Blizzard Offers MMO Modder Mercy

By Alec Meer on January 21st, 2011 at 7:58 am.

The StarCraft MMO mod wrangle looks to have resolved itself overnight, with Blizzard finally offering a comment beyond a scary form DMCA notice. In a statement released to all sorts of places last night, they confirmed they’re not going to block the mod’s ongoing development. While the unwise ‘World of StarCraft’ name was, unsurprisingly, key to the issue, a comment from modder Ryan Winzen suggests that the other side made a bit of a boo-boo too…

He wrote on his forum that:

“The Deputy General Council from Blizzard contacted me last night to discuss the details of the “World of Starcraft” project. We talked for a while and apparently some people from Blizz were concerned I was developing the game somehow outside of SC2. Anyways I explained the details of the project to him and made it clear this mod was to be developed within SC2.

“After that was clear he obviously wanted the name to be changed… I’m trying to work with him to get the name Starcraft Universe (Currently in holding by Mille25) or Starcraft Chronicles. I am fully respectful of Blizzard’s Intellectual property, and they DO in fact own a copyright on “World of Starcraft” and have EVERY RIGHT to do what they did. If I want to continue this project I’m at the mercy of Blizzard’s good graces since they OWN it all.”

Blizzard themselves have sent a comment around to various sites explaining their thinking:

“Earlier this week, a player-made StarCraft II mod called World of StarCraft and described as a StarCraft MMO was featured on a number of prominent gaming news sites, catching the attention of gamers as well as our own. 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. We were also curious about the project and wanted to discuss with the developer what the mod entailed.

Which is mostly understandable, but “while” is the only thing that rings a bit hollow to me there. Given this curiosity and desire to discuss the mod, it seems a little odd that after slapping him with frightening-sounding copyright infringement notices they took some 24 hours to directly contact the guy. Big wheels turn slowly, I guess. Anyway:

“It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor. As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we’ve done with our strategy games in the past. That’s why we release an editor with our RTS games, and why we feature top player-created content in the custom game search. It’s also why we held a contest to spotlight the best community-crafted StarCraft II mods at last year’s BlizzCon, and why we’ll continue to improve Battle.net to better showcase player-created content.

“Like many players in the community, we’re looking forward to seeing the continued development of this mod, and as part of our ongoing discussion, we’ve extended an offer to the developer to visit the Blizzard campus and meet with the StarCraft II development team. As always, we appreciate all of the efforts of the talented and enthusiastic mod-making community, and we look forward to seeing and playing what they create using the StarCraft II editor in the future.”

So that’s that. Hopefully we can stop posting the same screenshot over and over now, as the mod will go on to make any number of exciting assets we can use in future coverage. Hooray!

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90 Comments »

  1. Brumisator says:

    Awwww…. but it was so easy to see the world as black and white where the big corporation is the devil and the little modder is the reincarnation of Buddha and Jesus combined!

    Now I have to use my brain to understand the world :(

    • sneetch says:

      You don’t, using my patented process you too can see everything as a cynical conspiracy guaranteed!

      Send €19.99 to the largest oak tree behind the fountain in Eyre Square in Galway and make sure no-one follows you!

  2. Gunrun says:

    One wonders if “our routine procedure, [involves contacting] YouTube to request the video be removed while that discussion took place. ” is a good idea? I’d surely want to hold off on issuing DMCA takedowns after I’ve worked out that something illegal has taken place. I know the DMCA allows for this but it seems a tad unwise nonetheless.

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      sonofsanta says:

      If World of Starcraft is already a registered trademark/copyrighted to Blizzard then the DMCA takedown was fairly clear cut anyway, you can’t really argue that.

      Not to say that DMCA takedowns aren’t abused freely and appallingly by many people, but I can understand this one.

    • Kadayi says:

      This^

    • Ravenholme says:

      See, I’d buy all of this if it wasn’t in the form of a C&D he got through Youtube from Blizzard.

      This sounds like mealy-mouthed backpedaling in response to the popular backlash there has been surrounding the project and it’s treatment (Even though the man is an idiot) to try and salvage some of their tarnished reputation from the ashes.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I’d bet the original notice came from a jobsworth lawyer, after which the actual people working at the company found out about it, said “oh for fuck’s sake Kevin” and headed out to make nice.

    • misterk says:

      Well precisely. Weirdly, big old companies aren’t just one person. Probably the legal department saw it and quashed it as a matter of course, then someone in development got tweeted and thought it looked more interesting.

    • sassy says:

      I was going to say something to that effect Misterk.

      Do we even know who sent off the DMCA notice? It might not have been Blizzard, it could easily have been Activisions legal team. They are not one and the same and therefore may not even communicate with each other. It is highly conceivable that Blizzard didn’t know about the DMCA take downs until they started sending out apologies.

      Then again they may have been bastards or have very unfriendly procedures to follow.

      People are sending all kinds of hate but it could be at the wrong place. The worst bit is that somebody protected their (very valuable) IP in a bit of a dick way.

    • Rich says:

      But it wasn’t a C&D, as they didn’t contact him directly with a letter or email. It was via Youtube.

    • Giant, fussy whingebag says:

      I’d be willing to bet that the takedown request was an automated or semi-automated thing. ActiBlizz probably have search-bots trawling the web for unauthorized use of their trademarks and such…

    • sneetch says:

      As misterk says these are corporations with lots of people in them so, as the old saying goes, the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. Hell, the left hand may not even know what country the right hand is in.

      The fact that it was the “Deputy General Council from Blizzard” who contacted him kind of underlines that point.

      Although I must say Deputy General Council does make me think of a large dark room where cowled councillors stand in small pools of light, saying things like “Thus speaks Blizzard North!” at the end of their statements, their noble lips curling in barely repressed anger and hatred as the Activision representatives – those twisted mockeries of life – speak their poisonous words in turn.

      A Blizzard fanboy?!?! Me?! Preposterous!

    • trjp says:

      That^^^^^

      If you want to discuss something, you don’t roll our the artillery BEFORE you discuss it…

      Activisionitis is taking over the bearded weirdies…

    • Archonsod says:

      Worked for Napoleon.

  3. Tei says:

    The truth is that a lot of mods have in his name the name of the game for what are made to. Like “Action Half Life” or “Quake Vampire Goth Horror”. There’s nothing special in “World of Starcraft”.
    Modders want to follow the rules, sould from now avoid using the name of the game? Is a bad idea to name “Crysys Race” a cars race game for the game crysys?

    Not all laws are there to be put in action. Since we have laws that protect more than is fair, and exist to defend the small from the big (we don’t need laws to protect the big from the small: brute force is enough).

    • MultiVaC says:

      Not that I disagree with you about the pettiness of the whole thing, but a key difference here is that Blizzard actually owns a copyright for the exact name “World of Starcraft”

    • mlaskus says:

      World of Starcraft isn’t just any name containing the name of the original game. As in the Blizz’s comment, it closely resembles World of Warcraft and it is already copyrighted by them. It was bound to create confusion and possibly hurt Blizz’s image if people thought it was their official project.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “(we don’t need laws to protect the big from the small: brute force is enough).”

      That is why we have no LAN in Starcraft 2, coincidentally.

    • jalf says:

      But where’s the Half-Life mod called Half-Life 3? Would Valve allow that?

      I don’t think so.

      There’s a bit of a difference between “using the name of the game you’re modding” and practically pretending to be an official game from that developer.

      Honestly, none of this is really surprising.
      Idiot uses a trademarked name without permission, is told to stop, gets lots of publicity, and changes name.

    • TheFatDM says:

      I so wanna play Quake Vampire Goth Horror right now.

    • Tei says:

      You guys are a point. Humm… I was wrong.

      @TheFatDM Ignore it, Quake Vampire Goth Horror is full of filth, dirty filth.

    • GHudston says:

      I think the reason that this irks me so much is that, sure, Blizzard may own “World of Starcraft” but they also own “Starcraft” itself. Why don’t they do the same thing to every SC2 mod with the word “Starcraft” in the name? How about the videos on youtube showing modders using WoW models in the SC2 engine?

      They may have a right to do what they did; but this was a fan mod, in their engine, made with the tools they provided, being released for no profit what so ever. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should.

    • Wulf says:

      @GHudston

      Yeah, that’s the point I was trying to make, too…

      Just because you can do something that’s unethical and just plain wrong, it doesn’t mean you should do it. Other developers keep their legal teams on a leash, and what happened here was unacceptable to me and disrespectful to their modders. The only problem is is that very, very few people here have ever tried their hand at modding.

      Even if you make a shit mod, the last thing you want to see is Youtube threatening to close your account, along with legal action, because you happened to make a mod for a game that the owners of the game you were making the mod for disagreed with. To me, this isn’t about World of Starcraft, it’s about the treatment of modders. If this is okay, it sets a precedent… a precedent that’s continued from how poorly modders are treated in WoW.

      And I’m sorry… I just don’t think it’s okay or cool. And I’m sorry again but I think Blizzard’s social engineering is a little too successful. Zynga aren’t the only ones that employ tactics to make people like their games. People have become so hyped for Blizzard that any action which is wrong is just brushed under the mat. This is why I’ve come to hate Blizzard so much… no one actually cares if they do something that’s clearly wrong. Because they’re Blizzard and that makes it okay.

    • Jeremy says:

      I’m not sure social engineering means what you think it means.

    • Rhin says:

      @Tei: You’re actually doing a great job of selling Quake Vampire Goth Horror.

    • Archonsod says:

      They didn’t threaten to close his account. They got the videos taken down.

      In fact, I don’t know of anyone who had a YouTube account closed for copyright infringement, even in cases where they’ve uploaded an entire DVD or series.

    • Mithent says:

      As far as I can tell, Blizzard do not own a US registered trademark for “World of StarCraft”, and names can’t be copyrighted.

  4. Sergey Galyonkin says:

    > 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

    Great way to discuss thing, eh?

    And when lawyer wants to discuss loud music with neighbour, he starts with shooting neighbour’s dog. As, you know, part of his routine procedure.

    • Voidy says:

      I fail to grasp the analogy here. Takedown notices are common practice when copyright is infringed. What actually makes this unusual is Blizzard’s willingness to *discuss* things with the offending party.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Surely a more accurate analogy would be when a lawyer wants to discuss loud music with his neighbour he starts by turning off the music? (why is it a lawyer?)

    • Wulf says:

      Actually, a more accurate analogy is that it starts with pointing a bazooka at the owner of the radio.

      When you get videos pulled, there are legal notices and threats of account closure at Youtube, as has been mentioned. But we’ll just glaze over the fact that the modder is a real person who saw those notices and likely freaked out, understandably so…

    • Lilliput King says:

      They took down some videos, they weren’t threatening to kill him.

      A threat of account closure is more like getting the police to phone him up and give him a long boring talk about ASBOs.

      edit: I would consider it somewhat objectionable if a neighbour marched into my home and turned off my music rather than asking me to turn it down. Not sure if that really came across. They might be perfectly justified in their request (seems to me Blizzard are, here. Not much to ask for him to change the name) but they could at least be civil about it.

    • gwathdring says:

      Bloody hell, it’s a youtube account not a safety deposit box. If someone infringed on my trademark, I’d probably ask them to change it first and then send a notice if they ignored me. If someone infringed on the trademark of a massive company I owned, whether or not I have the time to discuss every infringement personally and invite the creator of a mod to my place of work because the internet is angry comes into question. I’ve never played any of Blizzard’s games, so I don’t really feel one way or the other about them as developers. But I think this is an awfully poor example of unethical practices by Blizzard as a company. Prior to the above forum posts and the conversation they imply, Blizzard was a bit impolite and impersonal. But size does that to a company. The Internet does that to a company. To much to respond to. Too many copyright infringements to cover in depth. The words unethical, wrong, and immoral have been opening their bleak maws, and I just don’t see much of a reason for that strength of language here.

      For the most part, this issue is an overly quick overreaction to actions taken by Blizzard prior to Blizzard getting the chance to properly explain themselves (24 hours is the typical time frame larger companies give out for responding to tech-support and other such e-mails … I really don’t see that as too long). And the explanation turns out to be quite simple. They owned a trademark, someone infringed on it unintentionally, and they sorted the matter out with said person. They had no legal obligation to sort things out in any way short of a DMCA followed by a C&D, and whether they skipped part two out of friendliness, curiosity or to cater to Internet grumbling doesn’t seem all that important.

      I do appreciate and fully resound the message that intellectual property law is a mess at the moment, and across various borders. It gives too many privileges to companies with one hand and takes away power from innovators and subsidiary companies with the other. There are tons of complicated little issues that start with a cryptic and ever-changing design philosophy born out of common law and confusion about the future. IP law in a lot of countries needs an exhaustive revisit. But this particular issue seems like such a small slice of that larger one so little worth blame let alone words like “unethical.”

    • Archonsod says:

      “there are legal notices and threats of account closure at Youtube”

      As there are when you change your password. Aren’t auto-generated templates a wonderful thing.

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    RedViv says:

    So they do have that name saved for them. Well, then the whole issue is kind of understandable. Also, nice to invite him into their offices. Permanently? Who knows. Modding is usually one of the better ways into the industry.

    • Rich says:

      Not that owning the name World of Starcraft suggests they’re ever going to make one. They probably just don’t want anyway easily breaking through the protection they have on Starcraft and World of Warcraft.

      Also, I think the guy’s been offered an interview with someone else.

  6. Mithent says:

    I don’t see any registered trademark for “World of StarCraft” in the US, and you can’t have copyright on a name, so not quite sure what he’s referring to with “they DO in fact own a copyright on “World of Starcraft””. But I’m sure they would have a strong argument for control over it, given the inclusion of the StarCraft trademark.

  7. Flint says:

    They brainwashed the poor modder with their SOCIAL ENGINEERING!!!

    • Butler says:

      *waits patiently for Wulf*

    • outoffeelinsobad says:

      I think he’s sleeping. It’s only 6AM here in the US.

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      AndrewC says:

      Meh, it’ll probably end up as rubbish as Gothic 3 anyways.

    • mda says:

      They hacked his mindddddddddd !

    • zergrush says:

      Tried to find a SOCIAL ENGINEERING course in my college so I could earn BAJILLION MONEYS by making peoples brains all gooey inside but there was no such specialization D:

      I’ll have to pick one of the other old boring engineerings :(

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, because it’s only cool to cite social engineering when we’re talking about Farmville. If I dare point out that it also applies to mainstream games, I get pissed on.

      Well played, chaps. Good pissing, that.

      /sigh

    • Flint says:

      No, you get pissed on because according to you the only reason people enjoy WoW or other Blizzard works is because they’ve been brainwashed to do so.

  8. deimos says:

    That clears it up. Either way the WoS name and being pegged as an MMO just begs for an action by Blizzard, just poor choice of words.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Okami says:

    I’m not going to yell “told ya so!”, mainly because I didn’t. But that was pretty much what I thought when I first read about the whole issue. So I guess I might be entitled to yelling “That’s what I thought!”, though that doesn’t quite have the same ring to it.

    Truth be told the modder did come across a bit.. let’s say enthusiastic with his early posts about the whole issue. Of course I fully understand that getting a cease and desist notification from the company you love, especially after pouring so much love and hard work into the mod, will have an emotional effect on you. But he really should have known that this issue was mainly abou the name and surely not about the mechanics of his mod.

    It’s nice to see that things worked out fine for everybody in the end, though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      I, too, rather suspected this is how this sequence of events would work itself out.

      Or, to put it another way:

      Ah. Smug mode!

    • Wilson says:

      @Harlander – Haha, I can’t believe that I read the last line of your comment and automatically put it into the correct voice without even thinking about it. Good times.

  10. Jetsetlemming says:

    I’m bothered by that statement by Blizzard. “We were curious in the mod, and interested, so we lawyered up their media before actually saying anything, setting a tone of authoritarian disapproval.” What? I’ve had a couple youtube videos taken down completely (opposed to blocked in certain countries, or advertised on, etc), and the wording from youtube when that happens is one that threatens your entire account and all of your videos. It’s not a light oh “just in the mean time as we talk, you know, out of curiosity” thing. It feels threatening.

    • rocketman71 says:

      It feels threatening because it is.

      And this is nothing more than damage control from Blizz. If it hadn’t got this repercussion, the guy would have been feed to the hydralisks.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m glad someone’s calling Blizzard’s spindoctoring of this, I’ve gotten to the point where I’m tired of even trying, and the whole thing just feels far too much like think like we want you to think. To which the majority replies ‘Okay!’. It’s like I said in another thread, a corporate entity acts like a dick, and people bend over and ask for another. It’s disappointing, it’s unsettling, and it’s even kind of upsetting. Not many people have enough of a backbone to speak out about something that was clearly wrong – and I’ve pretty much had the will beaten out of me, too. My interest in RPS in general has just dwindled completely because I don’t like the side of our lovely race that I often see here, it’s the very, very unpleasant underbelly of it. Obsequious to the popular and damning to those that disagree.

      No one can really deny that their lawyers were doing it wrong unless they’re trying to put some sort of spin on things – no one can deny that. I think after endless debate, all of the nonsense was wrung out and we reached a consensus based on other developers that those lawyers were doing it wrong. But I don’t buy this from Blizzard. I don’t because it’s damage control, but it’s not an apology. It’s not ‘Our legal team was handling this improperly, there will be repercussions, those responsible will be held accountable, and we’ll attempt to approach situations like this better in future, this is a promise to our fans and to our modders’. That is what they should have said. That is what they did not say. Essentially, their legal team needs to be told to calm the heck down. The thing is is that there are plenty of mods out there which use trademark names – some developers decide to bring out the lawyers (Blizzard and Square-Enix) and some don’t.

      It wasn’t cool when Square-Enix killed off Chrono Resurrection. Why was it cool for Blizzard to do this? To be honest, I couldn’t care less about the mod because I’m not a fan of either World of Warcraft or Starcraft and I won’t hide that. But I’m a very left-leaning person, and I don’t believe that it’s wise for corporate entities to bully their own modders. If I were a Starcraft modder, I’d just drop what I was doing right there, uninstall the game, and not bother with modding anything Blizzard related again. The thing is though is that Blizzard have a history of being uncool when it comes to mods. I’ve heard endless horror stories of this in regards to World of Warcraft.

      In WoW, some days they’ll say a mod is fine, the next day they’ll declare that mod to be illegal and patch out functions required for it to work, thus costing the modder in question months of their life. Not only that, but Blizzard tends to steal cool ideas and build them into their UI without crediting people, there have been some fairly direct mod rips that have really taken the wind from the sails of some modders, modders who just would’ve liked to have been credited for their work. I think most intelligent people have decided not to mod for Blizzard products these days for this reason – they’re afraid of the repercussions. Afraid of how Blizzard might react to what they’re supposedly allowed to do. This latest bout of shenanigans is no different than their history of mods post-Warcraft III. In fact, it’s fairly common of them.

      And you know what was great about Obsidian with NWN2? If they used a mod to help them with their patches (and sometimes they did), they’d actually credit the modder in question. I saw so many modders credited for fixes in the NWN2 patch notes, and I still think back to myself… that’s cool. That’s really amazing. And the thing is is that modders are people too. Their efforts are often under-appreciated by people who don’t understand, recognise, or are jealous of their talents. (See the Skyrim new comments for an example of this. Where modders are apparently evil people who leech off the success of a game to peddle their shitty wares. According to the views of some, anyway.) In fact, modders will often keep a game alive. I just think that modders are entitled to respect.

      The worrisome part with something like this is that it sets a precedent, it says that most people are okay with modders being treated like this – being treated poorly for their efforts, their work, the amount of time and labour they’ve put into something. It means that these works are inconsequential. Is that true? Is that how we all feel about modders? They put so much time and care into their work that many critics have thought of mods as actually having been better than the original game. Look at Neverwinter Nights – the official campaign was pretty dire, as surely everyone recalls. But with the toolkit modders created some truly brilliant sagas, these were stunning works, as eloquent as they were passionate. And even today people are still keeping Neverwinter Nights 1 alive.

      Isn’t that worth anything?

      Yes, I’m passionate about modders. I don’t like seeing them treated like dirt. And I won’t lie to you when I say that a lot of the issues I have with Blizzard come from how they treat their modders. I’ve had a lot of anger toward them over the years, and this is why. They’re horrible to their modders. There are other ways to be, though. Some developers can be supportive. I mean, I’m not the biggest fan of Bethesda since I think they could just step off and let Interplay create Fallout Online, and I tend to feel that their games are a bit boring and have been since (and including) Oblivion. They could use some better writers. But I absolutely do not dislike Bethesda. In fact, I’m a Bethesda fan. The reason why is because they treat their modders kindly, even compiling new functions and capabilities into their editing suites for people to use.

      They’ve had their rocky moments, where they weren’t sure whether they’d bother to release their dev tools for Fallout 3 at all, but all in all they’ve been good to their modders. They’ve been the exact opposite of Blizzard. I mean, surely someone must’ve noticed by now that this is a recurring theme for me. I tend to feel better about a company that treats its modders well, and I look down upon those who’ve perhaps lost their way in this regard. And Blizzard has lost their way. The thing is though is that no one wants to tell them that their attitude in this regard is wrong. I’m a vocal minority. And because of the overwhelming support for Blizzard I’ve come to strongly dislike them on every front. If they treat modders bad, people just nod their :D faces and say yes, this is okay, this is fine.

      Is it? Is it really? Was it ever?

      Perhaps Blizzard should drop the mockery, the pretense, and just remove mod support from their games all together. The restrictions they placed on Starcraft modding were ludicrous as well, too, and it just shows that they’re being half-hearted about this, and possibly the only reason they’re even bothering to allow modding is so that they can steal the good ideas without bothering to credit anyone (see: WoW).

      I just think that modders are due more respect than Blizzard gives them.

      But of course, Blizzard are the saintly corporate entity as someone else pointed out, and if a modder happens to get stamped on, then they must’ve been evil, or wrong, or something. Yes yes yes :D.

      Right, I’ll wrap this up now. But this is what’s been grinding my gears for the longest time, and to be honest, I think that this is all going to fall on deaf ears. I’ve given up on speaking to the RPS community in general since I don’t think that topics like the one I’ve raised here can be discussed civilly, I don’t think that anyone is going to realise that I do have valid points, and I don’t know if there’s going to be all that much recognition of modders and their worth except to a niche audience. But there you go.

    • Wulf says:

      Search Wulf. See the insults above. Compare and contrast.

      This is why I don’t think of RPS as being at all high-brow.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      I have compared and contrasted, not just here but elsewhere as well. Your posts come across as very aggressive, bot in quality and in quantity on this subject. And you reap what you sow, of course.

      If you want to be a bit more constructive, it would help if you compared WoW’s modding policies to other MMOs’ modding policies, rather than to singleplayer games. After all, modding for a persistent world is quite different from modding for a standalone client. You know, an actual fair comparison.

      If you ran an MMO, and someone made a successful mod, what would you do? Would you let it get to the point where this mod became pretty much obligatory, so that every player would be forced to download that mod and have it break with consequences for all those players and your customer suport each time there is a patch? Or would you add a similar functionality to your game, to save everyone all that trouble? (As for credit, while it would be nice, it’s not obligatory. After all, does every FPS credit the developers of Doom, or every RTS the developers of Herzog?)

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “And I won’t lie to you when I say that a lot of the issues I have with Blizzard come from how they treat their modders.”

      I somehow doubt that the third of the SC2 dev team that came from the mod community are complaining about their treatment.

      Then again, that could just be their social engineering at work, as usual.

    • WildcardUK says:

      Wulf.

      In my opinion, Pocasts is right. You’re ‘le sigh’ tone to your posts comes across as arrogant and extremely patronising. You may have a point but the whole ‘I’ve given up trying to educate you children’ sentiment is not an effective way to make a constructive argument or to get people to reconsider their point of view.

      I personally find RPS a bastion of civility on the internet!

    • Tetragrammaton says:

      I don’t think that topics like the one I’ve raised here can be discussed civilly, I don’t think that anyone is going to realise that I do have valid points

      Perhaps read your posts and then think about these statements a little.

  11. Butler says:

    HOLY SHIT. He gets a job from a reasonably respectable development team, and gets to meet the SC2 devs, who I would imagine are pretty much his heros. I mean the guys that make SC2 are fucking game design Gods let’s face it.

    I’m pretty jelous, but also happy to see someone with raw passion and talent get acknowledged and, more importantly, rewarded.

    • mondomau says:

      “I mean the guys that make SC2 are fucking game design Gods let’s face it.”
      Errrr…..Okay? It’s pretty much just a (admittedly very tight and well-executed) rehash of a 12 year old game. It brings nothing new or innovative to the genre, and actually takes several steps back.

      Not that I’m saying it’s a bad game (it’s great), but gods is a little OTT.

      From OTT to OT (Aithankyou) – I was puzzled from the start by both sides reactions to this whole thing: Blizzard waded in far too heavy handed without really investigating the exact details of the situation, and the modder himself was a bit silly for a.) Picking a name he had to know (as a self-described fanboy) was likely to be reserved for a future Blizz project and b.) Writing that slightly hysterical, butt-hurt open letter to blizzard.

      Oh well, all’s well that ends well I guess.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Gods in the Pantheon that includes Kotick. He must be some sort of Loki figure in all this.

      I think we’ll see if they really are gods when Titan arrives. Otherwise they’re living on past glory (e.g. a lot of their devs from Diablo etc have jumped ship to make stuff like Guild Wars).

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      skalpadda says:

      Bobby Kotick has very little to do with Blizzard Entertainment.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      And Loki was the son of a Frost Giant… it still fits :p

  12. Ysellian says:

    I think Blizzard could have handled things “nicer” though at first, but still they fully made up for it.

  13. Catastrophe says:

    Woah, nice save Blizzard, I respect that :) Its nice to friend Good news!

  14. Kevin says:

    In all likelihood, given past experience with ambitious mod projects, Blizzard have recognised that the game as a full-fledged MMO that can even remotely compete with what Blizzard can cook up won’t see the light of day. I’d say at the very best the game will be a Neverwinter Nights-style server-based RPG, despite all the impressive work these guys put into it.

  15. Ian says:

    I think I had a comment deleted that was meant to be a joke but obviously was taken as worse. Point is Blizz were already in a no-win here. Do nothing further and they’re the world’s worst bastards, do something and they’re cynical.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      You wouldn’t be saying that if everyone had liked that RealID thing. They could theoretically know where you live. And send the theoretical boys round to sort you out.

      I think they’ve already lost their “good will” appearance, and project a much more corporate image… something that doesn’t really go up or down over small incidents like this.

    • Ian says:

      Which is pretty much what my point was, was it not?

      Whatever they did it’ll be taken in the bad light, that’s my point.

      Also if you’re signed up to Battle.net (or previously even just subbing to WoW) they had your details anyway didn’t they?

  16. DrunkDog says:

    Thanks Blizzard. Thizzard.

    I’ll get me coat.

  17. Daniel Carvalho says:

    Yeah, I always thought he should have named the mod, “Universe of StarCraft” or “StarCraft Universe”.

    It’s a much better, more suitable title.

  18. Navagon says:

    Aww! Group hug, guys!

  19. Premium User Badge

    skalpadda says:

    I’m surprised at the amount of attention over some guy getting a few YouTube videos taken down. I also don’t see how 24 hours is a very long time to wait to find out why, given that this can’t possibly have been a high priority issue for Blizzard. Sure, it would have been nicer if they sent him a letter before contacting YouTube, but asking them to take down a video is mere minutes of work and it seems like just a routine thing you do on auto pilot whenever an issue like this comes up.

    I suppose “StarCraft modder gets mildly inconvenienced for 24 hours; becomes self-righteous angry internet man” wouldn’t have made a very good story though.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      This is journalism, man. If there’s no story, we’ll make it one!

  20. Voidy says:

    This whole thing is a joke. I mean, say what you want about evil Actiblizzard and Bobby Kotick and draconian IP laws, but at this point World of Starcraft is nothing but a couple of videos. AFAIK there isn’t any playable version of this mod, and the Showcase Project thread on Ryan’s forum is, well, empty.

    Now, it is not unusual for modders to try and attract attention to their project early on. It is essential to start building hype for your mod as soon as possible, and I’m cool with that. But announcing a project with a controversial name and nothing to show for it is a cheap publicity stunt if I ever saw one.

    And the most disgusting thing is this: of the three parties involved (Activision Blizzard, Blizzard Entertainment and Ryan) Blizzard is the only one one that, y’know, makes games. And now it is Blizzard that’s forced to mediate things between the not-so-smart lawyers of their holding company and a not-so-smart modder. Well, I hope that during Ryan’s visit they surreptitiously inject Some Sense® into him. Although in his case it could prove lethal.

    • gwathdring says:

      Indeed. There are plenty of other cases of shitty IP law implementation and of poor corporate ethics. Much bigger fish to fry in the world of gaming IP. Even with respect to Blizzard’s and the modding community this is such a little thing, and not a great example of bad corporate behavior. Pick your battles, gents.

  21. mandrill says:

    I kind of feel sorry for the guy now. Having had many modding projects vanish under the weight of other more important things (such as real life, making coffee and… ooh a shiny thing!) I understand the commitment it takes to bring a complete mod to fruition. After all this hype he’s going to be under a lot of pressure to finish this mod and release it, otherwise he’s going to look a bit silly.

  22. Kane says:

    “Hey everyone, it’s Dr. corporate defense! Welcome! We’re glad you’re here representing the saintly companies against the evil consumer!”

  23. Walsh says:

    I think every post on the internet concerning trademarks and copyrights needs to have a paragraph explanation on the difference between them. And the fact that you must defend your trademark or lose it while you don’t have to do that with copyright.

    • gwathdring says:

      Could you point me to the case law showing this? I got in a discussion about this in an earlier comment thread and went poking around through US code and case law without much success. Is this a UK thing, or US thing or both? I found a lot about “genericide” and the legal process surrounding that, but nothing about specific failures to curtail infringement explicitly damaging a trademark. It’s all much more wobbly than that as far as I can tell, and especially when a derivative work is basically given permission to use trademarks with the explicit understanding that the trademark and any non-original material belongs to the parent company (as is the case with most modding kits) … if you know or think otherwise and can point me in a helpful direction, I would be very grateful as I’m rather interested in this stuff. Thanks!

  24. Pijama says:

    Bloody fucking hell, so the wanker acts like an arsehole in purpose, and ends up being fucking invited to a tour to Blizzard?

    • Alec Meer says:

      Why do people swear at and hate other people so much? What does it get them? I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU HUMANS.

    • Pijama says:

      Ah, I don’t have time for hate. Thing is, I learned English from a mate from Leeds, and then some more from an Edinburgh lass.

      You can see how it went.

    • Premium User Badge

      stahlwerk says:

      You want to be invited to blizzard campus to learn proper language, don’t you? I see through your bad mouthed ploy!

    • Premium User Badge

      Nogo says:

      As streams of profanity go that was quite eloquent. Bit much with that last “fucking” so a solid 7/10.

  25. Collic says:

    So, Blizzard do have a PR department after all. I was beginning to wonder.

  26. ScubaMonster says:

    “some people from Blizz were concerned I was developing the game somehow outside of SC2. Anyways I explained the details of the project to him and made it clear this mod was to be developed within SC2.”

    The reason they thought that was because it was being touted as a MMO when that simply isn’t possible within the battle.net framework. The only way to get that to work would be to hack starcraft and host it on a private server.

    • gwathdring says:

      Yes, I was a bit confused by the MMO thing. It clarified Blizzard’s reaction for me a fair bit, too, as the mod-tools are designed to modify Starcraft II, not to design a new derivative game engine to the extent required to run an actual MMO off the engine.

  27. Hybrid says:

    So the mod creator gets tons of publicity, a job offer from Riot Games, AND a visit Blizzard? Sounds like a good deal.

    • ScubaMonster says:

      I heard about the Riot Games job offer, but I’m honestly wondering why he got that offer. Unless he has other credentials I’m not aware of, being good with the Starcraft 2 editor doesn’t really translate to a job in the game industry at large. Maybe they want him on as a designer of some sort? I don’t know.