StarCraft Wiki
StarCraft Wiki

Current logo is an online gaming service provided by Blizzard Entertainment responsible for hosting StarCraft multiplayer games and related services. It was launched in January 1997 after the release of Blizzard's action-RPG – Diablo, which was released on December 31, 1996. was the first online gaming service incorporated directly into the games that make use of it, in contrast to the external interfaces used by the other online services at the time. This feature, along with ease of account creations and the absence of member fees, caused to become popular among gamers and became a major selling point for Diablo and subsequent Blizzard games.

Since the successful launch of many companies have published online game services mimicking Blizzard's service package and the user interface.

Original 1.0 logo

Old interface for StarCraft

Updated interface

With the release of StarCraft in 1998, usage of the service increased significantly in comparison to Blizzard's previous games. Features such as ladder ranking and game filters were added to the service. grew even larger after the release of the expansion pack StarCraft: Brood War. Concurrent player counts and games played reached the tens of thousands. This was especially evident in South Korea where StarCraft became a runaway hit and concurrent player counts on would often be many times what they were in the United States.

StarCraft also brought with it a new copyright protection scheme using CD keys. Under Diablo, would allow anyone who had a copy of the game to connect to the service. This allowed people who pirated the game to play on With StarCraft, only those players who had a valid CD key were allowed onto the service. A StarCraft CD key is a generated 13-digit number that could either be muted (unable to chat), voided (restricted to channel 'The Void'), banned (disabled usage), or usually working (no restrictions). In addition, only one person can be connected to service using a specific CD key at a time. Every Blizzard game since StarCraft has required a unique, valid CD key to connect to (excluding StarCraft: Brood War). With the release of the Gateway system in Brood War, two players can play at the same time, as long as they are on different gateways, though they cannot play in the same game, chat with each other, etc. 2.0 2.0 logo

  • A new version of launched on March 19, 2009.[1] A preview page was opened in February 2010.[2] The service became available for StarCraft II beta that month.[3]
  • Jay Wilson said the new version of should come out with StarCraft II.[4] Frank Pearce said they probably won't be able to implement all plans by the time StarCraft II launches, but they can add more features to "as we go".[5]
  • Cross-region play will not be supported at first. Each geographical version of StarCraft II can only be used to play against other players in using the same version. A player could buy a different geographical version to play against people in another region (for instance, an American could buy a Korean version of StarCraft II to play with and against Koreans). Different versions cannot share the same account.[6] Blizzard intends to make this available at some point, but must develop a way of communicating latency issues beforehand.[7] Cross-regional play will become available without purchasing another full version of the game a few months after the release of StarCraft II.[8]
  • LAN is not supported.[9] Greg Canessa had said that Blizzard is actively working on a LAN-like solution for, something which would require maintaining a connection to but still allowing a peer-to-peer connection.[10] However, Blizzard later abandoned this approach.[11]
  • The new is expected to support all new Blizzard games.[2]
  • can be used with an authenticator to protect the account. If a player has a WoW account, the same authenticator protects both.[12] Blizzard is offering a dial-in authenticator for traveling players. The dial-in authenticator is a service which will monitor an account and request a toll-free phone call when unusual login attempts are made, such as logging in at a location a player does not usually use. The player would have to provide their PIN and use a unique, single-code security code before the account could be accessed.[13] As of December 2010, Blizzard began selling Raynor versions of the authenticator from their online store.[14]

Accounts and Character Profiles

  • A account is required to play StarCraft II. One of the first things a player does while installing StarCraft II is create a account.[15] They will see the log-in screen before they play their first game, and can play as a "guest" for the campaign.[16]
  • An account contains a single character, in order to ensure better matchmaking and player behavior.[17] Character names will include three digits (a character code), only seen in UI screens, as an additional identifier.[18][19]
  • Characters are intended to be "persistent" and have access to features such as chatting, achievements and unlockable system rewards. The character profile contains the win/loss record, rewards and friends list, which the player and friends have access to.[2]
  • Blizzard intends for gamers to always be online, even when playing single-player.[20]
  • Players will be able to create BattleTags, which acts as a nickname across the various games on[21]


Main article: Achievements


  • Players of StarCraft II and Diablo III will share "gamer achievements", adding up to a Blizzard Level, in a similar manner to the system in World of Warcraft.[22] They are available in single-player, but only if the player is connected to the internet.[9]
  • Achievements will grant rewards such as unlocking portraits. Some achievements (which require more work to acquire) also provide access to decals. Both will be viewable by other members of the community. Achievements and their rewards which are not available will be grayed out.[3]

Game Types 2.0 features many StarCraft II game types. These include:

Competitive Arena

  • Blizzard Entertainment intends to create a competitive arena for gamers of all skill levels.
  • features different leagues for higher-skilled players: bronze, silver, gold, platinum and diamond leagues. There is a Practice League for lower-skilled players.[3] The Master League is for higher-skilled players.[23][24] A Grand Master League is in the works[24] and is expected to appear in a later patch.[25]
  • The game features automated matchmaking, similar to Warcraft III. Players are assigned a skill level after 10 games.[3] This is intended for higher-skilled gamers.[2]
    • Over time, skill levels will be reevaluated.[26]
      • When the ladder resets, skill levels are not, so large changes in ratings aren't expected.[24]
      • Teams will have a separate rating.[27]

Community Tools

Social tools

  • Players can form persistent "parties" which enter games together[20][3] after one player invites others into the party.[2][3] Parties can engage in custom games as well as cooperative skirmishes. The parties will persist even after they finish games.[28][3] Parties can participate in the league and ladder system, and will be placed into games by the automated matchmaking system.[2]
  • Chatting became available in January 2011 and players have access to both public and private channels. This is available both inside and outside of games. Players can "whisper" to each other.[23]
    • Voice-over-internet chat is available.[3] However the audio will not be available in replays.[29]
  • There will be a "report abuse" tool. There was one in the beta as of March 2010 but wasn't working properly then.[12]
  • Characters can receive news, game and content updates, broadcasts and system notifications through[3]
  • Cross-game communication with WoW players will be available.[2]
  • Facebook has been integrated with[30] Use of this system is optional.[31]


  • Players can access their friends list,[2][3] even when playing single-player.[20]
  • Friends (except those using Real ID) are anonymous, knowing each other only through online identities. They can be manually added.[18]
  • Friends can locate each other on using BattleTags.[21]
Real ID
  • Real ID is an optional layer of identity. It includes the name the player registered their account under and their email address. To use this feature, a player sends out invites to real-life family and friends' accounts (their email addresses). The other friend must accept before the relationship is accepted. If the recipient does not accept, the sender is not notified of this. At any point, a Real ID friend may be removed.[32]
  • Friends have multiple levels of communication security: only allow friends to send invites, only allow friends to send chat messages, and set status to busy when playing a game.[33]
  • Real ID gives access to "Rich Presence". This gives additional information about what a friend is doing at the time, such as which game they're playing and which mode they're using.[34]
  • Using Real ID, players can chat with friends who are playing another game (such as World of Warcraft).[34]
  • Friends can send "broadcasts" to each other, which appears on their "Recent Broadcasts" feed.[34]
  • Friends gain access to each other's friends lists, and can invite "friends of friends".[32]
  • Players will not have friends across regions, although Blizzard may address this later.[12]

Custom Games

  • lists all available maps.[35]
  • The custom map UI lists maps by popularity, type, genre and map name. For instance, Blizzard All-Stars might be listed as "featured" popularity, pick heroes or random heroes type, and hero defense genre. However, the only way to search for a game is through popularity.[35]
  • Players can be invited into custom games using the party system.[35]
  • Players cannot give specific names to custom games. They are only organized by category and map name.[35]
  • Players cannot host private games, which would enable them to exclude some of their friends while inviting others.[35]
  • Map publishing allows people to host maps, even if they haven't downloaded a map yet.[35]
  • There is no local hosting of multiplayer maps.[35] As of September 2010, a player can host 10 multiplayer maps. There is a 50 MB global limit for the maps,.[36]

Other Features

  • Cloud storage
    • Saved single-player games can be accessed online. (You could play the campaign at home, then continue it elsewhere.)[20]
    • If a player upgrades their computer, their character information will still be stored online and is accessible once StarCraft II is reinstalled.[2]
  • A player can log into more than one game at a time (for instance, playing the StarCraft II campaign while waiting for a World of Warcraft raid).[39]
  • Blizzard intends to make the new version of secure from hacks and cheats[40] using lessons learned from World of Warcraft. For example, there will be a security token to add an extra layer of protection from account fraud, and the online platform will require a valid and unique CD key.[41]
  • 2.0 will fully support community-created mods even as they evolve. Some will be available for pay.[2]


The new accounts will not have subscriptions or fees; this has been repeatedly directly confirmed by Blizzard Entertainment.[43][44][45]

Following a BlizzCon Diablo III interview in which Activision Blizzard employee Julian Wilson mentioned "monetizing", Rob Pardo clarified that only some extra features may carry a charge.[46]

"As mentioned before, players will be able to use for free when they purchase the full version of StarCraft II. There have been no changes to this."
"With Battle.Net we're definitely looking at possible different features that we might be able to do for additional money. We're not talking about Hellgate or anything like that. We're not going to tack things on. I think World of Warcraft is a great example to look at. We charge people if they want to switch servers or if they want name changes, things that aren't core to the game experience, they're really just optional things that some people want. It takes us some development work to do it, so it makes sense to charge for it. We would never do something like say to get the full game experience, you'll have to pay extra."

Future Patches


  • Blizzard will add tournament functionality in a post-release patch.[47]

Growth history

Blizzard claims "millions of active users" on, and that they are the leaders of online gaming, noting that even Xbox Live doesn't even come close.[48] By November 1997 they had 22 million games played, 1.25 million different users, and that they averaged 3,500 new users each day.[49] By April 1999, it was reported that had 2.3 million active users, and more than 50,000 concurrent users.[50]

By September 2004, their active user count was up to nearly 12 million, spending more than 2.1 million hours online each day, and they had an average of 200,000 concurrent users, with a peak concurrent user count of 400,000.[51] By 2009 it had 12 million subscribers, just over World of Warcraft's 11.5 million.[52]

Supported Games

The following Blizzard games are currently supported on

The following older Blizzard games do not support


On October 8, 2008, Blizzard Entertainment opened the new forums. The StarCraft II forum is located here.


A community of developers has arisen around the original Many unofficial clients are available for, and most of the protocol used by games has been reverse-engineered and published by volunteers. Several server emulator programs exist; the original one, bnetd, lost a lawsuit filed by Blizzard. Newer ones have appeared, such as PvPGN, a derivative project of the original bnetd.

Also, several communication tools have been made, like a "whisper" tool, so that a player could talk to their friends even if they were in a game.


Main article: StarCraft II beta 2.0 offered a StarCraft II beta opt-in and as of May 6, 2009 the beta opt-in page had been updated. Beta candidates could download a program which would scan their system and determine if it was capable of dealing with StarCraft II beta.[1][53] This new account was not compatible with StarCraft accounts or those of older games, but coiuld be merged with World of Warcraft accounts.[44] North American gamers could download a program to scan their system to determine if it qualified for the StarCraft II beta on May 6, 2009.[1] European gamers gained access to the new on May 27, 2009.[54]

When StarCraft II's beta started, beta key holders were able to enter their keys using their account management page.[55]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Xordiah. 2009-05-06. StarCraft II Beta Test Opt-in (second post). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-05-06.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 Blizzard Entertainment staff, Greg Canessa. 2010-02-009. Preview. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-02-09.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II beta. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). June 3, 2010
  4. "Well we have a brand new version of the that is in the works. It’s going to come out with Starcraft 2. I cannot really steal their thunder in terms of the specific feature set, because that is their announcement to make." Garrett Fuller. 2008-09-04. Exclusive Diablo III Interview from Leipzig GC '08 - Full Transcript. Ten Ton Hammer Network. Accessed 2008-09-15.
  5. Phil Elliott, Frank Pearce. 2008-09-02. Blizzard's Frank Pearce. Accessed 2008-09-02.
  6. Frank Pearce, Tamer Asfahani. 2010-05-28. Blizzard's Frank Pearce Interview Page 4. Inc.Gamers. Accessed 2010-06-07.
  7. 2010-04-30, BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter 4/30. forums, accessed on 2010-05-06
  8. Getting people online, playing and interacting is obviously the overall goal for the platform, and that includes allowing people to play across regional boundaries as they have in the past. Unfortunately, there are a multitude of challenges we have to overcome due to the unique regional account and billing options that didn't exist in the past. But those hurdles aren't insurmountable, and we are looking into solutions that will allow interested players to obtain access to other regional versions without having to buy another full copy of the game. Those solutions are something we're currently planning to have available through Account Management within the first few months of StarCraft II's release.

    Before that solution is implemented though, you're correct in that you'd need to purchase a US copy of the game on launch day to play in the US region.
    Bashiok. 2010-06-16. Need answer from Blues (not a complaint). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-06-17.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gunnar Petzall. 2009-06-29. StarCraft 2 page 2. Inc.Gamers. Accessed 2009-06-29.
  10. Nick Breckon. 2009-08-22. Blizzard Planning Pseudo-LAN Support for StarCraft 2, Diablo 3 to Follow Suit. Shacknews. Accessed 2009-10-24.
  11. Frank Pearce, Tamer Asfahani. 2010-05-28. Blizzard's Frank Pearce Interview Page 4. Inc.Gamers. Accessed 2010-06-07.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Zarhym. 2010-03-12. #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter – 3/12. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-03-13.
  13. Blizzard staff. 2010-11-09. Dial-in Authenticator Now Available. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-11-12.
  14. Medievaldragon. 2010-12-20. Authenticator – Raynor Edition On Sale. Blizzplanet. Accessed 2010-12-20.
  15. Gunnar Petzall. 2009-08-17. StarCraft II Developers Talk Single Player. Inc.Gamers. Accessed 2009-08-28.
  16. Blizzard Entertainment. StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty. (Activision Blizzard) (in English). July 27, 2010
  17. Zarhym. 2010-03-12. #BlizzChat Developer Chat on Twitter – 3/12 (page 2). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-03-13.
  18. 18.0 18.1 There will definitely be "chat channels" coming in one of the patches after the release. The system will be based around groups, where you will be able to join public channels that are based around your interests, which can be virtually anything. Also the system will include private chat channels (in plans for release in the first few months after the release), where you will be able to meet with your friends. As for identifiers they are returning for the second phase of the beta. The previous system did not work as intended to some degree and based on feedback received the developers decided to implement a variation of this, which is going to attach character codes. These will be three digit numbers added to your nickname and they will be seen in the UI screens. Thanks to this you will be able to add friends manually, just like previously with identifiers. On top of that you can still add friends using all other methods (using the score screen or RealID). Kapeselus. 2010-06-17. Core issues. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-06-17.
  19. Well, I'll be honest: I can't actually see the usefulness of such initiative and I don't see how it even fits this discussion. These people are naming themselves "ESPORTS" to protest against:

    - Lack of Chat Channels
    ... and we just announced that Chat Channels are going to be in the game a few months after release.

    - No Cross-region play
    ... and we just announced that cross-region play is definitely in our plans.

    - No Unique ID
    ... And we just announced that every combination of nickname + 3 digit code will be unique and you will be able to add friends by using this combination.

    - You need to give out your email address
    ... Which is not the case anymore, as adding Nickname.007 will be enough.

    I can understand the reasons behind such initiative, but I don't think that they chose the best method to explain their concerns, they will just end up sharing the same nickname with a different 3 digit code.
    I don't see how this will contribute to voice their concerns, let alone solve them.

    We listen to the community, we don't listen to... flocks of nicknames. We need useful feedback, opinions, suggestions, concerns, questions and so on, ending up with hundreds of people sharing part of their identifier (aka only the nickname part) is not going to help at all. You all are more than welcome to post in these forums and share your concerns, I believe that we just addressed the main concerns that were brought up on these boards and we would like your feedback based on what we disclosed today.

    This is the only way we're going to make 2.0 better.
    Zhydaris. 2010-06-17. Core issues (post 43). StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-06-17.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 BlizzLive staff. 2009-08-22. StarCraft II Discussion Panel. Blizzlive. Accessed 2009-08-25.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Blizzard Entertainment. 2011-12-15. Introducing BattleTag™. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-12-28.
  22. Tracey John. 2008-08-01. Blizzard Plans To Track Gamer Achievements Across ‘WoW,’ ‘Starcraft’ And ‘Diablo’. MTV Multiplayer. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  23. 23.0 23.1 Lylirra. 2010-12-4. StarCraft II Patch 1.2.0 PTR Notes. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-12-04.
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Blizzard staff. 2011-01-11. Master League. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-01-14.
  25. Bashiok. 2011-02-24. Master League for 2v2, 3v3 and 4v4. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-02-24.
  26. As stated before there will be a league system in place similar to the traditional ladder system with ranks everyone is used to. You will have to play a couple of games to evaluate your level and then you will be put in a league that fits you best. Each league will also have a lot of subdivisions. After a period of time your skill level will be reevaluated and you will either go to a higher league or a lower one. Kapeselus. 2010-01-25. Gold, Silver, Bronze Leagues. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-01-25.
  27. Zetaras Xal'Kurat. 2009-08-24. BlizzCon 2009: 2.0 and the Galaxy Editor’s Hour. StarCraft 2 Blog. Accessed 2009-08-29.
  28. Chris Sigaty. 2009-12-04. Interview with Chris Sigaty. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-12-23.
  29. Karune. 2009-05-27. StarCraft II Q&A - Batch 51. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-05-27.
  30. Zarhym. 2010-05-20. Patch Notes - Beta Patch 13. StarCraft II General Beta Forum. Accessed 2010-05-21.
  31. "If you have a registered "Facebook Account" you may opt-in to the "Facebook Friends" feature which will allow you to see which of your Facebook friends are registered on the Service. The "Facebook Account" is subject to separate terms and conditions provided by Facebook Inc. Note that if you have a Facebook account, your Facebook friends will be able to associate your screen name with your real name on the Service when they use the Facebook Friends feature. Facebook disclaims all liability it may otherwise incur as a result of this Agreement and/or your use of the Service." Blizzard Entertainment staff. 2010-06-15. Terms of Use (updated June 15, 2010). Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-06-15.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Blizzard Entertainment staff. Real ID FAQ. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-06-11.
  33. David Kim. 2011-09-22. Situation Report: Patch 1.4. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-09-23.
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 Blizzard Entertainment staff. Real ID: A New Way to Connect With Your Friends on Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2010-06-11.
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 35.3 35.4 35.5 35.6 StarCraft Legacy staff. 2010-06-07. 2.0 Concerns. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2010-06-09.
  36. Nethaera. 2010-09-03. Custom Map Upload Limits Increased. Blizzard Entertainment forums. Accessed 2011-01-09.
  37. Nethaera. 2011-10-22. StarCraft II – Blizzard DOTA & Mod Tools Panel. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2011-10-22.
  38. 38.0 38.1 StarCraft Legacy staff. 2011-10-26. BlizzCon 2011 StarCraft II Mod and BlizzDotA Panel. StarCraft Legacy. Accessed 2011-10-26.
  39. Yes, you can be logged in 2 different games with the same B.Net account. You can play the campaign on SC2 while waiting for your guild raid to start on WoW, for example. Zhydaris. 2010-02-11. BNet2.0: Logged in in 2 different games? StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2010-02-11.
  40. 2008-06-25. Chris Sigaty, Morten Skovgaard. Chris Sigaty Interview. StarCraft Wire. Accessed 2008-09-02.
  41. Frank Pearce, Leord, AusGamers. 2008-09-19. AusGamers Video Interview with Frank Pearce. IncGamers/AusGamers. Accessed 2008-09-19.
  42. Webnet. 2009-08-21. 2.0 and Custom Mapping. StarCraft Source. Accessed 2009-08-29.
  43. Karune. 2009-06-04. When a player buys the StarCraft II box at retail, they will have the ability to play on the new for free.

    For those listening to the latest Activision Blizzard conference call, Mike Morhaime also mentions it there as well.
    Why 2.0 Needs a Subscription Fee. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-06-04.
  44. 44.0 44.1 2009-03-19. Account FAQ. Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-03-19.
  45. Medievaldragon. 2009-06-01. E3 2009: 2.0 Paid Service a Possibility? StarCraft Wire. Accessed 2009-06-02.
  46. Kevin Kelly. 2008-10-13. BlizzCon 2008: Rob Pardo talks Battle.Net monetizing. Joystiq Accessed 2008-10-13.
  47. John Callaham. 2010-06-24. Blizzard: No professional LAN version of StarCraft II but ... Big Download. Accessed 2010-06-25.
  48. Ellie Gibson. 2006-08-25. GC: WOW Factor. Games Industry.
  49. Paul Sams, Barbara Walter. 2997-11-28. Defines Its Success: An Interview with Paul Sams of Blizzard. Gamasutra.
  50. Greg Costikyan. 1999-04-21. Online gaming's store-shelf chains. Salon Tech.
  51. Court's Memorandum and Order (PDF). Electronic Frontier Foundation.
  52. Webnet. 2009-08-22. WoW Dethroned as Largest Gaming Community. StarCraft Source. Accessed 2009-08-29.
  53. 2009-03-19. Welcome to Blizzard Entertainment. Accessed 2009-03-19.
  54. Gunnar Petzall. 2009-05-27. European WoW Account Merge - StarCraft II Beta Soon. Incgamers. Accessed 2009-05-27.
  55. Karune. 2009-03-20. BLUE question. StarCraft II General Discussion Forum. Accessed 2009-03-20.

External links