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Blizzard sues Hearthstone clone developer

Warcraft maker and NetEase looking for $1.65 million from developer of Android, iOS look-alike

Blizzard Entertainment and its Chinese licensing partner NetEase are accusing a Chinese developer of cloning Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, according to an MMO Culture translation of multiple Chinese-language reports. The alleged clone in this case is Legend of Crouching Dragon by Unico Interactive.

Blizzard and Netease are claiming that Legend of Crouching Dragon infringes on their rights, and the pair is seeking 10 million Yuan ($1.65 million) in restitution. A YouTube video showing gameplay from Unico's tactical card game shows clear similarities in the layout, interface, and visual style of the two games.

While the legal sparring has already started, neither game has had a full release yet. Hearthstone entered its open beta phase yesterday, while Legend of Crouching Dragon has been in beta for several months. Hearthstone is not available on mobile platforms yet, but Blizzard has announced plans to bring the game to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 Touch.

As of press time, a Blizzard representative had not returned request for comment.

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Latest comments (14)

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
They're both shit. Combat Monsters is where it's at. :)
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Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London2 years ago
I do hope I'm interpreting the smiley face at the end correctly as a joke Paul, as I've been in the Hearthstone beta for a few months now and I love it to bits! <3

:)
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
The smiley is for my rudeness, but the comment stands imo. :)

(Combat Monsters is our own take on this genre. Not as pretty graphics, but shitloads more gameplay and content last time I looked. That once mattered more.)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Johnson on 23rd January 2014 5:29am

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Show all comments (14)
Looks like a totally different game to me, Paul...

I've been playing in the HS beta(which is now open to all in EU as of today!) and I absolutely love it. I haven't played such a beautifully polished and relentlessly fun game in a long while. Not normally a competitive player but the gentle difficulty curve and strategising really grabs me. I've even bought a few packs of cards, and the process of opening and discovering what's inside a pack is incredibly satisfying. Polish polish polish, that's what makes Hearthstone extra special.
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Kieren Bloomfield Software Engineer, EA Sports2 years ago
So hang on, Blizzard are complaining someone is copying their game, before they've even finished making it?

There has to be something said for keeping your cards to your self until the hand is complete...
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance2 years ago
I feel like a CCG with mythological creatures has been done before... possibly by some wizards who call the west coast home.
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Rafa Ferrer Localisation Manager, Red Comet Media2 years ago
@Steve - You beat me to it.
If I look for a good, polished to an ever-successful-since-the-90's level, original collectible card game that every other developer in this field has tried to copy and failed to date, both printed (WoW and many others) and digital (since the first Duels of the Planeswalkers for Xbox Live, PSN and Steam, and now mobile), I know where to look.
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Edward Buffery Head of LQA (UK), Testronic2 years ago
Some cloning accusations are grey areas and open to personal interpretation and / or over-zealous legal departments suing simply because they can. This however, seems pretty black and white...
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Steve Wetz Reviewer/Assistant Editor, Gamer's Glance2 years ago
I dunno. We're talking about someone complaining that their clone of a clone got cloned. Unless you live on Kamino, how could you complain?
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online2 years ago
So Blizzard clones Magic Online and sues because now their clone gets cloned? What a world we live in!
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I'm seeing a lot of people who don't really know much about CCGs in this comments thread...

Besides the fairly obvious nature of this case - the Chinese developer cloned the styling of the cards, the menu layouts, the 'searching for an opponent' interface, even how play transitions from one screen to the next, just everything - looking at any given card game and calling it a clone of M:tG is like looking at any FPS and calling it a clone of Halo. Yes, there are mechanical similarities, but that's what makes a genre a genre, and Hearthstone certainly has enough uniqueness and style to call itself a game and not a mere clone.
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Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London2 years ago
Jessica nailed it.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany2 years ago
@Paul
They're both shit. Combat Monsters is where it's at. :)
And people here saying that I am unprofessional and aggressive in some of my answers...
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Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development2 years ago
Just add smileys.
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