Why StarCraft 2 goes free-to-play

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More than seven years after the launch of StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, Blizzard Entertainment is making the real-time technique recreation free-to-play. The developer introduced its plans to launch the sport and its first marketing campaign without cost at BlizzCon 2017 this week, a transfer that may open StarCraft 2 as much as a broader viewers.

Blizzard’s Tim Morten, manufacturing director on StarCraft 2, stated conversations about shifting to a free-to-play mannequin have been occurring for some time, however that it was necessary to make the change palatable to new and present gamers.

“Some of the early triggers of considering free-to-play were feedback that even though a lot of the game already was free through the starter edition, that that wasn’t well-known,” Morten informed Polygon in an interview at BlizzCon, “[and] that it was complicated to know what you must purchase to truly begin taking part in Starcraft 2.

“We needed to chop by way of that confusion and announce that StarCraft 2 is free-to-play.”

Morten stated that StarCraft 2’s legacy of being an esport was one other issue, and making the sport free-to-play would make the sport accessible to new rivals. That suggestions additionally got here from Blizzard’s esports companions, who would understandably wish to see some contemporary blood taking part in StarCraft 2.

Blizzard has been receiving that type of enter from gamers and companions “nearly by the way because the launch of StarCraft 2: Legacy of the Void,” the sport’s second enlargement, Morten stated. Since then, Blizzard has added what Morten known as “a lot of microcontent”: unit skins, co-op commanders and the Nova Covert Ops missions.

“We now have a catalog of content for people … if they came in from free-to-play,” Morten stated, and that Blizzard needed to avoid secondary currencies, grinding and different annoying monetization strategies.

Of course, new gamers who get the sport without cost also can buy the opposite two campaigns: Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void. They’re priced at $14.99 every.


StarCraft 2 Nova Covert Ops
Blizzard Entertainment

The transition from a paid, boxed retail product to a free-to-play recreation isn’t simply flipping a change. Morten stated the StarCraft 2 group has been engaged on methods to make the sport approachable to new and lapsed gamers.

“We spent a lot of time thinking about the right way to do this,” Morten stated. “It was essential to us that this be achieved in a approach that feels good to our present participant base and likewise enticing to new gamers or lapsed gamers who haven’t performed since Wings of Liberty.”

Morten burdened that Blizzard isn’t including any secondary currencies or extra microtransactions to StarCraft 2 to be able to badist the sport’s new free-to-play mannequin.

“We’re just taking existing content that used to cost money and making it available for free,” Morten stated. That contains free entry to the Wings of Liberty marketing campaign (or Heart of the Swarm if gamers already personal Wings of Liberty), cooperative mode and aggressive multiplayer. Players who get StarCraft 2 without cost may have entry to the sport’s co-op commanders as much as stage 5, and can be capable of take part ranked multiplayer matches after they’ve achieved 10 first wins of the day.

Morten stated the group is introducing a brand new onboarding expertise that helps information new gamers to the mode that makes probably the most sense for them, whether or not that’s the marketing campaign, cooperative mode or aggressive ladder matches.

The major aim, Morten stated, in making the sport free-to-play was to “take what we loved as a game and make it easy to be accessed more easily by more people.”

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