The absolutely free version of the Starcraft is now up for download here. The newest 1.18 patch also brings with it some quality of life changes for the well-loved game. Considered by many to be the greatest competitive RTS of all time, the game is worth your look. StarCraft, after all, was the reason many would-be fans first fell in love with esports. StarCraft, you could say, was the one of the first games to truly spark competitive gaming.
The archaic yet still classic graphics might alienate some new fans but the free version is still worth your attention and older fans will surely be digging into it. I love Dota to death but I always believed that Starcraft is and always will be the most mechanically advanced real-time strategy game ever made.
Much like many games, Starcraft was about making less mistakes than your opponent. Since Starcraft had unbelievably user-unfriendly controls which in this day and age is considered blasphemous.
You had to be on top of your game, each and every time. The game was on a perpetual hard mode. You couldn't select multiple buildings at a time and you could not control a group of units of more than 12 at any given time.
Or the ridiculous pathing where the advanced Military walkers of the futures such as the Goliaths and the Dragoons seem to be learning to walk for the first time as they struggle to navigate out of your base. The base that you had to make sure those pesky Zerglings couldn't get into. With the derpy pathing, you needed the meticulous micro to make sure your units behaved properly.
Because nothing was easy in the game, it really forced you to be really good at managing so many things without being it being convenient to do so. You needed the mechanical understanding to let your fingers move with the grace of a grand master pianist. With the extreme difficulty of the game, it was very important to not make mistakes. It could be that you get supply blocked for a second, have multiple idle buildings or workers, or something as simply walking your units into an enemy Siege Tank or Lurker line unsupervised. These moment to moment decision making and micro moments were key to winning.
Then there were the pros who relished in the micro mechanics that took advantage of things such as Mutalisk stacking, Reaver dropping, Marine offense to perfection all the while maintaining the smooth flow of your economy on all sides of the battlefield. They became the best in Starcraft for good reason.
Some say Starcraft 2 was better simply because you could queue your units from multiple production buildings at once or that you could control as many units as much. But it made things easier which reduced the skill ceiling and indirectly made it less exciting to watch. But this decision to make the mechanical constraints smaller made it easier to become good at the game. If the game was easier then it would be harder telling apart players who were simply good to those who were really great.
That's what made Brood War great. It is the extremely difficult environment the game puts you in that lets each player's individual skill shine through. That exhilarating thrill from the fine balance of micro and macro is back for some more action and you'd be missing out if you did not give this game your attention.