The demo version of StarCraft 2 allowed gamers to experience the entire game, but only gave them a certain number of hours until they were forced to purchase the title – if they wanted to continue. It was a creative way to show off the game, but the “limited-time-bait-and-hook” may not have been the best option for those who really wanted to learn some of the strategy behind StarCraft 2 in their limited run.
Blizzard has heard their calls, and has now replaced the StarCraft 2 Demo with the StarCraft 2 Starter Edition, which doesn’t have a time limit for those who want to test the waters at their own speed.
The new Starter Edition, as expected, requires an active Internet connection so that you can connect to battle.net, – which will then grant gamers the following features:
- The first four missions from the Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty campaign
- The first two challenges: Tactical Command and Covert Ops
- Access to the terran race in Custom Games and Single-Player vs. AI
- Access to four custom maps, with selection rotating over time
Allowing gamers to play the first four missions means they not only get to play through the Mar Sara section of the storyline, but they’re forced to go through the first campaign branch, picking between the relatively timid Dr. Hansen or the brutal marine Tychus. It’s a decent spot to end the sneak peek, as they get a taste of what most of the campaign will be like – and might be left to wonder how their choices will impact the rest of the game.
The four custom maps are currently set at Xel’Naga Caverns, Shattered Temple, Discord IV and High Orbit. Giving fans an unlimited amount of time to test out the multiplayer dynamics against AI. As a result, if they decide to purchase the game, they’ll have more of a fighting chance doing the rounds in the multiplayer ladders – which are well-known for their intensity and shear volume of dedicated players. Additionally, all the campaign progress and achievements demo users earn will carry over to the full game, should they decide to purchase it, since the information will be stored in their battle.net account.
If you’d like to test StarCraft 2 out for yourself, you can check out the Starter Edition head over to Battle.net for the download.
The demo comes ahead of the second part of the Starcraft 2 trilogy, the zerg-central StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, which is expected to ship in mid 2012. Fans had been hoping for a late 2011 release, but with little news trickling out of Blizzard – it’s unlikely we’ll see the add-on this year. In the meantime, there seems to be no shortage of gamers duking it out in the multiplayer ladders for Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty.
What do you think of the StarCraft 2 Starter Edition? Do you prefer it to the time-based trial?