Every time a new mmo comes out, the question is asked. Sometimes it is loud, sometimes it's just a murmur, but it is asked. Will this game kill WoW? Nothing yet has come close to killing WoW, though some have taken a few subscriptions for a time. Seems they always come back, or someone else takes their place.
When Real ID was first introduced, it was to be an option, not a necessity. You could share your email address with whomever you wished, and they would know where you were playing in the WoW universe and what your real name was. Eventually, they would be able to find you in Starcraft, even Diablo, from their Battle.net friends list. This I am definitely a fan of. I have people in this game I consider to be good friends of mine, that I want to be able to find me should I ever leave, and this is a good way for it to happen.
The recent news of integrating the Real ID system into the Starcraft and Cataclysm forums has my tongue tied. On one hand, here is me, inconsequential nothing of a person with a terrible credit rating, no items of value, and no job to ruin from anyone knowing that I, Jennifer, posted on the World of Warcraft forums. From what I can tell, there are more than enough Jennifer Morton's on the internet to gain me a smidgen of anonymity. However, there are people out there with last names that are rather unique, situations that require them to be a bit more zealous of their personal information's safety. For them, I am against this addition to the optional Real ID system. Sure, they have said you can choose to not post on the forums. Being a social game, I can see where some people would feel that their gaming fun had been compromised by not being able to chat with like minded individuals over their lunch break in the forums.
I read, thanks to Saresa's snippets in her post, one person's idea of a Real Alias for the Real ID system. Fabulous idea! The beauty of this game is to be able to slip on the mask of your character and become them, even for a short time. It is an escape from Jennifer Morton and her life. For those that enjoy the social aspect but still need a bit of anonymity, this would solve many problems. Only Blizzard need know our real names, not the general public.
Will this kill WoW? WoW seems very resilient, but this threat is from the inside. I can see them taking a big subscription hit if there are no changes made to their current plans for the forums. I hope that they find a way to make this more palatable, with perhaps a Real Alias system or some other way to protect those who need to be protected. Without any change, I fear for the life of what has been my game of choice.