Starcraft 2: Invite a Friend and Real ID
Blizzard has put an enormous amount of effort in making Starcraft 2 the new gold standard for competitive and casual gaming, and in that vein they have integrated the "Add a friend" feature into not only BattleNet accounts but real-life e-mail, facebook accounts and personal identities.
Adding Your Friends
Starcraft 2 has shipped with a robust and exciting tool for adding friends from both your real life and other games you play. It integrates with Battlenet, allowing you to see your friends if they're playing WoW or Warcraft III and even know what they're doing within the game. The messaging functions and status updates have all been streamlined to work with the game, making it easier for you to coordinate with your friends across games and even platforms.
Actually adding friends in Starcraft 2 is easier than it's ever been before. Choose whether or not you want to invite your friend by e-mail, in-game name, player number or Facebook profile, then press the add a friend button. The options are simple and intuitive. One of the easiest ways is by e-mail, since you will likely already know it and you have the option of adding a message to your invite. If you don't even know that, Facebook integration allows you to invite people by name only. Once your friend accepts, there is an absolute wealth of information on their activities and stats to review.
There has been a great deal of talk, negative and positive, about Blizzard's new Real ID feature, which links your real life name to your in-game characters and, until recently, your forum accounts (which was changed after massive uproar). If you play with your real life friends, then this feature is helpful, especially if your friends switch names between games. If you play with strangers or people you know entirely from the internet or gaming, it may be less useful.
Once you've agreed to become friends with someone in Starcraft 2, you will then be able to see that person's real name, their profile, and detailed information about their activities - not only will the Real ID tag stay constant across multiple games, but adding friends in Starcraft 2 will allow you to track what they are doing within that game, not just their presence. For example, Real ID will show you their location in World of Warcraft, or tell you if your friend is in a ranked match or just playing the campaign in Starcraft 2. You can chat across games and even see that person's other Real ID friends, mimicking social networks like Facebook and MySpace.
One of the many things that Blizzard has done to both market and make their game accessible is include two guest passes with the retail version of Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty. This allows you to grant a short trial to your friends. With the code included on the two guest passes, they can download and play Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty for seven in-game hours, or 14-days of real time, whichever comes first. In addition to being a free and commitment light way of trying out the game, it gives you more potential people to partner with and unlocks one or more achievements in-game.
Much fuss has been made about Blizzard's emphasis on the social elements of Starcraft 2, but increasing a game's accessability increases its player base, which leads to diverse strategies, more challenging opponents, and overall a better game. The user-friendliness and detailed nature of Starcraft 2's invite a friend feature and Real ID will surely play out in its favor.