Installing StarCraft (for free!)

StarCraft offers a fancy demo version of StarCraft called Spawning. When you use Spawning, players who haven’t purchased StarCraft to get (almost) full multiplayer access if they play with a friend who has purchased StarCraft. Here’s a guide on the steps to getting that setup.

1) Install StarCraft

To install it on your computer, go to Download and run the installer. When it asks you if you have activated the game or not, say that you have and wait for the 15GB to download. Meanwhile…

2) Get a account

If you already have a (bnet) account for StarCraft, Diablo, WoW, or other Blizzard products, you can sign in using that. Otherwise,, go to and signup

3) Learn about StarCraft

If you’re unfamiliar with what StarCraft is or how real-time strategy (RTS) games work, check out the game guide. The first page is an overview, and the second page will explain the gameplay

4) In-Game Setup

Once the installer is finished,

  1. Start StarCraft 2 on your computer
  2. Hit “Options on the bottom left”. The best settings are probably to set your resolution to your native resolution and then set texture and graphics quality to low
  3. Sign in using your email and password

Add your Spawning Host as a friend:

  1. Click on the person on the bottom right of your screen
  2. Click “Add Friend” in the popup
  3. Enter your Spawning Host’s email and hit “Send Request”

Suggestions to Spawning Hosts

I’m sure many of you have much more experience with new players, but here are my thoughts:

  1. Don’t overwhelm them. Start easy, and let them play around with the interface
  2. They will probably ask you “What should I do?” or “What should I build?” or “What’s the best unit?” Strike a middle ground in your feedback. Give them something concrete to do but keep things open-ended (“You can build a Barracks to get infantry units”). Again, don’t overwhelm them
  3. Take it easy yourself. Play with only your mouse hand, keep your in-game sound dialed down, and focus on the social part of the game rather than playing well. You will crush them anyways
  4. If they ask how they can improve or broadly are looking for advice, I think there are 2 important stepping stones. First, you can point out the keyboard shortcuts for them to slowly learn. Second, give them the Day[9] mantra of Probes and Pylons. The 3 parts of that are 1) Keep building workers, 2) Don’t get supply blocked, and 3) Spend all of your money
  5. Really pay attention to how they feel about the game. 1v1 is scary, even for experienced players. On the otherhand, 2v2v2 is always hilarious, and arcade games may be good, too. If you’re reading my blog, you’re probably decently intense about StarCraft. Maybe your friends will be there one day, but in the meantime, don’t lose them

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