Long time readers will recall that Starcraft 2 launched without chat channels, and that Blizzard initially had no plans to include them. Only after a huge outcry from fans did they accept that their automated matchmaking system wasn’t enough, and that players wanted to communicate to set up matches, as well as just shoot the manure while chilling on Battle.net.
There are no chat channels in the Diablo III beta, but after the Starcraft 2 no-chat debacle, it was no surprise when Bashiok said that we’d see them in Diablo 3. That was long ago though, (back in October 2010) and after no mention for some time, some fans began to suspect they might not make it into D3 after all. Just this weekend, Horst from inDiablo wrote an article (in German) about why we might not seen them in Diablo 3, and started poking Bashiok for a confirmation, one way or the other.
Late Sunday he got it, via Bashiok’s twitter feed.
They’re in there right now. Unless people are expecting general open channels? We’ve consistently said we won’t have those. —Bashiok
As there are no chat channels of any kind in the D3 beta, I’m not entirely sure what Bashiok means by a “general open channel.” So there will only be privately-created channels run by guilds or clans, or ones that you can create yourself and invite your friends to come visit? Just wondering, but why don’t they want general open channels? Seriously; what’s the downside? If players want to spend their B.net time chatting, rather than playing, why is Blizzard stopping them?
Thankfully, there are other options for live Diablo 3 chat, such as our IRC channel. Also note that the Friends List provides fairly robust messaging options, including cross-game, but that’s only for people you already know; meeting someone new to chat with will be the hard part on D3’s B.net.
Update: A fan echoed a lot of the criticism you guys have stated in comments to this post, and Bashiok popped up to do his job by defending the lack of public chat channels in Diablo 3. Thanks to Sidious for the tip.
As far as having open public channels, there’s far more negative to them than positive and we maintain a stance that creating an open chat environment without a social structure behind it is an invitation for moderation and support disasters. Most people that want chat channels though are referring to guild channels, or otherwise channels they themselves can operate and choose to invite others to, and we see those as completely valid forms of chat (there’s a social structure backing the channel). As I said, back in September, it’s unlikely to be anything we attain for ship, but the social group-type chat features are still very much a desire for the future.