For the first time in 8 years, Blizzard Entertainment have released a new patch for the original StarCraft and its expansion Brood War. What's more, both StarCraft and the expansion are now free for anyone on PC and Mac. This patch (which has been titled 1.18) adds in a few modern conveniences like an Observer mode for multiplayer games and windowed fullscreen support.
This news comes from the patch notes Blizzard has posted on the official StarCraft website. In addition to the aforementioned Observer mode, this patch also updates and tweaks the game's multiplayer content to allow for better performance during games. One of these tweaks is the ability to display actions per minute, which will be especially handy for professional players wanted to have a better idea of their performance.
The patch also introduces UPnP (Universal Play and Play) to the game. UPnP makes it easier to find and play with other players on the same network as you, so you'll have less trouble starting a game during a LAN party or during professional matches. Patch 1.18 also improves the game's anticheat capabilities, but what they mean by that isn't clear. A fix for the so-called 'rainbow water' bug that sometimes occurs when the game has to render water has also been patched out with patch 1.18.
The original StarCraft is still fondly remembered as the benchmark for competitive real-time strategy and has managed to remain in the public eye even years after the initial hype had died down, selling nearly 10 million units by 2007. While the game certainly was popular in the West, its main audience is in South Korea, a country with a booming eSports industry.
Recently, Blizzard announced that they're working on a remaster for the original StarCraft that will sport high definition graphics with a maximum resolution of 4K, a ton of re-recorded audio as well as a fresh take on how the game's story is communicated to you. The remaster is scheduled for Q2 of this year.
What do you think of StarCraft becoming free ahead of the remaster release at some point in the not too distant future? Any StarCraft stories you'd want to share?