StarCraft 2 launching generous free version this month

A huge chunk of StarCraft II is going free later this month as a sort of big ‘ol demo for the wider trilogy. From November 14th, everyone will be able to play the full Terran story campaign from the original Wings of Liberty, the competitive multiplayer including units from all three chapters, and — with some limitations — the cooperative mode too. If you dig it, you’ll be able to buy the other bits of SC2 separately or in one big lump.

Oh, and people who own Wings of Liberty but skipped Heart of the Swarm will be able to get that Zergy instalment free – if they claim it in time.

So! Free SC2, eh? Yup, Blizzard are turning the heart of it free, with one of the three big story campaigns, all the competitive multiplayer, and most of the co-op. There are, of course, restrictions.

Presumably to block cheaters, smurfs and other undesirables, ranked matchmaking will be locked until an account has won ten games on separate days in unranked play or against the AI. There’s a little time-consuming faff to stifle people who’d abuse open free accounts, basically. As for the co-op limitation, commanders other than Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis will be capped at level five unless players pay. That’s not so bad, seeing as half the game’s co-op commanders cost money currently anyway.

If players dig the demo, they’ll be able to buy the Zerg and Terran campaigns for $15 each, or they all come collected in the Battle Chest, same as they do now. Oh, and that Nova campaign is sold separately too, as it is now.

And that free Heart of the Swarm I mentioned? If you owned Wings of Liberty as of October 31st, you’ll be able to grab Heart of the Swarm free between November 8th and December 8th. It’ll be yours for keepsies but you will need to fire up the Battle.net client (yes, it is still Battle.net) during that window to claim it.

The big free lump is a pretty neat move. I already liked how StarCraft 2’s Arcade was free, letting everyone play the many weird and wonderful custom maps and modes, and giving everyone full multiplayer is a great move.

Hit StarCraft 2’s site for more information on how all this would work. Or watch this video:

22 Comments

  1. Haxton Fale says:

    If players dig the demo, they’ll be able to buy the Zerg and Terran campaigns for $15 each

    Terran? As in the same that gets included for free already?

  2. ikehaiku says:

    “locked until an account has won games across ten games in unranked play or against the AI.”

    To nitpick, it’s 10 wins across 10 days (10 “first win of the day”)

  3. malkav11 says:

    No particular bonus for people who already own Heart of the Swarm, too, much less all three campaigns. But oh well. (I guess we get a skin or something but that doesn’t really equate to a whole campaign. Or even the Nova: Covert Ops campaign or some coop commanders or something.)

    • Unclepauly says:

      Your bonus is that you’ve got to play the thing since you bought it. Weird I know.

      • malkav11 says:

        Except I didn’t. And still haven’t.

        But yes, that theoretical possibility is why I’m shrugging and going “oh well” instead of getting mad.

    • Baines says:

      Blizzard is hoping that it will draw more people to the game, so existing owners will at least theoretically get more people to play online against and with.

  4. zulnam says:

    Spoilers:

    the story is Warcraft 3 in space.

  5. ludde says:

    Maybe I’ll finally get around to playing Heart of the Swarm then.

    Maybe.

  6. poliovaccine says:

    How many people have really not played Starcraft II yet who were even remotely inclined to do so already? I mean, I suppose new people are born all the time, but still, doesn’t its reputation speak for itself by now? Am I underestimating the overall amount of new 12 year olds, or am I just being presumptuous about the ubiquity of gamers’ lineage? I suppose I’m old enough that Modern Warfare 4 is the new Half Life 2, and fuck me for that.

    • AngoraFish says:

      I don’t mind me a bit of RTS action, but Blizzard’s policy of never offering a decent enough discount on their games to ever tempt me has meant that I’ve managed to avoid the game up to now.

    • Premium User Badge

      Ninja Dodo says:

      Me. I’ve been meaning to play it but not gotten around to it due to overabundance of games. Don’t care about multiplay but would like to see the story campaign at some point.

    • alms says:

      How many people have really not played Starcraft II yet who were even remotely inclined to do so already?

      My memories of playing Starcraft are not great, so that I would not go as far as to pay money to find out the sequel doesn’t do anything for me, but if I can do so for free, I’m going to give it a try.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      Me. When it was first released the high price of entry was a daunting prospect, and I completely missed any of the sales it had (if it did at all). I will certainly dive into this when it’s free though.

    • Jay Load says:

      Me. I had very good times with the original and watched the campaign releases with interest but I was too focused elsewhere at the time to consider buying it.

      Now that I’ve switched to Linux I might use this as a test case for Wine/Playonlinux. But not for multiplayer. I’m an SP only guy.

  7. griffin_jt says:

    ALSO!

    The Blizzcon SC2 finals are today. They start at 7:30pm UK time and can be found on Twitch.

  8. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Considering Wings o’ Fliberty is the only actually good campaign, that means there’s pretty much no reason to pay anything anymore!

  9. kael13 says:

    The gameplay in the other campaigns is good, too. But yes, I am fully aware that the story takes a giant logical leap into the abyss.

  10. left1000 says:

    loaded up client today. sc2 wings of liberty says “upgrade available” clicking it takes me to the normal storefront. finding heart of swarm in the store 15$….

    not sure they’re actually giving away heart of the swarm free at all? gonna try installing wings of liberty and see if that helps, but definitely the articles statement that I can load up the blizzard client today and get my wings of liberty to heart of the swarm upgrade seems to be untrue :(

  11. glowingslab says:

    Same here… can’t see any offer for Heart of the Swarm.

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