StarCraft® II

Battle.net Feedback

MVP - StarCraft
This is my feedback on Battle.net -- try to add a detailed reply about your own thoughts, not just say “I agree” to the post or make general statements like “We need clan support.” Thanks!

This was written prior to the announced 1.5 changes. I made some changes after that, but some things might not reflect that information.

TL;DR version at the bottom!

I think that Battle.net is nearly as important as the game itself – because of that, I feel it’s necessary to put emphasis on giving feedback for it. My personal feeling is that Battle.net is in greater need of improvement and therefore should be receiving more attention as a whole. That’s the purpose of this thread – to call more attention to the importance of Battle.net, and to provide constructive feedback. (Not just mine, but yours as well!)

The omission of features like Clan Support and Automated Tournaments has been quite a disappointment. Others have spoken out on this before, but we have to provide good feedback to be helpful, and to make it clear how important it is to us. We need to be more detailed - when we ask for features like “Clan Support” it could be simply taken as a group tagging system, overlooking much of what made it fun.

I've wanted to write such feedback for a long time, but I often felt it wouldn’t change anything. I remind myself, however, that despite appearances player feedback is absolutely essential to the developers. Keeping quiet just perpetuates the problem - If I say nothing, I only have myself to blame.The urge to write this was brought back at last year’s Blizzcon - while I don’t doubt their team is working hard to improve Battle.net, BlizzCon is an excellent event for gathering feedback so I was disappointed at how little was shown.

This is what drove me to finally write this. For how important Battle.net is, it needs more focus and attention – if feedback is put aside until the game is nearly released, it’ll be too late. I don’t mean to be too critical in this post, I just want to give my honest opinion as a fan, in the hope that it will be helpful in improving the game.

I'll start by why I think Battle.net is it's so important: When you buy SC2 you get not just a game, but a game and a service. All matches are played through Battle.net and players communicate via Battle.net. This is what makes Blizzard's games special. The service (Battle.net) affects the game and the community, both negatively and positively: If the ladder is bugged it devastates the game, if new features like Clans and Tournaments are added the game becomes exponentially more fun. Even if you tire of the game, the service’s features provide entertainment - not only does the game become more enjoyable, but people form communities and friendships that draw them to the game.

Upgrades to Battle.net can also affect the eSports scene. By implementing tournament streams into the client, many players who are unaware of how big the pro scene is might tune in. By adding features like automated Battle.net tournaments, you generate competitive pro games and stories inside of Battle.net – and even at the casual level these features bring more excitement to the game.

So here is my personal feedback on Battle.net – I hope it will be useful, and that everyone else will take the time to write up their own feedback too - not just blankly agree with me, or other threads about Battle.net!

    - - CLANS


Organized together to practice, engage in Clan Wars, and compete in tournaments, Clans are the base of competitive gaming. Whether at the pro level or the Bronze league, it gives players a way to meet and compete as a group. This is why I think that Starcraft II, as an eSport, needs Clan Support.

That’s not the only reason. Clans are fun and useful for everyone - in contrast to competitive clans; for some clans the only requirement for joining is to know someone in the clan, enjoy a custom map, or to just be a nice guy.

Clans are how gamers form friendships and create communities - even clan mates that aren’t friends are “neighbors” to you, and you come to recognize each and every member just by seeing and talking with them in the clan channel. Take this and combine it with the web of clan rivalries and friendships, it’s what made WC3 community feel alive.

    Key elements of Clans?


Some remember clans from Warcraft 3 or earlier Blizzard games, but for those who don’t, here is a summary. While these are features in earlier games, I include them here because I believe they are fundamental features of that should return with Clans.

Membership Rank: The power or rank of the members. The Chieftain is the overall leader and he can elect “Shamans” to help him manage the clan. Two other ranks exist; one for regulars, one for new recruits.

Clan Channel: A chat room for the clan to hang out in, either Public or Private. The room is moderated by the Chieftain\Shamans. The ability to kick, ban, and designate players - is a missing feature that is even more necessary for clans.

Unique Clan Tag & Name: A name that will clearly and uniquely identify your clan, and\or a unique 4 letter acronym.

Member List: List of all members of the clan that showing if they are on or not.

Clan Rank: A clan’s rank is based off of an accumulation of the games played\won by its members while they’re in the clan. This is a way for clans to compete competitively, by setting skill requirements and training members hard to climb to the top of the Clan Ladder.

Message of the day: Message shown when you join the clan channel - set by staff. It had a variety of uses: notifications, reminders for events, random messages, or silly\humorous conversations between staff, each adding to the message.

    New Features:


Despite all these, there’s lots of room to improve. A good way to look at what it needs is to see what people relied on bots for.

Clan Page\Profile:

    The Clans full name
    Clan Statistics (Number of members, creation date, clan ladder rank)
    Clan Description\Information
    Clan Rank
    Clan Joining Requirements
    Clan Website
    “Join Clan” Button (More Info Below)
    Unique flag or decal
    History of Built-in wars with other Clans


“Join Clan” Button -> “Clan Requests” List:
It could be difficult to be in the channel at the same time as a Shaman or Chieftain to get invited (unless the clan had a shaman bot) It would be better to have a “Join Clan” button on the clan page, allowing the player request admission. (Members could also recommend someone in the same way) They would appear on a “Clan Requests” list for the Shamans\Chieftain. This way you can see your requests when you logs on rather than try and play tag.

It would be good to be able to set up automatic requirements so only those of a certain skill level - such as top 8 in a Diamond division, or Bronze – could request to join.

Notifications, Information & Discussions Page:

A place for announcements like staff changes, upcoming tournaments, clan wars, and so on. Members could comment on them.

Built-In Clan Wars and Tournaments:

A built in clan tournament system allow for automatic brackets and customization (like losers bracket or not\bo5 or bo3, customizable map pool (including custom maps) and player map vetos) and could be used for internal tournaments or clan wars. It would automatically track games and update the brackets, allowing tournaments to run quickly and easily.

A page for signups could automatically go up on the Notifications when a war or tournament is initiated.

A lot of other details could be included, but it would already be difficult to create.

    - - AUTOMATED TOURNAMENTS


Automated tournaments push player’s skill limits and drive them to be more competitive. Many players of all leagues dream of being like a pro in a tournament - the same feeling of pressure, the joy and reward of winning, the fame – a wish fulfilled with built-in tournaments.

On top of adding new challenges and goals, they offer reward and excitement. Watching tournaments progress and seeing if you’ve done good enough to advance is truly nail-biting. A problem was only the highest players could really complete – Grandmaster tournaments alone would generate a lot of excitement in the eSports scene, but it would be more personally enjoyable if this feature was more accessible to lower-level players by making tournaments for each league.

What else?

  • Separate Tournaments for each League so everyone has a fair chance. (And restrictions to make sure high level people don’t tank MMR or smurf to win lower tournaments – for an example, you must be in the league for x amount of days)
  • Automatic tournaments regularly, for differing formats (including teams)
  • Separate tournament record in your profile and incremental win-based achievements for tournament games
  • Unique awards, portraits, and decals for the winner
  • Brackets (a list of players who will advance) for each tournament (visible to all on the ladder page)


    • - - REPLAY SHARING & VIEWING


    Shared replay viewing would allow friends to easily share exciting wins, funny replays, or difficulties together.
    Shared replay viewing would help coaching: Both the coach and student could watch a together, analyzing the match and pausing to discuss important moments – helping the competitive side of Starcraft.

    Features:

  • The ability to send a replay to a friend
  • The ability to watch a replay concurrently with a friend (or a party)
  • The ability to publicly “Host” a replay for anyone to join & view with you


    • - - INTERGRATED STREAMS


    Imbedding steams into Battle.net would help the community and eSports.

    Imbedding current tournament streams such as MLG would increase awareness of these tournaments, drawing new people to the scene.

    Players could imbed their own streams into their profile would be appreciated by everyone in the community.

      - - STATISTICS


    Any type of statistics can be endlessly fascinating, and some statistics also have a more practical application – such as finding weak spots in your play, like what maps or races you do the worst at.

    As long as it doesn’t start to be confusing or overwhelm the player, there’s really no limit on what could be shown. Here are some more important ones, though:

  • Win rate against each race (and as each race)
  • Win rate per ladder map (per matchup\race on the map)
  • Most frequently built units
  • Graphs of improvement (APM\Win Rates over time, points increase over time, etc)
  • Average Game Length
  • Win Streaks
  • Total days\hours played, account creation date, average hours per week
  • Total Minerals\Gas harvested, number of times a unit has been created


    • - - OTHER


    Chat Logs: Option for saving chat logs.

    Chat Client: Program for chatting on Battle.net and hanging out in channels without actually getting into SC2

    Character Code Options: The *option* to have your character code displayed publicly on your profile, both Online & In-game and a way to search all players so you can find people even if you have not played them. (some people might not want this, though – thus being optional)

    Friends List Search & Sort: The ability to “group” friends on your list into a collapsible group, as well as a search box. (And quick keys - press G to skip to friends that start with a G, etc)

    Friend Mail: Private messages that they’ll receive when they log on.

    That summarizes my current feedback on Battle.net. I don’t feel like I can stress enough how important I feel improving Battle.net is. I’ve grown up playing Blizzard games and I can easily say that in terms of game play, SC2 has been the most enjoyable experience for me by far – but in terms of Battle.net, it misses that special feeling Battle.net gave WC3 and you feel more alone when you log on to SC2.

    That’s what this post is about. It’s about how important it is to improve Battle.net to make Starcraft II a truly epic and unforgettable experience.

    While many of us feel this way, too few people come out and provide their own feedback. It’s important to let Blizzard know your personal feelings on the matter, and to also provide good feedback – and I mean true feedback: just as saying “Terran is OP” is not good feedback, simply saying “Add Clan Support” is not good feedback.

    This is just my view. I made this post specifically to invite you to tell your own opinions and give your own feedback on Battle.net, so please take the time to do so! Battle.net has vast potential for improvement, and it’s greatly in need of it.

      Abbreviated or “TL;DR” version:


    I start with a preamble about how important Battle.net is, as the service for SC2 – and how it effects the enjoyment of the game greatly -- because I feel Battle.net has been neglected.

    Because of its importance, we should be persistent in providing feedback detailed feedback, as well as let them know how much it matters to us. I continue, providing my own feedback on Battle.net as a fan. Ending with a repeated urge for you to all do the same, I encourage you to be careful to provide good feedback not just blanket statements such as “Needs Clan Support” but to go into depth explaining what you mean and how to address your issues with Battle.net.
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 9:38 AM PDT
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    ↑what the skunk said.
    03/23/2012 09:27 AMPosted by TheSkunk
    write up their own feedback too - not just blankly agree with me

    :o

    I never cared for clans and tournaments, but I'm sure there are a lot of people who do. It's a shame nobody thought of including them in the new B.net, which is the mainstream method for enjoying this e-sport experience.

    As for statistics, I would like to see a "Idle production timer" that shows all the accumulated seconds that production structures and larva are idle.

    I would love to see a rework of the custom game popularity system. It's so saddening to see hours and days of work go to waste because nobody can find the new maps.

    Blizzard should definitely listen to the ideas of the players. I've seen some amazing ideas about a B.net rework on these forums. The players should also be patient. They have no idea how hard it is to rework a network of this size and population.
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    MVP - StarCraft
    03/23/2012 09:38 AMPosted by TiberiumDSV
    The players should also be patient. They have no idea how hard it is to rework a network of this size and population.

    Yea, its definitely important to remember that. But without knowing what they're working on, its hard to know what needs to be said and what doesn't.

    I wrote this some time before they talked about the changes they planned to add for 1.5. Prior to that we really hadn't heard anything for quite some time.

    I don't *expect* any of this to be easy, or to be done quickly. Now that I've heard of those changes, I'll be content for a while!Since this was written before the Developer Update with Game Director Dustin Browder, I’m going to include my thoughts on those changes here.

    The Custom Game changes (particularly the “open games list”) sound great. I’ve always felt like a flaw will always exist so long as there isn’t a way to see a list of maps that have a player waiting in the lobby to play - People don’t even try to join maps if they aren’t high on the list, because they know no one else will join. So for now, I have no complaints there – we’ll see how it turns out!

    The chat changes, however, don’t seem to solve the real issue. I don’t think a lot of people explain why they don’t like the current channel system very well. They just say vague and confusing things about them being worse.

    I don’t really think it’s about how big you can resize them, it’s more about their look and design. In sc2 they look like little chat boxes, not built-in channels – this might make the functionality technically better, but it makes them less visually appealing and that won’t be fixed just by increasing the size.

    Another factor was that all of your chat was localized before – your whispers, your channel talk, everything was in the same window not spread out. I often see people complain about not having /whisper and other commands. It doesn’t make much sense with this format because you just open a new “window” to do that – but I guess some people liked being able to do everything from one place.

    I’m not saying I personally agree with all that, though.

    Other things, like /emote and moderation, made chat a lot funner. /Emote wars and Kicking\Banning wars (and designating people to be silly) was fun, even if it wasn’t practical.

    The final and biggest issue in my opinion is lack of clans.

    Channels don’t aren’t used unless they have a community behind them. Clans created these communities. Currently the only channels I visit are from outside of the game[/i] – channels for the SC2 forums, for an example.

    With clan support, these communities can be generated in-game. You might have had someone talk to you after a game and become friends with him. But he’s just one guy, doesn’t log on that often, and might even forget you entirely.

    If clans were added, he’d invite you to his clan channel and ask you if you wanted to join. Then you would become part of that community of 100+ people who all know each other, and through them you might come to know other clans or become rivals with a clan – creating that massive web of communities that WC3 consisted of.

    That’s what really made it feel more social, I believe.

    Really, of all the features I want I think that Clan Support is most important. It has something for everyone and really completes the experience. I wish it had shipped with WoL.
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 9:50 AM PDT
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    You've really captured everything that bothers me about this game. I'd go on SC and BW because it was a very communal experience. Now... it's isolated. Very isolated, and it's unbelievably hard to make friends on this game.
    Reply Quote
    MVP - StarCraft
    03/23/2012 09:50 AMPosted by Shaor
    You've really captured everything that bothers me about this game. I'd go on SC and BW because it was a very communal experience. Now... it's isolated. Very isolated, and it's unbelievably hard to make friends on this game.

    In your opinion, what in specific, makes it harder to make friends in the game? What are the key differences they really make it feel more isolated?

    Everybody has a different idea of what is more important or what is the cause, and some people only care about features not related to socializing, like statistics -- so I'm just interested in your own, more personal take on what you feel is important.

    While its great if I've managed to capture some of your same opinions in my post, I don't want the thread to be dedicated solely to people saying "Yeah, you said it! +1" =P
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 9:54 AM PDT
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    There's no encouragement to meet people, and talking to people is a really clunky affair.
    One thing for example is how chat windows work when joining parties- you have three open, then you all join a party, and it throws another window at you. They're somewhat irritating to close or minimize. I haven't found an upper limit yet, but I know it's there... honestly, what I think Blizzard should have done is taken the original SC lobby/multiplayer root interface, touched it up, and worked around that. You could hop between as many channels as you wanted.

    Maybe something like how IRC works, where you /join <channel name> so that it saves the chat that occurs when you flip over. As is, when I have someone look over my replays in game, I have to pull the entire log out and paste it on notepad or something similar to keep the information.

    Edit: It's how often you run into people. Here on the forums, you know a fair majority of the population. But in game, I've never had a game twice with the same person on the ladder. It's the same thing with WoW, things are blended so much that everyone's a stranger because of the size of the pool you're drawing from. If things were diversified down to a smaller level, with groupings of a few thousand people rather than the entire MMR pool that I'm in at that time, bonds would form easier. They still form now, but it's a lot of work to keep things with someone.
    Edited by Shaor on 3/23/2012 10:06 AM PDT
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    MVP - StarCraft
    There's no encouragement to meet people, and talking to people is a really clunky affair.
    One thing for example is how chat windows work when joining parties- you have three open, then you all join a party, and it throws another window at you.

    Yeah, I see what you mean. But when people leave it at "There's no encouragement to meet people" or "talking with people is a really clunky affair" - thats not helpful to the devs. What in other games "Encouraged" you to meet people that this game doesn't have? How is the chat system clunky, and what change would rectify that? So thanks for explaining in a bit more detail.

    Many thanks to everyone who actually reads the whole post - I know its quite long, though I cut it down by quite a bit to get it this size.

    Even more props to those who take their time to post personal feedback apart from the ideas in the original post!

    Edit: It's how often you run into people. Here on the forums, you know a fair majority of the population. But in game, I've never had a game twice with the same person on the ladder. It's the same thing with WoW, things are blended so much that everyone's a stranger because of the size of the pool you're drawing from. If things were diversified down to a smaller level, with groupings of a few thousand people rather than the entire MMR pool that I'm in at that time, bonds would form easier. They still form now, but it's a lot of work to keep things with someone.


    This is EXACTLY what clans accomplish, I think. :) Good way of wording it!
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 10:09 AM PDT
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    By clunky affair- it's a pain in the !@#$ to close or minimize windows. We have like these massive buttons for Single/Multi player, decent sized buttons for joining games... and something smaller than my cursor for chat windows. What's with the inconsistency?

    In Starcraft, you automatically were in a chat channel when you joined the game. Automatically, no navigating to a channel of your choice, you're already with a group of people on the game. Now, with the way they're set up now, there's an absolutely puny amount of people in chat channels compared to how many are online.

    In WoW, everything was a decent size, and after the initiation, no need to go opening that window again. Just /r and <tab> if you're talking to more than one person. /1, /g, /s, /r, /bg, /2, /y, etc etc etc. Now, you only have that kind of easy flow to communication in a game, which flies in the face of common sense. I'm trying to compete against a person or AI in game, and that's when you make it easier to talk? In the main screen though, you have to click on each different window you want to talk to though.
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    There is no doubt that the said suggestions are excellent and will vastly improve the gaming experience!

    However, I must say from a programmer's perspective it sounds like a crazy amount of work which they probably can't afford to spend too much time on right now (you know, D3 releasing soon and HotS is in the works.)

    Just throwing numbers around here, but I believe that in order to implement all of your suggestion it might take months if not a few years to develop, implement, test and maintain. I'm sure there will be a ton of technical challenges as well.

    But I won't deny that I would love to see those features become available to us. So one step at a time :) I would like to see Blizzard add those features one by one from the most important to the least.

    My top 2 would be
    - automated tourney system
    - in-depth statistics

    Would love to see those 2 features being added to Battle.net sometime Soon™.

    Good thread, thanks for posting this Skunk. /hat-off
    Reply Quote
    Thank you for taking the time to write this out. I have several suggestions that I have described at length in this post (anarch is my other alias). I spent a lot of time writing this out so please check it out:

    http://us.battle.net/sc2/en/forum/topic/628256926

    Feel free to skim through and use my ideas to add to your list. Some of the ideas I see you have already mentioned, though. :)
    Edited by Arch on 3/23/2012 10:19 AM PDT
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    Another thing, is that even though there are clans, it's a huge commitment to join one with the name change restrictions. Especially since your game record counts for so much more in BW, and you can't just spin out a new account in thirty seconds like before. If you join a clan, you had better be damn well sure you want to stay there for a while, because if you end up leaving, your name is stuck like that. It makes people hesitant to join clans, as I see it.
    Reply Quote
    MVP - StarCraft
    03/23/2012 10:22 AMPosted by Shaor
    Another thing, is that even though there are clans, it's a huge commitment to join one with the name change restrictions. Especially since your game record counts for so much more in BW, and you can't just spin out a new account in thirty seconds like before. If you join a clan, you had better be damn well sure you want to stay there for a while, because if you end up leaving, your name is stuck like that. It makes people hesitant to join clans, as I see it.

    Well, built in clan functionality would solve that.

    @Blackbox: Yes, TiberiumDSV mentioned that as well. I hope it didn't sound like it was a trivial thing to do. It will have to happen gradually. It would be nice if some of them (Like clan support) had come with launch so they didn't have so much catching up to do. =(

    @Arch: Thanks for the link.
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 10:51 AM PDT
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    MVP - StarCraft
    03/23/2012 10:31 AMPosted by DarkStar
    I mean c'mon, if I could see how many times I won a Gold level tournament or something, I think that would keep me in the game playing more.

    Yeah.. if there was a tournament with special prizes for the Gold league, you wouldn't feel so bad about not getting that Platinum promotion -- you can just go for the trophies.

    I must say, though, this feature would be tricky to make -- it would be hard to keep cheaters out. More specifically, people on smurfs or who have tanked their MMR. I touched on this briefly in my post:

    And restrictions to make sure high level people don’t tank MMR or smurf to win lower tournaments – for an example, you must be in the league for x amount of days


    But if you have any ideas about restrictions that might work without preventing legitimate contenders, I'd be glad to hear them.
    Edited by TheSkunk on 3/23/2012 10:36 AM PDT
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    There's another reply up before Arch, Skunk. It was about the questions you asked as far as encouraging communication and such.
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    +1, couldn't agree more.

    It would be nice to see some improvements on things we have been pointing out since beta.

    - Implement menu cache. Helps us, helps you (blizz), less server demands for information
    - Queueability from the scorescreen (pretty straight forward request).
    - Win/loss ratios brought back in the form of a hide-option tab for those that do not want to see it, or do not want others to see their ratios.
    - Fix unspent resources on the scorescreen. Currently, the higher the value, the higher the score you get.
    - Revamp custom game filter to display custom game lobbies people are IN. This way, all the amazing old custom games I want to play, are not dead.

    - Automated tournaments, clan support, and many other features would be nice... But let's take it one easy step at a time and fix my first points.
    Reply Quote
    I agree with the league tournaments, but the higher leagues need a good reason to keep doing the tournaments. The lower leagues need a diminished reward compared to the upper leagues.

    This is not saying they don't deserve something, but in order to keep people from smurfing - they need to add incentive not to.

    Also, requested sticky and liked your post - as it was very well said and touches on every feature I would really like in this game.
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    I really like what you had to say about embedded streams.

    If I could log onto SC2 and find Masters/Pros/or even fellow community players streaming, that would be awesome.

    Would probably even encourage me to stream, get members to watch and give constructive advice, and I'm sure fellow community players would do the same.

    Anything that could help bring the community together in the game would be nice.
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