Battle.net 2.0 Threatens the Success of Diablo 3 – [Opinion]


Better?

Let me preface this by saying that the people who read my articles can attest that I’m quite positive when it comes to talking about Blizzard and their design choices. They are my favorite game developers by far, and I am a big fan of all of their games. This is not an Anti-Blizzard rant, or anything close to that. And also please note that this article is an opinion feature-article, and these are my personal opinions.

There is a fundamental problem with Battle.net 2.0, and it has existed since SC2. In fact, I am 100% convinced it played a huge part in SC2’s lack of longevity and lack of success amongst the community.

The lack of presence and “Ghost-town Effect” of DiabloWikiBattle.net.

Like many others, my history with Blizzard games is very long, detailed and grateful. Grateful that Blizzard existed because their games have been the only ones that have been ridiculously fun, long-lasting and satisfying. I started with SC1. Than I played D2 for many years. I even played WC3 for a few years, and of course, WoW for many years.

Starcraft 2 was the first Blizzard game that I only played for 1 month. Not because it was too competitive, too difficult or not fun, but because the game had something missing in it. I would find myself only logging on to play a game or two, than logging off. A far cry from previous Blizzard games, where I would log on, chat to people, mess around, talk strategy, experiment, play games with friends and in the mix of that, play the game. Eventually, Starcraft 2 felt like every other non-Blizzard game – dead, finished and pointless to play.

Battle.net 2.0 turned SC2 in to a ghost town, and ruined one of the most social RTS games in history. As I write this article, on a Saturday afternoon, there are just 13,000 SC2 games being played right now, Worldwide. At this same time, there are 51,000 games being played in Diablo 2, an 11 year old game. SC2 has no community that compares to what have seen in past Blizzard games, (except for the e-sports community). Why? Because Battle.net 2.0 doesn’t have any kind of social features, and is built from the ground up to prevent communities from ever forming.

Before Battle.net 2.0, I didn’t log in just to play the game and log back off. I logged in because it was a part of my every-day entertainment schedule. It was what I did instead of watch TV or play other games. And it was the most satisfying piece of entertainment for me for the last decade. Battle.net 2.0 took away every single part of the Blizzard community, and became a means to an end for them, rather than an epic gaming platform that brought players together and was a social metropolis of entertainment, community and excellent games.

Click more for the rest of this article.

Blizzard have done something to Battle.net. Whether intentional design choice or just plain bad work and negligent design, Blizzard has turned Battle.net and its related games to ghost towns, where players come in, play for a bit, and jump back out. No longer is Battle.net the place you hang in, socialize in, idle in and keep open on your computer throughout the entire day, but rather an invisible platform that pushes you in to a quick game. Where your identity is invisible, and you don’t see anyone else. Where the community is non-existent, and your character doesn’t even have a presence save for a 4 player game.

Without avatars and proper chat channels, Diablo 3 will be a ghost town. It will feel like a dead game with no heart, no memories and no community. No presence, no individuality, no “hey check out my new Sword that I just found”, no random private messages from some guy who wants to ask you about your build, or your gear. No sense of achievement, no bragging rights, no talking to a bunch of strangers about Demon Hunter strategies. (A visual survey of the chat channels from all Blizzard titles.)

The people who know me and read my posts, articles etc know that overall, I’m very Blizzard-friendly. I agree with a lot of their controversial design decisions, and defend them quite commonly when the community makes negative statements about them that I don’t agree with.

And here I am. Telling you and any one from Blizzard that may be reading, that I 100% disagree with the design direction for the social aspects of Battle.net 2.0, and strongly feel that this game’s longevity and the enjoyment it provides is going to be significantly and negatively impacted by the decisions to not have proper chat channels, not have a real sense of presence in Battle.net (In Diablo 3’s case, avatars within these chat channels) and not have a more vibrant social feature set within Battle.net.

I am also not alone in this opinion. Take the time to read this excellent article on teamliquid. Also note that a recent poll suggested that the vast majority of players want proper chat channels and would feel like not having them would be detrimental to the game for them.

While it is completely unrealistic to expect any changes before the launch of Diablo 3, I, and hopefully many people in the community would like to appeal to Blizzard to please improve Battle.net 2.0’s chat channels, and avatars to a level that even Diablo 2 had, and to not repeat the same mistakes of Starcraft 2.

Finally, I would just like to say that the good news is that most of this can be corrected and achieved by making but a few simple, and easy modifications to the current Battle.net Diablo 3 system:

  1. Larger chat window that can be centered in the main screen or moved. Make “Show players” always on, rather than an option.
  2. Visual Avatars representing players in the channel. Preferably smallish actual models of their selected character. Similar to the model we see when we click on “View player” in the current Chat interface, except always showing. This will give players a sense of presence and feel like they are visible and part of the community, as well as show their character’s gear and look. This is ALREADY implemented in the game, but tucked away in the right-click menu!
  3. Option to Automatically enter X channel when logging on to Battle.net, and a general chat that allows space for at least 100 players per instance. (I can’t emphasize enough how much better and lively the game feels when you can see people talking in the lobby).
  4. The ability to make custom games, so you can for example, make a game called “Level 10 duels”, or simply meet with some folks that aren’t on your friends list for any particular reason or event.

This article can be discussed in our forums here. And on the Battle.net forums here.

Comments

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  1. Expertly written article. Thank you.

    I for one, agree wholeheartedly with what you’re saying.
    Part of D2’s interface design was that you could SEE who was online at the moment, you can see their gear and it made you feel like you’re not alone.

    Blizzard’s 2.0 features only windows and ease of use buttons, but no personality, so to speak. I feel like it’s just me, and the game.

    To be honest, I doubt they will change the chat interface. Unless there is some HUGE uprising and Blizzard just so happens to buy into it, we’re probably going to have to stick with what we got.

    Either way, surely if it matters enough Blizzard will notice how detrimental this is to their games, and change for the better.

    BATTLE NET 3.0 HERE WE COME? 

    • So what you’re saying is that if D3 offers an option to make chat fullscreen and include animated avatars (like D2), all would be good? That feels like a somewhat minor thing to me, they could basically fix it by putting a fullscreen button on the chat window.

      Is it right to bash the entire architecture for that or am I missing something?

      • I’m not bashing the entire architecture. I enjoy the new interface in it’s enhanced graphics and simplicity while retaining most of the original features of the older battle.net.

        The new chat needs a little more than just visual avatars, but that would be a large step forward.
        Visual avatars make a huge difference because it allows the community to socialize in ways text never could. 

        What they did for battle.net 2.0 wasn’t bad, but they missed an integral part of making the community, a community: presence. 

    • (IMO) Actually Blizzard won’t change anything. They deliberately want Bnet2 lack community features and players feel themselves lonely so that WoW players don’t transfer into Bnet2 and return to WoW after a short time enjoying(?) Bnet2. Let’s talk some simple figures.
      Monthly WoW Income:
      10,000,000 subscribers x $15 = $150,000,000
      How many Diablo3 copies are required to reach that number?

      Answer: 2,500,000

      Do you think all-time Diablo3 sales will make more money than what WoW makes in just 1 year?
       
      Put yourself in the place of Blizzard. Would you accept WoW players quitting WoW and coming into Bnet2?
      R U mad?
       
       
       
       

      • Your simple figures suck, because WoW doesn’t have 10 million $15 subscribers, as the chinese don’t pay a monthly fee.

      • d3 is definitely going to make good $$. Consider, wow has 11million players, let say d3 lucky to have 5million players, assuming 50% of players trade at least once a day,  or even make it ezier on the economic of d3, 1 million trades per day, on the cash auction house, let say 10% fee on every single trade (roughly same as ebay). Assume average trade amount ~ 10$

        1 million trades * 10 * 0.1 (10%)fee =  1 million$ / day x 30 = 30 million$/month

        30x 12 = 360 million (I seriously don’t think blizzard spent 360 million on developing this game, so the returning rate is very high, without even counting the game price it self (59.95$), they will make profit with in very short amount of time)

        Also, I agree, battle.net 2.0 sucks, absolutely 0 mmorpg feel.

    • Yea I agree and with Azzure too.  It is a bit mystifying why they would make such a poor design decision, but even as gamers, you have to know they have blindspots so to speak.  Part of the reason, I”m sure, is to combat the automatic bot spammers, but they’re basically throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  And the reason they might not fully realize this is because they (the devs) already belong to a community and don’t need one to enjoy the game.  They don’t see that a lot of players don’t belong to a community and will need to develop that part for themselves.  I remember when I first played warcraft 2.  It was fun, but nothing compared to how fun it was when I joined an irc channel devoted to it and a community of players played team games every night.  You would never think of “wall-ins” or early grunt rushes, etc. without such an environment encouraging longevity of the game.  Without that community, I doubt war2 would’ve lasted more than a month or two for me.

      I think they’ve forgotten that, their roots.  I don’t buy those conspiracy theories.  But I think it’d take a big uprising of sorts for them to realize their mistake and make the change.  Because even with such a poor design choice the game will still be pretty successful (at least compared to other developers) even if it fizzles out after a few months.  That’d be a shame given its potential.  Personally, I’d like to see WoW style chat interface.  Remember those hundreds of players running around in Iron Forge?  AHing, trading, or just talking/chilling.  Even if to show off a cool new spell to people.  I remember when I first got ice block and jumped up in front of the mailbox and cast it–freezing me in midair and people around me laughing cuz it was funny. 🙂  I miss that.  I didn’t even mind people always asking me for conjured food/drinks as a mage because those things only made me feel like part of the community, even with complete strangers.

  2. I share you’r opinion,.
    As for sc2, when i logg in and join the battle.net i get’s a felling of lonelyness. I look thruw my friend list to see if someone is online and thats about it.
    Sometimes i hang around the teamliquid channel but its not just what i am looking for. I miss the war3 battle.net when i bunch of countrymen where thrown in the same channel, it felt alive cus it was always something going on.
    It was also nice to invite ppl to your channel when u met them in a random game etc. I know its possible to do the same in sc2 but it’s far from the same experiance. Hard to explain.
    😐  

    • I think a lot of this is not being younger and having 10 friends with the exact same schedule as we do. 

      Although I do agree, that bnet 2.0 is very boring feeling. I miss the chats.

      IMO, they are gone to get rid of advertising bots.

      AND

      SC2 lost momentum because its so hard to play. I’d like to see the SC1 stats vs SC2.

      ALSO, SC1 was released during a time when RTS games were VERY POPULAR. C&C, WC, etc.

      WE live in an age of halo and CoD. and WoW..  and.. all those other games that dont last very long. 

  3. Well written, and I completely agree.
    The state of Battle.net 2.0 frightens me greatly.

    • Azzure is wrong like at least the half of D3 fans in this site including you.

      I can’t deny new Battle.net has an effect on SC2’s failure, but battle.net and it’s limited social aspects are only minor problems. There are greater problems in SC2 like no-lan, poor story and cinematics, good but worse gameplay than the original’s.

      SC2 was the fastest selling PC only RTS. Then sales are suddenly stopped. It couldn’t even reach 5 million yet. 

      We’ll experience this again with D3.

      • you’re so full of shit it’s not even funny.
        first of all “poor story and cinematics”? are you stupid?
        one) they’re great, two) what has that to do with mp?
        “good but worse gameplay” – it’s basically the same.
         

        • No, storytelling and story in cinematics are shit. Just like the game’s actual story is shit. I’m talking about the failure of SC2 you imbecile, not just MP. Gameplay isn’t the same and it’s worse for lots of pros and that’s something to do with MP. Let’s not forget no-LAN also.

          Did you honestly believe battle.net 2 and it’s limited social aspects alone could kill this game for many people? It’s a silly thought from a to z.

          Skyrim example is enough for you. Use your brains next time. 

          Shortly, Azzure is wrong as always.

  4. While I understand your concerns, I wanted to share a few thoughts.  When I look back at the time I spent playing d2, I didn’t spend a lot of it in the chat channels.  When I used the chat channels, it was simply to make trades.  I spent a lot of time spamming trade channels and trying to get the best deals.  I loved the economy aspect of the game.  Everyone I met in d2 came from just chatting with people in random games.  As long as people still chat/socialize while leveling/farming, I think d3 will have longevity.  For example, I just started playing WoW again, and my server went from a medium/high pop server to a low pop ghost town.  However, I’ve found a few fun people to group with and it has made me want to continue playing.  I would be excited to see the changes you’ve suggested, and I hope that d3 will last for many years.  For me, the longevity of a game always comes from the people you play with.  

    • This.

      I think its a clear design decision.  They don’t want people socializing easily cause they think it will take a cut from their RMAH.  If trading was possible through custom public games the “suits” might read that as a potential loss of revenue.  Make the trading system cumbersome and hope that it drives them to the RMAH.

      I know Im being very cynical but i feel game design from AAA devs is clearly heading into a “hollywood” phase –  rather than true innovation and perfecting game play its more a case of appeal to the largest audience, don’t take risks and monetize through cosmetic items or DLC.

      • I don’t buy the RMAH as the explanation for Bliz removing good chat options from D3.

        If anything, I’d argue the opposite. They should want us more involved, more engaged, spending more time online, looking more at other player’s gear, etc. You talk to people, you learn about new builds, you hear about awesome gear…. and that motivates you to play more, try more builds, and for some players that willl spur them to buy more gear.

        So why are they doing it this way? That’s the real mystery. Note that the whole thing started with SC2, which Bliz wasn’t going to include chat with, at all. They repeatedly said we wouldn’t need chat, that their matchmaking system was superior. And now D3’s much the same; auto game joining, matchmaking, Arena system set up for all anonymous PuG battles rather than real 1v1 or friends on teams dueling, etc. 

        It’s clearly a design decision by Bilz, to remove as much human interaction as possible from B.net 0.2, and I find it inexplicable. Not only do I disagree with it, I can’t even come up with a reasonable explanation for why they’re doing it. 

        • Imagine World of Warcraft without any chat channels at all except party, raid, and whisper.
          Chatrooms are a very big part of Battle.net 1.0.  When you compare it to 2.0, the latter is definitely a ghost town.  You barely feel like you’re even playing a multiplayer game anymore.

          • I finally saw an explanation, in a bnet forum comment . It’s conspiracy theory type, but at least there’s some logic to it. Here goes: 

            Blizzard knows how important and powerful an online community is, as demonstrated by how many people keep playing WoW just because they have friends who play. Blizzard does not want to interrupt that, hence the lousy socialization tools in SC2 and D3. By this logic, we can next expect robust socializing options in Titan, along with a monthly fee.

          • Flux – I think you’d appreciate this: http://theflatearthsociety.org/cms/  😉

            Also if that is the case, why introduce cross game chat? Surely it’s more likely to draw players from WoW to try SC2/D3 than the other way around, just thinking about the numbers who play/will play each title?

          • Well it wasn’t my theory and I didn’t say it was bulletproof, but at least there was some explanatory value to it.

            To offer a defense in the spirit of the theory, Blizzard wants all their WoW players to buy other Bliz games… they just want us to keep paying for WoW also. So they include cross game chat to promote their titles throughout B.net friends lists, but when a group gets into SC2 or D3, the find the socialization options suck, only a few of them can be in the same game at once, etc.

            It’s not a substitute for the WoW guild chat 20 people in the same game type experience. Hence they keep their WoW subs going.

        • I wasn’t implying that it was your theory – and I see where you’re coming from, but I really can’t believe many people would pay a monthly sub, just to use guild chat, which is pretty crappy itself. Surely it’s much more likely they’d just quit WoW and use IRC? 

        • On the topic on why Starcraft 2 failed in terms of longevity – I think that it had less to do with the chat channels and more to do with the story – or lack thereof. Science fiction is like heavy metal, it is an acquired taste that takes years of emersion to fully appreciate. Blizzard has had a tremendous influx of employees over the last decade, and judging on the simplistic and dissonant (as in the WoW looking Jim Raynor and the mostly realistic gameplay) story telling style of SC2, I suspect that not all of them fully comprehend the complexities of that genre. SC2 feels like it is marketed toward the mass audience, a fatal mistake in the Sci Fi world, as Sci Fi is a niche genre.

          I believe that D3 will also suffer a similar fate. The game will be designed to appeal to a broad audience, losing the core of what made D2 and D1 great. I agree that the absence of the chat channels detracts from the multiplayer feel, but I firmly believe that if Blizzard continues making Jack of All Trades games, then their games will be masters of none. 

  5. I agree but I can’t wait for another major change…

  6. I wish I could a disagree with you, but I dont  🙁 

    I also only played SC2 for about a month.  I was really really really excited for battle.net 2.0, but then it just turned out to be nothing special.  Just about the only feature it added that I really liked was the cross-game chat and friend list, but the lack of clan support and community really made it fall flat.  

    It’s odd because I don’t really care to actually use the general chat in any of the past blizzard games, but your article made me realize that even if I don’t use it, just being aware of it does make me feel like I’m in a large community. 

    Good opinion piece Azzure. 

    • I’m in the same boat. I didn’t use the D2 or SC1 channels a lot, but just from seeing a minute of it while looking for a game, I had a good idea of what the community was like. What people thought was overpowered, what items people wanted, what classes/army they liked. I didn’t follow SC2 development at all and bought it more or less on a whim the day it came out. No chat, I have no idea how people feel about the launch. I join a few UMS games expecting people to be over the moon excited and happy that the sequel has finally been released. Except no one’s talking. Everyone seems to know what to do except for me. Pretty much everyone had gotten into the beta, so this wasn’t anything new or exciting for them. The launch day magic where everyone is super pumped and cheerful, and actually talking strategy without calling each other noob was completely absent.

  7. You’re huge, Azzure. And Blizzard should listen. 

  8. I just have to agree with you Azzure.

    It’s “funny” because when you think of it, one would, apparently rightfully so, be quick to dismiss such trivial and non-critical feature of a game like the chat channels. When in reality, as you perfectly explained it via your own personnal experience many players could relate to, I’m sure, it is anything but secondary and not important.

    It’s those little “details” that help a game’s longetivity greatly and make for truly memorable moments.

  9. You know I find it funny but there is a significant amount of truth to the progression hes had with blizzard games, I was a young kid when I first played d1, sc1, and d2, and I grew up on them like a crack addict for years and years without ever thinking of stopping (Unfortunatly quiting d2 because someone hacked my main account and took 4 years worth of work, but I still go back and play atleast once a year or two) and when sc2 came out I was more excited than anyone I knew… and I don’t play it. I bought sc2, played it furiously for 2 months… and after just my one friend stopped playing (due to computer issues) I found myself without meaningful friendships and not wanting to play by myself so… I stopped. This article now helps me understand that maybe, just maybe if I had made a few meaningful online friends on sc2 I might still be playing it right now. I have it installed and I love sc, but im just not playing the game anymore. Now im just looking forward to playing other games on console that me and friends are going to play like street fighter x tekken and gears 3 etc, and I have been talking to them about getting diablo 3 and pcs and stuff but its tough to get people to just buy a pc so they can play diablo 3 with me. Now I think im going to get at most 3-4 friends with me on d3 (Which is good because thats the max per lobby, but its still nothing compared to how many friends I had with me in d2) and if that doesn’t work out… maybe it might end up just like sc2 and ill really want to play it but after a few months everyones just not going to be able to play or they will move on. I have hopes blizzard… they aren’t high but I just ask that you don’t let me down…

    • while I in principle agree with the concerns expressed by Azzure, I honestly find the comments about sc2 quite surprising. After playing for 6 months I had a long list of friends i made either thru sc2 itself of thru getting in touch with players who wanted to practice (teamliquid and other forums had these threads); and a lot of times whenever I lost and watched the replay and felt I could learn I asked the player if he’d consider practice play, and a lot of them did. also, i felt that the amount of retardation among that community was waaaay lower that d2.
      Speaking of, perhaps my memory fails me but i don’t quite recall chat channels in d2 being the paradigm of meaningful communication etc. i do remember clearly, however an awful lack of general candor and explosion of vulgarization and the FU n00b attitude all over the place…  again if you wanted to make friends, you could, and I did by reaching out, but the community was plagued by ego-half-retarded-single-minded, cheating individuals. that is at least my clearest memory of that, and of course it may be flawed…

  10. I saw this post on the D3 forums, and a lot of the replies were negative. I have to agree with you completely. The chat system that D3 has is horrible, and they really need to take your opinions into consideration for Bnet. If not at release, then soon after!

    • Not surprised by the negative comments. The sheep have come to defend their shepard once again…Blizzard drones have no brain for themselves, all the void is filled with the words BLIZZARD IS PERFECT.

      • TEH SHEEPIEZ NOOOOO

      • I used to think Blizzard was perfect too, but then i took a Battle.net 2.0 to my Blizzard games 😀
         
        kidding aside, adding the always online restriction added to SC2’s downfall as well, gone are the days where we play with our buddies for hours on end without having problems about lag or network disconnections.

  11. I don’t think anyone could tell you you’re wrong with this point. 

    • What about Jay Wilson? 🙂

      • I think Jay and most of the other devs woudl agree. They’re gamers, after all; if 90% of us feel a certain way about something, so will most of the devs. Of course Jay’s not going to come out and say he doesn’t like something from Blizzard, but I cant think the D3 team are the ones developing B.net’s features.  For one thing, D3’s stuff is basically just updated from SC2’s.

        The mystery is who in B.net dev is making such bad decisions?

        • So the D3 game director doesn’t have much of say when it comes to the B.net layout/chat then?

          • He obviously has some input, but no, he doesn’t design the b.net features for d3. Could he force a change to something if he really hated it and the b.net guys liked it? I dunno; none of us are inside the power structure of Bliz game dev, but I doubt Jay would pick that particular hill to die on, for something as relatively minor as “D3 could use better online chat.”

            Obviously we’re entirely into hypotheticals here, though.

        • I don’t know if I agree with this idea that most of the devs share our concerns. I hate chat rooms and all that bnet community stuff, but I still agree with everything Azzure said and would fight to have it all implemented because its that important. It seems ridiculous to me that they are so committed to a universally hated system, the only explanation I can think of is that they are not gamers like but the people on this site.

          • I am in the same boat, never did much like most of the things he mentions (except being able to see peoples characters…which was awesome), but I too, think all of the points he mentioned are immensely important for the longevity of this game. 

        • “if 90% of us feel a certain way about something, so will most of the devs”

          Source? Site poll time? 

          • Source? Logic. Which was laid out in the post.

            Site poll time? Are you serious?

          • I think you misunderstood what I was saying 🙂

            When he claims that “90% of us feel a certain way about something”, I’d love to see where he got 90% from. Even if it was 90% of commenters on this news post (which it isn’t), that wouldn’t necessarily be 90% of the site readership (hence the poll), and who knows what % of the people who are interested in D3 in general.

            Make sense now? 

          • I was just using a hypothetical 90%; it wasn’t about any specific topic. The point was that Bliz devs are gamers like most of us and not some race of pod people with totally different opinions. Hence if a strong majority of fans feel a certain way about X or Y, it’s a safe bet that most of the bliz devs do also. Doesn’t mean they’ll do it that way, since business and PR and other issues often interfere, alas.

  12. I’m not sure I understand what these “proper chat channels” you want are.  You keep asking for them and explaining how Blizzard screwed up, but you don’t suggest any fixes or illustrate any examples about what is wrong with current chat channels and what should be improved.

    Now, I have unfortunately not had a chance to play with them personally, but from what I have seen, the public chat channels are a great step in the right direction.  You can inspect gear and achievements (and I presume builds as well) from chat just as you can view a profile in SCII, and initiate private conversations as well.  Are you just looking for a big chat box with pictures? 

    • He mentions the lack of visual avatars, which are present in the old D2 chat. That IS very nice, since it gives a feeling of actual characters being present instead of just a name. I guess its sort of a mental thing where you better relate to visual representations of people instead of just a name text.

      I much prefer the old D2 style myself.

      • Avatars also give you a good idea of where every person is at in the game or even their relative power level. Currently you have to click on someone’s name then their profile to see what they look like.

    • I agree with you, the chat channels in the beta and SC2 are way more full featured than any of the legacy games.
      The main complaints seems to be that the chat window is too small and that there are no character avatars. And frankly, if those 2 things are what’s keeping people from using the channels than I don’t think they really wanted to use them in the first place.
      Chat channels basically come down to a group of people talking together. The visual element of that should have very little to do with that core experience, as demonstrated by IRC. And if people manage to use IRC without complaining that it’s not shiny enough (just like this website’s IRC channel) then the B.net 2 chat should be sufficient.
      I’m also not quite sure why the author thinks that the number of D2 games matters. That’s comparing apples and oranges. Also D2 didn’t seem to suffer much since Blizzard added the pre-chat lobby. And since then I can count the number of times I actually entered the chat on 1 hand and still have change.
      Of course the chat channels can be improved, and Blizzard might decide to do that. But even if Blizzard took the next 10 years to create the perfect chat channel, I doubt it’d make much difference. As evidence I submit pretty much every other game that has been played for years that doesn’t have chat channels.
      I don’t really get what sense of “community” people get from seeing the avatars of random people in a chat. Personally whenever I wish to be a part of a game community I search for a website like this one, where the experience is much better.
      But to each is own.

      • I stopped after your first sentence. I cannot even begin to fathom how the SC2 or D3 beta chat channels are “more full featured” because they don’t have any features.

        • Well I’m sorry that you feel that way, but I simply disagree.
          Everyone is entitled to his own opinion. And my opinion is that the SC2 and D3 beta channels provide all the necessary tools for a chat channel, even if not the best interface.
          Obviously you have steeper demands for a chat channel, and I hope that Blizzard will manage to satisfy your requirements.

  13. battle.net 2.foe

  14. I don’t think the situation will get any better. Blizzard’s mentality changed, they really don’t care anymore about their older fanbase, and that is a big mistake in my opinion.
    The older gamers are generally more exigent about the quality of the games, making it hard for the company to develop it but in exchange these players keep playing the game for a long period of time, keeping it alive so the interest of new players never fade because of the large active playerbase, so in the end the company will always sell extra copies no matter what how old the game is.
    Nowadays Blizzard is favoring casual players, aiming to make big money in little time, the problem in that is that many of those players don’t stick with the same game for a long period of time and the playerbase shrinks rapidly so in a few years no one has any interest in the game anymore, forcing the company to make sequels or new IPs.
    I don’t know which strategy is more profitable but the problem in favoring the “casual” players is that through the years the IPs owned by the company starts to loose a lot of their precious influence and they risk ending up with “EA quality” products, most of them with absolutely no flavor.

    • I totally agree. I hear the community managers use meta terminology such as “social structure” and “concentrated coolness”, but they seem to have lost a bit of their touch that made previous games so much fun. This touch, or flavour as you call it, is one of the most important things that let blizzard products rise above “EA quality” products.

  15. TRUE DAT!!!
     
    The thing that bad D2 amazing was just lounging around and talking about D@ and shit. I hope they implement it before releasing it.

  16. There is a solution already there!
    All you have to do is have D2 open in the background and alt-tab when you want a better chat experience!
    Problem solved…

  17. Fist of all id like to say that you have a very valid point but…

    1. SC2 is the most succsessful RTS of all time together with SC1 and WC3. SC2 has done huge things in the world of esports and the amount of money being poured in it on tournaments is great. The game is taking main stage at most esport events.

    2. The fact that every single video on Husky starcraft channal to this date has more than 100000 views is a testomony that SC2 didnt fail horribly and i dont know why do u keep saying that all the time (and there are so many starcraft channels on YouTube). Which other games at this age and time can say that 2 years after the release their matches get that many views? Not many if any!

    3. While you have a point battlenet 2.0 is not the only reason for SC2 problems at all.

    a) One of the main reasons is taht RTS games are not appealing to the todays generation of gamers because they are too “complicated”.
    b) The culture when people used products for a long time is disappearing and mass consumption is taking over. Gamers have way more games on offer than what they had a decade ago and their mindset is set to “I want a new game every month”!
    c) The game is extremly unforgiving and beyond frustrating and thats why more people (including me) watch matches rather than actually playing them… SC2 is full of “s*** happens” moments where you can loose a match based on pure luck rather than skill which was MUCH less common in WC3 for example… Blizzard is trying to fix this and they ARE making progress…SC1 wasnt perfect when it shipped!

    Example of what i mean is a blue flame hellion drop. It has been nerfed by Blizzard but still if you just so happen to miss the medivac and your army is out of position (which can happen purely based on luck rather than skill because no one can be everywhere at once) you basically lost the game. Four hellions will kill your economy and thats it! 10 minutes of playing the game and careful planning of the strategy goes out the window. SC2, although extremly fun, is THE MOST RAGE INDUCING GAME i have ever played. It is full of startegies which are extremly easy to execute and very hard to beat but Blizzard is working to fix this…it took years to make SC1 what it is today…

    There are other factors affecting the situation SC2 is in but these are the most important ones and i cant be bothered typing anymore :). The bottom line is that D3 might be a ghosttown or it might not be but that will be determined by many factors and some of those factors are much more important than BattleNet 2.0!

    P.S. SC2 walks over EVERY SINGLE other RTS released in the last few years and it is not a testament of how bad the new Blizzard is. It is a testament that Blizzard is still far ahead of everyone else in this genre and i expect them to demonstrate the same superiority in ARPG genre very “soon”!

    • Absolutely agree – sorry I didn’t see your post when I replied, think we were writing them at the same time 😛

      • I have read your post as well and i totally agree. I hate when people say how Blizzard sucks lately and they use SC2 as an example to support the theory… SC2 is as popular as an RTS will get in the current market!

    • I’ll just adress quickly your 2nd point. It just shows that it’s a great SPECTATOR game. Which of course starcraft 2 doesn’t support either, with lack of group replays.

    • I just wanna say that from a perspective of a mature gamer (30+) I agree with every point you made. Well done!

  18. There has been some fighting about this in the oficial forums, they also made Mockups of a better version.
    Look at them.

    http://www.diablofans.com/topic/35494-new-battlenet-mockup/ 

    I find them great work!!! And i can guarantee that Blizz did see this!

  19. Having played RTS games for 15+years, while SC2 was pretty polished it brought nothing new to the genre which was pretty disappointing. The single player was fun thanks to the story but ultimately it ‘felt’ the same as we have seen before which is once of the main reasons, in my opinion, it has not completely captured the imagination of gamers. 

    As for social features, well the RealID debacle highlighted where Blizzard wanted to go with it.

    Gamers are pretty clued up on how interfaces work but it feels, like some of the D3 design decisions, that they think that making it scaled back and super simple is the best way to go. Those of us who can understand games are left a little puzzled as to why options are limited and features such as BattleNet are just not giving the community what they really want.

  20. My SC2 time is about 98% watching streams and events and 2% playing custom maps on bnet.

  21. Ah the memories flooding back to me now. I recently played beta for few days (rented accnt) sad i know but needed the fix lol. But anyway I noticed some things, battlenet 2.0 for d3 is still very buggy and I hope it doesnt push the date back further because ill go nuts because the game is fun and stable while i was playing. The whole reason 2.0 was released was because 1.0 had security issues but in turn they have destroyed the personality of battlenet. I remember the first time i ever logged in d2 online (day of release) everyones avatars were displayed along with their level what even though not gameplay altering was very cool and never ever seen on a gaming network (still isnt) Battlenet 2.0 is bland to be honest at the moment i just hope they at least add avatars and CUSTOM games to battlenet. Hope blizz read your post azzure, its a very important post.

  22. I agree. According to Bashiok, Blizz does not plan to upgrade the public chat channel’s UI until the release. Sad. 

  23.  
    I look at this from a completely different angle
     
    The socialising option’s available in the era of Starcraft 1, was what? First version of MSN? few communities on website’s fairly unknown, ofcourse the Starcraft / Diablo Gamer is going to want to use the in-game socialising feature’s and be amazed by them, which developed a great online in-game experience outside of the actual gameplay
     
    And the socialising option’s available today? Too many to list, you get the point, is that a reason for Blizzard to not deem it necessary to go “all-out” on the socialising feature’s, probably not, there is maybe something more behind it, or maybe it will be updates post-release
     
    In defence to the longevity of the game’s, Starcraft 2 was a stressful game, and wasn’t really made for the new gamer, it delivered what it intended, and that was a great E-Sports game, and as you can see the E-sports SC2 scene is still thriving, and still alot of fun. Ok so we can’t watch stream’s and socialise like crazy in-game (well we still can its just not as easy/straight forward and pretty as previously seen) I think the amount of activity happening on Streams / in the community (Team Liquid) should be accounted for people playing the game ( that’s if you counted people who opened up Starcraft 1 just to socialise) — And yes that was great fun,  but time’s are changing, Nostaglia is very hard to beat, the amount of other socialising features with inevitably become more conveniant, especially if you’re one of the SC2 player’s that got stressed after a game and didn’t play for a month, a year
     
    So I don’t believe the longevity of the actual GAME-PLAY related to Battle Net 2.0 ( I mean alot of people still play, myself included, and people on streams/community websites should be considered involved/playing)
     
    Diablo 3 won’t feel that bad at all, especially if you have a long list of Real ID friends ready to destroy some demon’s, you will have your group of 4, you will see achievement’s, you will be able to track them well, you can chat with all of them, and start grouping with people all over the place, does this beat the nostalgic Battle Net 1.0 socialising experience?   I don’t know like i said nostalgia is hard to beat, but i’m extremely content with how the socialising aspects work in Battle Net 2.0, and to even think Diablo 3 will be dead, and not played because of it is extremely wrong, but I guess we will see in 10 years :), ill post back here and say how good it’s going 🙂
     
    Nostalgia is hard to beat
     
    Diablo 3’s longevity is not even scratched by Battle Net 2.0
    (Alot of us played a hell of alot of time over the last 10 years in a solo / single player approach)
    There is far more depth to the Diablo franchise then socialising in-game ( Which still is available) and if people are still hungering for a community chat, I’m sure there will be great website’s out there were you can customise your gear / class/ avatar and chat away,  Alt-tab isn’t that hard anyway
     
    See you 10 years down the line killing them Demons.
     
     

    • In Diablo 2, the public channels have been mostly used for advertising (by china farmers), trading, spamming, bragging and brawling iirc. I can’t see how Diablo 3 could benefit from this mess again. Real ID list, private/party chats and TS are all very good alternatives.

  24. I agree mostly. From a wow perspective the chat channel was the one of the most memorable aspects about the game. When the game felt empty in the middle of the night the chat channels kept you going. When you were soloing dungeons, party and guild chat kept you going. It was the only thing that made grinding & dailies bearable. I absolutely loved being pinged by random people and asked quest, gear, skill questions that turn into meaningful conversations and eventually friendships. That said there was a lot of crying, ranting, spamming etc that you had to tolerate to keep general chats open which I don’t miss. During my last months of playing wow I tried playing without chat because I lost a lot of friends and it just wasn’t the same game. I’m a casual player now by necessity since I don’t have the time to invest like I used to and would like to see a familiar chat interface and community within Diablo 3. I stopped playing SC2 after a few weeks mainly because of the loneliness I felt. I was hoping for the same community I experienced in wow. This may be my mistake in having expectations that couldn’t be met or are just not relevant but this \meta game\ of chat holds an important part of Blizzards games for me and I’m all for it.

    • There’s a difference with WoW though as in WoW you are always in the game and the servers are much smaller. You are not waiting in the main screen or a lobby before getting into the game and you are not playing with everyone else in your region.

  25. Very good article. Some1 please post this on all bnet forums and lets start bumping.

  26. Just want to start by saying that I’m not going to claim there is no room for improvement on Battle.net 2.0’s social side. Having said that, this isn’t the first time SC2 has been used as an example on this site, and in a way that I think is misleading. 

    “There is a fundamental problem with Battle.net 2.0, and it has existed since SC2. In fact, I am 100% convinced it played a huge part in SC2?s lack of longevity and lack of success amongst the community.”

    “Battle.net 2.0 turned SC2 in to a ghost town, and ruined one of the most social RTS games in history. As I write this article, on a Saturday afternoon, there are just 13,000 SC2 games being played right now, Worldwide. At this same time, there are 51,000 games being played in Diablo 2, an 11 year old game.”

    Stating this figure as evidence that SC2 is a “ghost town” is misleading. To make myself clear, you can’t quote those numbers and claim they’re evidence that Battle.net 2.0 is socially a failure. I’ve already mentioned SC2 ranks to you in a previous thread when you tried to quote similar figures – and you didn’t respond.

    Again – if you go take a look at SC2ranks.com and look at the global stats (http://sc2ranks.com/stats/region/all/all/all) you can see that there are more than 2.7million teams (includes 1v1) who have played since the last patch (1.42) hit on the 22nd of February, less than three weeks ago. Those teams contain more than 4 million players (not bots). How is that a dead game? You can even look back through old patches on that page:

    Patch 1.03 3.8m teams / 6.1m players
    Patch 1.10 4.7m teams / 7.6m players
    Patch 1.12 6.6m teams / 10.9m players
    Patch 1.20 7.7m teams / 13.0m players
    Patch 1.30 9.2m teams / 15.7m players
    Patch 1.35 6.3m teams / 10.2m players
    Patch 1.41 7.0m teams / 11.4m players

    Note that these weren’t released equally spaced in time – and before anyone says “OMG it’s dying now!!!” – latest patch has only been out for less than 3 weeks…

    Before someone points out the obvious, there is some duplication of players here as you can have a 1v1 and multiple 2v2 etc teams per account. If you just look at 1v1 to avoid this, 421.5k people have just played 1v1 (the most competitive game type) within the last 14 days (http://sc2ranks.com/ranks/all/all/1/all/points/0/14).

    I think it’s totally legitimate to say that people would enjoy a lot of the stuff mentioned on that TL thread you linked – but the lack of Warcraft 3 style chat rooms in SC2 is not killing the game. On the contrary – it’s doing very well, especially considering it’s an RTS. 

    /rant 🙂  

    • What is the meaning of this?! You dare bring FACTS into an internet discussion?!?!
      I don’t know why people try to act like SC2 is some abysmal failure… For a generally less popular genre it’s doing extremely well, and they’re not even into the first expansion yet. It’s not like vanilla SC is what people remember a decade later.

      • God you people are stupid. The article says that chat could have made Sc2 more successful and that he wants it in D3.
        There is nothing to argue with. You are braindead.

        • No – the article uses unsubstantiated evidence of SC2 being a failure to try to make the case for improved social features being critical to D3 being a success at all. 

          Also – I’m not arguing that Battle.net 2.0 couldn’t be improved – or did you not read that bit? 😕  

          I guess in the end it comes down to where you’d prefer them to focus their development time right now as they prepare to release, and for me at least, it certainly isn’t on the social features.

          If they come up with a way to implement the good community suggestions in the future, great – for now, I’d just like the game to be bug free, balanced and fun to play.

  27. First off, I want to say that this article is wonderfully written! It’s taken the words right out of my mouth. I too, used to log into D2, just so I could interact with people who loved the game as much as I did. Seeing all their avatars at the bottom made me feel as if we had a world of our own. A lot of great memories were made there. 🙁

  28. Oh and as someone who has been playing since first wave of beta, I totally disagree that SC2 is not social. I play most evenings with friends from the US (on the EU servers – no lag – shock horror!) and we spend the entire time chatting away on Skype. It’s great.

    I’d be really interested to hear what people think about the public game matchmaking system – because I think that has the possibility to be a big step forward from D2 in terms of meeting people and playing productively with strangers. 

    • I cant tell if your being honest or just trolling but ill bite.
      Basically you have solidified what OP was commenting on. Your using a 3rd party application to talk and communicate with your friends.
      This is something that should be contained and executed within the frame of the new B.net.

      • Haha me troll? Nonono! 😉

        But seriously, you raise a good point. Thing is, voice chat does exist inside SC2, but I’ve never got it to work properly with the group I play with. One of us always has a problem. So, do I demand Blizzard spends time reinventing the wheel to get it working as well as or better than the many other chat solutions out there, or do I just alt-tab out and press ‘Call’….?

        I think there’s a bit of confusion here about the difference between the ‘social features’ of the game, like chat channels or guilds, and the game itself being social and fun to play in a group. I never claimed SC2 has great ‘social features’, but it sure is fun to play in a group – and isn’t that more important? 

  29. Well said! I agree 100%

    I used to just log in and hang out in Battle.net.  Talking about the game in the lobby brought even more excitement to the Diablo universe. 

  30. I agree. That is all.

  31. Any chance we could have a site poll about this?

  32. try not to think too hard pal. plenty of socializing in their profitizing RMAH. the game was doomed to mediocrity well before your epiphany.

  33. I fully agree and it makes me wonder what the hell Blizzard is thinking?
     

  34. GJ Azzure! Keep posting things like that, let everybody know of this sad truth!

  35. Maybe I’m just weird, but I had trouble socializing in SC1, WC3, D2, etc, b/c I was playing the game and couldn’t type. If I got bored playing, I stopped playing. I’d go use Instant Messenger or ICQ (crap, I’m old) to talk w/ friends, 99% of them real life friends. Although I did “meet” a couple of cool people in iRC. When I fired up a game, I played the game. iRC was much better for socializing, even about Blizzard games.

    • Haha good point 🙂

      Think development time is much better spent elsewhere – there are so many better ways to communicate / socialise online than anything Blizzard could come up with. 

    • Agreed. I miss the days of getting into long deep conversations on War3.com’s forums (a fansite that had been running since War 3’s announcement and then died sometime after BC released). I never really did much socializing in the actual games because half the time, the people were idiots or spammers, or the other half the time people would leave before anything of substance was said.

  36. I was a SC BW junky for years, and I too haven’t been able to get into SC2, but never did I think the problem was B.Net 2.0… More like the complete lack of anything new being brought to the game, the barely updated graphics, and the absence of total conversions. (Seriously, I probbaly spent more time playing SIckel and Gundam Craft than BW…) Seriously, you guys sound like you like hanging out more than playing the actual game. I almost never logged onto D2 B.Net anyway, I played it for nearly a decade offline only, which is why the whole online only fiasco has me $hitting myself with worry.

  37. Completely agree with Azzure’s opinion, thanks for bringing this up.
    I played D2 and WC3, and I was speechless when I saw the horrifying, impersonal and void new chat system in SC2.
    It would be nice to have a poll about this matter!

    • Yeah – agree about the poll. How about one where we choose what we’d like Blizzard to focus their development time on NOW, before release:

      1. Bug fixing
      2. Balancing all difficulties
      3. Adding content (more items etc)
      4. Tweaking the Skill/Rune system and UI
      5. Adding more social features 

      • Pretty sure there is a different team that works solely on battle.net….

      • That’s such a false dichotomy though. It’s the kind of zero sum thing Bashiok alludes to as an excuse for every removed feature. “If you want X then we’ll have to delay the whole game another 6 months!”  Well when you put it like, obviously no one is going to demand X,.

        In reality, there are dozens of interlocking gears turning on the game, and Blizzard has had years and years to work on these things.  It’s not like the concept of online chatting and socializing only occurred to them 6 weeks ago and they’ve tabled all other development to put it into the game.

        They can’t use, “rushing to release!” as an excuse for every single less-than-perfect feature in the game.  Fans are permitted to want and take the game we get, while still having opinions about ways it could have been done better, and hopes for future improvements.

        • I’d never try to deny people the right to their opinions, I mean that’s what I’m writing here. I don’t think that what I’m saying in unreasonable though. You talk about the ‘dozens of interlocking gears turning on the game’, and that is exactly why it isn’t easy to just have a small team set aside to implement social features as those changes effect many other areas of the game. 

          Once you commit to polishing and bug fixing, aiming for a release window, it makes little sense to introduce new features that are bound to introduce new bugs etc. You do that in patches once you have a stable base game.

  38. I completely agree with this article. The most detrimental issue for D3, IMO, is the lack of custom games. The join system is nice for doing the typical lve/item grind but what about games that fall outside the realm of typical. I played D2 forever and a lot of the time I would join duel games or games that were just to mess around. Without custom games D3 will feel mechanical and monotonous and will probably lose players due to this. I have played dota for 6 or 7 years and the only reason I started playing it was that I would/could try out many different mini games. Think about all the fun lost in D3 without the potential to join a duel/silly game.

  39. I completely agree Azz, I waited 10 years for sc2,  then i stopped playing after 6 months. I hated that. I loved sc1 and SC2 was really missing something. I didn’t realize it at the time though. It was really the social aspect of the community. Not only that I had planned to reform my 10 year old guild that I founded ON SC1 but they never game us proper channels nor guild/clan support like bnet 1.0 did.
    I want to reform it again but I doubt they will let us have clan support yet again… let alone full chat channels like sc1/d2/war3 did.

  40. This is sad imo, one of the best things about d2 was the chat channels and social part of it.

  41. First off, I think if this is going to be a pure opinion article then it would have been sufficient to leave it in your forum thread saying the same thing. Secondly, as some one who never really bothered with the social stuff in SC1 or D2 this doesn’t really bother me that much. I log on to games to play the actual game, not to chat it up with random people. If I want to do that then I can go to WoW where the chat is integrated with the game itself and there’s no need for lobbies and such.

    I don’t play SC2 much currently (although I used to a lot) but not because of lack of chat channel lobbies or custom game names. I personally like how much faster the matchmaking is for custom games and the only reason I lost interest is because I got bored with the custom games that were always on the top page. That is a problem with Battle.net, but totally unrelated to the social features. Blizzard needs to come up with a better way to organize games so that ones that aren’t being played a ton can be visible to everyone, but I think they are working on that with their new Arcade system. I’ve personally made a lot more friends while talking to people in the actual games than I ever had in chat channels or game lobbies as those conversations are usually kind of random or without substance and your forget about those people or vice versa soon after.

    I think that is pretty much how Blizzard aims for it to be, where you join public games and converse with the other people there and if you hit it off, you make friends. Whether or not that satisfies the social needs of some by itself depends on the person, but there are a lot more options for socializing outside the game itself than there were back in the day, and I think maybe that is what Blizzard is driving at. Building a community through their websites and fansites, not just having a community that is based off random conversations with random people while you are waiting to actually play the game.

  42. I dont think it is such a big deal like presented in this post. D2 chat was abused by shops/trolls and at the end become very enoying. SC2 sistem is simple but does the job…problem is not many people actually uses it and thats why feels abandon. I dont think its a problem mainly becouse voice communication become so popular with Wow. Guilds/friends/teams use Teamspeak/Ventrilo/Skype. Thats what I used in Wow and Sc2 and already in D3 beta and works great for me and my friends
     
     
     
     
     

  43. +1 I thought the exact same thing when they first announced it.
    Maybe the designers weren’t heavy into Diablo and Starcraft?

    Maybe you should link this so everyone can get a feel for the different layouts.
    http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/starcraft-2-finally-has-chat-channels 

    What I liked about battle.net:
    You were the only person on the realm with your name. It gave you a sense of identity, and people knew who you were when you showed up. Same goes for WoW. But, now you’re Name#1234.. Who is going to remember who you are, when they talk to three other people with the same name?

    Starcraft and Diablo 1 had pretty much the same layout. Right off the bat you get a ton of info on the people in the chat. In Diablo 1 you got level, class, difficulty beaten, latency, whether or not they are in a clan. Same with Starcraft, you know how many reg games they’ve played, whether or not they play ladder, if they’re in a clan, and latency. Then there is the sense of prestige with an original and hard to get name. If you had an illegal name, you had even more prestige. You also have profiles to click on and view sex, location, and whatever they want to tell you. You can view their stats in the game, W/L, whatever.

    Then came Diablo 2. You immediately had an idea of what gear people had, you knew their level, class, difficulty beaten, and whether or not they were in a clan. You knew if they were HC, SC, or Open. They also had sex, location, and other random info. You knew them because people had been talking about them earlier, or you had seen them in a game.

    I didn’t play WC3 much, but from the screenshot it’s the cleanest looking chatroom. Easy to read chat, easy to read/find clan tag, and adequate space for names.

    We NEED chatrooms like Diablo 2, but with a better use of space. Avatars just like in D2 that display the name and other info better to where it’s easier to read and find. Where we can then right click the avatar and inspect their gear and other stats, and find out cool info about them. NOBODY joined games to chat unless they were there to look at gear or trade. This isn’t WoW where you stand around in the world all day no matter what. We need a channel to chat easily, we shouldn’t have to join a game. We need something that is personal, that says ‘This is my Character’. Not a bank of 20 avatars to choose from to help differentiate us from others. Something to get excited about. To where I’m thinking.. ‘Holy shit.. this guy is level 99 in hardcore, he must be gooooooood. I wonder what his gear is!?!? I can’t believe he is sitting here in this channel. Let me message him.’ ‘Holy shit, there is that lvl 57 sorceress I saw earlier. I can’t believe she wiped that full game of 90s all by herself…’

    I want something where if I play with a person in game and then see them in chat, I’ll immediately remember who it was. In D2 I actually made friends with people solely because I continually saw them in PK games and channels. It was the only reason I talked to them. If I had needed to hunt them down to talk to them, it wouldn’t have happened. I wouldn’t have stuck around talking to people all day long.

    • If you keep seeing them in games and want to chat to them….just add them as a friend so you can talk to them whenever they’re online…?

  44. It tells you how many games worldwide and in you region as well as how many players are on and how many are in public channels in the Starcraft 2 home screen.

    I question it’s accuracy though as it says there’s 14,019 games worldwide right now and somehow 10,627 of those are in my region (NA). Is there really that few going on in EU and SEA?

    Fun fact: it also says there’s about 750,000 people on right now and only 349 in public chat channels. People aren’t even using what is there that much so what motivation does Blizzard have to improve them other than a vocal fraction of the fanbase that may be a tiny part of the total playerbase?

    • Well, most people doesn’t know where to go. Fin with chat channels, but you have to know them, which brings back the fact, that you have to know Teamliquid and so on.. Blizzard needs to improve them because they are useless. 

  45. I 100% agree with you Azzure and so does my friend Patrick… check him out.
    http://www.quickmeme.com/meme/367kb5/
     

  46. this is spot on, couldn’t have said it better. Really wish Blizzard would pay more attention to this.

  47. My honest opinion Blizzard can’t control the amount of spam from 3rd party sites. Just log into Diablo 2 now and see the title wave of spam in the channels or when you make an open game. Password a game in D2 and they whisper you spam. It’s a real problem and I pray it doesn’t end up this way in Diablo 3…

    I would like to add the spam would kill Diablo 3 for me

  48. I wonder that because they are testing In house, and don’t have the opportunity to actually interact with strangers, that they simply see their set of features as adequate because they are only mingling with people already on their friends lists from a different part of bliz development team.  this would somehow make sense but also mean they they are very ignorant and not a very good testing team.  

    • I think this definitely plays a role in making inaccurate decisions on social interaction.

    • This was basically my explanation for their advocacy of the mandatory Real ID b.net forum system (that they abandoned after several days of massive fan revolt.). Everyone at Bliz plays and makes video games for a living, so they didn’t care if their real life friends and family saw their online activities via battle.net.

      And then the vast majority of their fans, especially every woman on the service, complained that one of the main reasons they enjoyed video gaming was to escape their real world and that they couldn’t have a full online record of their tine sink hobby easily accessible to a google search. And the bliz devs were like… wut?

  49. I have to say, I felt a great deal of the same thing in WoW when they introduced Looking for Dungeon. No longer would I get to know the people on my server/wait until my friends came on. I could run dungeons whenever I wanted. In theory, a great move. The reality, however, was much different.
    My thoughts are this will be similar. Great matchmaking etc can only be so good. I am currently running through D2 with a friend I introduced it to, and the human element is what keeps a game I have been playing for years fresh. 

     

  50. I agree with this article.  The chat feature in 2.0 initially struck me as very lacking.  When I first logged, I expected the same sort of interface as WC3 and SC1 where there would already be many strangers on chat. What I found instead was a barren land, difficult to initially navigate around.  I hated the new chat feature and I only logged on to SC2 to play the game, not chat.  

    SC2 also did not last long for me as I never got hooked into the fringe appeal of the game that is the community.

    I surely hope D3 can fix this somehow. 

  51. Why is it that when anyone ever mentions SC2 here they treat it like it’s dead?

  52. I agree with your analysis, but it fits your perspective as a gamer best. The change suits my style of gaming much better. I come from a similar Blizzard background as you dating back to the days of WC2 (best lan play ever) but my gaming style has always been around lan play and moved into online play from there. 99% of the time I’m gaming people who I know in the real world. So I think it will work out. It’s a design that works out very well for me.

  53. I don’t feel as though I’m qualified to offer an opinion on the subject since I haven’t played Starcraft 2 and am not in the D3 beta.  The only thing I really find missing from your article is WHY you think Blizzard has gone this route.  With social media all the rave, I agree that it makes little sense for Blizzard to design their games/Battlenet without a focus on communication between players.  So what are your theories?  Are they trying to keep people from performing transactions between one another outside of the auction houses (where Blizzard stands to profit potentially)?  Do they think that some other means of communication outside their software would be used in place of their software even if it handled communication better?  Do you think the problem is the spamming that could happen as it did in D2 and that they’d have too much of a problem controlling it? Do you think that they just don’t feel the ends justify the means in therm of the time/resources that would be needed to achieve the functionality you desire?  Do they just not think it’s as important as you do?  I’m interested to here your response.

  54. You know times have changed since the old days. Back then it was about hanging out on Bnet playing games, talking with your online pals. Today it is nothing like that at all. It seems Blizzard doesn’t even want to deal with the community anymore.

  55. Totally agree wholeheartedly! the chat channel is what builds the community .. its what i used to log in for half the time .. instead of playing … Diablo 2 or wow … id just sit and chat … shoot the shit … ask about specs .. admire other peoples characters ..

    but now the chat system seems antiquated .. yeah we get to view other peoples chars if we go out of our way to click many buttons .. and then only 1 at a time .. with no next hero button ..

    The chat dialogue within game is spammed off the screen with massive amounts of quest writing and info .. hard to keep a conversation going and damn anoying! .. anyone privately whispers you and your not keeping tabs on it .. u wouldnt even see the message and its gone with deckard cain asking u to save the world again

    and out of the game the channels are limited

    Trade/LFG/Classes Monk/WD etc/and Hardcore …. so what if i just want to chat? where do i go and sit? in-game maybe? and wait for the next random person that blizzard drops in my lap?

    to the trade channel like we have to in wow? isnt that for trading? the chat channel         

  56. please tell me you made this post on the official forums.  

    you said EXACTLY the truth.  

    i have been wanted to post on the official d3 forums, but i don’t have sc2/active wow

    thank you blizzard for making me play d2 for another 10 years 

  57. They’ve tried to smash the community feel of WoW as well for years.  I think it started when they removed the global LFG channel.  That was a wonderful channel because you could chat with other people while leveling alts and listening for groups forming for your main.  For some reason, they removed it and swore up and down to never bring it back.  It was when they removed that channel that chatters invaded the trade channel and began sitting in town all day.  You HAD to sit in town all day to chat with people and find groups.  Then they brought back the LFG channel – but not a global channel – it was tied to cities.  So people stuck to trade chat.  Finally they added spam throttles to trade chat to prevent people from chatting much.

    This attitude that chatting is evil spilled over into BNET 2.0, and hurt SC2, and could hurt D3. 

  58. 100% agree with the article!! Blizzard should fix it ASAP!!

  59. Yeah the chatsystem does not look promising at all, they must have some solid reasons for not wanting to improve it, they’ve received alot of criticism from the SC2 community for it. The only theory I have as to why they are doing this is that they receive alot of complaints about harassment, bad language etc in chats.

    A big chunk of Blizzards employees work with customer support and I suspect they spend alot of their time dealing with complaints related to the chatsystem. They’ve hinted in some reponses to people wanting public chat channels that moderating such channels is alot of work. Blizz keep trying to make their customer support more efficient and cut costs in that department.
    I don’t think console games have nearly as much in-game related support issues due to how they are designed and Blizzard may be trying to achieve that with Bnet 0.2, lack of interaction between players may be one of the steps.
     
    As long as they make alot of money from their games they’ll be convinced they are doing the right thing, no matter how much people complain on forums.
     
     

  60. Incredible.
    People simply havo NO clue.

    Wow IS  the social hub and Everything points with a HUGE RED arrow to that.

    Wow alone brings in 100.000.000 dollars PER month for Blizzard. In no way Blizzard is going to shift the main focus of revenue … to an advanced chat system  in any other of their games.

    Taking the figures of 2011: 1,25 billion dollars … And Wow did not even have an expansion launched, because in 2010 that was 1.45 billion. Put it this way: Diablo 3 would need to sell … 35 million copies PER year to have the same revenue as Wow… because you need to substract retail profits, taxes, distribution etc…

    Comon guys: diablo 3 was even postponed for 6 months because Blizzard did their home work. First the next wow expansion needs to be hyped and playable in beta before Diablo 3 could be launched. You really think they would let players assemble in a free to use advanced chat box and take down their cash box cow?

    Let’s be thankful they even considered launching D 3 because I am convinced they really thought about cancelling D 3, until someone (my guess is Rob Pardo) came up with the marvellous idea of a real money auction house.

    But even this RMAH will only bring in a fraction of a 5 million subcription based Wow. This policy will never change until the launch of Titan. And it is the only sound policy btw, because despite the moaning, the world of Azeroth is by far still the best and biggest thing around.

    • Agree to “the real money auction house is what saved D3 from being scrapped”, and I think it is a brilliant idea to control/kill gold farmers as long as it does not destroy the game balance.

  61. Here’s how I see this going down:
    1. There’s a community uproar about the lack of ‘social’ features in D3.
    2. Blizzard adds a Facebook tie-in where you can ‘like’ other peoples stuff and let everyone know what you had for breakfast.
    3. Everyone facepalms.

    • BZ always wanted to implement a FB like social system (remember the real id system which will display one’s real name across the battle.net games? I hated it)

  62. Blizzard is doing everything they can to make the game appealing for everybody. But when it comes to the community-features they only support the old hardcore gamers.. Seriously, how many newbie-casual gamers do you think will ever get to know any great online gaming-buddies? 

    I have a lot of friends who would NEVER use community sites like incgamers. So the whole social aspect for them is depending on wether I am online or not (yes, I might very well be the only friend they have, that games Diablo 3).

     It just doesn’t make any sense, at one hand making the game suitable for casual gamers, and on the second killing every chance the casual gamers have to socialize. 

    • Easy explained. Wow must stay the social hub for extensive gameplay, while Diablo 3 is used as an added incensitive to use battle net play through real id and do some solo or co op dungeon crawling… And then add some battlenet real money bucks on top … To use on Wow products.

      Remember the upcoming pet battle system will use … tradeable pets. See the picture ?

      Blizzard wants the fantasy  rpg combo wow + d3 to succeed. With the main social bigger focus on wow, while being supplemented with the D3 solo – real friends play.

      They would hurt themselves tremendlously if their players/guilds would shift socially from the subscription based Wow to the D3 social hubs. Battlenet balance is an assurance there is a huge financial and social link between these two rpg’s.

      The way they work now is that Wow is still that giant beacon of social friends play with D3 attracting players to the global hub instead of stealing players from Wow subscriptions. 

      Also the OP  is wrong about SC2. SC2 is not the same rpg market. It addresses pure e-sports players in the long run. And almost 2 years after its launch it succeded in attracting those rts e sport players.

      But even with this other kind of public, BattleNet attracts some hardcore SC2 players to Wow. 2 RL friends who play SC2 on line as a competition just recently came to Wow …. Since the … Cross server Real ID play is now available in Wow.

      Just imagine what a constant stimulation  D3 – Wow combo will have in this  rpg field. 

      The only condition for this to work is that Wow stays the main focus for guild and on line friends play as it brings in 100 times more money.

       

  63. You are lonely. Try your ISP’s chat. Would do the same for you.

  64. About 85% of the people in this thread are dead wrong about sc2 being a failure.

    You all bought the game, played it for 1..2..3..6 months.  

    Blizzard still makes the same amount of money on a sale of sc2, regardless of if you play it for 11 days or a 11 years!

    In company terms, the game was a huge success, so whats going to keep them from repeating strategies? Nothing.

    If certain missing features bother you so much….

    Don’t buy the game.

    Angered nerd rage posts drawn up due to the fact you will STILL BUY THE GAME, no matter how displeased you are it seems.

    Blizzard won’t listen to those, because…you still buy the game. If you really want to get blizzard to listen, then cut into their expected profits.

    • That is definitely wrong. Sure we buy the game for now, but the truth is, that we all buy their games, because they are known to deliver the best. If Diablo 3 turns into ghost town and die out after 6 month, then I’m not sure if I will buy their expansions. 

      I loved Warcraft 1, Warcraft 2, Starcraft 1, Warcraft 3. But Starcraft 2 is dead to me, and I’m not going to continue with the expansions. 

      So in the long run it’s bad for business. 

      • SC2 fans knew there would be no Chat rooms like they wanted well before release..they still bought it. They raised a huge stink, but they still bought it. Its all that matters.

    • I definitely will not buy StarCraft 3 though…

  65. I longed to play this game.

    Then I met LoL. Fantastic game. Granted it isn’t arpg.

    Bigger player base than WoW. Awesome PvP.

    Don’t think I’ll be buying DIII anymore.

  66. I too hope that battle.net 2.0 get fixed. If fear of losing Wow subcriptions to a more social community present in battle.net 2.0, then why not just integrate World of Warcraft avatars into these chatrooms as well. – This would be an interesting aspect to see. For example: \/join battle.net-usa3\ –> Drelix has joined the channel. –> Starcraft 2 players can see the names of the people in this chat and what game they are playing, and diablo 3 characters can see a marine avatar for the sc2 players + a wow avatar representing the player’s character that is present in the chatroom as well. And I also agree that the chat interfaces for battle.net 2.0 for both games can use some re-tuning. It isn’t very inviting at all and I feel like social engagement amongs players should be a primary focus. Considering the fact that they are forcing this game to have an internet connection at all times..     

  67. I think a lot of us are forgetting how much of a hassle chat bots were. I don’t think they should mimic the style of D2 as so many of you have stated was pure excellence.
    I for one am glad to see the only system go but I also think they have failed to strike a balance between the two. AS OP said it will have an effect on the longevity of this installment of Diablo. 
     

  68. BTW whoever posted this on the d3 general forums, the thread got closed.   maybe repost without the epic sc2 failure part 🙂

  69. I agree with the article. I’ve been playing Blizzard games since Warcraft 2, and the one I played the least was in fact Starcraft 2. However the reason was two fold. Reason one is the obvious that you mentioned. The other was at the time my system didn’t run it well, but that’s really besides the point. I built a system from scratch so Diablo 3 would run like a dream, but I didn’t have the inclination to do that for Starcraft 2 after playing it for the reason you mentioned- something was missing.

  70. Got a typo in the article:
    “[b]Than[/b] I played D2 for many years. I even played WC3 for a few years, and of course, WoW for many years.”

  71. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSAJ_MXPuUQ

     
    Even the little avatar buttons with the ranks on them gave a sense of personality and involvement. Diablo II’s system improved greatly on this with the animated avatars.
    It seemed obvious to me that they would again improve on this system by adding a simple profile with an overview of tradable items, their build etc.

    How much friggin’ efford could it be to implement something like this?
     

  72. I agree 100% with this article. Take it from someone who use to hang out in channels bar and sex back in D1 days or even as far back as KALI.

    It baffles me to think how such a big company like Blizzard who have gotten things so right and perfect in the past can stuff up something so simple and so stupidly obvious to the rest of the community. 

  73. This isn’t new by any means. This has been said countless times by many respected gamers who are involved with the teamliquid.net community as well.
     
    I’ve agreed wholeheartedly with this opinion since bnet 2.0’s inception. It’s a void of a chat system.

  74. I think most of the design of the pre game interface, including stats outside the game, chat, etc is just lame. even the 3d view hero thing. that looks so amateur, not like end-design best game ever like. very alpha version.
    the chat interface is just a facebook try, looks ugly, is not comfortable to use.  

  75. Millions of people still actively playing SC 2 makes it a “failure”?

    If you’re a moron, maybe. 

  76. I am really surprised at all the comments here. Am I really the only one who vastly prefers BNet 2 over the old Bnet? I bought SC2 over a year ago and I’m still playing it daily because of the great matchmaking and ease of use. 

    I played SC1, D1 and D2 over BNet, but all I remember was spambots, immature people yelling and a very cumbersome system to get a decent game that was’nt about rushing of hacking. BNet is the reason I’ve been playing D2 in single player exclusively for the last 5 years.

    I love the way I can just jump in a SC2 game now that is guaranteed to match my skill with the simple press of a button. If I want to socialize, I’ll join a tournament or socialize with someone I just played to talk about the match.  

    Feel free to disagree, I’m just surprised that I seem to feel the absolute opposite of most of the comments above me. 

  77. This equation is super shorthanded you forget about server costs ETC. ETC.

  78. This article tells exactly what i fell.
    i used to love diablo and diablo2 and played for many years both of them.
    i played 1 week diablo3 qnd im bored. very disapointed with it. wait too many yearts for the game to come around… ;(
    i hate battle.net 2.0. Blizzard should bring us the old battle.net, a place where you can talk, make friends, meet them every day… And i am agree when you say that create game and put name on it is good. “meet me on game” anymore ;(
    I still believe in a new patch with this things… to save the game. =( too sad…

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