Battle.net is a free online service by Blizzard Entertainment, which allows players to chat and play against other people online. The second version of Battle.net was released in July 2010, alongside the release of Starcraft 2. The popularity of Battle.net is nothing short of spectacular. When it first launched in 1997, there were millions of games being played using the service. Many of these games, particularly Starcraft and Warcraft III are still being played today, even after over 10 years since release. Starcraft is the most popular Battle.net game to date.
Battle.net 2.0 was announced during the Leipzig Gaming Convention in 2008, and was released publicly in July 2010, alongside the release of Starcraft 2.
The features added or improved include:
- Automatic/Anonymous Matchmaking Support
- Excellent Ping Support
- Avatar/Icons to represent yourself
- In-Game Voice Chat
- Hack-Free Security
- Automated Tournaments
- Friends/Ignore Lists
- Cross-Game Text and Voice chat with Real ID
- Facebook integration
The features promised but not yet implemented are:
- Clan Support
- eSport Support
- Chat Channels
- Map Marketplace
Battle.net 2.0 has an increased emphasis on community interaction, in the same way as services such as Steam or Xbox Live although as of now the only way to chat with other players is through alternative means of communication such as the official or fansite forums if you do not have that player on your friend's list.
Currently within Battle.net 2.0, Facebook is only used as a search tool to add friends from your Facebook profile to your Battle.net friends list if their Facebook email is the same as their Battle.net email.
Battle.net 2.0 Supporting Older Games
This question was brought up during an interview with Greg Canessa, the head of the Battle.net team during Blizzcon 2009, his reply was that "It could be potentially, and there is a big list of stuff we need to do. Obviously our number one goal is to get Starcraft 2 to a level of the Battle.Net experience to a world class level of service and support for Starcraft 2. That is the number one goal...
Maybe you could do something with the social stuff. You know, it is on the list. We just don't know exactly where it is on the list."
Plans to Monetize Battle.net 2.0
During Blizzcon 2008's Diablo III gameplay panel, Jay Wilson was asked the question of whether or not Battle.net 2.0 would stay free like its predecessor, his response was "We are looking to monetize Battle.Net so that we get to keep making these games and updating features, we kind of have to" as reported by Joystiq.
Bobby Kotick, Activision's CEO and president of Activision Blizzard, was dreaming aloud about what he could do with Blizzard's assets such as Starcraft II and Battle.net, mentioning his company's plans to maximize profit; "...On the Blizzard side, [we need to] really be figuring out things like the StarCraft business model for the future, with in-game advertising and sponsorship, [which have] really not been something that has moved the dial for anybody in the videogame industry, but that we think presents tremendous opportunity for the future," said Kotick, according to Next-Gen. Although following this, Blizzard clarified that, as expected, only the Battle.net component of StarCraft II will contain advertising.
"Battle.net's Real ID system is a new, optional layer of identity beyond the standard in-game character level of identity that keeps players connected to each other across multiple Blizzard Entertainment games. When players mutually agree to become Real ID friends, they'll have access to a wealth of additional features designed to enhance their social gaming experience."
As stated by Blizzard, Real ID is an additional way to identify friends within Blizzard's games: their real names appear on your friends list in either World of Warcraft or Starcraft II and gives some minor details as to what server and character they're on in World of Warcraft or what game type they're competing in, in Starcraft II.
Real ID's use on Blizzard's forums controversy
Blizzard had announced that Real ID would be used in the upcoming update of the Battle.net forums (displaying the user's full name in their posts) but was hit with such a backlash against the idea that they took a U-turn and decided not to implement it after all.
Their initial plans for this, stated by community manager Nethaera, was that “Removing the veil of anonymity typical to online dialogue will contribute to a more positive forum environment, promote constructive conversations, and connect the Blizzard community in ways they haven’t been connected before.”
Bashiok, the Diablo 3 community manager, bore the full brunt of this backlash as disgruntled forum goers, eager to demonstrate to Blizzard what a lack of anonymity would do, posted every bit of personal information they could about him; with just his name they were able to find and abuse his Facebook page alongside finding where he lives and how he lived (with his mother apparently).
The interface of many of the Battle.net games go by starting you off in a chat room. you're able to communicate in this chat room with other people asking to play games or talk about other things. You're also able to make your own chat rooms which will let you talk with certain people. There's private chat sending where you can send messages to certain people in private.
You can select which game you want to play in or you can create your own game. There is a password system which lets you make a password for a game so you'll only play with people who have that password. For some games, you'll end up in a chat room which let's you chat with your fellow players before playing a game until the host starts it.
During gameplay, you're able to send messages via text to your teammates or all players. This is a key feature which lets you strategize your game in secrecy.
There was no voice chat in the original Battle.net service.
In 1997, Battle.net officially launched for use in Diablo (which was released in 1996). In this early stage, Battle.net was mostly just a P2P matchmaking system and had many issues, including a lack of saving features and, due to the lack of a server system in the game, allowed cheaters and pirates to play. This lead to Blizzard taking action by adding anti-cheat software and CD keys to their future games.
In 1998, Starcraft was released and used the Battle.net service. To prevent the servers turning into the disaster that was Diablo, Blizzard added a CD key check, which has been required for all Blizzard PC games since. Now only people who had used their unique 13-digit CD Key were allowed to play on Battle.net.
Starcraft was a huge success, and (with its expansion pack Brood War) is one of the most successful online games to date. This game gained a huge cult following from RTS players, particularly gamers from South Korea, where the game is actually its national sport. Millions of players are still playing today and have been going strong for the past 10 years.
A remake of Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness (originally released in 1995), dubbed the ' Battle.net Edition' was released in 1999 with Battle.net support.
Diablo II was released in 2000 with Battle.net built right in it. It was the first Battle.net game to run entirely off of Blizzard's servers. With this, players were finally able to store their characters on the servers, keeping all of their stats saved online, in a similar fashion to Valves Steam Cloud. There is even a point where if you die when you have high stats, your character will be deleted.
This gave Blizzard much more control of their game, particularly the multiplayer aspects. Since they were all running off the same servers, Blizzard was able to ban cheaters and people who had pirated the game.
In 2002, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was released, and added tons of new features to Battle.net, like the Anonymous Matchmaking service, which matches players with other players of their skill level,
Arrange teams, which enables the computer set up teams, tournaments, win counts, friend lists and clan support.
The expansion pack, The Frozen Throne, was released in 2003.
In 2009, Blizzard merged all World of Warcraft account with Battle.net accounts.
Starcraft II launched alongside the latest iteration of the service, Battle.net 2.0, and makes use of the new features, such as cross game text and voice chat, and advanced matchmaking.
World of Warcraft merge
In 2009 Blizzard merged World of Warcraft with Battle.net. All users were required to tie their World of Warcraft accounts to their Battle.net account.
Major Account Deletions
In November 2008, Blizzard deleted over 300,000 Battle.net accounts due to them being suspected of using cheating software.
List of games which use Battle.net