LevelCap, owner of a very successful YouTube channel made up almost exclusively of Battlefield 3 videos, has written a sizable open letter to DICE requesting a privacy option be added to the game, following a state of affairs where he can barely join a game without being hounded by stalkers who just want to grief him all day.
What’s interesting about this is that it’s not so much about his personal problems with the service, as valid and frustrating as those are. It’s that this highlights a problem in the way Battlelog works, and how absurdly easy it is to stalk a player and ruin their day. If you can find a single instance of them in the system, or even find one of their friends, you can track them down and join whatever server they join. Then it’s just a matter of finding them in the map and you can properly ruin their day with all sorts of griefing techniques.
The worst of it is that there’s even a few websites designed specifically for providing players with all the legwork needed to track someone down. DICE have even incentivised the stalking of their own employees by giving them unique dogtags you can steal by performing a knife kill on them. Look at BF3Stalker.com and the front page is filled with those who have popular YouTube accounts, and those who are employed by DICE.
Of course there are ways around this. Changing your name might work for a little bit. Buying a new account completely could circumvent repeated harassment, but the point is that you shouldn’t have to. It’s sloppy developing of a social network on DICE’s part, and there’s a reason that Facebook, that bastion of shoddy security and constantly changing privacy settings, still makes it fairly easy to lock down your account so that random strangers can’t eyeball your beerbelly from that one time you risked taking a t-shirt off in Mauritius.
On the Reddit thread where the request was posted, there has been a response from DICE, but it was only a Community Manager saying that it had been passed on up the chain of command. Hopefully this will accomplish something, as it’s not just a problem for the ‘internet famous’, with hackers and griefers just randomly picking someone in their games and deciding to hound them until they stop playing. With properly implemented privacy features, people could just leave the server and then they’d be safe.
Not so much right now, and that’s detrimental to the entire BF3 community.