Blizzard have released a big free version of sci-fi real-time strategy game StarCraft II, offering one full singleplayer campaign along with all the multiplayer. This launched overnight, available now if you sign up for Battle.net and download its client doodad. The free version contains the campaign from 2010’s Wings of Liberty–the one focused on humans–plus bot battles and online competitive, casual, and co-op action. That’s a fair chunk of clicking for free. A big ol’ SC2 patch has launched alongside this for all players too.So! Wings of Liberty. It’s a fun campaign with a lot twists on click-click-killing, bending standard RTS ‘build then murder’ goals with some unique objectives and units. These missions are unfortunately bookended by a story that’s total gash with tedious characters and bad dialogue. But that’s fine: the clicking is fun. I enjoyed that clicking.
On the multiplayer side, expect unranked play, AI battles, the cooperative missions with full access to three heroes then restrictions on the rest, the Arcade mod section (which has been free for ages, mind), and ranked competitive play after you meet certain conditions. To unlock ranked, players need to buy an expansion or a ‘war chest’ bundle of cosmetic bits, or win ten unranked or AI matches across ten different days. That’s to stop cheaters, harassers, smurfs, and other rogues from creating loads of new accounts to continue their shenanigans.
The competitive ladders from the three SC2s–Wings of Liberty, Heart of the Swarm, and Legacy of the Void–have now been rolled into one, as part of Update 4.0 launching with this free version, so all players are playing against each other on the same warplaying field.
Update 4.0 is a biggun, bringing a new co-op mission (the winner of a contest), the start of a new ladder season, and some big balance changes. These include remaking the Raven (again) and entirely removing the Mothership Core, as well as tweaking many other units. Hit the patch notes for full details on everything.
Oh, and do remember that Blizzard are currently giving the Zerg campaign Heart of the Swarm away free to everyone who owned Wings of Liberty on October 31st. You’ve got until December 8th to log into the Battle.net client and redeem that. I’ve started playing Swarm myself and, yeah, I have enjoyed some of the campaign clickmurders. The story is terrible again but I do have a soft spot for Abathur, the fella who likes mucking about with Zerg DNA to make us better murderers.
Everyone who owned any SC2 before October 31st get a special Ghost skin and some profile portraits too. Sure.