Storm, Earth, Fire… Heed My Call – Blizzard Responds to the Legacy Server Debate
J. Allen Brack, executive producer and Vice President for World of Warcraft, has finally given a statement in relation to the ‘Legacy Server’ petition that recently passed 240,000 signatures.
According to Brack, Blizzard have been discussing the possibility of adding classic servers for years.
The reply goes into detail on Blizzard’s stance on the issue, including: answers as to why Nostralrius couldn’t continue with their private server; the reason why Blizzard can’t just create a classic server; and the idea of a ‘pristine realm’, a realm where all the new features that World of Warcraft has gained over the years would be turned off.
“We explored options for developing classic servers and none could be executed without great difficulty. If we could push a button and all of this would be created, we would. However, there are tremendous operational challenges to integrating classic servers, not to mention the ongoing support of multiple live versions for every aspect of WoW.”
What’s a Legacy Server?
There are some World of Warcraft players (or any video game players, really) that don’t have an interest in the latest expansions or believe that the recent updates have made things worse, and that things were better “back in the day”.
Groups have set up ‘Private Servers’ that run a vanilla version of WoW (No expansions) and players can connect to these private servers to get their Warcraft ‘fix’.
Some people on private vanilla WoW servers say that they’d rather pay a subscription fee to play on an official Blizzard vanilla server or ‘Legacy Server’. The petition was to request that Blizzard offer some legacy servers that would offer a vanilla World of Warcraft experience.
Blizzard has repeatedly stated that they have no interest in running legacy servers for older expansions, and that there aren’t enough people who would really like to play on them anyway.
Others point to the popularity of private servers such as Nostalrius as a counterpoint to this.
Why is Nostralrius important?
There was a private server called Nostalrius running a free, vanilla version of World of Warcraft.
Nostalrius had been extremely successful, with, around a million registered accounts, around 100k active players, and about 15k people logged in concurrently at peak times. It is this server, Nostalrius, that has been sued and ordered to shut down.
Historically, Blizzard is not in favour of private servers, and I believe they have used the legal system to successfully shut down private servers before. Some people hoped that Nostalrius could avoid this fate by being based in France instead of the US (where Blizzard is located), but that is apparently not the case.
The Nostalrius team was extremely careful to avoid making money from this, but that’s not enough to fly under the radar.
In Brack’s statement he explains why Blizzard can’t ignore them or any other private server:
“Why not just let Nostalrius continue the way it was? The honest answer is, failure to protect against intellectual property infringement would damage Blizzard’s rights. This applies to anything that uses WoW’s IP, including unofficial servers. And while we’ve looked into the possibility – there is not a clear legal path to protect Blizzard’s IP and grant an operating license to a pirate server.”
The next expansion to World of Warcraft, ‘Legion’ is scheduled to release on August 30th later this year.