The last month has been a bit of a surprise for the World of Warcraft community. At first they had a legacy, fan-run vanilla server for people to enjoy World of Warcraft as it (largely) originally was. Then they didn't. Then there was a petition, which grew. And the mobilisation of that community has now brought Blizzard to the table — or in this case, the fans.
Photo: Blizzard Entertainment / World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor
The admins behind the Nostalrius World of Warcraft server, which Blizzard admitted they shut down to protect their intellectual copyright, announced earlier this morning that they would be having a meeting with Blizzard at the company's campus.
"After the answer from Blizzard and the amazing support we received, we feel we are now not only the admins of a private server: We are also the ambassadors of a larger movement for the entire World of Warcraft community that wants to see game history restored," the fan admins wrote. "It is a major responsibility. Our top-priority and only focus now is to fulfill the needs of this community, by carrying your voice to Blizzard directly."
They added that their custom anticheat won't be released to the public, despite calls for some in the emulation community to force the creators to release all code relating to Nostalrius. "A second important point is that keeping the sources private could be useful at some point during the discussion with Blizzard. They proposed to discuss together and we want to have all the chances on our side, for the community we represent now."
What has been released, however, is a bit of code that allows people to "replay" segments of the game. It's only compatible with a 1.12.1 original World of Warcraft client, but the code's available for everyone on GitHub.
That hasn't placated voices from within the vanilla community angry about the takedown of their characters — and the effectual wiping of the hundreds of hours spent levelling and grinding. But, as many have pointed out, the situation with Nostalrius has gone well beyond some fans running a server using Blizzard's IP.
It's now about a movement seeking to preserve, as close as possible, the original flavour of what could be one of the most influential MMOs and video games in the history of gaming. That's a whole lot bigger than someone's level 60 character — and given that Blizzard have been debating internally about the prospect of vanilla/legacy servers, it'll be interesting to see what happens as a result of these talks.