The original Defense of the Ancients (DOTA) was a mod of Warcraft III, a Blizzard game, and other variants and DOTA projects have, for the most part, centered around Blizzard products. Blizzard didn’t cry foul when Valve hired DOTA’s lead designer, or when Valve announced a stand-alone sequel called DOTA 2. In fact, both companies are creating games with DOTA branding, with Blizzard DOTA in development. It’s not surprising, then, that Blizzard objected when Valve tried to lock up the entire DOTA world by trademarking DOTA. Blizzard filed a brief with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and two of the best game developers in existence came to blows.
Now, the companies have released a statement announcing that the two have come to an agreement on the issue. Valve will still get to use DOTA commercially, but will not interfere with Blizzard using the branding for player-created maps for its games. This seems to be what was happening anyway, but it’s understandable that Blizzard wanted some assurance. However, in a sign that perhaps Valve got the better of this deal (or simply to avoid confusion) Blizzard DOTA has been renamed Blizzard All-Stars. No more details of the agreement have been released, and neither company has plans to discuss the agreement further.
“Both Blizzard and Valve recognize that, at the end of the day, players just want to be able to play the games they’re looking forward to, so we’re happy to come to an agreement that helps both of us stay focused on that,” said Rob Pardo, executive vice president of game design at Blizzard Entertainment. “As part of this agreement, we’re going to be changing the name of Blizzard DOTA to Blizzard All-Stars, which ultimately better reflects the design of our game. We look forward to going into more detail on that at a later date.”
Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve, also released a statement that seemed very focused on the games’ fans and players:
“We’re pleased that we could come to an agreement with Blizzard without drawing things out in a way that would benefit no one. We both want to focus on the things our fans care about, creating and shipping great games for our communities.”
If both Blizzard and Valve are truly as focused on their player bases as these statements make it seem, it is easy to see why they are so highly regarded within the gaming community. It’s also good to see a patent dispute resolved in a relatively peaceful manner for a change.