New Battle.net Revealed
Blizzard revealed the newly made-over Battle.net at Blizzcon 09. The current Battle.net still hosts more players than World of Warcraft (with Battle.net at 12 million and WoW at 11.5 million).
The biggest addition to the new Battle.net is the introduction of Real ID which allows users to connect and communicate with one another in a similar fashion to Xbox Live. It will link achievements across the board on all of your different characters on different Blizzard games.
Blizzard will roll out a “Starcraft 2 Marketplace” in the future which will allow users to find and browse maps, and rate and comment on them. Users will be able to search for games by genre, and maps and modes will be stacked for easy selection. There will also be custom map support, letting custom map makers to publish their maps directly to service. In the future it will support premium maps which makers can charge a fee for.
The new Battle.net service will also store your settings and saved games in the cloud, allowing players to access them from any computer.
Instead of a chat room setting, chat is instant messenger style.
Leagues will be broken down into brackets with ratings like “gold” and “silver” allowing for pro and practice leagues, and casual features include practice leagues with no-rush maps and co-op skirmish modes.
The party system will be similar to the one in WoW. Once in a party, the leader can select the game and begin the match. When it’s over, the party simply heads back out to the party lobby.
This revamped Battle.net (the reason SC2 was delayed in the first place…) will be released the same time as Starcraft II in 2010.