StarCraft II is going free-to-play on November 14, with a few caveats

Blizzard's first big announcement at BlizzCon 2017: StarCraft II is going free-to-play after seven years. Kind of.

Hayden Dingman Nov 07th 2017 A-A+

The focus at BlizzCon 2017 is mostly on Overwatch, World of Warcraft, and—dare I say it?—a possible Warcraft IV announcement. That last one is just my own wishful thinking, of course. But StarCraft II, although mostly in maintenance mode, did get one pretty huge announcement this year: It’s going free-to-play.

Sort-of.

After thanking the community for continuing to play StarCraft II, Blizzard president Michael Morhaime dropped the free-to-play bomb before immediately following up with a caveat: Only 2010’s Wings of Liberty campaign is going free-to-play. If you already own Wings of Liberty but for some reason didn’t buy the next installment, you’ll instead get free access to 2013’s Zerg-centric Heart of the Swarm.

Multiplayer will also be free, though with additional restrictions. Looking at the StarCraft II site, it seems the emphasis will be on Unranked competitive except for people who play more than 10 games per day? I think I'm reading that right, though I'm hoping for confirmation from Blizzard. Commanders are also free, but only up to level five. Meanwhile, StarCraft II’s “Arcade” mode—custom games—has been free for years.

There’s more still to come from BlizzCon 2017, so stay tuned! And please, for my sake, keep those fingers crossed for Warcraft IV. It’s been too long.