Battle.net 2.0 Article Series >> Rumoured Battle.net 2.0 Additions >> (Pg 1) | (Pg 2) | (Pg 3)


    Taking Heed to Rumours

    The third of this series about Battle.net is now released and if you missed the first two, they are about Battle.net history (with stats), and confirmed Battle.net changes.

    There are some rumours circulating about Battle.net 2.0, and while some of these might be too far out there to even mention, a few are worth noting as they show what we should be prepared for in the new network version. One rumour states that the new Battle.net regime will be on new servers, and in no way related to the old network; Diablo II and Diablo III players would then not be able to chat over the ingame interface. The logical support for this rumour would be that Blizzard treat games in this manner; they support the game in the form it had at release for a long time to make sure that everything works fine without bugs or major imbalances and then also make the next game better. WoW is the obvious exception, which gets major content updates regularly. Diablo II got a large content patch after release,but for the most part each game is treated in its own right.

    This would mean WarCraft II, Diablo, StarCraft, Diablo II and WarCraft III would not see the functionality such as broadcasted matches or Voice Chat mentioned in the previous article (Voice Chat could possibly be included anyway as it is more of a separate system to begin with). Regardless, we hope that this rumour is false.

    Another rumour posted by Diii.net tells of major changes to account security on Battle.net. A (voluntary) $6 key ring that gives you temporary password every 10 minutes that will prevent hackers from stealing your universal password, and they will use their experience from WoW to implement infra-software upgrades so they will completely disable duping and hacks. This rumour seems a lot more logical, and regardless whether the info actually came from Blizzard or not, the facts in it are probably true. The fact that the Blizzard Accounts now can get one of those key chains is already an indicator!

    Some More Confirmed Changes
    Before we start on the unconfirmed, changes there has been a few updates from Blizzard since the last episode of this feature was released. This is just a few points, and the source quotes are available on the third page of this article:

    • Battle.net 2.0 is the current focus.
    • Battle.net 2.0 has its own little team, working with both SC2 and D3 devs.
    • Upgrading a WoW account to a Blizzard Account will gain you an ingame WoW baby penguin.
    • StarCraft II replays will have much more info available in them that will include more detailed stat tracking, as well as other useful eSports related features.
    • Battle.net 2.0 ‘next level’ is social networking (BattleFacebook/BattleSpace?).
    • They planned social features like Steam has before they even added it.
    • DiabloWikiCheating will be handled excellently.
    • Blizzard is hiring a Battle.net User Experience Director.

    If you are interested in any of the above topics, head over to page three and revel in all the blue posts.

    Most Likely Battle.net 2.0 Features

    Regardless of your trust in rumours, we will apparently be “blown away” by Battle.net 2.0 and this would mean a great deal more than just the features listed in “Definite Battle.net 2.0 Features”! Some rumours about Blizzard games are true even if fans discount them; as a Blizzard contact told me, the “screenshot-or-it-didn’t-happen” mentality has helped Blizzard cover up minor leaks many times before. With that in mind, we’ll probably see:

    Excellent Matchmaking
    While many RTS players like the AMM system of WarCraft III, we will be seeing matchmaking quality AI at LEAST to that level for RTS games in Battle.net 2.0, and probably a lot better, as some are not happy with AMM at all… In terms of StarCraft II, it means finding opponents that are on your skill level, finding whole teams to play against or perhaps like-minded “custom” game players. As DotA-Allstars will be available for StarCraft II, and Blizzard have realised that the community can make some really astoundingly popular game types themselves, there will probably be special functionality for all types of custom games. For Diablo III, it’s more about keeping a level/gear balance, and all their work on WoW PvP matchmaking should have helped them with that! A given factor for any game is of course matching players who have the best ping with each other, as none likes to lag behind everyone else. Lightning quick servers should make sure that don’t happen.

    Broadcasting Games
    Especially for StarCraft II, Blizzard have promised good eSport support. While the current focus on D3 is on DiabloWikicooperative play and DiabloWikisingle player, it is highly likely that we will see “arena” type fights for D3, with proper eSport focus. There are primarily two ways to do this, either broadcasting inside the game, or broadcasting on the web.

    An in-game broadcast could have a lot of potential: Two (or more) players engage in their match, which is hooked up to the broadcasting server which registers all their commands and in turn sends this out to anyone who want to watch without affecting the players themselves. The data sent would not cause lag to the actual players, and the spectators would get to see the match live in their game. The user interface could either use the game’s engine straight off, or a slimmer version which provides a bigger screen and hiding the UI. In this manner, a huge number of players could watch a single match for less bandwidth than a video broadcast would require, which would be good both for the server and players with slow internet connections. All graphics calculations would be done on the PC and the owner’s game client itself.

    To avoid cheating by informing a player of opponent’s moves, a delay could be set for a few seconds. This system could also be made to broadcast replays, or just delay the broadcast by a few hours to fit schedules, while none except the very few people involved would know the outcome. As a player, you could also activate one out of several commentators for a match, with different sound channels for different personalities or languages. If you choose to follow the commentator’s screen, you could also see the commentator drawn notes or text directly on your screen just like with regular sports on TV.

    With smart video capturing software on the broadcasting server we could follow commentators’ screens on the Battle.net website. Seeing how Blizzard managed to webcast DiabloWikiWWI 2008 to millions of spectators, a few thousand D3/SC2 matches should be a picnic. On the technology side, Blizzard are fans of the bit torrent technology which they use for patching and big downloads, and could probably utilise this technology for the masses to minimize the server power and bandwidth even further.

    Page two continues with customisation, stats, feeds, security and Battle.net costs.

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