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Some Problems with Real ID

Real ID, the topic of discussion all over the blogosphere right now. We’re going to talk about it again today, because I feel like talking about it again. Today though, we’re going to look at the problems with Real ID. More specifically we’re going to look at the problems with Real ID and we’re going to look at the “problems” with Real ID.

I don’t think that any of the problems or the “problems” with Real ID are real, honest to goodness Problems with Real ID. Most of them are problems with people having different levels of personal (in)security, or people simply having different desires for how and when to use it. I’ll get into the specifics on that further down. I’m going to talk about some issues that people have brought up that I feel are valid, and I’m going to bring up some issues that I find ridiculous and why. In this post you’ll get a full serving of Psynister’s Opinion, as what I write here is nothing my that my own thoughts and feelings on the issues that are brought up. For each problem I’m offering a solution. If you don’t agree with the solution then feel free to let me know why. If you have other solutions to add, then please share them with us in the comments.

Your DBM addon might be sending you warnings right now, but just ignore the big bad wolf’s advice to run away, it’s just letting you know that Psynister is about to cast Wall of Text in 3…2…1…

Psynister Psychology
I ask that while (if) you read this, regardless of whether you support or reject Real ID, that you read with an intention of understanding rather than an intention to respond.

As this is an issue that puts some people on the defensive the two reactions of human nature are to either reject it by going on the defensive with blinders on or to run away from it. If you’re feeling insecure or defensive, please try to take the time to read and try to understand what I’m saying. Don’t take it as an attack on your beliefs or your feelings, take it as me trying to help explain something you don’t understand or don’t fully see even if you feel that you do. If you read it, think about it, and still disagree or think I’ve misunderstood, then please let me know in your comments. We can’t progress if neither of us understands the other.

If you support Real ID and feel that the people against it are just a bunch of whiny little babies, then I suggest you do the same thing. Take the time to try to understand the reason for the person feeling that way. It’s not always going to work for you, but I’m just asking that you take the time and make the effort to understand their real problem before you just dismiss it. While defensive people can be blinded by their fears or insecurities, the aggressive people often feel that they’re free to brush aside everyone’s concerns like they’re meaningless. Just because I feel safe and secure in giving everyone my name and email address doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for harm in doing so. Don’t just dismiss things, read with intent to understand not with the intent to respond.



Problem: No Invisibility Mode
Of every argument I’ve seen against Real ID, this one is one of the most valid. A lot of players, perhaps even the majority of them, like to be able to play at times to just get away from everything and everyone for a little while and just do their own thing. They like to log in and go play on some other server where they don’t know anybody and just do whatever they want without having to deal with guilds or friends or anything else.

My wife does it, Arrens does it, and a lot of other players do to. People like being able to play the game now and then just for the sake of playing the game and not being bothered. I don’t blame them a bit.

I say it’s a valid point because it directly impacts your playing experience. If you can’t log in and have a break from the noise now and then, and you’re the type of person that needs those breaks, then you may not enjoy playing as much because you can’t just get away from people while still playing. You’re playing the game to get away, to relax, to not be bothered, and having people be able to whisper you wherever you are is draining and annoying, it interrupts that down time.

Solution: This feature doesn’t exist, so we have to either not use Real ID, deal with the loss of alone time, or find a way around it. The work around is simple, but it’s not going to appeal to everyone. If you want to have your invisibility mode the first thing you need to do is turn off all of those notifications in the Real ID options. I talked about how to do all of that in yesterday’s post, The Real (ID) Story. By turning off those options you will not be interrupted by people logging in and out, and you will not see their broadcast messages. The only thing you will see are Real ID whispers, which we’ll to address next.

Next up, you need to set your status to Busy or Away so that your Real ID friends see the flag and know something’s up. They’re yellow and red spheres against a grey-blue background which is going to stick out. If they see it then they should know you’re not sitting there ready and waiting for conversation.

Finally, you need to set your Broadcast message to something similar to this: Need some down time, please DND. Your broadcast message is shown to anybody who you’re Real ID friends with when they see your name in their list. By putting that message up you’re letting everyone know that you want some alone time for a bit and don’t want to be disturbed. Your real friends are going to honor that and leave you alone. The annoying people you clearly don’t want bothering you all the times are going to ignore it, and as such should be removed from your list.

The reason this isn’t going to appeal to everyone is pretty nicely summed up by Kurn’s Thoughts on Real ID. You may also be in a situation similar to Tartdarling’s where your friends are the type of people that just like to bug you all the time in the names of fun and love. If you’re in Kurn’s position then it’s going to be hard and this solution might not work for you. If you’re in Tart’s position, well you’re probably the one that started it all anyway so you’ll just have to deal with it.

Problem: Real Name Visibility
This problem is such a multi-layered beast that it’s really hard to talk about without either going too light or to heavy on the subject. It’s like twelve problems all wrapped up into one because they’re all the same problem, yet it’s a problem for various reasons that apply to some but not others. I’m going to summarize it though and break it down into just two groups.

First, we have the people that just don’t want others to know their real names. The motivations for this are almost endless. Some people have names that they’re embarrassed of or they don’t like their given first name and go by another name instead. Some people like to play the role of their character or their persona that isn’t them, such as men who play female toons or who socialize as females, and they don’t like having that broken. The person might be insecure about who they are but who find security by having a sort of second life that they can live through their characters. Others are important people in some form or fashion and don’t want to have their real name linked to their in game persona. Basically, for one reason or another they wish they could hide their name because they’re uncomfortable with people (all people) seeing it.

The second group is made of those that like to immerse themselves into their characters as well as the game. They aren’t just a player, they are their toons. They don’t want to be known by their real names, they want to be known by their character names. You can take a look at Chawa’s Post for an example of that one.

As someone who plays on multiple servers and also has a twitter/blogging presence I understand this one a lot. It doesn’t bother me, but I do understand it. On my original server I was known as Psyn or Psynister, but on the following server I was known as Lex (Lexington), yet on my current server I’m known as Bel or Bels (Belsynis). On twitter and in blogs I’m again Psynister or Psyn. On the one side I like that separation because it helps me keep things straight, but on the other hand it’s easier if people everywhere just know me as Jason so they don’t get confused when a Psyn friend talks to a Bels friend.

Solution: The solution here is hard because of the complexity and diversity of the problem. The first thing you need to do is be realistic about what’s really out there. A name is just a name, even if it’s your name. Without any other information tying that name to you as a person it means nothing. Jason Griffith, who’s that? Well, it’s me but it’s not necessarily me. Even if it’s a unique name it’s still just a name. Dragon McKinsey, who’s that? Is it a boy or a girl? I know who it is (and also that I completely butchered the spelling), but do you? Britney Spears, know that one? You might think you do, but is it really the one you think it is? Daniel P. Howell, know that guy? Well you might think that’s a fellow known in WoW as BRK, but without any further information you don’t know that for sure.

If you’re one that’s uncomfortable for reasons like always playing female toons so I think you’re a female when actually you’re not and your real name is Richard Pelowski, then I can only tell you so much about that one. If you don’t want people to know then you either need to lie and say that it’s your dad/boyfriend/brother/son/whatever’s name since they set the account up for you, or you need to consider what it’s going to mean for people to know. If you’ve got some in-game relationships going on and they don’t know it then maybe you’ve got an issue on your hands, but if that’s the case then it’s really about time for a little honesty anyway in my opinion. But, that’s my opinion.

If you’re in a position like Chawa there, well it’s another hard answer because it’s going to vary. For the most part, if you’ve been playing with someone for a long time then the name they associate with you is the name they’re going to call you by. I’ve got a buddy who names all his characters Night-something or something-night, but his real name is Chris. I knew his real name long before Real ID came about, but I don’t call him Chris, I call him Night. I’ve got a buddy I went to college with before I even started playing WoW, I don’t call him by his character name of Kaladar, I call him by his real name because that’s who he’s always been to me.

Generally speaking, most people are going to call you by the name they’ve called you by the longest. Not to mention there are a ton of Jason’s in the world and probably on your friend’s list, but you probably don’t have a lot of friends known as Psynister, so it’s easier to call me by the character name anyway for confusion’s sake.

And yes, people can Google a name and find out other information like addresses and phone numbers, but without any other information than your name there’s nothing to link it to you. And in case you aren’t aware, you can have your address and phone removed from phone books and sights that replicate their data.

Problem: Account Security
Account Security is either a big deal or it’s not, depending on how you handle things on your own end. The problem is that your email address is required for Real ID to work, yet your email address is the user name you have to log into WoW with. By default there are only two things you need to get into your account, a user name and a password. By using Real ID you’re giving one of those up so someone only needs your password in order to hack your account.

Solution: The first thing I want to point out is that Blizzard has said in giving us this tool that it’s meant to be used with those people who you know and trust. If you don’t trust someone, then don’t give them your Real ID information. If you hesitate on that point then you need to ask yourself whether or not you feel like you know them well enough to trust them not to hack into your account (or if they’re skilled enough with a computer to do it in the first place).

You should also be taking other steps to ensure your account security in the first place. The best thing you can do for yourself as far as protecting your WoW account goes is to get an Authenticator. You can buy them from Blizzard for about $7 USD, you can get the app for free if you have an iPhone, or you can get the app for a Droid for about $2.50 USD if it’s not already free by now anyway. While not completely flawless in security terms, it’s about as close as you can get.

Whether you have an authenticator or not you should be running virus protection software and doing regular scans on your computer as well. The only way to beat an authenticator is with a virus. The best way to beat that virus is to find it and remove it before it can do you any harm.

Next up is your password. Don’t ever use a simple password like “qwerty”. It might be hard to remember a big password sometimes, but that’s really the point. Don’t just use letters and numbers in it either, use some special characters too. And make sure it’s got some length to it because every individual character in your password makes it multiplicatively harder to figure out with a program. The longer it is, the better it is. And don’t hesitate to change the password every now and then as well.

The big thing here is, if Blizzard didn’t feel that your account was safe enough that you could give out your email address and still be secure, then they wouldn’t have used it as the identifier in the first place.

Problem: No Nicknames
This is the most common suggestion I’ve seen from people to replace the real names on the accounts. A lot of people said they would use Real ID if they could just hide their real names with a nickname or a character name, of if they could use that nickname for their invitations instead of an email address.

The problem behind using nicknames is that there’s no validity in them. Anybody can use any nickname they want to. If you decide to take over the nickname of Psynister before I can, then I’m locked out of the name because you beat me to it, but you could offer to be friends with people using a name that I’m largely known by. You could essentially steal my identity even if your main character in the game is named Psynister and just happens to be on a server that I don’t play on. We both have a claim to that name, but only one of us can have it.

The same is true of character names, even if you string it to a full definition of Name-Server-Faction-Region. It would work and be unique while I had the character, but if I ever delete the toon and someone else makes one with that name then they’ve taken over that identity and there’s nothing I can do about it.

The other suggestion is that we use the login names that we had before we all switched over to battle.net accounts that required email addresses. But that one doesn’t work either because there are players who joined after they stopped using those names and offered only the email login.

Solution: The solution here is the only solution that there can be, which is what Blizzard did. They used a unique identifier that cannot be duplicated in this environment, and that does not compromise your security as a real person. There cannot be two people in the world with the same email address, it is unique. Almost any other form of unique identification has the potential to compromise more than just your WoW account.

As a database administrator I can think of a few other ways they could have potentially identified users uniquely, but not having access to their tables I can only make assumptions. Theoretically, it could be done by another unique value, but then you would be known by that value rather than by your name. I’ll take people calling me Jason Griffith over being called “Player Number 123546815″ any day of the week, thank you. I’m not a flipping serial number.

Problem: Identity Theft
This one ties right back in to the real names issue that we’ve already discussed, so take a look up there for some of the other details. Let me be the first to tell you though, it takes more than just a name to steal someone’s identity. If you give out more information than just your name then you could potentially run the risk of having your identity stolen, but it’s not going to happen from your name alone or even your name and your email address.

If you put into place the other forms of security that I mentioned above (good passwords, virus protection, etc), then you’re already way ahead of game on identity theft. I’m not saying it isn’t possible and that it will never happen, but I am saying your chances of being the victim of IDT from Real ID are slim and that you can take precautions to make them even more so.

Solution: Use strong passwords, use virus protection software, don’t use all of the features of social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc. Just because the site gives you a place to put your city and state doesn’t mean you have to fill them in. If you’re not comfortable with people knowing certain things about you, then don’t put them out on the internet or people can potentially find them if they’re really willing to put in the time and effort required to search for all of that. But remember, a name by itself is nothing more than a name, a couple of words matched together; without any further information there is nothing that ties that name to you as a person.

 
12 Comments

Posted by on June 24, 2010 in Patch Notes, Share Your Opinion

 

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The Real (ID) Story

[Update: Sorry, I completely forgot to add Friend of Friend info in the original post. I have added that information in now, just look for the blue header instead of green.]

Time for the hot topic of the year as far as the WoW blogosphere goes: Real ID. Cataclysm is big, but if you want to talk about heavily debated, then this is where it’s at. A lot of people have concerns about it, a lot of others couldn’t wait to dive right in, and of course there are others couldn’t possibly care less one way or another.

I’m not here to convince you to use it or to not, I’m just here to show you a bit more about how it works just in case you don’t have access to it yet or in case you were a bit curious or skeptical and so didn’t get far enough in to test it out for yourself.

I’ll have some screenshots here showing some of my Real ID friends, but I’m going to hide their last names since I haven’t asked any of them for permission. While I couldn’t possibly care less if people know that my name is Jason Griffith, I realize and respect that fact that there are other people who would rather not have their names out there even if nobody would have a clue who they are.

What Is Real ID
Real ID is a social communication tool built into Blizzard games to expand your ability to chat with your friends online while they are playing Blizzard games that are included in the Real ID system. At this time (June 2010) the only games included in Real ID are World of Warcraft and Starcraft II. Real ID is completely voluntary and optional, and it offers no in-game benefits or rewards, except being able to talk to other players that you previously were not able to talk to.

Real ID allows you to connect with friends who also have battle.net accounts and have Real ID access (see below) regardless of which server they are playing on or which game they are playing.

Communicating with your friends can take place in multiple ways. You can have conversations with individuals which work similar to whispers, you can have an actual whispered conversation with them, you can Broadcast a message that is sent to all of your Real ID friends at once, or you can have a Conversation with multiple friends which is a separate chat window that allows all of the friends you invited to the Conversation in a single window where everyone sees everyone else’s comments in the discussion. More details on some of those down below.

Who Can Use Real ID
Not everyone can use Real ID, at least not right away. As my wife and I found out last night, Real ID is by default disabled for everybody who has ever used the Parental Controls options. Last year we decided that in order to limit our play time we would set up PC’s on each other’s account so that it would kick us off of the game at certain times of the day. Since you often lose track of time it was easier to stick to our guns by forcing ourselves than relying on our clock checking skills.

So, the only people who “can’t” use Real ID are those that do not have them activated in Parental Controls. If you’ve never used PC before, then you don’t have to worry as they’ll be turned on by default. If you have used it before, then they are turned off by default and you’ll have to turn them on yourself.

If you don’t want to participate in Real ID and never want to even see the friend requests, or more importantly you want to remain completely hidden even from those that do have your email address, you can set up your own Parental Controls and simply turn off Real ID. By doing that even if people do have your email address for some reason, if they type it in to send you a request they’ll get a message back that says “Player not found.” and that’s it. If you change your mind later you can always reactivate Real ID at any time by going back to PC and checking the box to allow it.

An easy way to tell whether you have it turned on or off is whether or not the “Pending” tab shows up when you bring up your Friends List screen in the game. If you have a Pending tab then it’s turned on, if you don’t, then it’s turned off. Parental Controls completely removes everything related to Real ID from your interface if the feature is turned off.

Real ID Options
There are some options and customizations that you can do to Real ID once you are in the game. You access those options as you would other Interface options, by pulling up your Options window and clicking the Interface button.



In the pop-up window you need to select the “Battle.net” option which should have a golden exclamation (!) mark next to it indicating that there are new options in that section. Once you have selected Battle.net you will see the following Real ID options:



All of these options, when selected, will trigger a pop-up from the Toast Window (see below) if it is activated. All messages and alerts are sent by a Battle.net Message, as they call it, which is a chat message that shows up in your regular chat windows with a special icon to the left and is by default a light teal/aqua color. (Don’t quote me on the color, to me blue is blue no matter what fancy label you stick on it.)

Online Friends: This option will play a sound every time one of your Real ID friends logs in, and display in your chat window who they are and that they have logged in.

Offline Friends: This option works the same as Online Friends, except that it alerts you when your Real ID friends log off.

Broadcast Updates: Displays any Broadcast messages that your friends send out into your chat log.

Real ID Friend Requests: Alerts you via sound and chat message that a friend has requested to use Real ID with you.

Conversation Notifications: Alerts you when a friend sends a conversation request or message.

Show Toast Window: When selected, any of the above Real ID options will display some of their information in a small pop-up window that appears for a period of time above the top-left corner of your chat window. The duration of the Toast Window is set by the slider bar that is below the Show Toast Window check box. You can mouse-over this window to see information about the alerts that triggered it.

Play around with these options a bit if you’re going to use Real ID and decide which ones you like or dislike. I did a lot of back and forth on all of them after taking that screenshot, but in the end I decided to leave everything on. I might go ahead and drop the Toast Window, but I haven’t decided yet for sure. The more friends I get, the more I consider turning off the Online/Offline options, but I found in testing them that I actually prefer them to be on.

Requesting Real ID Friends
Before you can use Real ID you have to find yourself some friends. In order to get friends, you have to either give them your email address or have them give you their email address. You add Real ID friends the same way you do other friends, but clicking the Add Friend button in your Friends List window, but instead of typing a character name you instead type their email address.



If you type a character name then it will add friends from your local server as it has done previously. If you type in an email address instead, then it will extend the pop-up window allowing you to also include a message that will be sent to that friend.



When sending a request to a person that may or may not know my real name or isn’t expecting me, I make sure I include a message to let them know who I am or how they know me. “Hey Jeff, it’s Jason. You know? Your brother…?”



That notification is then sent to the person and they can accept it, deny it, ignore you, or report you for spamming. They can also choose to select no option for right now and just leave it in their Pending window as shown here:



As you can see, I have the same options for my buddy Jerry’s request in the Pending window, allowing me to accept, reject, ignore, or report for spam. If I choose to reject, ignore, or report Jerry he will not be notified, though I would assume that if I ignore/report him that if he tried again he would be informed that I have him on ignore. I haven’t tested that though, so it’s just a guess.

Friends of Friends
There’s another way to add friends besides having their email address, which is to request to be friends with your friends’ friends. To do this you right-click your Real ID friend in the Friends List and click to view their friends. A list will then pop up showing you the First and Last Name of all of their friends as well as a little note at the end to designate ones that are mutual friends or ones that you have already send a request to that is still pending. Those friends of friends (or FoF’s) will also have their names grayed out to indicate that they’re already your friend or already requested to be one.

The friends you do not have in common will have their names listed in gold, and their names are all that you see. You can select a name and then send the request along with a message telling them who you are, but that’s all you see. You do not see character information or email addresses for FoF’s, only their names.

(screen shot will be added later when I have one)

Real ID Features
Now that we’ve got the options out of the way, lets get down to the good stuff and talk about what you can actually do with this wonderful new feature. We’ve already discussed the fact that it’s a tool for socializing and communicating with your friends, so we’re going to talk about the specific features found in the windows and how to actually use it.

Once you’ve managed to get at least one friend you’ll be able to see how they’re shown in the Friends List. You can see the friend’s real name, which is how you’ll know them now, and you can see when they were last online. You’ll also see their Broadcast message, if they have one and have not deleted it. You can see in this screen shot that my GM, Chris Schwalm (who doesn’t mind his name being known), has set his broadcast to “I am playing wow.”, Jenny has set hers to “Goodnight!”, Kris is “pants optional”, and so on.

You are able to send out your own Broadcast messages from your Friends List window. In my case, I let everyone know I was going to do some low level PvP.



When you mouse-over a Real ID friend you get a little more information as is the case with Sheri’s message. You see the full broadcast (since hers was long), how long ago that broadcast was sent out (8 hours), and how long ago she was last logged in. You may also notice for the following screenshot that my Pending tab is flashing with an amber/yellow color letting me know that I have a request pending.



In the screenshot above here you don’t really catch the status setting because all of my friends were logged out when the shot was taken. However, there are also three status settings that you can choose from that will change the small sphere to the left of each friend a different color based on their status. You can set your own status at the top of your Friends List window to Available, Away, or Busy which are color coded in typical traffic light style:



Psynister’s Thoughts on Real ID
I’m a social guy, so being able to chat with my friends is always a good thing. I have multiple blogs, multiple email accounts, multiple twitter accounts, so on and so on. I like chatting with people and I like doing it in a lot of different ways. I’m not necessarily talkative, I just like being able to hang out and chat whenever I feel like it. Because of that, I knew going into this thing that I was going to give it a shot and that I would most likely enjoy it.

I’ve got a lot of really great friends that play this game, most of which I’ve met on Twitter or in the blogging community. Being able to chat with my buddy on a completely different server that I never get to play with was really cool. I run a dual monitor setup at home so that I can have twitter on the left monitor while I play on the center/front monitor and I can be social in both settings, but not everybody can do that. Having to alt+tab (I’m a PC, can you tell?) to look at twitter every time you get an update gets old fast, so people without multiple monitors aren’t as likely to use social apps like Twitter while they play. And now, they don’t have to.

When I first started setting up friends I was a little bit annoyed by the notifications of people logging in an out. Of all the complaints, that was the only one I had. After turning the notifications off though I actually missed having them there because I no longer knew who was coming and going. So I turned them back on and soon after it just became another part of the game that doesn’t bother now. It was annoying because it was different and it didn’t belong in my game, but it’s all good now.

Being able to chat with friends of the opposite faction was great. Chatting with friends on another server completely out of my battle group and on the opposite faction was even cooler. Better yet, I knew their character’s name, class, level, and location within the game which, while seeming somewhat stalker-like, was really cool.

My guild has both an Alliance and Horde guild on our server and during raid times we always have one person relog to the other faction to call people over for raid time, but with this tool we can just chat away with a Real ID friend on that faction and have them send out the message in guild chat for others that aren’t our RIDF’s.

At this point I can’t say that there’s anything that I don’t like about it. I can say that I am not a fan of the new default chat windows so I’ll be sticking with Chatter for a while yet, but Real ID itself is just full of win. I absolutely love this new feature and fully recommend it to anyone and everyone who plays the game(s).

 
13 Comments

Posted by on June 23, 2010 in Guide, Share Your Opinion

 

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Share Your Opinion: Removing Restrictions

It’s a touchy subject for a lot of people, but it’s one worth talking about. We’re talking about restrictions today, specifically those of which classes are available to which races. Even more specifically, we’re talking about how much I’d love to see those restrictions thrown out the window.

I know some of you will stop reading at that last sentence there, and that’s fine. I’m going to keep going though as I take a look at each race, and discuss the classes that are, and are not, available to them. Some of these combinations do not exist for Lore-based reasons, and while I can respect that as a generalization, I can’t rationalize that for…well, you’ll see.

You’ll see down below that I bring up religion a lot as being the reason for the restriction, and that I feel it’s rather ridiculous. For the sake of clarifying my stance on religion in the real world, I am a dually ordain priesthood holder. I’m not here to attack real world religions nor to infer anything about the two churches that I mention below, I’m simply saying it’s a rather weak argument for a video game as people of real world religions are free to chose to leave that religion at any time for another or none at all.

Brainless Restrictions
Human Hunters: This is the first one that just jumps right out at me and shines as a glaring example of brainlessness. Seriously!? How the crap can you not justify a human being a hunter? Thankfully, this one is getting fixed in Cataclysm, but to be quite honest I have no idea how this one wasn’t taken care of to start with or in Burning Crusade at the very least.

Dwarf Mage: Ok, I don’t get this one. Maybe there’s a small snippet of Lore sneaking in here that say Dwarves have fat fingers so they can’t make the proper hand motions…maybe? Maybe I haven’t been reading my quest text close enough or something, but after having leveled two mages to level 80, I don’t recall ever having to wiggle my fingers a certain way to cast my spells. Thankfully, we’ve got a Cataclysm fix for this one too.

Dwarf Warlock: Just because Tolkien’s dwarves couldn’t handle the Balrog doesn’t mean the WoW dwarves can’t summon an Imp. To my knowledge (limited though it is), there’s no Lore preventing a Dwarf from being a Warlock other than the the religion of their race overall being the worship of the Light. But you can’t tell me that there’s not a single dwarf in the world that wanted to go out and learn the dark arts. No fix for this one in Cataclysm and the only reason I see for it is a limp argument of religion.

Dwarf Shaman: One of the most iconic races of fantasy, closely tied into the element of earth, and they can’t be shamans. Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot, Bliz? They worship the Light, yeah we got that in the Warlock blip up above, but this one makes that argument even more limp. Cataclysm fixes this one for us, which I know thrills a lot of other players that I talk to on Twitter.

Undead Hunters: See Human Hunters as Forsaken were either Human or Blood Elf in origin; one race that should be hunters and one that already is. I suppose I could see why someone wouldn’t want to be a hunter when you just eat whatever you kill, but again I see no reason why this wasn’t already in place. Like the humans though, this one also gets fixed come Cataclysm.

Gnome Priest: As per Lore, Gnomes place faith in themselves, their friends, and their inventions. So per Lore they woudn’t become priests because they don’t have a deity to follow. Yet also in their Lore some of them actually do pay their respects to the Light. If they can pay their respects, then why can’t they become priests? Blizzard saw that logic too it seems, so we get it fixed in Cataclysm, though this is another issue where I feel it should have been open to us already.

Tauren Priest: This one might not be quite so glaringly obvious, but it’s one that bugs me. Saying that this race cannot be a priest because they only follow religions of shamanism or druidism is like saying a white guy has to be either Baptist or Catholic. Racial restrictions are bad enough, but did you seriously need to add a religious restriction as well? Again, this one gets fixed with Cataclysm. Thank the Light! You’re telling me that simply because “everyone else” worships one or the other deities that you can’t branch out and do your own thing? Please.

Troll Warlock: We fight a Shadowbolt-flinging troll in our starting area for crying out loud. We fight them throughout the whole stinking game for that matter. Where the crap did this one come from, and why wasn’t it fixed the day after Vanilla was released? The only reason this one isn’t even more brainless than the human hunter is because human hunters exist in the real world.

Weak Lore-based Restrictions
All Shamans and Paladins: Here we have a “simple” matter of religion. Yeah, I know as far as Lore is concerned these are “secrets” or some such, but still. I don’t think “it’s a secret” is a firm enough argument to keep it restricted. What does keeping that secret really have to do with the overall story of Warcraft? Does the Lich King care if humans can be shamans or not? Does Deathwing care whether the paladins he faces are gnomes or trolls? Did Ragnaros care? Not that I’m aware of, no. There’s one exception I found for the Paladin which I’ll cover in the next section, but that’s it.

Night Elf Mage: This restriction does have some basis in Lore, so I can understand to a certain extent. I’m not a huge Lore fan, so I’ll let my buddy Tharion Greyseer give you the Lore details in his post: Lore Has Been Sundered: Part I from September of 2009 shortly after the year’s BlizzCon event. So the Night Elves shunned arcane magics for damage it caused thousands of years ago, I’ll give you that. And there’s no chance that a Night Elf would ever feel the least bit curious/rebellious and go study it anyway? I didn’t think so, so grats to Bliz for fixing this one come Cataclysm.

Night Elf Warlock: Once again we come back to religious restrictions. Why can’t we be Warlocks? Because we worship the Ancients such as Elune and Malorne; though some also worship dragons. So, tell me again why we can’t be Warlocks? Oh, because it seems too mean for our race? Ok, umm…sure. No fix for this one has been mentioned yet.

Draenei Rogues and Warlocks: More religion, anybody? These are probably the most ridiculous of them all. We can’t be evil, because our race is good… Uh, no. Alright, so we praise the Light and love our little floating symbols, that’s fine. You’re telling me I can’t get pissed off at crashing onto this horrible, plague-infested planet and change my mind? If I can decide to worship elements rather than the Light, but by Fel I can decide to summon a freaking Doomguard, and if I’m starving and broke you can bet I don’t mind lifting a few coins from someone’s belt pouch.

Orc Priests and Paladins: Another religious restriction, who’d have guessed? I don’t buy into any of these in case you haven’t noticed. Forcing races into or out of certain classes based purely on generalized religion doesn’t work. I call Bravo-Sierra on that one, Bliz. Maybe Lore tells us that the Orcs are still tied to closely to the Fel energies from their Outlands origins or something, but if baby Orcs can be born, then they can be brought up to worship the Light, and if the Light is anywhere near as “good” as it’s supposed to be then it would accept them.

Tauren Rogues, Mages, Warlocks: Alright, so cows are the most dexterous race in the world; I’ll give you that. But I’d fear a Taruen Assassin over a Gnome Assassin any day of the week. Besides, Byron breaks all of those rules and does a great job of it. Mages and Warlocks – do we go back to the whole “my fingers are too fat” thing here, or are we still stuck on the whole religion thing?

Strong Lore-based Restrictions
Worgen Shaman and Paladin: I’m going to back off on these and simply accept them for one reason. If we assume that these people have been locked away in their little town for a long time, then I’d say its acceptable to assume that they’ve simply had no one around to teach them how to be either of these classes. For that reason alone, I’ll not argue against these two. However, if we assume that there will be another expansion after Cataclysm, then I fully reject these restrictions.

Undead Paladin: This is the one exception where Lore has is strong defense against allowing the combination. When the scourge plague hit it was only the Paladins that were able to withstand and resist it. That plague is what created the Forsaken “race”, and as such it’s fair to assume that no paladins became undead.

But if you take that just one step further, are you telling me that they couldn’t simply choose to become a Paladin? What if I hadn’t chosen a “class” to become yet? Heck, I was still in my high school years trying to figure out which college classes to take when the plague hit me. Now that I’m a couple years older, I think I’d like to become a paladin. You’re not going to discriminate against be just because of my race now, are you? If you check some of Greyseer’s other articles you’ll see he’s found in-game Lore justifications for Undead Paladins as well.

Druids In General: While it’s not especially Lore based, though at the same time it is, you’ll see that the races who can become druids have a natural closeness to Nature. Perhaps the Worgen not so much due to the nature (pun) of their’s, but they are all much more closely tied to nature than races such as Gnomes and Undead. I can see why Blizzard would not want to allow races turn into animals that aren’t at all tied into nature, but at the same time I don’t see why one of those races couldn’t go out and strive to strengthen that bond.

Wrap It Up
So what I’m trying to say here is, I would love to see Blizzard drop all of this silly racial restriction crap on the classes. I see their reasons why and I’ve told you how I feel about them here. For the most part I don’t think there’s a strong enough reason to keep the majority of the restrictions that exist.

Having played every edition of Dungeons and Dragons that has been released to date, I can tell you from my experience there that in the early days the racial restriction (after races and classes weren’t the same thing, at least) were kind of cool because of how that defined the world and the setting. But eventually it just became an annoying hassle that needed to be done away with, and eventually they were discarded.

You do lose a certain amount of uniqueness when you open things up and remove restrictions, but at the same time you add more uniqueness as well. If someone tells you they’re a druid then you only have to ask which faction they are no know right away which race they are. They’re made rather bland because of their uniqueness.

When Cataclysm comes out we’re going to see a flood of Worgen Druids. “Everyone” wants a worgen druid; heck even I did at first. They already are not unique because there’s finally a second option for the class. More variety lends itself to more uniqueness.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. Anyone else care to share theirs?

 
23 Comments

Posted by on June 3, 2010 in Class, Races, Share Your Opinion

 
 
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