Try it before you buy it. It’s a slogan that applies to all different types of products, from cars to food to clothing. For video games, trying before you buy typically means a short demo.
Blizzard Entertainment, however, is taking the try it before you buy it concept to even greater extremes with their spawning feature. It’s been included in past Blizzard releases like Warcraft II and the original StarCraft, and now spawning is available in StarCraft 2.
For those that might not know, spawning is a feature that allows players to use their friend’s game without actually owning it. In StarCraft 2‘s case that means using the various expansion pack unlocks while only owning the StarCraft II Starter Edition.
This is important because the StarCraft II Starter Edition is completely free. That means players can experience most (Blizzard was careful not to say all) of what the game’s expansions has to offer without spending a dime. Up to three players can hop into 2v2, 3v3, or 4v4 matches all while enjoying the troops unlocked in their friend’s copy of Wings of Liberty or the Heart of the Swarm expansion.
The deeper into the StarCraft 2 ecosystem you, or your friends, are the greater the access. For example, if a friend owns Wings of Liberty, Starter Edition players will only have access to that initial release’s troops.
The spawning feature isn’t a complete upgrade, mind you; there are some limitations. Players will not be able to go through the singleplayer campaign nor will they be able to participate in StarCraft 2‘s 1v1 modes. And if they are working off the Starter Edition, players will only have access to the Terran race.
So whether you’re a casual RTS fan thinking about picking up StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty or a veteran curious about the Heart of the Swarm expansion, Blizzard has unveiled the perfect feature for you. And perhaps Blizzard will be generous enough to keep spawning around when the final StarCraft II expansion, Legacy of the Void, releases.
Have you tried out the new spawning feature in StarCraft II? Do you think more games should offer this type of feature?