But really, this game was announced back at BlizzCon 2010, so what's causing the delay? The copyright dispute with Valve over the use of the DotA trademark may have set them back a little, but that can't possibly account for the current silence. Back in 2011, Senior Game Designer Jonny Ebbert said that the 2010 version of the game had been "flattened", implying that it was being totally reworked, shifting away from the earlier model of an add-on to Heart of the Swarm.
Eurogamer spoke to Chris Sigaty, StarCraft 2's production director, regarding the company's prolonged silence on the title.
We're actively working on it, that I can confirm. A lot of the stuff that's remaining right now that we need to focus on are the systems necessary to pull off a game with a different business model than StarCraft 2.
StarCraft 2 is a box. We intend to do something different with the business model in Blizzard All-Stars, something more closely resembling the other types of games in that genre, the MOBA-style games that are out there today, and being able to sell smaller amounts of things to players, the things they want.
Those systems are what we're working on right now, but yeah, it's still actively being worked on.
It seems from the interview that efforts are being made to mimic something more akin to League of Legends, which is no great surprise given the title's extraordinary success. Not to mention Valve's recent release of the beta for Dota 2 passing three million unique monthly players, with over 10 million matches having been played, despite the fact that it is still in beta. There seems to have been a move away from All-Stars being a StarCraft mod, as Sigaty went on to add in conversation with Eurogamer:
"We'll go into more details about that in the future but I suspect you will not have to have StarCraft 2 to play [Blizzard All-Stars]. We're definitely emphasising it as its own product in the future."
It might not be unreasonable to expect that something will be announced regarding the game at this years' BlizzCon, given how it keep appearing in investor calls, and cropping up in interviews. However, that is pure speculation, and the "ish" could be the important part of "Soonish"!
What do you think is taking Blizzard so long? Are they doing the right thing in redesigning their original product to hop on the MOBA train with LoL and Dota 2? Will Blizzard's free-to-play model be a success?