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?