Short answer: No. At least not anytime soon. So if you only clicked here to get that answered, you can skip the rest of the article now. It’s okay, I won’t be offended.
…are they gone now? Good. I hate quitters.
Anyway, as you may be aware, Starcraft 2 is a very, very popular E-sport–a game used often in competitions and major league gaming–and it has more than a few superstars already, especially in South Korea. But still, the number of professional players for the game is comparatively small, likely in part because there’s a rather steep asking price to even get the game in the first place: $50 is a lot to ask for a game you probably won’t get paid to play for a long, long time.
And with a rather small pool of eligible “E-Athletes”, Blizzard is considering how to stay competitive (DID YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?!) with other E-sport games that are free-to-play, like League of Legends or DOTA 2. And if you can’t beat ‘em, you join em! Speaking at the Valencia eSports Congress, Blizzard’s lead designer Dustin Browder responded to the question of a Free-to-play starcraft with an admission that they were “looking at free-to-play as an option for the multiplayer”.
…granted, he quickly qualified it with the next statement: “We don’t know how we would monetize it. While it might be good fun for me to play against someone with only half the units available to them, that’s not going to be an enjoyable experience for them.”
Currently, Starcraft 2 has a sort-of free-to-play system in the form of the “Starter” edition of the game, which gives players access a few multiplayer maps (exclusively as the Terran), but it’s hardly anything you could use to reach the major leagues. Although only having half your units available to you would also be a bit of a bummer.
Still, while it may be a distant dream, it’d be a nice one to see come to frustration, if they can figure out how to do it right. Maybe they can just make it all free and only charge for pallet-swaps? It works for Riot.