Blizzard announced at BlizzCon 2017 that StarCraft II will go free-to-play starting later this month, seven years after it was first launched.
The move comes after Blizzard's decision in April to make the original StarCraft and its Brood War expansion a free-to-download game, followed by the August launch of StarCraft: Remastered that brings 4K resolution support to the classic strategy game.
StarCraft II Free-To-Play, But With Limitations
StarCraft II will become a free-to-play title starting Nov. 14. However, there are some limitations to which parts of the real-time strategy game will be open to all gamers.
"We feel like we've got a great game that we want more people to play, so taking away some of the barriers — primarily cost — to get into the game, we're hoping will really give a larger audience a chance to play StarCraft 2," said Tim Morten, the game director of StarCraft II.
Gamers will be able to play the entire campaign of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty for free once Nov. 14 hits. The other single-player campaigns for StarCraft II, namely Heart of the Swarm, Legacy of the Void, and Nova Covert Ops, will be available for purchase with a price tag of $14.99.
Players who already bought StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty but did not buy Heart of the Swarm will get the expansion for free instead.
Also to become free to players are all co-op commanders in StarCraft II, up to level five, as well as the online ranked competitive multiplayer mode. However, the latter needs to be unlocked first by completing the "First Wins of the Day" achievement 10 times either against the computer or in unranked games. According to Blizzard, this will "preserve the quality and integrity of the ranked experience," as only players who actually know what they're doing will be able to join competitive games.
With StarCraft II to become a free-to-play game soon, could the five-year-old Diablo III be the next on the list for Blizzard?
Other Announcements At BlizzCon 2017
StarCraft is a big part of BlizzCon, but also present at the annual event are Blizzard's other franchises, such as Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Overwatch.
The Overwatch announcements at BlizzCon 2017 made a huge splash, with a new Overwatch healer hero named Moira revealed for the multiplayer shooter. Also coming soon to the game is a new Blizzard World map, which like BlizzCon, brings together Blizzard's franchises. In addition, new skins inspired by other Blizzard titles will be added soon to Overwatch.