StarCraft 2 Custom Maps Now Free For Anyone To Play

The mutalisks represent mods.

This is bold. The part I already knew: you can now play any of StarCraft 2‘s three races in multiplayer for free. The part I didn’t expect: you can also play any of the user-created custom maps and modes available in StarCraft Arcade for free, too. That’s a huge amount of free game, and a huge boon for the mod community.

Mod tools might be my favourite thing about PC games. They benefit everyone: players get new experiences to play, extending the life of their games for free; developers future-proof their games by surrounding them with a lusty pool of new content; and budding young developers get the resources they need to enter the industry, and to have an impact upon it even before they have.

Being able to make something for StarCraft 2, and then have it be playable by people who don’t even own the game is marvellous.

Blizzard know the power of modding more than most, with Dota/DotA/MOBAs beginning life within their creative ecosystem. When I spoke to Blizzard president Mike Morhaime last year, he said his biggest regret was that they hadn’t done more to recognise that mod’s success. I imagine Blizzard are keen to stop that from happening again.

This also means that the only parts of StarCraft 2 you pay for are the campaign and ranked multiplayer. The free parts will act as a good advert for buying the rest, especially if you’re enjoying the multiplayer, but really it means there’s enough to it that you can pretend StarCraft is a wholly-free standalone game.

You can download the StarCraft 2 Starter Edition from the official site.


  1. guygodbois00 says:

    Now all left for Starcraft 2 is to be free.

  2. franklinovitch says:

    “The part I already knew: you can now play any of StarCraft 2‘s three races in multiplayer for free.”

    Actually you can’t.
    In multiplayer, you can only play Terran for free.

    • Moraven says:

      In custom Melee maps you can now play all 3 races.

      In the past you could only play Terran. Unless you were in a party with someone who owned the game. Spawning allows matchmaking ladder play with all 3 races for free.

      Also before you could only play for free Blizzard Arcade maps and Arcade Highlights. Now you have access them them all.

    • Tyrmot says:

      link to

      Free Arcade and More

      The entirety of the Arcade, along with all of the maps, mods, and games found within, has been made accessible to all StarCraft II: Starter Edition players for free.
      All Custom Games are now available to Starter Edition players.
      All three races have been unlocked for Starter Edition players.
      More information can be found in our Free Arcade blog, which will be released a little later today.

  3. AreWeHavingFunYet says:

    I’m still waiting for “Heart of the Swarm – Multiplayer Edition”, that will let you play HOTS without paying for the stupid campaign. It will be cold day in hell when I pay a full price for a game I already own, just so I can get a bunch of new units and maps.

    As for Bnet Arcade, sorry Dorothy, we’re not in 2004 anymore. Nowadays, we have hundreds of F2P games to choose from, including, but not limited to, 50 version of DOTA, which was the main thing on the WC3 custom game scene.

    • Asurmen says:

      Not exactly sure why you’re ragging on Arcade there. Also Dota was the single biggest thing but still outnumbered by everything else combined. All the other popular maps could be found just as easily as Dota.

      • Moraven says:

        And not unlike any other RTS expansion, which add new units to online play along with providing a campaign.

        But it would be nice for those that want to play multiplayer only to pay less. And would provide cheaper smurf accounts for many.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Same, but I want the Single Player edition without any of this Multi-player rubbish.

    • Thants says:

      I will happily spend money to avoid the nickel-and-diming nightmare of most f2p games.

  4. mlaskus says:

    For anyone interested in some good Starcraft 2 mods, I can recommend Star Battle, it’s a very simple lane pusher with spaceships in which you get only one life and you have to keep in mind your momentum. I find it much more enjoyable than DOTA.

    • Moraven says:

      Warships is also great. Similiar games, difference is Warships is you build modules onto your Warship to customize it. Want more of 1 type of gun? Just build only those.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      Stellar Impact is basically Star Battle but a full game. Haven’t played it for a long time so don’t know what state it’s in, but if you like the custom map you might enjoy SI too.

  5. Moraven says:

    Before Arcade was all free I posted some games that Blizzard has highlighted in the past:

    link to

    There are a lot of great Arcade mods out there.

    Dungeon Keeper (Hive Keeper). Side scroller with a Megaman/Metroid feel. Team based survival RPG.
    The MMO style mod.

    Then there are also some great new short campaigns that offer some fun missions. Some even went all the way to include their own voice casting (which is not half bad).

  6. amateurviking says:

    Is it still outrageously expensive to get the single player bit?

    • Moraven says:

      Cheapest was $30-$40 for both campaigns over the holidays.

      Amazon US has it at $25 and $28.

      Amazon UK is £22.99 and £22.99 for base and expansion.

      Some key sites sell it cheaper. Just have to ask around for the more reliable sites.

      I guess with everyone having access to all regions, you could always buy a NA key if they are cheaper. I activated a NA Heart of a Swarm key on my with a EU address. But you always risk it not working for some reason. Or you get your addressed changed on the account.

      There are a few good single player campaign Arcade maps. Subjection is one.

      • amateurviking says:

        I’ll have a snoop around. Might take the plunge. Thanks!

        • Moraven says:

          Worst case if a NA key you find cheap does not work on a EU account is make a NA B.Net account.

          I had bought a Taiwan key from a site with no problems and applied it to my EU B.Net before they opened up regions. And as said I was able to upgrade that account to Heart of the Swarm with a box copy I got cheap from GameStop.

          The only problems I ran into with my EU account is I could not order and ship to a US address from the Blizzard store.

  7. Sidewinder says:

    How bold! How noble! How unprece- oh, wait, Blizzard did the same thing from the get-go with the first Starcraft, sixteen years ago. Good to know they’ve finally caught up with themselves.

    • darkChozo says:

      You could play Starcraft custom maps without ever having bought Starcraft?

  8. XhomeB says:

    Everyone interested in the multiplayer mode should just download the Starter Edition and start playing STARBOW.
    It’s what SC2 should have been.

  9. Themadcow says:

    So is Starcraft’s singleplayer campaign worth the inflated (£22) price it carries due to the multiplayer? Or am I better off getting another RTS if I want to casually enjoy a genre I haven’t really played since the original Comand & Conquer Red Alert almost 15 years ago?

    • Cockie says:

      I bought the game and the expansion almost solely for the campaign and have not regretted it, it’s really great IMHO. RPS did a WIT for both I think.

    • Moraven says:

      Command & Conquer collection (includes all of them) is a great deal. Standard price is cheap and time to time comes on sale on Steam and other places. If you want a lot of campaigns I would get that.

      Earth 2150 Trilogy is in the Brutal Bundle at Bundle Stars. If you are ok playing other older RTS games beyond C&C.
      link to

      Dawn of War 1 Collection is great.

      But I will give Starcraft 2 is easier getting into, has a solid streamlined campaign that is fun, 4 difficulties.

      • Horg says:

        ”4 difficulties.”

        What’s A.I.?
        Literally Faceroll
        Stress Free User Experience

        Sarcasm is obvious, but the point needs making. This is not a game to get if you want to be even remotely challenged.

        • Cockie says:

          I think that kinda varies from person to person – I found Wings Of Liberty’s Hard mode quite challenging and I’ve only gotten to mission 5 on hard so far (due to time thingies, not difficulty thingies; my first playthrough was on normal).
          Probably easier if you’re more of an RTS veteran than I am.

        • Moraven says:

          Themadcow has not played an RTS in 15 years and wanted a casual experience. The various difficulties will hopefully offer him/her the option to find what is best for them.

          For anyone that plays RTS and MOBAs on a constant basis will not find a huge challenge. Wings of Liberty was more challenging on Brutal and offered more challenging Challenge Achievements. Heart of the Swarm has less challenges and was not that bad on Brutal due to Kerrgian and how the missions were setup.

          • Themadcow says:

            Pretty much, yeah thanks. Not that I don’t like a challenge (FTL is my favourite game from the last few years) but I have very limited gaming time nowadays – so I’d rather have an accessible RTS with average difficulty and see the whole campaign than beat my head against a wall in a hardcore game. Cheers for the advice.

        • jrodman says:

          Your sarcasm doesn’t help.

          Players vary a great deal. Casual difficulty wasn’t anywhere near as easy as I might have expected from the name. I would have preferred Even More Casual. Yes, there wasn’t a level easy enough to suit me.

          I think people who play RTS games regularly, especially competitively, will find that their experiences are different and prefer the higher two settings.

          • Horg says:

            I don’t play RTS games regularly or competitively and I found Brutal to be an absolute cakewalk. I have some experience with the genre (SC1, WC3, Total War series) and there wasn’t really a difficulty setting appropriate for me. When the setting labeled ”Brutal” can be beaten in the same pass as the achievement attempts, on the day of purchase, you can damn well bet i’m going to be sarcastic. SC2 is an undeniably easy game, which foir me means a replayability value of zero, and the original comment that it has ”4 difficulties”’ was misleading.

  10. hideinlight says:

    link to

    Free Mafia for all !!!

    Forgot how normal SC2 plays.