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Blizzard Offers MMO Modder Mercy

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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Alec Meer

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