That is right, folks. StarCraft II will become a free-to-play title, and it is going to happen much sooner than you think.
Blizzard made the news public during its annual BlizzCon conference, which took place on 3 and 4 November, 2017. This announcement comes seven years after the game’s first campaign launched, and only two years after its third and final campaign released.
Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment President and Co-Founder, made the announcement. He also confirmed that players who already own StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will be able to get its expansion, Heart of the Swarm, for free. The special deal is only available for a limited time, however, and strangely enough, that time is different to the free re-release of Wings of Liberty.
To clarify, all players who have not yet played StarCraft II will be able to download and play the first campaign in the series, Wings of Liberty, free from 14 November 2017. However, if you already own the first campaign, you can then opt to get the second one for free instead. The Heart of the Swarm deal, however, runs from 8 November through 8 December 2017.
In addition to that, all players will get access to the game’s ranked player versus player modes, as well as all units and balance updates that released since the game’s launch. Morhaime added that Blizzard is actively trying to improve StarCraft II’s co-op mode, which gives players free access to every commander in the game; up to level five.
This is a strange move for Blizzard, but then again, given that the third campaign in the StarCraft II series, Legacy of the Void, acts as a standalone experience, this might be a good move. Considering the company’s push toward getting Overwatch into the greater esport scene, and StarCraft II’s current – and very good – standing in said scene, this may serve as a way to introduce even more players to competitive play.
This is not the first time Blizzard had offered a free StarCraft game either. Earlier in 2017, the company gave everyone free copies of the game that started it all: the original StarCraft.
StarCraft II is going free-to-play on 14 November 2017. You can pick up either Heart of the Swarm for just $15 USD (~R215 ZAR) or alternatively, you can get Legacy of the Void for $25 USD (~360 ZAR). A bundled offer that includes all campaigns and additional co-op commanders can be had for just $40 USD (~R600 ZAR). The game is available on Microsoft Windows and MacOS.