Battlenet FAQs from Blizzcon 2009

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What is the new Battle.net?

We are building the new Battle.net to be the premier online gaming destination. The new Battle.net experience is a full-featured online game service designed specifically around Blizzard Entertainment titles, and will include a complete set of around-the-game features including a state-of-the-art matchmaking system, achievement system, social networking features, structured competitive play options, a marketplace, and much more. Our vision is to create an environment where gamers can compete online, develop an online persona, and stay connected to friends and the rest of the community while enjoying our games. In doing this, the new Battle.net will deliver the ultimate social and competitive experience for Blizzard Entertainment gamers everywhere.

What is the history of Battle.net?
Battle.net was the world’s first fully integrated matchmaking service, which we launched in 1996 with the release of Diablo. Battle.net evolved over the years to fully incorporate online gameplay for StarCraft, Diablo II, a re-release of Warcraft II, and Warcraft III. The Battle.net system has been in its current form, without major changes, since 2003.

How much will Battle.net cost?
The new Battle.net will be offered free of charge for players who purchase and register the full version of StarCraft II.

What will be available to players in the StarCraft II Marketplace?
After the launch of StarCraft II, we aim to add the StarCraft II Marketplace to Battle.net, which will create a vibrant ecosystem of user-generated content, including multiplayer maps, single-player scenarios, challenges, themes, and more.

How will Battle.net affect my multiplayer StarCraft II experience?
We’ll be implementing a new auto-matchmaking system, with advanced skill tracking to allow players to be matched with other players of similar skill level. This will help players consistently face evenly matched competition. We’ll also be implementing various leagues and ladder systems to allow a more competitive StarCraft II landscape.

What is the Real ID feature?
Real ID is at the forefront of online gaming as it will allow you to easily connect, communicate, and play with real-life friends. Connect with old friends and current guildies, and make new friends with the integrated Battle.net social networking tools. Beyond simply seeing your friend’s character names (e.g. “Gorlac” in World of Warcraft or “Snip3r” in StarCraft II), and having to remember which character name goes with which friend, you will be able to see your Real ID friend and chat with him or her across Blizzard games. What’s more, Real ID is totally optional — the options are there for you to build your Blizzard Entertainment social network however you see fit.

What are some of the communication tools available in the new Battle.net?
Our vision is for the new Battle.net to become the ultimate Blizzard Entertainment social network, in addition to its matchmaking foundation. Simply logging in to Battle.net will make it easy to find and chat with your friends across World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, and future Blizzard Entertainment titles, including Diablo III. Keep track of all your buddies in your friends list, view their online status and presence information, voice chat, send out party invites, and broadcast messages to your friends. Detailed character profiles let players keep up to date on friends’ progress and achievements.


What kind of Battle.net features will be available to allow player-made customizations?
Over the years, we’ve learned how incredibly creative the Blizzard Entertainment community is, and that they excel at creating new ways to play our games (such as DotA). This has served as the inspiration for us to create a rich set of content authoring and publishing tools in Battle.net for gamers to create the next big game type in StarCraft II.

When will I be able to start utilizing map maker tools? How will Battle.net interact with custom maps?
The StarCraft II Galaxy Map Editor will be available to players during the StarCraft II beta. Players will be able to play these maps on the new Battle.net.

Will classic Blizzard Entertainment games be supported on the new Battle.net?
We do eventually plan to update all classic Battle.net games to take advantage of the new Battle.net accounts and server infrastructure. Beyond this, we do not have anything to announce today regarding legacy Blizzard Entertainment titles and the new Battle.net experience.

Will parental controls be improved on Battle.net?
We will be revamping the parental controls and time management features for the release of Battle.net. The parental controls will allow parents to regulate how and with whom their children communicate, and they will provide parents with a multitude of other tools to promote responsible gaming for their children.

Will a forced migration to Battle.net occur for World of Warcraft players?
Yes, sometime in the near future, it will be necessary for all World of Warcraft subscribers to transition their accounts to the new Battle.net system. Those players who have already converted to the new system will be able to take part in the new Battle.net features soon.

What will change in World of Warcraft after the forced migration?
The core gameplay experience will remain unchanged as a result of the migration. However, you’ll be able to take part in all of the new Battle.net features, such as cross-realm, cross-faction, and cross-game chat.

What features will be available for Diablo III on the new Battle.net?
We don’t have any specific features to announce at this time, but we will be building directly from the new Battle.net platform delivered with StarCraft II, while tailoring features and options to specifically suit the Diablo III game and community.

You can read more by Gareth at Skewed and Reviewed.

Gareth Von Kallenbach is a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. His work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of entertainment site "Skewed and Reviewed".