I mentioned from the beginning, on a quiet post on my old blog (Warning: language) that while I thought the feature was interesting enough, it wasn't interesting enough for me to use it. So where do I stand, two years later? I have exactly five people on my Real ID, and they're all coworkers with one exception, a friend I wanted to help out on a cross-server raid. I still don't care for Real ID, but it does come in handy every now and again. I'm still not going to use it widely.
So two years after all the roaring, screeching, and general madness ... how did Real ID go over? Was it a success?
Kurn pointed out that nearly every person she added to Real ID had a way to contact her before Real ID even existed. And she also talked about how she spent time thinking about whether or not the feature would make her gaming experience richer or poorer. That's what really grabbed me -- what, exactly, does Real ID do for people? What purpose does it serve? Can we consider the feature a rousing success?
For my guild, I'd call it a success for the most part. Most of my guildmates have shared their Real ID on the forums, as a just-in-case point of contact. My guild leader though, is the one who seems to have made tremendous use of the feature. Because our server is so sparsely populated, we often look off-server for new recruits, and we have a lot of people apply to our guild from other servers. Before Real ID, that meant that potential applicants had to roll an alt on our server just to talk to an officer. Now, my guild leader uses Real ID to easily get a hold of applicants, so the applicants can avoid the hassle of rolling an alt and trying to hop on when the officers are on. It's worked, and it's worked fantastically.
For myself however ... well. I have a handful of people on my Real ID, mostly coworkers that were added for varying reasons. I'm a fairly private person, and frankly, if I'm online raiding or farming, I don't really want to be interrupted with tells every two minutes unless it's something important. I also AFK fairly frequently when I'm just farming, because I'm usually farming while I'm doing something like laundry or baking that pulls me away every now and again. Real ID has absolutely no purpose to me beyond the very, very rare moments that I chat with a coworker or friend.
Sometimes, I don't want to talk to friends. Sometimes, I want to chill on an alt in the middle of nowhere and quietly think about stories I'm working on and to-do lists of remodeling projects and internet dragons. With Real ID as it stands, I cannot do so unless I disable the feature. And if I disable the feature and re-enable it, I have to go through the hassle of re-adding all of my friends again. Where, exactly, is the sense in that?
All in all, I guess the only conclusion that I can come to is that Real ID is exactly as useful as one lets it be. It's how one utilizes it that determines the importance. For things like cross-realm raiding or recruiting, it's incredibly useful. For things like puttering away quietly on an alt ... not so much. I would like to know, though, if those of you out there reading use Real ID. Who's on your list? Do you hand out your Real ID to anyone, or certain friends or family? Has it been a useful tool for you, or just something you ignore entirely?