Remember Winzen? the one who is supposedly working on World of Starcraft using the SC 2's mod kit back in Jan? well, his work on this mod caught the attention of Blizzard and was concerned with the use of the title 'World of Starcraft'. Since he was using the official SC 2 mod, and changing the title to Starcraft Universe, the project is again underway with Blizzard's blessing.
Now Ryan Winzen, the project leader is going full-time on completing Starcraft Universe, and they released a trailer showing gameplay in its alpha stages. If you have Starcraft 2, you're gonna love that this is on the way.
Ok, to be absolutely clear, this isn't a project from Blizzard. It's not a standalone game, It's a mod for Starcraft 2 being made by the SC 2 mod kit to create custom maps, it's not actually an MMO.
I've been reading the forums in www.starcraftuniverse.org, and what I've found out is that the mod will have a huge variety of weapons and equipment that you can earn to improve your character. The game is being created similar to WoW's endgame gameplay, meaning their focusing on the boss fights of the game. When you finish a certain challenge and earn loot, you unlock more challenging maps and bosses to fight and progress. They are aiming for the boss fights to requires strategy and skill to down a boss.
Here's the Starcraft Universe FAQ:
What is Starcraft Universe? Starcraft Universe (SCU) is a game mod project (Note: it is not a standalone game) for Starcraft 2. Originally named World of Starcraft, SCU's focus is recreating multiplayer raid battle experiences similarly found in the game: World of Warcraft. Starcraft Universe will be released in a series of Starcraft 2 custom maps and published officially on Battle.net.
What is the objective of this game? The objective of this game is to experience dungeon raiding in Starcraft 2. The Definition of Raiding: A team of players creating/customizing their own hero character which they use to battle together through enemy forces and a powerful boss. These levels will be fun, exciting and very challenging.
What is Starcraft 2? Starcraft 2 is a multiplayer RTS PC video game (more information here: http://starcraft.wikia.com/wiki/StarCraft_II). Players create and maintain a military force to try to defeat their opponents. These matches are played in a number of different map terrains. To play the Starcraft Universe mod (once it is released), you must own a copy of Starcraft 2. Here is an example of Starcraft 2 gameplay: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLW5ius_lI4
What are "custom maps" in Starcraft 2? Not only do players play Starcraft 2, they also play custom maps (also known as mods). These custom maps are created using the mod editing program provided with Starcraft 2 and are published online through battle.net. Here are some examples of popular custom maps made by Starcraft 2 players: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3CcL3S19Sc4 Starcraft Universe will be custom maps published through Battle.net.
What will Starcraft Universe feature? - A wide variety of monsters, bosses and character classes. SCU classes include: Marine, Firebat, Ghost, Medic, Dark Templar, High Templar, Preserver, Zealot, and more to come. - A game save system. These maps will allows players to create, save and load existing characters. - Hundreds of customizable weapons, combat modifiers and equipment to choose from. They can be acquired as loot or bought in shops. - Multiplayer experience. These maps allow (and encourage) up to five players in one instance.
How to Play? (Requirements): - You must have Internet connection and a gaming PC or gaming Laptop. - You must have a Battle.net Account. A Battle.net Account is gaming membership that is required to play Starcraft II. You may sign-up at this website: http://us.battle.net/en/ and click on "Create An Account". Sign-up is FREE and requires a valid e-mail address. - You must own a copy of Starcraft II. This game is sold at your local retail stores. It is 60.00 USD. A digital copy alternative can also be purchased and downloaded from the official site:http://us.battle.net/sc2/en and click on the banner on the right that says, "Download now". If you choose to download a copy of the game Starcraft II, you will be prompt to sign-up or sign-in a Battle.net account. The video game size is approx. 10GB plus 1GB of updates. Since the file size is very big, downloading may be paused and resumed at your own discretion. - Downloading the project and start playing* *(project not yet released)
Q. How many people can play this game? A. We're still working on the player maximum per instance, we originally planned for ten, but this may be reduced to five to prevent server and FPS lag. Battle.net will allow unlimited matches to play at the same time.
Q. Do we have to pay a monthly subscription to continually play this game like World of Warcraft? A. No, Starcraft Universe will not have a monthly free. Players just need to purchase their own valid copy of Starcraft 2.
Q. How many custom maps do you plan on making? A. Right now, we are focused with creating one working solid map. Once we have that published and polished, we will then begin working on more SCU maps.
Q. Will players be able to join in a specific match once it has already started? A. No, players will not be able to join in once a match has started. Alternatively, players can simply host a new match and invite others to play.
Q. Once I leave a game match, will I be able to use my created character (hero) on another match? A. Yes, players will be able to create and save characters so that they may choose to progress with it anytime. Like any action RPG, players create, customize and save their own heroes.
Q. How many characters may I create and save? A. You may save up to three characters at one time, this may cap may or may not be raised as time goes on. We have several character classes and we encourage SCU players to pick and try several of them.
Q. How many created heroes can we play at the same time? A. Each player playing an SCU game can only control one character at a time, but SCU will offer items and abilities which support mercs and pets.
Q. How will there be any character progression? A. Characters will gain exp from battle, loot, minerals, allocation-points to increase stat attributes, achievements, spell points to buy new abilities . These will help players in customizing and boosting their character stats. We will go into greater detail on this system as we get closer to release.
Q. What is Loot and how is it used in SCU? A. Loot are drops of items from defeated enemies in SCU. We will create hundreds of custom weapons and items for players to fight for in their quest to dominate the galaxy.
Q. What are minerals and how will they be used in SCU? A. Minerals will be gained while progressing through raid instances and will be used to purchase items and weapons.
Q.What are allocation points and how will they be used in SCU? A. Allocation points (AP) will be granted from killing bosses, leveling up, and can be used to permanently boost a stat of your choice. The stat bonuses are very subtle and will hardly separate a casual player from a hardcore player.
Q. Will there be shops for players to purchase equipment? A. Yes, several shops will be available in SCU.
Q. Hundreds of items seems tedious and overwhelming. How will they be valuable to a SCU player? A. SCU players will NOT experience this: "oh yay I got a new sword that does more DPS and has a different model file...boring =( ". They will also NOT experience this: "Grrr, I must continue grinding and grinding for the next weapon so I can toss away my current one." Every weapon and item found in SCU will be both exciting and situational. They will ALL be useful and will have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Q. Will these custom maps have an original storyline? A. No, SCU will be designed to reincarnate past battles from Starcraft 1, Starcraft 2 and Starcraft fictional books. No plans on creating original storyline.
Q. Will there be original designs implemented on SCU? A. Definitely! SCU itself is an original custom map idea made for the Starcraft 2. Some items, weapons, and sounds will be original but heavily inspired by Starcraft lore. If you are a Starcraft 2 player, you will see many similarities found in SCU.
Q. Will we see any PvP (player vs player battles) on SCU? A. Yes, we plan on bringing a PvP game mode to this project.
Q. When will the project be done? Is there a set release date? A. There is no official release date set on this project yet. Continue checking this site for the latest news on this project.
Q. QueenGambit? That name sounds familiar... A. I was the one that created/popularized Desert Strike custom map on Starcraft 1.
Now for a mod, the fact that they manipulated the mod to play just like WoW with spellbars and a third person view on a RTS mod kit is amazing. You hardly see SC 2 up close, and the trailers show off some of those boss fights I mentioned and they look intense!
No official date for the mod, but Winzen promises a playable map for the public some time this year. Winzen and his team are just starting out as Game Developers, and for their first time, this is amazing. More power to the them! If you like their work so far, go ahead and show them your support, or if you just want to know more about this crazy mod coming to the Starcraft 2 community, head over to www.starcraftuniverse.org.