Blizzard game design boss Rob Pardo thinks that Valve's attempt to trademark DOTA "doesn't seem the right thing to do".
Pardo told Eurogamer that Blizzard was confused by Valve's move and believes it has the right to use the term in the name of its free StarCraft II mod, Blizzard DOTA, announced at BlizzCon today.
DOTA refers to the hugely popular online gametype born of the famous Warcraft III mod, Defence of the Ancients. Valve is currently developing DOTA 2 for its Source engine after employing some of the DOTA mod development community. Superannuation discovered that Valve had filed a trademark registration for DOTA earlier this year.
"To us, that means that you're really taking it away from the Blizzard and Warcraft III community and that just doesn't seem the right thing to do," said Pardo, Blizzard's executive vice president of game design.
Pardo described his reaction to the move as "a little bit of confusion, to be honest. Certainly, DOTA came out of the Blizzard community... It just seems a really strange move to us that Valve would go off and try to exclusively trademark the term considering it's something that's been freely available to us and everyone in the Warcraft III community up to this point.
"Valve is usually so pro mod community. It's such a community company that it just seems like a really strange move to us... I really don't understand why [they would do it], to be honest."
Valve's DOTA development is led by Abdul Ismail, known as IceFrog. Ismail was recently the target of an anonymous rant by a supposed Valve employee who called him a "compulsive liar", "unpleasantly domineering" and "poisonous to the company".
"He's one of the guys that most recently had been working on the DOTA Allstars map," said Pardo. "So I'm assuming, since he wants to continue making that map, that [Valve] felt like they should be able to trademark it."
Blizzard is showing internally-developed free mods for StarCraft II at BlizzCon this weekend. The biggest project of these is Blizzard DOTA, a Defence of the Ancients variant starring Blizzard characters from across its franchises, including Warcraft and Diablo ("a bit like Super Smash Brothers," according to the panel that unveiled it).
What if Valve were to object to Blizzard's use of the term for Blizzard DOTA, we aksed? "Our response is that they don't own the term DOTA at this point. It's something that they're filing for," Pardo said.
"Our contention is that it should continue to be available to Blizzard and to our community."