Battle.net 2.0 Article Series >> Battle.net 2.0 – The Next Generation Gaming Network >> (Page 1) | (Page 2)


    Battle.net 2.0 – The Next Generation Gaming Network

    There has not been much information available on the new Battle.net that will launch with StarCraft II, and will host “great” changes for how we perceive online gaming – according to Blizzard. Battle.net 2.0 will aim to be the next generation gaming network, just as Battle.net has been in the past, and be adapted to the new Blizzard games to be released the next couple of years.

    It is apparent that Blizzard are unwilling to disclose anything about Battle.net 2.0, as it will be shown in full force around the beta testing of StarCraft II. As we all have come to know Blizzard, they like to make a big deal out of things, and this is probably a really big deal to warrant this low profile for something that isn’t a full new game. I’m not hearing much complaints though, we like Blizzard’s “big things”!

    For these articles we will look a bit closer on what made Battle.net so great to begin with, as well as how it evolved and in what direction it’s heading and, of course, Battle.net 2.0. The best way of doing that is naturally to look back, and get a good overview of this almost legendary game network (with legendarily bad web presence). Here is a short summary of the last 11 years of Battle.net:

    Battle.net Launch – 1997
    [LIST][*]First ever gaming service to be incorporated into a game itself, and FREE!
    [*]Chat with simple IRC-like commands, channels and whispers, even inside games.
    [*]Up to 4 players per game. Join/leave games with anyone in the world, set password.
    [*](Data stored on hard drive, very easy to hack).
    [*]Website with help, as well as a forum.[/LIST]

    Battle.net Revamp with StarCraft – 1998
    [LIST][*]Up to 8 players in a StarCraft game, with a number of game types for preference.
    [*]Ladder features and ranking.
    [*]Possible to speak to players of other games.[/LIST]

    Battle.net Revamp with Diablo II – 2000
    [LIST][*]Move games unto the Battle.net servers. Cheating dropped significantly.
    [*]New avatars showing players as they look ingame.
    [*]Extended ladder support, including “Hardcore” gameplay.[/LIST]

    Battle.net Revamp with WarCraft III – 2002
    [LIST][*]Even still, one of the best gaming services available.
    [*]Friend System
    [*]Automatic/Anonymous Matchmaking. Reduced win-trading.
    [*]Selectable chatroom icons unlocked from player’s wins.
    [*]Friends list to keep contact with your friends.
    [*]Clan support.[/LIST]

    Battle.net Addition with Frozen Throne – 2003
    [LIST][*]Automated Tournaments.[/LIST]

    Battle.net Status – 2004
    [LIST][*]Active user count: Nearly 12 million
    [*]User hours spent per day: 2.1 million hours
    [*]Average concurrent users: 200,000
    [*]Peak concurrent users: 400,000[/LIST]

    While we don’t have any figures for Battle.net today, we can probably assume that the numbers are even greater. Talking to Pendragon, the admin of DotA-Allstars, the WarCraft III mod StarCraft II’s release alone has probably around 10 or so million somewhat active players! With the announcement of StarCraft II and Diablo III, sales of StarCraft I and Diablo II has gone up enough to hit the top-10 sales lists over the world. Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 has sold some 18,5 million boxes by now, and StarCraft isn’t far behind. Needless to say, Battle.net is big. Another obvious fact is that Battle.net has evolved during the last ten years to be more and more useful for the players.

    What is it then, that makes all these gamers come to Battle.net, instead of starting their own private servers in droves? Read about the current strengths and weaknesses of Battle.net on Page 2.

    {pagebreak}The Strength of Battle.net 1.0

    Battle.net is probably one of the best game networks around and was the first game network built in to the game itself. This is of course handy for both players and Blizzard; Battle.net has basically all online-gaming players in one sport and can show ads to millions of people, and players have the ease of just pressing a button to start a game of Diablo, StarCraft or WarCraft. This matchmaking, even if some user interface functionality from 10 years back and might leave something to desire, is very good compared to other systems. As usual, Blizzard have taken good features from different sources and melded them together to create a useful and fun FREE system for the fans. This is in fact what most players are saying is the best with Battle.net, that it is free to use.

    Most players don’t need any more reason than that, and the fact that the system works just enhances the over-all feeling of the game. You don’t think about how the server system works, and you shouldn’t! You should play and have a good time with friends, or to make new friends and match your gaming skills!

    The Website
    Still, we should not forget the web presence, and before Blizzard grew to the gigantic game developer they are today, they didn’t have the same resources. When Diablo II was released, some Blizzard representative was even annoyed with the largest Diablo fansite (Diabloii.net), about the fact that they had so much better information pages about the game than themselves. The active fans had outdone the publisher in design, usefulness and facts.

    Being an official site, the Battle.net forums have also been known to host the a relatively bad forum culture, with many “less desirable” specimen of gamers, as well as the odd spam flood. Even with a CD key requirement, some gamers could be awful on the boards. While the WoW boards (US & EU) are a lot better due to the greater number of moderators, this is probably an issue that never can be completely avoided with big official sites.

    Improvements Can Be Made
    As for the gaming, despite all the praise that the current Battle.net is worthy, there are still a lot of things that could be improved upon. The wishes of relatively more popular demand are things like being able to sort WarCraft III “DotA” games, or other custom games, on their own (as it’s very hard to see other game types easily) or small things such as having a “/r” command for quick replying, like in War3/WoW. Some fans complain about lag, and others about the lack of proper “black lists”, or “personal ban list”. Despite Battle.net’s brilliance in some areas, there are plenty of things to improve without doing a huge change like a next generation gaming network.

    While the “whining” of some players might be misplaced (remember, Battle.net is free), Blizzard is obviously very interested in improving the network further. Their plan is to overwhelm us, and knowing Blizzard, I have no doubt they will.

    Jay Wilson: I can’t really talk about Battle.net but I will say, Battle.net will not be a background. I’ll be huge, the next version will be absolutely Blizzard’s focus. Everyone is going to be thrilled when they see the kind of stuff we have planned! It feeds into our overall focus of providing a really great service for our players.
    Despite keeping most of Battle.net 2.0 under wraps, some pieces of information has been seeping out from the great machinery that is Blizzard. Read more on confirmed features of Battle.net 2.0 in the second part of the Battle.net 2.0 Article Series by Diii.net! Definite Battle.net 2.0 Features will be release shortly, so keep an eye out.

    ================SECOND ARTICLE================

    Battle.net 2.0 Article Series >> Definite Battle.net 2.0 Features >> (Page 1) | (Page 2)


    As mentioned in the previous article about Blizzards game network, most of Battle.net 2.0 is still tightly under wraps, and while the last Diablo III forum spam we have seen for the past weeks has been most annoying, a complete solution to that problem will most likely wait until AMM, which is unfortunate. If the situation slips out of control completely, Blizzard will probably do something drastic, like software upgrades, or closing down the forums and reserve it for ‘blue’ posts. Regardless, the next version of Battle.net should be upon us soon and this is what we have been able to squirm out of Blizzard reps that WILL be in the gaming network:

    Definite Battle.net 2.0 Features

    Improved Battle.net In-Game Functionality
    Any quote from Blizzard clearly states that while they won’t talk much about Battle.net 2.0, we will be blown away or be very impressed. It’s a given that all current features for Battle.net will be included – and improved! Blizzard has said they have learned a lot from WoW on infrastructure, and features from WoW will definitely also be seen. Obviously to include:
    [LIST][*]Excellent Ping
    [*]Channels and Chat in-game
    [*]Ladders and Rankings
    [*]AMM-type Matchmaking
    [*]Avatars, Images and Icons to represent yourself
    [*]Diablo III Hardcore mode
    [*]Friends/Ignore Lists
    [*]Clan Support
    [*]Automated Tournaments[/LIST]
    As an example, we just found out that Diablo III players possibly will deal with all their trading directly by whispers in the new net. We should hope for a lot of changes with even the most mundane features!

    Just like in WoW, Achievements will be added to Diablo II and StarCraft III. Achievements such as “Win 100 StarCraft II games”, or “Level your character to 100” will be added to the games. These will be recorded on Account basis, and give a score to your “Blizzard Level” (see below). It is another way to increase continued entertainment in gameplay. Whether these features will be available only for new games, or all Blizzard’s Battle.net games is unknown but it seems likely they will only be available in new releases. Blizzard have explained that all games’ Achievements will give a score that stacks to give you a “Blizzard level”. Further information is not yet available, except for StarCraft II release date, where testing is now commencing in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta.

    This is also a feature to bring people in to the multiplayer game, as the Achievements will only be available online where they can be checked against cheating. It should be more fun online, even solo. Trading and co-op is just a bonus.

    In-Game Voice Chat
    Especially mentioned for StarCraft II, but also a very likely feature in other games is VoIP (Voice over IP) or “Voice Chat”. The technology is already implemented in WoW, and has been promised as an example of what will come with Battle.net. It probably won’t replace Ventrilo/TeamSpeak for the active gamers, but a great new way to chat for everyone else.

    As Blizzard is learning from WoW when it comes to server infrastructure where they are battling hackers and exploiters, the new Battle.net will be built on programming that prevent any form of cheating and hacking. Taking several lessons from WoW in that regard, “duping” in Diablo III will be come impossible. The Accounts will also help to get people more responsible online.

    eSport Support
    We don’t have the details on what this mean exactly; there will be support for eSports and those features will probably be available for custom tournaments or ladders as well. IPTV and broadcasted matches are likely features, but only StarCraft II is currently confirmed to have eSport support. Diablo III eSports are not unlikely, but we’ll see more when PvP combat is revealed.

    “Blizzard Accounts” – Major Web Upgrade
    If these “Blizzard Accounts” are the same as the current ones, or if they will be on Battle.net is not yet revealed. Considering the handy integration with the Blizzard Store, it seems likely.

    There is currently a web presence for the games today through Battle.net, but there is still room for improvement. Even Blizzard reps admit to that, and and say: “Wait for B.net 2.0!”. Blizzard has said that they will make upgrades to the forums, and I’ve received crumbs of information from Blizzard reps about the boards; hinting of a more flexible WoW-type forum layout. These boards won’t be flooded with thousands of spam threads every so often. We’ll get to sort friends lists and other features directly on one control panel on the web – On Battle.net, or linked to it.

    Even vBulletin now uses profile pages (example: Leord) for creating stronger bonds with the community, and the account at Battle.net will surely outdo that! It would have a registration similar to the Blizzard Store and possibly even tie in the store to the account for easy upgrades/purchases.

    While it isn’t 100% sure that the themselves will be located on Battle.net, they will most likely be an integral part of the Battle.net experience, and linking together Achievements from WoW, StarCraft II and Diablo III. You would be able to register your games with the central account, and get to see all your stats as well as friends’ (or foes’). The account will probably be able to give you detailed stats of your games and characters, just like the World of WarCraft Armory.

    Just remember that it’s possible that Diablo III, StarCraft II and WoW will be on a separate system to the older games, so “games” might just refer to these three!

    Kaplan: Your ‘WoW’ score would be just one factor that will go into your Blizzard Level. And rather than call it a ’score,’ we just wanted it to be like you’re leveling up on Blizzard games… You’ll have this Blizzard identity, and you’ll be able to see things like ‘Oh, this guy was great at Diablo III, but he never played Starcraft and he was mediocre in WoW. That sort of thing.[/BLUE]

    Online Responsibility 2.0
    Accountability is another thing that comes with an account. If you use a hack, or try to maliciously exploit a game, you could be banned from not only your game, but all the social contacts, Achievement points and status that comes with it – perhaps even other games you have bought! While you would still be able to play offline, it’s a BIG step towards making people feel more responsible for their actions online. Add in personal ban lists, or alert lists of “bad” players, and you’ll realize you might want to behave online, or be left out!

    Battle.net 2.0 Launch Date
    Blizzard never give release dates (…any more! They used to, a long time ago), we do actually have an ETA on both Battle.net 2.0 and StarCraft II. Diablo III’s date is unfortunately still held in mystery, but we will probably get a better idea at BlizzCon 2008. We know that the first true peek of Battle.net 2.0 will be given at the latest by the StarCraft II release (more likely by the StarCraft II beta). The StarCraft II beta seems likely to start before the end of the year, so the new Battle.net will at least available to try out by then. With this information, the definite release date of Battle.net 2.0 then really becomes a discussion of the StarCraft II release date, a few months from now we’ll be surfing it and counting the score points to our next “Blizzard Level”.

    I think probably sometimes towards the end of the year, we’re going to really start talking about the new Battle.net features as they pertain to StarCraft 2.
    Play over Battle.net, join your friends at any time. We have a lot of improvements to Battle.net. Whole newer version of it. It’s going to premiere with sc 2. you can be sure everything Starcraft 2 uses we’ll take advantage of and many more cool features. It supports easy communication and connection with other players. Matchmaking. Get online, find friends, have a good time quickly.

    On the multiplayer side [of Diablo III], Battle.net isn’t ready to premiere yet, but we’ll have more about that in the coming months.

    While the list of definite Battle.net changes will grow longer, keep in mind that Blizzard have been very tight lipped about it. As for the changes that most likely will come and or are rumoured to have been told by Blizzard to different sources, read more in the last instalment of the Battle.net 2.0 Articles, to be released soon!


    ================THIRD ARTICLE================


    Battle.net 2.0 Article Series >> Battle.net 2.0 – The Next Generation Gaming Network >> (Page 1) | (Page 2)


    Taking Heed to Rumours

    There are some rumours circulating about Battle.net 2.0, and while some might be too “spacey” to even mention, a few are worth noting, or be prepared for. One rumour state that the new Battle.net regime will be on new servers, and not related to the old net. 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 somewhat like this. They support the game in the form of release, and make sure it works fine, without bugs or major imbalances, and then just make the next game better.

    This would mean WarCraft II, Diablo, StarCraft, Diablo II and WarCraft III would not see the functionality such as broadcasted matches or Voice Chat. The latter might 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 to prevent hackers from stealing your universal account password, and infra-software upgrades to use experience from WoW to completely disable duping and hacks. This rumour seem a lot more logical, and regardless if the info actually came from Blizzard or not, the facts in it are probably true.

    Most Likely Battle.net 2.0 Features

    Regardless of your trust in rumours (“screenshot or it didn’t happen” has helped Blizzard many times, according to themselves), we will apparently be “blown away” by Battle.net 2.0, and this would mean a great deal more than just the features listed on Page 2.


    Excellent Matchmaking
    While most RTS players like the AMM system of WarCraft III, we will be seeing at LEAST that good matchmaking for RTS games in Battle.net 2.0. In terms of StarCraft II, it means finding opponents good for you, as well as teams or like-minded “custom” game players. As DotA-Allstars will be available for StarCraft II, and Blizzard have learned that the community can make some really 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/skill balance, which might be harder to set. A given factor for any game is of course matching players that would have the best ping towards each other.

    Broadcasting Games
    Especially for StarCraft II, Blizzard has promised good eSport support. While the current focus on D3 is co-op, it is possible that we will see “arena” type fights for D3, and some 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 do their match, which is hooked up with broadcasting server that registers all their sent commands and voice chat, which in turn sends this out to anyone who want to watch. The data sent would not give any lag to the actual players, and the spectators would get to see the match live. The user interface could either be the same as in-game, or be more slim, to allow bigger screen, and hiding the UI. In this manner, a huge number of players could watch a single match for less bandwidth than video would take. All graphics would be done on the PC itself.

    To avoid cheating, a delay could be set for a few seconds as well. This system could also be made to broadcast replays, or just delay the broadcast by a few hours, to fit some schedule, while none except the players would know the outcome. You could also activate commentators for a match, having one or many, with different sound channels. If you choose to follow the screen of the commentator, you could also see drawn notes or text directly on your screen just like sport commentator on TV.

    The screen of one (or more) commentators could in turn also be converted to regular audio and broadcasted through the Battle.net website. Seeing how they managed to webcast WWI to millions of fans, a few thousand D3/SC2 matches should be a picnic. On the technology side, Blizzard are fans of the torrent technology, and could probably utilise that for the masses, to avoid having to use too much server power and bandwidth

    Custom Tournaments, Stat Feeds and XML
    Featuring either in-game ability to start custom ladders/tournaments, or related to the web, more tools will be available for your use, and keeping all tools on one location.

    The amount of things you can dow ith current web design that was unavailable back in 1997 is staggering, and we will most likely be able to pull feeds and xml data driectly from Battle.net unto our websites or blogs, to display our own status (yes, people do like ePeen), or compile new lists. A perfect solution for managing your own ladders or tournaments, with no need to use any other gaming network as base besides Battle.net, while at the same time possible for your blog visitors to get all their specific needs at one site. An “open-ended” sollution.

    Battle.net Security[/URL]
    As explained in the rumour above. Regardless if that is a real source or not, it will most probably see the light of day with Battle.net 2.0. It is another logical step to get people more interested in valuing their accounts higher.

    Ban List
    Perhaps to simple to even bring up, but a lot of fans seems to press this button a LOT. A personal ban list is very probable for Battle.net, and ways to customize how you want to handle people you DON’T like. Alerts when such a person would enter a game you joined, automatically ban him from all games you make or even squelshing him when he tries to speak to you. Simple, but wanted, and probable.

    Free Gaming for the Masses!
    The question about any payment fees for Battle.net has so far been dodged by Blizzard, but not more so than other features. They have been relatively quiet about the specifications of the upgrade in general. Still, a great debate has been raging over Diablo III and StarCraft II fansites, and while a few are more than happy to pay a bit, the majority seems to be violent opponents against the idea. This is probably quite natural, as that is one of the best things about Battle.net 1.0!

    Another reason to keep it free could be Blizzard’s online legal liabilities. Strictly speaking they are liable for online harassment on their servers. If the service is free, and somewhat easy to become part of the community, they are better off from a legal standpoint. PC Bangs in Korea (“gaming cafes” basically, the way Koreans way), will also ensure Blizzard won’t limit the amount of Battle.net accounts.

    On the economical side of things the devs are talking about “business models” for the games, citing WoW as one, and StarCraft/Diablo 2 as another. This naturally mean a subscription or the one-off fee are both “business models” as such. As Jay Wilson said, they are going to see what fits best for each game. Well, the fans most certainly thinks the one-off fee works best, and it has sustained the previous games! As we saw the discussion at DiabloWikiWWI 2008, we didn’t feel like it was going to be pay-to-play, and UGO mentions this especially in their latest Diablo 3 preview:

    Pricing for the game is still being decided, but don’t expect to pay subscription fees for access to Battle.net. Sure, there’s always the possibility that different membership tiers will be introduced later on, but nothing we heard during our chat suggested that the team has anything other than a free-to-play model in mind for Diablo III’s online play.

    In the end Battle.net is just an advanced matchmaking service, and even if Battle.net 2.0 will be way more advanced, it is still possible to get most of that content for free today, and Blizzard wants to keep all gamers under one roof. The “in-game advertisement” that Bobby Kotick talked about is on Battle.net itself, and would also help with any revenue gain needed.


    On the Whole
    Over all, if you weren’t already excited about Battle.net 2.0, I hope you are now. It’s one thing to think about a forum upgrade, and one to try to visualize the “Blizzualisation” of gaming networks, and know that the experience will just be superior to anything else. Why do you think Mike keeps talkign about how the PC gaming is the way to go (compared to console-fans saying it’s dead)? Besides WoW, which naturally backs him up a great deal, I’d say WoW, and you don’t have to be a Blizzard-fan to appreciatet he fact that whatever Blizzard do, they do great.

    On the last page is a collection of some of the more prominent quotes that I based the article on, those that didn’t make it to the main article.

    1UP: Can you talk about any specific Battle.net changes that will be made for Diablo III?

    RP: Battle.net is in constant evolution; for each game we really add a lot of features to Battle.net. And right now we’re really focusing on the Battle.net features for StarCraft II. But we definitely have been keeping Diablo III in mind also. I think probably sometimes towards the end of the year, we’re going to really start talking about the new Battle.net features as they pertain to StarCraft 2, and a lot of those features will carry over to Diablo III.

    Competitive play seems to get the focus when you talk about mp games, and it’s awesome and we’ll have some, but we’re not talking about yet. But co-op was our focus. And it’s a key to why Diablo has done so well. Play over Battle.net, join your friends at any time. We have a lot of improvements to Battle.net. Whole newer version of it. It’s going to premiere with sc 2. you can be sure everything Starcraft 2 uses we’ll take advantage of and many more cool features. It supports easy communication and connection with other players. Matchmaking. Get online, find friends, have a good time quickly. More co-op battles, and a game that supports that.

    On the multiplayer side, Battle.net isn’t ready to premiere yet, but we’ll have more about that in the coming months.

    With World of WarCraft you have a subscription-base MMO, however, in the past StarCraft and Diablo 2-players used the Battle.net for free. What about the future? Are there any new features and will it cost something?

    Well, with the Battle.net we’re still doing a lot of work on it right now. we really want to do a lot of features and keep it like the premier gaming portal in PC-gaming. So, we’re not really annoucing anything yet but we’re hoping that around the StarCraft 2 Beta we will really start to talk about Battle.net features.

    One thing that seems to be a fairly consistent experience for a lot of people when they first picked up Diablo II was their introduction to Battle.net. And it wasn’t generally a positive one.

    Most people, including myself, went home and installed the game and started playing. Over maybe a few weeks or months they’ve finished the game maybe a few times, they had a ton of fun, but they keep playing and trying to find more items.

    One day while loading up the game they notice the “Battle.net” button and decide to click it… and, their characters aren’t there. They have to start over. Any of us would have gladly played on Battle.net (in passworded games if necessary) just to have that online/trading option for their character available to them. It felt like a lot of wasted time to find the actual game, which was on Battle.net.

    While “starting over” is something almost every Diablo II player is going to do any way, the lack of on-screen instruction or indication as to what the different systems meant left a bad taste.

    To help avoid that type of situation we’re going to try to find ways to encourage Battle.net character creation first and foremost.

    It’s basically a gamerscore. For now the points are just a ‘WoW’ character score. As we graduate to that Blizzard Account system, which is right on the horizon, it will switch over to a Blizzard Level. Your ‘WoW’ score would be just one factor that will go into your Blizzard Level. And rather than call it a ’score,’ we just wanted it to be like you’re leveling up on Blizzard games… You’ll have this Blizzard identity, and you’ll be able to see things like ‘Oh, this guy was great at Diablo III, but he never played Starcraft and he was mediocre in WoW. That sort of thing.

    Eventually, our plans are for the [WoW] Achievement system to become an account-based system.[/BLUE]


    Q: One of the problems of playing on D2 on Battle.net is that there were so many power gamers who would crush everyone, or you’d get younger players who were tough to put up with.
    A: We’re looking at features and functionality to improve battle.net and to increase accountability online. Details to reveal in the future. Part of that is how you design your game. Foul language filters can be gotten around. If you make a game that encourages players to co-op and get along with each other you will encourage good play experience.

    Q: In d2 many overpowered players on Battle.net. Any solution to that in D3? To stopping cheats?
    A: I can’t talk about specifics at this point, but in the new version of Battle.net security is a big priority. The security is much stronger. Being able to prevent cheats is one of our biggest focuses. We realize that those really hurt the community.


    There are additional plans to streamline item-sharing between different characters, one suggestion being to allow items to be traded or sent through whispers.
    Pricing for the game is still being decided, but don’t expect to pay subscription fees for access to Battle.net. Sure, there’s always the possibility that different membership tiers will be introduced later on, but nothing we heard during our chat suggested that the team has anything other than a free-to-play model in mind for Diablo III’s online play.


    Blizzard’s keeping details about the new B.net under tight wraps, but I was talking with a rep and he said that there is a “chance” that the new b.net servers for SC2 and D3 might be on a different server schema than original b.net… meaning that they would have no interactions with older game clients. (i.e. they won’t have the same channels and couldn’t whisper each other—essentially an entirely seperate b.net)

    Just giving you guys a heads up.


    I’ve lived in Austin for almost 2 years and Blizzard has a small outpost of operations here. I have made friends with some of the managers for Blizzard and found out the following:

    When D3 comes out, Blizzard will be making major changes to battle.net. All players will have a universal battle.net account for all games. They will start selling a $6 key chain with a digital face that updates every 10 minutes or so with a new 11-digit number. That 11-digit number will be your password. This will make it nearly impossible to keylog or bruteforce accounts.

    The programming that is going into D3 is totally different than D2. They are not updating from D2-D3 like they did from D1-D2. They are rehashing the entire underbelly of the game and using many of the things they’ve learned from WoW to make it more secure. Duping items is going to be impossible. The way it was explained to me was: “It’s going to be a game with WOW architecture but with a D2 skin.”

    I asked, but don’t have any word on weather or not it will be pay-to-play. With security measures like the keychain-code, I’m sure it will be.

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