World of Warcraft Classic isn't the only blast from the Azeroth path to come out of Blizzard this month—World of Warcraft lawsuits are also back in the news. The operator of a web-based and mobile game that brazenly ripped off World of Warcraft has halted operations two weeks after Blizzard filed a lawsuit against it.
As reported by Polygon, Blizzard launched the suit against Chinese game developer Sina Games earlier this month, saying "is almost entirely copied from the Warcraft games and related products." The images on the Glorious Saga Facebook page and Google Play listing (where it's called Glorious World, although the screens still refer to it as Glorious Saga) are obviously lifted from Warcraft, but Blizzard said in its lawsuit that the similarities run much deeper than just that.
"Every character in the Infringing Game was copied from a character from the Warcraft games, and many even bear the names of popular characters from the Warcraft games such as 'Jaina Proudmoore,' 'Gul’dan,' and 'Malfurion.' Every monster, creature, animal and vehicle in the Infringing Game was copied from the Warcraft Games. Weapons, amulets, and other objects were taken straight from the Warcraft games, without pretense. Audio cues and sound effects from the Warcraft games were reproduced for the Infringing Game," the suit says.
"Defendants even created an icon for their game that plainly is intended to look like the cover of Blizzard’s most recent World of Warcraft expansion, Battle for Azeroth:"
Blizzard said that the popularity of its Warcraft setting makes it a popular target for rip-offs by unethical developers, and also alleged that other Sina Games releases are based on other well-known franchises including Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Naruto. "A substantial part of Defendants' business (if not the entirety of their business) is making and selling knock-off games that infringe popular entertainment properties," the suit states.
In case there's any doubt, the suit also includes comparative images of World of Warcraft and Glorious Saga characters. The physical similarities are obvious, and even some of the names are the same: Glorious Saga's take on Malfurion, for instance, is actually named Malfurion, and is described as the husband of Whisperwind. (In the Warcraft setting, Malfurion Stormrage is husband to Tyrande Whisperwind.)
Blizzard is seeking maximum statutory damages of $150,000 per each copyright infringed, plus legal fees, and a permanent injunction against Glorious Saga and any other Sina-operated games that infringe on its copyrights. But it appears that Sina has already thrown in the towel. A message posted today on the Glorious Saga Facebook page indicates that the game has very suddenly been closed.
"Thanks for your support and love of our game. We had a great and happy time in the game," the message says. "But due to some irresistible reasons, we decided to announce that the game will stop operating at 06:00 on 29th of Aug. (EDT), and all the servers will be closed. Players can't login any longer."
I've reached out to Blizzard for comment on the Glorious Saga shutdown and will update if I receive a reply.