SC2: Heart of the Swarm now free for Liberty owners

If you, like me, bought the original StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty then skipped the sequels, good news: you can now get the Zergy one, Heart of the Swarm, for free. This little freebie comes ahead of Blizzard launching a big free version of SC2, including the Wings of Liberty campaign, next week. Yeah, I’ll give this a go now for free. Stomp around as Kerrigan and make some meatfriends, sure, why not?

People who owned Wings of Liberty as of October 31st this year can now fire up the client and claim Heart of the Swarm for free. Look for the little gift icon in the top-right corner:

Clicking that should open a window letting you claim a free copy of HotS. I’m already installing mine.

I don’t really play real-time strategy games in multiplayer and Wings of Liberty’s campaign was wobbly enough that I didn’t fancy buying HotS, then it slipped out of my mind. Alec’s old review said the Swarm campaign’s story and writing were guff but it had some big fun action bits and yup, I’ll go for that. I like aliens. I like meat. I like rampaging alien meatmonsters.

We’ve got until December 8th to redeem the gift, after which it’ll expire and vanish.

The free version of StarCraft II, launching on Tuesday the 14th, will contain the Wings of Liberty campaign along with SC2’s full competitive multiplayer and most of the cooperative mode. Read this for more details.


  1. Agnol117 says:

    While I can understand (sort of) why they didn’t do anything this way, I feel kinda doubly screwed here. I own Wings of Liberty and Heart of the Swarm, but hadn’t picked up Legacy of the Void yet. Pretty bummed that there’s nothing being done for people in my situation, and honestly this makes me want to pick up LotV even less now.

    • theslap says:

      I feel the same way. I only bought HotS because it was on sale at one point which is rarer and rarer for Blizzard games these days. Never thought it would be available for free in the future.

    • shoptroll says:

      If WoW is anything to go by, they’ll give away HotS and LoV for free in a year or two.

  2. rocketman71 says:

    Nice of Blizzard to all those who only had WoL.

    Big fuck you from Blizzard to the rest of us who bought HotS.

    No way I’ll buy Legacy of the Void now. I’ll wait until they repeat this, thank you very much.

    • -funkstar- says:

      You have two games, that you paid for. They’re making one of them free. People who paid for this one game, now have a chance to get the other one you got. So now you won’t buy a third game, because you think this is a “fuck you” to you.

      I’d talk about entitlement, privilege etc., but really.

      • theslap says:

        It’s not about entitlement. It’s about fairness. If you offer an expansion for free to some people but do not offer even a modicum of consideration for those who paid for it then that is a problem. I’m not saying they should give away LotV to HotS owners but it would be nice if they acknowledged those who purchased with even a sentence in their post.

        • -funkstar- says:

          Imagine that, for about a month, you could get WoL and HotS in a bundle costing what WoL costs alone. Would that make you angry enough that you would now not buy LotV? How about if the bundle becomes permanent but the price rises to that of HotS, and it gets a really extensive demo covering all of WoL? Do you now decide to never buy LotV, because those things are unfair to you, having previously bought the games at some other price?

          • Xocrates says:

            The problem isn’t monetary value, heck your examples are even a false equivalence since the games would still need to be actively bought by those interested.

            Think about it this way:

            Your neighbor buys 1 cupcake. 1 month later the baker drives by his house and gives him another one for free.

            You buy 2 cupcakes. The baker doesn’t even acknowledge your existence.

            Like, sure, you’re not entitled to a free cupcake, but it still feels like the baker is being a dick to you for no reason.

          • -funkstar- says:

            Really, though?

            “I want everyone to have a free cupcake, up to a maximum of two.”

            “I already have two. Can’t I get three, instead?”

          • Xocrates says:

            Why the arbitrary two cupcake limit?

          • -funkstar- says:

            Hey, it’s your analogy, not mine.

          • Xocrates says:

            The entire point of the analogy is to point out how arbitrary the two cupcake limit is. If you’re unwilling to address it, you’re not arguing the point at all, you’re merely stating that you personally don’t have a problem with it – not that there isn’t one.

          • Xocrates says:

            It’s the difference between “first one is free”, and “I’m giving away free cupcakes unless you’re my best customer”

          • -funkstar- says:

            Yeah, it’s a bad analogy, though. Your cupcakes are interchangeable – but games are not.

            Blizzard isn’t giving away cupcakes: it’s giving away WoL to everyone, and HotS to those who own WoL already (for a time). That’s it.

            It’s amazing to me how the response to that becomes: I want something else, instead, and that I won’t get it makes me angry.

            No. No, that’s not reasonable. It’s entitlement, and childish sour grapes.

          • Xocrates says:

            So why give HotS away in the first place? Why not give a co-op commander or something along that lines instead – i.e. something that everyone could get? Why do some people get compensated for having bought a game that is going free while others do not?

            I don’t want them to give me anything – they have nothing I want to begin with – I genuinely just don’t understand their approach.

          • -funkstar- says:

            Obviously, they’re not doing it out of the goodness of their hearts. I suspect it is two-fold: WoL owners (especially recent ones) will potentially feel stiffed, so let’s give them something to soothe their pain*, to mitigate the usual backlash of going free. If we give them HotS, we’re probably losing some revenue from on-sales, but we could make some (or all) of it back on the completionist impulse to buy LotV.

            To be clear, I’m under no illusions that Blizzard are doing this with any other motivation than for them to make more money.

            *Not that that pain is necessarily justified, but people are people.

          • Buuurr says:

            11/11/2017 at 01:28
            Xocrates says:
            The problem isn’t monetary value, heck your examples are even a false equivalence since the games would still need to be actively bought by those interested.
            Think about it this way:
            Your neighbor buys 1 cupcake. 1 month later the baker drives by his house and gives him another one for free.
            You buy 2 cupcakes. The baker doesn’t even acknowledge your existence.
            Like, sure, you’re not entitled to a free cupcake, but it still feels like the baker is being a dick to you for no reason.”

            Maybe the baker thinks you are an arsehole. He doesn’t have to give you anything other than what you bought. He isn’t being a dick. Maybe he has an actual list of people that you are on and he goes round on his own time and does this as a thank you. Who are you to tell him how it is?

      • SaintAn says:

        I paid for two games and got nothing. They’re giving out a game I paid for for free to people, and giving out a free game to people that bought the first, but nothing to the people that spent the money to buy two games from them. So yes, it is a big fuck you, and we are entitled more than anyone else to get LOTV.

        Not hard to understand, you sad corporation worshiper.

        • -funkstar- says:

          Actually admitting to entitlement isn’t really a good argument, you know.

          Blizzard is giving away free shit. You already have said shit. That should be the end of it, but you now want more free shit. Even to be point of being angry on the internet about not getting it. Good grief.

          • Hoot says:

            Haha, nicely put. This guy doesn’t seem to understand how a basic economy works. Here’s the basic lowdown for the guy :- You buy shit with money. You are entitled to nothing.

            It’s that simple.

            And it’s a far cry between living in the real world and being a corporation worshipper. I hate the corporate machine as much as anyone, but I’m not stupid or conceited enough to go about demanding free stuff.

      • fish99 says:

        The lessons this teaches is that you shouldn’t buy Blizzard games because they’re going to give them away for free in a few years. It also teaches that if Blizzard are going to be generous that generosity will be aimed at the people who supported them the least.

        It’d be naive to think this was about generosity though, when clearly it’s about shifting more copies of HotS and LotV.

        • Daymare says:

          WoL came out 7 years ago. If you can wait that long for a game you wanna play, more power to you!

          • Halk says:

            I didn’t wait, I bought WoL and HotS the day they were released. I haven’t bought LotV yet tho, but I won’t buy it anymore and neither will I wait until they make it free also. I think it’s better not to buy anything from them at all; saves me time, money and I won’t get to feel this unpleasant feeling anymore.

  3. Ghostwise says:

    The space hardsuit that is lovingly styled to make it look like she’s wearing near-thong knickers is so, so Blizzard.

  4. automatic says:

    Seems like a bait. Maybe I’ll bite it. Or maybe I just keep my SC2 disapointment stored in it’s dusty grieving box and go waste my time playing good games instead.

    • spaced says:

      I’ll weigh in here with what would seem to be the minority opinion. The original StarCraft was my first foray into online gaming and my friends and I played a lot of it (over dial-up, which was totally do-able with SC), and while I loved the world the game took place in and the characters, playing online was just too fast paced for my 14-year old synapses.

      Along comes SC2 and nostalgia prompts me to buy a (boxed!) copy of WoL. It felt good to be back in SC-land, but outside of single player it was just like old times; I.e. getting my ass handed to me over and over by people who put time in to learn build orders and binge-watch Day9 videos and all that horseshit. Way too much time investment IMO to “get good”, and while I admire those with the patience to do so, I again found myself wishing there was a Starcraft game that wasn’t an RTS. Watching SC:Ghost go down the tubes while Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch rose to infamy has been the Blizzard shaped thorn in my side for years.

      I don’t feel entitled to anything from blizzard, but if I did, a new StarCraft game that isn’t an RTS would be it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to pick up my free copy of HotS so I can feel disappointed all over again. Oh, nostalgia.

      • automatic says:

        My worst disappointment with SC2 is the fact they have turned an interesting sci-fi plot into Dragon Ball Z level writing. SC2 story is so shallow I have trouble remembering what WoL was about besides drunk Raynor getting sober and something about a threat to the whole universe. On the other hand I still remember SC1 ending. SC1 was so much better that SC2 best scenes are from characters remembering what happened on the first game.

        Multiplayer is OK. Not something to dive into unless you have superhuman typing speed (the game even scores how many commands you type per minute) but it’s fun.

  5. benkc says:

    Grabbed the free upgrade Wednesday night and fired it up. As soon as it finished the intro cinematic, it started firing up achievement notifications. A batch of five every few seconds, for what felt like forever. With a mixture of amusement and incredulity, I sat back and counted them — a total of 161 achievements and 16 portrait unlocks (which announce with the same visual flair and were interspersed throughout). Reminded me of the stories I’ve heard here on RPS about Steam games that exist solely as a way to get thousands of achievements.

    Didn’t get around to actually playing it, after all that. :P

  6. Mirarii says:

    Why are the commenters so upset that Blizz is giving away something for free? It’s their product that they developed and their right to sell it at whatever price they determine at whatever time they choose. So what if they give it out for free at some point? So what if they charge 300% more for it at another point? Buying it (at any particular time) is YOUR CHOICE. By offering an old product for free they are bringing more people into the community surrounding such a product.

    If you think you are entitled to anything for buying HOTS then you are an absolute moron. You BOUGHT/PURCHASED/SPENTCREDITS on a specific product at a specific time. And guess what………you received said product.

    This crap lecture on markets isn’t worth the text/time I spent on it, but good on Blizz for continuing this practice. . . It helps expand the communities for their games which provides an active player base for those who are willing to put a bit of money into their titles as well as those who exist in the bubble of entitlement.

    EDIT: The edit button was teasing me…………..

    Yeah. So f’ing what. Blizz does something nice and you complain. Blizz could be dicks and you would complain all the same. Anyone who complains about this might as well complain about Blizz donating every dollar they’ve made to charity as being unfair because those dollars could have gone to the players who wanted to support their games but unwillingly supported charity instead…It’s truly sad how entitled internet morons have become.

    Good Night. Play Video Games. Have Fun.

    • -funkstar- says:

      I suspect that introspection isn’t their strong point.

    • Xocrates says:

      The problem is not that they’re given away a free game – literally no-one is complaining that Wings of Liberty will be free for everyone, which is a lot more people – the problem is unequal treatment.

      I mean, why the hell are some WoL owners being rewarded while others are not? Why give away HotS to begin with? There are a thousand different ways Blizzard could reward previous owners without arbitrarily ignoring a section of them.

      And as such, this doesn’t feel generous, this feels cynical as hell: If you give HotS to WoL owners they may be tempted to buy LotV, if you give LotV to HotS owners there is not much else for them to buy.

      I literally do not care if I get anything or not, the only reason I’m even replying to this comment section is to try to explain why people have a reason to be annoyed.

      Yes, Blizzard can do whatever they want, this does not mean that they’re doing the right thing or for the right reasons.

      • Hoot says:

        As a guy that bought the Collectors Edition of all three titles in the SC2 trilogy I can say that they have absolutely nothing to be annoyed about.

        HotS came out 4 years ago. If you paid £30-60 for it at that time and if you’ve been actively involved in the multiplayer side of the game you’ve had 4 years of entertainment for that money and if the campaigns were all you wanted, well, you’ve had four years to play them through to your hearts content.

        So now it’s going free, which will be great for the multiplayer aspect of the game, people think they have a right to get annoyed because they didn’t get a freebie? Holy shit, man. People talk about “gamer entitlement” and I used to laugh it off but now it seems to be everywhere.

        People that go on about shady business practices and whatnot are deluding themselves. It’s just business. Hate to break it to you but yes, if giving away a free game will incentivise someone to buy another one of my games then that’s a sound business move. No one is MAKING you buy it. You have CHOICE as a consumer. You could just take the free game and say “Thanks”.

        As for generosity, there is no standing mandate that says a corporate entity is required to be “generous to all of it’s consumers” and yet even so, the fact that they’re saying “Here, have a free game as well as free, complete multiplayer access to our flagship RTS title.” sounds pretty generous to me.

        • Xocrates says:

          “It’s just business.”

          Enjoy your loot boxes.

          • Hoot says:

            I’ll take that as an argument won, ta :) When someone completely ignores the entirety of a post and posts a 7 word reply #FeelsGoodMan.

            I take it you don’t think giving away a free multiplayer game to everyone is a generous deal?

          • Xocrates says:

            Fine, let’s elaborate.

            The problem with the “it’s just business” line of reasoning is that it encourages a viewpoint that you’re only as important as your wallet. Which is what lead to actively exploitative practices such as the rise of lootboxes which are specifically designed to encourage gambling (and yeah, yeah, you don’t have to buy them, but they wouldn’t exist if people didn’t) hence my snarky response.

            And by the way, for some one accusing me of ignoring your argument, you did so to me first. I explicitly pointed out that no-one is annoyed at WoL being free. The thing is that HotS IS NOT BECOMING FREE. It’s a gift to owners of WoL, which raises the question why some previous paying customers get a gift and others get nothing.

            If HotS was free to everyone, I would have zero issues.
            If WoL owners got nothing, I would have zero issues.

            And by the way, there is nothing Blizzard could give me that I either care or want. I have no stake in this and I never expected to get anything.

            I just find it a dick move to reward some paying customers but not others.

            But good on them for making WoL free to everyone. That I think was a good move.

          • Hoot says:

            Ok, I see where you’re coming from. My response is that a lot of this stuff comes down to how exploitable of a person you are or how much of an addictive personality you have. The only way you can be exploited when it comes to consumerism is if you let yourself be. Gambling has existed since the dawn of time, that doesn’t mean everyone is a degenerate gambler. The loot box argument is valid to a degree; the shittiness of putting things into a game then hiding it behind a paywall or a time-sink varies wildly on the content of the said items. If it’s cosmetic stuff then I literally have no problem with it. Those who want it can buy/grind for it, those who don’t care, can ignore it. Soon as gameplay is affected, I get on my soapbox.

            But…that’s not what’s happening here. Blizzard is saying “Hey, if you bought our first game, here, have our second game along with free multiplayer for everyone!”. I understand your argument is that if someone bought the first 2 games why aren’t those people being given LotV as a freebie? Honestly, this is what I think :- If you’ve bought the first game there’s a chance you can be enticed back into the game, and potentially make further purchases, with a gift of the second. If you bought both the first and second games chances are you were/are a fan and in all likelihood you bought the final instalment as well. They aren’t putting anything behind a paywall and they aren’t treating anyone unfairly. This idea of “Oh well, Jim got something for free so I should get something for free too!” is pure entitlement speaking.

            Afterall, they ARE a business and there isn’t anything shady going on here. I mean hell, I hate corporate androids (Ash-looking motherfuckers every one of them) as much as the next guy but there are developers doing far, far shittier things without the generosity seen here.

            EDIT :- Also the multiplayer isn’t limited to WoL, it includes all the units and enhancements that the expansions have brought in.

          • Xocrates says:

            Just a quick note since I think that by now it’s clear this is mostly just a difference of opinion.

            I don’t think HotS owners should get LotV – not least of which because the LotV owners would feel even more screwed – but I don’t think WoL owners should have gotten HotS to begin with, because there were better options that Blizzard could take – which is why I feel like this was a fairly pointless and cynical dick move from their part.

            If they wanted to “reward” previous paying customers AND still encourage them to spend money in the future they could, for example, offer the next co-op commander they release to anyone who bought at least one of the games – everyone got something, and it may even encourage the single player only people to invest on multiplayer.

            Quite frankly, even from a business perspective, this feels like the worst option they could take.

          • Mirarii says:

            Your other comment contains the quote

            “The problem with the “it’s just business” line of reasoning is that it encourages a viewpoint that you’re only as important as your wallet.”

            Yes. This is exactly right. You are only as important as your wallet. That’s called demand. You wish to consume X so your demand for X increases. Companies see this so they pander to it.

            They work hard, employ a lot of people, and make quality products. They get paid for doing so because they cater to existing demands. That’s business. That’s capitalism.

    • -funkstar- says:

      Of course they have reasons to be annoyed: they’re just not particularly good reasons, and seem to be grounded purely in spoiled entitlement.

      I don’t like seeing that type of toxic gamer culture on RPS.

    • Agnol117 says:

      While I’m sure there are plenty of people who are annoyed that they’re not getting anything free, I think there’s more to the issue than that.

      I wouldn’t expect Blizzard to give away Legacy of the Void for free. As someone else pointed out here, if they do that, then then what are people going to buy? My issue isn’t even that people are getting something that I paid for for free. If this allows more people who wanted to play StarCraft the chance to play it, cool beans. I’m happy for them. My “issue,” as it were, is that the way they’re rewarding players who already own the base game doesn’t make much sense (and yes, that’s what this is: a reward). Players who only owned WoL get HotS, but players who own HotS/all three get nothing. I’m not even asking for “content.” Give me something like the special hat TF2 owners got when that went F2P (so a multiplayer avatar background or something, if they still do that. It’s been a while since I last played) and I’d be content. They can even still give away HotS on top of that. I really don’t care about that. I just really don’t understand the thought process here at all.

      All that being said: this does make me less inclined to pick up LotV, though. I was already waiting for a sale (never actually finished HotS and I have enough other games in my backlog right now), and maybe if there’s a decent enough sale I’ll still grab. Otherwise I can just wait and see if they end up giving that away someday, too. Either way, I never really got into SCII the way I got into SCI, so I’m fine with waiting.

  7. craigdolphin says:

    Nice gesture but wasted on me.

    I love SC, and enjoyed the SP campaign for WOL, but realized that the mandatory battle-net client prevented me being able to play the game. I have a satellite internet connection. Aside from the campaign, I like to play vs AI. Never play MP due to the connection issue. But I was never able to just open the game on a whim and play a vs-AI game. There was inevitably yet-another mandatory patch tweaking MP balance awaiting me whenever I tried to play. I got tired of spending my evenings watching the patch download progress bar instead of playing the game. And on top of that, the vs-AI maps would constantly disappear off my computer, and need re-downloading. And the map server at some point just stopped working with the latency of a satellite connection.

    So, have deleted the client and will never buy another Blizzard game again.

  8. Gulp says:

    I can’t believe this wineyard owner is paying me one denarius for a full day’s work when people who clocked in in the middle of the afternoon are getting the same pay. smdh

  9. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    To those getting annoyed because they already bought it – How is this any different to buying a game at launch, and then a year later it’s available for a fiver? Some games I just want to play, as soon as I can, so I pay full wack knowing a little bit of patience could have saved me a load of mulla. The game is 4 years old, if WoL layers hadn’t bought it by now they were never going to, those that have bought it because they dig SC2 and want more. You got what you wanted, it is hard to understand any annoyance at it.

    Also it’s just the campaign, as far as Blizzard’s e-mail indicates, so you’ve still got the multiplayer which nobody has gained for free.

  10. Chewbacca says:

    I am just happy for more people to play the Coop-Mode with.