StarCraft II will be free to play starting November 14

It was only in April that Blizzard made the original StarCraft free to play, and now the company has done the same for its sequel. StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty, which is certainly the most-played real-time strategy game ever made, will be free for anyone to play starting on November 14. Of course there’s a catch, but nothing nefarious.

The game was divided into three episodes, each focusing on one of the three playable races (Human, Zerg and Protoss — but you knew that), and only the first (the human one) will be available for free. If you already own Wings of Liberty (as the episode is called) you can also get the Heart of the Swarm chapter for free by logging in and claiming it before December 8.

The Zerg and Protoss episodes (and a special Terran one) are available for purchase separately, or as a $35 bundle that unlocks the rest of the multiplayer maps and modes. Individual commanders and announcers also can be bought.

Don’t worry, though: if you just want to play online, you’ll have access to all units in ranked play once you have gotten 10 “first wins of the day” in other multiplayer modes — it’s a sort of basic filter to keep out the riffraff.

It’s a smart move by Blizzard — few people are buying full copies of StarCraft 2 and its expansions these days, and this is a good way to onboard new players who just never wanted to pay full price to find out if they liked it. It’s a fantastic game, just be ready for some stiff competition if you decide to get serious about multiplayer.