Four days have past since Blizzard summoned its lawyers and shut down the Vanilla server Nostalrius. Though the characters were saved, the tension between Blizzard and the private server community has all but evaporated. The drums of war thunder once again.
If you have been on the internet in the past week, you’ve probably heard of Blizzard’s recent cease and desist order on the private server Nostalrius, which hosted an original World of Warcraft server. As Nostalrius had the largest private server community to date, with 150,000 active players and over 13,000 players simultaneously playing, Blizzard believed enough was enough for the year old server and crushed it.
Though the server was taken down, the community stood together against the might of Blizzard with this petition, pleading for Blizzard to open Legacy Servers that will host older versions of the game. That petition, which garnered 50,000 signatures in 2 days, is now very close to reaching 100,000.
This was considered by the masses to be an act of fun-canceling, since the small team that developed and maintained the server was made up of volunteers, and playing on the server was absolutely free. Many popular figures have posted their opinions and/or outrage on the shutdown, including JonTron, boogie2988, and wowcrendor. The event is receiving so much attention that it’s trending on Facebook.
This shut down of Nostalrius has been feared since its inception. From what I know, Blizzard has stated in the past that they believe World of Warcraft progresses with time and the only version of it that should exist is the live one. They also know that players think they want legacy servers, but they don’t. I think 150,000 players would say otherwise.
Though there are many reasons to playing on a private server, most people end up playing on them because they believe that the version played on the server was the best era of the game. Since the revolutionary game took the world by storm in 2004, five expansion sets have morphed WoW into a very different game that it once was. The most talked about difference was the shift from a social, player-filled world with hard-to-obtain items to instanced zones with queue-able dungeons and raids with nearly free epic gear.
Personally I believe that two very different things could happen.
One possibility is that Blizzard will stay in their stance against private servers and will continue to shut down servers that become too big. Nostalrius isn’t the first server shut down by Blizzard, though it is one of the first to be shut down outside of North America, which is worrisome since most private servers are in Europe, and Nostalrius was located in France.
Another possibility is that Blizzard shut down Nostalrius because they will be coming out with their own Legacy Servers, either very soon or after Legion is released (which many say will be a disaster).
This isn’t the first time an MMO has brought back old servers. In RuneScape, a patch that changed the combat system dramatically had mixed reviews. After a petition was signed by over 100,000 players, Jagex created a petition in the game that received nearly 500,000 signatures. Jagex in turn created servers for Old School RuneScape for players to enjoy.
Whether Blizzard is going to create Legacy Servers or not, many players, including myself, will be discouraged from playing on any unofficial server, since Blizzard has shown that it will take down any server popular enough, even outside of North America. And if Blizzard does make Legacy Servers, then most people will undoubtedly move to the official server, and progress will be lost on your current server.
So what are the former players of Nostalrius going to do now? Well, from my observations in the wowservers subreddit, it seems that most are moving over to Kronos or Rebirth, respectively the second and third most popular Vanilla servers, or PlayTBC, an upcoming Burning Crusade server. A minuscule percentage of Nostalrius’s playerbase have reported returning to Retail.
Though I had a low-level character on Nostalrius, for the past few months I have begun to play on Kronos (and wrote a post about it), and recently I am enjoying the different atmosphere of the game with so many players everywhere in the world. It’s something I really recommend you try if all of this private server commotion has you interested.
So what do you think? Would you be interested in playing on an official Legacy Server? Or should they be kept as private servers? Is retail WoW the only true WoW? As an avid Warcraft III fan, in my heart World of Warcraft ended when the The Lich King was slain. Leave a comment below with your opinion. Thank’s for reading!