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Blizzard will rename DOTA mod to avoid legal issues

Giving fans the experience more important than fighting Valve over trademark

Blizzard is committed to releasing a DOTA mod for StarCraft 2 despite Valve trademarking on the name "Dota" for its forthcoming sequel.

Speaking to Eurogamer at Gamescom, Frank Peace, Blizzard's vice president of product development, said that the company would prefer to rename the product than delay its release with a trademark dispute.

"From my perspective, DOTA is a genre in this space, at this point, and almost a sub genre of the real-time strategy space," Peace said.

"It doesn't seem like something someone would want to trademark, but the US legal system lets people do just about anything they want to try."

DOTA, or Defence of the Ancients, was a mod created for Blizzard's Warcraft 3 that became hugely popular in its own right.

Valve trademarked the name last year after hiring Abdul Ismail - who maintained the original DOTA mod under the pseudonym IceFrog - to lead the development on a sequel, Dota 2.

Last year, Blizzard's Rob Pardo told Eurogamer that, "It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point."

"Valve is usually so pro mod community. It's such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us... I really don't understand why [they would do it], to be honest."

Peace wouldn't comment on Blizzard's legal position on the matter, but he insisted that its name is less important to DOTA's identity than the gameplay experience.

"At the end of the day, the name and the label we put on that mod for StarCraft 2 is not as critical as the gameplay experience we create and deliver to the fans. We will not hold back the experience from the fans because of a naming conflict. We'll find a way to get it into the hands of our fans either way."

Dota 2 was unveiled at Gamescom in an invitation-only tournament with a prize of $1 million. Gabe Newell defended Valve's position on the grounds that the name Dota 2 accurately conveys what the product will be, and that the community should be allowed to decide on its propriety.   "The community is usually pretty unambiguous in their opinions about stuff, so, now they've had a chance to see the game they're going to tell us pretty clearly whether they think it's an appropriate name for it," he said.

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.