Blizzard begins rolling out StarCraft 2 Patch 2.1

The long-awaited Patch 2.1 for StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm is rolling out this week, developer Blizzard Entertainment announced today.

According to Blizzard's schedule for the gradual rollout, the studio released the patch today in the Americas and Europe. Patch 2.1 will be available Jan. 22 in China, Korea and Taiwan, and Jan. 23 in Oceania and Southeast Asia. Blizzard acknowledged that the schedule is different for the latter two regions, which usually get patches on Mondays; the studio said that it will return to that plan for future patches.

Players will be asked to update StarCraft 2 once they connect to a server in a region that has already received the patch. Once they've installed the patch, they won't be able to play with people in regions that haven't yet received the update.

In addition to making changes to clans and groups, Patch 2.1 opens up the StarCraft 2 Arcade to the public for free, giving them access to custom games and thousands of arcade games regardless of whether they own Heart of the Swarm; players just need to install the free Starter Edition of StarCraft 2. Also included in Patch 2.1 is the same set of 3ds Max art tools that Blizzard developers use, which allows players to craft their own StarCraft 2 textures, models, animations and more.

StarCraft 2 players can check out the full patch notes for Patch 2.1 here.

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