BattleTags are a great idea. Basically, using the BattleTag system is just like the Real ID system except it doesn’t use your account login. In other words, I can give someone my BattleTag, and we’ll have all the benefits of Real ID friends without me having to give out compromising information. Again, BattleTag friends will have all the benefits of Real ID friends. That includes being able to see each other’s online status across all Battle.net games. And that’s the part I still dislike.
I don’t always want to be connected. I know that’s strange in a world dominated by social media. (My profession is heavily dependent on social media even.) I like being connected, but I want a choice. I’d like to be able to sometimes go offline from the social system. I’m not asking to be invisible necessarily; I’m okay with temporarily losing the ability to see others as well.
Blizzard had a solution for this in World of Warcraft, and it’s been there since the beginning of WoW – character-level friends. I can be friends with someone on my character without being friends with them everywhere. While this wouldn’t solve when I want to be offline on a known character, it solves it partially. Unfortunately, Blizzard has decided not to include this functionality in Diablo III. If you want to play with someone easily or keep in touch with them in Diablo III, you have to give them the ability to see what you’re doing across all Battle.net games at all times.
I’ll repeat that: by adding a friend in Diablo III, you are inherently giving them the ability to see your online presence across all Battle.net games at all times without ever having the option to temporarily go offline.
What’s a World of Warcraft friend or StarCraft II friend?
A World of Warcraft or StarCraft II friend is any player you add to your friends list by their character name rather than through Real ID (or their BattleTag, in the future). If you add a character name to your friends list and are not Real ID or BattleTag friends with the player, you will not see the player’s real name in the game, nor will they see yours. Character-level friends such as these are specific to each game (i.e. World of Warcraft character friends cannot see each other in StarCraft II or Diablo III, nor can they communicate cross-game) and can see online and offline status information only, not rich presence details or Broadcast messages. Other characters that the player creates will not automatically be added to your friends list. Diablo III does not support character-level friendship, only BattleTag- or Real ID-based friendship.
Yet another reason to continue to keep my distance from this system.