July 12, 2010 – 1:50 pm
Houseguests all weekend – fun ones, certainly, but I’ve not done much gaming, and even less computering, and I’m kinda catching up on things and reorganizing my brain from hostess mode into “normal weekday” mode.
No post today. Hope you all had fun weekends!
July 9, 2010 – 9:51 am
(Please read the Edit at the bottom )
I don’t know any other way to write this, so bear with me guys. I imagine it won’t be any easier to read than it is to write.
I canceled my account last night.
It will expire on August 13, unless I re-up. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that’s the day before I head out of town, so at least I’ll be distracted for a bit.
The more I hear about RealID, Facebook, Activision, the “new social gaming experience” and Activizzard’s willingness to let go of their community, their players here in the US, and the people who have in some cases played this game for 5 years, the less I like it, and the angrier I get. Go ahead and read Dechion’s post on the subject. I’m pretty sure he’s got the right of things, which makes me even angrier, because it’s not just about smoke-blowing, it’s flat out lying. And then couching it in sunshiny, meaningless, corporate bullshit terms like “positive and constructive new direction” that people only use when they know they’re saying something that’s going to upset someone else.
I don’t have any problem choosing not to pay money to a company whose practices I dislike and do not trust. They’re a business, and their job is to make money. They think this is the best way to make lots more money, and so that’s been their decision. It’s my decision whether to like it or not like it, and to choose what to do from there. And so I chose to write a letter and then do the only other thing I could that might actually mean something. Walk away.
That wasn’t the hard part.
The hard part was turning around and saying “well, now what?”
What do I do with the blog?
What do I do with the stories?
What happens to Aely? To Arrens? Their wedding isn’t supposed to be until after Cataclysm. Can I leave that story unfinished? What about the Aftermath story, which was supposed to start publishing here this week?
What happens to Annie Mae and Duugvilder? Do they make it through Operation Gnomeregan together?
Will I really have to decide what to do with the last month in game, and where my characters will log out, and what they’ll be wearing?
What happens to the friendships? I know some will continue. The relationship I have with people like Bricu, Yva, Arrens, and Linedan have gone well beyond a video game – we talk about other things, and hang out online outside of game and do non-game things. But I’m not naive enough to think that the other friendships I’ve made will continue, or to think that none will lose a level of closeness without a commonality to keep the conversation going when it stalls.
Sadly, the answer to every one of those questions is quite simply “I have no idea.” I don’t know yet. I don’t know what the end result will be. I don’t know where the blog is going, or even (at this point) if it’s going anywhere at all. None of those questions is easy to answer.
Nothing is set in stone right now, and we’re all kind of waiting in the infinite feedback loop, trying to figure out what Activizzard will do in response to people’s leaving the game. (My guess is nothing, but I could be wrong. I kinda hope I’m wrong.) If things change, I might re-up my account. I don’t know on that front either.
This is not a goodbye post. (Trust me, a goodbye post would be a lot longer, and I’d be crying.) But I didn’t feel that it was worth leaving you all out of this completely. I like you guys. A lot. I could probably quote Bilbo Baggins here, but part of the original would be untrue – I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, but I think most of you deserve the affection and goodwill I have towards you.
So here’s to figuring out what’s going on.
Sadly, I’m afraid it doesn’t look so good.
EDIT: Blizzard has, in fact, and to everyone’s great surprise, actually backed down off this one.
I’m not sure what it means for my account in the long term (I still don’t want Facebook in my WoW, and I still abjectly dislike the direction that Activision is taking their games, especially with regards to DiabloIII), but for now, I think we’ll call this a successful bit of communication on a mass scale. Thank you to everyone who went at this with a clear head and logical discussion.
…Can I say they backed down ’cause I told them I was quitting? /impish grin
July 7, 2010 – 10:54 am
I figured we could all use a little silly today.
A lanky, dark haired elf sat in front of a lovely fire in a little cabin in Grizzly Hills, a grey wolf asleep at her feet. Russ was off fishing, but Arsaelan lay stretched out in front of the hearth on his back, paws splayed wide and snoring in a delightfully lion-ish manner that made the hunter stifle a giggle every time he started up. Taleh hooted softly, preening the last of her rabbit dinner off of her talons, and Angoleth returned to cleaning her gun.
She wasn’t quite used to this whole “gun” business. While it caused less pain than the longbows she had been using, the noise it made was quite offputting. Still, she didn’t doubt its effectiveness, and so far only the owl had protested hunting with it.
A petulant, whiny roar burst through the cabin window.
“Oh for Elune’s frigging toenails, would you SHUT UP?”
“I told you already, you can’t come in the house. You don’t fit through the door.”
Angoleth walked over to the window, where the enormous red devilsaur had pressed her nose up against it, fogging it up with a combination of hot lizard breath and snot.
“Ugh. You know I just cleaned that…”
Shan’re growled under his breath. Arsaelan grunted and rolled over, facing away from the window, tail twitching. She opened the window and was greeted with an overly exuberant dinosaur head to the chest.
“I know. I’m sorry the house is too small for you.”
A disgruntled hoot from the corner and Taleh had turned away as well, fluttering down to sit just near enough to Arsaelan’s twitching tail to attempt to catch it. The hunter ignored them both.
“There’s plenty of room once we get back to Feathermoon. Or Ironforge. You’ll just have to sleep outside here.”
“You lived outside in Un’goro! How the hell did you manage to stay alive?”
“Oh right. Bigger than everything else. Still. There’s a big overhang, and it’s summer. You won’t die. I promise.”
The devilsaur stomped off in the direction of the porch, grumbling under her breath. Arsaelan loudly chuffed with feline indignation.
“Oh don’t even start with me.”
July 7, 2010 – 8:48 am
The short version:
Starting with Starcraft II and proceeding into WoW just before Cataclysm, all posts made on the WoW Official Forums will be done using your RealID, which is to say, your real first and last name.
Obviously, this is… not so good.
The posts I’ve liked best so far:
- Saresa, from Destructive Reach – RealID – A Forum Compilation
- Chas, from Righteous Orbs – Seriously Not Okay
- Yva, from WTT:RP – Obligatory RealID Post as well as Falconesse’s comment (#3)
- Blue Ink Alchemy – The Rise and Fall of Blizzard – Battle net and Facebook
So here’s the thing, cats and kittens. Lots of people are OK with this change. And that’s fine. Their “okayness” doesn’t change, diminish, or otherwise in any way change my (and other people’s) “not-okayness”. Particularly since my issue is as much one of safety as it is one of comfort. (I’ve found mostly people either don’t care – “whatever, it doesn’t bother me” – or don’t like it. Haven’t seen a lot of people overjoyed by the change.)
If you feel safe using the new “my real name is on the forum with all my posts” thing, that’s fine. I’m glad you’re that secure in trusting either your name’s popularity, or the internet’s ability to overlook you.
I don’t feel safe, both for reasons of hacking and for reasons of stalking/harassment. I’m fortunate that I don’t have any creepy stalker exes that are out to get me online. I’m also not transgendered, and I have a relatively common, US/European sounding first name. But I have dealt with people online who took harassment out of game and into the greater internet – and that was pretty unnerving. I’m very thankful that, in both cases, neither person had my real name or my location.
Could someone find that out about me? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I’m OK with broadcasting it to every gold-seller and creepy window-licking asshat out there. (As Corise said, that’s like saying there’s no reason to lock my door when I leave the house because a burglar could just break a window and get in.)
I’m also not OK with broadcasting that I play a video game to every potential employer that knows how to use a search engine. In many fields, video games (especially MMO’s, and DOUBLE especially Warcraft) are not viewed well. In fact, they’re viewed as proof that you’re lazy, unproductive and immature. Whether that stereotype is correct or not, it exists, and ignoring it doesn’t make it go away or not affect you.
Sure, I could just never use the forums. But when the WoW customer service people regularly send you to the forums because “they can help you there”? I’ll be pretty stuck. That’s no longer a choice – other than a choice not to be able to fix your game so it’s playable if you want to control who does and doesn’t have your name. (And before someone brings up Facebook, my Facebook account is on a pretty short leash. I untag pictures of myself, it’s only visible to people I trust, and I pretty ruthlessly delete things there. Could you find me if you tried? Probably, but you’d have to try pretty hard, and you couldn’t see much of anything about me – not even a profile picture – unless I accepted you as a friend.)
The #1 rule of the internet is “Don’t give your real life information to strangers.” Unfortunately, Blizzard doesn’t seem to understand this. In fact, it’s against the Blizzard ToS to give out someone else’s personal information – including their name.
I think I’ll take a cue from Aely on this one.
[5.OOC] Beltar: Aely’s Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking
So, what can we do about it?
- Post on the original forum thread. The Devs are reading that thread. Don’t make a new thread, it’ll get deleted. And you may have to try more than once. That thread is already over 1000 pages long, so the forums are pretty busy.
- Send Blizzard a customer service email via this page: https://us.blizzard.com/support/webform.xml?rhtml=y&locale=en_US
And remember – being a rational, cool headed human being will get you a lot farther than ranting. Be firm, be polite, be clear, and be concise (I usually fail on that last one). Ranting and raving gets you pegged as a looney and the type of troll they’re trying to stop from posting anonymously.
It’s possible Blizzard will still go through with this, and it’s entirely possible we’ve only just now seen “Step 2″ in the RealID slippery slope.
In fact, given that Blizzard has already announced that Battle.net 2.0 is going to be integrated with Facebook, I seriously doubt anything will change at this point.
Regardless, we don’t know any of that yet, and until we do, let’s wait and see what happens. This change hasn’t happened yet, and there are a lot of people expressing their discontent (and in some cases, canceling recurring accounts. If this is to that level for you, it’s DOUBLY important that you send a message via either the forum or the customer support page).
PS – I’ve seriously considered closing comments on this post. I have no desire to hash and rehash this, but enough of you have sent me links to it (apparently to make sure I know what’s going on) that I felt a post was necessary. I’ll hopefully be posting some fic later, so we can all move on with things. The only way to change this is to contact Blizzard about it, so please, do so (I have) and we’ll get back to RP and the more fun parts of the game.
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