StarCraft modder offered dev job following Blizzard conflict

Riot Games courts creator of contentious 'World of StarCraft' MMO

A lone StarCraft 2 modder has been courted by League of Legends developer Riot Games, following an apparent conflict with Activision-Blizzard over his creation.

'Ryan' was working on a home-made MMO using StarCraft II's Galaxy Editor, which he bravely chose to title 'World of StarCraft.'

Following the mod's coverage on various websites, YouTube pulled his work in progress videos, claiming copyright infringement notices sent by 'Activision Games Inc.' So far, only the videos are affected; the mod's forum and the project itself is yet to receive any such order.

Ryan claimed not to have been contacted by Blizzard directly, meaning the exact reason for the copyright notice was ambiguous. Some have speculated the take-down was purely to do with the inevitably troublesome name, and others the very nature of the project.

Following a public protestation and plea for clarification as to whether he could continue to work on the mod, he claimed last night that " I just spoke with a Blizzard official, and the issue is being worked on.

"Because of the sensitive nature of what's going on, I'm going to wait until the dust has settled to comment further."

In the meantime, Riot Games design director Tom Cadwell, previously a World of Warcraft designer, contacted Ryan with a possible offer of employment.

"When I see a modder with a lot of drive that has done something cool, I tend to contact them," he confirmed on Riot's forums. "I shot him an email recently asking if he was interested in exploring an opportunity here. As to what comes of that, who knows -- that depends on the mutual fit and his own goals."

He also offered his own thoughts on the Blizzard wrangle. "I don't know because I'm not a Blizzard employee, but I seriously doubt this is anything other than the fact he named the mod World of StarCraft, which has an air of legitimacy that borderline infringes on Blizzard.

"Blizzard is very supportive of their modders, but also vigorously depends certain aspects of their IP (as they should and must)."

Ryan later told PixelatedGeek that "I would be a complete idiot not to... I've waited my whole life for something like this."

Blizzard is yet to respond to requests for clarification.

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Latest comments (15)

Nice te see talented people getting picked up.

I play League of Legends myself, awesome game.
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Christoffer Radsby Environment artist - 3D artist 7 years ago
I love seeing stuff like this happen, studios/publishers offering jobs when talent emerges from the shadows.
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John McGrath Student - Computer Games Development BSc 7 years ago
Grats to Ryan! Me next! me me me me me me!!
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Show all comments (15)
John McGrath Student - Computer Games Development BSc 7 years ago
Grats to Ryan! Me next! me me me me me me!!
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It could be that Blizzard is planing its own option to name any future MMOs world of starcraft. This preemptive strike probably has its PR division up in arms :)
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Daniel Vardy Studying HND IT, De Montfort University7 years ago
there is a lot of talent to be found in the mod communities
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Stefano Ronchi Indie Game Developer 7 years ago
Very nice news and I join in saying congrats to Ryan, well done dude!!

Hopefully a valuable lesson for all indie devs: make your work public, dont be shy! Unless I'm getting it wrong my understanding is that by making your work public -such as via youtube- it is very hard to plagiarise it/steal the idea as there is physical proof that the work is being made by yourself and thousands of people have seen this proof. Hopefully one of those thousands -such as in Ryans case- will be a prospective employer and you'll get snatched up.

So dont be shy, set-up a website and youtube the crap out of your work, again grats Ryan!
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Graham Simpson Tea boy, Collins Stewart7 years ago
A lesson to all who are studying or going to college. It's one thing to learn the gaming tools but ultimately creativity, self-belief, drive and home grown talent trumps a sheet of paper saying you can make games everytime.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Graham Simpson on 20th January 2011 12:54pm

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Jordan Woodward Level Designer, Codemasters Birmingham7 years ago
It's great hearing stories like this. Well deserved.

I hope Blizzard/Acti leave him to it, I imagine they'll be wanting the World of Starcraft name though :P
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William Chan European Media Sales Planner, Electronic Arts7 years ago
Congratulations Ryan, you've made great impact!

Hopefully it'll inspire some more modders to set their sights high.
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Ryan Duffin Animator 7 years ago
Dr. Chee Ming Wong:

I imagine it has more to do with companies being legally obligated to defend their trademarks or else they lose them. I'm sure on the enthusiast press sites, Activision is going to be painted as the villain for this but they don't actually have a choice.
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Activision sure is racking up those karmic points :)
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Curt Sampson Sofware Developer 7 years ago
There's a big difference between a copyright violation (for which a DMCA takedown can be issued) and a trademark violation (for which it can not be issued). The reason the DMCA can be used to take down others' content so easily is that there's no penalty for issuing a bad DMCA notice, but issuing a counter-notice to put one's content back up again opens you to a perjury charge unless you really know what you're doing.

That said, at least in this case the poor fellow got some publicity out of the whole mess that's clearly leading to good things.
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I was really hoping to play this game. I have no idea how to make these games, but it sure would have been fun to try that baby out.

I don't get this whole thing. It would have really ticked me the heck off. Activision might be trying to protect itself, but it could have at least said, Hey buddy just change the name and we are all good.

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Thiago Vignoli Creative Director, Fan Studios7 years ago
This is happens so much in industry of games in next years, and I have to say, Blizzard need be more friendly. Great work of Ryan, really good.
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