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Blizzard Previews Revamped Battle.net 188

Posted by Soulskill
from the find-out-precisely-how-bad-you-are dept.
Blizzard updated the official StarCraft II site today with a preview of how the revamped Battle.net will function. They emphasize the social features, competitive matchmaking system, and the ease of sharing mods and maps. Quoting: "When the legacy Battle.net service introduced support for user-created mods such as DotA, Tower Defense, and many others, these user-created game types became immensely popular. But while Battle.net supported mods at a basic level, integration with tools and the mod community wasn't where it needed to be for a game releasing in 2010. The new Battle.net service will see some major improvements in this area. StarCraft II will include a full-featured content-creation toolkit — the same tools used by the StarCraft II design team to create the single-player campaign. To fully harness the community's mapmaking prowess, Battle.net will introduce a feature called Map Publishing. Map Publishing will let users upload their maps to the service and share them with the rest of the community immediately on the service. This also ties in with the goal of making Battle.net an always-connected experience — you can publish, browse, and download maps directly via the Battle.net client. Finding games based on specific mods will also be much easier with our all-new custom game system, placing the full breadth of the modding community's efforts at your fingertips."
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Blizzard Previews Revamped Battle.net

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Isn't adding a monetary incentive for mods going to overshadow the inherent incentive of creating something fun?

    • Payments aren't required. This will provide the perfect mechanism to allow full game replacement mods as those usually involve a small team of developers and real monetary investment. There is nothing wrong with giving mod developers the option to be paid for their work.
      • by mrxak (727974)

        My hope is that people resist the urge to get greedy, and the only maps that end up being pay-to-play are the truly commercial-grade level of mods for the game, like completely new campaigns with new art, new units, etc.

        My expectation is any stand-alone maps that cost money will simply be copied, with or without enough changes to justify a legal defense, and made available for free, undercutting the entire paid DLC model on Battle.net.

  • Just wondering. The subscription model of WoW has kept me using WC3. :)

      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        Yes, it's free.

        So there's no ongoing benefit to Blizzard keeping the Starcraft 2 servers going after about a year when the sales start to trail off.

        What is it like TWELVE YEARS now and people are still playing Starcraft against one another via LAN? You think there's any chance that Blizzard is going to still be running a Starcraft 2 server in 2022?

        Sometimes, being a fan of a product to the extent that you'd buy it no matter what works against your own best interest.

        • by space_jake (687452) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:19AM (#31085176)
          It's been 12 years since Starcraft came out and legacy Battle.net is still up.
          • by mrxak (727974)

            Yeah, I don't think we really have to worry about Blizzard taking their servers down any time soon. They sell their new games based on the fact that Battle.net is so good and reliable for more than a decade now.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Duradin (1261418)
          Isn't Diablo 2 *still* active on battle.net?
          • Yup. There's still quite a few playing Diablo 2. Though Blizzard has pissed a lot off with the upcoming patch... lot of failed expectations there.
            • by Yvan256 (722131)

              These days, I think there's more spambots than players though.

              They're not only annoying, they're badly coded. They enter a game, spew their crap and then leave in less than one second. Lags the game to hell, annoys all the players.

              The worst part is: five seconds later, another spambots enters the game and spew the SAME crap again. And then you get a bonus spambot spewing crap for another website three seconds later.

          • by ildon (413912)

            Diablo 1 is still active on battle.net. This is the game that launched the service in 1996.

        • by brkello (642429)
          Are you completely stupid? If you can judge by the history of Blizzard which still runs battle.net for Starcraft, a 10+ year old game. Then yes. Yes it would still be up.

          Turn in your gamer card for not knowing that.
      • by wjousts (1529427)
        For now.
  • Facebattle.net (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tuxedobob (582913) <tuxedobob@@@mac...com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @05:57AM (#31083546)

    Great, more of this "social networking" garbage? Can't a game just be a game anymore?

    • Re:Facebattle.net (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JorDan Clock (664877) <jordanclock@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:18AM (#31083624)
      It's garbage to include these kinds of tools in a game that is primarily played as multiplayer? Gaming has become a very social activity over the past few years, in case you haven't noticed. Adding social networking to Battle.net is a pretty obvious choice when you see the success of Xbox Live! and PSN as gaming platforms. They do so well because people have the ability to create groups. You can keep in touch with all the people you enjoy playing with instead of just playing endless games against people you don't know. A multiplayer platform without social networking abilities is pretty much an oxymoron today.
      • by zoloto (586738)
        Purely moronic actually :P
      • by Ihmhi (1206036)

        I just wish they would have made a deal with somebody at some point. I'm all over the "gaming social networks" because I'm a heavy gamer - there's LIVE, PSN, Xfire, Steam, Facebook (in a way), and now BNET 2.0. I wish they would have just cut a deal with Steam like so many games do and saved a whole bunch of people the headache.

        This takes me back to the IM client wars of the early 00s...

        • by ShakaUVM (157947)

          >>there's LIVE, PSN, Xfire, Steam, Facebook (in a way), and now BNET 2.0.

          Almost every company is making their own usually terrible social network site. For example, you have to enroll with Bioware's shitty social networking site to play Dragon Age or (presumably) ME2, or at least to get the collector's edition items that you probably should have just gotten included when you bought the game. I'm principally annoyed at them since they had two different email addresses on file for me, and kept bouncing

          • I will say this about Bioware social club. At least your DLC can be cross platform. When you get DLC codes it is added to your Bioware site, platform agnostic. I do also like the screenshots it takes of your adventures.
        • Ubisoft is coming out with their own network as well. EA has a login for most of its games now too.. Pretty much all the major players have competing 'networks' now. Game for Windows Live is the fucking worst though. If im playing a GFW Live game even in SINGLE PLAYER MODE, i have to be connected to the net to even SAVE MY GAME. Worse then that it kicks my GF off Netflix on the XBox becasue Live is PER USER, which i find to be an incredible scam.
      • by jerep (794296)

        It still should be optional, people should be free to decide whether they want to use the bnet integration or not. I myself will most likely run sc2 behind a firewall when i play the single player campaign to not be bothered and find a bnet-to-lan utility for lan gaming.

      • Re:Facebattle.net (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sgtrock (191182) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:14AM (#31085100)

        It's garbage to include these kinds of tools in a game that is primarily played as multiplayer? Gaming has become a very social activity over the past few years, in case you haven't noticed.

        You youngsters don't know what you missed during id software's heyday. Gaming "has become" a very social activity??? You never played a player mod for Doom ][ or Quake, then, I take it. You never got to play with Homer Simpson as your avatar. Never played Quess, or Weapons Factory, or the original Team Fortress, or QRally, or Loki's Minions, or the original Threewave CTF, or any number of other lesser known player created mods. You never played the original Counter-Strike betas on the HL engine, either.

        You never played on team ladders like those hosted by OGL [worldogl.com]. You never listened in on Tapper's live netcasts on Radio Evil.

        You never found a handful of servers that you played on regularly. Never got to know the regulars as friends. Never participated on a hosting clan's forums.

        Going even further back, you never played Empire on PLATO [daleske.com].

        Online gaming has always been a very social activity. The only real change is that many gaming companies, Valve among them, are making it tougher and tougher to create player created and managed communities. I see this as a HUGE step in the wrong direction. :-(

        • "Valve among them, are making it tougher and tougher to create player created and managed communities. "

          IT's about managing eyeballs in the end, battle.net remember has ads spamming, even if many of those ads are centered around blizzard products, I imagine ad spamming will get worse in the future.

          • Battle.net had one ad displayed at the top of the screen. Are you not able to move your eyeballs down?

        • Heh, you bring back some fantastic memories. Homer, Cartman, Gumby, and Chewy playing the Headhunters mod for Quake II. "Doh", "Respect mayh Authority", and "Muaaaahhhaaa" echoing around a basement....

          You make fantastic, fantastic points. Thanks.
      • As long as I don't have to disclose everything including the times I'll probably sit on the can as in most other "social" websites with the rest of the world, I can stomach it.

        Face it, what do I want from a "multiplayer community platform"?

        a) A matchmaking service that pits me against (or with, in co-op games) players of a similar skill level.
        b) A way to keep track of the people I liked to play with (today elevated to "friend" status, but personally, I'd use the word far more selectively).
        c) A way to keep m

    • by DavidD_CA (750156)

      Yes. Just don't log on to Battle.net.

    • Starcraft II will have a single player mode.

  • by xlsior (524145) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @06:46AM (#31083760) Homepage
    From their site: In the past, Battle.net was presented as a multiplayer option off to the side, off of the main menu of Blizzard Entertainment titles. That is all changing. With the new Battle.net experience, the service and the game are now interwoven into one experience. Whether you are in single-player or multiplayer StarCraft II, you are always connected, and enjoy a bevy of new and enhanced functionality.

    Just... Great.

    Yet another game that you can't play without being tethered to the internet. No biggie for multiplayer, but it really shouldn't have any business in single-player campaign mode...
    • Yet another game that you can't play without being tethered to the internet

      Heaven forbid you could entertain yourself on a long haul flight, or on a high-speed long distance train journey.

    • by zoloto (586738)
      Could always have your firewall block and play in offline mode. It's not like they'll prevent it like Steam tried to, right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Schadrach (1042952)

      Other than assuming the worst, there's no reason to assume the game cannot function in single player without being connected to battle.net.

      After all (and ignoring that GFWL is crap for a second), I could make the same statements about Fallout 3, Dawn of War, or Resident Evil 5 and GFWL. Being able to be "always connected" for "enhanced functionality". None of them require you to log into GFWL to function in single player though. Or any Steam game for that matter (you can go to offline mode, but then you

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      It doesn't say that it's mandatory, just that it's available. XBox Live and Steam both have an online presence in singleplayer games, it didn't stop you starting the software offline.

    • I imagine the subset of the population that this will impact is vanishingly small. Your desktop is obviously always connected, so we're looking at laptops. Given that the graphics are fairly modern, we can eliminate vast swaths of the notebook market. RTS games require a mouse - using a touchpad for an RTS is an exercise in frustration and can only sound like a viable option to someone who has never actually tried it. So now we're looking at a gaming laptop with enough flat area to use a mouse - somethi
      • Your desktop is obviously always connected

        I beg to differ. A lot of people who stick to single-player or split-screen gaming do so because they live where they can't get anything above dial-up and don't want to tie up the phone line for an hour at a time. Even people who live in range of low-end DSL often have PPPoE, and my mother reports that PPPoE will deny her a connection if too many other users are connected to the same DSLAM.

        Given that the graphics are fairly modern, we can eliminate vast swaths of the notebook market.

        I beg to differ. Any chipset with a better GPU than Intel's "Graphics My Ass", such as the NVIDIA ION chipset, can run

    • How to do tournament play? with out have the on line part? as for tournament you need to keep stuff to local systems only as any kind of lag / server mess up may mess things up and being on line makes it more likely to not be 100% the same for all players. also people may not want to get banded for what ever software may be on the tournaments systems that are not there own systems.

    • by ildon (413912)

      You can play it just fine in offline ("Guest") mode. It simply does not record your "achievements" in that mode. But you can still play single players and save your games and what not. This was discussed at length at Blizzcon, mostly due to angry people asking about LAN play at the Q&A session after the speech. I didn't check out this new preview so I'm not sure if it was mentioned there.

  • I like the deep cross-game integration of status, matchmaking and voice chat but I wish all the players building their own closed social gaming platforms would also build a proper external API to go with it (Xbox Live, Steam etc.).

    Maybe we need a Open Game Achievement Standards Body RFC comity group thingie?
  • From TFA: "With the StarCraft II Marketplace, players will be able to browse, download, rate, comment on, and even buy mods if their creators choose to put a price tag on their work."
    That's neat and all, but I'm wondering if there will be some way to prevent a user from buying a mod, changing it just slightly, and re-uploading it for free.
    • by Necroman (61604)

      As many people I've talked to about this feature has brought this up as well, I'm guessing Blizzard has already thought of this. Maybe Blizzard will specially encrypt maps that you had to pay for so you can't distributed or edit them. I'm pretty sure it's been thought of, but we'll have to see the protection method when the game goes into beta/live.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mrxak (727974)

      Probably nothing will prevent somebody from doing that, other than edit protections built into the maps themselves. Such things tend to get hacked, though. The real thing will be simply folks making a very similar map for free. My guess is, the folks trying to actually charge for maps will be laughed/scorned so much that nobody really bothers, though maybe we'll get some commercial-grade full campaign mods that cost a bit of money (and actually be worth it).

      • by TikiTDO (759782)

        Or the people charging for mods will be trying to sell work they invested a very significant amount of time into. Something that would not be easy to reproduce for free. Steam has shown that this model works pretty well, so SC2 is not likely to be fundamentally different.

  • Here is a Problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kenp2002 (545495) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @10:36AM (#31085396) Homepage Journal

    Here is a problem that has risen from social networking and what not and I can point the finger at Blizzard.

    In WoW they came up with all this great new data mining and achievements. We end up with gear scores and Wow Heroes etc.

    Now I have a friend that just decided to start playing back in October. He signs up and starts playing on Elune for instance. In 3 months he never was invited into a single group. Ever. Why? "He didn't have any heirloom gear" and "His gear score is too low." etc... The digital equivalent of "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

    At far as what I've seen most of this social networking crap is only going to frustrate new players and build walls to keep new players out. Most game related social networking results in Clique building and tribal nonsense. I survived the ACiD, TRiBE, iCE ANSI wars in the BBS era. I witnessed the grand flame wars of Usenet. I saw the clan wars in the MMO days, I saw the Guild fights in the early days of the MMOs culminating in the rise of the Uber guilds. The one thing I can say with certainty is "The more 'social' networking tools the more 'anti-social' people behave." or another way to say it is "Social networking is the fertilizer on the asshole crop". I am also fond of "Shit floats in the waters of user content" but that is a bit off topic.

    I fear that, from what I've seen, Bnet's new social networking tools is going to be more about shutting people out rather then bringing people together.

    • by mrxak (727974)

      You really can't compare MMORPG drama with social tools like having a buddy list in an RTS matchmaking system. There's no persistent gear in Starcraft II. There's going to be battle.net clans, but there already are battle.net clans. The new tools will help those clans keep in touch with each other better, that's really it. As for the achievements, they amount to "this guy finished the campaign" or "this guy reached rank 10 on the multiplayer ladders", neither of which will really matter beyond what will alr

    • so... you have a problem with humanity then?

      Online social networks are not much different from regular life networks

      Have you grown out of the high school stage where you sit there pointlessly wondering "why can't everyone be invited to the party?"

      Well everyone can't. The house only fits 20 people. You can't be friends with everyone, because there's only 24 hours in a day and you won't get to know anyone a friend without sacrificing time with someone else. Socializing means excluding some others. Just ac

    • Now I have a friend that just decided to start playing back in October. He signs up and starts playing on Elune for instance. In 3 months he never was invited into a single group. Ever. Why? "He didn't have any heirloom gear" and "His gear score is too low." etc... The digital equivalent of "The rich get richer and the poor get poorer."

      So wait... you're blaming Blizzard's tools for the fact that these other players are morons? Any WoW player with any sense knows that it's not worth obsessing over someone's gear for 5-mans, let alone the low-level ones. It's unfortunate that Elune is apparently populated by elitist morons, but I don't think we can blame the Armory for that. Before there was the Armory, there was inspecting someone, and yes, people got booted from groups when they got inspected and their gear wasn't up to someone's "standar

    • by brkello (642429)
      All new players are going to feel left behind when they join an MMO years after it started. It isn't hard to find a group because of gear, it's hard because most people don't run lower level instances any more. At higher levels, there isn't much of a problem finding groups unless you really have no idea what you are doing.
    • ....I've seen attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate.....
    • Or, in other words, make sure you play with friends. Then you don't have to worry about gear checks, loot whores, anonymous assholes and other douchebaggery. And look - the social networking tools make that easy! Whodathunkit.

    • by ildon (413912)

      In WoW they came up with all this great new data mining and achievements. We end up with gear scores and Wow Heroes etc.

      All the data gearscore uses has been available since WoW 1.0. All it does is inspect a player (something you've always been able to do), add up the item levels of their gear (while hidden to players until recently, item level has been available to mods since 1.0), and then share that number with other users of the mod using the mod communication channels (which have been available since 1.

    • by Thaelon (250687)

      Tools are just tools.

      How they're used says nothing about the tools and everything about the user.

    • by euxneks (516538)

      [...] I survived the ACiD, TRiBE, iCE ANSI wars in the BBS era. I witnessed the grand flame wars of Usenet. I saw the clan wars in the MMO days, I saw the Guild fights in the early days of the MMOs culminating in the rise of the Uber guilds. [...]

      "I've seen.. things, you people wouldn't believe... All those moments will be lost in time. Like tears in the rain..."

  • They emphasize the social features, competitive matchmaking system, and the ease of sharing mods and maps.

    Great! Maybe someone will make a mod for playing LAN games.

  • Map Publishing (Score:4, Informative)

    by AlpineR (32307) <wagnerr@umich.edu> on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @11:44AM (#31086318) Homepage

    The Map Publishing feature is interesting to me. I have released dozens of popular Starcraft maps and distribution has always been a problem. For one, maps are copied peer-to-peer, so the only way to get a new map is to find somebody else who happens to be hosting it at the moment you're looking. For another, maps are not cryptographically signed, so it's trivial for somebody to alter a map so they can cheat in the game. Although I have a reputation as a skilled mapmaker, there are maps circulating with my name still on them that are rigged or badly modified.

    On the other hand, the viral transmission and mutation of maps is part of what keeps the mapmaking community alive. Players find a map they like, try to modify it, and set the new version loose in the wild. If it's good it will spread and become the basis for others to tinker with.

    So the Marketplace sounds like a potentially good way to encourage the creation of polished maps. But I wonder if closed-source mapmaking can really keep pace with open-source development or if many players will accept (or even discover) pay maps.

    TheNevermind

    • Good points. I find the map features interesting as well. I like the idea of having some sort of organization there, as with Starcraft you just had people appending a bunch of random ascii characters to a name and throwing it out there. Dunno about others but I often found it confusing to determine exactly what I was looking at. Giving the option of paid maps/mods is a good idea too... players can decide for themselves whether something is of value, and conversely map/mod makers will have to tell a conv
  • If anyone has been playing Diablo 2, then you know how annoying spambots have been lately.

    Will this "revamped Battle.net" stop them or will they continue to rouin the game?

  • by Snaller (147050) on Wednesday February 10, 2010 @01:44PM (#31087986) Journal

    But they don't emphasis that you now are forced to be online (being monitored by big brother?) when you want to play a solo game.

    Apparently there isn't any privacy either, if you are forced to put some family on your new 'friend' list they can track you forever - really bad design.

  • What is happening to this community? I come here to read about interesting tech articles. I come here to see what is going on with games. I like to see what other people think about these articles and games. Instead, all I get is a constant barrage of politics and group think.

    What do we have modded up for this article? Anti-Blizzard bnetd, anti-social networking, anti-online connected, anti-WoW. And just one...one! person actually commenting on how it will be great way for him to release his maps.

    Sl
    • Those of us who have been gaming since the beginning see the gaming companies locking up gaming and all the tools and spoon feeding it back to us at a cost, and you expect us to be thrilled about it? I like some of where gaming is going, but this constant feeding frenzy of user data is just too much. HAving ot be connected to the net all the time is jsut extremely greedy. I wouldnt mind it nearly as much if they provided EASY TO USE methods of playing offline. As it is now they use the online aspect to lev

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