Blizzard wants the Heroes of Warcraft domain but someone else owns it.
Rather than pay, Blizzard complained to the National Arbitration Forum. To win ownership, Blizzard must demonstrate three things, reports Fusible:
- That the disputed domain name registered by the Respondent is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark or service mark in which the Complainant has rights; and
- That the Respondent has no rights or legitimate interests in respect of the disputed domain name; and
- That the disputed domain name has been registered and is being used in bad faith
The more pertinent question underpinning this is why Blizzard wants the domain. What is Heroes of Warcraft if anything at all?
Could it be a new name for Blizzard All-Stars, the MOBA once known as Blizzard DOTA until Valve won a court case and Blizzard had to pick a new name? It looks increasingly likely that Blizzard All-Stars will be more than the StarCraft 2 mod it once began life as - perhaps a fully-fledged free-to-play League of Legends rival? Ironic that Blizzard must fight to usurp a game born out of a mod for Warcraft 3.
Another suggestion doing the rounds is that this is evidence of Warcraft 4. Fusible remembered Warcraft 3 starting life as Heroes of Warcraft, which tallies. But I'm less convinced; Blizzard already has its RTS eggs in the StarCraft 2 basket, the online presence it lacks is a F2P MOBA.
Other suggestions are Heroes of Warcraft being a mobile or smaller game like Hero Academy, or a card battler a bit like Mojang's new game Scrolls.
Or this could be Blizzard mopping up domains it doesn't own. Or this could be tied to a marketing campaign for World of Warcraft. Note that Blizzard picked up the WarcraftBattles.com URL last month as well.
Blizzard tried to trick everyone on April Fool's Day 2007 into thinking an RTS called Warcraft: Heroes of Azeroth was coming out. The dummy announcement played on WOW players not knowing Warcraft had a history pre-MMO.
The domain Heroes of Warcraft belonged to an SEO company called Redsauce that's now defunct. The person who registered the domain while there doesn't have ownership access any more. The domain expires in March. Until then, Blizzard complaining to the National Arbitration Forum could be the only way Heroes of Warcraft will change hands.
I've also asked Blizzard for comment.