Mike: BlizzCon, what’s up? My name is Mike Yaklin. I’m Lead UX Designer for Social, for Battle.net. And it’s an incredible honor to be here today representing the team, and all the work that everyone’s been doing, and it means a lot to all of us that so many people are interested in the work that we’re doing. We didn’t know what to expect, this being the first time Battle.net has had a panel. So it’s quite an honor for us.
All right. So I’m going to pick up where Itay left off. Finding the right people to make friends is important, but once you have those friends we also want to make sure it’s really easy for you to stay connected to them. And again, that idea of connecting people is such a fundamental part of what Battle.net has always been about.
Everyone on the team is super passionate about it. We know you guys are as well, and that’s why I’m here today to talk about Blizzard Groups. So Blizzard Groups… they’ve been out for a few weeks now, but in case you’re not quite sure where they are, or you haven’t had an opportunity to use them — they are are a lot like Guilds in WoW, or clans in StarCraft and Diablo.
Except they’re not tied to any specific game. They live outside and across all of them, making it easy for you to stay connected regardless of what you and your friends want to play. Internally, we’ve been talking about the need for a cross-game group for quite a while. We realized it was really unfortunate when you lose a part of your community when either you or a friend of yours decides to play a different game.
Blizzard Groups are going to fix that. Blizzard Groups are going to be the social bond that helps connect you across games. It’s been a really long journey for us to get here, and we’re really excited to be here to talk about it. So let’s jump in. I want to start by showing you how easy it is to set up a group for you and your friends.
So we’re here on the Creator Group dialogue, and I’ll make a group today for some close friends of mine. We’ve been getting together, and playing every Thursday night for a really long time. So for lack of a better name, I will call this group “Thursday Nighters.”
Now a name is all I need to set this group up, but I want to go ahead and pick an icon just because it’s fun; and you can see just like player avatars… we have a ton of artwork from all of our games to choose from and we’re planning to see continue adding more and more as we go.
For today, though, I’m going to take the taco because that’s one of my favourites. Because it’s a bunch of my friends, I’ll skip description for now. I will hit “Create,” and that’s it… we have a group. Super easy to do. The only thing I need to do now is get the friends in it that I want, and we’ve made it really easy to pull directly from your friends’ lists. So I will grab the people that I want in this group, Hit send, and as soon as they accept — we’re all in the group together.
So now we have our group. Let’s talk a little bit about what you get with one. On the top side you can see I have the name of the group. I have a little bit of information about who’s online, and I have the Message Of The Day section. Now I haven’t added one yet… but this just gives me a really easy way to send an announcement or an update out to the entire group.
Beneath that, we have channels; and channels are a big part of how you customize the space and make it unique for you. Since I just had a couple friends in here, I’ve only created a couple of channels; but you have flexibility here to do whatever you want. Inside of channels, we have text and voice chat.
And text chat for us… there is something about it that we know we kind of lag behind in terms of features, but we want text chat to feel fun, we wanted to feel like any other chat app out there that you’ve gotten used to. You can see we started to do a little bit of work bringing some of the fun in. We have emoji support, links are finally clickable, and the thing that I’m most excited about is we now have chat history.
So you will no longer miss messages when you’re offline. When you come back online, you can pick right back up with a conversation, and see what everyone has been talking about. Most importantly, see what your friends are saying about you. Now in addition to Text Chat, we also have Voice Chat. And we learned a lot about how to not do Voice Chat based on some of our past implementations. You may, or may not remember them. This time I think we nailed it.
I might be a little biased, but I think we have one of the easiest-to-use best-sounding voice chats out there, and with Groups the amazing thing is that once you’ve created your group, your channels, it’s there for you every night. No longer have to recreate and re-invite every time you want to chat with your friends.
So that’s really convenient, really useful for your friends, but Blizzard Groups are actually for more than just your friends. They’re also a really good way to help you find more people to play with. So for example, I play a lot more than my friends do. More than just Thursday nights.
In fact, I’m online almost every night looking for people to play with, looking for something to do; and lately I’ve been trying to rank up in Hero League. And I want a group to queue up and do that. So that’s where Blizzard Groups come in. Let’s take a look at the group I joined to help me find that.
So you can see right away from the name that this group is super focused on Ranked Heroes, and with about 80 people online. I should be able to find someone to play with. And this group has a lot more channels than I did in my group, and it’s really easy to scan down that list and see where people are playing together, where they’re using voice chat.
So I can just jump into a channel, or go to Potato League. It’s about where I’m ranked. I can ask if they need another person. Looks like they do. I jump in voice chat. And now I have a new set of people to play with. And the amazing thing about that is I had access to everybody in this group, all these people, without having to add all of them to my friends list.
Blizzard Groups are going to make it really easy for you to find more people to play with. So they’re out there today. They’re in the Battle.net App. If you didn’t know they’re in the Social Tab. We added a new tab. It’s called Social. You’ll find groups there, but you’ll also find chats. We felt like the social tab gave us a good opportunity to help manage the number of pop ups we have inside the app.
So now by default, all of your chats will show up in the App, they can be organized by recency, the most recent ones will be at the top. Making it really easy for you to get back to the conversation that you missed; and if anybody loves pop ups, I don’t want you to worry… we can still do those as well.
So I think that’s all I have for you today. I really appreciate you guys coming out. We have a lot of ideas, we have a lot of plans for where we want to go with Groups. What is out there today is just a starting point. We want to make them as unique as they can be for the Blizzard community, as unique as they can be for you. A big part of how we get there is your feedback. Please try them, go to the forums, let us know what you think.
All right, that’s it for me. Thank you so much. Enjoy BlizzCon. Up next, Renata Ponte to talk about how we keep connected wherever you go.
NEXT: MOBILE APP
|BlizzCon 2017 Blizzard Social Whats Next panel transcript|
|1. Intro||2. Battle.net Desktop App||3. Blizzard Groups||4. Mobile App|
|5. Gifting||6. Q&A||7. Q&A (Part 2)|