Blizzard made the announcement this past week that their most recent update to StarCraft II will introduce two brand new maps that were created by community members, as part of their paid Premium Arcade service.
The new maps will be available for $4.99 US each, only via Premium Arcade. The company stated that they have been working with the community members, Daniel "Priate" Altman, creator of the new ARK Star map, and "Tva", who has created a new map named Desert Strike, and that both will receive a share of the sales
BlizzardWe’re excited to introduce these two community-crafted experiences—we’ve been working with the creators to bring their projects to the community, and we think they’re epic examples of what Arcade developers are capable of.
This interstellar adventure follows the Sol Seekers, an elite team of templar on a mission to find and destroy a mysterious weapon known as the ARK Star. Discover and craft new equipment to strengthen your squad, level up and unlock new talents and abilities to customize your play style, and bring the wrath of the templar onto your foes!
For those unfamiliar with the original, Direct Strike pits players against each other in a tactical “tug of war.” Build units to spawn into your staging area, and send them out in waves to assault the enemy base. Direct Strike will replace Desert Strike HotS in the Arcade, but everything you know and love will still be available in the free version—on top of additional commander modes. Upgrade to the premium version to play four all-new game modes, including Sabotage, which conceals players’ staging areas and allows for unit bans, and Switch mode, where players can change their race mid-game. You’ll also get access to cosmetics to customize your staging area and add some flair to your workers. And if you host a lobby with your favorite premium game mode, anyone playing the free standard edition of Direct Strike can join in on the fun.
This is the first instance of paid mods by Blizzard, and it follows in the footsteps of similar schemes such as Bethesda's Creation Club or the recent Steam paid mods controversy. There is likely to be some high tension among the community as a result, and may also split the fanbase between those with paid maps and those who do not have them.
Of course the age old debate about fair compensation for mod authors isn't going away any time soon, and it is great to see authors being supported and paid for their work when they are introduced into a base game.
What do you think about this move from Blizzard? Is $4.99 worth the price for an individual map? How do you think this new initiative will affect StarCraft II’s mod community? Let us know in the comments below.
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