Blizzard have snuck the long-awaited StarCraft 2 Arcade into the world in the form of the patch 1.5.0 beta. The Arcade allows users to share custom maps and mods, rate and review each other's work, and find multiplayer matches.
The update splits the Battle.net UI between 'StarCraft 2' and 'Arcade' tabs, the latter highlighting popular custom games and sessions with open slots.
A new game launcher for StarCraft 2 lets data stream while the game is running, similar to the systems already in place for World of Warcraft and Diablo 3. There's also been a comprehensive update to the StarCraft 2 editor, full patch notes for which are available on the Battle.net forums.
Check out the official announcement post for install instructions.
Blizzard first spoke about the Arcade at last year's Blizzcon . It'll be a big part of StarCraft 2 going forward, and is expected to launch officially alongside Heart of the Swarm. No doubt Blizzard are hoping that another mod grows from the RTS community to enjoy runaway success on its own terms, much as DOTA emerged from the Warcraft 3 modding scene.
Are you in the beta, readers? If so, what custom maps are you a fan of?