Well i had an idea long ago about maps (when wc3 map community exploded and we've been flooded with maps :p ), because maps (or custom stuff) community are so large, tracking official or non-official map, revisions, popularity, and so on became such pain in the ass.
Here it is :
I had imagined an editor that will be connected permanently with blizzard server (publication or else) when you create or save a map, the map name would be checked online to see if it's free, then the map would be saved on your harddrive under your account name and recognized to be an original work from you and a special HASH would be generated and embedded inside the map (generated from your blizzard auth or something that uniquely identify yourself, your account, the map name) and the map would be crypted with it.
You will be able to publish and manage your publication from editor or special SC2 account webpage and anytime a map is edited the hash would be replaced by the hash of the person that had edited it and therefore not recognized official by blizzard server to be original.
This way you could :
- Keep your original work from being stolen by protecting or not your map, because it would be possible to indicate that you want to open or not your map code and the person wanting to decrypt the map would need your account. The unique Hash in map could be used to do a lot of things aside from encrypt the map and protect your work (i'am sure i haven't thought of all usage :) )
- You could have favorites for maps or/and authors and track all their releases by theses criteria very easily since map would be tagged with unique HASH. Findind a map with custom search feature would be much better too.
- The map would be tagged official because it come from you and that way popularity could extend on all the map revision you've created therefore creating a much better map ladder.
- you'll be able to manage from your starcraft account or directly in the editor versioning of your map and decide to publish or not this map, and if a newest version is available forcing people to upgrade automatically or at least take the latest autorized version (in case you want to publish the 2 last map revision)
- Map names would be of course deleted from server when a map is declared abandonned or not updated for very long, not sure about how to manage this one :)
- I'm sure there is more pros :)
- Could be heavy technically for Bnet reactivity.
- You would have less anonymity when creating map, but of course you could choose in the editor to not tag map at all and make them completly open and more anonymous :)
- System could be hacked but if the hash is strong enough and map well encrypted with it it would be near impossible (because of the online check)
- I don't see blizzard doin' it because it will make map making more difficult and less open, we know how much blizzard like easy stuff, but well maybe if it would cost 2/3$ per month to be able to pro publish map i dunno (free would be better that's for sure)
- Map could be hacked so people can extract resource from them with time (or maybe not) but well I've learned in my line of work that anything possible. But map would be safe online is think, this would be only an offline cons.
- Other cons i think but i can't find them all :)
Well there is a lot of technical issues to resolve but i don't think it's far from impossible, and regarding the HUGE community SC2 and others blizzard games have, it's not that silly to hope for a better pro-looking release system for maps or anything custom made by the same communities that make blizzard games that awesome and lively !
Feel free to comment :)