Blizzard Square Off With Valve Over DOTA

If I were Valve, I'd just trademark Dohtah. It's what everyone calls it anyway, right?

Blizzard has fired a warning shot across Valve’s sleek, streamlined bow over use of the DOTA trademark.

Blizzard game design lead Rob Pardo said in an interview with Eurogamer that since Defence of the Ancients came out of the Blizzard WarCraft 3 community, Valve trademarking DotA for the purposes of developing DOTA 2 “doesn’t seem the right thing to do”.

Pardo described his reaction to the trademarking as one of “confusion”, saying that “It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it’s something that’s been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point.

“Valve is usually so pro mod community. It’s such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us… I really don’t understand why [they would do it], to be honest.”

The question is, why kick up a fuss now, as opposed to when Valve first trademarked DOTA, or when they announced DOTA 2 earlier this month?

Well, it almost certainly relates to Blizzard’s own DOTA announcement at BlizzCon this weekend- among the free, internally developed mods Blizzard is developing for StarCraft 2 is “Defence of the Ancients”, which will feature characters from StarCraft, WarCraft and Diablo all taking part in a non-canonical multiplayer scrap.

When asked what would happen if Valve objected to Blizzard’s use of the DOTA name, Pardo replied “Our response is that they don’t own the term DOTA at this point. It’s something that they’re filing for.”

You see those? Those are fightin’ words. It could be that if Valve don’t give Blizzard free access to the DOTA name, the fearsome entity that is Activision Blizzard will set to work prying the DOTA trademark from Valve’s hands. And with no small amount of DOTA spinoffs already in the wild, the official name is definitely a valuable thing to have.


  1. JohnnyMaverik says:

    I know this goes a lot deeper than the comment that I will follow up with it represents, but, as far as Blizzard getting involved in this goes, you should have put a ring on it.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Now I’ve got an image of Pyro doing the dance :)

    • qrter says:

      I just love the bit where Rob Pardo goes

      “Valve is usually so pro mod community. It’s such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us… I really don’t understand why [they would do it], to be honest.”

      You can almost hear the quiver in his voice, trying to hold back the tears. He’s not angry at Valve, just.. so very disappointed.. the thing he really wanted to say was “hey, man, I thought we were cool..!”

    • gryffinp says:

      Riot games is sitting in the corner facepalming, muttering “God damn it guys this is what I was talking about months ago why doesn’t anyone listen.”

      link to

    • Anonymousity says:

      Riot games were right in saying that it’s a community product and no-one should have the trademark to it. None of the people have clear claim to it, really it belongs to a community of angry internet men who’ll swear at you for being teh noobzor.

    • Richard says:

      I think that Valve registered the license for the name DotA not because they wanted to monopolize use of the name, but rather avoid future legal confrontations with Blizzard. Because if Valve didn’t take legal precautions to the DotA name, which was on Warcraft 3 first, Blizzard may use that in law later to sue Valve out of a shitload of money when their DotA 2 starts becoming successful. Also, Valve probably didn’t change the name because Blizzard will also trademark the DotA-type gameplay and attack Valve with that sooner or later

  2. Rich says:

    I guess the question is, if the makers of the original DOTA (DoTA, DotA?) mod hold the rights to the name already. If so, as they’re now working for Valve, I imagine that means that Valve already own it. Even if the copyright hasn’t yet been granted.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      I went with DotA until I realised I was illustrating the post with a huge picture that said DOTA.

    • Daniel Klein says:

      Icefrog’s working for Valve, but he’s hardly the original maker of the mod. Guinsoo was maintaining the mod before him, and he’s working for Riot Games (makers of League of Legends). There were different maintainers of the mod before him as well (Eul for instance). It’s complicated.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “If so, as they’re now working for Valve”

      Not all of them are working for Valve. There’s a whole bunch of people who had input into the map, now working at various companies. That’s my understanding, anyway.

    • Tagichatn says:

      Well, it doesn’t matter who originally created the mod or had input. Not for trademarks anyway. The original creators publicly gave up on dota and Icefrog is the current guy maintaining dota. Or was before he was hired I guess. The key is that trademarks have to be actively used, Icefrog has been the only one actively using it. Pardo is either out of line or just dumb if he doesn’t get why Valve would want t trademark their product.

    • Eclipse says:

      the original creators of DOTA are working in Riot games not Valve, and even Pendragon is probably not the first creator of a DOTA mod afaik.
      Icefrog was just the latest mantainer, he has no rights over the concept or the name

    • Delusibeta says:

      @Eclipse: And over half a decade of expanding and balancing the map. Honestly, if I would hire anyone to make a MOBA (posh term for DotA-type games. I think Stardock invented it) game, number 1 on my list would be IceFrog, hands down.

      As subedii pointed out below, we’ve been through this already with Team Fortress, and no harm has come to modders wanting to make Team Fortress games.

    • jackflash says:

      It’s an interesting question. Under U.S. law, you have to be using the name “in commerce” to acquire trademark rights in a name. Since the original mod was free, were the original creators really using the name in commerce? I think this leans in Valve’s favor.

      Also, I checked the Warcraft 3 EULA, to see if there was a provision vesting ownership of user mods in Blizzard. As far as I could tell, there was not. From where I’m standing, I don’t see how Blizzard has acquired any trademark rights in the DotA name or in the copyrighted material in the user code. I don’t think Blizzard has much standing at all to challenge Valve’s use of the mark.

    • Dr. Derek Doctors, DFA says:

      @jackflash —

      “In commerce” does not necessarily mean that funds must be exchanged for goods or services: see, e.g., Planetary Motion, Inc. v. Techsplosion, 261 F.3d 1188 (11th Cir., 2001) (GPL’d software trademark was determined to be protected via the two-part Mendes test). Of course, this leads to the issue of exactly who owned the “Defence of the Ancients” trademark, whether “DOTA” is a derivative trademark of the original name, if Valve actually has rights to any of this and, crucially, exactly what standing Blizzard would have to bring suit.

      On the other hand, DOTA-AllStars, Inc. registered “Defense of the Ancients,” “DOTA,” and “DOTA-ALLSTARS” three days after Valve registered “DOTA” in August, which will almost certainly lead to actual trademark litigation between them and Valve.

      Ultimately, I think that Valve made a bad call on this one, not necessarily because they can’t get rights to the trademark, but because the actual value of the product to their company may be less than the tsuris of litigation. Surely they could have generated an original IP and advertised it “from the creators of DOTA?”

      For others, the lesson is simple: if you’re developing a product that may, in its own or a derivative form, have value down the road, make sure you assign the rights in a clear and legally-valid fashion.

    • Nick says:

      Its more likely they were doing to it protect themselves from, say not filing it then DOTA allstars filing it and demanding money or something.

      Of course they could have just called it something else and everyone would have known it was DoTA.

    • Froibo says:

      What’s in a name?

  3. konrad_ha says:

    You could say the Blizzard is opening the valves to a perfect storm of legal action. Those two facing off will divide the PC-gaming community in ways never thought possible.

    • droid says:

      Indeed, some kind of storm characterized by heavy snow, low temperatures, and fierce winds. If only I could think of the word for that kind of storm.

    • Renzatic says:

      Sub-Arctic Ice Hurricane?

    • Tetragrammaton says:

  4. Azradesh says:

    I thought I read that Valve trademarked the word DOTA rather then the acronym D.O.T.A.

  5. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    This will end with the declaration that “DOTA” and “Defense of the Ancients” are two different things.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      I was under the impression this was already the case. Valve trademarked the word “DOTA”, which is just the name of something they’re working on, what’s all this nonsense about Ancients etc etc etc

      Shitty, but hey.

  6. Navagon says:

    Well, I agree with pretty much everything he’s saying there, to be honest. Which is unusual given my impression of Blizzard. Valve took a misstep with DOTA.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      True. It’s a type of gameplay which came out of the War3 mod-scene. It seems wrong for the original DOTA to have to rename itself in the case Valve will get the rights to it. Although I’m not sure about the specifics. I’ve never played DOTA, even.

    • Navagon says:

      The way I see it, nobody should have the rights to the name. Not legally enforced rights at least. Valve are normally very good in the way they deal with the mod community. In fact they’re a shining example most of the time. Making a DOTA game is all very well. But calling it DOTA 2 and trademarking DOTA seems unwarranted. It’s not like the person they hired was even the one responsible for kick-starting DOTA.

    • DrGonzo says:

      The gameplay didn’t come out of the Warcraft 3 scene. This has been really irritating me. The original gameplay came from Starcraft’s community. Also, Icefrog did do the majority of the work on DOTA as we know it. If Valve announced they were leaving out all the characters and items that weren’t worked on by him I think everyone would feel a bit better, and we really wouldn’t be missing much.

      Another thing, as far as I can tell, Riot and Blizzard are saying ‘bugger, I wish we’d copyrighted DOTA’. I quite like Riot but this whole thing is really beginning to piss me off.

  7. UsF says:

    I don’t see the problem. Blizzard is with Activision now. Activision. Valve vs Activision, whos side to pick? Hm.

    • westyfield says:


    • DJ Phantoon says:

      The one that doesn’t have that cheeky fucker Bobby Kotick, obviously.

    • Lukasz says:


      Do you even have to ask this question?

      No matter what’s your opinion on Steam, no matter how angry you are at them for abandoning HL series, I don’t believe any sane men or women would choose Activision’s side.
      If they fight tough wonder what would happen to Activision’s games on steam?

    • westyfield says:

      Just to clarify, I wasn’t suggesting supporting Activision-Blizzard, I was just trying to make it easier to say.

      Sincerely, a Valve fanboy.

    • PleasingFungus says:



      Lukasz’s head

  8. pkt-zer0 says:

    The question is, why kick up a fuss now, as opposed to when Valve first trademarked DOTA, or when they announced DOTA 2 earlier this month?

    You yourself write above that this was said during an interview. So the real question could very well be, why did no one ask Blizzard about this issue before?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Blizzard’s policy with interviews is that they talk about what they want to talk about and pretty much nothing else, sadly.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      Penny Arcade had a pretty hilarious comment on that, which I think was about PR people, possibly from Blizzard

      From memory – “You raise your hand and ask a question, and they cock their head at you like a dog. What is that noise? They don’t understand what that noise is.”

  9. Tei says:

    link to

    Blizzard has slapped some serious limits on what we can do with user-created content. There’s a 25MB limit on uploaded content, which means any extensive modding with custom graphics, music, or voice acting is impossible. You can’t host a game from content stored locally on your computer, so it all has to go through Blizzard. In this way, the company can perfectly control the platform. So why is content being taken down?

    “Because we can. Literally. We have a support department now of size and ability to enforce these types of things,” Community Manager Bashiok said on the official forums. “It simply wasn’t possible when our in-game support used to consist of approximately 20 technical support agents. We did, however, actually police Warcraft III maps to a small degree if they were reported. But it was a rather archaic process.”

    Blizzard has a list of what will get your content removed from its service, including trademarks, advertising, and offensive content.

    “Keeping people from seeing your hate speech and obscene images on our private game service is not the same as relinquishing your constitutional freedoms in the hopes of increased personal/familial security,” Bashiok continued. “Ben [Franklin] would tie you to a kite and let go of the string for making such comparisons.”

    Blizzard has lost any good karma to me, and seems in full jerk mode. These people want to controll all and everything, and think that the mod that other people do is his bussines. Want to monetize other people work.

    If Blizzard really want to help modders. Stop putting a DRM cover over his work, you are undermining a community doing these things.

    • Seniath says:

      Want to monetize other people work

      You do realise they’re giving away the DOTA mod for free, right?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      The DOTA map is going to be available for free and unlocked, so anyone can take it apart and make their own spin on it in the map editor.

      I’m not sure how policing the content hosted on their servers (so they don’t get sued) constitutes going “full jerk mode”, either.

    • Tei says:

      “The DOTA map is going to be available for free and unlocked, so anyone can take it apart and make their own spin on it in the map editor.”

      I am citing Blizzard here. Is Blizzard the ones that say are doing this to monetize modders work.

      I’m not sure how policing the content hosted on their servers (so they don’t get sued) constitutes going “full jerk mode”, either.

      link to
      Blizzard has created the problem moving the content to his servers so can “Protect” it. Protection here means some deletions, and some bannings.

      This is a two steps racketeering strategy. The first step is to force everyone to live under Blizzard server. The next step of the racketeering strategy will be to ask money to play some of these maps or mods. You only see the first step, not the whole picture that this create.

    • Seniath says:

      [citation needed]

    • EALouise says:

      This is exactly what the evil, evil Valve did with Team Fortress 2. People started modding their own weapons, so Valv$ locked down the mods and started charging people money for it.

      Sick bastards.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      lol Tei, you so crazy

      …Wait, you’re serious? How is giving away free (in both senses, at no price and unrestricted) stuff an attempt to monetize modders’ work? How is giving people the option to attach a price tag to their maps a racket?

      You’re not making any sense, and it’s not just your broken English.

    • Nick says:


      Completely different scenario. Any TF2 mods that change weapon stats in multiplayer are essentially hacks, so Valve is offering a way for people to bring new weapons into the game and have them tested to make sure they don’t unbalance the game and ruin everyone’s fun.

      If I’m not mistaken, there are still graphical weapons mods that only affect the user’s computer, one of which Valve openly supported on their blog.

    • Tei says:

      “…Wait, you’re serious? How is giving away free (in both senses, at no price and unrestricted) stuff an attempt to monetize modders’ work?

      You must have a different version of freedom, here. You want to make a 200 MB map, but you can’t Blizzard stop you. You want to make a map called “Call of Duty of Aion”, and your map is deleted, and you can’t play this map with your friends. And if you upload it again, you will probably be banned. and if you upload it again, maybe your account will be blocked until 9/9/9999.

      How is giving people the option to attach a price tag to their maps a racket?
      It is, if Blizzard ask for a part of the money, even if is 1%. Because Blizzard are forcing that 1%. You can’t host these files yourself and get a 100% of the money.
      Since wen you have to pay to play mods? There are a lot of ethical pitfalls here. I see a problem wen something that is a community effort, is turn in a profit for part of the people, while others work for love. I don’t say is bad, I say that is next to the abism of bad ethical beavior.

    • subedii says:

      Nick is right. Valve haven’t locked down on jack, you’re still free to use visual mods and crap to your hearts content. Grief dude, go to FPSBanana sometime and have a look, there’s literally hundreds of them.

      Items that change gameplay? Those DO have to be regulated and controlled in an official capacity. And they are, Valve make their own. More to the point, they actually gave the community a chance to suggest and make their own weapons to be OFFICIALLY included in the game, and actually make money from doing so (which pretty hasn’t happened in any other online FPS that I can remember. If it’s happened before, it’s an extremely rare occurrence).

      To say nothing of custom maps as well, also freely available, and since they don’t break gameplay balance, officially supported as well. Valve don’t release achievement maps, OTHER people make and release those. Valve could stop them at any time (or even simply have the game disregard achievements earned on them), but they don’t.

    • ReV_VAdAUL says:

      I completely agree with Tei’s assertions here. Blizzard have created a walled garden that prevents people from doing much that would allow people to be entertained for free in any manner. And yes defenders will claim its their service and they can do as they like but putting other complaints aside if Valve had done the same thing with regard to Half life mods we’d never have gotten Counter Strike or dozens of other great mods. They’re stifling creativity and harming the community just so as to make the biggest profit possible.

    • Starky says:

      Honestly these days we don’t NEED fully modifiable games anymore at all.

      If someone wants to make a massive custom original game, great, use any one of the free and fully featured game engines you can download to do so… Unity, UE3 so on. There are also enough free high quality assets floating around the web you don’t even need those from a game engine.

      So Blizz want to control their mod scene, that is fair enough in my opinion.
      They’ve also stated several times that they want modders to be able to SELL their maps (with Blizz taking a cut ala Valve/Steam – which is also fair – it’s their game, their engine, their network.

      All this moaning is a fuss about nothing – the days of total conversion mods are dying, no one needs HL to make the next counterstrike, not when you can use source, UE3 or unity to do so freely all of which are free and don’t require a base game (source can use alien swarm, which as it is free…).

    • DrGonzo says:

      It’s not being given away free you numpty’s. I would like the new DOTA they are making, but I have to buy Starcraft 2 to get it. THAT is how they are monetising it. It makes Starcraft 2 worth more, and it will sell more because of it. They aren’t doing this through the kindness of their hearts. But at the same time it is pretty cool.

    • Wulf says:


      I’ve been accused of false dichotomies lately, so I’m starting to recognise the damn things, and that’s one of them. No, perhaps games don’t need to be fully modifiable, but it’s important that they are modifiable, your argument fails because you don’t quantify how modifiable, you just treat it like an on/off situation. There are many mods that add a great deal to a game that don’t completely rebuild the game from scratch. In other words, all total conversions are mods, but not all mods are total conversions. I think what people are saying here is that if you take away a degree of modding that was otherwise freely allowed (ex: see Blizzard’s walled-garden approach) then you’re taking away the potential of that game, and how creative modders are allowed to be.

      You’re almost making an argument that mods aren’t important, and that people should go off to create their own games instead. Well, every moddable game ever would provide a good grounds for disagreement, here. Imagine if Oblivion could only be vanilla Oblivion, no Ruined-Tail (as much as I dearly loved him), no Bartholm, no Lost Spires, all of which is actually content that I feel is superior to the content which exists in the game, none of that… just vanilla Oblivion. If I were damned to that reality, I’d weep. Imagine Fallout 3 without its mods, even New Vegas has some particularly brilliant and handy mods available for it already. Modding is not an on/off situation, mods can redesign large portions of a game without redesigning the whole game, and make the game better for it.

      So yes, games do need to be fully modifiable. Why? Because if you don’t make them fully modifiable, then therefore it stands to (duh) reason that part of the game is not modifiable, that’s an aspect of the game that could have changed the game in brilliant ways, that could have improved it, rebuilt it, even added completely new content. For example: Take away the ability to add NPCs to Oblivion, and you can no longer have Ruined-Tail, or a great deal of the brilliant character-driven mods out there. PC games, at least, absolutely do need to be modifiable from the ground up. Because mods will invariably, in ever instance, without fail provide for a better game.

      By limiting the creativity of the modders, you’re damning the potential of the game, and creating a game that I’m not interested in, at least. Limit modders? Monetise modders?? Sod that, I’ll just go New Vegas, where modding is a free-for-all, and the modders can create works of sheer, unabated awesomeness.

  10. Rinox says:

    Eh, if Valve wants to trademark it and was first to do so, Blizzard shouldn’t cry about it. They had plenty of opportunity to do it, so did the several owners/caretakers of the mod. Their loss.

    • Eclipse says:

      sorry but it’s not how it works…

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Have you paid attention to US copyright law in the past 10 or so years?

      That’s exactly how it works!

    • Delusibeta says:

      Ask Riot Games that, who AFAIK applied to trademark “Defence of the Ancients”.

    • DrGonzo says:

      Riot decided not to trademark DOTA. Now that Valve have they are whining and trying to also claim for it. They had years to trademark it but didn’t. It’s their own fault and I have absolutely no sympathy for them. Also, Riot have about as much of a claim on DOTA as Icefrog does.

  11. Lewie Procter says:

    I really don’t think Blizzard are in any position to talk about doing the “right thing”.

  12. Zogtee says:

    Obviously, there’s more to this than we’re aware of, but what I find the most interesting is Blizzard’s vague way of phrasing things. If this really was a simple matter, they’d slam the lawhammer down without hesitation.

    I’m secretly hoping Gabe with *consume* Kotick.

    • Rii says:

      I think the vagueness is because there’s no possibility of Blizzard *winning* the rights in any contest between the two, but there’s a strong possibility of Valve losing them. They’re saying that it’s not in Valve’s interests to make a fuss here.

    • qrter says:

      It might also be a PR thing – Valve is much loved in the gaming community, Blizzard a lot less, and we won’t even mention Activision..

      Probably why Pardo is making it sound as if they’re defending the rights of modders from the normally lovely Valve.

  13. CMaster says:

    On the one hand yeah, I think Valve calling it “DOTA” and running with the name of what was clearly a fan project they didn’t entirley have control over (just hired the most recent caretaker of) was yeah, kind of a dick move.

    On the other hand, Blizzard’s implication is that they feel they own it, because of the mod was originally for their game. And they tend to claim it for themselves, which feels a bit off too.

    As to the Blizzard restriction – I completely see why they want some control over what their own system ( is distributing. I think it’s a real shame if those rules prevent people releasing full singleplayer campaigns, or total conversions though (especially as Blizzard basically promoted Starcraft2Ed with showing how TCs could be done)

  14. dudekiller says:

    Somewhat ironic, considering they are releasing a mod called “Left 2 Die”, which “includes a ‘Hunterling’ that leaps on your units and a ‘Choker’ that grabs and eats a few of them at a time”. Or perhaps it’s intended as some kind of deliberate retort?

  15. Fred Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive says:

    Be sure to check out OUR DOTA mod for Victoria 2. Due Q3 2011!

  16. Bascule42 says:

    All this coverage of indie developers is getting old now.

  17. Donmarker says:

    Gotta love Bashiok. That guy is the only reason I read the “bluetrackers”. He is the up front, honest, doesnt take your forum bullshit mod every other mod should be. Sadly he works for blizzard :(

  18. Dreamhacker says:

    Clash of the frickin’ Titans. If they take this to court, I’m expecting spectator’s bench liveblogging from the RPS staff :)

  19. Lacunaa says:

    In my opinion, Blizzard is totally in their right here. How can Valve suddenly trademark a mod of warcraft III? Would that mean that you couldn’t play dota anymore on warcraftIII? Then again, I can’t imagine Valve suing Blizzard for making a free mod about DotA.

    • CMaster says:

      Trademark protects a name, not the game.
      And you’d certainly have trouble prosecuting someone for carrying on using the name they had for years (even more bizzarley, the person who currently makes the “DOTA” mod for WC3 works for Valve, so Valve would be suing one of their own, current employees)

  20. IDea man says:

    hey valve, here’s an idea! Why instead of experimenting in new ideas in legally murky territories like dota, you don’t stick to releasing sequels upon sequels to Half-life, left 4 dead, and team fortress?

    And I’m being 100% serious. I like that developers try new ideas every now and then, but when you hit it big you need to milk your ideas until they are dry

    • Vertel says:

      Obligatory “I’d be happy if they’d just finish releasing Half Life” comment.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      If they’d make an actually new game, rather than yet another dota, they wouldn’t have this problem.

    • Rich says:

      “…but when you hit it big you need to milk your ideas until they are dry”
      Bobby Kotick, is that you?

    • SpoonySeeker says:

      Easy, because Valve games are not popular with the sort of people who play DOTA, if they can get those people to memorize the Valve name and install Steam on their computers they’ve made major inroads into a massive and untapped market.

  21. Tom O'Bedlam says:

    This should be settled by a bare knuckle boxing match between Kotick and Newell. Wardell can referee and Shafer will MC between rounds

  22. Eamo says:

    All the people who are so quick to jump in on behalf of Valve, just one question, if Blizzard were to announce that their next game would be a recreation of Team Fortress or Counter Strike, created using their own technology and Valve sued them which side would you be on?

    Valve are basically making a clone of Blizzards technology in order to release a mod that was made for a Blizzard game as their own creation. They are filing for a trademark on a very commonly used term in order to turn it into their own intellectual property, if Blizzard allow this then they find themselves in the very odd position of having to prevent mod makers on their platform using the name of a mod that originated on their platform or risk facing trademark infringement lawsuits.

    While it is true that Valve are generally less likely to lawyer up than Blizzard that does not put them in the right in this situation and if you can’t see that then you are just being a Valve fanboy.

    • the wiseass says:

      Valve was quick enough to make Counter-Strike their own game. Blizzard totally ignored the DOTA mod until now and Valve took advantage of that. So in a sense it’s Blizzard’s own fault.

      That said I agree with you that it’s a bit strange to trademark the denomination of such a common term. It’s like calling your next game “FPS” oder “RTS”. That’s just weird.

    • Rinox says:

      Granted @ your TF and CS example, but ‘Blizzard’s own technology’ is ancient in this case and will surely not be copied blindly by Valve. More than a dick move by Valve (which it is, in some regards), this sounds like Blizzard fuming about missing the boat. Valve has a standing reputation about taking mods and teams and incorporating them into their own company, with great success. And now they did the same thing with a formula/people behind a mod for a Blizzard game – after years and years – and suddenly Blizzard is up in arms about it. Mmm. Sounds a lot like sour grapes to me, in addition to Valve being sneaky.

    • Mac says:

      What’s also important to note is that Blizzard doesn’t want to trademark it, they’re releasing the SC2 DOTA map for free.

      I think it’s very weird of Valve to try and trademark it as well and I agree with Pardo.

    • Kid A says:

      Hang on a minute. They’re taking a concept created by a loose group of modders with no affiliation with Blizzard other than that they happened to use Warcraft 3’s engine (modders who include Icefrog (now at Valve), Guinsoo(now at Riot Games), et al), building it in what I assume will be known as the Source 2011 engine… I’m failing to see how Blizzard are being impinged on at all here.
      And as for filing trademarks for commonly used terms – if anyone has/had a decent claim to DotA/DOTA as their sole intellectual property, we’d have seen a counter-filing by now.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Valve are basically making a clone of Blizzards technology”

      AFAIK they’re doing it in Source, which is Valve’s tech. Activision has already released CS/TF clones.

      “I think it’s very weird of Valve to try and trademark it”

      Presumably they intend to turn it into a franchise.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      “if anyone has/had a decent claim to DotA/DOTA as their sole intellectual property, we’d have seen a counter-filing by now”

      Uhh… isn’t that what Riot Games is doing?

    • Eamo says:

      They are not just taking the concept, the concept could only be realised because of the Blizzard tools. It is why DotA is a mod and not a game. If Valve are offering as a selling point for DotA that they have changed nothing about how the game plays then they are basically admitting that their game, while it might look better graphically is a functional copy of Blizzards game engine in many respects.

      Suppose you take a Portal mod like Portal Prelude, and if Blizzard decided to make a version of it and released it claiming that it was functionally identical to the original wouldn’t Valve have a fair claim in saying their intellectual property was being ripped off? The mod is only possible because of the capabilities of the Valve tech. What if Blizzard went further and tried to trademark Portal Prelude, lets assume the name was less specific, what if it was called Defense of Aperture? Would you think Blizzard were doing the right thing in that situation?

      While there is a lot of originality in DotA the levelling system, the way experience only adds for the killing blow, the map layout, the way the stores work and many other things about it are that way because of the underlying technology.

      As for Blizzard not supporting DotA they have made changes to their tools to support it, the original mod was hosted on their website, their Warcraft 3 forums have several instances of Blizzard tech support helping people who had problems running DotA to solve their issues so that claim is just plain incorrect.

    • Optimaximal says:

      I don’t think Blizzard are claiming they’re being impinged, rather “this was a community game and we don’t think it’s fair Valve are trying to commercially capitalise on it”.

      When you read between the lines, yes, Blizzard are basically sore that someone beat them too it.

    • Clovis says:

      You can’t copyright game rules or “functions”, so Valve has no problem there. Trademarking the name of a game that your are producing doesn’t seem too strange, but I would think very badly of Valve if they starting suing over non-commerical use of DOTA.

      The comparable scenario would be if Blizzard had scooped up the team that made CS before Valve did and then trademarked CS.

    • subedii says:

      Blizzard are more than free to mimick other game’s gameplay mechanics and release their take on it. If they wanted to release their own version of Counter-Strike, that would be fine. They just couldn’t call it Counter-Strike since Valve has the copyright on that name. But they could pretty much wrap it however they want, call it “Antipodal Bash” if they wanted to, and that would be fine.

      Crikey, there are already loads of clones of CS across numerous games, and even full release games (some of which are even on Steam itself) that are effectively Counter-Strike + a few bits on, if that.

    • Delusibeta says:


      >”the concept could only be realised because of the Blizzard tools.”

      Excuse me, but that’s bullshit. Demigod, League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth all didn’t rely on Blizzard’s tech, and yet they did a good job on realising the concept (well, except maybe Demigod, but that’s for another thread). As anyone who’s paid much attention to Source mods will tell you, it’s a very powerful engine in terms of what you can do with it.

      Ultimately, if someone made a freeware MOBA game using the UDK, Blizzard can’t sue them. Ditto if they made a Portal-type game (I wouldn’t be surprised if they have, actually).

    • Delusibeta says:

      I meant “I wouldn’t be surprised if they have made a Portal-type game on the UDK”.

  23. teo says:

    Good, I hope Blizzard fight Valve on this. Not because I can honestly say I like Blizzard anymore but because trademarking DotA the way they did was a huge dick move. I don’t think they should be allowed to make a commercial game with that name on it, no way

    • Howl says:

      If nobody else has already and they want to invest in making a full, modern, commercial version then what are their options?

      Blizzard have made a living out of taking other people’s innovation, polishing it up and working out how to make lots of money out of it. That that they act surprised when someone else does this to their own ‘property’ is hilarious, imo. The difference is that Blizzard palm everything off as their own idea, whereas Valve’s sources of inspiration are obvious and usually employed, in a Apple/Borg-like fashion.

    • Lukasz says:

      Jesus Christ.

      What about Counter-strike
      what about Team Fortress?

      Did you rage too when Valve announced that they will make those mods stand alone full retail games?

    • teo says:

      Gooseman and Cliffe made CS by themselves, Robin Walker and John Cook made QWTF and were both hired by Valve. In the case of CS they hired them to keep working on an already popular game, in the case of TF they hired them to make a followup to a somewhat popular game.

      IceFrog isn’t the sole creator of DotA and you’re talking about a game that has millions of players and is a hugely recognizable name. I don’t see how hiring ONE of the guys who worked on it should allow them to trademark a name so well known, hanging the other guys out to dry. Even if they’re legally able to it’s still a dick move.

  24. mihor_fego says:

    I know most of the people here are fans of Valve and deeply hate Activision-Blizzard… but you know what? Valve isn’t always right folks. Perhaps legally Valve has all the rights to trademark DotA, but is it ethical? It’s a name of a MOD of another publisher’s game. Yeah, good thing they hire modders and stuff, let me reverse the question, though:

    If Activision had hired the people behind Counter-Strike (back in 99) and released “Counter-Strike 2”, getting a trademark for it, wouldn’t all rage against them?

    • Archonsod says:

      I’d say yes, since Valve have one of the lead modders on their team. To put another spin on it, if said modder had went off and formed their own, independent company and started work on a full game of their mod, would it be ethical for Blizzard to shut them down? The only difference between say this and Tripwire is that the modder happens to have been hired by Valve rather than forming their own company.

    • skinlo says:

      Ethics has no place in the business world.

    • subedii says:

      Team Fortress 1 was a Quake mod.

      By your reasoning, TFC should never have existed, Valve should never have hired the modding team and made TF2. And also, the dozen or so variant Fortress games spread across numerous other FPS’s also should not have been made.

    • subedii says:

      Also, if Activision saw fit to hire a mod team and give them creative control over their project to make an official sequel, I’d applaud them for it.

      However, Activision didn’t do that, and if anything most major games companies seem to outright despise mod teams sometimes. So gee, Valve gets plaudits for doing something smart like that, and Activision don’t because they didn’t. And this is hypocritical… how?

    • mihor_fego says:

      An independent mod team setting of to make a stand-alone game is not the same as another publisher hiring them. If the guys that made DotA decided to develop DotA II by themselves, as their own IP, I’m fine with that as it’s their work, even if it began as a Blizz game’s mod. Thing is it’s not them trademarking the name, but Valve, who had nothing to do with DotA at all.

      As someone else posted below, they could’ve just used another name for the friggin’ name. LoL and HoN are pretty much DotA clones (ok, fans don’t shoot me), so a new IP could easily remove ties with any of Blizzard’s past titles

      Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear, I guess.

    • subedii says:

      So then, are you saying that they also should never have copyrighted Team Fortress? Valve had nothing to do with making that either, and it was a Quake community game.

      With DotA, it’s been in a lot of hands, but it’s hard to argue that IceFrog wasn’t the core of the game in the last five years, really pushing the design and ideas forward. Ultimately, DOTA has name recognition, but this isn’t going to prevent anyone else from creating Defence of the Ancients 2. You talk about the “original” mod team, but that’s arguably Riot Games (with a fair number of caveats), who have copyrighted Defence of the Ancients.

    • subedii says:

      I mean, I can sort of see where you’re coming from. It reminds me a bit of the whole Operation Flashpoint / ArmA deal. But ultimately, nobody bought OpFl 2, because it wasn’t a good game. The fanbase moved on to ArmA, which was from the same devs as OpFL 1.

      Ultimately the name doesn’t mean much beyond basic recognition. DOTA’s going to attract a fanbase or not based on how good it is. And I’m actually guessing that Valve won’t be able to pull people away from the other MOBA’s, at least not if they’re not going to change the formula any.

    • Antlerbot says:

      To the ethics argument I submit the Chomsky argument:

      These are corporations. They have no purpose other than the acquisition of profit. In fact, it is *unethical* for them to not seek maximum profit, regardless of other motives (like, say, ethics), because they have an obligation to their shareholders above all else. Not to a bunch of internet critics/fanboys.

      Stop trying to treat them like people. They aren’t. They don’t have that kind of responsibility.

  25. Flameberge says:

    I wonder what PCG UK’s reaction to this will be? The two companies they spend their time constantly telling their readership are perfect and wonderful and should never be criticised are now going to get their corporate handbags out. Who will PCG support?

    I have a feeling they might explode from indecision.

    • Lilliput King says:

      My money is on Valve, as they’ve been nicer to PCGUK.

  26. Burningpet says:

    DotA has been around for years, with hundreds of thousands of players from around the world, boosted Wc3 sales to the roof and did quite an advertisment for WoW and Sc2 because with all due respect to Eul, Pendragon and Icefrog, most of the people who play dota only see the blizzard logo before they load the game.

    Why Blizzard hasent hired any of those modders and made an original spin off long before any of the small clones came out is beyond me. seems like someone in Blizzard has been sleeping on his pile of cash.

    I give no sympathy to such unsupportive behaviour toward your best community mod. Blizzard are too little too late.

  27. Zachariel says:

    Just another example: Alien Swarm. Was a mod for UT2004. People behind it got bought/hired by Valve, Alien Swarm was released using the Source Engine.

    Didn’t see Epic going after them or anyone loosing a bad word about it. Just like others already said, sounds more like Blizzard missed and opportunity and now starts complaining…

    • teliach says:

      One thing is to make a derivative work based on the play style, and that Valve has all the right to do, like LoL or HoN.

      Other thing is for Valve to copy Blizzard characters with the exact same looks/names that are on Blizzard games, have a look at DOTA2 concept art, there is no way iin hell Blizzard is letting that going trough.

    • dragon_hunter21 says:

      I don’t think they’re Blizzard’s characters. And if they were, Valve has enough brains to change it for release.

    • Rinox says:

      I think there’s no way in hell that Blizzard can legally stop them. “We were here first” is not a legal argument as long as nothing was trademarked or on paper. There isn’t even a trace of an oral contract with the people behind the original DoTA. Activision/Blizzard will need serious legal magic to stop this.

  28. choie says:

    If Blizzard had hired the Dear Esther creator to produce DE in Blizzard’s engine, then trademarked DE, would Valve have thrown a hissyfit? I don’t see it. That’s not how they roll — they’d probably realize they’d missed the boat. Valve are usually savvy enough to grab up the modders who show great promise, rather than letting them sit around like an unappreciated girl/boyfriend, only showing interest when a third party comes a-courting. See: Adam Foster, for example. (BTW, I would’ve used Foster’s Minerva Metastasis as an example instead of Dear Esther, but IIRC, MM takes place in the HL universe, where DE doesn’t. Actually I don’t know much about DOTA — is it set in Blizzard’s fictional realm?)

  29. Michael says:

    Quintin, please don’t turn this website into Kotaku. I enjoy your posts, but ‘Square off’? An employee of a company gave his personal opinion on the actions of another company. Not usually something companies encourage their employees to do, granted, but this is neither a warning shot nor two companies ‘squaring off’.
    Should legal action happen, what will you title that post? ‘Blizzard declares nuclear war on Valve.’?

    • Quintin Smith says:

      As I said above, Blizzard revealing contentious personal opinions in interviews does not happen. Their interview training is indestructible.

      Therefore, what Pardo says here is a premeditated move with a goal in mind.

    • Michael says:

      Did not happen, at least. Your assumption seems fair, but is still just that: an assumption. Either way, you must agree that the post title is attention-grabbing in a way that the post itself fails to be. That to me whifs of trying to maximise website hits.

    • Quintin Smith says:

      Blizzard is, in a roundabout way, saying that if Valve refuses to give Blizzard free reign of the DOTA trademark, Blizzard will try and take it. I stand by my headline.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      I think Michael’s real complaint is there’s no pop culture reference or joke in the title. The article is more or less what the title says.

    • The Hammer says:

      “Blizzard is, in a roundabout way, saying that if Valve refuses to give Blizzard free reign of the DOTA trademark, Blizzard will try and take it. I stand by my headline.”

      And, in a roundabout way, you’re telling Michael “Fuck you”.

      But of course you didn’t, and neither did Blizzard say what you seem to think they said. Things can be unduly twisted.

      Blizzard didn’t say anything about taking it. Taking it would imply that Valve wouldn’t be left with any of the name.

      And this is about whether Valve raise an objection. That was that the question was about.

      If the point you have is, “Well, Blizzard don’t say anything without there being a point or an undertone it!” then were you there at the interview itself? If you weren’t physically there, I don’t know how you could make that assertion in this particular case.

    • TariqOne says:

      More like a warning whistle. A warning puff.

      And the sensationalizing continues. Oy vey.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      Typically I would also be dismissive of journalistic hype of perceived conflict as well, but with Blizzard announcing their own DotA at Blizzcon and then immediately making this statement, it doesn’t seem like Quinns is blowing anything out of proportion.

    • skalpadda says:

      “Blizzard announcing their own DotA at Blizzcon and then immediately making this statement, it doesn’t seem like Quinns is blowing anything out of proportion.”

      On the other hand they’re releasing a free mod, not a game they’re about to charge and make money from. Quinns is making a pretty big assumption, and if he’s just using what Eurogamer posted on their website as basis for this (which I’m guessing is the case) then he doesn’t even have a clue what the circumstances of the questions asked and answers given. Rob Pardo didn’t say anything about going after Valve. He was answering how they would react if Valve wanted to prevent them from using the name.

      I do have a hard time taking Quinns seriously in this case as his last three posts involving Blizzard in any way have had an almost hysterical slant to them without any ounce of substance or objective criticism. Finding legitimate things to criticise Blizzard for isn’t even hard so I’m not sure why he feels the need to make things up.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:

      “On the other hand they’re releasing a free mod, not a game they’re about to charge and make money from.”

      If it were so unimportant to them, why would Pardo release a statement like this, keeping in mind how heavily Blizzard is known to censure their comments? I feel like we’re going around in circles here.

    • tomwaitsfornoman says:


    • skalpadda says:

      He didn’t release a statement, he answered a question from a journalist. I’ve also seen personal views and off-the-cuff comments from Blizzard employees before, so Quinns blowing it up to be a war declaration based on a quote from a poorly written Eurogamer article is bullshit journalism on level with the tabloid press.Speculating is fine, but presenting those speculations as fact is not. I can only assume it’s in an effort to create comment section drama for the sake of it.

    • TariqOne says:

      This is such a non-issue? What would Blizzard even possibly square off with them about?

      I’m not a lawyer — oh wait, I am — but on what basis does Blizzard have any claim to the name? Of all the things Blizzard may or may not be, they’re not stupid. They have law firms they pay bazillions of dollars to keep them out of stupid unwinnable fights (like this would be) and in smart winnable fights (like stomping on private server operators). Blizzard isn’t in the business of frivolous lawsuits, particularly against well-capitalized opponents. Particularly with zero dollars at stake.

      The guy answered a question in an interview, ffs: “what do I think of my competitor trademarking a name made popular by Blizzard players? Unfortunate, I don’t get it, etc.” What do you expect him to say? It’s perfectly rational and probably in that case his honest reaction.

      Short of funding a challenge by some modders who claim they coined the term DotA, I don’t possibly see what Blizzard can do except say it’s unfortunate. Which one of their guys did. Teapot tempest, this one.

    • John J. Rambo says:

      But Blizzard’s DOTA mod is not truly free. The player needs to own SC2 to play it and with the size of the DOTA community I believe that Blizzard is attempting to grab more sales from those who don’t play WC3/SC2, but play DOTA using them.

      Just saying that both companies stand to make money from producing a DOTA game. Valve more so since it will be a fully realized product.

    • The Great Wayne says:

      Actually, would Quinn have added a “?” at the end of the endline, touchy crowd couldn’t be making such a fuss.

      I don’t really see assumptions besides the headline, and even there I only see mere interpretation of the facts. Quinn is proposing an analysis of a situation. Could he be wrong ? of course. Hell, read the newspapers, very few will agree on an analysis about the exact same facts depending on who’s writing the articles.

      If modern journalism was about pure and bland infos, we would only need the press agency feeds. Journalism is about editorial line, opinions and point of view about that pure information. Of course facts are to remain untouched, but analysis of those facts is subjective and it’s up to readers to subscribe to it or not.

      The facts are that each time one take a stand about a game or a firm that goes against the stream, he expose himself to being criticized about deontology and accused of conspiracy by the crowd of the good-inclined people toward said game/firm.

      Been the same with darkfall and numerous others. The fact that Quinn, as a journalist/blogger, is still willing to voice his analysis freely despite the (easy to foresee) uproar incoming is a proof of the deontology and courage of RPS, and that has to be applaused, not loathed.

      “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it” -Voltaire

  30. dragon_hunter21 says:

    So wait, they’re complaining that Valve is trademarking the name of a mod that Blizzard has no claim to?

    Maybe Blizzard should remove the trademark to WoW. Or something.

  31. sirdorius says:

    This whole thing could have been avoided if Valve just sticked to making what they’ve been good at this last decade: FPSs (and finishing that damn Episode 3 already) instead of REmaking some RTS/RPG hybrid with new graphics. I can’t feel sorry for them

  32. Nameykins says:

    I don’t feel right rooting for either side of this legal mess.

    I feel that Valve is in the wrong to call the new game DOTA and trademarking it, rather than just creating a new title and intellectual property for the game, much how like League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth did. They could easily pull the customers with just Valve branding and marketing the game as “from the makers of DOTA”, rather than trademarking a mod from a competitors game.

    Blizzard on the other hand has been sitting on this gold mine for god knows how many years now, and doing squat with it. Only after Valve had announced their dick move, they react and try to hog the trademark that they have done pretty much nothing with it. Announcing their own DOTA related thing post-Valve does not constitute as doing something with the IP, either.

    In this case I feel that both sides are driven by corporate greed and there are no good guys.

    • dragon_hunter21 says:

      Tapping an untapped well of potential to draw a new playerbase != corporate greed.

      O’course, for that matter, an employee stating that it just feels wrong for an unaffiliated company to trademark a mod originally based upon Blizzard tech != corporate greed, either.

    • TariqOne says:

      Legal mess? An RPS writer characterizes a fairly watery statement of dissatisfaction into what “could be” the precursor to a legal battle, and now it’s a “legal mess”?!

      Trust me, I know legal messes. This ain’t it. Not yet, and maybe not ever.

  33. dethgar says:

    Anyone who has used third-party mods for WoW should see clearly that Blizzard believes anything made for their games is theirs. A lot of community mods have been copied and implemented into WoW’s interface now, with no credit or pay to the person who created it.

    • Mac says:

      That’s not even close to true. It hasn’t been copied, the concept has been used perhaps but completely redone and polished, and how do you find out who created it in the first place? There’s a billion mods that all do the same thing, it’d be ridiculous to pay credit to each and every one, and where would they do that anyway.
      WoW has quest markers on the map now by default, originally from mods and other games, we don’t see Age of Conan going “Oh thank you Blizzard mod-maker dude #2525 for giving us this idea that we completely revamped”. Or Blizzard giving credit to Age of Conan since they got it after AoC. Give me a break.

    • dethgar says:

      You’re stupid and blind if you believe it’s impossible to find mod creators. There is a healthy mod community for WoW, which in large part is completely pissed on by Blizzard. Quest markers aren’t what I’m talking about. I’m talking about things like Equipment Manager, Target of Target, Focus Targets, Scrolling Combat Text, Floating Icons, and tons more.

      Blizzard has literally built their empire off other peoples ideas.

    • dethgar says:

      Also, its hypocritical for them to call out Valve as thieves when their new game modes are all copies of other people’s work. Left 4 Dead, Bejeweled, and their DoTA clone.

    • Mac says:

      I didn’t say anywhere that it was impossible to find mod creators, by the look of things it seems that you have a terrible perception of things. No doubt the same reason you try to berate Blizzard for adding concepts to their game thought long before some random mod maker did it. I can’t believe you don’t know what an example is, I named quest markers as an example. Just as the things you mentioned, they are examples, I’m not gonna list every single concept they’ve added that might have been inspired by one or a billion mods.

      I’m sure Blizzard completely piss on the mod community when they openly reinforce it and have teams just to make sure people have the necessary tools to do their job and constantly post about updates that affects modders. And in the case of SC2, release tons of free custom content to give modders more tools. So far you haven’t even said anything remotely correct.

    • Mac says:

      The maps they are releasing for SC2 are not copies of Left 4 Dead or Bejeweled, they’re vastly different with homeage/reference paid through the title, the Left 4 Dead “Copy” is an RTS map for pete’s sake, have a base and everything. Rob Pardo said he loves Valve games even. Do you know what a copy is anyway? It’s like not even remotely the case. It’s funny how you find Blizzard so aggravating when you’ve made up most of the reasons yourself.

  34. eduh says:

    I dont really understand why people think any conflict will come out of this…
    DOTA and Defence of The Ancients are different things.

    Valve trademarked DOTA because they are realeasing a game with that name, which happens to be based off a mod called Defence of the Ancients

    Legally there is nothing wrong with this.

    Ethically, finally some is doing DotA fans a favor.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      The terms, confusingly similar or likelihood of confusion both refer to the standard required to prove infringement of a trademark. I think in most peoples eyes the same letters in the same order describing the same type of game would constitute confusingly similar whether or not the middle two letters are a different case. Try opening a burger restaurant called mCdONALDS and see how far you get.

  35. subedii says:

    There’s a key distinction to be made here. Valve copyrighted DOTA, not DotA. As in, the game being developed by them is literally called DOTA, it’s not an acronym. Nobody’s being prevented from creating Defence of the Ancients 2 and nobody will be stopped from calling it DotA, and in fact, I believe (Riot Games?) copyrighted that term.

    Valve are creating a game in that genre, and using key modders from it to do so. The name has obvious recognition for that genre, but this is going to be a full product release, not a mod. I don’t see how Valve are “stealing” things here. It’s like saying they never should have made Team Fortress Classic or Team Fortress 2. “Team Fortress 1 was a Quake community game, how dare they!”. Well yeah, but they hired the modders from that community, and eventually released TFC and TF2.

    Most crucially, the existence of an officially Valve licensed franchise called Team Fortress has not prevented people from continuing to mod and create TF variants across other games. The Quake series variants (or as some would have it, the ORIGINAL community (“how dare they!” etc. etc.)). The UT series got its own variant of Team Fortress as well, as did AvP2, and heck, angry fanboys even made Fortress Forever for the Source engine, a mod that was designed to appeal to players of TFC. Amazingly, even the Star Trek: Voyager FPS got a version of Team Fortress. Suffice it to say, Valve may own Team Fortress now, but they don’t own the idea of Fortress style games. They never have, and probably never can really.

    If Blizzard are worried about this, it’s not like they can’t easily compete, and it’s kind of hard to say they’re not when DotA’s coming to Starcraft 2, and will likely be obscenely popular.

    The question of which one becomes the “official” version (if you can call it that given DotA’s history) is just a question of which one becomes most popular with the community. And you know what? I’m going to be bluntly honest here and say I don’t think it’s going to be the Valve version. But that’s a separate issue. People seem to be getting angry over the similarity of the name, as if it’ll somehow dilute the other communities, but that’s never going to happen. Valve’s DOTA sinks or swims on its own, same as with the other MOBA’s (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena, which is the term that people have coined for this genre of games). If someone makes Defence of the Ancients 2 and it flops, or succeeds, it won’t have been because of Valve. Just like if Team Fortress 2 was crap, it doesn’t matter about its name, people wouldn’t have played it, they’d just play the other Fortress variants.

    EDIT: Mental note: Check your speeling before posting.

  36. Clavus says:

    Haha, from the moment Valve announced that they would be making a DotA game (never played any of it or its spinoffs by the way), I knew the drama circulating the mod would come at them too. Valve retaliated in their own style with their response on the Icefrog truth thing.

    Valve is still my favourite developer. They always want to try new stuff, and I remember reading that they continually pitch ideas in the company of games in totally different genres. They might not be appealing to their usual crowd, but they want to appeal to an as large as possible public.

  37. Walty says:

    Blizzard is just upset and moody because money can’t reverse time.

    I hope they end up like SOE, I hope they combat upgrade WoW into the ground.

    Valve on the other hand, they’re alright. I don’t think it’s weird that they take people who essentially wanted to make their own game, and help them do it…

    And I can see why they copyrighted it. I’m sure Blizzard has an army of lawyers ready to tear any company apart that even remotely lays hands on anything touched by what they perceive as their companies midas touch…

    I love Blizzard… No, let me correct that. I love Stacraft, and Warcraft, and Diablo…


  38. lolor says:

    I see only Blizzard trolling Valve and accusing Valve for trolling Blizzard

  39. UW says:

    Ultimately what Valve have done is made a smart business decision. They’re clearly creating this game with a potential view to expanding on the series further (Hence they have also filed for a trademark on DOTA3), it makes sense to try to protect their assets in this way.

    Ultimately Valve’s MO for a long time has been picking up on talented modders who have been working for free, paying them to work on similar games full-time and making a profit from it. Granted up until now they have generally been doing this with mods to their own games (Alien Swarm being the only exception I know of, but since it was free then it’s difficult to include – also they don’t appear to have trademarked Alien Swarm, interestingly), but since nobody else had the initiative to try and profit directly from DOTA rather than just creating a clone of it I feel they’re within their rights to do this.

    I admit I am biased towards Valve as a brand, but I am not naive enough to think that Valve aren’t running a business before anything else. They are a business first and they will be ruthless if they need to, not only that but they are existing in an extremely competitive market where other companies are also going to be as ruthless as they need to be. Valve have seen an opportunity and taken it. They intend to develop and release a game called DOTA, they intend to make money from it and they seem to want to continue publishing games under this name.

    I for one would be surprised if they didn’t try to trademark it.

    • UW says:

      Ah, well there we go. PoLLeNSKi below me has just pointed out, TF was originally a Quake mod which is now a trademark wholly owned by Valve, so Alien Swarm isn’t the first example of them developing a game based on a mod of another company’s game.

  40. PoLLeNSKi says:

    So who owns the TF trademark, Valve or Id? I rest my case yer honour

  41. Saiko Kila says:

    So what they are giving it for free? That means they are just marketing now.

  42. airtekh says:

    If Blizzard actually gave a damn about Defense of the Ancients, they would have either trademarked the name years ago, or at the very least, kicked up a stink when Valve trademarked ‘DOTA 2’ a while ago. Quintin’s point of ‘Why now?’ is very poignant.

    If they did what Valve do with their potentially successful mods, and actually took an interest in them, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

    It’s only now that they realise Valve are going to make some money out of it that they take action. It’s a clear case of sour grapes on Blizzard’s part, and I don’t have any sympathy for them at all.

    You snooze, you lose.

  43. BarneyEX says:

    Blizzard makes starcraft 1, Koreans love starcraft 1, Kespa (Korean e-sport association) was formed, Starcraft 1 tournaments go on for 10 years healthily in Korea, Blizzard releases starcraft 2, Blizzard tries to kills off starcraft 1 by saying starcraft 1 is their “IP” to promote starcraft 2, Blizzard sues the broadcast companies in Korea.

  44. wcaypahwat says:

    TF really sums the whole situation up, to me.

    besides, love/hate them as much as you want, these are businesses. Sure, you might feel like they really care about your happiness. But that’s because you buy more from them when you like them.

    • CMaster says:

      We’ve been through this. Gabe Newell and co may well (and certainly appear to) like money.
      But as a privatley held corporation owned by the same people who run in, Valve are in no way compelled to maximize profit. They can use the company as a vehicle to acheive whatever they want. Sure, a lot of companies do aim for nothing more than to maximize cash for the owners. The reality however is a lot less than you’d expect.

  45. RandomGamer says:

    This is me, not giving a flying fizzick.

  46. frags says:

    DOTA melodrama? Don’t we already have enough of that? is Rob Pardo DOTA louse? :P

  47. Vandell says:

    Full disclosure: I love Valve for how they handle copyright. In that, they don’t – you can clearly see they use copyright just as a legal safetynet. Case in point, go to any Team Fortress 2 character video and stop at the title card. All of the videos have “Copyright Valve lolololol” on them.

    Anyhoo. The idea that it’s “wrong” to “capitalize” on DOTA when Blizzard has been doing it for years is ludicrous. Remember, you had to purchase Warcraft III + The Frozen Throne to play DotA for that game. Blizz, I have this wonderful friend I should introduce to you named Kettle.

  48. Thiefsie says:

    Well at least it isn’t called Edge or some derivation therof – we can all predict what would happen if that were the case!

    • RakeShark says:

      Better yet, someone get on the horn with Tim Langdell. Considering how much time and effort the guy has put into keeping deathly clawed hands around the phrase “Edge”, it might be at the very least a distantly humorous opinion of the DOTA/DotA situation.

  49. Spliter says:

    Valve has the law on their side. IceFrog was the last person actively using the name DOTA, not the original creators which is why he holds the rights to it.
    If you think Blizzard is gonna win then you’re probably thought Tim Langdell also would have won his dispute against EA.
    The thing is: If you have a trademark but you don’t exploit it, you lose the ownership.

    TF used to be a quake mod but then Valve hired it’s team, same here, except the current team was IceFrog and the rest of them went to other companies and gave up on DOTA, while Blizzard decided not to give credit to the DOTA upholder and make a mod themselves for starcraft 2.
    At first Valve seems to be a bad guy, but once you think about it, they’re giving credit where credit is due, and Blizzard is just using someone else’s work.

    • Smash says:

      +1 for Words of wisdom

      Honestly Dota was nothing special until IceFrog didn’t took care of it and make it what is now. Shiny Diamond.

      People are fall in love in IceFrog’s version of Dota not Eul or Guinsoo… oh and Blizzard has no rights to Dota. Intelectual right to this mod are split between this three guys i mention above with biggest chunk belongs to IceFrog.

      I will buy Dota 2 for sure just to have fun once again with my favorites heroes.

  50. RC-1290'Dreadnought' says:

    *Sigh*, Blizzard is a bit sue-happy now?

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      I think you have it backwards. Isn’t the entire point of this debate is that now Valve, having the DOTA trademark, could sue Blizzard for making a free “Blizzard DOTA” map?

    • subedii says:

      No they couldn’t?

      Because Blizzard aren’t making DOTA (what Valve copyrighted) for Starcraft 2, they’re making Defence of the Ancients for Starcraft 2.

      Valve can’t C&D anyone over the name unless they literally call their title dota as well.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      They are actually calling their map “Blizzard’s DOTA”, not sure how that makes much of a difference, anyway.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Blizzard themselves are making a starcraft 2 mod called ‘left 2 die’ with the left 4 dead logo:

      link to

      So they can hardly sue.

      Perhaps it has been done on purpose to satirise DOTA 2…