StarCraft Universe is officially transitioning from third-party fan project to Blizzard-endorsed MMORPG, with a beta due early next year.
StarCraft Universe started out as a third-party mod for StarCraft 2, offering a concept so enticing it couldn't stay unofficial for long. Set in an alternate reality where the Protoss were defeated, StarCraft Universe would transform the RTS into a third-person MMO, letting players create characters, gain experience, and take part in various missions and raids. After receiving Blizzard's blessing, Upheaval Arts took the concept to Kickstarter, where the project was recently funded with almost $5000 to spare. While that achievement certainly doesn't break the bank, it's more than enough to create single and multiplayer content, and have a beta out early next year.
Even though Kickstarter fundraising for StarCraft Universe has ended, the team continues to accept donations through its website, offering a chance to reach various stretch goals. Where the original $80,000 provided a beta and two acts of an original storyline, $100,000 unlocks a Zerg character class, much to the excitement of Heart of the Swarm fans. Later stretch goals include a MOBA-inspired PVP zone, flashback zones, female character models, and even the entire Koprulu sector at the one million mark.
Whatever features end up in the finished product, StarCraft Universe will be released as a StarCraft 2 mod instead of a standalone game. That means you'll need both a Battle.net account and a valid copy of Starcraft 2, no monthly fee required.