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Blizzard bans copyright IPs, claims ownership of all maps in Warcraft 3: Reforged

Warcraft 3: Reforged

With the launch of the remaster, it’s mostly fun and games, although one particular element has been met with harsh criticism from the community. Warcraft 3: Reforged is a good game and solid remaster. With 7 different campaigns, two different graphical modes and tons of new gameplay potential, RTS fans are pretty happy. One new twist though has put a damper on the fun.

The reveal of the remaster has also resulted in Blizzard making some pretty severe rule changes to the output from the included map creator suite. The map creator in Warcraft 3: Reforged is based directly on the same toolset from the older game, with all of the new assets included. This toolset led many gamers to create some truly crazy things. The original Defense of the Ancients (DotA) was even created as a mod using this toolset.

The report function is a pretty reasonable expectation. After all, you don’t want custom maps that attempt to trigger seizures, trauma or do other nasty things. The IP blocking is tricky, but still understood to be necessary. Although there is a fair point to be made about non-commercial fair use within the map creator, it’s just Blizzard covering themselves legally. Games and other entertainment industries are pretty litigious these days, so it’s understandable why this rule was put in place as well.

The much less well-received clarification involves creative output, and how Blizzard has just annihilated any concept of creative freedom.

With this rule, Blizzard can monetize any and all creative works, derivative concepts or new ideas made within the Warcraft 3: Reforged map toolset. This means that if you use the map editor to prototype a new game idea in the RTS genre, Blizzard could claim ownership of the resulting idea. It’s not as simple as the hypothetical makes it seem, Blizzard would have to argue that ownership in court, but this rule makes that process much easier. This means that if someone creates the next DOTA, Blizzard just claimed effective ownership over the entire thing, freezing out the creators of such a product.

As one user put it in response to this, “blizzard proving just how thoroughly the WC3 mapmaker scene could never, ever have happened in today’s industry.”

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