Starcraft 2, one of the major games behind the current esports renaissance, will go free to play after more than half a decade on the market, Blizzard announced at BlizzCon earlier today.
During his annual address to the community at BlizzCon, Mike Morhaime, the president of Blizzard Entertainment, announced that large portions of the real-time strategy game would be made available free of charge. This includes the campaign for the initial game in the Starcraft 2-saga, Wings of Liberty, as well as the campaign for its sequel Heart of the Swarm if players already own a copy of Wings of Liberty.
Fans will also be happy to hear that players will be able to access the ladder of all three games in the series. But in a seeming effort to combat account abuse, players will first have to achieve 10 game-of-the-day victories in either the unranked ladder or against the game’s AI, before they can access the multiplayer ladder.
This move could potentially be a tad too late. After becoming the esport of choice for both viewers and players in the early 2010s, the game lost its footing to other multiplayer titles like League of Legends and Dota 2. Often criticized for its lack of custom games and steep price-tag, the decision to make the game free-to-play after nearly seven years seems to indicate that Blizzard may have taken some of this criticism to heart.
This means that both of the most critically acclaimed games in the Starcraft franchise—Brood War and Starcraft 2—are now readily available to the public without any cost whatsoever. A move that could, perhaps, bring a new wave of interest to the classic series.
Players will be able to download the Starcraft 2 multiplayer, and the single-player campaign of Wings of Liberty for free starting Nov. 14.