They say that lightning never strikes twice and Blizzard has perhaps taken steps to ensure that this is the case for Warcraft III: Reforged, by changing the terms of its Custom Game Acceptable Use Policy so that all future custom games made using the tools provided with the remastered RTS are instantly the property of the studio.
As spotted by our friends over at PCGamer, the changes made to the mandatory agreement have a few implications, including a ban on mods that use third-party assets or are based on non-Blizzard IP (pretty standard stuff). The big change, however, is the aforementioned copyright claim. Now, any and all custom games made in Reforged are instantly under copyright and therefore they are Blizzard's property.
Given the history surrounding Warcraft III, it's not hard to work out why Blizzard would put itself in such a position. The modding tools for the original incarnation of the game spawned a mod by the name of Defense of the Ancients. Itself based on a Starcraft mod called Aeon of Strife, the DOTA concept snowballed in popularity once realised in a fantasy setting and the mod developed a huge community.
Since then, games like League of Legends (Riot) and Dota 2 (Valve) have basically cloned the concept, becoming two of the biggest games in the world in the process. Meanwhile, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard's own attempt at the MOBA, struggled to make the same sort of impact.
Given the genre's origins, you can't blame Blizzard for wanting to protect itself, but then again, it's easy to imagine that these more draconian restrictions could push content creators to build their own games using different software. Time will tell.
Stay tuned for our review of Warcraft III: Reforged. We're playing the game right now and will share our impressions in due course.