Valve and Blizzard, two of the biggest game developers for PC, have just recently begun what could become a years-long feud.
Defense of the Ancients, or “Dota” as it is known, is a mod that was fan-created for Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 game. Well, Valve (creators of Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead etc.) is now trying to trademark the name “Dota” in order to make DOTA 2. At the very least, one of the creators, “Icefrog”, is going to work with Valve to create Dota 2. The issue here is that Dota is a mod for a Blizzard game, but does Blizzard own the rights to it because their own game was used to create it, do the original Dota creators own the name, or is it simply up for grabs to the first person who trademarks it?
Rob Pardo, Blizzard’s executive vice president of game design said, “To us, that means that you’re really taking it away from the Blizzard and Warcraft III community and that just doesn’t seem the right thing to do”.
For those of you who’ve never played Dota, it’s hard to tell exactly what it is from this picture. Essentially, two armies of 1-5 heroes face off against each other. Each hero levels up and gets new abilities, buys new items, and (ideally) uses teamwork to defeat the other team. The mod was created using Warcraft 3, but is a completely different type of game, and may even be considered a whole new genre.
The funny thing about this issue is that Dota has been a mod for Warcraft 3 since 2003, and had already been popular in 2005. The popularity has only been increasing since then, with millions of people playing it. Valve saw an opportunity, and they took it. They’re working with “Icefrog”, and I applaud them for working with, and awarding, the amateur development community. The only thing I hope they do, if they are able to make DOTA 2, is financially compensate the original creators of Defense of the Ancients. Valve just recently gave upwards of $50,000 to fans who participated in the creation of hats that were sold for use in Team Fortress 2 (hats!), and they often invest in amateur talent to help create new games. What was Blizzard doing all that time that Dota was popular? Blizzard is planning on implementing the ability for mod-creators to sell their maps on Star Craft 2, but there aren’t any details on things like whether or not Blizzard will be profiting on those user-created maps (or how much of a cut they’ll be taking).
Some gamers are siding with Valve, applauding them for supporting the mod community, and some are siding with Blizzard, saying that a mod made on a Blizzard game should stay that way. One thing for sure is that this is going to be a battle if it reaches court, and a long-time feud between Valve, Blizzard, and the fans, who may now be choosing sides.
The original story can be found on Eurogamer