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Blizzard Official Forums – Real Names

July 6, 2010

Blizzard announced today that the official forums will be changed to reveal a player’s real first and last name, with the option to include the player’s main character. These changes will be implemented near the release of Cataclysm and will, thankfully, not be retroactive. You can read WoW.com’s announcement of the decision.

I’ve already shared some of my thoughts on Plusheal (where I can trust to remain Domni for as long as I wish). But there’s more to it than what I said there.

I play WoW as as escape. I blog as an escape. I read and reply to forums as an escape. I assume the identity of Domni. Even though I have alts, I’ve accepted Domni as my pseudonym and overall personality and reputation for World of Warcraft.

I’ve shared my real name with four people in over a year of playing WoW. I’ve only shared my full name through Facebook. And that only because it forces me to.

  • I added a guildmate on Facebook because someone I knew went ahead and added a bunch of people and they could all find me. I wasn’t pleased about it. I’ve since tried to cut all WoW ties and erase its presence on Facebook because it links to my real name.
  • I added a good friend, and my healing mentor, on Facebook after Emmet and I spent months getting to know and trust him.
  • I told my first name in-game to a friend from Canada, because he feels shy about speaking English and never talks in vent. I speak a mild amount of French and so we spent a few hours working together to get past the awkwardness of language barriers. It built up trust. And sharing names was part of that.
  • I gave my first name to a distraught young man from an old guild who was having a breakdown and considering killing himself and others. It was a horrifying conversation. But I gave this boy my name. Because a name is powerful. It’s a bond. And I wanted his name. So that if he made an awful final choice, at least someone, somewhere, would know his name.

If you can’t tell, my name is important to me. I’ve had a long, drawn out history with my name and my right to privacy. And I don’t want my first and last name plastered on Blizzard forums for all the world to see. Maybe it’d be different if I was Jane Doe. But when you google me, you find me. When you google Domni, you find Domni. I want it to stay that way.

Unveiling my name like that rips away my right to anonymity and my right to immersion in World of Warcraft. If I choose to post on the official forums, I expose to myself to a large population. I can’t post as Domni, who I am in game, the strong Disc priest who can lead pug raids and stand up to the nastiest trolling brat and have twenty people willing to back  me up.

I have to post as me. The shy woman with a really screwed up past, plenty of debt, half-empty cupboards, desperate for employment, and who is terrified of every looming day.

What the hell, Blizzard? No. I play WoW to be Domni. I want my reputation attributed to Domni. I want my achievements attributed to Domni.

I won’t use the official forums. Period. The trolls can keep them.

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