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I'm making a World of Warcraft based mod for Skyrim and want to do 3 things.
Firstly, to showcase screenies as a proof of concept to show others that this kind of stuff is possible.
Secondly, to gauge public interest and see if there are others out there that are doing this kind of thing.
Thirdly, hoping a Blizzard rep would see this and advise me on the legality of such a creation and if possible, to get permission to use such assets.
I've loved the story of Warcraft since i was a kid (started back in Warcraft 2 days) and have always loved RPG's and the thrill of an FPS. I wondered what it would be like to combine an RPG FPS within the scope of the Warcraft universe. I also had played more than my fair share of Oblivion and to a slightly lesser extent, (though more intensely entertaining) Skyrim, and although not having fully completed either game, Skyrim seemed like the perfect and most obvious choice with to go to when it came to trying to put Warcraft into a visually impressive FPS scenario.
First step, extract a model and associated textures. 2nd, modify and improve both the base model and texture, and do fancy stuff like make high res diffuse, normal map, environment mask textures for said models. Lastly, split the models up and create the physics collision meshes for them.
At this point i would export it out and do all the skyrim stuff to make it work in-game. Easy enough for weapons and shields. For buildings, it takes a little extra effort due to the various doodads. You'd instead need to export the locations of the doodads, then export and convert the *.wmo world mesh for said building, and *m2's for whateva doodads you want to use for that building, then position them up in skyrim. Basic animations such as the elvish Arcane Sanctums (with their big spinny bits) can all be done in the skyrim editors too so no big deal there.
Armour is by far the biggest challenge as it'll require making a high-poly version of the wow armor with all their geosets, and then pulling out your hair as you then need to spend an eternity skinning it for not only every permutation in wow but also for the various differing models in skyrim, dependent upon race, gender, and body weight.
It's one thing to steal an artwork and claim it as your own. It's entirely another to use it as a base (some call it artistic appropriation, others call it contextualization) and modify it to make something that resembles it in a different context, though specifically not intending to undermine the original's intended purpose and furthermore, it's yet ANOTHER entirely different can of worms to simply make you own version, claim it AS your own, and give little credit to the actual owner of that intellectual property despite you being that artwork's creator and so therein lies the very confusing problem.
The Problem with getting an Answer
I havn't been very lucky with contacting Blizzard about this issue. The story so far is, i did a bunch of searching and couldn't find any documentation that accurately defines the legality of what i was doing. There was however, a lot of vague things that i've found though that would insinuate that something like this IS in fact within my rights, provided of course that it's T-rated, does not put Blizzard or any of their products in some negative light, is not used for profit, etc. As it would seem, i simply wasn't comfortable with the vagueness of it all and so then i submitted a ticket as a technical issue (as in terms of doing things like asset extraction and usage, was of a technical nature and realistically it was the closest possible thing i could find.
Naturally something like this is expected to require some time and research and hence why i opted for this route rather than calling in or asking to talk (via the chat system) to a rep.
Firstly let me state that i'm not silly; i do check my junk mail and have no filters that block emails from Blizzard. In fact the most recent @Blizzard email i got was the "we're shutting down the D3 AH" one.
So I was firstly directed to contact the legal department and sent a few emails over the period of a month, with no response. I then reopened the ticket to ask if something was wrong and was informed that actually the legal dept. is mainly for corporate legal issues and it was better off contacting the PR department. Having spent the next month emailing them a few times, again with no response, i gave up and am currently in the process of trying to contact the Australian and New Zealand PR department in hopes they might reply. Have since emailed them twice, now at two weeks, with no response.
So there's my current problem. I can't publish any of this work without authorization (I've had digital works stolen and used without my permission before so i know how bad this would feel on Blizzard's end if i did this to them without THEIR explicit permission) and i can't seem to get a reply from any of the people/departments that i've been directed to ask by GM's in order to get such authorization or clarification on something like this and thus i'm feeling kind of bummed out :(
PS: The customer service reps are actually pretty darn helpful and reply pretty darn quickly too so to the extent where out of the all the games dev companies i've been in contact with, the Blizzard CS department stands at first place.
As a fellow long-term WoW player, and Bethesda fan (Though I haven't played Skyrim in sometime and the comp I'm stuck with can't run the MMO), I have to say this is an interesting idea to clash the two games like that. After all, it is a sandbox game.
So far from what I understand (as I've been trying to find out legal information from them as well), the only thing they really seem to have an issue with is that you don't make a profit off of it, but I can't confirm that - It's just what I've seen so far.
Anyhow, if you get the green light on it, good luck and hope it turns out awesome.
Love this idea, was just thinking of doing it myself. I love the WoW lore and art style but the combat is becoming a little outdated to me.
Anyways, if you are still going to follow through with this mod let me know when it is ready, I have a ton of friends who are WoW/Skyrim fans. I would love to tell them about it to help you gain momentum.
Keep it up love the concept.
*Good luck, this is a huge project.
Edited by Kalama#1128 on 12/1/2013 8:37 PM PST
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