I know, just when you thought you wouldn't have to read another post about StarCraft II all weekend, this comes along. Don't worry, soon we'll return you to the world of normal video game news and updates. In fact, why are you even reading this? Don't you have some noobs that need pwning in some online multiplayer?
People have been gnashing their teeth since earlier this month about the whole Real ID debacle. Some people just don't want to identify themselves online, and enjoy living behind the relatively safe shroud of anonymity. You know, just because you play online as NooBToobeR1701 doesn't mean that everyone needs to know your real name, and that you're just a 12-year-old girl in Poughkeepsie.
Earlier in July, Blizzard announced that they were going to force people to use Real ID in order to comment on their community message boards. But, the backlash was so strong and so loud that the lumbering corporate beast actually sat up and listened. In fact, it was so loud that they reversed their position. It's not often that a company so big changes something so quickly, so kudos to everyone being so vocal.
However, that didn't mean that Blizzard would be abandoning Real ID altogether. Oh no. On the contrary, even while backing off, Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime said, "Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on Battle.net to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature." Sadly, he didn't explain why gaming as BunsofSteel88 would be such a different experience from playing as Bob Smith, but that's corporate-speak for you.
Then came StarCraft II earlier this week, where Real ID is prominently featured. In fact, it's so prominently featured that some people think it's the only way to play the game online. This very fact has been keeping some people from picking up a copy. But fear not, you have options. Plus, there are even more problems. But, nothing's perfect, right? We're here to try and clarify some things:
- Real ID is not required in the game: You can create an account using a Character Name that you choose, and you have a Character Code associated with your account. People adding you via Character Name will only see your Character Name, and not your real name. For instance, mine name is shazam, and my code is 420. I swear that number was completely random. I didn't get to pick it.
- Your Character Name is permanent: So, big warning to you. If you haven't chosen this yet, choose wisely. You don't want to be IHeartKnockers for eternity on Battle.Net. Blizzard hasn't said if you will be able to change this in the future, and right now it's for keeps. Remember, you'll need both your Character Name (prominently featured in the top right corner of the pre-game menus) and Character Code (visible in the "Add A Friend" screen) to give out to others.
- Real ID friends can see your other Real ID friends: If you add someone in the game via their Battle.Net email address, or by using the in-game Facebook integration, then you're adding them as a Real ID friend. They'll be able to see your real name (and you can see theirs), and they will be able to browse through your entire friends list. So, if you want to keep your list a secret, set a Character Name and give that out instead of the Character Code. If you've already gone in and set up your account with Real ID only, the good news if that you can add a Character Name at any time and then delete your Real ID friends if you so desire.
- Deleting works both ways: If you delete someone off of your list, you'll also vanish off of theirs. Handy, as this keeps you from having to tell your friends to delete you as well if you're in the process of redoing your list as a Character Name, and scrubbing all Real ID clean.
- You can use both Real ID and Character Name: If you add someone by their Real ID, you can also add them via their Character Name, and that works the other way around as well. So you can have a friend on your list twice. Once as John Jones, and the other as xxJJBlambotxx. They'll both show up at the same time whenever they're logged on.
- Real ID has special features: If you use Real ID, you can cross-game chat, send out broadcasts to every Real ID friend on your list, and get updates on what your friends are playing and get live updates when they earn achievements (via a little pop-up window). Character Name friends can't do this.
- Be smart: If you play with someone you don't know, but want to stay in touch, when you send them a friend request (just right-click on their name in the postgame screen), it will use your Character Name, provided you've set that up. Don't give out your Real ID to people unless you're sure you know who they are. Not sure you want to add your ex from Facebook who is still on your friends list somehow? Don't check the box next to their name in the game when you "Add Facebook Friends."
Does that help? Don't let fear of "the man" and losing your anonymity keep you from picking this game up. It's a must-have title, and you're gonna love it. What are you waiting for?