There has been some talk lately about Blizzard’s foray into “social media”, via the introduction of Real ID and now Battle Tags. Kurn has recently discussed her issues with Real ID, privacy and how much you are willing to share as well as talked about her decision to disable real ID. Vidyala has pondered how real ID has interfered with her “me” time, when she just wants to be alone and Rohan questioned how an invisibility system might cause problems, and offered some alternatives. Me? Well, I’m going to talk about why I love battle tags, and how I hope to see them replace RealID in WoW with MoP.
For me, my online community is very important to me. From my guild, to people I interact with on Twitter or have met through the blogging community. It is something that I treasure. I don’t have a lot of social contacts here (and admittedly, even when I try, I often end up failing…or being that person in the back of the room quietly making snide comments, because that is my safety mechanism for dealing with social discomfort), and I really do enjoy the interaction that I have with many of the people that I have met online over the years. It, quite honestly, has changed my life (in a good way), and if I hadn’t made some of the connections that I did, I would probably be that old lady that goes home each night to a good book and 19 cats. Not that that is bad, by any means, it’s just not what I want from my life at this point.
Yes, yes. I know. In typical Beru fashion, I am starting to digress. Let’s see if we can get this train of thought back to the station. Where was I going with this again? Right…battle tags.
One of the reasons that I have a shelf full of games that are (literally) still in their packages, waiting to be played (and dreading that they are soon going to find their way to the isle of misfit games), is because every time I sit down to play another game, I feel a small twinge of guilt that I’m not interacting in WoW. Now, my emotions will often dictate how strongly I let this twinge drive me to go back to WoW – if I’m having a rough bout, I’m more likely to ignore it – but often times I’ll find things that I’d like to do in WoW at the expense of another game that I’ve purchased. Largely because I feel like I have a responsibility to be available, even if it is only for a few hours.
While this is great news for Blizzard, it is less great news for my, now dusty, collection of games.
This is where Battle Tags come in, and I’ve wonderfully experienced this with Diablo. You see, with RealID I was very hesitant to just throw my information around because I am an opinionated female, with a career that I love that requires some tact and privacy, who happens to play video games as a hobby, and I just didn’t think my personal information needed to be easily accessed by people I didn’t know well enough to share that information with. But battle tags, oh glorious battle tags, are a completely different story. You see I can share my battle tag with anyone, and still retain that bifurcation of my private information and my online information.
And what that means, for me, is that I can stay connected even when I’m spending a great deal of time playing another Blizzard game – such as Diablo. I can still chat with the friends I’ve made in the WoW community. I can chat with real life friends (who I would have had on real ID anyhow….) while I am in WoW, and they are playing Diablo. I can play Diablo, and anyone in my guild, or in my circle of friends, who cares to know where I am now has that option, and knows that I’m available if they need me for something. So that obligation I was talking about feeling earlier? Well, it’s just become a little more free. And I love that I can spend my entire weekend in Diablo without the worry that people in my guild may wonder if I’ve checked out, or why I haven’t been online all weekend. And while I understand that in reality very few people probably actually wonder, I worry that they will wonder, and, well, this will get very circular if I don’t just stop it right here and say that it’s important to me for people to know I’m still here and around.
The point that I’m trying to make is that I can continue to play a game other than WoW and still have open access to a circle of people who are very important to me, and fill a very important role in my social life. And for me, that is invaluable.
I certainly share Kurn’s concerns about Real ID, and will admit that Brade was the only person on my Real ID for an exceptionally long amount of time. I certainly can understand Vidyala’s concerns with “me” time and wanting some down time where you can just wind down in solitude, and have experienced that moment of frustration when you just want to putz around mindlessly and get a tell the minute you log in about something you just don’t want to deal with. I definitely think that some sort of invisible mode, like Rohan suggested, might be beneficial. But regardless of all of these things, Battle Tags have given me a freedom to keep myself open to a social community while participating in other activities. And, honestly, I love it.
I know that there are a lot of opinions on this topic, and I’d love to know what you think. Do you love or hate Battle Tags? What will your reaction be if Blizzard announces that battle tags will become mandatory for all of their games?
(p.s. As an aside, I’m not one who is going to shout out my battle tag from the rooftops. It’s still somewhat private in my eyes, as it is an extension of me, and I wouldn’t stand on a street corner shouting out my name or telephone number. However, if you have a genuine interest in wanting to be able to chat with me outside of the blog (or the email that I take an eternity to answer….), feel free to email me a request, and I will be happy to share my battle tag with you. Please note, however, that you are unlikely to receive a response if I am in the middle of a raid or co-op play in Diablo. It’s not personal, it’s just how I work.)