Blizzard has announced that in the near future, all posts on their official forums will be submitted under the user’s “Real ID” – their real first and last names.

Blizzard staffer “Nethaera” writes:

“...in the near future, anyone posting or replying to a post on official Blizzard forums will be doing so using their Real ID -- that is, their real-life first and last name -- with the option to also display the name of their primary in-game character alongside it. These changes will go into effect on all StarCraft II forums with the launch of the new community site prior to the July 27 release of the game, with the World of Warcraft site and forums following suit near the launch of Cataclysm.

“The official forums have always been a great place to discuss the latest info on our games, offer ideas and suggestions, and share experiences with other players -- however, the forums have also earned a reputation as a place where flame wars, trolling, and other unpleasantness run wild. Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before.”

If the 22 pages of comments following Nethaera’s post are any indication, Blizzard’s decision is not a popular one. Can they drag their forum users kicking and screaming towards something more closely resembling a social network, or will Blizzard’s once-bustling forums become lonely echo chambers?