Tag Archives: Battle.net

Playing Diablo II Resurrected on Battle.net

Diablo II Resurrected has been my game of choice for a couple of weeks now for a few reasons, not the least of which was the server and queue issues that New World was having at its launch.

Seems a bit ironic now, doesn’t it?

We heard you liked queues

As I mentioned at the end of Friday’s post, Blizzard has a whole post up of their own about the problems they have been having and some of the fixes they have put in place, including that queue shown above.

I find the whole thing quite interesting, both because I am a bit impressed that 20 year old net code is holding up as well as it has, and because it is interesting to see how player behavior has changed over the two decades the game has been around.

The end game of Diablo II was always a grindy effort to get that perfect drop that you knew had to be out there.  The RNG is a cruel mistress in Diablo II.  My “almost done with nightmare” necromancer is still using some gear from Act II of normal mode because literally nothing better for my spec choice has deigned to drop.

But now, in 2021, the game is a solved problem, with guides to which specific mobs to farm for your item.  So people have been putting up BNet games, killing the mob, leaving them, and putting up a fresh one over and over in order to farm for items.  And, of course, that is rippling back on the servers and everybody else just the way it did in WoW when people were constantly resetting instances to farm a specific boss.

No new problems, just new circumstances.

Of course, this isn’t the first time BNet has had problems, and my gut reaction after having played Diablo and Diablo II at launch has been to simply avoid making BNet characters if at all possible.  A lot of the outrage about there being no local character mode for Diablo III wasn’t because we were all still keen to drag our computers over to a friend’s house for a LAN party, but because we’d all been there with online character before.

The Diablo III launch proved that point.

Then there is how quickly Blizz used to be in deleting your Diablo II BNet characters if you hadn’t logged on for a few months.

So the solution seemed to be to make offline characters.  They’re stored on your drive, the world is spun up and save locally, and you even get the same map for your ongoing local game.  One of the pissers about BNet games is that your exploration is always for naught once you leave your game.

And that was certainly my go-to when Diablo II Resurrected landed.  My first few characters were offline.

Then the group picked up the game and… well… there is no more LAN option, so if you want to play together you play on BNet.  So I started rolling up characters for non-group play on BNet as well, including my necromancer who has made it all the way through.  I might as well keep all of them together now that we have those three tabs of sweet shared storage… which I have totally filled up already.  I can’t bring myself to start tossing yellow and gold items until I am out of storage.  And I have been saving every rune, gem, or jewel as well.

Overall, playing on BNet hasn’t been much of a problem.  There are occasionally some network blips and we had a problem yesterday where I couldn’t join anybody’s game and they couldn’t join mine.  But I had been online and logged into BNet for a couple hours at that point playing one of my other characters, so the service seemed to have tucked me off in a corner on my own.  The issue was fixed by logging out and then back in again.

In the end, I have only see a queue twice so far.  The first time it was only a few people deep and I was connected in a couple of minutes.  That was Saturday when EU and US prime time was overlapping.  The second time, the 70 deep queue pictured above, was at 10:30pm Pacific time on Saturday night, which seemed a bit odd to me.  I guess people to the east of me were up late playing.  But Diablo and Diablo II were always games suitable to late night play.  Their atmosphere is enhanced by darkness and a late hour.

And even that queue was down to a single digit in the time it took me to go grab a drink and make myself an evening snack.

I don’t know what the policy is on character deletion there days though.  I hope they’re a little more lenient now that storage is a damn sight less expensive than it was 20 years ago.  The support site still says they’re purged if inactive for 90 days.  That was another reason to roll up a local character.  We’ll see how that plays out I guess.

Blizzard Customer Service Just Giving Away Authenticators

In my further adventures with Twitter and trying to figure out exactly what it is good for, I decided to follow as many MMO company Twitter accounts as I could.

I wanted to see what companies were doing with Twitter.

A lot of the game companies are very quiet most of the time, which I appreciate.  They save their tweets for something special.

SOE, is more verbose and occasionally talks about game status, but has been mostly promoting DC Universe Online of late.  Heck, even John Smedley is suddenly quite active on the DCUO front.

TERA Online talks a lot about… well… TERA Online.  Too much, I think.

LOTRO announces flash lotteries and community related items.

But BlizzardCS seems to be unique in that they give actual customer service status, like the in-game petition queue duration. (Which went from about a 3 day wait to about a a 12 hour wait in the course of a day at one point.  Somebody turned on the steam there.)

But they also give away Blizzard Authenticators by the hundreds.

No, really.  I’ve seen a couple of tweets like this already.

I was curious enough about this that I responded and won a free authenticator on the first try.  And they sent it to me, for free.  No shipping or anything.  I didn’t actually need an authenticator, but I know enough people who play WoW that I’ll find somebody to pass it on to.

But I thought it was interesting that the organization within Blizzard that probably benefits most from people having authenticators actually has budget to send them out to people who know where to find them for free.  It is one of those things that seems logical, but which I hardly ever see.

Enlightened self-interest or some such.

[Addendum: You can read a more clearly worded and detail description of the Blizzard Twitter Authenticator Give Away contest here.]

Are You Buying StarCraft II?

StarCraft II comes out next Tuesday, and it is almost assured to be a best seller from day one.

I mean, it is a Blizzard product, right?

Or is it really the first Activision-Blizzard product?  Hrmm…

Anyway, it is coming out in a few days and I am trying to decide if I should buy it.

Part of me, the part that really enjoyed StarCraft when it came out in 1999, the part of me that wants to shout, “Jacked up and good to go!,” that part wants to go out and buy it on day one.

But then there is the part of me that is annoyed by the absence of direct LAN play features in the game and the fact that you will have to log into Battle.net even for solo play.  And then there is the whole Facebook integration and the Real ID question, which has been shelved for the moment, but which I am sure will return.

And finally, there is the part of me that played in the beta.  Whee, I got in the beta!  Okay, I got into it roughly 6 weeks before it ended, but I was there.  That experience left me with a few impressions:

  • The game looks really nice
  • The game play and controls are as crisp and as sure as expected
  • They took almost no risks with the game, so if you’ve played StarCraft, you know what you are getting
  • I suck at it

The last came from me getting smoked regularly in matches.  I’ve lost my build order and unit control skills over the years.  And since single player wasn’t available to me in the beta, I have no idea if that is at all worth the price of admission.

So I am on the fence about buying the game.  Nostalgia and the fact that Blizzard does make good games is pressing me forward.  But the Battle.net requirement and the fact that it is the same game most of us have played already makes me want to pass, at least until I hear how the single player campaign play.

How about you?

Battle.net Parental Controls Get Tweaked

This week’s Tuesday WoW/Battle.net maintenance  (which went until almost 5pm Pacific on some servers, compared to the usual noon-ish wrap up) included an update to the parental controls page.

They did not fix many of the issues that came with the move from it being part of World of Warcraft to being part of Battle.net. (see past rant on the subject)  They fixed one, to be exact.  And the whole thing still bypasses the Blizzard authenticator, which annoys me.

But there were a few other minor tweaks.

One was the color.  I guess that midnight blue was too dark for some.

Now in shades of gray

And they also added the ability to clear the schedule for a given day.  Previously you could only clear the whole schedule.  That fixed the “once you have a time slot on a given day, you cannot undo it without clearing everything” issue.

But more interesting in view of the whole Real ID in the forums blow up of two weeks back, is the addition of an option to allow forum posting. (Real ID still lives, btw.  Just not in the forums at the moment.)

One new check box

Previously there was only a check box to enable Real ID.  And, since Real ID was going to be required to post on the forums, the two actions were effectively controlled by a single control.

Now, however, in the wake of the “No Real ID in the forums” outburst, there is the new check box for forum posting access.

But what does it mean?

Was this planned to be there all along?  Is this a reaction to Blizzard having to yank their Real ID in the forums plan?

And what will it mean when StarCraft II comes out in a week?  The press release about Facebook integration with SC II seems to indicate that there will have to be additional factors to consider for parental controls.

I guess we’ll find out about that in a week.

As Real ID Oozes Forward, More People Lose

I must admit, my first gut reaction to Blizzard announcing that their Real ID initiative would be applied to their forums and that everybody would be required to post using their real name was a  Nelson Muntz, “Haw-haw!”

After all, I don’t post to the Blizzard forums.  Why should I care?

And I could see the same point which Darren did, that this whole thing would certainly put a few people on better behavior.  And I am sure there were others who could see some merit in that.  Wasn’t abusive customer behavior one of the reasons that Mark Jacobs opposed having official forums for WAR?

Of course, after that initial flush of schadenfreude, holes began to develop quite quickly in the Utopian forum in my head.

There will always be people who doesn’t care if others know their real name and who will continue to behave like an ass-hats regardless of what sort of information about them is made public.  And then there are those with names common enough that knowing their name tells gives you no information whatsoever, some percentage of whom are jerks. (I wonder if there is a correlation between having a common name and bad forum behavior?  Is somebody name John Smith more likely to mouth off?)

Out of a population of a couple of million subscribers, I am going to guess that there will be enough such people as to make the change in the tenor of the forums smaller than one might hope.

Then, if you add in the people whose accounts do not actually carry their real name (whoops, did you sell your account to a forum troll?), you begin to wonder if this is going to make any real difference in the war for public decency.

After all, this Real ID in the forums plan is likely to stifle the voices of a lot of average users while being unlikely to hinder the two groups I mentioned above.  The signal to noise ratio in the forums will likely stay the same or perhaps even get worse.

So you will be hard pressed to get me to believe that end users will see much benefit from the imposition of real names in the Blizzard forums.

Blizzard will though.  I am sure forum posting will drop dramatically.  That will make community easier and less expensive to manage.

But unless that is going to cut my monthly subscription price, I’m not sure I care.

The cost of Real ID though, that is pretty steep.

After all, the fundamental principal of a game like World of Warcraft is to deliver an escapist fantasy, to be someone or something you are not in the real world of your every day life and to be a part of a community of others who also seek a similar escape.

Only, suddenly, we really can’t be a part of that community unless we’re ready to link our in-game persona to our real life.  Today it is the in-game friends list, tomorrow it will be the forums, what will it be next week.  It could be your Real ID associated with your Armory pages if people do not complain now.

And while some declare worry on the subject to be irrational fear, I think they are living in a fools paradise.  Certainly there are some people for whom Real ID will make no difference.  If you are male and have a reasonably common name and are not, say, looking for a job, then who cares what comes up when people Google your name or look at your Facebook page.

But what happens when your name is a unique search on Google, so all your information is easily obtained once somebody has your name? (That’s me, by the way.)

What happens when you’re a woman and you want to just fit in and enjoy the escapist fantasy without being hit on or treated differently?

What happens when you’re a guy but you play all female characters?  Ready to explain that one to all and sundry?

What happens when you have kids who play and they want to be part of the community?

What happens when your last name happens to come from a region that the politicians and news media have declared “bad guys?” (Historically, that has happened to my family.  And while it is unlikely to happen today (too many Irish in the country, for one thing) it does make you think when it happens to somebody else.)

Are we all that ready to share?

WoW is entertainment.  I’m not sure I’d want a public record available listing out every movie I’ve seen, every television show I’ve watched, or every book I’ve read.  So why would I feel differently about video games I’ve played?

Finally, there is the security aspect.

And this is what kills me.

Blizzard goes on and on about account security.  They want us to buy authenticators to keep our accounts secure.  Fine, I’ll play ball in the name of security.  I bought an authenticator.

But I expect Blizzard to be holding up their end of the bargain as well.

And Blizzard cannot say they are doing their best to protect account security on the one hand while proposing to give out our real names on the other.

They made us change our account IDs to an email address.  Now they want us to use our real names, so you can now get the email address/account ID of a large number of WoW accounts without much effort.  And any hacker can now associate account IDs with all the information about us that is available on the internet.  And since most people make up their passwords based on things like names, birthdays, and such of children and spouses, hacking accounts just got that much easier.

All of this is making me wonder what things are going to look like in StarCraft II when it comes out at the end of this month.  Is it going to be real names, Real ID, up front from day one?  Is everybody I play going to know my real name?  There is no way to play StarCraft II without Battle.net (no LAN play, remember?), so if Blizzard is going to display all our names, I won’t want to go there.

All paranoia?  Maybe.  People who have been victims of loose information tend to be more concerned about it being contained.

But this is light entertainment.  If it is engendering paranoia, then it is doing something wrong.

And other have written more clearly and eloquently about this topic than I have.  You should go run through the posts, and the comments, at Terra Nova and Broken Toys.

Heck, even SynCaine has an unusually calm, logical, direct and to the point poke at Blizzard.

But I just wanted to put my own thoughts down on this.  One of the purposes of this blog is to record what is going on at the time so I can review it later and see how I have changed or not.

And I wanted to complain.  Loudly and quickly.  If we all say, “Whatever, it doesn’t apply to me,” then at some point the changes will apply to you, and you’ll wish somebody had spoken up earlier.

Addendum – Additional reading on the subject:

April Fools at Blizzard – 2010

[This is about the 2010 Blizzard April Fools. 2011 is covered here.]

As usual, Blizzard has a series of April Fools items around their various sites.

There is the Battle.Net Neural Interface.

A new way to connect!

On the WoW front, they have announced the Equipment Potency EquivalencE Number (E.P.E.E.N.), that includes a graphic measurement of who has more.  Not quite up there with last year’s Battle Dance System, but okay.

Now we know whose really is bigger!

The Blizzard site also has some fantastic announcements around two mobile games, Blackthorne 2 and Queen’s Quest.

Over at the Diablo III site there was the X-treme Gamer Blanket.

That is all I have spotted up to this point.  There wasn’t anything obvious on the StarCraft site, but they might be too busy with beta and launch plans to play the April Fools game.

Did I miss anything in my morning run through the land of Blizzard?  Did they announce that the change of relationship between Blizzard and Activision was just an April Fools?  One can only hope.


A reader comment from David pointed out that there is also a Deckard Cain GPS Voice Pack page, the old Two-headed Ogre player character story brought to life, and a new Battle.net Matchmaking service to add to the Blizzard April Fools list.

Battle.net's April Fool Page

Such fun.  Anything out there exclusive to the EU Blizzard sites?

The Battle.net Conversion

I’ve been down with the flu for much of the last seven days so haven’t been keeping tabs on the gaming blogs as much as usual, but it seems that more than a few people have been getting themselves into a huff over the security implications of Blizzard making people merge their World of Warcraft accounts with Battle.net.

The argument has been made that using an email address is less secure than using an account name.

Which I would grant as true if we all just had one email address.  One we used everywhere, every day.  One displayed, perhaps, on the front page of one’s blog.

Honestly though, I have to think a bit to come up with somebody with just one email address these days.

My mom has more than one email address. (She reads this blog! Hi mom!)

My wife has more than one email address. (Another reader! Hi sweetie!)

And me? Don’t get me started.  I have a domain and essentially an unlimited supply of forwarding email addresses that can be as complex as I can stand but which will still show up in one of my in boxes.

The only person I can think of for sure with only a single email address is my daughter. (Not yet a reader)  But she does not use it, because it was only created to use for her Battle.net account so I could merge her WoW account.

Email addresses are plentiful.  Creating one that you don’t use regularly is simple.

And if you are itching at this moment to write a comment telling me the you have but a single email address, let me save you the trouble and direct you to Yahoo! and Gmail where you can create a new email address for free.

But I did think of one possible flaw.  What would happen if you decided to use that email address at a later date?  Or maybe you accidentally used that “everybody knows it” email address for Battle.net and now regret it?

So I went to the Battle.net account site.

I merged my account months ago to get on the StarCraft II beta list and to use the Blizzard Authenticator.  If you’re going to make security and issue but don’t use the authenticator, I’d have to question your commitment to the proposition of security.

And you don’t even have to buy the authenticator. (Which appears to be in stock as of this writing and on which  I doubt Blizzard makes very much margin at all, to bring up two things I’ve seen mentioned more than once.)

They make versions of authenticator for phones, and not just iPhones.

Really!  There is a version for my crappy old Kyocera phone on the list.  I was surprised when I went and looked!  The list of supported phones is pretty big now.

But I digress.

I went to Battle.net because I was pretty sure I remembered an option.  And I found it.

Oh, look, you can change your email address.

So you can change both your logon and your password as regularly as you like if you are security conscious and still find reason to eschew the authenticator route.

That would seem to me to actually offer more security options.

And, because somebody is going to ask, yes that option actually changes your logon, not just the email address at which you receive notifications.

A look at the email address change screen

A look at the email address change screen

So some of the rants on the security implications seem a bit over blown in my opinion, if you are concerned about security.

That last bit is the key.  If you are not concerned about security, your current account name probably falls into one or more of these categories:

  • The name of one of your characters
  • Some common variation on your name and initials (jsmith, johns, jsmith74 and you were born in 1974)
  • The name of a pet or loved one
  • A name (and probably a password) you have used on other sites (your standard web logon)
  • Your current, most commonly used email address minus the domain name and the @ sign

And if that is the case, the move to Battle.net is probably just maintaining the status quo for you when it comes to security.

So did Blizzard blowing the lid off of security with this move?  I don’t think so.

On the other hand, Tobold’s prediction of general support line mayhem on November 11th is about as close to a sure things as I can imagine.

And it will be a double disaster.

Not only are people going to swamp the phone lines and bring down the forums, but Blizzard is forcing people to actually THINK about their accounts.

When companies make their customers do that, some non-zero percentage of those customers will up and cancel their subscriptions.  It always happens.

So this is going to cost Blizzard.  I hope their plans for Battle.net are worth the pain they are going to have to endure.

I’d even worry about how Battle.net is going to behave come November 11th.  What is going to happen when a few hundred thousand people suddenly create accounts and try to merge their WoW account.

So, mom, go merge your account over this weekend.  Give me a call if you have any questions.  When you do merger your account, you’ll get a pet penguin in game.  I already got mine.  Your granddaughter has one now as well.

Mr. Chilly

Mr. Chilly

Mr. Chilly is some sort of northern Kalimdor penguin I think, and should not be confused with Pengu, who is from Northrend and a hatchling of the race of King Ping.  Pengu can only be bought when one has exalted faction with the Kalu’ak.

The Majestic Pengu

The Majestic Pengu

I understand that Pengu is going to get some red-eye reduction in an upcoming patch.  I just hope he doesn’t end up looking like his distant cousin, Mr. Chilly who has the potential to become the most ubiquitous pet in the game.  Everybody who converts to Battle.net gets him, and everybody has to convert.  Only those who delay too long may not get him according to the Battle.net FAQ:

However, please note that we plan to remove the ability to get the penguin pet at some point in the future.

I’m going to guess that the “point in the future” is reasonably far out, lest they get yet more support phone calls about why people didn’t get their penguin.

BlizzCon Overload!

There are 20 hours of BlizzCon video on our Tivo at the moment.  It was supposed to be 16 hours, then 18 hours, but somehow it ended up at 20 hours.

BlizzCon 2009

I’ve watched about 6 hours of it so far.  And even that is a lot of gaming video to watch, certainly enough to form some opinions.

The Good

It is a very different experience to hear somebody involved with the development of games talk about their pet project versus reading a summary of it on a news site.  WoW.com did a great job putting up facts about what was shown, but it cannot replace hearing it from the horses mouth, so to speak.  Hearing somebody like Chris Metzen talk about the game, to feel the passion he has for the game, can change your viewpoint on things.

That is the true selling point, the only reason any big fan of Blizzard games needs to know.

The Bad

The sound was horrible.  I don’t know if the problem was in Anaheim or at DirecTV, but sound was cutting out during the first hour of the event and was really, really soft for the whole thing.  I had the volume on the sound system cranked up so high that the beeps from the Tivo when I hit a button were deafening.

As much as I like Tivo, their interface isn’t ideal for dealing with 10 hours of content.  Fast forward and 30 second skip aren’t cutting it.

Things That Stuck

Blizzard expects to ship StarCraft II and WoW Cataclysm in 2010, though they were a bit soft on the Cataclysm date.  And Diablo III is much further out.  We have a wait ahead of us still.

I still have trouble believing what a change to the game Cataclysm is going to be. (Cataclysm FAQ here.)  Has any other MMO in the past changed their whole base game as much as Blizzard is proposing to do?  The safe path would have been the EverQuest route that I wrote about last week, expansion for the core, milk the cow, build the next game.  But Blizzard is going to redo the core game instead.  And while some zoned will be affected more than others, they were quite clear that EVERY zone on Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms will experience changes.

The first question at the first panel was about “cannot launch additional instances,” which made me laugh out loud.  But the panel was ready for it.  They had talked about cross-server LFG for instances.  The tech that will support that will also alleviate the instance launching issue.  As for why it is happening now, we all seem to love to run instances these days.

After watching Rob Pardo talk about the Blizzard plans for StarCraft II and Battle.net, I get why they don’t want LAN play in the game.  I don’t like it, but I get it.  Keen had some dour thoughts on the subject, but I am trying to keep an open mind.  Mostly that is because if they work out their plans for StarCraft II with the new Battle.net, it could be a huge addition when it comes to Diablo III.  Actual support for a mod’ing community… they should have done that for Diablo II.

The stuff about Diablo III was interesting, and the game play video I saw looked good, but it is still way too early for me to get excited about the game, either for good or for bad.  Still, people are warming up blogs about it.

The in-between panels segments were actually better than I thought they would be.  I figured I would skip over them, but I ended up watching most of them.  A tour of Mike Morhaime‘s office, complete with the promissory note written for the money he borrow from his grandmother to help start the company, was classic.

Watching StarCraft tournament play, which was on my initial “to-be-skipped list,” turned out to be a lot more interesting and intense than I thought it would be.  There was some insane unit management going on… well, insane compared to anything I’d be able to do.

There was a lot more information presented than I could possibly retain, even for the six hours I have watched so far.  But that is what keeps sites like WoW.com in business.  Still, it was difficult for me to just relax and watch rather than take notes obsessively about things like Battle.net having more users than World of Warcraft. (Well, I remembered that.)

Overall, while I have no real desire to attend BlizzCon in person, I would consider watching it on Pay Per View again next year… if I finish watching BlizzCon 2009 by then.

Back to Battle.net

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.

The Games

The Games

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.