Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations

Exciting news from the Freeware Front! The biggest news this year—Starcraft 2 is now free to play and can be downloaded from Blizzard's official website! Step 0: Play 'Creep or Die' in the arcade and use 'TheStaircase' mode against no opponent. Step 1: Play a melee game. of Starcraft 2 (Mine only Minerals. (no gas) Attack Move on the minimap only. (do not look at battles) Step 2: Mine only minerals (no gas) and Control your units to the best of your ability.

  • Game ModesFour Ways to Play. Whether you prefer a cinematic story campaign, best-in-class multiplayer competition, specialized custom games in the Arcade, or social and collaborative Co-op, StarCraft II has a mode for you.
  • Ok so with F2P the only thing paywalled are coop commander past Raynor, Kerrigan, and Artanis if you want to play above level 5, and the campaigns. If you just wanna play multiplayer, now renamed versus, you don't have to buy anything.
  • StarCraft II now supports formation movement, which can be turned on/off for each player via triggers. Unit can move and attack in a square formation with predefined separation distance between them. Currently, this formation movement won’t force all units in formation to maintain the same movement speed, which is different from the War3 version.

TheStaircase is a learning method for StarCraft. Since there are a lot of learning methods out there, you can easily choose one that suits your needs.

If you want to improve TheStaircase might be for you. Note: TheStaircase was invented for players in the lower leagues (Bronze to Platinum). It should be finished after a couple of games. Depending on talent, time and deliberate practice it should take between 50 and ~200 games, though these numbers are not carved in stone.

  • 6Units
  • 8Six steps

Just play the game[edit]

If a new player posts 'Help!' on a forum, the following advice often is given out:

  • 'Just play the game!'
  • 'Watch streams!'
  • 'Copy this build!'

Very fast everything is about the correct Opening or Build Order. Even Bronze players are told to copy a professional BO. The opposite is correct.

Play like yourself - not like a pro

(..)It seems to me that far too often lower league players are tying themselves unnecessarily to the way progamers play. They see, learn and even get taught builds of progamers, without adjusting them to their own skill level. Let me give you an example of how you can change that and probably have a better personal experience with the game.

Let's say you're Zerg, you're on 3 bases and struggle with macroing. You tend to float minerals and gas like it's nobody's business and get frustrated after another loss with 2000 minerals unspent. Macro is hard! But it doesn't have to be, it's only that hard if you want to play perfectly but aren't yet capable of it. So how can you make it easier? Don't entirely copy progamers![1]

SC2 is a very complex game. Often times it overwhelms new players. They watch their Replays and have trouble finding mistakes or focus on irrelevant stuff in their league.

Do not entirely copy progamers[edit]

'Just play the game' is a correct statement, but it's incomplete.

So if someone tells you >Just play the game<, they are one-third right.
JaKaTaK (TheStaircase - An Alternative Improvement Method)

Your rate of improvement is depending on: Aztec gems deluxe rtp.

  • Time
  • Focus
  • Quality of practice

You do not need to watch the following video, but it explains these three factors in more detail.

If you don't play the game, you cannot improve. The most important thing for new players is playing the game and to have fun.

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations Games

TheStaircase is an alternative improvement method that focuses on creating a fun, and motivating experience for the player. It utilizes unit constrictions to prevent the player from being overwhelmed by the complexity of the game, and to encourage creativity and exploration. It uses measurable benchmarks for the absolute core elements of Starcraft 2: Gathering and spending resources efficiently.[2]
JaKaTaK (TheStaircase - An Alternative Improvement Method)

TheStaircase does not focus on pros. Therefore it does not require a specific BO.

If you want to play 3vs3 and use TheStaircase, that is absolutely fine.

HowTo start with TheStaircase[edit]

First of all, you should choose a race. Learning three races at once is more complicated than learning one. In older videos you will see 'Choosing a League Goal'. To simplify things every player should aim for 'Masters+'. This means your Spending- and Saturation-Skill should match or exceed Master.Afterwards:

  • To pass a game you must meet or exceed the Spending Skill in your League Goal (Masters+).
  • When you pass 4 out of your last 5 games move on to the next step.

Since TheStaircase wants to improve your Macro and your Mechanics, you should have a decent understanding about: Using

  • Hotkeys, like pressing A to build a Marine (using Standard).
  • Cameras (aka Location Hotkeys)

Some players do not use Cameras, but professional gamers like Flash, Leenock or Innovation are using Location Hotkeys.

Your goal is not to win, your goal is to improve[edit]

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations Computer

Since the (1vs1)Ladder will try to match you with equal opponents, you will lose ~50% of your games. With TheStaircase your goal is not to win, your goal is to improve; winning comes later.

Spending Skill[edit]

The Spending Skill is calculated by gggReplays. The math behind the scenes is based on the SQ (Spending quotient).

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations Without

In the paragraphs below SQ is used more often, than Spending Skill. Reason: SQ is calculated by numerous tools, like SceLight and other Replay Websites. SQ has a major disadvantage though, it does not compare your SQ to other players in your league.

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations One

But if you play 10 games with strategy A and get a SQ of 105 (example) and afterwards you switch to strategy B and only have SQ 80, you should probably stick to A.


TheStaircase makes a difference between 'Given Units' and 'Battle Units'.

Given Units[edit]

Beside workers, Queens, Warp Prism, Medivacs and other units, every race has at least one basic fighting unit:

  • Marine
  • Zergling
  • Zealot

For Terran there are two additional 'Given Units':

Rule of thumb: Every unit, which only costs Minerals is a 'Given Unit'. For more information see the Jaks guide.

Battle Units[edit]

This type of units are typically higher tier tech units. Often times they cost gas, too. Examples for Zerg: Hydralisks, Broodlords. Terran: Liberators, Thors. Protoss: Archons, Carriers.


To play Master some day will take more time, than to play in Gold league. But remember: The more fun you have playing the game, the more time you will invest.

E. g. you are Terran and you start your first game. Remember Masters+ is are goal at ''. You should have:

  • Spending Skill: Master
  • Race Macro: 100%

Note: 'Race Macro' for Terran at 100% means that your Orbital Command never reached 200 energy.

Conclusion: You can lose a game, but still pass your goal/benchmark.

Six steps[edit]

Since TheStaircase simplifies SC2 the learning method comes with some short but important rules for each step. Protoss and Terran start with 'Step #1'. Zerg has a special challenge called Step #0. The video explains an old version of 'Creep or die', but there is also a LotV version.

In order to learn Mechanics (Hotkeys, Cameras & Control Groups) it is very important to start with limited amounts of buildings and units. Other methods might suggest a 1Base-Build using a Timing Attack to kill the opponent.

If you try a get a lesson with me and you are below diamond league this is how our lesson is gonna go: I'm gonna watch you play, I'm gonna say: 'Try this really simple 1Base-Build.' And then I'm gonna tell you take this 1Base-Build and do it really, really (..) well. When you feel you can't do it any better, make it a little more complicated. (..) I tell you, make it more complicated by throwing an expansion and after you got the mechanics down solidly, you are gonna be in diamond league or high platinum.[3]
Destiny (Destiny going mass queens - Game 1 - Starcraft 2)

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations

Since TheStaircase does not suggest a BO it uses other constrictions.

Step #1[edit]

There are only two rules:

  1. You may not mine gas!
  2. Do not look at your army outside of your base!

The first rule is mandatory for #1 and #2. A common misconception about TheStaircase is: You are never allowed to use Vespene Gas. This is wrong, please see Step #3 below.

The second rule is important for a couple of reasons: Lower league players ..

  • tend to watch their fights, just because it looks nice.
  • are doing bad Micro, which hurts instead of helping them.
  • are doing good Micro, but forget completely about their Macro.

The second rule is important for an additional reason, too. It is absolutely necessary to learn

  • A-Move and to use an
  • Army-Hotkey (Control Group for your army)

in StarCraft.

Since you are not allowed to look at your army, if it is outside of your base, you have to use an Army-Hotkey. Having your army on a control group enables you to jump to it, in later stages of TheStaircase.

Step #2[edit]

This step introduces Micro and Multitasking to your gameplay.

The extent to which you can micro units is nearly infinite.

In this video you see QuanticIllusion using Proxy-Rax and Bunkers near the Zerg Hatcheries to put pressure on the Zerg. The amount of Micro you see in this video is extensive. Since TheStaircase does not suggest a specific BO, you can easily try a strategy like this. Your Replay and your SQ will show if you were up to the task.

Starcraft 2 free to play limitations without

You should set a certain amount of money as your limit, when executing this strat. E. g.

  • 300 Minerals with 16 workers
  • 500 Minerals with more workers

Remember: You can do everything, which is not forbidden by the rules. If you want to build an expansion using Proxy-Rax, that's totally fine. You want to train your worker production and therefore build additional workers and send them to long distance mining, that's totally fine.

What is fun to you is the most important thing, not what a ProGamer would do.

Step #3[edit]

In this Step you are allowed to take gas. Every upgrade and every building can be built. Does it makes sense to build an Ultralisk Cavern? Ultralisks are not allowed in Step #3, but it's up to you if you want to build a Cavern or not.

A Starport would make sense, because you are allowed to build Medivacs.

It is recommended to start with one gas for a couple of games, to see how it will affect your SQ. Oftentimes new players bank tons of gas, without spending it. This will result in a lower SQ than before.

But if you want to take two, three or more gas, that is totally up to you.

Starcraft 2 Free To Play Limitations Pc

Step #4 to #6[edit]

In #4 you choose a so called 'Battle Unit'.

What is a 'Battle Unit'? Please take a look at TheStaircase-Guide.

A Terran player might choose the Marauder or Liberator, a Zerg player might choose Roaches or Mutalisks and a Protoss player might choose Stalkers or Carriers.

If you want to dive into intense Micro (e.g. Ghost, Infestor or Sentry), you can try this type of units as well. What is fun for you is important.

In #5 you choose two different 'Battle Units'.

  • Terran: MMM and Widow Mines
  • Zerg: Ling-Bling-Muta (Zerglings, Banelings, Mutalisks)
  • Protoss: Chargelot (Charge), Archon, Immortal

In #6 you choose three 'Battle Units'.

The rules[edit]

  1. NO clicking in the Command Card (bottom right portion of the in-game screen).
  2. NO more than 2 queued units per production facility.
  3. NO more than b+2 supply structures in construction at a time, where b = the number of mineral saturated bases. Mineral Saturation occurs when there are 16 workers mining minerals.

If you have 2 saturated bases, you are allowed to build 4 Pylons at once (2+2).[4]

Tips and Notes[edit]

  • Have as much fun as possible at all times :D
  • Experiment with the new unit/units on your current Step as much as possible!
  • Focus as much as possible on your goals, and not on winning the game.
  • Avoid arrow keys or moving the mouse to the edge of the screen to move.
  • Click on the minimap and use location keys to move screen.
  • Use Hotkeys, Control Groups, and Camera Location keys as much as possible.
  • Try to get 48 workers on Step 1 and 2 (3 base saturation).
  • Try to get 66 workers on all other Steps (3 base saturation) NOTE: only take the gas you need when you need it!!!
  • Feel free to rearrange the order of units once you get past Step 2.
  • Play aggressively; avoid static defenses.
  • Try to keep at least one unit or group of units active on the map after your first scout, this will help train multitasking.
  • For Step 2 and onward, try to look at your base only when necessary.
  • OPTIONAL: In Step #1 and #2 you might want to veto some maps. Maps with a pocket expansions like Dusk Towers or Acolyte[5] Reason: You only have basic units and it's easier to attack a Natural with a wide ramp, than a small choke.


  1. TLO on Macro Mechanics
  2. TheStaircase - An Alternative Improvement Method
  3. Destiny going mass queens - Game 1 - Starcraft 2
  4. TheStaircase (english) powered by JaKaTaK
  5. TheStaircase (german) powered by NeoBlade

StarCraft II
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