A couple of years ago, dedicated World of Warcraft fans who missed the glory days of the formerly biggest MMORPG decided to launch a private “classic server”, where the game played like it did after it first launched. They were soon found out and shut down by Blizzard, but Blizzard also spoke with them privately and enlisted their help to recreate the classic server officially, creating what’s now a legacy server for the old guard to enjoy the game as they remembered it from all those years ago.
Recently, a group of League of Legends fans tried to do the same thing — called Chronoshift, these modders had been working for the past few years to create a League client just like the one that was first released years and years ago, so people can relive the glory days. And just like the World of Warcraft situation, Riot Games shut them down — however, instead of deploying the grace and relative openness that Blizzard used for the legacy server, the developers of Chronoshift are accusing Riot Games of extortion and blackmail.
PC Gamer has the full story, which is worth a look if you love League of Legends — or actively root against it. The long and the short of it is that after announcing the Chronoshift project last year on Reddit (which was entirely self-funded), a member of the Riot team actively begged the developers to stop working on the project, as it was going to end badly for all parties involved. The developers ignored this Riot employee, which lead to a much more recent cease and desist order from Riot Games as lawyers got involved.
That would be a sad outcome to any fan project, as any Nintendo fan could tell you. But what makes this particularly noteworthy is that one of the Chronoshift developers was actively messaged and threatened by a Riot Employee named Zed, who demanded the source code and webpage details from the team — and if they didn’t Riot would sue.
Riot — who has since claimed to find the tone of the conversation “disappointing” but stands by the outcome, claims that the demand for the source code was “a standard demand made to all developers engaged in unauthorized activity in order to assist Riot’s security team to understand the precise nature of the project, the manner by which it infringes Riot’s intellectual property, and other rights, and the extent to which the code has been shared or disseminated online.” So it should not be taken as a cue that they wanted to steal these developers work to release their own version of Chronoshift.
The developers of Chronoshift have, for what it’s worth, complied with Riot’s legal team, but have made no secret with how unhappy they are with how this turned out. And frankly, I can’t blame them.