During BlizzCon 2017’s opening ceremony, Blizzard announced that “Starcraft 2: Wings Of Liberty” is becoming a free-to-play game, offering significant portions of the single and multiplayer content for no charge starting November 14th. This isn't the first time Blizzard has offered a free "StarCraft" game, earlier this year they released the original "StarCraft" for free too. Players will be able to play the entire “Wings of Liberty” campaign at no cost and if you already own it, you can get “Heart of the Swarm” for free. The players who have purchased the expansion previously will also receive an exclusive Ghost skin and three new portraits.

Unlock multiplayer ladder

In addition to the campaign being free, Blizzard is also including the ranked multiplayer ladder. Players can unlock it after their 10 First Wins of the Day in either unranked or versus modes. Blizzard said this was to keep the quality and integrity of the ranked experience. Players will be able to use three Commanders for free: Kerrigan, Raynor, and Artanis. Others will be free up to level 5 and can be purchased individually.

Although the game is switching to a free-to-play model they will still be making money. Blizzard is going to sell other Co-Op Commanders in addition to the single-player campaigns at $15 each or $40 for a bundle of three. They will also have premium upgrades like special skins, War Chests, and announcer packs.

The reason behind it

Blizzard’s production director on “StarCraft 2,” Tim Morten, said that discussions have been going on for a while about making the game free-to-play. In an interview with Polygon, Morten stated that they were receiving feedback from players and partners about how confusing it was to get started and how they would like to see new competitors.

Although the starter edition was free, players were confused on what they needed to buy to actually start playing “StarCraft 2.”

Morten said that they decided to cut through all that confusion and announce that it is free-to-play. Another element that influenced their decision was how “StarCraft 2’s” legacy is being an esport.

Making the game free-to-play will open the game up to a larger audience and new competitors. When “Dota 2” and “League of Legends” moved to free-to-play they saw a large increase in players. Valve also had an increase in players and money after making “Team Fortress 2” free-to-play too.

Switching from a paid, boxed retail product to a free-to-play model isn't easy. The team has been working on different ways to make the game approachable to new and lapsed players. The production director stressed that Blizzard is not adding any secondary currencies or additional microtransactions to the game. The team will also be introducing a new onboarding experience that will help new players learn how to play the game. Morten expressed that the goal of making this decision was to make it easily accessible for everyone.