Honesty is the Best Policy, If It Gets You a Trip to BlizzCon

A gold master StarCraft source code disc was found out in the wild, and after much internal conflict, the individual returned it to Blizzard.


Sometimes valuable things just fall in your lap–a winning lottery ticket, an inheritance from an unknown relative, and even a gold master StarCraft source code disc. That last one really happened to a Reddit user, and his good deed in returning it to Blizzard ended up bringing a treasure trove of goodies.

Khemist49 was bargain shopping on eBay and found the 19-year-old disc in a box of stuff he purchased that apparently had been squirreled away in a storage unit and was forgotten. After posting about it, he wasn't sure what to do with it and was getting enough conflicting advice to drive him nuts. Some of the more unscrupulous types suggested he make the code public, while others said he was "scummy" if he didn't return it. Of course, Blizzard got wind of it, and its lawyers asked him to return the "intellectual property." After seeking legal advice, he chose to return it. And that's when the fun began.

First, Blizzard sent him a copy of Overwatch and dropped $250 in store credit on him. And then, out of the blue, a Blizzard rep calls him to invite him to BlizzCon. He said he had never been and didn't have the money to attend since he lives on the East Coast, but Blizzard took care of it will an all- expenses-paid trip, including drinks with the team. And if that wasn't enough, he got another huge box of Overwatch and Diablo PC swag and peripherals.

Blizzard “wanted to show an appropriate level of appreciation to the player for doing the right thing, not just from Blizzard, but on behalf of the large and active community of players who still enjoy StarCraft today,” the company said in an email to Kotaku.

So now we know the whole story on how StarCraft Remastered came about. Ok, maybe not, but the tale does show that in this case, honesty paid handsomely.

Contributing Editor
From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 4, 2017 8:45 AM

    John Keefer posted a new article, Honesty is the Best Policy, If It Gets You a Trip to BlizzCon

    • reply
      May 4, 2017 8:48 AM

      Ok so forgive my idiotic question. But what benefit does the StarCraft source code have? Could you not get the same information from the actual shipped game, or is it encrypted or something.

      • reply
        May 4, 2017 8:54 AM


        • reply
          May 4, 2017 9:02 AM

          So it would be much easier to change a minor thing like the damage one unit does and then recompile the game after?

          • reply
            May 4, 2017 9:06 AM

            it's not as if you would be able to build a new version of the game yourself with different values and then play online with normal users. The game code and services have various security checks.

            • reply
              May 4, 2017 9:20 AM

              Right. So what would be the point and why would blizzard really care that much.

              • reply
                May 4, 2017 9:26 AM

                because it's Blizzard's IP that they own. Just because there's some security checks in the online services doesn't mean you can legally just dump the source code online if you somehow obtained it.

              • reply
                May 4, 2017 9:32 AM

                Sentimental value.

      • reply
        May 4, 2017 11:28 AM

        If I'm following it right it's literally the source code for the game. As in, the C++ source code. Like derelict515 said, it's not that it would be advantageous for you online or anything but it's proprietary source code that Blizzard has not made public themselves.

        It's not as serious as if, say, the source code for DOOM 2016 leaked out or if the source code for a game whose engine was actively being licensed today was leaked out (potentially making it less valuable for licensing purposes) but it's still something I'm sure Blizzard would rather not be made public.

        Of course to some extent there's been movement towards source code secrecy not being as important as before. Back in the day id Software would charge $250k or more for their code, today you can get the source code to Unreal Engine 4 for free and just pay royalties on your game if you make it big.

    • reply
      May 4, 2017 9:09 AM

      That's cool, but man... Could he sell the BlizzCon ticket? I have zero desire to go to something like that.

      • DM7 legacy 10 years
        May 4, 2017 9:22 AM

        It's all expenses paid man. Why wouldn't ya go?

        • reply
          May 4, 2017 9:27 AM

          I'd have to take time off work, round up the family (who probably wouldn't be included), and I hate flying. Plus I don't really enjoy conventions. Last time I went to a comic-con I was stuck behind some neckbeard who smelled like stale unwashed ass and it was unbearable. Then you're there and all it is is overpriced junk no one needs. BlizzCon could be a better one and if this dude is into it, that's super cool. Just saying it's presumptuous thinking everyone would be chomping at the bit to go.

          • reply
            May 4, 2017 9:35 AM

            Perhaps if he'd declined they would have given him something else

          • reply
            May 4, 2017 11:33 AM

            I think it's an awesome thing they offered him and they've gone out of their way to pay his way so surely he would have said something about it by now if he hated conventions as much as you do. Jesus Christ.

      • reply
        May 4, 2017 4:14 PM

        He could have sold the disc for way more I'm guessing

    • reply
      May 4, 2017 9:39 AM

      Very interesting article. Thanks for doing it!

    • reply
      May 4, 2017 11:31 AM

      I think it's amazing that they had silkscreened copies of the source code of their games on disc. Like, not some CD-R marked up with a Sharpie, but halfway professional branding. Wonder if it was just so it's easier to find later or if it was a common thing for employees to take the source code home with them back then.

Hello, Meet Lola