Blizzard's Arcade is now open to the StarCraft II Starter Edition public.
The StarCraft II website was updated on Tuesday with news that Patch 2.1 is now rolling out to players. This should be welcome news to fans of the Starter Edition, as the update unlocks custom games, the Arcade mode and all three StarCraft II races… for free!
Before this latest patch, the Arcade was limited to players who purchased the full-blown retail version of StarCraft II. Now it’s open for everyone, allowing new customers to check out Blizzard-created games such as Starjeweled, Auir Chef, and Left 2 Die. "Tens of thousands" of games are now at any player’s fingertips.
“We’re unlocking every single melee map and all three StarCraft II Races,” reads Blizzard’s blog. “Now your friends that don’t own StarCraft II can try out the voracious Zerg, the rough and rugged Terran, or the enigmatic Protoss on any map they choose. This also means that you can try out our new Extension Mod feature as well.”
Extension mods consist of parameter sets that can be published to Battle.net for use with any StarCraft II melee map. According to Blizzard, the new patch allows players to apply any Extension Mod to any melee map from the Custom Games list. The “Top Played Games” section of the Custom Games list also now displays the most popular melee map and Extension Mod combinations. Additional detailed instructions regarding Extension Mods can be accessed on Blizzard’s blog here.
With patch 2.1, Blizzard has found a way to address AFK lobby hosts in Arcade. For example, when a player creates a game and then goes off to make a snack, other players entering the lobby are forced to wait on the lobby host. If the lobby host is inactive for a certain amount of time, a prompt will appear to confirm that the host is still at the keyboard. If the host does not respond, then the host will be removed from the lobby and another assigned as host.
Blizzard also reports that the level cap of each race is now 35 (was 30), and three new race-specific “StarCrafts”-themed decals that can be unlocked at level 32 have also been added. The First Win of the Day XP bonus was increased to 100,000 experience points, and the original, remastered StarCraft and StarCraft: Brood War soundtracks are now available to play within StarCraft II.
"Keep your eyes out in the next few days as we’ll be launching a new website dedicated to the free Arcade. We have also launched a new twitter account: @BlizzardArcade will focus on keeping you up to date on the latest Arcade news," reads Blizzard’s blog.
To download the Starter Edition, head here.