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StarCraft Goes Free Today With New Patch, Its First In 8+ Years

Online play should be smoother, an Observer mode has been added, and more.


Update: The patch is now available, making StarCraft free on PC (download here) and Mac (here). Be sure to heed the warning below about using the Run as Admin option when updating your game.

Original Story: Blizzard has released the patch notes for a new StarCraft update, which it says is the game's first in over eight years.

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The update is scheduled to go live at 2 PM PT, and Blizzard notes that you should use the Run as Admin option when installing it. It says this is needed the first time you open the client in order to successfully carry over saves and avoid any other issues.

Most significantly, this patch will make the game and the Brood War expansion a free download for everyone. This move paves the way for the remastered edition of the game to launch later this year.

In terms of changes, this patch adds an Observer mode; improved compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10; better anti-cheat features; and support for windowed fullscreen and windowed modes, which can be swapped between using Alt+Enter. Online play should be more responsive, and the UI in online areas has been improved.

There are some known issues, such as the profile section being inaccessible. There's no word on when those will be resolved.

You can check out the full patch notes below.

StarCraft 1.18 Update Patch Notes


  • Added windowed fullscreen or windowed mode; Alt+Enter switches between
  • Added UTF-8 support
  • Added cursor clamping in-game while windowed; unclamped in menus
  • Added Popular Maps to streamline finding games or game types
  • Added options to display actions per minute
  • Added Observer mode
  • Added opponent information when joining a game lobby
  • Added autosaving for replays
  • Added an option to display game time
  • Added UPnP support
  • Updated to a new OpenGL backend
  • Improved gameplay responsiveness during multiplayer by increasing turn rate to match LAN speeds over
  • Improved UI layout in sections
  • Improved behavior of available lobbies within the ‘Join Game’ section
  • Improved compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10
  • Improved anticheat capabilities
  • Improved installation and patching performance
  • Mac Beta now available for 10.11 and up

Bug Fixes

  • Fixed palette issues to correct rainbow water, 80s Kerrigan face in the loading screen, and other graphic glitches
  • Fixed problems with LAN game discovery
  • Fixed IME support and other text artifacts in menus
  • LAN and Legacy fixes

Known Issues

  • The profile section is currently unavailable
  • Some chat commands are still being updated to play nice in the updated chat system
  • Friends location is being improperly displayed

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