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Free edition:

Play the first five missions of the epic single-player campaign and wage unrelenting war on your friends.

Does it really mean it includes multiplayer? Are there any limitations? Is the only thing you get from buying the full game is the rest of the campaign?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Some of the features:

  • The first four missions of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty single-player campaign, including Mar Sara 1-3 and the choice to
    embark on Tychus’s first mission or Dr. Hansen’s first mission.
  • The first two Challenges: Tactical Command and Covert Ops.
  • Access to the terran race in Custom Games and Single-Player vs. AI.
  • Access to the following custom maps (map selection may rotate over time):
    • Xel’Naga Caverns
    • Shattered Temple
    • Discord IV
    • High Orbit

And some of the restrictions:

Q. What are the restrictions of StarCraft II: Starter Edition?

A. Starter Edition players can only play up to the fourth campaign mission, and most Challenge Missions are unavailable. Starter Edition players are also unable to use versus and co-op matchmaking, most custom maps, chat channels, and the party system. Publishing custom maps to Battle.net is also restricted, and offline play is unavailable to Starter Edition players. For single-player and custom games, Starter Edition players may only choose the Terran race.

You can find this information and more here.

This means you can not play ranked games, but you can play vs your friends in the 4 maps that are available for starter edition but only as Terran.

There is an exception if your friends own Heart of the Swarm, which includes a Spawning feature. You may party with any Heart of the Swarm friend to temporarily upgrade your Starter Edition to a Spawned Edition of the game. While spawned, you may play any multiplayer game type and map with them, including ranked games. As a starter player, your race will still be locked to Terran. When you leave the party, you will be downgraded back to Starter Edition.

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That's actually not bad, I'd be happy to play custom games with a friend who has't bought the game (yet). –  ripper234 Nov 23 '11 at 9:07
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