Australian fans of StarCraft II, rejoice. You, along with your New Zealand and South East Asian brethren, will be able to access the North American Battle.net servers from this Thursday, September 23. That’s when the upcoming Patch 1.1.0 for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will be launched, including a handy region selector, so you’ll be set to go without needing any extra downloads.
The decision was originally made to region-lock copies of Wings of Liberty based on location – lumping Australia and New Zealand in with South East Asia (Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – not Korea!). However, the powers that be soon realised that gamers in that region – particularly english speaking ones – have formed alliances and enemies in other locations, and Blizzard announced they would enable anyone with a SEA/ANZ copy of Wings of Liberty to play in either their local region or on the North American server.
Remember, this was promised to us back before the game launched, and we were told to expect it “within 60 days”. By my calculations, Thursday is 58 days after the game’s launch, so Blizzard just sneak in before their self-set deadline. Well done, chaps!
So. Once the new patch is available, you’ll need to log into Battle.net account management, with your username and password.
Then, click “Account”, and select “Add Game” – which is tucked under “Your Game Accounts” on the upper left corner of the site.
Hey presto, you’ve got the NA license for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty added to your account!
As soon as all that’s set up, the in-game region selector will be integrated into your game client, and you’ll have the option to choose which region you want to play in on a game-by-game basis, before logging into your Battle.net account.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Who is eligible to play on the North American servers? How much will this cost?
A: All players, including those in the regions of Hong Kong and Macau, who purchase the English Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand standard or Collector’s Edition of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty will have the option of playing on the North American Battle.net servers in addition to the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand servers. The option to play on North American Battle.net servers will come at no additional cost to players who have purchased the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty.
Q: How will access to the North American servers be granted?
A: All players with a copy of the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version will automatically gain the ability to access the North American servers — this will be handled through Battle.net account management.
Q: What will happen with my Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand Battle.net account?
A: Once you get access to the North American Battle.net servers, you will have access to both regions for online play. You can choose which one to play on at any given time, and can switch back and forth at will.
Q: How will my friends list and rankings be handled?
A: All account-specific data, including friends lists, rankings, achievements, statistics, titles, and unlockable rewards, will be tracked separately for each region’s Battle.net servers, and will not carry over between them.
Q: Will I be able to play on any of the other StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty regional servers?
A: No. Players who purchase the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand version of StarCraft II will have access to the Southeast Asia/Australia/New Zealand and the North American Battle.net servers. No other multi-region play will be available at this time.
But! It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, with Blizzard pointing out one very important detail. Patching and maintenance takes place at different times around the world, sometimes with up to 24 hours between regional updates. This means, if you download the latest North American patch, you may find yourself unable to play on SEA/ANZ servers until the local region is updated as well. Once all regions are updated, the problem will go away (until next time).
Blizzard recommend that you take this little detail into account when you’re choosing when and where to play on patch days.