You Can Now Get StarCraft and Brood War for Free

Patch 1.18 is the first update in eight years for Blizzard's classic RTS.

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After lying dormant for eight years, StarCraft and its Brood War expansion were patched to version 1.18 earlier today. Among other features, the patch makes both games free to download for all players.

The patch went live at 2pm PT / 5pm ET. " When patching, please use the ‘Run as Admin’ option; it is required during your first client run to migrate saves and avoid issues from Windows system admin changes," per Blizzard's patch notes. Besides offering up StarCraft and its critically acclaimed expansion pack for free, patch 1.18 smooths out compatibility issues in Windows 7, 8, and 10; facilitates snappier response times when playing online; tightens anti-cheating measures; and touches up the UI during online games.

Battle.net hosts installers for Windows and Mac OS. Full patch notes for StarCraft 1.18 can be found below.

Since reading Blizzard's announcement and patch notes, I've been trying to decide whether or not this makes sense. My initial thought was that releasing the game for free might put a dent in sales of StarCraft Remastered, which is due out this summer. Even if that happens, though, the impact will be negligible.

Everyone with even a passing interest in the eSports scene will migrate to StarCraft Remastered as much for the integration of Blizzard's contemporary Battle.net (aka Blizzard) online service as for myriad balance tweaks. There's only so much Blizzard can do to improve online performance in the original game, and the most significant online and game balance updates will likely be exclusive to StarCraft Remastered going forward. Last but not least, the remaster will be displayed in 4K resolution, and this is the era of the HD paint job.

So... why not? If you've never played StarCraft, or if you haven't played the game since it required you to insert a CD in your computer, there's never been a better time to pilot an SCV.

Patch Notes

General

  • 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 Battle.net
  • Improved UI layout in Battle.net 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 Battle.net menus
  • LAN and Legacy Battle.net 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
  • Password games will often return bad password trying to join
Long Reads Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 18, 2017 3:51 PM

    David Craddock posted a new article, You Can Now Get StarCraft and Brood War for Free

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      April 18, 2017 6:46 PM

      Nice

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      April 18, 2017 6:52 PM

      Just DL'd.... I haven't played it since my college dorm room days...

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      April 18, 2017 7:30 PM

      It's a shame they don't give Warcraft 2 some love.

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        April 18, 2017 7:45 PM

        I swear I had added War2.net to my account years ago, but Blizzard has scrubbed almost all mention of it outside their Legacy page.

        Now I'm not sure if I added it back with the earliest days which also ate my original copy of War3 or if they took access away from everyone and no one cared enough to even update the wiki pages.

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          April 18, 2017 7:50 PM

          I think Warcraft 2 and Diablo 1 were part of the older version of Battle.net.

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            April 18, 2017 7:56 PM

            Well, yes it for sure started on the oldest of Battle.net frameworks.

            Still, I'm pretty sure it even lived quite a bit into the semi-modern digital distribution era as I see things about it through 2012, but then it seemingly disappears with no fanfare.

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              April 19, 2017 4:42 AM

              There was a re-release of WC2 at some point called the battle.net edition, not sure if that's the one you're referring to (I don't remember if the original WC2 had battle.net or online play at all outside of LAN play). It's probably that if just doesn't have compatibility with modern versions of windows.

              That said they've been going backwards making these things compatible with modern operating systems so maybe they'll get to it next.

              I think for the Mac the deal was that D2 and WC3 worked on OS X but only the PowerPC version and never got updated/recompiled for Intel, so those got ported first. Starcraft never ran on OS X, it was a Mac OS 7/8/9 app, so more work was necessary to get it running on macOS 10.12. Maybe someone at Blizzard will break out the source to get WC2 running on macOS because they've done something similar with Starcraft now.

              Actually I wish they'd port Overwatch to the Mac first...

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      April 18, 2017 7:49 PM

      I wonder if you can still do "dial up" multiplayer with 56k modem, where you input your friend's number and your PC's connect.

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      April 18, 2017 7:53 PM

      I've never played StarCraft. First time for everything.

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      April 18, 2017 8:23 PM

      Is this the up-res "4k" version or just the plain version?

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        April 18, 2017 8:24 PM

        Plain one. Remaster is due out in the summer for cash monies.

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      April 19, 2017 5:04 AM

      A nice gesture, but I'm waiting for that shit hot looking remaster!

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        April 19, 2017 5:59 AM

        Ditto. A shame they're not remastering the CG too, but I get that it would be an expensive ballache.