Power MMOverwhelming: StarCraft Universe Prologue Live

By Nathan Grayson on February 19th, 2013 at 9:00 am.

On today's episode of When Things Look Bizarrely Similar For No Real Explicable Reason: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/11/14/oh-the-lack-of-humanity-primordia-out-next-month/

StarCraft Universe is a fan-made StarCraft MMO and – in all likelihood – the closest thing to World of StarCraft we’re gonna get until Blizzard realizes it wants all the money instead of just most of it. You might find it a bit weird, then, that StarCraft Universe – Chronicles of Fate is entirely single-player. But paving over a fundamentally RTS-focused engine with an entirely different genre is apparently a slightly complicated process, so developer Upheaval Arts is taking baby steps. But hey, that still means we get an (admittedly WoW-ish) single-player StarCraft RPG in the meantime. Worse things have happened. Maybe. I assume.

The prologue’s in open beta right now, and you can relinquish your almighty floating space god RTS powers to give it a go by simply searching its name in StarCraft II’s map browser. As with many games, things happen in it, too. Things like these:

“StarCraft Universe takes place in an alternate timeline, 11 years after the events which transpire in the ‘In Utter Darkness’ scenario of the StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty campaign. It’s our vision of how the universe may have been for any survivors of the hybrid onslaught which ensued, had Kerrigan died.”

As for why Universe is emerging from its multi-year, legally troubled development cycle in this form, Upheaval fully admits that we’ll be playing the role of bug-splattering quality assurance marines – only without the marines part. “This project is a massive undertaking, which completely alters the way the SC2 engine operates, and we’re a very small team without a big QA department,” they explained. “YOU guys will be our quality assurance!”

But that’s pretty much par for the course with smaller games these days, and Universe is already looking stronger than a lot of pre-release projects. Granted, I’ve not yet had the chance to play it, so attractive words and a spiffy video are all I have to go on. Of course, I will rectify that soon, but – until then – do all the clicky, killy, looty bits live up to the stirring monologue delivered by Protossimus Prime up there?

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30 Comments »

  1. Land says:

    For the lazy people that want to visit the URL in the alt-text on the image: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2012/11/14/oh-the-lack-of-humanity-primordia-out-next-month/

    And indeed Nathan, it is quite similar.

  2. Suits says:

    This is not even an MMO, nothing massive about it
    FAQ: ‘Multiplayer experience for up to five players in one instance.’
    ‘Currently, in the PVP arena we are focusing on 3v3 arena gameplay.’

  3. Azradesh says:

    Why is every, single journalists calling this an MMO?! It’s a mod/series of maps for Starcraft 2! There’s NOTHING massive about it! It isn’t even multiplayer yet and when it is, 14 will the be maxium number of players because it’s a bloody Starcraft 2 mod!

    This is currently just a single player RPG mod for Starcraft 2 and will be a co-op RPG mod for Starcraft 2, like countless mods/maps made for Warcraft 3.

    • GenBanks says:

      maybe because it’s following WoW’s mmrpg tropes like respawning enemy areas, kill-quests, etc… and perhaps it’s because the people making this are doing it to help us imagine what a Starcraft MMO would be like.

      Chill out.

      • DeVadder says:

        But having respawning enemies and kill-quests is not what makes a MMO a MMO. If you are not aware: MMO means Massively Multiplayer Online. Five is hardly a massive amount of people.
        And having persistent characters does not make it any more MMO either. Unless you would call Diablo 2 and Titan Quest MMO because they were played online by many people, just not all of them together.

      • Azradesh says:

        Like WoW does not make it an MMO. There are many MMOs that are nothing like WoW. MMO has a very clear meaning.

      • GenBanks says:

        Guys, I know what MMO means. I’m just pointing out that even if you had a valid point the original post seemed dispropportionally freaked out by it being referred to as an MMO mod.

        It’s ‘A Mod To Make Starcraft 2 Seem like World of Warcraft And Other MMOs But Not Actually Be Capable of Supporting Large Numbers of Players Game’

        So ‘AMTMS2SLWoWAOMMOsBNABCoSLNoPG’ for short. If RPS doesn’t immediately modify the article to include this acronym their journalistic integrity will be questioned by all of us in this subthread.

    • Rollin says:

      No you don’t understand, MMO doesn’t stand for Massively Multiplayer Online anymore, the word has evolved to mean “Boring, repetitive and unoriginal”. Kinda like how “wicked” and “sick” now mean “awesome”

    • Giuseppe says:

      Because if you’re writing about computer games, anything with “MMO” in its title makes for great link bait.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      It’s because they started by calling it ‘World of Starcraft’.

  4. Velko says:

    Staring-eye-like-things?

  5. Fallward says:

    Um… howcome i’ve never thought of the idea of World of Starcraft? Something tells me that would be a huge money maker and a breath of somewhat fresh air now that WoW is declining.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Maybe they’re worried it’ll split the WoW userbase and hasten its demise?

      • DeVadder says:

        Then again, waiting until people are tired with WoW and wandering elsewhere might not be the best idea as well. Afterall, having those players that will stick with the genre spread onto other games splits the userbase even more.
        I am not sure, though. I can hardly imagine what keeps all those people in WoW and wether they would flock back to a new Blizzard MMO from whereever they may wander in the meantime.
        And maybe, just maybe, World of Starcraft will be something completely new and great that might be succesfull independly of WoW.

    • GuybrushThreepwood says:

      Except that WoW isn’t declining, and Blizzard’s next MMO project is already in development, codenamed Titan.

      • DK says:

        WoW’s player numbers are decreasing. That’s the definition of decline.
        No bumping them up to not-even-where-they-were-before, followed by a sharp decline and then the continuation of the previous slow decline everytime they release an expansion does not mean it’s not in decline.

        • myelbow says:

          In support of your argument, I believe Everquest has been in decline since 2002 or so but that hasn’t stopped them from releasing something like another 10-12 expansions since that time.

  6. wodin says:

    Erm…..hmm…erm….MMO….right..eeerrr…MMO graphics ARPG?….yeah…shit

  7. Alphabet says:

    Wow, they’ve really nailed Blizzard’s writing and voice-acting styles, or even improved on them.

    • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

      Friend Raynor!

      There’s a prophecy which we’ve never mentioned before that foretells the exact plot of this game! In fact the prophecy also says we’re about to have this conversation, and the prophecy also tells me what you’re going to have for breakfast tomorrow morning, and the prophecy says our lucky numbers are 11, 14, 27, and 34… Although that part of the prophecy is… unclear.

      To understand what the prophecy means you’re going to have to build a base and fight and blow stuff up until you trigger a cutscene from the keepers of the prophecy. I know it makes no sense to fight to the death to keep anyone from knowing the meaning of a prophecy which appears to be known by all Protoss, one that could save or destroy everyone in existence, but we’re Protoss, it’s what we do.

      According to the prophecy we should not have done any of the stuff we’ve done so far, and you shouldn’t do any of the stuff you’ve said you want to do! All life in the galaxy will burn if you do! It may already be too late!

      I know telling you this earlier would have saved us all a lot of wasted lives and effort, but this prophecy which has existed for thousands of years which every single Protoss apparently knows about but apparently doesn’t know the meaning of, only occurred to me this morning. It’s hard waking up every morning and checking to see if it was in accordance with ancient prophecy.

      • Vorphalack says:

        ”It’s hard waking up every morning and checking to see if it was in accordance with ancient prophecy.”

        10.37am?! Then the scared alarm clock has failed in its duty, and I have overslept as was foretold by the prophecy! The day of reckoning is at hand!

        • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

          You will arrive late for work and be shunned by your colleagues for missing the team meeting where you were to officiate at the ancient rite of Powar-Poynt. Instead, that sacred duty fell to Bill from Sales, and he is now enraged! Only the artifact known in antiquity as the “bahg of doh-nutts” can prevent his anger from destroying the entire galaxy!

      • Azradesh says:

        It’s really not like that at all.

  8. JademusSreg says:

    Whatever the outcome, it’s pretty damn awesome to be in a chunk of space-time where player-made content gets a share of the spotlight, where mods can inspire, rival or even exceed the quality of commercial products (like Natural Selection 2 compared to A:CM). It feels like being on the cusp of a cultural era, or like playing Civilizations to late-game and all the extra Citizens are set to generate Culture.

    Also, “MO” would be more accurate than “MMO”.

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