Thoughts on the new Battle.net

Gamestop's Pre-order Bonus

Word spread like wildfire around the community today that StarCraft 2 pre-orders were now available at Gamestop and with them a bonus granting instant access to the beta.  For a cost of $5 ($10 for the CE), which is essentially a 100% safe investment since it can be transfered to a different pre-order if you don’t like the game, you can play the game for the next couple of months.  It simply does not get any better than this.

The new Battle.net really is a masterpiece.  When you enter your beta key for SC2 on the Bnet website there is this animation as the game appears on your list.  That’s just the first of many flashy productions of gloss and pizazz that add to the overall experience.  Getting the game up and running was smooth and logging into Bnet was just like logging into WoW, even with the authenticator step.   The appearance of Bnet’s new frontend is sharp.  Right when Graev and I entered our account information we both started talking about how Blizzard products are just ridiculous.  This new Bnet is pretty much what I expected it to be: leaps and bounds beyond multiplayer support for any other games.

Aside from the gloss and presentation, the functionality is great.  I was able to click the friends list button and bring up the window/friend manager and add Graev by either entering his email address or the name I know him by in-game.  If I enter his email, I become a real friend of his which I suppose is differentiated from simply an in-game friend.  Once friends, we were able to form a party.  The party is where the real action happens because from here we can jump into games together that are either ranked or custom matches.  The custom map joiner with a party is going to be fantastic since it will allow people to join the new custom map creations with friends ten times easier.

Battle.net’s ability to begin providing you with the perfect experience right away starts with them asking you a quick question about how good you are at RTS games.  They basically ask if you’re a noob, experiences, or a pro.  After that, you’re then able to play ~5 games before being placed into a ladder bracket based upon your skill while playing.  Battle.net will do its best to match you with people your skill level.  Getting into these games, and others, is a lot better than it used to be.  Say that you want to join a custom game.  You click on it and you begin downloading the map with a slick download interface.  If you want to join a ladder match you enter the queue and it pops for you when you’re ready — you’re able to do other stuff while in the queue though.

I’m very pleased with it and I think it’s going to be a huge step forward for Blizzard’s games.  I can’t wait to see how Diablo 3 is integrated into it and how it allows Blizzard to improve even further upon their already leading model.  If any of you pre-order and want to play, add Keen.keenandgraev and Graev.keenandgraev to your friends list!

  • When you preoder did you do that from the site or a Gamestop store? Cause on the site it says “Once you receive your Beta Code your order cannot be canceled.”

  • That sounds great! I’m excited about getting some time in with SCII.

    I wonder how support will be for those of us who reserved the game months ago though. I’ve frequently found that GameStop ignores those people =\

  • While I’m not interesed in SC2 at all, I have to say I really hope Bnet2 will be a future model for providing online group experienc to friends – and thus separate those who are “not suited” to play MMOs from those who are and let the latter enjoy games as they should be.

  • Anyone who has ordered from Amazon should keep an eye out because I got my code today it looks like from them. For some reason gmail stuck it in my spam folder, would have never known had I not checked on amazon and saw the comments about it.

  • I’m very happy with how Bnet2 is working so far and glad to hear that it integrates with SCII well. I absolutely can not wait for Diablo III, that game could be the death of my social life.

  • sounds great, ive never been a fan of multiplayer RTS tho, partly because I proberly suck, but i find it to much of a rush and everyone seems to have a million units before i even get my base built, lol!

    Can you access the singleplayer in the beta or is it multiplayer only?

  • Cool, will need to keep a lot out for it in the UK although I’m still not sure if I would go for it. I’m excited about SC2 but I’m kinda sworn off beta’s now… still… SC2… 😀

  • Woota is right. You CAN NOT get a refund once you get the beta key because it is considered downloadable content. Gamestops policy is no refunds on games with downloadable content.

    I am actually very disappointed in Battle.net. I’ve been in Beta for nearly a month now. B.net is the reason SC2 has been delayed since November and from what I’ve seen it isn’t worth those 5 months. It is a very basic interface and the social settings, pre-patch 9, were horrible.

    If you add a friend with there name.name then add them with their email address you get 2 versions of them, the system isn’t smart enough to combine them. There are now chat channels so you have to invite all your friends into a group chat each time you want to discuss something such as making teams.

    There is no ignore feature. So if someone wants to harass you while you are in a game there isn’t much you can do.

    There has been an ongoing bug with B.net where your profile gets wiped and you can’t message your existing friends or re-add them. This was suppose to be fixed today but the servers are still down and the patcher is stuck in a perma loop.

    I’m not saying SC2 is a bad game, but B.net is not what it should be given the amount of time and effort that went into it.

  • Go to the brick and mortar store. Put $5 down on the game. If you don’t like the beta, move that $5 down to another game’s pre-order. Graev and I do it multiple times a month for many games.

  • I haven’t posted here in a while but I played with you for a little while in warhammer. I’ll be adding you to friends and if you happen to be on late at night 9-12 pacific time we can play some together 🙂

  • http://www.gamestop.com/Catalog/ProductDetails.aspx?Product_ID=65548

    Reserve StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty and receive an invitation to the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty beta. Available online and in-store while supplies last. Once you receive your Beta Code your order cannot be canceled.

    If a Brick and Mortar store does permit this it goes against their own company policy. Typically yes you can do this, but Blizzard is trying to prevent people from doing exactly what you are doing Keen. I think it’s unwise to recommend people to do this considering that they say you can’t cancel the order.

  • You can’t cancel an order online. You can certainly move your pre-order over IN STORE though. In fact they call it “moving your pre-order over to another game”.

    They even tell me “You have $5 in credit, want to use that instead?”. It’s been the same at all 5 Gamestops I’ve frequented in SoCal.

    As for anything with Blizzard, they’re getting insane exposure. Once beta is up, those people can’t play.

  • Todays patch seems to be on a patching loop for everyone. Battle.net also shows as down. Big patch day brought some probs. Hoping it comes up tonight.

  • I dislike how they put my real name into my SC2 profile, theres already been bugs where other people can see it, and frankly it’s not information I like giving out. Real friends dont need to see my rl name, because they know it, and online friends shouldn’t need to know it either unless I tell them, either way, theres no reason for Blizzard to post it in bnet unless I say that they can.

  • @Danath: A couple of us were wondering the same thing when we saw our names there. We weren’t able to see each others’ names though. I agree that it isn’t necessary. My money is on it being removed before beta is over.

  • Wife is picking me up the CE version of SC2 today (preorder) can’t wait to play, will be adding you tonight Keen! 🙂

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