Having let my World of Warcraft subscription lapse for a little while, it’s taken until now for me to experience Blizzard Entertainment’s Real ID system first-hand. I am not in the least bit amused by it.
Since money is tight, it’s taken my friend’s kind donation of a StarCraft II guest pass for me to try this strategy game sequel out; these 14-day, 7 hour trials are included in retail copies of the game. The installer is a hefty download, but once set up it allowed me entry to a thoroughly polished game.
Real ID, Blizzard’s new cross-game social system, comes into play quite early and is integrated heavily into the game’s UI. I was asked to sign in with my established Battle.net credentials when the game launched, was invited to create my ‘character name’ (“Sinnyo”, naturally), and found myself signed in to the Real ID service. The tool appears in the bottom right of each screen, and works like most other IM messengers. You can view your contacts list, set away statuses, broadcast messages and create chat sessions with individuals and groups. These groups can also form multiplayer games, making it a powerful tool for co-operative skirmishes and competitions online.
Real ID also displays my ‘real’ name to the internet without my having a say in the matter.
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