client beta adds groups with voice chat


Blizzard have rebranded their online platform twice in the space of a year. First, they killed off, making it more Blizzard-y by naming different features things like Blizzard Voice and Blizzard Streaming. But that was silly. So they decided to change it again, this time to Blizzard None of this mattered to anyone, however, since the platform itself remained unchanged. Until now. It’s time for some new social features, including the ability to make groups with their own voice chat channels.

I say social features, but the thing I’m really glad to see added to is actually more anti-social in nature. Yes, finally we’ll be able to set our status to offline, and that’s great. In this brave new world, we’ll no longer be pestered while we’re dying repeatedly in Overwatch or finishing up dailies in World of Warcraft. This is the next best thing to simply getting rid of all the people.

This is joined by a social tab that squeezes chat and group features into one place. And speaking of groups… well, you’ll be able to make them now. This is the opposite of what I want, but I imagine it will be handy for guilds, clans and cults. These groups will be able to use multiple chat channels, for both text and voice, along with administrator tools.

Finally, there’s your customisable profile, where you’ll be able to choose an avatar, add links and tell the world a little bit about yourself. “Hi, I’m Fraser. I like short walks, poems about whisky, and not being bothered by people when I’m trying to play Overwatch.”

To use these new features, you’ll need to switch to the beta client, but that’s easy. Simply select “Switch to Beta Version” in the betas tab of the settings menu.

Looking at it, I’m reminded of Discord. The way groups in particular are structured is especially evocative of the app, though Discord obviously comes with the benefit of not being attached to a very specific and small set of games. Still, these are very welcome changes. What else do you fancy seeing added to


  1. Seafoam says:

    I’m glad they changed it back to, much better than the stale Blizzard App (blegh, is this PC gaming or iOS store?).
    Honestly in the future where we will probably start adding 16 numbers to every user- or domain name the fact that someone can have the a name as simplistic as a “common-word dot top-level-domain” should be like a holy grail to any business.

    Oh yeah and the groups are cool too, no longer you need to necessarily make your acquaintances your “friends” to keep in touch.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Serrit says:

    This is the next best thing to simply getting rid of all the people

    And in the game[client]?

  3. Person of Interest says:

    Offline mode! That really should be the headline. It’s taken Blizzard nearly a decade to develop offline technology, after all. Since they started “Project Offline”, they’ve released at least five games, maybe a dozen expansions, and gone through a corporate restructuring or two. But I’d still rate offline mode as the company’s crowning achievement.