Yesterday Starcraft Universe released after months of work and a lot of speculation on whether or not it would see the light of day. Reviews have been positive for the most part and if you can be patient with some of the technical difficulties I’m pretty sure it will grow to be a top mod.
For those wondering, Starcraft Universe is a mod for Starcraft 2 that aims to be the unofficial Starcraft MMO and I spent some time playing it yesterday.
First of all I want to congratulate the team that worked on SCU. The end result is impressive looking and for the most part it has all the right bells and whistles a classic MMO needs. It has quests, dungeons, raids, guilds, crafting, etc… One important thing is missing though and that is a world to explore but I’ll get to it soon.
In essence, playing SCU is kinda like playing a version of WoW where everything is instanced and in dungeons/raids. Imagine WoW with only a few cities to act as hubs and then it’s off to run instances all the time. You know that quest in Elwynn Forest where you have to go kill Goldtooth in a mine? Well now it’s an instance and Goldtooth has some boss mechanics.
Each mission in SCU has various difficulties that you have to unlock one after the other and that’s pretty much how the game goes. I guess the closest comparison I can make would be DDO online at launch where there was one city acting as hub and everything else was instanced.
Do we need exploration?
If anything SCU made me think about whether or not needing an actual world to explore was really a necessity. I mean, DDO does pretty well considering and it has more or less the same structure so I guess already have my answer that there’s a group of gamer out there that doesn’t need much world exploration in their games.
But then again DDO is at best a niche game and some people have pointed out that the lack of world was the reason the game was held back. Others have said it’s the quality of the game itself so in the end I suppose the question remains. Do MMO really need exploration to be succesful. If Blizzard had made DDO, would it have become a hit like WoW or would it have suffered the same fate…
I’m curious, could you see yourself playing an MMO without a world to explore? I know personally I’d find it difficult to stay interested but maybe it’s only me.