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Blizzard releases original Starcraft for free

The original Starcraft is now available for free as a public beta. (Source: Blizzard)
The original Starcraft is now available for free as a public beta. (Source: Blizzard)
The title is currently available for free on Technically a public beta test of version 1.18, the single player campaign is available in its entirety, and multiplayer is available through PTR.

We recently reported on Blizzard’s upcoming remaster of the venerable classic Starcraft. For those that can’t wait to construct additional pylons, Blizzard has released the original version of the game for free as a public beta.

Starcraft took the PC gaming world by storm upon its release in 1998. The game built on the polished real-time strategy framework laid by the Warcraft series a few years earlier and has been praised for its balanced gameplay, engrossing story, and stunning graphics (at the time). The game was also lauded for its robust multiplayer system, which was hosted on Using the included map editing tools, dedicated gamers were able to introduce several unique custom maps that brought scripted events, unit changes, and heavily tweaked gameplay to multiplayer matches. Some popular custom games included tower defense-style gameplay or even fully fledged story-driven campaigns. Personally, I remember spending hours one night in high school playing through a custom map that replicated the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I played as Legolas, who was a modified Ghost unit.

In 2010, Blizzard released the first in what would become a trilogy that acted as the sequel to Starcraft. Each of the three Starcraft II titles focused on a different race and introduced new gameplay mechanics, added to the single player story, and continued to build on the multiplayer experience. The sequel titles met with good success but haven’t been able to match the impact of the first game.

Starcraft left its mark on the gaming world, influencing future RTS titles like the Age of Empires series. With the 4K remaster on its way, the free release of the original will undoubtedly become one of the most downloaded PC titles this year. The release is compatible with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10. There are also plans to release a version for Mac OS X. The download contains the entire game (version 1.18) in a 1.5 GB package. The single player campaign can be played locally, and multiplayer is available via a Public Test Realm (PTR) account.

Another quick piece of trivia: this free release comes exactly 19 years after the original release: March 31st, 1998.

If you need me this weekend, I’ll be launching nuclear strikes against the Zerg plague.


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Sam Medley, 2017-03-31 (Update: 2017-03-31)