Illustration for article titled iStarCraft II/i Gets Paid Custom Mapsem/em

Way back in 2009, Blizzard announced that StarCraft II would include a map marketplace with options to buy and sell custom maps. Years later, the StarCraft II team is finally following through.

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StarCraft II’s arcade, which allows players to create and play custom maps at no extra charge, will add premium fan-made maps alongside the game’s next big patch, version 4.3. In a lot of ways, the feature sounds similar to Bethesda’s Creation Club: Blizzard is handpicking specific “prominent community creators” and working alongside them to create new maps and modes, and “a share of the sales” will go directly to creators. In a blog post announcing all of this, Blizzard said it’s been applying its steady hand to the first batch of premium maps “over the last year.”

For now, this program has resulted in two maps: “ARK Star” from creator Pirate and “Direct Strike” from Tya. The former is a turn-based RPG focused on the Protoss while the latter is an upgrade of popular tug-of-war mod “Desert Strike HotS.” Both will cost $4.99, but in Direct Strike’s case, there’ll be free and premium versions. Premium includes four new modes as well as special cosmetics.

StarCraft II’s 4.3 patch doesn’t have a release date yet, but hopefully it’ll arrive in fewer than nine years.

Kotaku senior reporter. Beats: Twitch, streaming, PC gaming. Writing a book about streamers tentatively titled "STREAMERS" to be published by Atria/Simon & Schuster in the future.

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