I noticed on the World of Warcraft start page that Blizzard was letting people opt-in for the StarCraft II beta.
For a long period StarCraft was THE game at the office and so while I have not played much in the RTS genre for quite some time (the genre being somewhat stagnant in my opinion) I thought I would like to go back to StarCraft. In fact, if the original StarCraft played in a resolution higher than 640×480 I might consider loading up the original again. But it is painful to look at the game blown up on a 1600×1200 LCD monitor. So on to the beta.
But to opt-in for a chance to be in the beta I had to go create an account on the latest version of Blizzard’s Battle.net.
Battle.net has been around for almost 12 years, coming out in conjunction with Diablo. I have made a number of accounts on the service over the years, but they used to expire if left inactive for a set duration, so they were all long gone.
With Blizzard not shipping a new game besides World of Warcraft in almost seven years, and with WoW not requiring Battle.net, it seemed to me that the service was set to wither away eventually. (Though with StarCraft, Diablo II, and Warcraft III all showing up regularly on the X-Fire monthly stats, that eventuality might have been pretty distant.)
But now with two new games announced, StarCraft II and Diablo III (okay, new sequels as opposed to new games I suppose), Battle.net seems to be getting a new lease on life. Blizzard wants it to become the unified logon for its games, including World of Warcraft.
So I headed to Battle.net site to create an account.
One of the first things I noticed was that your account name has to be an email address. I have mixed feelings about this. An email address is probably something people will remember. On the other hand, and email address is also something other people are likely to know, so there is a bit of a security concern.
Myself, I have enough email addresses that I could pick out an obscure one that I use only to deflect spam for my logon, which was actually an improvement for me from the aspect of security. When I made my WoW account I didn’t think I would stick with the game, so used a rather easy to guess (if you know me) user name. Now that is gone. And, in an experiment, I saw that Blizzard lets you change your email address… and thus your logon… relatively easily. Perhaps a bit too easily.
And Blizzard has their authenticator option available if security is a concern. I may look into that.
Still, with that in mind, an unified account for Blizzard products still seemed like a good idea to me. I created the Battle.net account then merged my WoW account with it, which changed the logon for WoW immediately.
Then I noticed that I could add more games to the unified account. So I grabbed some CDs off the shelf an added Diablo II, the Diablo II expansion, and StarCraft.
Akin to how SOE handles games with their Station Launcher (which has been in beta long enough for me to think that Google must have created it) and somewhat reminiscent of Steam, Battle.net keeps all your game keys so you can access them online at any time as well as download the associated game if you need.
Now if it would just keep me from having to stick the physical CD in the PC I would be happy. Of course, I would think that would be the case if they are letting your download the software. It doesn’t make much sense to let you download and then require you to find the physical disk. Maybe I should give it a try.
And, after all that, I went to the beta profile settings to opt-in for the StarCraft II beta. You actually have to download and run a little utility that profiles you system. I did that, checked the appropriate boxes, and went on my way.
Of course, the actual likelyhood of my getting into the StarCraft II beta is microscopic, but we shall see. Maybe I will download StarCraft from Battle.net, just to see if I need the CD.