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StarCraft II
StarCraft II logo.png
The official logo for the series

Blizzard Entertainment


July 27, 2010


StarCraft II
Wings of Liberty

Logo when announced.

"Hell, it's about time!"
- Tychus Findlay[1]

StarCraft II is a sequel to the real-time strategy game StarCraft, announced on May 19, 2007, at the Blizzard Worldwide Invitational in Seoul, South Korea.[2][3] It was set to be released as a trilogy.[4][5]

Since November 14, 2017, StarCraft II became free to play with multiplayer and the Wings of Liberty campaign being free, and all Co-op Commanders free until level 5 (except the default ones).[6] Internet access is not required to play the game[7] but it is required for installation.[8]StarCraft II is available through digital distribution.[9]

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty sold 1.5 million copies in its first two days[10] and 3 million copies in its first month.[11] It was the best-selling game of July 2010 and sold more than 1 million in under 24 hours of availability.[12][13]

Blizzard intends to continue support StarCraft II years after release, in a similar manner to the StarCraft patches, which have been updated more than ten years after the release of the original StarCraft,[14] including the recent release of StarCraft: Remastered.

As of 2011, there are no plans to port StarCraft II to any console platform.[15]


The game is split into three separate products:

  1. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty, the terran campaign
  2. StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, the zerg campaign
  3. StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void, the protoss campaign[4][5]

The StarCraft II Trilogy

Blizzard chose this route due to the challenges they faced when creating the campaigns. Through a trilogy, they can create more content per campaign: such as movies, sets, props, characters, missions (including Easter egg missions) and so forth. Each character has their own arcs, missions and dialog.[16][17] The story has been designed so that no previous knowledge of StarCraft is required to enjoy it.[18]

In-universe the campaigns occur in sequence,[19] each campaign beginning immediately after its predecessor.[20] Each campaign has 26-30 missions in total (including branching missions) and a set ending, rather than a cliff-hanger.[16]

All three races were completely developed for the multiplayer skirmish mode.


Heart of the Swarm and Legacy of the Void are considered to be expansion sets[17] and are priced as such.[9] Rob Pardo later described them as expansions from a multiplayer standpoint (much like Brood War) but sequels from a campaign standpoint.[21] As of the announcement of the release date of Heart of the Swarm, the cost of the first expansion was $40 USD for the standard edition, and $55 USD for the deluxe edition.[22]

Each upgrade and expand multiplayer content in addition to containing a campaign,[23] such as the possibility of new units, abilities and structures.[17] New units available in the expansions can only be accessed if a player buys the expansion. Each product has upgraded the multiplayer, "that's the whole point of the expansion or the second part".[24] Each race has been enhanced in some way.[25]

Mission Packs

It was stated that StarCraft II would continue to receive downloadable campaign content post-Legacy of the Void in the form of "mission packs". The first of these, Nova Covert Ops, is a series of 9 missions released over a trio of installments. The first three missions were released on March 29, 2016,[26] and the second three on August 2nd, 2016.[27]
After the release of the final part of the mission pack, fan reaction will be gauged to determine whether more mission packs will be released, or whether Blizzard should work on a new RTS game.[28]

At gamescom 2016, Blizzard stated that they have no plans for additional mission packs moving into 2017.[29] At BlizzCon 2016, they announced that they are not working on any more mission packs.[30] The reason for the shift was that there were observable spikes in Co-op Missions and Versus in terms of player engagement, hence the shift to cultivating these modes. Blizzard is not currently working on any new campaigns as of BlizzCon 2017.[31]


Story and Lore

"Make no mistake. War is coming. With all its glory, and all its horror."
- Arcturus Mengsk on current events.[32]

The trilogy takes place four years after StarCraft: Brood War.[33][34] The storyline was written by Chris Metzen and Andy Chambers, concurrently with The Dark Templar Saga which was written by Christie Golden.[34]

Each of the three campaigns – terran (Wings of Liberty, zerg (Heart of the Swarm) and protoss (Legacy of the Void) – has been released as separate products.[4][5] The trilogy has an overall arc of escalation, beginning small with Wings of Liberty (rebellion against the Dominion), escalating to Heart of the Swarm (where Kerrigan commands the fate of an entire race) and culminating in Legacy of the Void, in the final battle of the Protoss against Amon.[35]

StarCraft II takes place both on new worlds and on worlds that appeared in the original game. Char is back as is Mar Sara. One of the new worlds is Bel'Shir, a jungle-covered protoss-colonized moon that was a religious retreat until it was attacked by the zerg; it now houses many ruined temples. Other new worlds include Redstone III and Monlyth.

Jim Raynor continues his adventures along with Kerrigan, Zeratul and Artanis.

The campaign can be played without an internet connection, although Blizzard prefers that it be played online (to enable achievements and special save game features).[36]

Precursor Events

Main article: StarCraft II introduction
  1. The biggest terran faction in StarCraft II is the "evil empire" of the Terran Dominion. The Kel-Morian Combine and Umojan Protectorate are currently independent from the Dominion, which is trying to consolidate its power.[34] However, Raynor's Raiders are the main playable faction, and Jim Raynor is referenced as the central character of the terran campaign.
  2. The zerg, under the command of the QUeen of Blades, have pulled back to Char and been quiet for four years. No one knew what Kerrigan is planning as her forces kill all enemy scouting parties.[37] Kerrigan herself says the zerg have evolved and thrived during this period, and are becoming "much, much more, for the final metamorphosis has only just begun."[38]
  3. Raynor's Raiders have been outlawed by the Terran Dominion. Arcturus Mengsk has continually hounded them, but refused to assassinate Raynor as that could make him a martyr.[39]
  1. The United Earth Directorate forces were destroyed by Kerrigan's zerg (though a few surviving companies are still around somewhere in the Sector).[33][34][37]


An overarching thread involving the xel'naga and rumors of hybrid creatures weaves through the campaigns.

There are many connections between the StarCraft: Ghost franchise and StarCraft II. For instance, Gabriel Tosh, a character from StarCraft: Ghost Academy, appears on the Hyperion in Wings of Liberty and serves as a connection between the two storylines.[40] The StarCraft: Ghost storyline, especially parts revolving around the Terran Dominion, acted as a building block for StarCraft II.[41]

Terran Campaign: Wings of Liberty

Wings of Liberty

Main article: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty
Zeratul: "I bring tidings of doom. The xel'naga return, the cycle nears its end, the artifacts are the key."
Jim Raynor: "The key... the key to what?"
Zeratul: "To the end of all things."
- Zeratul delivers a warning to Jim Raynorsrc

The terran campaign focuses on Raynor's Raiders, which has become a mercenary force based in the Hyperion. It includes a Zeratul-focused mini-campaign.

Blizzard introduced players who are unfamiliar with the storylines of StarCraft I and Brood War to the storyline by introducing a plot summary during the installation process.

Zerg Campaign: Heart of the Swarm

Heart of the Swarm

Main article: StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm

The zerg campaign focuses on Kerrigan's Zerg Swarm, which was fractured by the de-infestation of Sarah Kerrigan during the Battle of Char.

Protoss Campaign: Legacy of the Void

Legacy of the Void

Main article: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void

Legacy of the Void is a stand-alone product, and does not require StarCraft II installed to run.[42] It focuses on Artanis.[43]

Mission Packs: Nova Covert Ops

Main article: StarCraft II: Nova Covert Ops

The StarCraft campaign continues in Nova Covert Ops, released in three parts. It features Nova Terra as the protagonist, in her fight against the separatist group of the Defenders of Man. It takes place years after Legacy of the Void.[44]

Other Races

The xel'naga fits into the story "in a rather epic tale"[33] and form part of the backbone of the trilogy.[45]


Early screenshot of StarCraft II gameplay

StarCraft II multiplayer gameplay features the original three gameplaying races and no new races.

StarCraft II retains some units from the original game, although some of these units have been given new abilities. Due to story events from the previous game, some units have been phased out or replaced. For example, the conquest of the protoss homeworld of Aiur has prevented the creation of more dragoons – the transplanted forms of protoss warriors in exoskeletons – resulting in the remaining dragoons to be redesigned with different weaponry and a shield that absorbs heavy damage and renamed to "immortals".[46]

The number of units in the game did not significantly change from Brood War. For every new unit added, one "underused" unit has been removed.[47][48]

There are six levels of AI script difficulty: very easy, easy, medium, hard, very hard and insane.

The insane AI mode is the only one which "cheats".[49]

StarCraft II features 20 unique tilesets,[50] including the Shattered City environment.[51]

Featured in all game modes

Main article: List of StarCraft II units

The trifecta

StarCraft II only features the three original races in standard multiplayer: protoss, terran, and zerg. It has been confirmed that there would not been a fourth race introduced.

Blizzard discussed the possibility of a fourth race early on in the game's development. However, the development team felt that had a finite amount of ideas and wanted to make sure that they focused on the best ideas for the existing three playable races rather than diluting those ideas across four races. In August 2008, Frank Pearce stated that adding a fourth fully playable race would likely be discussed if Blizzard decided to make an expansion for the game, three months before the expansions were announced.[52]

Some units have animations such as air banking, starting and stopping.[53]


Main article: Achievements


StarCraft II features fewer, more epic movies compared to the original. In addition, there are several in-game cutscenes of higher quality than the original games' pre-rendered movies. The number of in-game cinematics exceeds that of pre-rendered cinematics. This is due to the need for fine-tuning cinematics and that pre-rendered cinematics must be planned early on in the development process.[50]

Structure and Development

Blizzard considers the old technique of using the campaign to teach new gamers how to play multiplayer games online to be something that doesn't work. Instead, Blizzard uses tutorials, challenges, and improved score and replay screens to teach new gamers how to do so, giving them the freedom to add many new units and upgrades to the campaigns.[54]

The campaign teaches the players some gameplay skills, often without them realizing it as they're being immersed in the story.[55]

The campaigns is a tree-shaped arrangement, enabling players to choose different passages, level-ups and bonuses. Each campaign has a distinct beginning and end, but the center portion vary considerably when played by different people. Each person might try a different set of subquests, and finish them in different ways.[56] Usually the player can go back and play "missed" missions; only in rare instances a choice prevents a player from playing another mission. Decisions made in one campaign doesn't have effect on the campaign in the next expansion.[57]

Players can get closer to the main characters in interactive sets.

StarCraft II didn't feature a co-operative campaign mode before the release of Legacy of The Void. However, Blizzard hasn't excluded the possibility and may install such a function in a future patch or expansion pack.[58]

Heroes and NPC units

Heroes aren't buildable in melee maps. Each has a unique appearance.[59] They fits the same role they did in StarCraft I, but they have "even more unique abilities from standard units".[60][61]

In Wings of Liberty heroes does not often appears in campaigns, and has a little impact on gameplay. Their role was mostly restricted to "story space". However, in Heart of the Swarm, Kerrigan was prominently featured in the whole campaign and played a crucial role in the gameplay. This was intended further differentiate the zerg part of the campaign. Heroes have unique appearances, including weapons and animations. Heroes have special hotkeys to select them.

More generic mercenaries are available in some campaigns.

Some units that were "cut" during StarCraft II's development appeared in the single-player campaign as well. Units that have been completely cut, however, did not appear in the campaign or map editor.



Main article: Co-op Missions


Main article: Co-op Missions


Main article: Mutators


Main article: Versus

StarCraft II multiplayer login

StarCraft II is also designed to focus more heavily on the p multiplayer aspect, when compared to the original StarCraft. The changes include overall improvement in, a new competitive "ladder" system for ranked games, and new automated matchmaking mechanics – designed to "match-up" players of equal skill levels.

Resource sharing between allies is also allowed after 2 minutes.

The game is currently set to have eight players. The number of players in custom games is expected to be at least 8, and Blizzard is "shooting" for 12 or more.[62] There are sixteen slots,[63] up to eight of which can be filled by players, the rest by observers.[64] Up to 12 players can play in custom games.[65] 1v1 is considered to be the most competitive multiplayer dynamic.[66]

The supply cap is 200.

Blizzard Entertainment intended to make the game fun for beginner and intermediate players, as well as give expert players more depth in gameplay.[67]

As each installment of the trilogy is released, multiplayer, for all intents and purposes, has been updated in a manner similar to the relationship between StarCraft and its expansion – both can be played, but the latter features more content.[68]

Players can communicate with a minimap ping/telestrator.

Players in the same team can talk with voice chat.

Players can each pause the game three times in a skirmish.

Gameplay Differences from StarCraft

  • The script-driven AI,[69] programmed by Bob Fitch, has been improved; it scoutsmore and make decisions accordingly.[70] It isn't able to see everything its opponent player has,[68] except in insane mode.[71] The AI can even surrender, saying GG when it does so.[72]
  • The damage system has been significantly altered. Units now do base damage with bonuses against certain unit classes.
  • Certain zerg units can not only burrow but also move underground allowing these units to move right past enemies and possibly into their bases more easily.
  • When a player's main buildings are destroyed, they are eventually revealed.
  • Given time, Blizzard would like to make various upgrades be seen visually on the upgraded units, similar to marines' shields.[73]
  • Units are be able to pass through shallow water.[74][75]
  • Destructible rocks has viewable hit points and can be destroyed by any attacking unit.
  • Xel'naga towers are neutral structures or doodads which can be temporarily captured by units. This expands that player's viewing area.
  • Customizable decals can be added to terran structures and units, showing various faction logos.[76]
  • Multiple animations exist for units that are idle.
  • Players are be able to choose their color before a custom match starts.
  • In some allied games, the allies share a choke point.
Line of Sight Rules
  • Maps start out explored (but hidden due to the fog of war) rather than completely blacked out as in StarCraft I.
  • Terrain combat bonuses have been removed. However, terrain is still important in a battle. For instance, units that attack from a ledge cannot be targeted by the units being attacked.
    • Units at the base of a ramp cannot be able to target opponents beyond the top of the ramp, but can see brief flashes of attacking units. Units that reach halfway up the ramp has unrestricted vision above the ramp.[77]
    • "Line of sight blockers" enable units to ambush each other, resembling bushes, smoke (emitted from vents on space platforms) and tall grass. Air units can easily see through the blockers.
Control Scheme
  • F-key functionality for screen-switching is in StarCraft II, accessed by pressing F4 through F8.
  • When a ghost paints a target area for a nuclear missile, a large visible nuclear symbol appears to the player and his allies. The small red dot is still all that is seen by other players.
  • A player can select 255 units.[78][79]
    • Up to 200 units can be held within a numbered control group but they form into "subgroups" of 24 or 36, each with a little number beside their icons.
    • The selection UI displays how many units are in the group.
    • Control group tabs displays what units are bound to each group number.
    • Subgroups allow the player to scroll through different type of units in their current selection with the Tab key. If a group of multiple unit types are selected, the player still has access to their abilities by tabbing through the subgroups.
  • Some spellcasting units uses "smartcasting"; when multiple units are given the same spell order, only one of them complies, preventing a serious waste of spellcaster energy.
  • A player can select multiple buildings.
    • Multiple selected combat buildings can "focus fire" on enemy units.
    • They can be put into selection groups. The player pushes a button to create each individual unit from the group of structures. This applies even to larvae.
    • Each structure shows how many units they are creating or (in the case of zerg hatcheries), how many larvae are available. Units are produced at the structure with the shortest queue.
  • A player can set a rally point for a "town hall" to a mineral or vespene source and workers then mines the resource automatically when built and splits up over multiple mineral patches. Units moves to the rally point. Units exit a building closest to the rally point (rather than at one specific point).
    • Two rally points are able to be set on a hatchery; one for drones and another for warrior units.
  • Units can be rallied to bunkers and transports and enters them if there is available room for them.
  • Units can be rallied to follow other units.
  • Idle worker units can be quickly selected with F1, the idle worker button.
  • Player units "won't line up like ants" when given a move command. Units do not bunch up unless given a manual attack command against a specific enemy unit. If so, they spreads apart when the enemy unit dies or they become idle. Units won't pass through each other. However, idle units moves out of the way of moving units. (Active, directly controlled forces would rarely display this behavior.)
  • Holding the Alt button shows unit and building hit points overhead. The player can change the option on the menu for this: normal (only show when holding Alt), selected (selected units only) or always (show all unit bars).
  • SCVs can autocast their Repair ability. Carriers can auto-build their interceptors. The new medivac dropships can autocast Heal just as medics could in StarCraft: Brood War. Changelings autocast their shapeshifting ability.
  • Spellcasting and burrowing can be set into waypoints.
  • Allies are able to see each others' resources. When an allied player leaves, the remaining ally gets the rest of their resources and units.
  • Workers can queue up building orders with the shift key, but they needs to have the resources for all the buildings to be constructed. If they don't have enough, they won't pause until there's enough resources and then start building again.
  • Control groups are shown as "panels" above the minimap (for units) and portrait (for buildings) in the UI.

Macromanagement and Resource Mechanics

Main articles: Macromanagement in StarCraft II and Vespene gas

Resource clusters generally has two vespene gas geysers.

High Yield Resources

High yield minerals

Gold-colored "high yield mineral fields" have been added to the game. These minerals are worth more per "chunk" transported by a worker unit. Expansion sites containing gold minerals can be worth fighting over, creating a new strategy around which expansion sites to claim. They provide 7 minerals per trip.


This article is a stub. You can help Starpedia by expanding it.


Main article: Lobby


Main article: Melee


Main article: Arcade



Main article: Skins


Main article: Announcers


Main article: Emoticons


Main article: Augments


Main article: Replay and Metagame Functionality

Main article: 2.0

Blizzard Entertainment released a new version of with StarCraft II.

Frank Pearce said they wouldn't be able to implement all plans by the time StarCraft II launches, but they can add more features to "as we go".[80]

StarCraft II does not have LAN support.[7][81]

Internet access is not be required to play the game[7] but is required for installation.[8] Blizzard expects requiring internet access for some features to not be a problem, since computers come standard with internet connections now (unlike when StarCraft came out).[82]

Players of StarCraft II and Diablo III share "gamer achievements", adding up to a Blizzard Level, in a similar manner to the system in World of Warcraft.[83] While achievements can be accessed in the single-player game, this is only possible if the gamer is connected to Players does not require internet access to play single-player games, but they are encouraged to do so.

The game did not launch with the ability to display replays to multiple users.[84]

Custom games allow "handicaps" for different players. This is set before the match.


Main article: Replay

Replays are available in StarCraft II as well, for both singleplayer and multiplayer games.

Multiplayer games include menus, leaderboards and overlays displaying statistics. StarCraft II features seven observer modes:

  • None (no menus)
  • Resources (gathered resources and supply count)
  • Spending (on economy, tech and units)
  • Unit (number of units)
  • Production (units and buildings being created)
  • Army (resources spent on the army)
  • APM.

These are available in "real time".

In Observer Mode, a viewer can watch in the "old style" or in a newer "first person view" in which they see the camera view, selections and commands issued from the player's viewpoint. An observer won't be able to see the actual mouse clicks, however.

At the end of the game, build orders, an army graph showing the size of the army over time and a resource graph showing income over time can be displayed.

Teaching the Game

Blizzard intends to train new players for the multiplayer game, eventually transforming casual gamers into hardcore gamers.

The campaign does not act as a tutorial for teaching game mechanics. Instead, the game includes pre-recorded tutorials which players can watch, as well as "challenges", small missions which train players in specific tasks suited for multi-players games such as efficient resource gathering. A challenge would last 5-10 minutes and the player would get a score. Challenges cover topics important to multiplayer, such as resourcing, hotkeys and counters. In addition, players receives help on why they won or lost a game.

There are tutorials for protoss and zerg which players can view before playing them on

Blizzard expected players who start on to play cooperatively vs the AI, then move into team play before finally graduating to 1 vs 1. Blizzard considers team play less hectic, as the teammates can support each other. Achievements are used to direct players along this path. Blizzard expects players to play 30-60 hours of the game before they begin playing 1 vs 1.[85]

By 2012 Blizzard changed its training techniques. As of patch 2.0.4 StarCraft II comes with a training mode. The training mode shows four windows going left to right—Training, Versus A.I., Unranked, and Ranked.[86]

Each race has three training missions.[87] For each there are three stages. The player is given simple goals against an AI opponent. Stage 1 goes at normal speed and gives ground units. Stage 2 gives more advanced ground units and increases the game speed to fast. At stage 3, all units are available and the speed is set to faster.[86]

The player can then play against the AI either singly or in groups.[86] A matchmaking vs AI system has been introduced, where players matches against an AI level that matches their skills.[88] This is called the AI Challenge Mode.[89] This is determined by three placement matches.[86]

Next is Unranked Play, which do not affect a player's ladder ranking. Matchmaking is still be used to pair off players. The game uses the ranked ladder rating if the player already has one, but it begins to diverge at this point.[86]

Finally there is the traditional Ranked Play. This gives access to the ladder and leagues.[86]

Main article: Leagues

Leagues are part of the tool system making multiplayer StarCraft II available for all skill levels, along with the automated matchmaking system. There are copper, bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond leagues.

There is also a "safer" Practice League, which would involve players of lower skill levels playing on maps designed to prevent rushing at "normal" rather than a faster game speed. Blizzard intends to take steps to prevent "smurfing", when higher-skilled players participate in games they shouldn't be and disrupt other players.[90]


Main article: StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty soundtrack

StarCraft II features new soundtracks by Glenn Stafford, the soundtrack composer for StarCraft. In addition, edited versions of the StarCraft soundtracks are found in StarCraft II.[91]

The trilogy's lore lore is supported by several novels authorized by Blizzard Entertainment. The Dark Templar Saga serves as a prologue to StarCraft II,[34] I, Mengsk is a tie-in to StarCraft II[92] and the StarCraft: Ghost novel Spectres also served as a tie-in.[93]

StarCraft: Ghost in StarCraft II

Template:Covert Missions Nova and Gabriel Tosh, the latter introduced in the Ghost Academy graphic novel series, feature in a subset of missions centered around spectres. Tosh hires Jim Raynor to collect jorium and terrazine to assist in the production of spectres,[94][95] and the player may ultimately either side with Tosh and break Tosh's fellow spectres out of New Folsom Prison,[96] or side with Nova to kill Tosh and destroy his spectre production facilities.[97] The player receives the ability to use either spectres or ghosts depending on who they side with.

Horace Warfield also factors prominently into the later stages of the campaign, being the general accompanying Valerian Mengsk. However, there is no mention of his connection to Nova or spectres.

Template:Dev A Nova-centered cinematic appears on a TV screen in StarCraft II.[98]

Certain assets from StarCraft: Ghost, such as interior installation art, appear in StarCraft II.[99]


StarCraft II supports the DirectX 9 (Pixel Shader 2.0) software. It is fully compatible with DirectX 10 as well, which provides access to enhanced graphical effects.[100] The game is also compatible with DirectX 11, but it don't support features specific to it.[101] The Mac client utilizes OpenGL, instead. The game also features the Havok physics engine, allowing realistic interaction with the environment, such as "debris roll(ing) down a ramp".[2]

The game supports a variety of video cards; old cards like ATI Radeon 9800/NVIDIA GeForce FX to ATI Radeon HD 4800s and NVIDIA GeForce G200s are also supported.[102]

StarCraft II supports screen resolutions from 5:4 to 16:9.[103] Wider screens has a slightly larger viewable range.[91][103][69] The game supports wide screens but not multiple monitors.[104] The minimum resolution is 1024 x 768 x 32 bits.[105] StarCraft II supports a windowed mode.[101]

Game unit models feature about 2000 polygons.[106]

During game design, 3DSMax was used to create low-polygon unit models, MudBox for high-polygon models,[107] and Photoshop was used to edit textures.[108]

Gore can be disabled, but doing so requires restarting the game.[109]

StarCraft II is written in 32-bit code but supports 64-bit systems. It has multi-core capability.[23]

The game supports lighting effects, including a light/dark cycle used in some missions.[50]

Voice chat is enabled over, but the audio is not available in replays.[110]

Galaxy Map Editor

Main article: Galaxy Map Editor

The game comes with a map editor. The StarCraft II Map Editor improves upon the World Editor from Warcraft III in every way.[111]

Blizzard supports the modding community with theirs Arcade program. There are plans to allow to sell some mods the future.[112]


Startools, a proprietary toolset, is included with Galaxy Map Editor. Startools lets modders design and create doodads.[107]


Sequels are always difficult because you gotta figure out what do you want to add to the game versus you taking anything away.
~ Rob Pardo


I can't remember how many years ago it was that we started StarCraft 2. Ten years? Good god.
~ Chris Metzen (comment made in 2015)

Development on the game began shortly after Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne in July 2003.[113] The game entered full production c. 2004.[114] The development was ramped up shortly after the production of World of Warcraft which was when Blizzard Entertainment hired Dustin Browder: March 14th, 2005[115] to the position of senior designer.[116] He later became the lead designer.[117] The conception was for a re-imagining of the original game, having more units but staying true to its spirit.[118]

Blizzard designed the races around "cool units," rather than having specific plans for the races.[119] The developers knew they had to create new units and buildings, as well as provide new gameplay approaches for each race, but also stay true to the setting's core mechanics. The game was designed specifically around competitive, skill-based e-sports.[120]

Subsequent Development

When development on the game began, artwork from the original StarCraft was looked at. However, very little source art from the original was preserved. The artists were given free reign to iterate on the original designs.[121]

The game was updated approximately once a week during development.[122] Addressing rumors, Karune stated that StarCraft II was intended to be released before Diablo III.[123]

Blizzard made the very first publicly playable demo of StarCraft II available at BlizzCon 2007.[124]

StarCraft II was featured at E3 2007, July 11th 2007.[125] Only a demo was viewable, not a playable version. StarCraft II was featured at BlizzCon 2007, August 3rd to 4th, 2007. Terrans and Protoss were playable. The same two races were playable at GenCon Indy.[126] The game was available at the 2007 Games Convention in Leipzig, Germany, August 22nd to 26th 2007.[127]

The game was still in internal alpha/pre-alpha in August, 2008.[58][128] Two weeks before BlizzCon 2008, the entire company played StarCraft II, an important milestone.[23][69] The exposition match played at BlizzCon 2008 was referred to as an "alpha" version but also a "pre-alpha" version[129] and in Battle Report II it was referred to as an alpha version.[130]

Mike Morhaime expected the game to launch by the end of 2009[131] but this has been delayed to at least 2010 to give adequate time to prepare[132]

Approaching Beta

Main article: StarCraft II beta

A StarCraft II beta key was released at BlizzCon 2008.[133]

In February 2009 Blizzard COO Chris Sams said the beta was "months away".[134] That same month Dustin Browder addressed criticisms that the beta was taking too long to announce, saying they Blizzard still needed to do work on the campaign and on, and that the beta would be announced when they had an idea what the release date would be. He also believed the beta would be announced in 2009.[135] In August 2009 Blizzard announced that StarCraft II would not be released in 2009, and would instead be released in the first half of 2010.[136]

The StarCraft II beta was announced in February 2010 and released on the 17th of that month.[137] The beta closed on July 19th.[138][139] It had a day one patch.[140]

As of August 2011 the "Starter Edition" became available. This gives access to the first three missions of Wings of Liberty plus either The Evacuation or Smash and Grab (player's choice), the first two challenges: Tactical Command and Template:Link, access to terrans in Single-Player vs AI and Custom Games in the following maps: Discord IV, High Orbit, The Shattered Temple, Xel'Naga Caverns and the custom map StarJeweled, subject to change over time. Achievements and campaign progress are saved in case the player upgrades to the full version of Wings of Liberty or any other chapter.[141]

Free to Play Model

StarCraft II adopted a free to play model in November, 2017. It was anticipated that players new to the game would start with the campaign, then transition to Co-op Missions, then transition to Versus (under the premise that each transition would give the player a rise in difficulty). Analysis by Blizzard showed that this wasn't the case though, and there was no overall pattern of player preference as far as transitions went.[31]


StarCraft 2 was a much more robust narrative than anything we had tried before. And so when you ask what had changed — everything. Everything. We wanted to just build the biggest, craziest space opera we could. That’s what we tried to do.
~ Chris Metzen

The generalities of the overall story were present before the decision was made to extend it over a trilogy. The trilogy's arc was designed by Chris Metzen, James Waugh, and Jason Huck. The larger points were agreed on and were given to the design team.[142]

One of the aspirations was the game was to do something different from StarCraft I, namely the briefing screen format. Metzen pushed for the game to be a "living" one. That the storyline was split over three games was a result of the sprawling narrative that was envisioned.[143]


The lead designer for StarCraft II was Dustin Browder.[117]

The team devoted to StarCraft II consisted of only about 40 developers in 2008,[113] including twelve people who worked on the original StarCraft.[144] As of 2008, the team consisted of four or five managers, 12-14 programmers, 8-10 artists and the rest consist of designers. It has its own internal leadership structure.[145] A "couple" of ex-progamers are part of the team, working on balance issues such as mutalisk micromanagement[23] and creating strategies against each other.[69] By June 2009 the team had expanded to about 50 members[146] and by August it had expanded to 60 members.[147]

As of September 2009 StarCraft II has 58 unique voice actors. Some play more than one role.[148]


Main article: Patches

Regional Differences

As of July 18, 2011, six regions were merged into three: North and Latin America, Taiwan and Korea, and Russia and Europe.[149]

StarCraft II has both download and subscription models in Russia, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Players can either download the entire version of the game, or pay a reduced price (about half), which offers gameplay for 60 days. Players could then pay another fee for more gameplay.[150]

South Korean gamers are be able to play three versions of the game. The full game can be purchased for 69,000 won, but a monthly and daily pass version of the game are available (the game would be unlocked with purchased passes). South Korean players who own a World of Warcraft account can play StarCraft II for free without purchasing passes.[151] Players can play at PC baangs for a low price.[152]

In China, StarCraft II's open beta started on March 29, 2011[153] for free. Chinese StarCraft II players pays 20 yuan (approximately $3) per month.[154]

Trailers, Demonstrations & Other Videos

Official Videos

The official videos featured Blizzard Entertainment employees making official announcements. Most are stored on the official website for StarCraft II, established and maintained by Blizzard Entertainment.

WWI 2007 Videos

  • First artwork trailer, showing a large number of scanned concept art drawings/paintings for StarCraft II and another protoss/terran battle on a different map than the first official gameplay demo video.[155]
  • First cinematic trailer, introducing Tychus Findlay and showing in detail the involved, robotic process of installing Tychus Findlay's marine armor.[156]
  • First official gameplay demo, giving a tour by means of a video recorded from an apparently mission-like game from the protoss view point that demonstrates and describes the protoss warp gate ability, updated zealot, the new immortal, the new terran reaper, the (now renamed) phase prism, the stalker, the new zerg nydus worm and classic zerglings, the ability to combine phase prisms and warp gate ability to create a significant force anywhere on the map, massive new colossus units, the ability for classic zerglings to mutate into new banelings, the classic mutalisks, new Phoenix, classic terran battlecruiser, new (now renamed) warp ray, and the "ultimate" unit of StarCraft II: the mothership. It finished with a terran/protoss brawl which ended with three ghosts each launching a nuke that wiped out the entirety of the protoss and terran forces involved in the brawl (with the exception of the ghosts) and then zerglings killed the ghosts and forming up the letters 'GG' as they mutated into banelings.[117]

BlizzCon 2007 Videos

Blizzard Entertainment showcased several videos at BlizzCon 2007.

  • Terran Campaign Trailer: Also shown at BlizzCon, this video demonstrated some of the mechanics behind the new terran campaign, as well as discussions between Jim Raynor and other characters.[158]
  • Art Video: A discussion featuring the artwork of StarCraft II.[159]
  • Lore Video: Chris Metzen and Andy Chambers discussed the lore of the StarCraft universe.[34]

March 2008 Videos

Blizzard Entertainment held a press event in March 2008 to showcase the zerg.

  • Zerg Reveal Trailer: At the event, Blizzard Entertainment showed a video featuring the zerg including a voice over.[38]

WWI 2008

Blizzard Entertainment hosted the World Wide Invitational in June 28 to 29, 2008. Live streaming video of panels and games were shown.[160]

BlizzCon 2008

At BlizzCon 2008, Blizzard showed several videos, including the first minutes of the StarCraft II cinematic, The Prophecy. At the time, it may have been the game's opening cinematic.[161]


According to a poll conducted by Blizzard, StarCraft II players' primary interest in the game can be broken down as follows (as of January 2017):

  • Multiplayer: 43%
  • Campaign: 36%
  • Co-op: 16%
  • Arcade: 5%[162]


  2. 2.0 2.1 Onyett, Charles. 2007-05-18. IGN: Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational Begins, Retrieved 2007-05-19.
  3. Park, Andrew. 2007-05-18. GameSpot: Starcraft II warps into Seoul. Gamespot. Retrieved 2007-05-19.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Mike Farley. 2008-10-10. StarCraft II Single Player Is A Trilogy! Accessed 2008-10-10.
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  19. StarCraft Legacy staff. 2009-04-04. StarCraft II Lore Panel. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed on 2009-05-12
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  64. Actually, no. As mentioned those are only observer spots. The player limit is still 8 players. :) Xordiah. 2009-11-30. Player Limit Raised !!! Proof!. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-11-30.
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  74. [1]
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  77. [Clarification to comment on page 2 in regards to LOS on ramps]If the attacking units move halfway up the ramp, they get their full vision radius above the ramp. If the ramp is blocked at the bottom, the attacking units will not be able to target what is beyond the top of the ramp, though they will be able to see snapshots of units that attack them so they will be able to understand the scale of the threat that exists at the top of the ramp. Karune. 2008-06-11. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 40. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2008-06-11.
  78. 255 last i heard

    Correct. And you have 200 pop limit. Cydra, Bob1. 2009-05-07. Question for Blues. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-05-07.
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  122. Also remember that the game changes in balance or design about once a week. This means it's VERY easy to forget to do something in the middle of a heated game. So our games are just not going to be as fierce as current Broodwar games until sometime during (or even after) Beta when everything settles down a bit. Cavez (Dustin Browder). 2009-01-08. Introducing StarCraft II Battle Reports (page 5). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-01-09.
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  131. "There will be a Starcraft II beta test later this summer, and Morhaime offers to get anyone in attendance into the program. Morhaime expects to launch Starcraft II by the end of the year, though also notes that it will only ship once the game is done." Mike Morhaime, Brendan Sinclair. 2009-05-31. Starcraft II by end of 2009, Call of Duty expanding to new genres. Gamespot. Accessed 2009-06-01.
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  135. I see lots of questions about timelines. Here is a little FAQ.

    Question: "Why hasn't Blizzard released the Beta?" or "WTF have they been working on, I played it at Blizzcon last year and I thought it was done!"
    Answer: Solo campaign is under heavy construction as is Battlenet. When these things have enough work done that we know when our release date is going to be with strong confidence we will announce the Beta. Unless something crazy happens, the Beta is going to happen this year.

    Question: "Why don't you just give us your target dates if you don't know the final date? We promise, we won't get mad if Blizzard misses target dates."
    Answer: Let's be realistic. Our target dates are not something we hit more than half the time. Putting those out there would be pretty close to lying to the fans. We are not going to do that. We want to be able to give good info, not info that we know is suspect. We'll give target dates when we think it is very likely that we will hit them.

    Question: When can we have the next Battle Report?
    Answer: We were waiting on getting some improved graphics in (some of the new stuff looked REALLY rough). That was finished last week and we are now playing and looking for a good game. Once we get that game the process is reasonably quick to get it out. Once we go Beta, you guys can do these and put them up. When that happens I'm sure there will be a ton of them and I'm sure the quality of the games played and the announcing will go way up.

    Question: "I notice that you haven't actually given us any dates...."
    Yeah. Sorry. We don't want to lie about the Beta, and we don't even want to lie about the next Battle Report. When we know a date (for anything) for certain, we'll let you know.

    Hang in there. We're in the final stretch.
    Cavez. 2009-02-16. Some Updates. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-02-16.
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See also

External links