Bashiok replied to a question about the Battle.net forums, “Why do these forums suck?” with a tease of coming soon technical upgrades. He doesn’t mention it, but I have it on good authority that the new Diablo 3 “community” site will be online very soon, presumably at the same time as the upgraded forums. (It will be just like the SC2 and WoW blog-style sites.)
“Upgraded” forums means more features, but probably not for you, since the new forum will only permit posting by people with active Starcraft 2 or World of Warcraft accounts. The rest of us will have to wait until Diablo 3 is released to gain posting access to the forum; a Diablo 2 account won’t do it.
Bashiok: Most indubitably. They’ll require an active WoW or SC2 license to post, though, since there won’t be a Diablo III beta license yet.
We won’t allow “classic” Battle.net keys. I think that was probably obvious, though.
Why wouldn’t you put in a restriction on just having a B.net ID? Why require other games?
Bashiok: We have a concept of high-level Battle.net accounts, but there’s no such thing as an account-wide ID, so to allow people to post we have to have some kind of attachment to a product.
One, because we want there to be some way to actually have a punishment mean something if they’re suspended/banned from the forums they can’t just make a new Battle.net account and keep breaking whatever rules they want to, but second so we actually have an identity to display which they create in either StarCraft II or World of Warcraft.
How about when the beta is finally out. Will you then lock it down to D3 Beta users only?
Bashiok: No, because there’s only a limited number of people that are going to get into the beta and we want people to be able to talk about the game assuming they won’t have a game license until they can buy it.
We will have specific beta forums where only people with beta licenses can post, though.
…We’re planning to leave this forum open until release of the game for those that don’t own WoW or SC2.
Happily, if you’re like me and access the B.net forums entirely through our blue tracker and news on this page… nothing will change! You’ll still be able to get just the Blue posts without muss or fuss.
If you do post in the new forums, especially once Diablo 3 is out… you’ll want to be very careful what you say. Forum access isn’t the same as game access, but people have been banned from both for various infractions, so they’re not entirely distinct. I don’t think anyone would be too heartbroken over a B.net forum ban, but if you get banned from D3… that’s it. With no offline mode, you’ve got a shiny sixty-dollar paperweight in your DVD drive.
One would hope that Blizzard remains somewhat tolerant of different points of view and allows criticism, but seriously, you might want to take it easy on the “Bobby Kotick needed a new solid gold bathtub in his guest mansion” jokes in RMAH threads. Their unchallengeable authority to lock you out of playing your favorite game is quite a powerful tool.
If you’d like to speak your mind and debate openly without such fear, might I humbly suggest some?
Post updated slightly after useful feedback in comments.