Invisible Mode in Battle.net: Good or Not Enough?

by on September 21, 2012


Battle.net will now have an invisible mode – and many players, including me, are cheering that announcement. But is it enough?

Today we’ve got two bloggers taking very different viewpoints on Invisible Mode – one thrilled, one still disappointed. So – does it solve the problems with Battle.net, or is it too little, too late?

First up, Vidyala at Manalicious is unashamedly extremely happy that the option to be invisible has arrived -

” Invisible modes are awesome because they give us more choice, and we like more choice. If I want to pursue a solo activity, I can do that. That doesn’t mean I’m avoiding the “MMO” nature of WoW. Let’s say, for example, I want to go outside for a walk by myself. I may meet people on my walk. That’s fine. The world has people in it, almost all of whom are not me. Likewise, I may sometimes want to play WoW in a way that isn’t specifically group-oriented, such as farming herbs, exploring, or just doing whatever I want. A friend was telling me yesterday that people message him when he is in BGs. People message me when I am on my bank alt. I don’t want to have to put up a status every single time: “THIS IS MY BANK ALT,” because even that clue might not be enough for some. They don’t necessarily understand that “bank alt” to me is synonymous with “I don’t want to chat right now.” Because banking is a solitary activity for me. It may not be one for you. So you can stay online with nary a care in the world! If you want to focus completely on what you’re doing, you can do that.”

Vidyala’s writing this post as a defense of the idea of being invisible in MMOs at all, and she does an excellent job of it. If you think that you might get grief from someone on your friends list for being online, this might be a good post to save!

Kurn, meanwhile, is not so happy. Whilst she and Vidyala agree absolutely on the need for an invisible mode in WoW, Kurn believes that as implemented, Battle.net’s invisible mode simply isn’t enough -

“To begin, here are some of the immediate questions that came to mind concerning how this will work in World of Warcraft:

1) Will you have this option before logging in to a character? As it stands, you have to log in to WoW first (thus becoming “visible”) before you can edit your BattleNet settings.

2) Will the Appear Offline mode persist through different logins? Say I log in to Kurn and I set myself as offline. If I log out as Kurn and log back in (on Kurn or any other character, for that matter), will the mode persist in the same way announcements do?

3) What implications are there for guild listings? I presume I’ll still show up as online in my guild, which I think is fine — that’s part of the deal when you join a guild, really. But what if someone on my realm (with whom I am character friends) does /who Apotheosis and sees Kurnmogh online? Would they see me? Would they not see me? How would that work? Could they still whisper me?”

I’d not even thought of these questions – but Kurn’s absolutely right, they need to be answered (and fixed, in some cases). In particular, if Invisible mode doesn’t persist, that’s going to be a problem – there’s not much point being invisible if every time you switch character or log back in your presence is announced.

We’ll see how the feature works out. It’s certainly better than nothing, but is it enough?

What do you think?

If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts from these categories: World of Warcraft

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Mikhaella March 15, 2013 at 1:14 am

I liked how it was done in Guild Wars 2. When you set yourself on offline mode, at the character selection screen, it actually shows you as offline, in guild, in friend list etc, everywhere. If someone tries to whisper you, system tells them that you are offline, but you are getting mesage. That is. The only way they can see you online is to bump into your character, which is quite low-chance.

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