World of Warcraft developer Blizzard has taken legal steps against a popular private server. The team of volunteers behind Nostalrius have had to take their server offline, or face Blizzard in a court of law.
By Thijs Kaagman
Ever since the release of World of Warcraft, Blizzard has been fighting against a phenomenon called 'private servers'. These are servers that players can play the game on, without paying the monthly subscription needed to play on the official servers. As you might have guessed, this is anything but legal. It's about the same as copying and downloading games through torrents; something that's just bad for the gaming industry as a whole.
So the steps Blizzard has taken against Nostalrius, aren't that strange, right? Still, a lot of gamers are upset with Blizz, saying Nostalrius was 'different'. What do they mean by that?
Nostalrius was operated by volunteers. That sounds easier than it actually is. To run a private server, you have to manually reprogram a lot of elements from the game yourself. Adding a simple feature to the game, often requires hours of meticulous programming and testing. So why did the people behind Nostalrius do it for free (not even accepting donations)? Because they loved the old WoW. When Blizzard updates their game on the official servers, there is no way to go back and play the game like it was before that update. Over the years, a lot has changed in World of Warcraft and according to the admins and players on Nostalrius, not in the right way.
That is why on Nostalrius it was possible to play the game like it once was, before Blizzard released expansions like Warlords of Draenor, Mists of Pandaria, Cataclysm, Wrath of the Lich King and even The Burning Crusade. The so-called 'Vanilla WoW'.
The admins behind Nostalrius received a letter from Blizzard last week, to pull their server off the web immediately. Gamers aren't happy and – like gamers are – they're really vocal about it on Reddit. According to them, the current content in World of Warcraft isn't interesting anymore and the social aspect of the game has completely gone away. "Playing on Nostalrius was the most fun I've had playing WoW in YEARS", says Redditor Odaal.
Blizzard, however, isn't backing down. Nostalrius got disconnected last Sunday, with an impressive display of players on the server. The developer's steps are, of course, legally completely justified. Nostalrius' operations were illegal, simple as that. However, with over 800.000 registered accounts, 150.000 active users and a daily peak of about 12.000 active players on the server, Nostalrius has proven that the demand for official Vanilla WoW servers is very real. And that's something that Blizzard themselves have always denied.