Blizzard reworking StarCraft 2 DotA mod; dodging 'DotA' name

By Alice O'Connor, Aug 22, 2011 2:00pm PDT

Blizzard is looking to make its Defense of the Ancients All-Stars-inspired custom map for StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty less intimidating for new players. What's more, with Valve using the DotA name for its upcoming title Dota 2, Blizzard is steering well clear using the name for its own release.

Blizzard has been wrestling with "getting it right and just meeting the Blizzard quality bar, and questioning a lot of the assumptions behind the genre," senior game designer Jonny Ebbert told Eurogamer, adding that "is what [they] do at Blizzard".

"DotA's a very addictive game that chases the vast majority of people off because their team mates are screaming at them. We've always felt DotA has a very accessible, easy to approach fun game deep down inside that's just waiting to come out," he explained. "We've just been basically carving around that and trying to knock off all the rough edges and really make it more user friendly."

Currently named 'Blizzard All-Stars,' the map is expected to launch sometime this year. Shacknews previewed the map during BlizzCon in October 2010.

"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," Blizzard's Frank Pearce told Eurogamer elsewhere.

Whether Blizzard All-Stars will remain the release's final name is unclear. After Valve filed a trademark on "Dota" for Dota 2, Defense of the Ancients notables began filing trademarks of their own. Former DotA All-Stars developer Steve 'Guinsoo' Feak and its original website creator Steve 'Pendragon' Mescon registered the trademarks "Dota-Allstars" and "Defense of the Ancients," along with making a play for the "Dota" name itself.

"We have filed for the 'Defense of the Ancients' trademark to protect the work that dozens of authors have invested to create the game and on behalf of the millions of DotA players all over the world," Mescon told PC Gamer. Mescon adds that if they were able to obtain the trademark, they "would keep the game and the DotA name freely available to the mod community."

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has said that the name Dota 2 simply fits with the vision of a sequel from current DotA All-Stars developer 'IceFrog,' who's also working on Dota 2.

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