The team behind the StarCraft Universe mod for Blizzard's StarCraft 2 said on Monday that a special developer preview will go live on Battle.net between October 19 (today) and October 30 to test the game. After that, the PvP mod will be pulled from Blizzard's network for further polishing given that it hasn't even entered the open beta stage.
"Upon entering the arena or.. 'Encephalon Grid' as we call it, you will be able to play as any class, starting at level 30 with a full set of level 30 gear," the team reports. "You also will be given a mid level starting kit of abilities for your class, and may even be able to unlock more abilities during the preview if you win enough matches."
The StarCraft Universe mod originally appeared at the beginning of the year as "World of StarCraft," created by Ryan Winzen and a few others using StarCraft 2's own extensive editing tools. Once a pre-alpha video demo was posted on YouTube, Activision sent along a legal warning claiming copyright infringement. The StarCraft 2 team contacted the modders to make sure the mod wasn't being created outside the actual Blizzard title as an MMOG. Eventually it came down to a conflict with the mod's title, forcing Winzen to choose something else.
It also just so happens that Activision owns the copyright to the name World of StarCraft. Hmmmm.
"With the name so closely resembling that of World of Warcraft, we wanted to discuss the title of the mod with the developer, and as part of our routine procedure, we contacted YouTube to request the video be removed while that discussion took place," said Blizzard. "It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft 2 editor."
Now ten months later, the controversial mod is available for testing on Battle.net... with Blizzard's blessing. To find out more about the StarCraft Universe mod, head here.