Blizzard has posted the winners of their holiday card contest, just in time for you to print them out on high quality stock and mail them off to your loved ones during this festive season… oh wait. In any event, the Holiday-themed fanart in card form contest has ended, and they’ve posted the five winners, along with a bunch of honorable mentions. As usual, the mixed batch of winners are entirely Starcraft or Warcraft artwork, with the only hints of Diablo coming in a couple of honorable mentions. One of which made me spit my Midori Sour all over the monitor, for reasons I’ll elaborate on shortly.
Here are the five winners, several of which are very good:
There were two honorable mentions with Diablo in them, on one of which was the source of my drink spitting. Since it’s a rip off. It’s artwork by Michael Dashow, one of the Diablo II character artists, from a holiday wallpaper Blizzard released in 2004. Yes, you read that right. It’s artwork from one of their own Christmas special bonus pieces, from six years ago. It’s not some obscure thing MIke did in his spare time, it was on Blizzard.com and in their wallpaper gallery for years!
This year’s Holiday card entry slightly modified the artwork, adding some black sparkles around Diablo-Santa’s head, but that does nothing to camouflage the original piece. Here are the cards, plus Mike’s original wallpaper, and here’s a screenshot of Blizzard’s contest page, since I assume they’ll scrub it from the winners once they read this post.
(Update: It’s gone. Click through for more details.)
What’s sadder? That no one at Blizzard today recognized their own artwork from 2004? Or that it only got an honorable mention?
Click through for more on the contest rules and some additional info about and old-time friend of this site, Mike Dashow.
If you’re wondering, this definitely violates the contest rules. Even if Mike Dashow himself submitted it, the rules say it has to be original work, not previously posted, and not copyrighted. And this one is copyrighted by um… Blizzard Entertainment.
You hereby warrant and represent that (a) you own all rights to all Entry Materials submitted by you; and (b) all such Entry Materials are original works of authorship on your part and have not been copied, in whole or in part, from any other work and do not violate, misappropriate or infringe any copyright, trademark or other proprietary right of any other person or entity.
I don’t see that piece on Mike’s site, but if you look on his Diablo page you’ll see a bunch of his other work from the game, as well as an interesting update at the bottom on the closing of Blizzard North in 2005, prompted by some posts we made on Diabloii.net at the time. (Hence the shout out to “Flux and Elly.”)
Mike used to have a bunch of other concept art posted, from an unannounced/canceled Blizzard North title (not Diablo III) but he’s since removed it, and as he says he can’t post any of the artwork he did for the Bliz North version of D3, pre-2005. Alas. Perhaps some day the public will get to see some more of their original artwork and design from that lost title…
Update: I forgot to mention that we have another Diablo-themed card from this year’s contest, created by qsfjor and posted in our Fan Creations gallery. His holiday card entry is inventive and kinda retro-gaming in style, and I like it more than any number of the honorable mentions, most of which are just fan art with a snow-theme.
Update #2: I notified Bashiok of this (after I put up this post, because
I’m kind of a dick it was too funny not to document it) and he was amused by the oversight, but had it taken care of. The plagiarized image has now been removed from the display of honorable mention thumbnails. Oddly (accidentally?) they clipped the other Diablo-themed honorable mention as well, so there are now 30 rather than 32 honorable mentions. Compare the page now to our screenshot of it from earlier today.
Bashiok told me that the rip off of Mike Dashow’s artwork had been flagged as a copy at some point during the evaluation/judging process, but that through a miscommunication with the web team it had been posted anyway.