Blizzard has replaced the previously available StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty demo with a newly launched StarCraft II: Starter Edition. To use the Starter Edition, all you need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection.
Unlike past trial versions of StarCraft II, the Starter Edition does not have any time restrictions. It also offers a wider range of content to players for free:
- The first four missions of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, including Mar Sara 1-3 and the choice to embark on Tychus's first mission or Dr. Hansen's first mission.
- The first two Challenge Missions: Tactical Command and Covert Ops.
- Access to the Terran race in Custom Games and Single-Player vs. AI.
- Access to the following custom maps (map selection may rotate over time): Xel'Naga Caverns, Shattered Temple, Discord IV, and High Orbit.
Starter Edition players can earn achievements within the available content, as well as view profile, ladder, and achievements pages. Gamers can also access many functions of the map editor, but the full version of the game is required to use the Test Map function and to publish maps to Battle.net.
Blizzard's goal is to smoothly transition new users from trying the game to owning it. Any campaign progress and achievements you earn while playing the Starter Edition are automatically saved to your Battle.net account, and carry over if you upgrade to the full version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
So what can't you do? Starter Edition players cannot use versus and co-op matchmaking, most custom maps, chat channels, nor the party system. Offline play is also unavailable.
StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty was released on July 27, 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. It thus took Blizzard over a year to start offering the Starter Edition.