Hearthstone & BattleTags

Well, it’s been nearly a month since I last posted and, thus, last ranted in this space. ;) (Actually, my last post wasn’t too bad and actually included praise, so hey, go me!)

A new Hearthstone closed beta patch launched this week ( and lots of things changed. I’m in favour of many of the changes, ambivalent about others, but I’m quite annoyed at a specific change.

“New Feature: Recently played Opponent – Your friends list now displays the last person you played against, provided they were not a Real ID or BattleTag friend. If you had a particularly great match against someone, you can now friend them for future play!” (Source)

How do they do this? By actually displaying the BattleTag of the person against whom you last played. Here’s a (slightly obscured) screenshot of my “friends list” that shows the BattleTag of the person whose ass I kicked to get to rank level 23.


It does NOT seem to persist after a logout, so if I played you and then logged out and then logged back in, your name would be gone. (Such was the case with DJNOclue.)

Kurn, you may ask, Kurn, why is this a problem?

Quite simply, I feel strongly that my BattleTag should not be displayed to anyone but me without my permission.

Uh… why the hell not? It’s not as though it’s your RealID or anything.

Excellent point. (Although I should note for full disclosure that I have actually turned RealID off on my Battle.net account.)

Putting aside all the issues I have with the incredibly inelegant RealID/BattleTag chat stuff (and boy, do I have issues!), let’s look at how things came to be in order to perhaps better understand my issues.

Once upon a time, Blizzard created World of Warcraft. Then, they added RealID. Then, they added BattleTags. None of these things were actually necessary to play this game or, another contemporary of WoW, Starcraft II. However, when Diablo III was released, suddenly, BattleTags were not only created, but were required to be created in order to play Diablo III. Since I played D3 for a short period of time, I was forced to create a BattleTag. Even once I abandoned the game, my BattleTag persisted. Even though there is no requirement for BattleTags to be used in World of Warcraft, I still have one and I cannot get rid of it. (Actually, I just opened a ticket through the website to try to get it removed. I am not optimistic, but we’ll see!) I believe that they are planning to make BattleTags required for everything, but as it stands, you can still play World of Warcraft without a BattleTag. (I just created a new Battle.net account and was never prompted to create a BattleTag when creating the account, although there was an option to do so once I was in my account management.) Further, there is absolutely no way to go “offline” or “invisible”, despite the fact that, more than a year ago, Blizzard said Invisible Mode would be implemented “in the coming months”.

Why do I need a BattleTag? Well, I don’t believe I do. So let’s take a look at the Battle.net BattleTag FAQ:

A BattleTag nickname is a player-chosen handle that identifies your Battle.net account in Blizzard Entertainment games, websites, community forums, and more. Similar to Real ID, BattleTags give players on Battle.net a way to find and chat with friends they’ve met in-game, form groups, and stay connected across multiple Blizzard Entertainment games.

BattleTags are required for Diablo III play, where they are used to publically identify players in groups or when chatting in-game, as well as on the Diablo III forums.

As a player who has been in the Hearthstone beta for a few months, I have never once wanted to find and chat with anyone I’ve met in-game. When playing WoW, I hadn’t really found a compelling reason to even keep RealID enabled on my account and never found a compelling reason to give out my BattleTag, even while recruiting for my guild. (It would have made things easier, but I wasn’t prepared to let potential applicants know where I was in-game, on which server and which character at any given time.)

Further, I do not want to “stay connected across multiple Blizzard Entertainment games”. As of right now, I’m only playing one of them, anyhow, and even then, I don’t even want to play Hearthstone any longer because my BattleTag is being displayed to every random player I play against!

My objections largely stem from the fact that:

a) I was forced to create a BattleTag in order to play Diablo III, which I played to level 50 and haven’t touched since (more than a year ago)
b) It is always on.
c) It is now being displayed to random players without my permission. (Unless, by “permission”, you mean playing the game with another random human being, which is basically all the interesting gameplay in Hearthstone. It would be like your BattleTag being displayed to everyone you hit a random dungeon or raid with, in WoW.)
d) Further, your BattleTag, in case you were unaware, is publicly shown to people in the Hearthstone forums when you post there. (Just discovered that one tonight.)

But you can always decline the invitations!

Due to my various objections, due to the clunkiness and inelegance of the entire system (see previously linked posts about RealID and such), I have no intentions of accepting any BattleTag invitations. Since I will not accept them, I do not want people to bother me with invitations. So I don’t give out the information. Period.

Is it such a big deal to decline invitations?

Why don’t you ask people who are on the receiving end of dozens of invitations from gold selling spammers?

While you’re probably still being overly weird about this RealID/BattleTag business, I accept that you’re not going to change your mind on this. So what do you want out of this situation?

It’s simple: allow me to remove my BattleTag entirely or, if BattleTags are required for Hearthstone (despite the FAQ not saying so), allow me to opt-out of other people being able to see my BattleTag if I play against them in Hearthstone, or allow me to turn off BattleTags the way you can turn off RealID. (For all I know, removing my BattleTag would happen if you could turn them off, but in case it’s a different process or whatever, I include the turning off option.)

It’s been more than 15 months since Blizzard promised various changes to the chat system, including invisible mode, and the fact that they haven’t yet implemented anything gives us the impression that they’ve dropped the ball on this. As such, let us turn the thing off. I don’t even see why it’s precisely required for Diablo III play, to be honest, but it’s not required for World of Warcraft, I’m pretty sure it’s not required for SCII and I’m hoping it’s not required for Hearthstone, even after this latest patch. I like Hearthstone and would hate to feel like I can no longer play it because my BattleTag is on display for all my opponents to see.

4 Replies to “Hearthstone & BattleTags”

  1. I’m with you, I support in general the idea of an ID (Battletags is fine as a general reference) but its use should be optional and the usage of it should be a hell of a lot more granular than it is. I’d also like a way to make a temporary once-only ID for things like oQueue and such that isn’t tied to your Battletag or RealID but that’s a discussion for down the road when the base Battletag functionality is up to par.

    Invisible mode needs to be introduced and it needs to be PER TOON and PER GAME and to be PERSISTANT on that basis, it should never revert to a default for a toon or game, once you set it to invisible for a toon/game it should stay that way until you change it.

    Battletags should NEVER be used to identify you in-game our out unless YOU provide it to someone, directly or indirectly (if you send a Battletag friend request to someone it’s reasonable that the request includes yours automatically).

    I’d also like to see an option to (on my end) disable notifications when I log in or out on toons, I toon flip a lot and I cringe at the logoff/login spam that my Battletag buddies get as a result. Not invisible mode, just lesser annoyance mode.

    I do believe there’s an in-game Interface option to automatically decline Battletag requests or something along those lines but I’m not in front of my computer to check, so that should at least be useful to you for WoW purposes (you can always turn that off if you are expecting an invite or if you’re the one sending the request). Or I’m just making that up.

    My primary use for Battletags is when I’m in a phase where I’m filling in with multiple raids and people may need to get hold of me at the last minute regardless of what toon I’m on at the time. There are actually situations where Battletags are actually necessary, not just useful, but they probably don’t come up for a lot of players.

  2. I decided to stop playing Hearthstone. I like the game. It’s a great mind-soother, time-waster. But I won’t play it, because my battletag friends can see me playing it and I will feel guilty for not playing WoW with them. I would rather have them think I’m away from the computer doing Important Stuff when I’m not in game with them. So I gave up Hearthstone and the mindshare it would have taken has been given back to Freecell.

  3. R – Fantastic comment, couldn’t agree more. I like the idea of a one-time-use ID for things like planned cross-realm events, but agree that the base system needs a LOT of work, first.

    Totally agree, re: invisible mode and the per toon/per game and persistance of it. You nailed how I feel.

    Disabling of notifications is handy, too. I know when I played, I flipped toons a LOT. Bank toon, farming toon, raiding toon, general-everything else toon, back to the bank toon…

    I logged in to an old trial account I have and looked through the interface options but saw nothing about declining BTag invites. Would love a screenshot if it exists. And if it doesn’t, it should.

    Nina – Holy cow, that’s another excellent point. Another reason for invisible mode, too. I’m pretty sure Blizzard’s intentions are reasonably good (friends chatting across their platforms) but they still seem to lack the understanding that SOMETIMES YOU DON’T WANT TO TALK TO PEOPLE. Geez. It’s a basic social concept that they’re just missing entirely.

    My Freecell streak is at 477 wins. I’ve barely played it since I got into the HS beta but I’ve played a few games in the last couple of days. I totally get it. :)

  4. I don’t want to give you my email address to leave a comment on this blogpost! >.>

    In all seriousness though, I use my btag and realid on a regular basis. I have since it’s inception. I think it’s not a generally horrible idea. That said, I do NOT want my btag being flashed to every random fucker i’m playing Hearthstone against. Some of them are shitheads, some of them are not. But for all I know they’re ALL shitheads or spammers or gold farmers.

    They’re Schrodinger’s assholes. I don’t want my btag going to them. Period. Let us opt out of it and that’s fine.

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