StarCraft II: A Free-to-Play Game Experience

Grizzy Jan 12, 2018

  1. Grizzy

    XPG Administrator

    Mar 21, 2015
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    Since its release back in mid-2010, StarCraft II has received impressive reviews from reputable critics, won numerous awards, and is one of the most popular e-sport games in the world. And after almost a decade of success, Blizzard has finally decided to make StarCraft II free-to-play.

    In this article I’ll cover what parts of the game are truly “free” to play, and how you can give it a try.

    A portion of Starcraft 2 has been free since it’s release. From the beginning, players could pick up the “Starter Edition” and give the game a very limited try. This is how the decision to make Starcraft 2 “free to play” was made, explains production director Tim Morten:

    “Some of the early triggers of considering free-to-play were feedback that even though a lot of the game already was free through the starter edition, that that wasn’t well-known, [and] that it was confusing to understand what you need to buy to actually start playing Starcraft 2. We wanted to cut through that confusion and announce that StarCraft 2 is free-to-play."

    But the new free-to-play game isn’t simply a new label on the same game; there is additional content from the games expansions that is now totally free, and no new secondary currencies or additional microtransactions have been added

    So What’s Free Exactly?

    There are two expansions for the game, “Heart of the Storm” and “Legacy of the Void”, and while access to the these expansions isn’t free, a very large chunk of the main game now is.

    Here is what you can play without ever spending a dime:

    • Terran Campaign: Wings of Liberty (main game)
    If you’re familiar with the StarCraft franchise,you would know that there are three races you can play as: Terran, Zerg, and Protoss. The free-to-play offer allows you to play the first campaign of Wings of Liberty as the Terrans Race, So you’ll get the chance to meet the ever-beloved character Jim Raynor.

    The campaign contains 29 playable missions and also a secret mission. And if you end up purchasing Wings of Liberty you’ll be able to carry your progress and everything you’ve earned with you as you check out the Zerg and Protoss.

    • Arcade
    One of the most highly appreciated game modes of StarCraft II is its Arcade. In Arcade mode, players can put their strategy skills to the test with an array of maps and gametypes. From tower defense, to survival and RPG style matches, you really get a lot of bank for your zero buck.

    Some of these maps were developed by Blizzard themselves, but most are created by players and fans. That being said, expect maps that are not fully polished, with a few searches here and there, but there are plenty of good ones.

    • Versus Mode
    This mode offers two options: playing Unranked or Versus A.I. Here you can practice play against friends or against computer intelligence, and the main objective is pretty simple: mine gas and minerals, build lots of units, upgrade technologies, and annihilate your enemies.

    Although the game is unranked and no points are gained, it can still be quite competitive...nobody likes to lose. Prepare yourself for a little trash-talking from time to time.

    • Ranked Multiplayer Ladder
    This would be your traditional unit-building, real time strategy mode that we all love from the original StarCraft. You’ll be competing with other players with the same goal, to become the best of the best.

    Before it can be accessible, there is a prerequisite you need to accomplish. You have to earn your first 10 wins of the day. This can be achieved through Unranked or even the Versus A.I. mode. The goal is to provide the competitive community a quality ranked gaming experience.

    • Co-Op Commanders
    This mode is a good new addition to the StarCraft franchise. Strategize with a friend or a stranger to carry out specific missions. There is a catch however; you’ll be given a limited choice of different heroes or commanders to play with.

    With every successful game, the hero you picked will gain experience. With enough experience, this hero levels up and unlocks new skills or talents. Heroes will each have their own unique abilities that work better or worse depending on the senario, so make sure you pick heroes you want to level up before queuing up your game.

    How to Install StarCraft II:

    Installing the game is easy. Here are the steps you need to go through.

    • Install Blizzard’s Battlenet app. You can get if from their official website.
    • Create your own Blizzard account within the Battlenet app or through their official website.
    • Choose StarCraft II from the game library and click install.
    • Updates and patches will automatically be installed as long as the Battlenet app is running.

    Final Thoughts:

    Blizzard’s decision of making the game free-to-play was not exactly surprising. With the continual decrease of their playerbase, it was somewhat bound to happen. Whatever their main reason is, we applaud Blizzard with what they did, and hope they bring us more games and more content to play with-- especially if it’s free :)


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