Is it really tha t big a deal to sign up using your real name?
Apparently a lot of Blizzard gamers think so, after its proposed Real ID system sparked an outcry and spawned more 30,000 thread posts right after its announcement.
The company recently unveiled its new Real ID system that allows gamers to easily monitor their friend’s activities in Blizzard games like World of Warcraft (WoW).
The new system also introduces cross-game chat and social networking features that allow users to see not just their friends, but also their friends’ friends.
Sounds cool right? The catch, however, is that you need to register for the service using your real name.
Blizzard will be limiting forum posting, cross-game chat, and other Battle.net features to those who sign up using their real names. This is where the problem begins.
Fans naturally stormed the company’s still anonymous official forums and collectively posted more than 30,000 messages in a thread that reached 1500 pages to express their thoughts and privacy concerns.
One Blizzard representative who joined the discussion said while the official forums have always been a great place for gamers to discuss their games and experiences it has also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild.
“Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before,” the representative added.
If Blizzard can assure the privacy of gamers with the Real ID system, I actually foresee it being replicated by other forums as well. There’s nothing more annoying than people posting nonsense and derogatory statements on serious discussion threads. Using your real name can prevent this from happening and would make people think twice and post more responsibly.
The Starcraft II forums will already undergo the switch to Real ID this month, while other Blizzard forums will have some time before the switchover. The World of Warcraft forums are expected to require Real ID around the time of the Cataclysm expansion’s launch later this year.
Speaking of Cataclysm, the new World of Warcraft expansion pack has already begun closed beta phase.
Selected individuals who opted in to playtest the add-on via their Battle.net accounts will be receiving their invitations while the rest can create a beta profile on their Beta Profile Settings on Battle.net and pray for a miracle.
Cataclysm is World of Warcraft’s third expansion, following 2007’s The Burning Crusade and the Wrath of the Lich King. The new add-on, available both as a boxed retail product and as a download, is due out by the end of 2010. It brings new zones, ups the level cap to 85, and adds the Goblin and Worgen races.
Still on WoW, rumors about the popular Massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) becoming free-to-play surfaced after an interview with lead designer Tom Chilton. In a PC Gamer article, Chilton hinted at the possibility, though quickly added that no immediate plans are in motion. He said that having players pay for a $15-monthly pass might not always be the best option in terms of monetizing WoW, but that the trend toward the free-to-play model isn’t necessarily a reaction to WoW.
“I feel like they’re doing that to compete with other games that are on a similar subscriber level to what they were at,” he said. “I imagine that when one of them went free to play it cannibalized some of the other subscribers. I can definitely imagine that being the case with World of Warcraft. If another game comes along and blows us away it may not make sense for us to have a subscription fee. Or even further down the line, when we have another MMO [massively multiplayer online] out.”
A number of other MMORPGs such as Dungeons & Dragons Online, The Lord of the Rings Online, and a wide variety of Asian games have managed to carve a market for themselves using a free-to-play, microstransaction supported business model. WoW on the other hand, remains a subscription-based game, although it already implemented a number of microtransaction features. Aside from in-game services ranging like server transfers for in-game characters to name and faction changes, Blizzard also sells in-game items such as the $25 Celestial Steed and $10 Lil’ XT pet. For an extra $3 a month, gamers can also get remote access to manage the in-game auction house from a Web browser or their mobile phone.
‘Mafia Wars’ the movie
Now that Prince of Persia has shattered the seemingly unbreakable record of Tomb Raider at the box office, movie producers have once again looked into the gaming industry for their next Hollywood blockbuster. Not a good idea if you ask me.
Zynga’s other popular Facebook game, Mafia Wars, is said to be making that big jump into the movie screen. The company has yet to make the confirmation and there are no additional details on the film, except that it’s going “crime thriller based on the popular video game” and that Radar Pictures and producer Ted Field are developing the project.
The challenge isn’t how Mafia Wars could be translated into a film, as its storyline basically revolves around running a mob in different cities. The “real” challenge is how to make it interesting enough for people, aside from the Mafia superfans, to watch.
If Mafia Wars does become a movie can Farmville be far behind?
New game for Kojima or ‘Metal Gear Solid 5’
Following the success of MGS Peace Walker, revered game maker Hideo Kojima told Hirokazu Hamamura, chief executive officer of Famitsu publisher Enterbrain, that after returning from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in June, he experienced a change of heart and is unsure whether he wanted to do something different from what he originally planned.
Kojima said that the game will either be entirely new or Metal Gear Solid 5 (MGS5). “For the next game I make, it’s either MGS5 or an original game. I only have these two choices,” he said. Despite his indecision, Kojima noted that the game’s engine is already up and running, and that he has allocated his key personnel to the project.
Kojima added that the game would definitely take less than three years, citing the accelerated pace of game development in the West and that the game is also being created for unspecified consoles.
Datablitz picks of the week ‘Alpha Protocol (360)’
The year is 2009. Worldwide political tensions are at a breaking point when a commercial airliner is shot down by a US missile against Eastern Europe, killing all aboard. The US government claims no involvement, and dispatches Agent Michael Thorton to investigate and bring those responsible to justice.
As the first modern day spy role-playing game, Alpha Protocol offers unprecedented control over the development of Thortons abilities and his interactions with other characters. Upgrade skills such as physical combat, weapons mastery, cutting-edge technology and even seduction as you grow in experience and complete missions.
‘Green Day: Rock Band’ (PS3)
Green Day: Rock Band allows players to step onto the stage and into the shoes of Green Day, the multiplatinum, Grammy Award-winning band that jump-started the punk-pop revival and has continued to pave the way for American rock music into the 21st century. Taking on the likenesses of Green Day members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool, players progress through the story and history of Green Day, gaining access into the band’s media vault, where they can unlock more than 100 collectible images, and more than 40 minutes of rare and unreleased video from interviews, outtakes and performances.
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Is it really tha t big a deal to sign up using your real name?