Written by | Posted October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm Elevation

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

On Privacy, Real ID’s and Roleplay
comment 49 Written by on June 22, 2010 – 9:23 am

If you’re not familiar with the concept, Real ID is Blizzard’s new cross-game, cross-server chat program. It allows you to add your friends (using their Battle.net email address) and then talk to them while you’re on another server, or not logged into WoW, or whenever. If you’ve not looked into it, both the main page and the FAQ are worth a read before you finish reading this post.

Real ID opens up a lot of out-of-game/non-game interactions for people you regularly enjoy your WoW time with. Unfortunately it also has some glaring privacy concerns that throw up some pretty big red flags, both from an RP standpoint and from a real life standpoint.

First – you and your Real ID friends will be identified by your real names. While this isn’t strikingly problematic, as many people who you play with on a regular basis may already know your real name, it does pose an issue for someone who chooses to use a pseudonym on the internet. (See: Me. My real name isn’t Anna, but I’ve got a pretty good reason not to randomly start going by another name – people know me as Anna already, and I have a lot of personal investment in the name (and this website)!)

Where this really gets sticky, though, is that you can see all of your friends’ Real ID friends (and vice versa).

f you want to be friends with someone in your guild, you have to be sure not only that you trust THEM with your real name and Battle.net email address, you have to be able to trust all of their friends with your information as well. In this way, it’s a lot like Facebook for Blizzard (a comparison that doesn’t actually win it any points in my book), and the lack of an opt-out (or opt-in) option on this feature is extremely off-putting.

EDIT: I wasn’t sure I wanted to tackle this, but I think it deserves mention (read more in the comments) – the addition of real names to Real ID opens up some really unpleasant opportunities for stalking and harassment. Yes, ideally you’ll be very careful about who gets your Real ID info, but not every stalking situation starts out that way, and internet threats become /very/ scary when someone can get access to your real name. Also, I’m not sure if blocking one person on your Real ID list will block YOUR name off of all your mutual friends lists to them (meaning it might be possible for you to block someone, only to have them track you down through a friend of a friend’s list).

The fact that this is done through your Battle.net email address is also worrisome in and of itself.

Blizzard (wisely) instructs people not to give out their account information (login/password). Well, we’re now in the era of Battle.net where your account login is your Battle.net email address. Yes, everyone should have an authenticator, but not everyone does, and passing around your Battle.net email address makes it one step easier for someone to compromise your account. Many people, including me, have email addresses specifically for Battle.net that they ONLY use for Blizzard logins. This way, when I get Blizzard phishing emails to my toomanyannas at gmail account, there is NO question whether they’re scams. I’m pretty wary of giving out that address to anyone, especially not people that I’ve only met in WoW, no matter how much I like them and enjoy gaming with them.

From a an account security standpoint, your Battle.net email is a MUCH bigger deal than even your real name.

EDIT: As I’ve been made aware (thanks to several folks here and at Twitter) – while you have to give people your Battle.net email address to add them as a friend/vice versa, they don’t continue to see that from the RealID friends list. Whether or not it’s available at all, I don’t know (I’ll leave that to people with more experience – perhaps someone who’s using it can tell us?), but you still must give that Battle.net email address (your account login) to anyone who wants to add you as a friend. It’s just not then visible to everyone else – only your real name and character name are visible.

All that aside, what does Real ID have to do with RP?

From Blizzard’s Info Page:

When you agree to become Real ID friends with another player, both of you will automatically see all the other’s characters on your friends list. You’ll even see any characters your friend creates in future Blizzard games, carrying your social network forward and helping you stay connected with the people you enjoy playing with most.

My lack of desire to have everyone I’m friends with know all of my character names aside, there are some interesting RP interactions that can take place from this – namely cross-faction RP. (Thanks to Warcraft Sues for the idea, I’d not thought of it, and they posted a question about it this morning.)

I’m pretty good friends with the Panzercow - and most of his characters are hordies. On the staff of WTT:RP, Falconesse plays characters on both Alliance and Horde, and RPs extensively with both. In fact, many of the Noxilite crew have interactions with the Wildfire Riders (and associates) – both in and out of game. Some RP has even included communication between those groups, done in IRC or other media. Real ID may allow this kind of thing to happen more often, and I think (in some situations) it’s a good thing.

On the other hand, cross-faction/cross-server communication is not something Blizzard supports at all, but I’m not sure how they’d prevent it – I have both Alliance and Horde characters, and forcing me to choose only to talk to my Alliance or Horde friends would be complicated, as most of them have many alts as well.

Blizzard’s Real ID feature also will tell you “what your friends are up to” – whether they’re in a raid or sitting around in Dalaran, ostensibly “bored”. While I think that’s an interesting tidbit of information, roleplayers often “sit around” without being bored, so it won’t bypass the “Are you busy?” whispers/messages.

Unfortunately, this is the downfall of allowing all of your friends to see all of your characters as well. Everyone likes to escape sometimes, to log in and not be bothered by guild stuff or chatter. Ideally, you wouldn’t share your Real ID info with all of those people, but it’s still hard to get away from, even without announcing that you made a new level 1 alt. Spinksville had a good post on this aspect that’s worth a read as well.

Being a roleplayer adds another level of awkwardness to this kind of broadcast. Sometimes I really like to have “small group” RP – I want to snag one or two people, go somewhere that we won’t be bothered, and enjoy RP that’s personal or private or sensitive to the characters. Real ID broadcasting where that is increases the chance of someone showing up to join in the RP because they saw you were all out in Winterspring together. Right now, through channels/guilds/friends lists it’s still possible to see that information, certainly, and most people know to send a whisper first, but the possibility of “party crashing” is still there, and Real ID will make it even more obvious (since people will, at least in theory, be looking at their Real ID friends to see what’s up and what they might join in doing).

Is Real ID all bad then?

No, I don’t think so. It’s an interesting concept, and seeks to attach a social media type concept to WoW and other Blizzard games. It opens up the possibility of cross-faction and cross-server RP, which is decidedly cool (though possibly not something Blizzard will think is so awesome, so we’ll see on that count).

Due to the privacy concerns though, I won’t be using it (at this time). There are excellent non-Blizzard chat programs available (AIM, Google Chat, IRC, various messenger clients, etc.) that can be used to essentially the same effect, without automatically displaying a ton of information that you can’t choose not to display. It’s easy to use a pseudonym, control who does and doesn’t have access to your information, and you don’t have to worry about whether your friends might have some unsavory types lingering in their friends lists as well.

Since Real ID will not be tied to any one Blizzard game, it’ll be something you’ll have to run separately on your computer anyway, so choosing to use something like a guild IRC channel wouldn’t change the memory concerns either!

Anyhow, that’s my two cents (two dollars?) on the subject.

What do you guys think? Are there roleplay opportunities with RealID that I’ve missed? How do you plan to use Real ID (if you plan to use it at all)? Do you have a screening process for potential friends (for example: only people you know in real life)?

annas

Clicking into place
comment Comments Off Written by on June 21, 2010 – 10:49 am

As I’m spending today catching up after 4 days with house guests, today’s post is just a bit of link love to a post that I read and really enjoyed.

We talked a little while ago about what makes a character click – about how sometimes it’s the race, or the class, or some other ephemeral combination of things that has to align, and how that alignment can have us suddenly playing and enjoying a character we didn’t think we could ever make work.

Tamarind had a similar experience with his DK, and it’s really worth a read.

Friday A-Muse-Ment
comment 5 Written by on June 18, 2010 – 8:59 am

Not quite a Friday Five, but not a Friday Five Hundred either, today’s little appetizer for your creative muse comes from Sean, the writer formerly of Blogatelle.

He writes:

I was playing Fulthruttle and one of the guild leaders called out for defenders to Stormwind. I answered the call and popped my teleporter to Toshley’s Station with the plan of hitting Shattrath and then taking the portal to Stormwind.

And when I came out of the teleporter, only my Evil Side made it. Yes, I’d been hit with Soul Split: Evil!

So what happens when a gnomish engineer goes evil? Why, they go Mad Scientist, of course. I think her finest moment was explaining to her guild master that she could easily deal with the Horde as long as she was allowed to kill everyone else in the city at the same time; she could think of five ways to do it, although her Puppy-Blood Fuelled Murder Engine(tm) wasn’t one of them. Yet.

Hence, this idea for a Friday Five.

1. How would your character react to a Soul Split: Evil?
2. How would your character react to a Soul Split: Good?

I thought it was a fun prompt, and the idea of Aely getting Soul Split: Evil was kind of a strange one – it took me some figuring to come up with much of anything. An experiment in extremes, I suppose!

Have fun and happy Friday!

annas

Using Tabards in RP Outfits
comment 8 Written by on June 16, 2010 – 8:39 am

Finding RP outfits can be as simple as stopping by the auction house and picking up a low level robe, or perhaps a pair of pants and a shirt. Many lower level items (or even saved quest items) are relatively fashionable, and you can make a lot of different outfits that will look believable and character appropriate. A particularly fashion forward mage might wear the latest in robe styles and bright colors, while a simpler adventurer type might feel more comfortable in leather boots and an workman’s shirt.

One item that often gets overlooked, in terms of RP outfits, is a tabard. Obviously these are easier to acquire at higher levels, but most people can either purchase (or find someone to help them purchase) a guild tabard, and it’s not too difficult from there to find an outfit that looks good.

Most tabards, unless they’re /very/ unusually colored, will look good with a white or black swashbuckler shirt, a stylish black shirt or a formal white shirt, some tuxedo pants, and whatever boots you have hanging around in either a dark or complimenting color. If you can’t find anything else, or don’t like the look of boots, a pair of Frayed Shoes will look really good, and you can find those in any low level zone.

Of course, you’re welcome to get more creative and colorful, but I keep that basic outfit on almost all my characters in case I need a quick RP look in a pinch. This is a good sort of basic investment if you’re just getting started, since a guild tabard is relatively “RP Neutral”, but – especially if you’re RPing mostly within your guild – will fit in easily. It’s also inexpensive to acquire, since shirts and tuxedo pants are crafted.

Because the Wildfire Riders tabard is Black and Red, Aely’s RP boots are a pair of Vileprey Boots that are black, red, and white. (This combo also looks quite good with the Shattered Sun, Argent Dawn, Argent Crusade, and many other Reputation tabards.)

Some tabards, however, are more difficult.

I present The Tabard of the Explorer. For those unfamiliar, it’s a tabard in various shades of brown with a big map of Azeroth plastered across the front of it.

Accessorizing this tabard took some doing, but it’s unusual looking and the colors aren’t too bad, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

The general reaction has been overwhelmingly positive:

explorer

To recreate this outfit, you need:

  1. An Explorer’s Tabard, from getting the Explore Northrend achievement
  2. A Gossamer Tunic (of the something) and some Gossamer Boots (of the something)
  3. A pair of Expedition Pants (of the something)
  4. A Belt. This belt is a Windchaser Cinch (my go-to RP belt), but you could wear any belt that looked alright with the colors of the outfit.

That’s it!

Obviously there are variations you could use. If you really like the “tucked in” tabard look, in which case you might look at a Durable Robe (of the something) or possibly one of the robes with the Gaea’s Raiment skin (there are several). You never know what poking around in the Auction House (or in WoWHead) might turn up!

And no, I have no idea what to do with the Loremaster’s Colors. Sorry, you guys are on your own for that one…

annas

Elevation

October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

Introducing the Newest Anna

June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm

So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …

Deconstruction

November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

Riders of Lordaeron – Logistics

September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm

(With Tarquin and Annalea)

Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …

Riders of Lordaeron – Problematic

September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am

(With Tarquin)

She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.

That problem had just announced that …

Riders of Lordaeron: Arrangements

September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am

It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …

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