Appear Offline and other new social features arrive in the Blizzard Battle.net launcher
In addition to the ability to gift digital goods to your friends, Blizzard has outlined a host of new social features coming to the Blizzard Battle.net platform. An Appear Offline option has rolled out to all Blizzard Battle.net users — and had previously been available to users of the beta launcher — to much rejoicing, but Battle.net’s chat system received an overhaul, too. The new Social tab in the launcher will organize all of your active conversations, and through the Groups feature, you can create, join, and maintain chatrooms.
Through new Profiles, you can customize your avatar, link Battle.net to your social media accounts, and share what you’re playing with your friends. I’m unlikely to use the Profiles feature personally — Appear Offline is much more my speed — but it’ll surely be useful to people more outgoing than I am.
Check out the official announcement below:
We’re excited to introduce an array of new social features designed to give Blizzard players even more ways to stay connected inside our games and out—all available starting today in the Blizzard Battle.net® desktop app.
The new Social tab includes the brand-new Blizzard Groups feature and hosts all of your chats, and player-to-player gifting gives you new ways to show your appreciation to your friends.
We’ve also launched some new features that let you control how you appear to the Blizzard community, including profiles and avatars that let you customize your online persona, along with the ability to appear offline—read more about all these features below.
Our new Social tab is your one-stop-shop for managing all your various social interactions, including chatting one-on-one with a friend and engaging in our new Blizzard Groups feature.
Chat now works even when you’re offline, so you can send a message to an offline friend and they’ll receive it when they come back online. You’ll also see a history of your chat, so you’ll easily be able to pick up where you left off in all of your conversations.
These chat features are designed to work seamlessly with the recently launched Blizzard Battle.net mobile app, which lets you chat on the go—download it free now for iOS and Android to help stay connected to your friends anywhere.
Blizzard Groups are a new way for you to connect with your friends and other groups of players who share common interests, whether it’s prepping for a raid, hanging out to cheer on your favorite esports team, or geeking out over a new comic or animated short.
Each Group can have multiple text and voice chat channels, and Group administrators have a variety of tools to help manage membership, send out invitation links, and more. When it’s time to go offline, you can easily catch up on conversations you might have missed once you return.
Head to the new Social tab to get the party started!
One of your Blizzard friends have a birthday coming up? Or just want to say “thanks” for some awesome support in a recent game? With player-to-player gifting, you can purchase and send in-game gifts to your friends.
To send a gift, head to the Shop tab and select a gifting-enabled item such as Hearthstone card packs or an Overwatch Loot Box. Select the Gift button, and then choose the desired recipient’s or BattleTag from a drop-down menu during the purchasing process.
When someone sends you a gift, the upper right of the app will light up to show you that something’s waiting (you can also select View Gifts from the drop-down menu under your BattleTag). Click Claim or visit the Gifts web page on mobile to add the gift to your collection in the associated game.
Profiles and Avatars
Let the Blizzard world know a little bit more about you by customizing your profile and choosing an avatar.
Your profile lets you share what’s on your mind with an About message, add links to where people can find you on social media, show people what games you’ve been playing recently, and more. You can also choose whether to make your profile public so that potential pals can learn more about you.
Your avatar will represent you in chats, in Groups, and other places in the Blizzard community. You can choose from more than 100 different heroes, villains, and other iconic characters from across Blizzard’s game universes and beyond.
Customize your profile and choose an avatar through the View Profile button in the app header and Friends list drop-downs.
Appear offline allows you to set your status to show you as “offline” to your Blizzard friends while remaining connected to Battle.net. This means you can launch the app and game away without distraction.
Appearing offline will show you as offline to everyone in your Blizzard friends list both in the Battle.net app and in-game. Gameplay and game-specific features such as matchmaking are unaffected while you are appearing offline. Note that in the case of World of Warcraft, you will still appear online as your character in-game.
While appearing offline you can still send and receive messages in the app, but it is up to you when you want to respond.
Thanks to everyone who’s provided feedback on these new features during the recent beta test, and to all those who’ve given us suggestions for improving the Blizzard Battle.net desktop app. These features are here because you asked for them, and we’re looking forward to continuing to evolve the app experience and help the Blizzard community stay connected.
Once you’ve had a chance to try these new features out, head to the forums and let us know what you think!
Overall, these changes are a significant stride toward giving Blizzard Battle.net an internal social ecosystem. Rather than the launcher simply being a place where your Blizzard game collection lives, it’s now more comparable to a platform such as Discord or Steam. Still, if you play any games other than Blizzard games, Discord remains your best bet. Then again, with Destiny 2 releasing on Battle.net today, maybe Blizzard will start aiming to cast a wider net.
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