No plans for free-to-play Starcraft II

Blizzard game director says developer has not yet found design choices that would fit the model.

Blizzard has no plans to transition Starcraft II to a free-to-play business model. Game director Dustin Browder commented on the matter during a recent Reddit Ask Me Anything session, saying though such a switch may work for certain games--like Team Fortress 2--it would not work for Starcraft II.

"We have no plans to go free-to-play in the traditional sense. We do have a trial version that allows players to check out the game but it isn't like Team Fortress 2," Browder said.

"Valve did make a lot of changes to Team Fortress 2 to make that game work for free-to-play," he added. "We have not yet found design choices for Starcraft II that we would be happy with to make it free-to-play, so we aren't going to do it."

Team Fortress 2 became a free-to-play title supported by microtransactions during summer 2011. Since the business model switch, the game's player base has jumped fives time over.

In September last year, Browder said Blizzard was "looking at" turning the multiplayer portion of Starcraft II into a free-to-play experience.

The Witcher developer CD Projekt Red recently called the free-to-play model "strange and awkward." Studio head Adam Badowski said though there may be money to be made in this market, it is still "far from perfect."

Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm launches March 12.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

127 comments
Seifer24
Seifer24

Starcraft is a buy to play model and works absolutely awesomely there is no need to to become free to play because as quality goes it's 10 times better than any free to play game eg lol.


axelx666
axelx666

Of course not..because all i hear looking at this article is. $$$$$$

Uberdruck
Uberdruck

isnt star craft 2 allready free to play

Vambran
Vambran

Free to play Starcraft .... instead of SCV's harvesting minerals , you just swipe your credit card.

1$ = 100 minerals and 50 Gas


naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

There's no reason why StarCraft II should be free-to-play.

He didn't have to make up some BS lie about "design choices".

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

I don't care if they make F2P or Browser game or whatever to fill their pockets . So far they have provided excellent Starcraft Single Player Campaign with Well balanced Multiplayer , that's all what matters for me right now . Even if they streamlined Diablo 3 for console release or whatever reason , I'll keep open mind for Diablo 4 even I prefer TL2 over D3 . However SC 2 is amazing .And no microtransactions in multiplayer is a huge win .

Zeratul199
Zeratul199

umm wtf??! why should there be plans for free starcraft. its like got the most traditional paying model of all games. people constantly bitch about microtransactions, dlc you have to buy, etc. with starcraft you get free patches, balancing, and 2 expansions for half the price of the original game, which were announced with the launch of starcraft so shouldnt be a surprise. not to mention they are basically full games which are more polished than anything else other companies make.
I am completely satisfied and happy with paying ONCE for a complete game for which i know i will get patches and support for, for as long as i choose to play it. not just until the next instalment comes out next year (ie call of duty).
I almost wish I could give blizz more support for making such brilliant games and not over charging for them like some other companies, but then at least i get all their collectors editions.
Guess you just cant please some people. everything is either too crap or too expensive, or took too long to make.

Me_Ann
Me_Ann

Expansions are $40 you retards, not $80(unless you get the Collector's Ed). Some of you guys are making things up to justify your hate for a game/publisher/etc.

Ledah
Ledah

Well after making 3 games out of SC2 I wouldn't be surprised if they had plans, Blizzard is just a money chew machine right now, they just want money and more money without giving quality. With the right idea on microtransactions they will have plans for it in the future.

telaros
telaros

I don't see how free online play wouldn't work for SC2. Their obsession with trying to make everyone love Battle.net is a joke. They just want to avoid people modding their game. Not that it stops them.

Make it free, charge for games as they come out as DLC (which seriously, that's all your shit is...) and everyone is happy. Make people pay to enter tournament only servers like you do on WoW. No one misses out. You still get money. Seriously, people up there are retarded.

game_gt3
game_gt3

i like it the way it is now. f2p costs too much :D

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

No  instead you would rather charge 80 dollars per campaign in a 3 campaign game that you haven't even MADE 100% of yet. You greedy horrible Actiblizzion assholes. Rot in hell Blizzard.

hatake7500
hatake7500

I saw a lot of people saying the same thing so i'll post it up here.

A lot of F2P games are good. I agree there are a lot that are P2W but not all of them it all comes down to the developer and the publisher, if the care for their game and the gamers then it will be balanced if their pocket is their business the the game will be P2W. 

Don't generalize I know most off the F2P are bad but there are enough that show it can be balanced and good even with Markets or Micro-transactions.

gba1989
gba1989

I coudln't care much if they make it F2P but please bring back LAN

DarkReign2552
DarkReign2552

Good. F2P is an awful concept for videogames. Free to Play is the equivalent to Pay to Win. In an RTS where unit balance is the key to victory, having certain players with advantages over other would completely destroy the core value of the game. Microtransactions are already bad enough in games like Dust 514 and Mass Effect 3. F2P would be on a larger scale and infinitely more game-wrecking.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

Compared to Team Fortress 2, End of Nations has been suspended. The idea of a F2P SC2 seems a little out of the blue.

chun-IDGAF-li
chun-IDGAF-li

No plans for free-to-play Starcraft II?? ........no plans on playing starcraft II :)

gplayer5
gplayer5

GOOD, don't make the same mistakes as EA. Don't make it free-to-play. PLEASE!!!

xhawk27
xhawk27

Since you are making a game for PS4 why not one for the Next Xbox too. 


_el_Greco_
_el_Greco_

Am I the only one who would have wanted Starcraft 2 to be one stand-alone game?  (maybe with only 1 expansion at most?...)  I absolutely loved Warcraft III with all four races getting their own campaign.  Each campaign consisted of about 8-10 missions, all really well done in terms of gameplay, and all collectively bringing up an epic story.  In the end, there were also about 6 mind-blowing cinematics.

I played Wings of Liberty and have to admit that getting 26-30 missions wasn't all that great.  For me less than half of those were actually fun to play, and the overall story was too boring for the most part.  Blizzard is obviously milking SC2 as much as they can.  If they truly wanted to offer the players that amazing "experience" they claim they're doing, they would have made it like Warcraft 3.  As of now I'm not too fond of spending $40 on Heart of the Swarm just for another 26-30 missions that are bound to have the same slow pace and lame story.  I'll wait for the reviews first and maybe a drop in price...

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@Uberdruck Nope . Free to play games are free to download and install then you pay them via micro transactions within the game to buy different items , in return it costs you more than actual game at 50-60$ price . Starcraft 2 is not Free to play , you buy the game once then you don't pay for anything , it's forever free for both Single Player and Multiplayer .

Ophenix1
Ophenix1

@Zeratul199 You asked why, I'll answer that.

SC2 is not a fun game to start playing competitively. You need to pay 60$ for the base game, 80$ if you want the base + expansion and the way multiplayer works makes it not only hard to get into but also very hard to progress in.

This results in a diminishing player base. People are leaving the game (bored/busy/pissed-off-that-marines-kill-everything-in-the-game-cost-efficiently) but few new players are coming in. This means less viewers for tournaments, less prize money and eventually a dead pro-gaming scene.

With games like LoL and DotA2 out and free, with millions of players and even more viewers SC2 is slowly dying. There are several ways to solve this and F2P is one of them. I'm not saying it is the right way, or the only way, but it is ONE way that Blizzard could inject some interest in a slowly decaying game.

Another way would be to balance the damned thing for fun and not for statistics. "Oh, I'm Dusting Bowser! I can give Zerg the crappiest anti-air in the game and then buff the Toss air army to invinsibility! Look at me! I'll give Terran a unit that kills everything and only costs minerals while also giving them a free-mineral spell! Now I'll give them a unit that kills everything on the ground and make it cost only minerals! Look at me!" I hate that guy.

G4mBi7
G4mBi7

@Grenadeh I have to comment LOL, expansion is $40, not $80, no one is forcing you to buy the collectors edition, at the same time no one is forcing you to buy star craft at all. For players who aren't cheap and want as much of their game as they possible can get, the F2P model is usually more expensive because earning anything in a F2P model  takes FOREVER, just look at lol, to get anything takes fucking HOURS upon HOURS. A skin costs $7.50 and a new hero costs $7.50. Greendeh, you have no idea what you're talking about. The quality of the SC2: WoL was amazing, especially the campaign. The fact that they continuously have supported the game since release isn't enough for you?  Blizzard took a very traditional pricing model, expansions, NOT DLC bull$hit where like CoD or AC now days where you pay 15$ for nothing useful. The $40 you pay gets you a fully fledged campaign focused on Zerg and new Multiplayer unlock. What more do you want? Oh I forgot, money grows on trees, ppl shouldn't get paid for the games they create. Np, go and torrent the game, oh wait. . u can't BAHAHAHAHAHAHA CHEAP $hit :D

2bitSmOkEy
2bitSmOkEy

@gba1989 If they add lan then they can't monitor and control the pro scene.  Won't happen.


The best you can hope for is a tournament only lan mode, but even that will probably never ever happen.  David Kim and co are complete control freaks, they don't want any "pro" slipping through the cracks without them first reviewing said person.  Think of it like a job interview ;)

Cloud_imperium
Cloud_imperium

@gba1989 I want LAN so badly but Activision won't let them to do so , At least we have decent campaign unlike D3

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@mrboone01 Fucking indeed. I /gquit the "I play blizzard games" guild a long ass time ago, they do not deserve anyone's money and haven't for a long time.

WolfGrey
WolfGrey

@DarkReign2552 F2P is the not akin to Pay 2 Win.

Only games with bad designs in F2P end up that way. Actual good F2P are nothing like that.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@chun-IDGAF-li In fact if I could return wings of liberty I would but you know it came out 3 god damn years ago and I'm stuck with a game I don't want and don't even want to pay 160 dollars for the rest of.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@_el_Greco_ You and every other actual Blizzard fan. The game was meant to be 1 game with 3 campaigns, the way ALL strategy games EVER released have always been, the way WC3 and WC2 and WC1 and SC1 were. If you want to add shit, use expansions - don't break the game into an 180 dollar cash grab  over 6 years.

eva02langley
eva02langley

@_el_Greco_ Amen to that... I still believe the first Star Craft Story is epic... so I was expecting something similar with Star Craft 2... what a bad surprise it was...

sonicare
sonicare

Yeah.  That free to play term is somewhat misleading.  People confuse that with the MMO's that require a paid prescription - like WOW.  They should just use microtransactions at the term.

Seifer24
Seifer24

@Ophenix1 @Zeratul199 lol is for 10 year old kids that dont have money to pay for games.

I was working in an internet/coffee shop and people that were playing lol were no older than 13 or they were too stupid to play another game counting their friends as well.

Furthermore it's more easy for girls to get into.

Sc 2 is a strong game and is for mature people who actually think

Zeratul199
Zeratul199

@Ophenix1 @Zeratul199 To me it sounds like someone raging because they are bad and suck competitively. $80 is a small price to pay, and id much rather pay it as a one off then have to pay for every skin, and (lets be honest) to have a viable amount of champs and runes, u basically have to buy champions at 30 for ranked play as well.
Dont bring ur crap about ooh this unit is op into this it has nothing to do with it. Brood War had the exact same pay style and it was perfect. Yes LoL has a bigger esports following and yes it is easier to get into, but thats largely due to the gameplay and nature of the game. In addition blizz has addressed like every issue about getting into sc2 being difficult with unranked, bot play, training etc. 
Pricing it differently wont make much diff if people stop playing because they get beaten and dont like the way the game is balanced. It has much more complexity to get through to get decent at it than LoL but thats the nature of the game, not the pricing structure. 

Prats1993
Prats1993

@Exia2004 @Grenadeh I think ur confusing F2P models with subscription based ones buddy. Not all F2P models are pay to win u ignorant fool.

ag_04
ag_04

@Grenadeh @mrboone01 Definitely. I paid for Wings of Liberty a retarded amount of money (60 euro) and sweared to god I wouldn't pay for more scII related content. F**k battlenet. Heart of the Swarm deserves to be pirated. Sorry blizzard. lol

_el_Greco_
_el_Greco_

@eva02langley Oh yeah, definitely...  I have a fixation with Warcraft 3 because it's my favorite Blizzard game to date, but I forgot to mention the original Starcraft.  I was younger back then and can't quite remember the entire campaign, but there were certainly about 8-10 missions per race with quite an epic story.  The ambiance was just amazing...  If anything, it felt much grittier and much more mature than Wings of Liberty.

dramasunggi
dramasunggi

@Ophenix1 @Zeratul199 Either I really do have no sense of humor, or you're just bad at structuring jokes and funny comments. Just because LoL is booming, doesn't mean SC2 is dying. LoL is free-to-play, attracting millions of players in China and Southern Asia, it is a team game, which can be fun when played with friends in PC Cafe's, while SC2 is a premium game, targeting it's PRESENT audience.

Ophenix1
Ophenix1

@Zeratul199@Ophenix1 It's a shame you have no sense of humor...

As for the pricing... It helps. Every one of my friends and every one of the people I game with have tried LoL. It is free, you can try it, you can access games easily and the scene is alive (though somewhat toxic) with a HUGE and lucrative pool of small and large tournaments for people to start with.

Blizzard needs to do something to bring new
players into the game and an expansion won't do that. It might get some of the people who stopped playing back but not new players.

This is a known problem. If you want to read about it feel free to start here: http://kotaku.com/5954973/as-fans-say-starcraft-is-dying-blizzard-plans-some-big-changes