It's all smiles for Ryan Winzen, creator of head-turning StarCraft II mod World of StarCraft. After an ominous start to the week when Activision's legal team blocked videos of the mod on YouTube, Winzen now finds himself with a job offer from League of Legends developer Riot Games and an invite to Blizzard HQ by the StarCraft II and World of Warcraft maker itself.
Blizzard is happy for the mod to live on, but the name must be changed - World of StarCraft, Winzen confirmed on his forum, is a trademark owned by Blizzard.
"The Deputy General Council from Blizzard contacted me last night to discuss the details of the World of StarCraft project. We talked for a while and apparently some people from Blizz were concerned I was developing the game somehow outside of SC2," Winzen explained.
"Anyway, I explained the details of the project to him and made it clear this mod was to be developed within SC2. After that was clear he obviously wanted the name to be changed.
"I'm trying to work with him to get the name StarCraft Universe (Currently in holding by Mille25) or StarCraft Chronicles.
"I am fully respectful of Blizzard's intellectual property," Winzen added, "and they DO in fact own a copyright on World of StarCraft and have EVERY RIGHT to do what they did. If I want to continue this project I'm at the mercy of Blizzard's good graces since they OWN it all."
World of StarCraft puts the assets of StarCraft II into a World of Warcraft mould. The video shows a character selection screen as the demonstrator flicks through the available class options. The footage also shows a group battling monsters in the StarCraft II world. Action is third-person, as in WOW, and the requisite health bars and skill bars of an MMO user interface are present.
"It was never our intention to stop development on the mod or discourage the community from expressing their creativity through the StarCraft II editor," said Blizzard in a statement. "As always, we actively encourage development of custom maps and mods for StarCraft II, as we've done with our strategy games in the past."
"With the name so closely resembling that of World of Warcraft, we wanted to discuss the title of the mod with the developer, and as part of our routine procedure, we contacted YouTube to request the video be removed while that discussion took place.
"We were also curious about the project and wanted to discuss with the developer what the mod entailed," Blizzard added.
Winzen went on to explain that while Riot Games expressed an interest in his work and talent, he is "not special" and will still have to go through the company's job application service to apply for a game design role.
"I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do at the moment," admitted Winzen. "There's a lot going on outside of what I've even mentioned here.
"Literally overnight I've grown from a nobody to a guy that half a million people want to design a mod. I've had professional composers contact me, dozens upon dozens of game designers and programmers and organizers. Many professionals seeking a fun hobby project even though there is NO MONEY TO BE MADE."