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StarCraft and Brood War are now completely free, get first patch in 8 years

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In 2016, a StarCraft patch surfaced on Blizzard's FTP site with the version number 1.17. It would've been the first patch for StarCraft since 2009, but it mysteriously never went live. We've had to wait a bit since then, but today's the big day: patch 1.18 has arrived, the first update in eight years, and a whole .01 better than what we thought we were getting. Oh, and at the same time Blizzard also just made StarCraft free to download, which is pretty cool.

Blizzard promised StarCraft would go free when it announced StarCraft Remastered (opens in new tab), an upcoming 4K-enhanced edition, last month. Even without the fancy new graphics, the original game will also be getting some pretty nice enhancements in patch 1.18 that should mean good news for its still-healthy online scene.

The high points include windowed fullscreen mode, UPnP support, better compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, plus improved anticheat. Blizzard notes that there is one known issue at the moment: "the profile section is currently unavailable". Perhaps patch 1.19 is in our near future.

You can download StarCraft and Brood War for PC right here (opens in new tab) or for Mac right here (opens in new tab). Full patch notes are included below!

  • Added windowed fullscreen or windowed mode; use Alt+Enter to switch between.
  • Added UTF-8 support.
  • Added cursor clamping in-game while windowed; unclamped in menus.
  • Added Popular Maps to streamline finding games or game types.
  • Added options to display actions per minute.
  • Added Observer mode.
  • Added opponent information when joining a game lobby.
  • Added autosaving for replays.
  • Added an option to display the game timer.
  • Added UPnP support.
  • Updated to a new OpenGL backend.
  • Improved gameplay responsiveness during multiplayer by increasing turn rate to match LAN speeds over Battle.net.
  • Improved UI layout in Battle.net sections.
  • Improved behavior of available lobbies within the ‘Join Game’ section.
  • Improved compatibility with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.
  • Improved anticheat capabilities.
  • Improved installation and patching performance.
  • Mac Beta support now available for 10.11 and up.
  • Fixed palette issues to correct rainbow water, 80s Kerrigan face in the loading screen, and other graphic glitches.
  • Fixed problems with LAN game discovery.
  • Fixed IME support and other text artifacts in Battle.net menus.
  • LAN and Legacy Battle.net fixes.
Wes Fenlon
Wes Fenlon

Wes has been covering games and hardware for more than 10 years, first at tech sites like The Wirecutter (opens in new tab) and Tested (opens in new tab) before joining the PC Gamer team in 2014. Wes plays a little bit of everything, but he'll always jump at the chance to cover emulation and Japanese games.


When he's not obsessively optimizing and re-optimizing a tangle of conveyor belts in Satisfactory (it's really becoming a problem), he's probably playing a 20-year-old Final Fantasy or some opaque ASCII roguelike. With a focus on writing and editing features, he seeks out personal stories and in-depth histories from the corners of PC gaming and its niche communities. 50% pizza by volume (deep dish, to be specific).