I was going to begin this post with "Battle.net is dead—Long live Battle.net!" but then I realized that I'd already used that opening in last year's post revealing that Blizzard had decided to drop the venerable Battle.net brand in favor of the less combative-sounding "Blizzard tech." So instead, let's cut to the chase: The latest update to Battle.net, taking it to version 1.8.0, means that it is Battle.net no more.
Practically speaking, as you can see in the before-and-after images below, it's a very minor change: The odd-looking slashy-triangle-thing in the upper-left corner of the launcher is gone, replaced by the famous, stylized Blizzard logo. And as far as I can tell, that's the extent of it. The "What's New" message accompanying the latest version of the software says only, "We've given the App a small makeover to make you feel more at home in the Blizzard universe. Remember, together we are strong!"
So it's obviously not a dramatic change in direction, but I still feel a certain nostalgia-driven sense of loss about it. Battle.net launched more than 20 years ago, with the original Diablo, and it was remarkable. It was incredibly easy to create and join games, and you could even chat with other fans! Even the name was bracing: Let's face it, when you connect to something called Battle.net, you know that sooner or later you're in for a fight.
20 years is a hell of a run, but Blizzard's come a long way since then and so I suppose it's only fair that the software evolves too. Let us not forget, after all, that Battle.net originally ran on a single PC, something that seems almost unimaginable today. And even after the update, it still appears in the Windows start menu as Battle.net—so for now, at least, I think I'll keep calling it that.
You can learn about the complete story of Battle.net here, including interviews with 25 year veterans of Blizzard and how it got the name Battle.net in the first place.