Blizzard's New Launcher Feels Slick...

Subject: General Tech | September 3, 2014 - 03:31 AM |
Tagged: blizzard,

There has been a new launcher in the works for quite some time now, about thirteen months. Blizzard is finally rolling it out to users of StarCraft II. Loading up the game a couple of days ago, I was transitioned to the new system. I must say: it looks and feels pretty slick.

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First, the main pages have a glass-like blur atop a background image for its window chrome. It has a borderless window style with a simple, one-pixel frame. When focused, it lights up a little central region at the top, rather than an entire strip of it. Personally, I find that this looks a little bit better than even Steam's most recent update -- but that is just being picky. Blizzard definitely thought about how it would look, and it shows.

The games are currently limited to World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, and Hearthstone. This leaves the shop quite limited, except for a few in-game mounts, pets, and services attached to WoW. Beyond the store, the layout is definitely intuitive and clean, despite only playing StarCraft II. And who knows, it might encourage me to branch out a little bit (but probably not).

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The app is also designed to function as a messenger client. When playing StarCraft II, I found it quite weird to have a chat and instant messenger client built into each of their games, which needed to be running for it to be useful. Obviously, it is much easier to have run in the background 24/7 than, say, Diablo III or StarCraft II, so this should make their messenger application more useful. This is a fairly obvious statement. The part that feels weird is how it doesn't seem to integrate with any of the game's chatrooms. I would have expected that I could interact with the chat groups of Blizzard's various games, but that is not that case. It seems like I still need to launch into StarCraft II, or whatever, to go about doing that. This, as stated, feels weird... almost like they have not got around to it yet.

Blizzard's new launcher is available for download basically the next time you launch StarCraft II.

Source: Blizzard

September 3, 2014 | 06:23 AM - Posted by Branthog

After playing through Diablo at launch (six or eight hours, I think?), I went back to playing this the last couple of days. The launcher is nice looking, but boy... why do I need a launcher to play Diablo 3?

September 3, 2014 | 07:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

2 more apps that need to be always on for you to play their games.

September 3, 2014 | 09:49 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I still can use the traditional launcher as well as this new one. I doesn't have to always be running either but also really isn't much of a problem when it is. I think the best part is that you can launch whatever game from it without the need to enter your login.

September 3, 2014 | 11:01 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Remember the times when you just pressed the icon and you were in the game?

Starting a game nowadays is like starting a plane.

September 3, 2014 | 12:44 PM - Posted by Patrick3D (not verified)

"Starting a game nowadays is like starting a plane."

Actually, it's nothing like starting a plane. Check out GiantBomb's video: "Flight Club - Digital Combat Simulator P-51D-Mustang"

Takes them almost 45 minutes to start a plane, in a computer game. It is quite hilarious though.

September 3, 2014 | 01:44 PM - Posted by Biggie (not verified)

I've got no problem with launchers, anything that keeps my games update is fine with me. It would have been nice if everyone could have unified on Steam. Unless you have 4GB of memory in your system the memory foot print of these launchers should be a non issue.

September 3, 2014 | 04:22 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified) All these self-absorbed companies believe that users are going to put up with having to have 8 different gaming platforms running in the background at all times to run all their games are delusional. I haven't tried this thing out yet so I won't doom it completely. But if they stop me from simply double clicking on a game to open it you can be sure I'll be a lot more likely to load up add/remove programs than add another launcher to my system tray.

September 3, 2014 | 04:23 PM - Posted by Shambles (not verified)

Ugh just looking at that screenshot shows they're a bunch of MM/DD/YY heathens! Now I'm really turned off!


September 3, 2014 | 08:04 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I've been using the beta client for a while now. It has been nice not having to log into my Blizzard games when I go to play them. It has also been nice having the client keep my Blizzard games up-to-date when it starts (similar to Steam) so that when I go to play them, I'm not waiting for a patch to download.

As far as memory requirements - give me a break. Steam uses ~40MB on my system and uses about ~55MB. This pales in comparison to Firefox chewing up 233MB and the 8 or so instances of svchost.exe running, all consuming well over 200MB together. It hasn't been since the days of DOS that memory has been an issue in the PC world. Put 16GB in your system and disable the swap file already, or go buy a console.

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