Blizzard opened up the floodgates to a torrent of angry user feedback last month when it announced that it would be locking Aussie Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty players out of North American servers. Starcraft II aficionados took to the Internet and posted reams of messages on the Blizzard forums letting the developer know that they weren't happy. In a move reminiscent of its recent backflip on Real ID, it appears that Blizzard has eaten a slice of humble pie and listened to its fans once more.
In a post on the official Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty Facebook page, Blizzard has retracted the decision to region-lock Aussie players to Southeast Asian servers. In turn, Australians will be able to join the North American servers, although this feature won't be available right away. The company also posted an extensive Q&A alongside its statement, saying that it plans to open up the North American servers to Australians within 60 days of the game’s worldwide launch next week.
Despite giving in to fan outrage, Blizzard is still sticking by its guns, saying, "We still encourage gamers to play on the local servers, which will offer lower latency and more action during peak hours."
Migration will not be as simple as changing servers, with players forced to download the North American Starcraft II client to play. Details on exactly how it's going to work are limited at this stage, with the Q&A urging users to keep checking the Starcraft II community page for more details.
User statistics will be locked to each server, meaning that players will have two different sets of stats: one for their North American games and one for their Southeast Asian matches.
At this time the solution also doesn't appear to unlock the Korean servers or let Aussies mingle with European players. That doesn't mean it won't be opened up at a later date, with Blizzard saying that "no other multi-region play will be available at this time."
For more details on accessing the North American Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty servers, check out the Q&A below that Blizzard distributed:
North American Server Access for Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty Players FAQ
Q: Who is eligible to play on the North American servers?
A: All players, including those in the regions of Hong Kong and Macau, who purchase the English Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand Standard or Collector’s Edition of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will have the option of playing on the North American Battle.net servers in addition to the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand servers if they prefer.
Q: How much will this cost?
A: The option of playing on North American Battle.net servers will come at no additional cost to all players who have purchased the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II.
Q: How will access to the North American servers be granted?
A: Our intention is to ensure that within 60 days after the launch of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, all players with a copy of the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version will automatically gain the ability to also access the North American servers -- this will be handled through Battle.net account management.
Q: How will I know when I can access the North American servers?
A: We will have additional information on how and when to access the North American servers on our StarCraft II community site.
Q: What will happen with my Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand Battle.net account?
A: Once you get access to the North American Battle.net servers, you will have access to both regions for online play. You can choose which one to play on at any given time, and can switch back and forth at will.
Q: How will my friends list and rankings be handled?
A: All account-specific data, including friends lists, rankings, achievements, statistics, titles, and unlockable rewards, will be tracked separately for each region's Battle.net servers, and will not carry over between them.
Q: If I have already purchased the North American version, can I also play on the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand servers?
A: No. To have the option to play on both servers, you must purchase the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. This solution is specifically targeted to address gamers in Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand who have social relationships with North American players from previous Blizzard Entertainment titles.
Q: Will I be able to play on any of the other StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty regional servers?
A: No. Players who purchase the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II will have access to the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand and the North American Battle.net servers. No other multi-region play will be available at this time.