The scope of MMOs has rapidly changed in the past few years. World of Warcraft was considered the pioneer of MMOs, with over 12 million players at its peak. The game was well-received for its focus on bringing the community together for events and the sense of bonding that could be found over the game’s extensive lore and history. With future expansions like World of Warcraft: Cataclysm and its subsequent releases Mists of Pandaria and Warlords of Draenor, players found frustration in the streamlining of game play elements and the isolation created from the garrison feature.

Enter the private server Nostalrius. The private server’s purpose was to maintain and archive the experiences garnered from the original (vanilla) World of Warcraft experience. The server hosted over a hundred thousand active players, maintained out of pocket by a small team of developers intent on keeping the dream alive. Eighteen thousand active players could be found concurrently, at the server’s peak. Just the other day, the private server was forced to shut down, following a cease and desist order from the legal division at Activision-Blizzard. This past Sunday, April 10th, some players captured video of the server’s final moments, which included massive crowds of players gathering together and paying respects.

This kind of shutdown, even with so many players present, begs the question of whether or not something like this should have been shut down. Of course, from a legal standpoint, the game was violating the Blizzard EULA. But,, given the enormous fan response, part of the argument can also be that due to the sweeping changes with the latest expansions, people weren’t being given the best experience that they deserved. With a Change.org petition having been filed, and receiving almost 100,000 signatures, it’s no doubt that Nostalrius has obtained a reputation that’s sweeping games media. It asks whether or not Blizzard should consider opening up a legacy server.

With the official closure of the server, the development team hopes to speak with Blizzard and open up discussion about continuing their works. The issue is opened up to you, the reader. What is your stance on this issue, and is there any real harm in this kind of venture, considering the subjective differences in the World of Warcraft product delivered today compared to the experience at launch?

  • Joel

    Blizzard has the opinion that players only flock to these types of private servers because people simply have a feeling of nostalgia. And as a result they would either quickly realize that the game of old is not up to the game of today’s standard. Or would simply get their “fix” and stop playing after a few weeks time. I played on nostalrius for 6 months. Creating multiple characters and playing causally over the course of my time there. I still hadn’t realized that I had got my “fix”. Many of the players I had met on the sever were first time players of vanilla world of warcraft. In my opinion, saying that those players were only playing on nostalrius because of short term nostagiua reasons simply doesn’t make any sense. The vast majority of vanilla players are united in simply wanting to be able to play the game they love. Paying a subscription, or even buying the newest expansion release of world of warcraft is a small (and welcome price) if it means we get to enjoy our game again.

  • LisaWest

    I’ve played WoW since beta. That being said, I feel like the game is on the wrong track with the expansions and the lack of listening to the wants/needs of its customer base. Players have been asking for a legacy server for years. The response from Blizzard went from it’s impossible (which Nostalrius proved that it wasn’t) to being just a fad (which, again, Nostalrius proved them wrong). Personally, I feel this was timed for a reason. After all, this server had been in existence for a year without interference from Blizzard. Yes, the new expansion is coming out in the next 6 months and the movie is coming out in June. But I believe it’s more than that. I think (and hope) Blizzard is planning to either bring up its own legacy server or something akin to it in anticipation of new customers wanting to play the game after the movie comes out but not wanting to come into a scene where players have been playing for 11 years on a server group. I think that if they are going to do this, the month of May would be the prime time to bring such a server up so that closing down any free legacy servers now makes perfect sense. We shall see.