Blizzard Invites ‘World of Starcraft’ Modder to Meet StarCraft II Team

Blizzard Entertainment just released a statement regarding the World of Starcraft mod situation, and it seems they were as impressed with the videos of the mash-up of its two big properties as the rest of the Internet.

In an email to press, Blizzard PR Manager Bob Colayco says the company has extended an offer to modder Ryan Winzen to come hang with the StarCraft II dev team. The company fully supports the modding community and is excited to see where the World of Starcraft mod goes in the future.

Winzen posted videos of the mod on YouTube showing off some pre-alpha gameplay and classes. After the videos started making the rounds on the Internet, Winzen received a notice from YouTube that the videos had been removed pending a copyright dispute with Blizzard. That info got picked up and passed around as well, and although it seemed like the name of the mod was at issue, there was speculation that a cease and desist order might be on its way. Winzen wrote on his forum for the mod that he was more than willing to change the name, but he seemed worried the project was going to get squashed, too.

Colayco writes that Blizzard’s issue was, in fact, about the name of the mod and the use of the trademarks involved. It wasn’t necessarily taking legal action against Winzen, but was starting to initiate a discussion with him about changing the name — and part of that procedure was to have YouTube remove Winzen’s videos until the situation was resolved.

Either way, it’s been something of a boon week for Winzen and his mod, which got all kinds of attention and possibly even a job offer from Riot Games. It’s also nice to see that Blizzard isn’t coming down hard on a modder with a good, although potentially copyright-infringing, idea — the company actually seems really amicable about it. Hooray for civility and an appreciation of a fan community.

You can read Blizzard’s full email below.

Hi everyone,

We appreciate everyone’s interest in the matter of Ryan Winzen’s MMO-style mod for StarCraft II. Blizzard Entertainment’s official statement is as follows:

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.

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.

Bob Colayco
Public Relations Manager
Blizzard Entertainment

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