I was dismayed to find the new RealID feature was not working for me when I installed patch 3.3.5. There were a few others with the problem, but not many. After trying to log on from other computers and looking around the support forums, players have identified the issue.
There is a new Parental Controls option to disable RealID. If you have ever used Parental Controls, your account may have flagged to have RealID off by default. I played with it when it was added way back in the day just to learn about it, so my account is flagged apparently. The Battle.net Parental Controls are much different than the old World of Warcraft controls, so lets go through it real quick.
There is quite a doozy of a patch coming to Starcraft 2 in the coming weeks. It adds a lot of social features (including map publishing and Facebook integration), interface changes, and some pretty big gameplay changes. Check out the full text from our good friend Zarhym:
The first round of testing for WoW’s Patch 3.3.5 was, not unexpectedly, disjointed and, at times, impossible to even connect. But regardless of that, I had at least a little bit of luck logging in to get a quick first look at how the new social options are being implemented. Of course, these options may change or even be removed or delayed before they hit the live servers, but let’s take a quick look at their first appearance on the PTR.
In the video, you’ll see new friends options for adding RealIDs for cross-realm, cross-faction, cross-game chat. You’ll also see new status settings, and even a way for you to display a “broadcast” message — think FB status. Watch the video for all the juicy details! Set it to HD for the clearest look.
Blizz sent out a friendly reminder today that, if you care to participate in the upcoming Cataclysm beta, you better get your patoot over to your Battle.net account page and update your preferences for opt-ins, including checking the box for Warcraft universe products and submitting your computer specs. Both of these things are required for you to have a chance of getting into the beta and since they’re mentioning it officially now, it shouldn’t be very far off…
Get those opt-ins ready for the World of Warcraft: Cataclysm closed beta! The sundering of Azeroth is nigh, and you don’t want to be left out in the cold of Northrend when you could be enjoying the sun-drenched beaches on the goblin isle of Kezan. To ensure you’re opted-in and eligible as a potential candidate, you’ll need a World of Warcraft license attached to your Battle.net account, have your current system specifications uploaded to the Battle.net Beta Profile Settings page, and have expressed interest through the franchise-specific check boxes.
So get your opt-ins set up, updated, and ready; we’re worgen real hard to get the beta going soon!
And I’m goblin up the chance to participate (yes, I went there, deal).
But before I go, a little PSA, this is the only current avenue through which you can be accepted into the beta. That means that this is official and any other person or entity purported to give you access is mostly likely trying to scam and/or hack you. So please, for the love of Thrall, don’t fall for it!
Also, this should cover you for all phases of the beta, the first of which is likely to be small (and closed). So if you don’t get in, don’t get too upset about it, there’s always a chance that you will later on.
Hold your horses! Wait on those character transfers! The Patch Test Realm ain’t up just yet, but it should be reasonably soon due to the release of preliminary patch notes today. Unlike the last one we got, there don’t appear to be any sweeping changes to class balance or anything of that nature. In fact, with this patch encompassing the only remaining high-level content until the expansion (and, at that, nothing significantly more difficult than Icecrown Citadel), it would almost seem like a waste of time to bother.
But the Ruby Sanctum raid dungeon is still an important update, and along with it come several new social options no doubt tied into future Battle.net 2.0 functionality. It seems like they’re taking some cues from chat add-ons and are allowing players to “pop out” a new window, say, to keep whispers with a specific person separate from everything else. Also, the Friends List is getting a couple of upgrades, including the ability to add Real IDs (Blizzard’s cross-game identification) and communicate with them.
The Ruby Sanctum, an all-new 10- and 25-player raid featuring normal and Heroic difficulties, is now available for testing! Players will find the dungeon entrance below Wyrmrest Temple in Dragonblight.
Copied Test Realm characters are not copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.
Players can now right-click on any chat type (Whisper, Trade, General, Party, Raid, etc.) and choose the Pop Out Chat option. This will move that chat type to a separate tab in the Chat frame which can be undocked and moved anywhere on the screen.
Using the Pop Out Chat option on a Whisper will place the conversation with that player in a separate tab.
Any time a conversation with another player is put into its own tab, the tab will glow when a new message is received.
Hovering over the Chat Frame and using the mouse wheel will allow players to scroll through chat text.
Players can select Classic Mode under Interface Options to keep the Chat Frame functionality closer to what it was prior to patch 3.3.5.
The Simple Chat User Interface option has been removed.
A new icon has been added to the top left of the Chat Frame which will open up the Friends list.
In addition to its current functionality, the Friends List will now allow players to add Battle.net accounts (Real ID). Players will have to confirm that they are friends in order for a Real ID to be added. Once Real ID friends, players can communicate cross-game, cross-faction and cross-realm.
A new Pending tab has been added where players can accept or decline a Real ID friend request, or select the Report Spam or Block Communications buttons.
Players can now select from three statuses which will be visible to their friends: Available, Away and Busy.
A Broadcast window has been added to the top of the frame. Players can use this to broadcast a message to all of their Real ID friends online. This message will also be displayed under the broadcaster’s Real ID information in each friend’s list.
Blizzard’s revamp of Battle.net is creeping closer by the day, and today the company previewed a few of the new features that WoW and Starcraft II players will be able to take advantage of once the service goes live.
Real ID is the means by which players will be able to communicate cross-faction, cross-realm, and cross-game via Battle.net. By using your Real ID to friend other players, you will be allowing those players to see and communicate with you no matter what game or character you may be playing on any game with the new Battle.net integration. You will also be giving them your real first and last names, as displayed on the account information page.
Another function of Real ID is broadcasts, which will send out a message for all of your Real ID friends to see. Sounds a lot like Twitter or Facebook status messages.
And speaking of Facebook, Battle.net will be integrating with the social networking giant in order to allow players to import friends from Facebook to their Battle.net accounts, give status updates, and presumably more. The official press release states that more details will be announced as we get closer to Starcraft II’s launch.
It seems like Blizzard is just the latest to jump on Facebook integration, and it’s not something I’m particularly drawn to, but I know that soon I’ll be seeing loads of Starcraft II updates on my facebook feed. Other than that, I’m looking forward to the new Battle.net, mostly because I have some friends on other factions and realms that I’d like to chat with while we play. What are your thoughts?
Step 3: Receive a Starcraft 2 beta key in your email.
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Profit!
For as cheap as $5 from Gamestop, you too can have a Starcraft 2 beta key! If you haven’t snagged one from the Facebook page, Twitter, or other psuedo-random selection but are a die-hard Starcraft fan, this might be the route for you.
To my knowledge, this is the first time Blizzard has ever used this model to distribute beta keys. It seems to be jumpstarting their sales; as of the time of this writing, the regular version is the #1 seller in video games (and the collector’s edition is #3) on Amazon.com. Its a great system that has been used a lot in the past few years, and its great to see Blizzard on the gravy-train while giving customers what they want.
On the flip side, if the purpose of the beta is to actually test the game for bugs and balance to prepare it for release, selecting testers by a buy-in program may not seem like the optimal way to find people. Performance in other games, like sending invites to anyone on a Starcraft or Warcraft III ladder, or even top WoW players, seems like the best way to find the people who will find minute issues with your game. In the future, I think we will likely see a system like this more streamlined with universal Battle.net profiles.
Much how the very long WoW beta built up hype for the game, it seems pretty clear that this has become the marketing stage of the beta. The ability to essentially buy into playing the game early allows players who are excited about the game to play it now without the promise of a finished product.
So last Wednesday, Halloween, I decided to go out and pick up Hellgate: London. Obviously, there was more at work here than just me wanting to be festive and grab a game that fit the mood of the day. Hellgate: London was largely being touted as “the next Diablo 2″. So, now that the game has come out, and I have had at least a few hours to toil around and play within the world that Flagship Studios has created, is it the next Diablo 2?
Well, there are a lot of reasons why I would say yes, and a lot of reasons why I’d say no. The game is, in story and game play, very similar to Diablo 2. Imagine, if you will, Diablo 2 had been 3D and placed in the modern day and you’ll basically get the same concept as Hellgate: London. Which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong. Diablo 2 was one of the high-points of PC gaming of all time. You’ll instantly notice when you jump into the game that some of the classes are very similar to their Diablo 2 counterparts (Blademaster is like the Barbarian, Guardian is like the Paladin). In addition you’ll also notice, about an hour into the game, that their is massive amounts of loot being thrown around, also very Diablo 2-esque. Overall, the surface of the game is almost shockingly similar to Diablo 2, which is to be expected since the game was created by the original Diablo 2 game designer.
Once you start to delve a little further into the game, however, you’ll begin to notice some stark contrasts between Hallgate: London and Diablo 2. Obviously, there is no battle.net to run your games. Everything is run off of a single U.S. server or EU server (depending on where you live, naturally). This means there is no out-of-game “lobby” area where you can assemble your team and head-off into a game with your buddies. This also means you won’t ever get any unexpected guests in your game. Everything about Hellgate: London’s instancing zones screams Guild Wars. You’ll find yourself in a “town” area where the players gather, and from there you’ll gather your quests and acquire your team members and head into the zone.
Overall, Hellgate: London gives it’s own unique feel for the Online RPG game, one that does not take the place of Diablo 2. Although their are some similarities, the overall gameplay management makes this game feel much more unique than if it were a direct Diablo 2 clone. Now bring on DIablo 3. . .