StarCraft II might be getting on a bit now – it’s seven years old, in fact – but it’s still a cracking game (indeed, it’s one of our eight best strategy games for the PC), and you can now bag the title for free on Windows and Mac.
As Blizzard announced back on November 5, the entire Wings of Liberty campaign is available in the just-unleashed free-to-play version (v4.0) of StarCraft II, and the unranked multiplayer ladder is also freely accessible from the get-go.
Anyone can simply download and play the game via a Battle.net account (if you don’t have one of these, you’ll need to sign up).
As for the rest of the game, there are a few small caveats here. While the co-op mode is free, and Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis can be played to maximum level, other co-op commanders are limited to level five (you’ll need to buy them in order to push them beyond that limit).
Free players also need to unlock access to the ranked multiplayer ladder by achieving 10 First Wins of the Day in the unranked mode or versus AI – which Blizzard notes is simply its way of ‘preserving the quality’ of the ranked experience.
So by and large, the entire game really is free, except for those who want to play the full range of commanders in co-op mode.
Blizzard has also introduced a ‘welcome’ experience for newbie players with version 4.0 of StarCraft II, which allows you to select your level of RTS experience, with more guidance and introductory videos on hand for true novices.
If you’ve never played StarCraft II, you really need to check this out, unless you truly detest strategy games. The campaign is beautifully crafted, with a great story, some standout missions, and really meaningful choices to be made in terms of upgrading your forces. And the multiplayer adds some true depth and longevity into the mix.
The original StarCraft was made available as a free download back in April.
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