The Real ID debacle certainly made clear that privacy is a hot topic among World of Warcraft players. The kind of anonymity I’m talking about is different. When I first started playing I realized I was grouping and spending time enjoying (or not) people’s company without knowing whether they were male, female, old, young, brown, white, rich, poor, I could go on but you get my drift. If you played long enough with someone you might get an idea of who they were in rl depending on how chatty they were. Apparently my female adultness doesn’t come through in chat as I can’t count the times I’ve been called dude.
I’m happy to keep it that way. I had a wow friend I met when he saved my shaman from certain death in the Wetlands. Every time I logged on if he was on I’d get a cheerful greeting and an offer of help if I needed anything. I remember sending him a Chocolate Celebration Cake when he dinged 80 and he commented, “Dude, are you a girl?” I guess you dudes don’t send gifts? Anyway, I said yup, I’m a dudess and apparently that was cool with him. But one day he was bemoaning the fact that he felt old now, he’d just turned 18. I assured him he had a long way to go before considering himself old, I said geez, I’m married and I don’t feel old yet. There was silence in the chat panel … finally he typed “You mean you could be like forty or something?” I said lol, yes, I could. That was the end of a great wow friendship. After that, no more whispers, no more offers of help. I guess being female was okay but possibly being 40, that’s just over the top.