At BlizzCon 2017 CEO of Blizzard, Mike Morhaime announced that they are aimed at making StarCraft 2 free-to-play later this month. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty launched seven years ago and Blizzard wants to open it up to a broader audience this week. Tim Morten, production director, mentioned that the talks of the game going free to play have been going on for some time. However, they had to make sure to find the balance between new and existing players before implementing the change.
There was also a push from Blizzard’s esports partners as they wanted to see more new blood in the StarCraft 2 pro scene. By switching to free-to-play, the game will hopefully reappear more accessible thus encouraging more competitors.
Morten made sure to remind players that there won’t be additional micro-transactions or secondary currencies. They are essentially taking an existing content that used to cost money and making it available for free. Still, already present multiplayer features are not going to go anywhere whatsoever.
In addition to those changes, some other major announcements have been made, including WoW Classic servers (Community-based ones have been shut down by BlizzBoys earlier, even though they’ve had quite a population at that time), WoW new update – Battle for Azeroth, rebalance updates, overhauling HP/MP system, and rolling back the leveling system to almost “vanilla” state, Hearthstone updates (pretty much just another filler “mtx-filled” update) and so on. However, those changes are quite controversial. The biggest question is:
“Are Blizzard implementing those new features and updates because they are genuinely interested in player retention and satisfaction, or are they thinking from purely the material point of view?”
Looking back at decreasing revenues of Blizzard, even acquiring Activision and her parental company, King, that provide more than sufficient growth lately, the first option could be a thing. Blizz boys want an increasing player base and the establishment of a strong esports presence, and us, non-competitive players, could easily ride this wave of a positive outcome.
Obviously, time will show us the one true reason behind those moves. Hopefully, most of the players are going to get only happier, and Blizzard will continue to provide great content for us to play with.