Blizzard Entertainment's plan to make it mandatory for gamers' real names to be shown on the official forums has began negatively affecting its own employees. To demonstrate why this is a bad idea, unhappy users have began creating social profiles of Blizzard workers from information found around the Web using only their real name.
A few days ago Blizzard Entertainment, the company behind hugely popular games like World of Warcraft, Diablo or Starcraft, revealed its plans to roll out the new Real ID feature on the official forums. Real ID is a social networking system that the company hopes will add to the gaming experience. The component can expose a person's real name to their friends on Battle.net, but it is optional for in-game play.
But Blizzard wants to make real names mandatory on the official forums, allegedly to discourage flaming and other unwanted behavior. "[...] The forums have 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," a company representative said.
The news did not fall well with gamers, who much like hackers, use made up monikers when they refer to each other, many even in real life. However, Blizzard remained untouched by the negative feedback it received and while it said it will continue to discuss the issue with players, made it clear that it will go ahead with its plan.
It now seems that upset users have started taking it out on Blizzard employees. It all started with a company worker who in order to alleviate people's concerns, took the decision to reveal his full name in the official announcement. The gamers immediately started digging up information about him, such as address, phone number, facebook account and other details, some of which eventually proved inaccurate.
The move, however, has inspired others to do the same thing and there is now an entire blog dedicated to compiling information found about Blizzard employees using only their real names into social profiles. So far the level of details in some of these profiles is downright scary with information ranging from the usual name, age, address, telephone to name of sibligings, parents, high school, college, former work places, as well as music preferences, hobbies, future wedding date and even shoe size. Some of this data gathering process has even revealed intimate relationships between Blizzard employees.
And if the decision makers at Blizzard are not concerned about this development either, we would like to remind them of what Twitter went through last year, when thousands of its confidential corporate documents, memos, meeting notes, financial projections, employee evaluations and other files were leaked out in the open. The French hacker responsible for that attack admitted to building a social map of the company by using information available about its employees he found on the Internet. He then used this map to socially engineer his way in.
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