Everyone seems to have something to say about Blizzard’s new Real ID feature, so I suppose I’ll throw in my two coppers as well.

I’ve seen a variety of reactions to the Real ID feature. I’ve seen people state they were actually going to quit the game over the release of Real ID, which is a voluntary system. On the other side of things, I’ve seen a number of people openly giving out their email in guild chat to anyone who wants to be Real ID friends. I’m not in some cozy little guild either – I’m seeing this in one of the largest guilds in Warcraft, with more than 3000 members.

Me, I’m somewhere in between.

What I like: I love that I can see when my friends are on, no matter what toon I’m playing at the time. Even if I wander off to some other server to play a long-forgotten alt, if my friends come on, we can still chat or make game plans together. I like that I don’t have to try to keep track of all their alts anymore. Some of them have quite a few, let me tell you! Since I’m eagerly awaiting the release date for Starcraft II, it’s also nice to know we can reach each other cross-game.

What I don’t like: I can’t hide out on secret private toons that no one knows about. My bank alt’s name is no longer private. In reality, I never hide out like that anymore, and I’ve started to share my bank alt’s name with my friends so we don’t undercut each other too much at the Auction House. Still, I always knew I could have a private alt if I wanted to. I could change my bank alt if I needed to.

I really don’t like the Friend-of-a-Friend feature, and I know I’m not alone. Yes, I know this is the same thing as it is on Facebook. But on Facebook I don’t use my real legal name. Real ID gives your actual legal name to people you don’t even know. I’ll admit, my concern about this is general and vague. But I still don’t particularly like it.

Am I using Real ID? Yes, with a few select people. These are people I play with regularly; I’ve already given them my cell phone number and personal email, so I have no problem with being Real ID friends with them. I trust they are selective enough about who they have as Real ID friends that it quells my admittedly non-specific fears about the Friend-of-a-Friend feature.

I would like to see Blizz offer us privacy settings for the Friend of a Friend feature, as well as the choice to use a username instead of our actual Battle.net account email and our legal name. I plan to use Real ID sparingly, and I’m enjoying it so far, but I hope Blizzard will do some fine tuning on the privacy issues.

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This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by Spinks of Spinksville: Cataclysm is coming! The old world is going to be destroyed and remade.

Which town, quest, NPC, or zone really needs to be purged with fire, in your opinion? Will you enjoy dancing on the ashes of a particularly hated quest giver? Or is there some zone you avoid like the plague (Plaguelands excluded) where being nuked from orbit could only improve the experience? And why do you hate it/them so much?

What needs to die in a fire in Cataclysm? I’m not generally very big on complaining about the game. This is Blizzard’s world, and I usually think they are trying to do their best by its denizens. Will of the Forsaken nerf? It was overpowered! Change to the talent tree? Blizz is just trying to keep the playing field even. That said, I’m not a total fangirl. There are a few things that can go right ahead and die in Deathwing’s fire.

The shaman water totem quest: I suppose this quest could be viewed as a rite of passage. Want to be a shaman? You must suffer, grasshopper! Running all over the Barrens, Tarren Mill, Ashenvale and Silverpine–at level 20? And I had a mount when I did it! I shudder to think about doing it back when we didn’t get our mounts until 40. The consolation doesn’t come until you do your Air Totem quest, when you go to the questgiver and he just hands it to you. After all, you’ve been through enough.

Malygos: Can you hear the tears I cry when you are the weekly raid quest, Malygos? I hate you so much that I would actually skip the weekly if I didn’t have raiders who wanted the frost badges. For them, I go. I hate your 3-D space that I find so challenging to navigate. I hate the vehicle mechanic introduced in the third phase, so that if the raid doesn’t understand it and wipes, they have to start the whole damn thing over again. I hate the fact that we get a weekly raid quest that there’s a key for, so if no one present has the key, we have to do a separate boss in a separate instance to get the key. I know, we can port right to Sapphiron now. And I know, the fight’s not that hard anymore. I just think it’s unnecessary.

Azshara: Surely I am not alone in this. I avoid this zone at all costs. It’s too bad, because Azshara could be cool. The scenery is lovely. I like the hippogryphs and the dragonkin and hey — who doesn’t love to kill some naga? What I hate about this zone is how difficult it is to navigate. There’s no road system whatsoever. There are mountains blocking you at every turn. You fall off a cliff and never find your way back up.  There’s no inn; just some NPCs hanging out at a hardscrabble little camp without even a proper tent. I’m normally quite an environmentalist, but jeez! Let the goblins have at it with this place!

The idiot selling flasks in the auction house at a loss: I actually have no problem with healthy competition. If you’ve undercut me by 5g, well… fair play. But seriously, I was making a decent profit on flasks – nothing exorbitant, just a healthy little return on my investment. Then you come along and start selling below cost. Obviously Blizzard can’t do anything about this, but dude! You’re killing me! Knock it off, will you?

A real preview of a Disc Talent Tree this time

Not too long ago, I had some fun fooling around with leaked Cataclysm priest talents. But do you know what’s even more fun? Playing around with talents that Blizzard has actually released!

Actually, there seems to be a number of new damage buffs in both the Disc and Holy trees, which is interesting. Let’s go over my first swing at a Discipline build, shall we?

Tier 1 doesn’t look so different, and I keep what I currently have here: 5 points in Twin Disciplines.

In Tier 2, we have newcomer Penitence, which gives an increased crit chance for Smite and Penance.  I’m not too interested in Martyrdom or Focused Power (which decreases cast time on Mind Control and Mass Dispel), and after taking 3 points in Improved Inner Fire, I still need two points to get me to the next tier, so Penitence it is. I don’t much care about the improved crit on Smite, but who doesn’t like to see Penance crit?

Tier 3, now with more Smite in the form of Atonement: when you deal Smite damage, you get an instant heal on a nearby friendly, low health target. Three points in Improved Power Word: Shield and a point in Inner Focus leave me a point shy of the next tier, so Atonement it is. It’s beginning to look like Blizz wants me to do some damage.

Tier 4 has Improved Mana Burn, which I’m not interested in, and Mental Agility, which I am. That leaves Evangelism, which gives you a buff to Smite, Holy Nova, Holy Fire, and Penance when you cast… guess what? SMITE! Anyone else seeing a theme here? I take three points in Mental Agility, and then another two in Evangelism to get to the next tier.

Tier 5 brings us the much-awaited Power Word: Barrier, Enlightenment, and Archangel, which consumes Evangelism to restore mana and let you cast Penance on the fly. YES!

In Tier 6, Soul Warding is now three points, as alluded to in the leak. I take all three, naturally, but this leaves me two points shy of the next tier. I look back to see if there’s some Smite-related talent I’m supposed to take, and sure enough, I haven’t maxed out Atonement or Penitence. I take one more point in each.

Nothing new to see here in Tier 7: Divine Aegis, Power Infusion, and Improved Flash Heal. Same story in Tier 8: Renewed Hope, Aspiration, and Rapture.

For Tier 8, I take Pain Suppression and Grace, which now just two points. Five points in Borrowed Time in Tier 9 and a point in Penance for Tier 10 rounds out the Disc tree for this build.

Over in the Holy tree, I’ll start with five points in Divine Fury for reduced time on Greater Heal, which I seldom use; Heal, which is allegedly our new go-to heal; and Smite, which Blizzard clearly intends for me to use. As noted previously, Holy Specialization is gone.

In Tier 2, of course I’ll take Empowered Healing to buff Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, and the new go-to, Heal. The new talent in this tier is Divine Accuracy, which improves the chance to hit on Smite, Penance, Holy Fire, and Holy Nova. Accuracy might be nice if you’re going to also solo your dailies in this build, and may be a nice boost for all the Smite talents introduced in the Disc tree. But I’ll skip it for now, as well as Spell Warding.

I will, however, take everything in Tier 3: Desperate Prayer, Improved Renew, and Inspiration.

Tier 4 offers Improved Healing, Healing Prayers and Blessed Recovery. I’ll skip Blessed Recovery, since it requires at least one point in Spell Warding, which I didn’t take. It’s for PvP anyway, so I don’t want it. I’ll max out Improved Healing — moar buffs! — and take two points in Healing Prayers to reduce the cost of Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing.

Tier 5 gives me a couple of options I could take instead of Healing Prayers. I could take Holy Reach here to increase the range of my Holy Nova, Divine Hymn, and Prayer of Healing. But despite my recent threats to heal exclusively with Holy Nova, these really aren’t spells I use that much. Deliverance (the spell formerly known as Serendipity) could come in handy, and I could put points here to speed up Greater Heal enough to make it really useful. A Greater Heal cast with Deliverance and a Borrowed Time buff? That could be one big, fast heal!

My final point in this build will also be in Tier 5: Spirit of Redemption. I’m super excited to get this talent for Disc. First of all, spirit is actually going to be useful for Discipline priests come Cataclysm, so the buff will be great. Plus we’re losing the Divine Spirit buff, so maybe this will help out. Of course, what I’m most excited about is getting to turn into a Giant Angel of Free Haelz, valiantly saving the raid before finally accepting my battle rez. Not that I ever die in raid. I don’t care what the druids on my team told you!

Stay tuned for my try at a Holy build. I hear we’re going to have to take Lightwell.

It’s clear that Blizzard loves me because the four talent previews they released today happen to be the only four classes I really care about: priest, shaman, druid, and even one for my poor abandoned rogue! Sweet!

A more detailed post about the Priest talent trees will be forthcoming, but I was just so darned excited about this news, I had to post a little something. Seriously, I cannot wait to play with these.

Play with the talent trees at Wowhead, or head to WoW.com for a talent rundown.