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Blizzard patches  StarCraft II  to be a bit more free-to-play
Blizzard patches StarCraft II to be a bit more free-to-play
January 22, 2014 | By Alex Wawro

January 22, 2014 | By Alex Wawro
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    14 comments
More: Console/PC, Design



Newsbrief: Blizzard rendered a large swath of StarCraft II content free to play yesterday via a patch that greatly expands the scope of the free, downloadable StarCraft II: Starter Edition.

The StarCraft II Patch 2.1 notes detail a host of additions and gameplay tweaks to Blizzard's sci-fi RTS, chief among them being the news that all races, custom games and the entire Starcraft II Arcade are now available to all StarCraft II: Starter Edition players.

Given that the Arcade is essentially a curated storehouse of player- and Blizzard-made StarCraft II mods, Patch 2.1 basically makes a ton of user-generated StarCraft II content free to play and will likely cause the StarCraft II modding community to swell significantly.

Prior to Patch 2.1, Starter Edition players could only play Blizzard-made mods in the Arcade and were limited to playing as Terran in custom games vs. AI.

Players must still log into Battle.net (and remain online at all times) to play the Starter Edition, and you still need to purchase the full game to play the campaign or take part in multiplayer matchmaking.



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Comments


Zach Grant
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What's the catch?

Justin Kovac
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Nothing. (right now at least)

You can do everything but the single player campaign and and ladder matchmaking.

Note:
Blizzard highlighted Arcade games were available for free in the past.

Spawning allowed others to group with people who had the full game and then had full access to all races, Arcade and matchmaking as long as they stayed in the group.

Gonzalo Daniel
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Just the natural reaction to LoL´s and dotás awesome succes in e-sports. I wouldnt be surprised if they introduce microtransactions for new aesthetics in units or decals.

Justin Kovac
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The patch supports custom clan decals that you can upload.

They have been against a lot of new skins due to performance issues that a lot of custom skins might cause on larger games.

John Trauger
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maybe a real-money auction house?

Terry Matthes
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They are trying. Nothing wrong with that.

Jakub Majewski
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I keep thinking that it would be really smart for them to make the campaigns free-to-play, while charging money for the multiplayer. But I guess that might be wishful thinking on my part, since I don't play multiplayer :).

Bob Fox
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Man the F2P apocalypse is screwing gaming up so badly. The suits behind these games are taking games hostage from players. The laws can't keep up with this nonsense.

Ian Griffiths
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Can you elaborate? What is it here that has gone wrong? How does making a game free hold it 'hostage' from players?

Bob Fox
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"Can you elaborate? What is it here that has gone wrong?"

Game confiscation and using the internet to take game code hostage on their servers and force a monopolistic relationship between them and players.

Next is spying on players (aka corporations have a window into what players are doing, like having a man with camera pointed over your shoulder).

Google:World of warcraft and the NSA

They can mine player data and exploit the psychology of weaker minds for profits off kids who don't know they are being sold nothing (aka data has no scarcity).

No local multiplayer (aka taking server code hostage, no dedicated servers).

So you can't play games away and outside the territory of the monopolist game company who basically spies on everyone and is king of the territory. If the game developer fucks up the game (which has happened) and you need to revert you can't because they've changed the gameplay to cater to lowest common denominator, so say if they begin changing things you like or go in a direction you dont want with patches/updates. You are permanently fucked.

There's just so much bs F2P brings to the table by forcing monopoly. F2P = Taking product hostage and creating a monopoly to extract revenue from the tech illiterate.

Businesses don’t make money by taking risks, they make money by having monopoly power with respect some desired good. Game devs took the good (product) hotsage by dividing it up into pieces and putting chains into the code that tied it to a back end to create a monopoly.

Justin Kovac
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Assuming not sarcastic F2P usually implies a system built around IAP.

F2P is not the best word/phrase to describe the recent changes.

"Starcraft 2 is (mostly) free", except for the single player campaign and the multiplayer matchmaking system.

Or user generated content and custom maps are now freely available for others to play with no restrictions or cost.

Bob Fox
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But it requires taking away the ability to run local multiplayer (aka forcing a monopoly).

There's just so much bs F2P brings to the table by forcing monopoly. F2P = Taking product hostage and creating a monopoly to extract revenue from the tech illiterate.

Businesses don’t make money by taking risks, they make money by having monopoly power with respect some desired good. Game devs took the good (product) hotsage by dividing it up into pieces and putting chains into the code that tied it to a back end to create a monopoly.

Tyler King
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It would be an interesting move for them to move SC2 multiplayer to completely being f2p. If they really want to build a community and esport around the game its going to be hard keeping players coming back when a lot of those same players are moving to games like Dota 2 and LoL. It might be their only way to stay relevant.

You can also tell they are getting more desperate to keeping players active because now they are actually offering sales on games. Blizzard used to never offer sales, but now they do. Heart of the Swarm went on sale for $15 last black friday, which in the past they would never have done.

Bob Fox
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The reality is they're seeing how boring and stagnant RTS formula has become. The reason League of Legends and DOTA 2 became popular is because fans always could find the fun when developers couldn't and they were set in their ways.

It's the same reason supreme commander 2 failed and supcom 1 wasn't all that good. The developers got stuck in repeating the same old tired song until disappointed fans find the fun devs were missing. Developers really need to understand and build a theory of gameplay because they often don't understand what it is that keeps a game fun and then end up scratching their heads when the mod community makes stuff that takes off.


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