Thursday, October 14, 2010

I will try to answer some of the questions in the comments. 

It's more likely that Valve knew the entire deal from the start and just a bunch of money grabbing assholes. Whether the people in the office knew is another matter, but I'd be suprised if the higher ups of a multi-million dollar company were so stupid.
I cannot say for sure, but I CAN say that none of the middle management or lower knew ANYTHING about his involvement with other game companies. From the looks on everyone's face after the deal, I would say no one at the company knew at all. Apparently Abdul had S2 Games sign an agreement barring them from disclosing his involvement with HON. I can only assume that it was so he could work with us without us raising any eyebrows.

What is the main point of this?

DotA fans won't really give a shit if IceFrog indeed lied about his past involvement with S2 or not.

They care about the game and DotA having more than 10 millions players is a proof that IceFrog is doing a really good job at it.

The only thing that would scare me is something like " The truth about dota 2 : it will suck " but that's obviously never gonna happen.
If you enjoy DOTA you will enjoy DOTA 2. It will be a very good game, because DOTA is a good game. This blog is not about putting DOTA 2 down, nor is it about putting down the hard work of the development team. This blog is about letting people understand the truth behind the people at the helm of the project, and how they are trying to steer Valve away from its roots as a gamer-first company.

All this info is really old. Anyone could use google to find it. So I really doubt this is from a Valve employee. Why would they choose to post that Icefrog is a douche now, rather than posting this info when it became available this past summer?

Prove you're really a Valve employee by getting today's newspaper and take a picture of it near a valve landmark
The reason I don't give away my identity should be pretty obvious. I don't want to lose my job, and I don't want my friends to lose theirs either. I am making a huge sacrifice by doing all of this, and if you don't care about it, then don't bother commenting. I don't know how much of this information is new to everyone. To us at Valve, almost all of it is new, because Abdul lied to us and we all believed it. If this is already common information, that disheartens me even more that so many people simply do not care for the egregious moral atrocities that have been performed during the development of this game.

I dont really care if IceFrog is doing things that are frowned upon (even though they dont really matter and they affect you positively); What I would care about, and what would anger me is if Valve attempted to hijack DoTA 2.0 from IceFrog. I think it's great that he has control over the project, he took DoTA and made it something amazing without much to work with from the start. Why shouldnt he be trusted? You may respond with "Because he's been lying," but I don't think the end is governed by the means. If IceFrog thinks something should stay secret then it probably should, if IceFrog wants to add something to the game without telling anyone then let him do so; There are millions of people that would stand up for IceFrog in an instant, do you even know what he created?
One thing that we are not doing is taking control. Believe me when we say that we have tried to give input. Abdul is such a domineering personality, that when he is given full creative control, he simply will not listen to outside input.
If he is hard to work with, then speak to Senior Management or even Human Resources. Get it done and it'll eventually lead him to speak with someone above him. If many people are dissatisfied with him, then it should be no problem to accomplish this.
I do not work with him. I simply have many co-workers who do. As far as I understand, he has been complained about a lot, but management refuses to do anything to him because they see too much gold in DOTA.

It's kinda funny the different responses we're seeing today between IceFrogTruth and EALouse "tell all" blogs. In the case of EA, unfounded accusations are treated as gold and everyone there is going "HELLS YEAH" and treating it like gospel truth

Whereas here, accusations are made with some proof to back them up, and folks are more likely to tell this guy to fuck off and defend Valve.

EA is generally hated and gamers look for any excuse to fuel that hatred, regardless of anything.

Valve is generally loved and gamers look for any excuse to fuel that love, regardless of anything.

Kind of amusing really.
Valve for the most part is a good company. We are all good people, and we care about the games we make. It's because we care that I am posting this right now. This blog actually has nothing to do with EA Louse. It's a complete coincidence that we both managed to do this at similar times. I wish him plenty of luck in his future endeavors, because the game industry is a lot more difficult than your typical gamer would think.

It does NOT add up.

League of Ledends:

"It was first announced on October 7, 2008 and released on October 27, 2009.[6] The game was in a closed beta from April 10, 2009 to October 22, 2009.[7] It then transitioned to open beta until release.[8]"


According to S2 staff member "Idejder," Heroes of Newerth has been in development for "34 months, but the first 13 were spent on engine development. The entirety of assets, including maps, items, heroes, and art were made in 21 months."

That still leaves Icefrog with 2 years of development with DotA only. This so called "evidence" is circumstantial at best.
The LOL entry does not say when they began engine work, while the HON entry does. I do not know exactly when Abdul started working with S2 Games, but I do know that he began working with us around Spring of last year. I do know that he worked on DOTA and HON at the same time, because the campaign fund site confirms he was employed by S2 Games in 2008.

I never played Dota. I play HoN. This "blog" is defamation of character towards IceFrog. Fact of Fiction?

I am happy with HoN. LoL is a joke. From what I hear DoTA Allstars was limited by wc3 engine. DoTA 2 will have fan loyalty I am sure.

Intellectual property is one thing, but if this game is copied over directly... which it sounds like, what about Blizzard? TOS / EULA.

I am not a lawyer, so I do not know much about the legal underpinnings behind this game. I do know that we are using the name DOTA and not DotA or Defense of the Ancients because of any potential legal trouble though.

Exactly, both games were in development between 2006-2008 (engines date back earlier but Icefrog wasnt needed until later). Icefrog worked with S2 and Riot simultaneously during the time when both companies were creating heroes for their games, Icefrog was hired to help in the development on those in terms of helping with balance and skills, that sort of stuff. His contract ended a few months ago which is the time when he was actively looking for a new place, which is now Valve. To give you more proof, S2 cant port any heroes or any change that was made after the patch 6.60 (or something like that) meaning that any hero, any new skill or skill remake that was done after this patch, cannot be added because that is the time when the contract ended and the new contract between Icefrog and valve started so S2 cannot add anything that is 100% to the dota counterpart.

You are right here. Legal sent S2 Games an infringement notice forbidding them from using any DOTA content after Abdul was hired.
This article is embarrassing. What is going on at Valve? Do the people in the videogame industry not know how to run a company? Creating a blog to defame your own company and co-workers is the height of un-professionalism. This entire situation is incredibly bizarre. 
This is called "whistle-blowing". In the corporate world, there are laws to protect whistle-blowers. In the game industry, whistle-blowing will just be considered a security leak and will get you fired. I am a Valve employee, but before that, I am a gamer. I was drawn to working for this company for the same reasons everyone is drawn to its games. I simply have the privilege of getting the full picture, and feel it is my duty to share it.

I'm an engineer at a company other than Riot, Valve and S2, but I have acquaintances at S2, Riot and Valve because I drink heavily at conventions and I am a hardcore DOTA, LoL (1375 ranked rating bitches, sup!) and HON player (1720 PSR).

This is consistent with what I've heard about him.

I do not think he worked for Riot, just pitched DOTA to them at a meeting long ago, but they could not make a deal. With the apparent surge in LoL popularity, it sounds like they made the right call.

I did hear that he worked at S2 for a bit, but they had an amicable split after a year or two. I was unable to find out what the problems were, but maybe they are the same as the ones being listed here. Why else would S2 do that, they'd otherwise have everything to gain?

I also heard he got politely sent home from the Blizzard campus by a senior manager when he showed up there with an AGENT to pitch DOTA. Who the hell shows up with an AGENT to a job interview in the game industry? I didn't even know that individual people had agents in games. That's somewhere between pretentious and clueless. We aren't Hollywood.
The word going around is that he was denied at Riot Games, got a boatload from S2 Games, and now is reaping the profits from us. Whatever he is being paid, it is ridiculous, because the game is literally identical to DOTA. Everything from voices to art is being transferred over, because he demanded it. This game could have been made without his involvement at all.

I am only trying to get the word out guys. Do not think of me as the bad guy.

EDIT: Clarification to us "porting over" Blizzard's content. I am not saying that we are directly taking their assets, but rather, that Abdul demanded that everything look and sound as close as possible to the Blizzard assets without causing copyright issues.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Truth

I am an employee at Valve. I do work on an unrelated project from IceFrog, but I have many friends who work with him on a daily basis. This blog is the culmination of what I have learned about IceFrog, also known as Abdul Ismail, directly from people who are currently working with him. Their names will stay anonymous for their sake and mine. You might want to ask why I am posting this. Why do I risk me and my friends's jobs? The answer is that ever since Abdul has joined Valve, he has been poisonous to the company. He is incredibly hard to work with, absolutely impossible to talk to in person due to a complete lack of social skills, and easily holds the most unpleasantly domineering work personality of anyone I have ever met. This is not just my opinion, but the opinion of almost everyone I know who has come in contact with him. Abdul's project is not only becoming one of the most controversial inside the office, but one of the most controversial outside. He is taking the company in a direction I thought we would never head in because he demanded unparalleled control and for some reason was granted it.

What is most interesting about Abdul is that he is a compulsive liar. When he was hired, none of us knew about his past. In fact, we were all on the assumption that he had made it thus far on his own. Several of us silently questioned how he could've devoted so much time after graduation to a hobby despite there being a giant hole on his resume, but we knew that he was an eccentric character, and assumed that he was being supported by his family. It was not until Riot Games's Steve Mescon, also known as Pendragon, made his infamous blog post on that the truth began to come out. Everyone here assumed it was a very dirty marketing scheme by the Riot Games guys, or even that S2 Games and Riot Games were making up stories to discredit us. In fact, our legal team had previously sent infringement notifications to S2 Games over their usage of what we believed to be IceFrog's content. I was told that S2 Games was asked to remove all DOTA content altogether, and that because of this, we would have the rights to DOTA content.

A lot of us had sensed that there was something fishy going on from the beginning. We scoured the internet for any evidence that would implicate Abdul. Eventually, we found it on a HON blog. The process is incredibly easy, and you can replicate it yourself.
  1. Search for "Abdul Ismail" on Google.
  2. The 8th result is for Click it.
  3. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page.
  4. Click on Abdul Ismail Bellevue, 27.
Voila. Or in the words of Kudo Tsunoda, BAM, there it is. We found that that Abdul lived in:
  1. New Bedford, MA: very close to his alma mater
  2. Rohnert Park, CA: where S2 Games is located
  3. Bellevue, WA: where we are
As if that were not evidence enough of foul play, a professional DOTA player who claims to be in the know revealed this also replicatable piece of information.
  1. Go to, a site that tracks campaign donors.
  2. Under employees, search for Marc DeForest, who is the owner of S2 Games.
  3. You will find Abdul Ismail employed as a programmer under Marc DeForest.
In a process unrelated to mine, Abdul was eventually confronted about his hidden past by the Valve higher-ups. We found out that not only did he lie about DOTA, but he lied about his involvement with both Riot Games and S2 Games. As I said at the start of this blog, you can go to to brush up on that history. This is the equivalent of the CEO of McDonald's (DOTA) looking for a job at Burger King (Riot Games), then working for Fatburger (S2 Games), then quitting and going to work for Wendy's (Valve) but outright lying to Wendy's of his involvement with ANY previous employer, despite the fact that he had contributed to a significant chunk of development with each company. In the corporate world, this would be the equivalent of stealing trade secrets. But instead, this is the game development business, and the rules are not so established. What upsets me most, and the ultimate reason I am writing this, is that any ethical company  would have dropped Abdul right here and reconsidered their options. We are not doing that, and instead are pushing ahead with full force. Sorry guys, but the truth has to come out sooner or later.

EDIT: Now that the Game Informer article has been released, you can see the extent to which Valve is willing to protect Abdul. Let me ask you this, Gabe. If Abdul were the renaissance man as you claim he is, why is Erik leading the project? Even Erik betrays himself when he says that "our first reaction is to assume that [design elements are] there for a reason". No, your first realization was that Abdul was a poor designer, but because of his bullying personality and his scheming, he managed to convince you to build the game as-is per his instructions. That's what happens when you go from being a shoe salesman to directing a game you didn't play, isn't it?