The launch of Warcraft 3: Reforged has been rocky to say the least. The game has launched without a ladder, the promised UI is pretty much exactly the same as the original game, and those promised dialogue and cutscene updates are really something.
These issues are all minor in the face of the largest of them all. It’s one that Blizzard themselves wouldn’t consider a problem but custom map creators have to suck up: Any Warcraft 3: Reforged custom games are property of Blizzard.
This claim isn’t being hyperbolic or an exaggeration in any way. The exact phrasing of the section of the EULA is as follows:
Custom Games are and shall remain the sole and exclusive property of Blizzard. Without limiting the foregoing, you hereby assign to Blizzard all of your rights, title, and interest in and to all Custom Games, including but not limited to any copyrights in the content of any Custom Games.
If for any reason you are prevented or restricted from assigning any rights in the Custom Games to Blizzard, you grant to Blizzard an exclusive, perpetual, worldwide, unconditional, royalty free, irrevocable license enabling Blizzard to fully exploit the Custom Games (or any component thereof) for any purpose and in any manner whatsoever.
What this means is Blizzard is able to claim any custom game modes and content as their own and use it however they wish — including taking content creators’ hard work and claiming it as their own.
Punishment for Missing the Boat
It’s not hard to see why Blizzard has decided to take this stance if you understand the history behind Warcraft 3 and DotA. Well-before League of Legends smashed onto the scene, there was the Warcraft 3 custom game DotA.
Despite being a Warcraft 3 custom game, DotA dominated a large part of the competitive gaming scene for nearly a decade and eventually became more popular than the game that housed it. In time, DotA-likes such as League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth led the charge into the full-fledged MOBA genre that continues today.
Eventually, Valve wrangled in DotA developer IceFrog to create Dota 2 as a full-fledged titled, before Blizzard could get to him themselves. And so Blizzard was left to cobble their own MOBA together in Heroes of the Storm, without the characters that were so well-known to the community and without the vision of the original game.
It’s no mystery why Blizzard has decided to grasp onto any potential massive hits within Warcraft 3‘s custom game sphere — you would, too, if you were burned by being too slow on the draw to lock down an emerging genre.
The objective failure of Heroes of the Storm doesn’t help, either. (Hey, don’t shoot the messenger here. I played HotS daily for over a year. Nothing changes the fact its competitive scene has been gutted and development put on the backburner.)
This isn’t just a slap to the face to the vast majority of content creators for the Warcraft 3 scene that dump hundreds of hours into working up new and creative game modes, it’s a glaring example of just how far the Blizzard of today is from what its fanbase imagines it to be.
It’s no one but Blizzard’s own fault that they didn’t get on the Dota 2 train in time, but content creators for this new half-baked Warcraft 3 remaster will have to suffer for Blizzard’s own inaction all those years ago.
How anyone could possibly defend this decision is totally and utterly beyond me, but one thing is for certain: this EULA ensures Warcraft 3: Reforged‘s custom game scene is dead on arrival.