Blizzard dropped Patch 1.5.0 for the Battle.net client this weekend and it comes with a new way to stream games: through Facebook.
Now before you rush out to check Battle.net we should point out that while the patch may have been downloaded, the service is currently only active in the Americas, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.
Blizzard has said that support for Europe (the region many South Africans use in Battle.net) and the rest of the world will be coming soon, according to The Verge.
Once the service has been activated you might be tempted to click the blue Streaming button on the top right of the Battle.net window but we would caution against it until you know just a bit more about what you’re getting into.
When you first open up the streaming dialogue you will be asked to connect your Facebook account to your Blizzard account.
This will allow Blizzard to post your stream to your time line but the firm won’t post anything else to Facebook without your permission.
Blizzard has also said that it won’t share your real name with anybody outside of your Facebook network.
Your internet connection needs to be beefy
After you’ve connected your account to Facebook you are going to need to tweak the stream settings in the Streaming Control Panel.
In this panel you can, and should, adjust the quality of the stream, set up hot keys, adjust your audio and set up your webcam.
By default the stream settings are set to medium which translates into a stream in a 720p resolution at 30 frames per second requiring bandwidth of at least 3Mbps.
That’s a tall order here in South Africa where some ADSL lines only give you maximum upload speeds of 512Kbps.
Here at the htxt.africa HQ we registered an upload speed of 3.48Mbps on a Telkom LTE connection which might be your next best option if you don’t have access to a fiber connection with fast upload speeds.
It’s also worth remembering that if you want a higher quality stream you will use more data and your PC will use more resources.
Pick your audience
Finally, before you click that streaming button should select your stream’s audience. This will allow users who manage a Facebook page to post the stream to that page or their own profile.
Selecting this audience is simple enough. You will have to go to Facebook’s App Settings once you’ve connected your account, look for the Blizzard Entertainment app.
Once that app has been selected you can adjust who the stream is visible to and which audience (page or profile) you wish to stream to.
After you’ve made the adjustments you’ve wanted you will need to close the Streaming Control Panel. Opening this up again will reflect the changes you made.
Sadly, only PC users in the regions we mentioned earlier can use this new feature. Console gamers and Mac users will get support but there is currently no news on an exact time frame.
Blizzard has also said that the feature isn’t supported on Windows XP and that users with slower internet connections may notice performance and stream quality issues.
Other than that you’re pretty much ready to get to streaming, well, as soon as the feature goes live here.