There have been some hints at a possible new Battle.net client found by data-mining some strings in Diablo III’s 1.0.7 patch beta. A page on Blizzard’s career site also referenced the client in a job description.
- “RegionSelectionTooltip_App – Region selection is disabled when Diablo III is launched from the Battle.net Desktop app.” (Diablo patch notes)
- “Battle.net App – developing the next-generation Battle.net desktop client.” (Blizzard Career Site)
What is likely to be included in such a desktop application? What features do I hope make it in long term?
- I think that Battle.net chat is undoubtedly going to be in the app to interface with their games. Already, RealID/Battletag allow for cross-client chat, so naturally, it seems like it shouldn’t be difficult to implement in a desktop client. What better way to decide what game to play than to see what your friends are playing before you even login?
- A unified downloader/launcher for all three games. Already, StarCraft II has moved to the same launcher used for WoW, and Diablo III launched with it. They all support game “streaming”, that is, playing a game before the game is finished downloading. Having one program to manage the installations for all three games allows for cross-promotion as well: a single click to get a trial edition of a game and download it in the background while playing your other games is a no-brainer.
- A manager for additional and user-generated content, such as StarCraft maps and replays or WoW addons. Blizzard has already indicated that the Battle.net balance currency and wallet implemented with the Diablo III auction house would be used in a StarCraft II “map store” one day for premium content, like an app store for smartphones. Making it easy to find and download that content without launching the game would be excellent. Perhaps they will even embrace WoW addon creators further and run a Battle.net addon repository/store for popular addons. It would be great to have some cloud storage to automatically sync my addons and settings between computers.
- Limited game features, like the ability to see WoW/Diablo III auction data, in-game achievements and profiles, or StarCraft II groups and WoW calendars.
Probably not anytime soon:
- Built-in streaming and casting support. This is something other games have done, but Blizzard’s meticulous standards and the complex nature of supporting this put this in a “not anytime soon” category. Still, its nice to imagine a one-button solution to stream to a unified Battle.net video service.
- Built-in multibox support: one click to launch multiple instances of WoW and easily control them together.
- A Ghostcrawler webcam with user-controlled waterguns disguised as murlocs (though its probably less abusive than being a community manager on the Blizzard forums. Have you see that place?)
What do you want to see in a Battle.net desktop client?