game and that anonymity.

    While they advertise this feature as ‘optional’ and for ‘real life’ friends only, I foresee many lawsuits and real life crimes committed as a direct result of this if they do not add more security features. The lure of cross-faction and cross-game chat will likely ensure that a lot of people will opt-in despite common sense.

  47. Lissanna says:

    Account hackings happen as a result of people not protecting their accounts (rather than negligence on Blizzard’s part). Most account hackings are done through keyloggers on a person’s computer – where only the authenticator is really a good form of protection against account hackings.

  48. Maor says:

    Account hacking isn’t a problem on Blizzard’s end, it’s a problem on the users end. No matter how secure you think your computer is, someone could get in. Even steal you identity with the information they can glean from there. There’s more than enough way, even for the careful people, to get their information taken and used.

    I also think there will be more people using the system than people here give them credit for.

  49. Keeva says:

    I’m with Psyn. While I do understand that many people don’t want their real life name linked to their characters, I don’t really care if people know my real name. It’s not terribly hard to discover anyway, if you really wanted to.. along with my birthday, address, car registration, shoe size, whatever.

    Heck, you can find a google map to my house, and know that it’s mine because you can see my little green car (a photo of which I posted online last year) in the yard. Meh. Sure I find the idea of a stalker to be creepy – but if people want to find you, they can.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I’m in more danger of identity theft from someone sifting through my trash or just randomly targetting me than from a Warcraft FOF deciding to stalk me.

    They are simply copying the Facebook model. You friend a buddy from high school, and then think, “I’m a bit lazy and can’t be bothered rememebering all my classmates.. I wonder who else from high school I’d like to friend”, so you go through your buddy’s list of friends to see if you recognise them. You can’t see the personal info of those friends-of-friends, you can only see that they exist, allowing you to request they become friends with you.

    (disclaimer: unless FOFs *do* see your character names linked to your real name, but I can’t see how this would be possible, since the whole point of approving people is to allow them to see your characters…..)

    The only problem for me is that I don’t think people should be forced to show their real names. I personally don’t care, but for people like Liss who don’t want their real name attached to their in-game personas, that is entirely reasonable. However, people would need to know your real name in the first place to be able to make the connection with you. If someone on that list recognises “Emma Morgan” as being Keeva the druid, then they already know enough about me. They already know that Emma is Keeva, and vice versa. For most people, “Emma Morgan” is going to draw a complete blank.

    Lik Psyn, I’d like some more options, like being able to use a nickname rather than a real name – many more of my friends online will recognise me as Keeva, which would make FOF far more useful. I’d also like a “show as offline” feature for when I’m feeling like hiding – “busy” won’t cut it sometimes.

    All up though, I’m looking forward to it, and I’m not frightened by the prospect of my friends displaying my real name to other people. It’s not a big deal for me. But I do respect and understand the concern of people who don’t want that.

  50. Dierna says:

    I agree and will only be adding my real life friends with the Real ID system. I just got a request this morning from someone I only know through the game to be a real ID friend. I told him that I am only adding real life friends to the list.

    If they are my friend on Facebook, they can be my Real ID friend. I only friend people I know on Facebook. I don’t have 1000 Farmville friends. I also manage my Facebook friends so that if I notice they have a ton of Farmville friends they are in a specific privacy group that limits Friend of friend access. I wish we could do that with the Real ID system.


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