Blizzard’s legal department has shut down a World of Warcraft mod that was in the early stages of development. That mod – Warcraft Tales, in development by YouTuber Michael “BellularGaming”, aimed to overhaul the presentation of World of Warcraft’s story and quests in its early level 1 – 60 zones.
In the above announcement video, Michael goes into his reasons for creating the mod. However, just two days later, Michael posted another video update, explaining that Blizzard’s “legal department does not see the project as just an addon as governed by the addon policy, rather it's seen as a third-party expansion set."
PC Gamer received a follow-up quote directly from a Blizzard representative, who expanded upon the company’s reasons for shutting down Warcraft Tales:
"As we told Bellular directly, we really appreciate his passion for the game. But what it comes down to is that we need to protect the integrity and experience of the game for all of our players. WoW is very much a living world — anything that can change actual in-game content has the possibility of affecting the experience for all players on a technical side, even if they choose not to use the addon, besides materially changing the lore that binds the universe together. Fan fiction is awesome (and it takes place out of game), addons that modify the way quests are displayed are fine since they don't modify the in-game content, but addons that alter [or] replace the actual in-game content and story are not since this has far-reaching implications on the player experience."
Michael was planning on releasing Warcraft Tales episodically, with each episode covering a new zone. While the mod would have changed the presentation and story content of those quests, it would not have changed what players needed to do to complete those quests, nor what they received as reward for doing so.
"...Addons that alter [or] replace the actual in-game content and story are not [fine] since this has far-reaching implications on the player experience"
In response to Blizzard’s actions, Michael says he is pursuing negotiations with Blizzard to figure out what capacity such a quest overhaul could legally exist in. But for now, it’s unlikely that Warcraft Tales will see release in any form.