It's been a week since the Activision Blizzard Q4 2011 Conference Call, and I haven't much seen any gaming network site jump at this curious find.
Why was this not a breaking news headliner is beyond me. I still wish to emphasize that this is mere rumor, a stretch, far-fetched thought -- any way you wish to name it, but not yet an official fact.
That aside, let's get into gear to keep the rumor mill greased up and operational.
Let's start with the submission of clues and get deep into the Elementary, my dear Watson. During the conference call last week, Mike Morhaime said the following words about Blizzard DOTA:
Morhaime: Finally, we continue development work on Blizzard DOTA, a new free-to-play online game which we showcased at the last BlizzCon. Blizzard DOTA is being created using the StarCraft II engine and is based on an online gaming style that’s become quite popular in recent years.
We believe Blizzard DOTA has unique design elements that will distinguish it from competitors. More importantly, our game will feature well-known heroes and characters from all Blizzard franchises in the game, giving it instant recognition and appeal among Blizzard gamers. As with Heart of the Swarm, we’re looking forward to sharing more news about Blizzard DOTA at a later date.
Exhibit A: The quote above doesn't mention anywhere the word "mod" (modding or total conversion).
Exhibit B: Blizzard Entertainment v. Valve @ Trademark Trial and Appeal Board -- This is not a lawsuit. It's an opposition to Valve's attempt at trademarking the term DOTA, DotA, or any variant. I don't personally think Blizzard wants to trademark the term DOTA either. However, if Blizzard was to launch a stand-alone game named Blizzard DOTA, rather than a mod to StarCraft II, then I could see with more reason why Blizzard wishes to protect the Warcraft III DOTA community. Valve would be in a position to sue Blizzard if they launched a bonafide game with the trademark: "Blizzard DOTA".
Exhibit C: Did your eyes not popup when you see the slideshow graph shown at the conference call last week? Let me refresh your mind or introduce you if you missed the conference call.
Exhibit C has a couple of interesting clues.
Exhibit C.1: The list is divided in columns. Each column represents a video game (IP): World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Blizzard DOTA, Warcraft, New MMO. Hmm? Blizzard DOTA?
Exhibit C.2: Why not list Blizzard DOTA under the StarCraft II column along with Heart of the Swarm, Exp. Pack, SCII: Wings of Liberty, StarCraft, and Blizzard Arcade (wait, Blizzard Arcade? huh? Another mystery)
Exhibit C.3: The most obvious shocker in this slideshow graph which suggests a stand-alone game is the color code. Blizzard DOTA is illustrated in purple. According to the graph legend at the bottom of the image, purple stands for "Retail and Battle.net digital download".
With the evidence laid on the table, I rest my case. Let the jury determine if this rumor is far-fetched, or some truth about it. Will Blizzard DOTA be sold at retail stores like Amazon, Gamestop, and others as an individual product?