Beginning just before the release of Starcraft 2 later this month (July 27), the Battle.net Forums will be undergoing a massive overhaul, so that Blizzard can begin to implement their Real ID system within the various forums of the Blizzard universe. The intention is to enhance the user experience by not only making the forums more efficient, but to also eliminate the player anonymity which helps lead to trolling and flame wars. People have a tendency to be a lot more devious and cruel when they’re hiding behind an online avatar.
However, this could also cause an uproar amongst the upstanding users in the community just because they don’t necessarily want their real names published for the world to see. We’ll have to wait and see how this proposed change shakes out, but either way, I’m sure Blizzard will strive to make the forums a happier place than they are now.
Other enhancements to the forums include:
- Comment ratings – This will enable forum visitors to vote up or vote down comments within a thread, thus highlighting the valuable and productive contributions, and diminishing the lesser ones.
- More attention from blues – With the new comment voting system, blues will be better able to detect meaningful discussion and be more apt to jump into the mix.
- Easier to follow discussions – Replies to specific comments will be grouped in a way that will help to maintain the continuity of the thread.
- Better exposure for important topics – The new Battle.net forums and World of Warcraft forums will feature a way to broadcast important topics and discussions forum-wide, enabling breaking news to be seen by everyone in a timely fashion.
Those are just a few of the things headed this way in a matter of weeks. For more on this, please see the official post in the Battle.net forums.
Here’s an excerpt from that post, explaining Blizzard’s motives behind this new system:
Quote from Nethaera
With the launch of the new Battle.net, it’s important to us to create a new and different kind of online gaming environment — one that’s highly social, and which provides an ideal place for gamers to form long-lasting, meaningful relationships. All of our design decisions surrounding Real ID — including these forum changes — have been made with this goal in mind.
We’ve given a great deal of consideration to the design of Real ID as a company, as gamers, and as enthusiastic users of the various online-gaming, communication, and social-networking services that have become available in recent years. As these services have become more and more popular, gamers have become part of an increasingly connected and intimate global community – friendships are much more easily forged across long distances, and at conventions like PAX or our own BlizzCon, we’ve seen first-hand how gamers who may have never actually met in person have formed meaningful real-life relationships across borders and oceans. As the way gamers interact with one another continues to evolve, our goal is to ensure Battle.net is equipped to handle the ever-changing social-gaming experience for years to come. (Source)
Let’s hope this does more to enhance user experience and prohibit trolling, than it does to scare users away. Only time will tell…