It’s highly unusual for Blizzard to gift players with free games and yet that’s exactly what the company has been doing for the last few days. A large number of gamers from around the world are reporting that Blizzard is giving away free copies of Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty with no explanation whatsoever. In fact, the company is apparently not even sending out emails to notify users about the free game, with copies of the first entry in the Starcraft 2 trilogy randomly being unlocked on many Battle.net accounts.
A number of Reddit threads have been popping up over the weekend to discuss the matter, but it seems like nobody has any idea why Blizzard is suddenly feeling so uncharacteristically generous. One prevailing theory is that the company is planning to make Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty free-to-play and the free copies are meant to spark some hype before the official announcement. A pretty sound theory considering all the word of mouth already being generated across Reddit. The company stands to win a great deal of new customers with this move as many gamers with likely want to invest in the last two chapters of the Starcraft 2 trilogy – Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void – after playing the first one for free.
Despite being the catalyst for modern eSports, it’s no secret that Starcraft 2’s competitive scene has slowly been fading into obscurity over the last several few years. The game isn’t exactly dead just yet, but after KeSPA decided to shut down the Korean Starcraft Proleague last year, it seems like it’s just a matter of time before the highly acclaimed RTS breathes its last breath. If, however, Blizzard does decide to make Wings of Liberty free-to-play for all, it’s possible that a second renaissance could be on the horizon for Starcraft 2.
Starcraft 2 is infamous for its steep learning curve and high skill ceiling, which is why much of its former player base has gradually dwindled and slowly but surely migrated to more accessible titles like League of Legends and Overwatch. That said, other difficult eSports like Dota 2 have continued to survive and flourish thanks in no small part to their free-to-play model, so perhaps Starcraft 2 can still return to the spotlight if Blizzard is indeed planning to change the game’s business model in the near future. If nothing else, the game is certain to rise in popularity again solely on the back of its great single-player campaign, which again, is likely to prompt players to buy the last two chapters just so they can experience the expanded storyline. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this turns out.
I’ve reached out to Blizzard for some info in regards to this matter and will update this article if I manage to learn anything new. Stay tuned.
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty launched back in 2010 and was followed by Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
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